Tuesday, July 22, 2008

If it's Tuesday, it must be...

I had planned on keeping up with my blogging every day. But then the days start to carry me away and the next thing I know a couple of days have passed and I am behind. Oh well, no guilt here. I will just give you the quick version, or at least my idea of the quick version of what has been going on in our household in the last few days.

Friday we had a sleepover for Katy's 9th birthday, it wasn't actually her birthday yet, but we have more things going on this coming weekend, and her actual birthday is on Wednesday (Yes, that is tomorrow!) so that wouldn't work well. Anyhow, we only invited a couple of her friends so it would be more low-key. See, with this many children, you have to be really careful about the whole birthday thing, or you can get over your head! Katy's first birthday with me was her 6th, but since she had never actually had a birthday party before that, I really went all out! We had a Hawaiian Luau in our backyard. For her 7th birthday, we had her entire class plus all of my frineds children to Pump It Up for a big party there. And last year, for her 8th birthday, I hired a Limosine to pick up Katy and 14 of her little friends (including her sisters) and go to Shear Madness for a Makeover/Modeling party! Add to that Madyson's and Mackenzie's parties and you have a woman spending too much money!

So I made a new rule. You get an actual birthday party, when you turn an EVEN number, like 4, 6, 8, etc. And in the ODD years, you get a family party with one or two friends, and your favorite dinner of course! So this was an ODD year for Katy, hence the small intimate sleepover. Of course you add a couple of friends to the crowd I already have in my home and we always seem to be having a party!!

It was a fun night, and wouldn't have been much trouble at all except that I had gotten this big idea about putting this new Texture Softener from Just For Me in Madyson's hair that day. And I needed to take her to a salon and have them wash her hair and comb it out before I could put the stuff in her hair. Her hair is so curly and tight, and she has so much of it. You can spend an hour combing through one small section and then let it go and immediately try to comb through it again and it will have intertwined before you can do it! So we arrived at 2pm and for 3 hours they had 3 women combing out her hair! They never even got to the wash! And then I had to go because Katy's friends were coming over at 6pm. So Madyson wore her hair out...just out there! She looked like Macey Gray with this sort of Afro sticking out all over. Actually it was kind of cute in that natural-hippie-style kind of look!

So Saturday morning I got up early because one of the little girls had to go early and I wanted to get the pancakes done so she could eat before they left. And then I drove one of the other girls home and then went over to KVC to give a little pep talk at one of their MAPP classes. This is the class you have to take in order to be a foster or adoptive parent. I love to meet the newbies! They always have such fun questions, like...how long did it take you to get your first child, did you know you were going to get to adopt her, what if you don't get along with the birthparents, you know, those light-hearted questions that don't require you to think too much! But really, they were a wonderful group of people and I am proud they are all stepping into the role of foster parents, we need more people to do that!!

Then I stopped in at the mall to pick up a birthday present for the girl who's party we were attending that day, I found a really cute top at The Limited Too and could not resist buying another one for Katy! That girl has way too many clothes, but I can't help it, she is sooooo beautiful! And then I headed home to give the kids a quick lunch before heading over to Monique's 11th birthday at Skate World! No, I did not have time to do Madyson's hair before we left, so it was still in her little Afro-girl style! And she looked so cute out there on her skates. She and Mackenzie wore matching outfits...what else is new!? After skating we followed Lisa (Monique's Mom) over to her place for a swim. And even though I asked Madyson not to get her hair wet, she jumped in and soaked it! $60 down the drain!!( That is what I paid for the combing out!)

So Sunday morning bright and early I got Madyson up to finish, or should I say re-start her hair! You know, AA hair is really easy most of the time. You only wash it every 2 -3 weeks and if it is in braids you only need to keep it moisturized. But the actual act of taking the braids out, washing it, combing it and re-braiding takes 3 - 4 hours! And I have 2 girls with this kind of hair! Madyson really enjoyed the pampering. The bigger girls helped me, and even though I have never used this product before...I think it turned out really well. It is NOT a straightener! It just helped loosen her curls a little, so I could divide her hair and really comb it well. Then I put it back up into 6 braids. It really looks great. I will post pictures in a few days.

We relaxed the rest of the day. (Read relax as :I only did 4 loads of laundry, woo-hoo!) Then Lisa cam over with Monique and Trey for dinner, I made 2-foot long deli sandwiches, which the kids loved. And then we went to Starlight to see High School Musical. I had already seen it on Thursday night, I have season tickets. It was so hot during the first half...I was really considering trying to talk everyone into leaving! For intermission I got the girls Frozen Lemonades and I got a diet coke, wow! That really hit the spot. And the night just seemed to cool down automatically during the 2nd half. I'm so glad we stayed. The girls all looked adorable. They were wearing their matching Lilly Pulitzer dresses that we found at Costco! My Mother originally bought them for the girls to wear to Mackenzie's adoption party, but since this has not happened yet, I didn't want them to grow out of them before they got a chance to wear them! Really cute!!

Monday brought us back to the old grindstone. I have a lot on my plate as far as work goes, and I am trying to get as caught up as I can as I have taken on a new client that is pretty big and will probably take up at least one day a week. I am anticipating this, so I want to be prepared and not let it make me farther behind. But I am also spending a lot of time on blogs and websites that pertain to frugal living. I like to learn new ways to do things, in a more frugal manner. I clip coupons, bake bread, re-use plastic bags, just like everyone else. But I want to do more, so I can figure ways to save money, so I can afford all of those expensive dance lessons for the girls!!

And that brings us to Tuesday! Which was another awesome day! Not too hot today, so the girls got to be outside a lot. And my housekeeper came today,she usually comes on Mondays. And I know what you are thinking....how can I be thinking of being frugal and saving 50 cents on a bag of bread and then I have a housekeeper!

Well I will tell you...I need to have a housekeeper. First of all, I am single and the sole earner for this family. I get paid to do accounting, not cleaning. So if I am cleaning my own home, I am not getting paid during that time. My company motto is "So you can do what you do best!" And I "account" best! Also, since I hired Fatima, my housekeeper, my children are never sick! That tells you how great a housekeeper I wasn't! And I just love the way my house smells when she is done!

Well I am yawning and I still have one more set of payroll returns to finish tonight. Sweet dreams!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

She's not heavy, she's my sister!

We all got up early this morning to take the two youngest girls to WIC to get them weighed and measured this morning. Ava Marie, who just turned 7 months is 18 lbs, 13 oz and 26 3/8 inches tall! That is a big, short baby!! Since her heritage is AA and some South American (Not sure which country.) she is apt to be a little on the short side. Of course I do not mind that at all as I am only 5'2" myself. And especially because I seem to be raising so many Amazon Women...Madyson Claire, who just turned 4 years old is 38 lbs and 42 3/8 inches tall! She is in the 92 % range for her height and only 1 inch shorter than Mackenzie who is 5 1/2. We are not surprised by that either since Katy, my almost 9 year old was in the 96% range in height when we went for her last physical.

The doctor told me to make sure you have her(Katy's) respect now...because she is going to pass you up before she is 10. Yes, you heard it, Katy is only 4 inches shorter than I...but I'm louder! So it looks like I will have 2 short ones and 2 tall ones so far...we'll just have to see how Olivia Grace turns out.

We had our breakfast in the car, good old cereal in a bag and juice in our Starbucks cups. I am so glad I learned that cereal in a bag trick from "Jon and Kate plus Eight" that is a life saver when we have to be out really early. And then we were supposed to stop by a friends for a visit but she has two down with strep...so no way we could stop there! We went to Costco instead to get diapers and wipes and of course, we had to do the tasting round! My girls get so excited when I tell them we are going to Costco...just for the food!! They always start yelling "Do we get to taste stuff??!" Although they didn't really have a lot out today, mostly things we had already tried before, nothing you wanted to figure out how to get seconds for. Oh you know you've done that...walked around the store for another 30 minutes and then headed back to try it one more time, hoping that the lady giving out the samples doesn't point at you and say, "Hey! You already had this sample, Lady! " I always blame it on the kids, I say, "Oh kids, we've already had this one...oh OK, you can try it one more time since you loved it so much and yes, maybe we will buy it." And then you shrug your shoulders at the people around you and act like you just can't say no to your children. Well, this works fine, except when your always-point-out-the-obvious 9 year old has to go and blurt out, "Mom, we didn't want to try it again, you did!" At the top of her lungs so even the people in the parking lot can hear her!!

Now we are back home, the baby is napping, the girls are off to the pool with Randy and I am ready to get back to work...well after I finish this post, and put in another load of laundry, and get a glass of water...ok, back to work now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Recession or Depression?!

Is anyone else out there getting a little worried that we are NOT in a recession...rather we are going into a depression? I like to keep my posts on the upbeat side, but I listened to NPR yesterday all about the Indymac bank closing and everyone lined up outside to try to get their money out, and then on the news last night and even on Nightline. And I have to say it worried me.

I do fairly well, as I am in the numbers business, and as my father said to me when I was trying to decide what to study in school "Whether people have a lot of money or a little, they don't want the government to have it, so they are always looking for a good accountant!" So I don't really worry about not having enough clients or not having work do to. But if my clients businesses aren't doing well...and if they could not get their money out of a bank...you do the math!

I have been saying that I think we were going into a depression since January, right about the time our government was trying to figure out whether we might be going into a recession. So I have been working on living more frugally. This was way before gas prices started going out of control. I have been working on little things that can save our family money, like recycling boxes and food containers so my girls can use them for art projects rather than buying all new things to paint and tape and create with. My older daughter just loves Petshop animals, she has quite a few (from last year when I was still spending freely...) and so she is creating a "Petshop World" for them using cereal boxes, formula cans, egg cartons, etc. It is really fun for her and the littler girls are doing the same thing. It keeps them busy for hours and the only thing new is the scotch tape and staples and the paint if they use that. I get a lot of catalogs, so they cut up the catalogs for "wall paper" for the little apartments and houses for the animals.

That is just one thing. I also try to save on my grocery bills by shopping at Aldi's, sticking to my list, cooking basic food, and not using pre-prepared stuff as much as possible. You know I used to buy Walmart brand pancakes. They are only $1.50 for 12 pancakes, that is just 12 cents per pancake. My girls eat 2 each on Saturday mornings, so that means it costs us only .75 cents for their breakfast. BUT...I found that by making my own pancakes from scratch (I have a great easy recipe from Martha Stewart Living) I can save even more! I double her recipe and get 24 pancakes for only .50 cents, which means each pancake only costs me .02 cents!! Now thats the way to save money!

Of course you may be saying to yourself, "I'd rather spend the 10 cents for convenience." But then I have to say, look at the bigger picture...if you had pancakes every Saturday morning for the whole year, then you would save $32.76 [(.75 X 52 = 39.00) -(.12 X 52 = 6.24)] Well, I warned you I am an accountant. I think of things like that. And since my daughters are very active in sports and theater and dance, and that costs a LOT! I can use the savings to put toward their classes.

Just a little something to think about.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The trouble with noses

The baby has a cold. Her poor little nose is running all day and night and she is pretty miserable, well for her she is. Luckily Ava is the most happy baby in the world and rarely fusses or cries, so a little fussing and crying isn't really too bad.

She is also teething which also makes for a little fussing...and drooling...and a runny nose. Poor Ava, she's not having a good week. But she still looks so cute! She will be 7 months exactly tomorrow. She is sitting up when you set her that way but is not able to get to the sitting position on her own yet. She is doing the army crawl and can get herself pretty much anywhere she pleases. She sometimes follows my voice into the kitchen, but I don't like her to crawl on the wood floor, I don't want her to hurt those cute little knees or elbows! So I am constantly picking her up and placing her back on her blanket. She thinks this is a game now...and giggles when I come get her and scold her for leaving the designated area. She obviously is not taking me seriously...just like all of my other children.

I thought I would have a pretty relaxing day yesterday...did a couple loads of laundry (I have to do 2 loads a day to just keep up with this crowd!) Started cutting out some dresses for the girls, this will be the first set to include a dress for Ava. Yes it's a matchy-matchy and while a lot of people don't like that kind of thing, I do! I don't have a lot of matching clothes for them, mostly because Katy's clothes come from the junior dept., Mackenzie and Madyson still wear some toddler stuff, and then Ava's in the infant section. So I usually have to make something and, you know I have all-the-time-in-the-world for that kind of stuff! But I really enjoy sewing, so I try to make time for it every couple of months or so.

Anyhow, I didn't have to make dinner because we were going to a neighbors sweet sixteen party and when I called to RSVP I was asked how many of us would be attending "so I can tell the caterer"...this of course was music to my ears! WOW! I won't have to cook on Saturday night...Yea for me! Or so I thought...turns out people now have ice cream and cake CATERED! Yes, really! So by the time we left the party we were all famished and the girls were hopped up on sugar, so I called my son Randy who was not at the party (Can you imagine that my 23 year old son didn't want to attend a Sweet Sixteen party for our neighbors daughter?) and told him what had happened and we picked him up and went to the Cheesecake Factory! Well...we were all dressed up!

It was very nice, the girls were relatively well behaved considering they were now coming down from their sugar high, the baby was happy because there was lots to look at and Randy and I had a nice conversation without too many interruptions. We always order cheesecake and bring it home to eat later. We like to enjoy the dinner without having to worry about "saving room" for dessert. Of course we don't usually order dessert anywhere else except the Cheesecake Factory, which is my favorite restaurant. Can you believe we have 2 of them in Kansas City? And you probably thought there was nothing here in the Midwest except cows and tractors! Well we have a lot of those too, but we also like to eat out a lot. The restaurants here are always very crowded. I remember back when I lived in California, we usually had to wait 15-20 minutes to get seated on a Friday or Saturday night. But here it is not unusual to wait 2-2 1/2 hours for a table...on a Tuesday! Maybe we just need more restaurants!

Friday, July 11, 2008

More pictures of the Tea Party

Madyson loved the apple juice "tea"

That last candle was a doozy!

Her Royal Tea Party!

My daughter Madyson Claire turned 4 the other day! She wanted to have a Princess Tea Party so we invited about 8 little girls and their Moms, (and even one Dad!) and they had such a great time! Madyson is my #3 daughter and she has to wait for the bigger girls to get all of the good stuff first! It was fun to see her feeling special and she really milked the birthday thing!