Saturday, October 6, 2012

Time flies...

Wow! I just read my last post... from almost TWO years ago. I don't know where the time has gone. Oh, wait! Yes I do... facebook. Yikes. It's hilarious looking back. I never did become that mom. I'm not really sure what kind of mom (or woman) I've become, but I will admit that the gym didn't work out and the house is rarely clean. 

I'm still home. Troy is in first grade and Addison is in her last year of preschool. Every day of every year is new, uncharted territory. I have gotten involved with a direct sales company that I LOVE. It gives me a chance to get out of the house a little, keeps me busy, and gives me something of my own. I had to admit that I'm the type of person that needs rewards. I have to have something to strive and succeed at and, lets be honest, being Mom is not the most rewarding job at times.

I've also moved in to a semi-caretaker role for my 93 year old grandma. She's still amazingly independent, but now that she's not driving I have jumped in to the role of shopper, chauffeur, and more. There is a lot of drama that goes with that role and it's consumed a lot of the last couple years, but it's worth it. I think I'm teaching the kids an important lesson too.

I have a lot more lots and a lot more to write (and hopefully more often) but that's a quick catch-up of where we are now.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Settling in? What's that?

For the past 6 months I’ve been saying, “Once Troy is in school I’ll be able to ______.” I should realize by now that nothing ever goes as planned. I had visions of working out, getting things organized around the house, and finally being that clean-house-dinner-on-the-table stay-at-home-mom. We’re only two weeks in to the school year, but I can tell that’s not going to happen.

South Bend has a tiered system of schools. For many reason (too many to discuss in this post) we decided on the middle ground, which is a magnet school. While they do offer busing options, he would have to ride for 40 minutes plus to get to a school that is a 10 minute drive from our house so we’ve decided to drop him off and pick him up. So far it’s worked out that Tim drops him off on the way to work and I pick him up in the afternoon. This has been a bigger adjustment than I anticipated.

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Addison is home with me. Of course, Troy’s pick up time is smack dab in the middle of her usual nap time. Yes! Addison still naps. It wasn’t uncommon for her to go down at 12:30 and have to be woken around 4pm. On most days she’s up by 3:30, but since Troy has to be picked up between 2 and 2:20, that doesn’t work anymore. Last week I put her down at noon. To my surprise, she was fast asleep within minutes, but each time I had to wake her up to go get Troy. The results weren’t horrible, but not great either. Yesterday I tried keeping her up, which she can do when needed, but that was a disaster too.

Honestly, I’m not sure if the bad times with the nap were a function of her not getting enough sleep or Troy dealing with the adjustment to kindergarten. He LOVES kindergarten (another post, I’m sure) and seems to be adjusting really well, but last week I also noticed a lot of arguing and acting out. He was fighting with his sister almost from the minute he came home until they went to bed. And, if that wasn’t bad enough he seemed to be arguing with us over EVERYTHING! Like he suddenly knew it all and felt the need to set us straight.

That seems to be calming down this week. I think he was feeling left out. I had taken him for a special day at the bowling alley before he started school and I honestly think he thought I took Addison there any time she wasn’t in school, but he was. Now that we’ve been doing this a little longer, I think he realizes that her one-on-one time with me is about the same as his time after school before we pick her up – errands, cleaning, and such.

Part of me is still holding out hope that things will settle down and I will find time to work out, clean, organize, etc. The realistic me is learning to accept the fact that it may never happen. I may spend every Tuesday and Thursday running errands, desperately seeking a nap (since Addison is back to waking up throughout the night), or vegging out in front of one of my many electronic devices. I'll throw out a phrase that drives my mom crazy - It is what it is! I'll settle for that right now.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Out of Practice and Totally Addicted

It's true! I've fallen victim to the addictive nature of facebook.While I'd like to pretend we've been busy doing all these amazing things all summer, I have to admit I've spent an enormous about of time logged on to facebook. There is always something to check out, a group to visit, someone to chat with. It's gotten to the point where I only check 1 or 2 blogs any more. It's totally replaced most of my "reading" and all my writing.

That said, we have actually had a VERY busy summer. We joined a community pool, took our first official family vacation (from Indiana to New Jersey in a car), did some home improvements, and got Troy ready for the start of kindergarten. It's also be a bit of an inwardly focused summer for me, my marriage, and my family. We've been strengthening our bonds and building memories.

Now that we are getting settled in to a routine (some what) and I'm making an effort to return to one of my favorite therapeutic avenues, I'm looking forward to reading more and writing more in the blogging community. I'm hoping to carve out a little time each day to do blogging. I doubt I'll publish every day, but I need to make more of an effort to at least give myself time each day to slow down and think about it. Bear with me as I dust off the cobwebs!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer Fun!

If you looked around my house right now, you'd see that I'm definitely living up to the name of the blog. My house is a DISASTER! We've been in a dump and run mode for the past several weeks. Tim got injured, we had family in town, we went out of town for a school reunion, and all around life just happened!

When I look around my house I cringe. If anyone saw my house like this I would be completely embarrassed. It seems like every minute of every day is busy and when I do have "free time" I am too drained to do anything. We've been having a lot of fun so far this summer too - zoo, beach, family, pool. All the summer activities that I hope my children will remember for years. Now... if I could only find some time to post pictures and do some blogging. Maybe soon!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Staycation Across the Nation

Yesterday I posted some staycation ideas for South Bend, IN. Today I am excited to share information for 84 other locations across the country. Hopefully you'll find a few exciting things in your neck of the woods!

New England


Connecticut - Parenting Miracles
Boston, Massachusetts - ‎ Maven of Savin'
Manchester, New Hampshire - Common Sense with Money
Western Maine - Bubblegum and Lollipops


Mid-Atlantic


Erie, Pennsylvania - Growing Kids Ministry
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - Somewhat Crunchy
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Family Balance Sheet
Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York - Coupons, Deals and More
New Jersey - Oh! Diane


Midwest


Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Indoor Garden Musings
Mansfield, Ohio - Live the Adventure
Cincinnati, Ohio - Savings Lifestyle~Cincinnati
Mount Vernon, Ohio - Living Better One Day at a Time
Dayton, Ohio - Savings Lifestyle~Dayton
Grand Rapids, Michigan - Kitchen Stewardship
Metro Detroit, Michigan - "Cents"able Momma
Oakland County, Michigan - Bargain Shopper Mom
Warren, Michigan - Saving Dollars and Sense
Grand Forks, North Dakota - Frugal Front Porch
Indianapolis, Indiana - Bargain Briana
South Bend, Indiana - Excuse The Mess
Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri - Kansas City Mamas
St. Louis, Missouri - The Pickledpigsfeet
Branson, Missouri - Getting Freedom from Debt
Springfield, Missouri - I Think I Can
Rochester, Minnesota - Everyday Notions
York, Nebraska - Heavenly Homemakers
Omaha, Nebraska - Mom Endeavors
Madison, Wisconsin - Many Little Blessings
Oshkosh, Wisconsin - A Little Bit of This and That
Chicago, Illinois - Chicagoland Homeschool Network
Champaign, Illinois - Chambanamoms
Black Hills, South Dakota - Little House on the Prairie Living


South Central


Checotah, Oklahoma - Blessed With One Income
Tulsa, Oklahoma - Lynn's Kitchen Adventures
Gadsden, Alabama - Aint Mimi
Dallas, Texas - Funky Faith Girl
Dallas, Texas - Grocery Shop For FREE
East Dallas, Texas - Surviving The Stores
Fort Worth, Texas - Smockity Frocks
Austin, Texas - Stetted
Houston, Texas - Moms Travel Tales
McKinney, Texas - Wisdom Begun
East Texas - The Full Pantry
Murfreesboro, Tennessee - Life in a Barn
Nashville, Tennessee - The Country Chic Cottage
Mobile, Alabama - A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned
Birmingham, Alabama - iGoBOGO
Brunswick & the Golden Isles, Georgia - Teri Lynne Underwood
Alpharetta, Georgia - Cuponeando
Atlanta, Georgia - See Jamie Blog
Augusta, Georgia - Hyperactive Lu
Athens, Georgia and Mississippi - Tractors and Tire Swings
Little Rock, Arkansas - It's Real Life


South Atlantic


Ft. Bragg, North Carolina - Military Wives Saving
Charlotte, North Carolina - The Carolina Clipper
Charleston, South Carolina - The Tween & Me
Greensboro, North Carolina - Mrs. Happy Homemaker
Jacksonville, Florida - Saving The Family Money
Orlando, Florida - Orlando's Best Deals
Virginia Beach, Virginia - The Singley Fam Blog
Richmond, Virginia - Daily Dwelling
Hampton Roads, Virginia - A Home Made by Kiki
Charlottesville, Virginia - How to Have it All
Blackwater Falls State Park/Davis, West Virginia - Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling
Treasure Coast, Florida - The Cardamom's Pod
Saint Augustine, Florida - Jypsie Visions
Lake Norman, North Carolina - Stretching Pennies Saving Dollars
Washington, DC - The WiC Project
Baltimore, Maryland - The Happy Housewife


Mountain


Tucson, Arizona - Saving with Pam
Phoenix, Arizona - Sara Wellensiek
Albuquerque, New Mexico - The Chou Life
Kalispell, Montana - Our Family Adventures
Salt Lake City, Utah - Just the 2 of Us
Thermopolis, Wyoming - The McDonald Family
Denver, Colorado - Denver Bargains
Colorado Springs, Colorado - Colorado Springs Bargains


Pacific


San Diego, California - Life As Mom
Yosemite National Park, California -Handbook of Nature Study
Seattle, Washington - Queen Bee Coupons & Savings
Whidbey Island, Washington - Manning the Homefront
Olympia, Washington The Coupon Savant
Portland, Oregon - Frugal Living NW
Willamette Valley, Oregon - An Oregon Cottage


Frugal Vacation Tips


Vacation or Stay-cation: Eating without Busting the Budget - Eat at Home

Monday, May 23, 2011

Staycation: South Bend

One of the many things I love about South Bend is the seemingly endless list of things to do with the kids. When I saw that The Happy Housewife was looking for people to write about a few staycation ideas in their hometowns, I couldn't resist. What would a Dave Ramsey summer be without a few kid-friendly staycation ideas? With long summer days fast approaching, I'm so glad I took on this challenge because I've discovered more than I ever knew and know my kids are going to appreciate all the fun and exciting things ahead. So what will we be doing this summer? Here are our top 5 favorites (with more to come soon)...

Potowatomi Zoo: This isn't new to us, but we will certainly be getting our use of this great asset this summer. I some times forget what a valuable resource this is until we go on the weekend and see the parking lot filled with out of area license plates. The zoo is doing a lot to expand and improve their facility this year. With the addition of some lively river otters and a new ant-eater exhibit, I'm looking forward to our weekly trips to Potowatomi Zoo. Adults: $8, Children: $6. We actually became members several years ago and utilize all the reciprocal zoos when ever we can. We've gotten every penny's worth and more out of this local treasure.


Center for History: This is a little gem we discovered during those long winter month. Thanks to a coupon in the Entertainment book, we joined the Center for History this past winter. Children under 5 are always free and adults are only $7, but I know we've already recovered our membership dues this year. If you really want to make it affordable, you can check out a museum pass from the St. Joseph County Library's main branch and get several people (6, I think) in for free. What will you find when you get there? A pioneer village with a one room school room, log cabin, covered wagon, tee pee and more. The best part is every thing is really easy to see and monitor from one central location allowing your kids the opportunity to explore to their heart's content.

Healthworks Museum: When you visit the main branch of the library, you can also check out a pass to the Healthworks Museum. We visited this hands-on museum for the first time this year. It can be a bit overwhelming during field trip season, but this summer it should be a little less chaotic. I love the giant "Operation" game. The kids like the lights and sound board. It's the perfect place for the slightly older kid who likes to learn about scabs and snot. They even have some summer camps (ages 5 and up) that will surely entertain and provide a nice break for us parents too!

Public Parks: I was surprised at what a variety of public parks there are in South Bend. We have a play group that rotates through various parks in the City. It's been a great way to discover these little islands of fun in the middle of various neighborhoods throughout Michiana. A couple of our favorites are the Potowatomi Playground, a huge newly constructed playland adjacent to the zoo, and Clay Park, a great play area on the north size of town adjacent to endless ball fields. Clay Park has been coined the "bumpy slide park" by my kids because of the unique play equipment they have. They even have a toddler town so the younger kids can fully enjoy the play time too. With plenty of shade trees, it's always a great place for a picnic. As the summer goes on, I will continue to review and post the many parks we explore. I'm especially looking forward to St. Patrick's County Park.

Lake Michigan: Okay, so this isn't technically part of South Bend, but it's certainly close enough to count as a staycation favorite in our books. I'm personally drawn to Michigan City because I grew up there. Just a short 45-minute to hour drive away, it's the perfect little day trip. The beautiful white sands can provide endless hours of fun for the kids and the water actually gets warm enough in the late summer to entertain the whole family (even the "wimpy" adults). Washington Park does charge for parking, but you can get your money's worth if your plans include a trip to the Washington Park Zoo (50% reciprocal with Potowatomi Zoo membership) and take advantage of the newly installed splash pad. This has to be the staycation destination that I'm most looking forward to this summer. Now that the kids are old enough to walk through the sands on their own, it should make it a lot easier on mommy. My favorite tip -- be sure to pack the baby powder. A quick shake after the fun is done and all the sand will fall right off.


On Sundays throughout the summer I'll be sharing reviews and updates from other staycation locations we'll be exploring. I'm looking forward to checking out some new and exciting places and may even add some short day trips to the mix. If you have any suggestions of places we should visit and review, please feel free to let me know!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Life's a Mess

Photo Credit: http://www.dreamstime.com/

I've had many (and I mean, many) blogs over the years. I've tried to use them to organize my thoughts, to clear my head, to inspire. As I share, I try to compartmentalize - a financial blog, a parenting blog, a fertility blog. My life isn't that neat and organized, though. It's a HUGE mess! And I LOVE IT!!!

So... welcome to my new household motto -- Excuse the Mess. My kids are busy making Memories! We look forward to sharing our journey along the way!