Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pinching Pennies All Month Long

It's the end of the month. Which means, I've been trying to pinch pennies all month and cut our spending. When I averaged the last three months, we were at $935 per month for all of our food, paper products, etc. I started couponing and reading about a bazillion money saving mom blogs. It wasn't as easy as it appeared. I learned a lot of what to do and what not to do.

Walgreens and Walmart are strict with coupons. They both had an item for 99 cents. I had a coupon for $1.00 off. They wouldn't honor it because my coupon was more than the item. I told them to honor it for 99 cents. They still wouldn't do it. Makes no sense and completely ticked me off.

Do not print a coupon you don't know if you'll use and then it expires and you wasted ink and paper and time.

Do play the drugstore game. CVS is awesome and are super coupon friendly. They honored my $1.00 off coupon for the 99 cent item without even blinking. I'm shocked at the deals and roll over bucks you can get. I spent $30 at CVS this month. Each time I went, I spent under $10 and saved between $28-$45. I am stocked up on health and beauty aids.

Learn when to cut yourself off. I wasn't out of laundry detergent, yet I bought 3 more bottles because they were only $1. Enough Gina. Unless it's free, I won't buy it again until I'm on my last bottle.

Do shop around. Our nearest grocery store is a 13 minute drive one way. I can't just stop in to get something as I'll waste a gallon of gas doing that. But I have to drive into town to get Ben from preschool 3 days a week. I save my errands up for that time, and I only have Noah with me so it's easier. I shop our three grocery stores for what is on sale. I went in to Safeway last week and only bought 10 Yoplait yogurts that were on sale and I had a coupon (and e-coupon) for.

Do use e-coupons. Go to the grocery stores web page and load coupons on your card. It says online that you can't use any other coupon with the e-coupon, but I've used both together all month and not one cashier even seemed to notice or care. I did this on a few items and made money.

Do save all of your receipts. Even a tiny one for yogurt. I didn't do this and I'd like to know what I actually saved, but I will for next month. I do know that on almost every receipt, I saved more than I spent.

Don't be afraid to take something back. But you need to save your receipt. I realized, I left my coupon for All detergent in the front of my coupon organizer. So, I paid $3 instead of $1. I'll take it back. It's still on sale and I'll buy it again. It'll take 5 minutes of my time and save me $2. It's worth it.

Use what you have in your cabinets (and freezer). I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I have 7 open containers of deodorant. Why? I don't know. 2 were trial size, the rest were various brands. I get low and buy another one. Then, I want to try the new one and I never finish the old container. I do this with products, mascara, etc. I'm vowing to finish one before I start another one. I will not be tempted to open my new Secret Va Va Vanilla until my boring powder fresh is finished.

Do get organized. Which I already am, so this was not a problem for me. I enjoy putting coupons in a file folder. It makes me happy.

Do go directly to a companies web page. Cottonelle toilet paper is on sale at my store, but there wasn't a coupon available through the online coupon sites. 60 seconds on their web page and I printed one for $1.00 off.

Saving money is addicting. I spent at least an extra 5 hours a week on the internet learning what the heck I was doing. But, I got a process now and I think it will save me lots of time and even more money in the future.

So, how did we do? After learning our staring point of $935, we definitely shopped differently at Costco and Sams. We got what we needed and weren't persuaded to buy the cute cupcake pajamas for Emily or stuff we really didn't need. I don't plan to spend any money today, so I was able to total everything up for the month.

We spent $481.
Almost 50% was cut from our regular grocery bill.
I'm pretty happy with that.
We were spending $30 a day for our family of 5 and now we are down to $16 per day. That's 3 meals a day, snacks and all toiletries (even diapers) for $16 per day for 5 people. That's like $3.20 each. I think that sounds pretty good.

Next month will be more of a challenge. We are going to San Diego for a week. We are having company for 3 weeks. And my main grocery store will probably go back to no double coupons, so we'll see how things go from here. But, I'm inspired to know that we can and did do better.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Father's Night

Last night was Father's Night at Ben's preschool. David attended this same night with Emily 2 years ago.

The theme this year was superheros. Of course, Ben hat 1,000 costumes to wear. David not so much. If it isn't an Old Navy ringer tee, then it's not in his closet. The school didn't allow full face masks, so that really limited our choices. I tried to get him to wear one of Ben's capes, but he said it looked like a handkerchief on his back. And it did. So, he went as himself...SuperDad!

They made a book together. David said he wrote down everything that Ben told him to. My boy has quite an imagination.

They also had worked with each child previously on some things about their Dad. The teacher recited what they had said.

This is what Ben said about David: My Dad hangs me upside down. He wrestles with me. His favorite is chicken soup. He likes candy.

It was halfway through the evening when David noticed Ben's costume was on backwards AND he wasn't wearing any underwear! That's the last time I tell him to get dressed in whatever he wants.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Noah is developing quite a little personality.
He laughs easily.
He'll snuggle up and love on you.
He's sweet.

He's also showing signs of quite a temper.
He'll make two fist and scrunch his face up growling. Kind of like The Hulk, but Noah turns red not green. And boy can he scream.

He taught me that I don't control everything.
From taking a year to get pregnant, to spending 20 days in a hospital, to changing explosive poopy diapers in our van in the parking lot at the YMCA, this kid keeps me on my toes.

He's trying to stand up on his own. It usually ends up in a yoga version of the downward dog. But, he's trying and he thinks it's funny.

When I load up the other two kids for carpool in the morning and shut the door and it's just me and him, I always take a moment to soak it up. We dance around the house and spend some time on the floor with him crawling all over me. I love our time alone.

And when I take him to the store and strangers stop to remark how cute he is or what a sweet baby, I always smile and say thank you. Because he is. And I'm blessed.

God, I love this kid.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


When I had a daughter, I knew I would teach her lots of things, like how to put on make up and tame her curly hair. What I didn't realize was that she would teach me much more than I could ever teach her.

Emily is the best mix of every world. She is adventurous, but loves to come home. She'll try any new food (and usually like it), but still gets excited about our Wednesday pasta night. She is outgoing at home, and shy and quiet at school. She is always up for anything.

I've been a bit of a Momzilla lately. I don't know why exactly, but the littlest thing can completely piss me off, and I'll be in a fowl mood the rest of the day.

Monday was school picture day. I told Emily twice to eat her cereal first before she put on her cute school outfit. She didn't listen. Within a minute of eating, she started playing the drums with her hands on the counter, hit the spoon and the entire bowl of milk and honey nut Cheerios went everywhere. I was livid. Emily started to cry a little because milk was all over her skirt, but it was easily wiped off. I continued to clean up the mess and mutter a bunch of things under my breath and a bunch of things not under my breath. I let this ruin much of my morning. I was literally crying over spilled milk. Emily didn't let my yelling at her ruin her day. She didn't hold a grudge a few minutes later when I apologized for getting so angry.

Just like that, she forgave me.
And she was over it.
I have a lot to learn from my girl.

God, I love this kid.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I went to pick Ben up from preschool yesterday and they were still at recess. But he wasn't leaning on the wall with the other children getting a skittle. He was with a few other boys at a little picnic table. And he looked upset. He was not getting a skittle. And when I say a skittle, I mean A skittle. That is their reward for lining up when the teacher calls them.

Ben and his friend were playing shark. Ben heard the teacher say it was time to line up, but he wanted to keep playing shark with his friend.

This year of preschool is teaching Ben so much more than his letters and numbers. He's learning the rules of life.

He was almost in tears when we got to the car because he didn't get a skittle. I explained to him that he is his own boss. No matter what his friends might be doing or what game might be going on, he needs to listen to the the teacher and do what he is supposed to do.

At the dinner table last night, I told David about what happened. David always takes a different approach to asking the kids questions. After being with Child Protective Services for over 10 years, he interviews them and asks questions completely different then I ever would. But, it's interesting to hear the answers.

David: "Ben, how do you know when it's time to line up after recess?"

Now the obvious answer is "my teacher tells us to".
But with David's very open ended questions, a very different answer came out.

Ben: "My Spidey senses start tingling."

And that is Ben.

God, I love this kid.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pinching Pennies

Although we are enjoying David's furlough days, it comes with a price. And to make things even worse, the state is raising our health insurance in January. So, we'll be out another $20 a paycheck. Paychecks keep getting smaller and smaller and everything else keeps going up, water, electricity, etc. We can't win.

Or can we?

In an effort to try to save some money, I decided I should start working the whole coupon thing. I'd seen the coupon mom on Oprah and was impressed at how much someone can save if they work the system. Basically, using coupons on top of sales on top of bonus bucks, etc. It's a tiring process, but fortunately there are lots of webpages out there to help make things easier.

One thing I learned was that I needed to know how much we are spending. I don't save every receipt, but we charge everything and pay it off in full every month. We also make about $300 a year on rebates by doing this. I used my credit card statements to add up all of my grocery, drugstore and warehouse store receipts for the past three months. Now, some of this stuff is random things like when David bought 3 pairs of work pants at Costco or I bought the kids socks and shoes at Walmart. But, it is what it is. It's all what we spend at stores. And I was shocked at how much we spend. I averaged 3 months and we spend $935 per month!

Now like I said, that can include anything from new plates to dog food to diapers to shampoo, but's still shocking. And I already only buy meat on sale and buy generic/store brands as much as possible.

I'm doing my best to cut corners everywhere I can this month to see if we can shave a few hundred dollars off of that $935 total. I'm totally into couponing and CVS rules as far as getting health and beauty aid stuff for super cheap. I'm also on a kick to clean out the freezer. You know how it're at Costco and they have a sample of talapia, so you buy the bag with 16 talapia in it. You eat it a few times and then it sits and sits and sits. We are eating talapia once a week until it's gone! And I'm not overstocking when something is on sale. Chicken will be on sale once a month. I don't need a three month supply of it.

I also joined swagbucks. It's an online search engine (like google) that gives you bucks for various things. I could easily earn enough points for a decent Amazon gift card by Christmas to buy Ben some superheros or Emily another doll that talks and wets itself. Isn't Noah good enough?

I'm learning a lot of little changes can add up to something big.
Here's hoping for something smaller than $935 for September.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Free Falling

School started five weeks ago. I enjoy the structure that the school year brings. Everyday is a routine. I like routine. Then, we have our after school activities. Tuesday and Thursday nights are karate. Wednesday night is gymnastics.

What this means is dinner has gotten pretty boring. We are making the same 10 meals (who am I kidding, 5) over and over. Since we are out past 5:45 three nights a week, either David gets dinner going or we do something super easy. Like the other nights masterpiece of cheese crisp and vegetables dipped in Ranch.

Before I met my husband, I was happy to have a tuna sandwich for dinner. But him, not so much. I'd be happy to have cereal for dinner. Him, no way. And honestly, our kids deserve/need more than a bowl of rice krispies after sweating in karate for 70 minutes.

David and I were discussing this last week. When he said, "Why don't you try to cook one new meal a week?" I looked at him like he just turned red and sprouted horns and I told him, "Why don't you try to flap your arms and fly off a 10 story building?" Ok, well, I didn't say that, but the look I gave him suggested that I may have thought something along those lines. The point being is that we all are craving something different, fast and easy for dinner.

Then, I thought about the crockpot. It would solve all of our problems to make a crockpot meal on Tuesday and Thursday. I'm not giving up my Wednesday night housewife, so we don't need to mess with that. I remembered reading about a lady who blogged about a new crockpot meal every day for a year. So, I went to her web page and looked around. It was overwhelming. Some looked okay. Others I knew the kids (or Ben really) wouldn't eat. Some I knew I wouldn't eat. Some I knew the dog wouldn't eat. She just cooked lasagna in the crock pot. Now, I'm Italian and that's just wrong. My grandmother from Italy would have a heart attack if she knew I made lasagna in the crockpot. After about an hour, I hadn't printed one recipe.

The only thing I currently make in the crockpot is a roast with carrots. On the side, I make mashed potatoes and gravy and it's far from fast to make and the dishes take 30 minutes to do afterwards.

So, I'm turning to you guys. Do you have any great crockpot recipes?
Or should I just give my husband a cape for that 10 story free fall?

I Met A Solifugide. I Miss My Husband.

David went to Phoenix yesterday for work. He had a two day workshop which means he was gone overnight. It also means he will be home tonight. Thank God.

I know my husband does a lot in the mornings to help me out so that I don't need to get up early. He wakes me at 7:30 and most mornings all three kids are already awake when I walk out. He has my coffee ready to go. He helps Emily get dressed and Ben too on the mornings he has school. He'll sometimes make them breakfast and he'll take care of the baby. I always appreciate all he does.

When I woke up yesterday morning and I had to make my own coffee, I dearly missed my husband and he had only been gone for 17 minutes. To clarify, he had made the coffee, but I actually had to pour my own cup and put the cream and sugar in it. Life is rough. But, then it was chaos. I had to get both kids ready and feed a hungry baby and pack lunch and not forget a show and tell item and write a note to the teacher and change a wet diaper and put on Ben's shoes and make sure everyone went to the bathroom. When I loaded both kids up for carpool around 8:15, I just wanted to come inside and go back to sleep.

Now, I know tons of parents do this alone every day. I do not. And it wasn't easy. Noah has caught a little cold and he is more fussy than usual. Which means, I'm more fussy than usual. The day was long and filled with picking kids up, doing homework and taking them to gymnastics. They day to day stuff I can handle because I do it every day alone.

But, then we got home last night. And my Wednesday night housewife wasn't here. And we were out of pasta sauce. And I wanted to cry. Or order Papa Johns. I made the kids cheese crisps with an array of veggies to smother in ranch. They ate dinner in front of the TV which is something we never do.

And this guy looks sweet enough...

but I think he missed his Dad and he would not stop complaining. He was not happy. I was not happy. I gave him a bath, but David always does that and Noah knew it wasn't right. Everything was out of sorts. I missed my husband. The kids missed their Dad.

I got all the kids to bed 30 minutes after their bedtime. Noah was in his room crying. Ben was in his room saying "pow, pow, pow", obviously fighting the bad guys. Emily was in her room talking to herself. I leaned against the wall in the dark hallway and thanked God that my husband is home the other 364 nights a year. Then, I went in and yelled at Noah to be quiet. Which Ben heard and he went silent immediately. Noah did too. But Emily was up for 40 minutes talking. She was Ms. Smithy and she was teaching gymnastics to her doll. I finally went in and told her to go to sleep. And she told me she was almost done with her story. I told her to finish her story tomorrow. I'd had enough. And she did. Or maybe she didn't, but I went in my room to watch America's Next Top Model.

While I was brushing my teeth, I noticed this on my bathroom rug.

What the heck is that? And where is my husband when I REALLY need him? Why oh why do I always find a bug in the house when David isn't around? Sometimes I suck them up with the hose on the vacuum, but tonight called for something mightier.

With the Internet, phone books and dictionary's are almost obsolete. Before you toss that phone book in the recycle bin or donate that dictionary, realize that it has multiple purposes.

And it will stay like that until my husband comes home tonight to pick it up. Either that or I'll get out the vacuum. David researched the 10 legged monster this morning and found out that it is was a solifugide. Sorry solifugide. But you were ugly and scary. You had to die so that I could sleep.

To my husband, I'd just like to say that I appreciate all you do around here from making me coffee to killing freaky spiders.
And this weekend, let's spray the house for bugs.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Emily is getting the hang of doing a handstand. She's been working on it in gymnastics for awhile now, but it does take a lot of strength, not to mention balance and coordination. She did so many handstands her back was hurting from falling over. She'll have to get how to fall into a backbend eventually. But, I'm just proud of her for getting the handstand.

Ben was content to just fly off the playhouse.

Noah said his first official word last night. Well, we've had "hi" and "up", but it was always like, "Did he just say up? It kind of sounded like up" sort of thing. With all of our kids we taught them sign language for "more", which is tapping your fingertips together with both hands. We were supposed to teach them more than just that word, but that's all that ever seemed to stick. So, last night I gave him a piece of candy corn. And I started singing the "I don't like candy corn" song from Nick Jr, even though we all love candy corn. It goes like this:

When I finished singing the song, Noah very clearly signed more and even said "mo" with it. David and I were like, "Did you see that?". And yep, we both saw and heard it. So, that's officially his official first word. I sung the song on command about 5 more times. How could I not?
Oh wait, he did crawl after David one time and babbled "Da da", but since he never did it again, we weren't sure if it was a coincidence or on purpose. So, we didn't think it officially counted. The kid loves to babble.
Emily has been working on spelling words and taking a spelling test on Friday for the past 2 weeks. I knew it would be a process of learning to take an oral test as she had never done that before. She usually knew most the words on Monday when we did homework. By Friday, she could write them in her sleep. They were easy enough for her hat, cat, mat, sat, bat, fat, a, the, and...

This week, her teacher sent home this note:

Woot! Woot! Good job Em. She told me she was in the "100 Club" at school this week. She rocks.
And guess what? I won another giveaway on the blogosphere. I was blog hopping one afternoon and came across a blog for a $40 CSN Stores giveaway. I probably enter 1 or 2 giveaways a week. So, not a whole lot. If it's from a blog that I don't normally read, I'll bookmark it and check it later. Good thing I did because I found this post last week. When I entered, they wanted to know what you'd buy and I went to the webpage and saw huge Batman decals for Ben's room. They were awesome. However when I found out I won, I also found out that my mini food processor had a crack in it. I use it for everything from dicing onions (my least favorite thing about cooking) to making baby food for Noah. So, I jumped on the chance to get a new one for free. And we had money left, so I asked David if he wanted anything and he did.

We got a coffee grinder too. We paid a whopping $3 after tax and shipping. And it arrived yesterday and I can only say one thing. Oh. My. Gosh. How have we been living without fresh ground coffee? Wow!
In closing, I'd just like to clarify that Noah's primary diet consists of fruit, vegetables, oatmeal and milk. Not just cheetos and candy corn.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What Have We Done?

Noah has the most sensitive gag reflex. He couldn't even eat a cheerio until 10 1/2 months. He's still eating baby food (stage 2!) and he's 13 months. Thicker textures make him puke. Even if I mash a banana into oblivion, it's not as smooth as the baby food and it will make him gag. He likes anything crunchy, like graham crackers, because he can break them down. Give him a kernel of corn and he spits it out. He won't even eat mashed potatoes. He just started to eat a few pieces of pasta and yogurt, but I have to steer clear of any tiny fruit pieces in the yogurt.

Meal time is always fun. He stares at you like he's dying to try what you have. So, you give him a piece (a tiny head of broccoli) and his reaction is like you just put acid in his mouth. But, we keep trying knowing that one day, he will get it.

Cheetos are on sale at Fry's this week. So, I picked up a couple of bags. David was having some and decided to give Noah a piece. He won't eat a piece of cheese, but a cheeto, well, he can't get enough.

Working on his cheeto fingers.

He mastered cheetos on the first try. This morning I took out the bag of cheetos from the pantry and he went ape. He kicks his little feet and starts squawking.
I think we've created a monster.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My M,W&F Morning

Ben goes to preschool three times a week.
On those mornings this is what goes on around here.

Carpool #1 pulls up between 8:05-8:15.
Ben has his eyes closed in this picture, but what I love is Emily carrying Noah through the car window.

This one is better. Well, not by much.

Carpool #1 leaves and Carpool #2 pulls up between 8:10-8:15.

Sometimes they overlap and then it feels like grand central station. We do the phone code of calling and hanging up after a few rings so that I know they are here. I now have to look at the caller ID to see which kid I need to summon to the front door when the phone rings.

And after my two oldest kids are loaded up and on their way to school, it's just me and my little guy.

I don't think he's too happy about it.
Should I be offended?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Around Our House

I never mentioned that last weekend we went to Wet and Wild in Phoenix again. We had a blast as always. Well the drive down was not a blast. Noah screamed for the entire 75 minute trip. We started off with a few slides and the wave pool. Then, Pam (my BFF also got a season pass to go with us), Emily and I headed off for one of the bigger slides. David, Ben and Noah hit the wave pool. When we met back up with them 20 minutes later, I couldn't believe my eyes. David was holding Noah and he was asleep. Not David, the baby! Just lulled to sleep by all the waves. I guess all that screaming really tired him out!

Ben, The Naked Chef, helped me make zucchini muffins. And was he actually naked. Yep, the food processor is perfectly placed.

And man, does this kid love zucchini muffins. I think he ate 12 mini muffins in an hour.

And this kid thinks it is so fun to walk behind things. He finds anything and everything and pushes it around the house or in the backyard.

This picture is for Grammie Gwynne. Emily is wearing her new outfit that Grammie and Grampie got her for her birthday. I had to switch out the navy leggings that came with it for green ones because it was "wear green day" at school. She looks super cute.

I scored on this Superman shirt, Superman cape and spiderman glove for $1.00 at a yard sale for Ben. He was in heaven, andnd he flew around the house all day.

I love when kids are little and it's so easy to make them happy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Allergic To Gold?

We got Emily's ears pierced when she was 6 months old. She's always worn very basic studs from Claire's in the mall or Walmart even. She's never had any problems.

For her birthday, David wanted to get her a nicer pair of earrings. She picked out a ladybug pair in Kohl's and while David took her to the bathroom, I bought them without her knowing. She got them on her birthday and loved them.

I took out the earrings she had been wearing for almost a year straight and they were a little crusty in back with build up. We let her ears breathe for a few days and I put in the lady bugs last week.

She mentioned a few times that they hurt. I didn't think much of it. I just thought she needed to get used to wearing a bigger stud earring. Then last night after her bath, she got some hair caught in it. While I was getting it out, I noticed that the backs of her ears were raw.

This was her first set of 14K gold earrings. She had another gold pair that my Dad and Suzy had gotten her in Italy (which she lost one), but I had put different backs on that pair. The front of her ear looked fine. The back obviously did not. It looks the same on both ears too.

Can she be allergic to gold? Emily thinks it's great that she is allergic to something. I guess with so many kids allergic these days, she wants to feel cool. So, this morning she asked me, "so what happens if I eat gold?"

Ah sweetie if we had enough gold to eat, we would be living on the beach in the Caribbean.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

He Didn't Look Back

Today was Ben's first day of preschool. He was excited.

First things first, you have to wash your hands when you get there.

Then, it was off to play with his friend. In the kitchen no less.

This is his friend Caleb. We are going to be carpooling with them in the future.

I think he was sick of me taking pictures at this point.

I gave him a kiss and hug and left. I looked back when I got to the door.

But, he didn't.
Which is a good thing I know, but I got choked up for a second. Not that I wanted him to cry or anything, but he's growing up and for some reason that surprises me.

Then, I was almost giddy. It was time to hang out with me and my monkey. We went to Walmart and Costco. I needed to keep him awake, so I gave him pretzel sticks in the car.

Noah is in between the stage of one nap/two naps a day. Normally, he is asleep at 11:15 when I have to get Ben. So, I have to keep him entertained so he doesn't focus on sleep. Today, everything worked perfectly.

When we got to the school to pick up the boys a few hours later, I could tell he had a good day. He climbed in the backseat with his friend and they looked at a spiderman book all the way home.

When I asked Ben how school was, he told me, "Great! I got to eat golden raisins!"

And I couldn't help but smile and look forward to all the adventures that await him.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Around Our House

I am obsessed with clean floors lately. Noah is crawling everywhere and if I pick him up and see a dog hair on his knees, it's time to start cleaning the floors again. Swiffer seriously needs to make knee pads for babies.

Noah doesn't seem to mind my obsession. He follows me around and loves the vacuum. My other two kids would cry if the vacuum came close to them when they were this young. Noah chases the Hoover.

Then, when I have to mop and he won't stay off my floors. I put his high chair in front of Barney and I get 30 minutes to do what I need to.

I used to hate Barney. Now I realize he is a gift straight from heaven.
Ben is super into being a chef lately. All day, every day, he cooks for me. This was his creation of a tomato and cucumber. I have to pretend to eat it and then he makes me more, even if I tell him I'm stuffed.

And he does all this half naked. See, my boy doesn't like to wear pants and he isn't wearing any in the above photo but the plates are strategically placed. The famous chef Jamie Oliver was called "The Naked Chef" for his use of natural ingredients. I think Ben gives that term a whole new meaning. He's my naked chef.
Ben and Emily are loving karate. Here they are defending themselves against a bully, aka the rubber mannequin. They are both doing so well. I was concerned if Ben would be able to focus enough. He's always in his own little world. And he's doing great. Totally focused and listening. Emily, well, she's always good. Well, not always for me, but for other people.

It's starting to cool off around here and we go from summer to fall in a day. Ben walked out of his room the other morning wearing these.

They are not supposed to be Spiderman capri pants. I decided I put it off long enough and I need to box up everything too small for Ben and go through our hand me downs from friends to see what will fit this fall. We get clothes from our friend Dakri's son Josh and my cousin Denise's son Jude. I kept piling the clothes in the closet, so it was time to sort them.

The pants that are in the front are my measuring sticks. Anything the length of the tan pair of pants is too short. Anything the size of the navy pair is perfect. So, I made piles for this winter, next summer, next winter and beyond. Easily $1,000 worth of clothing sitting there and boy am I ever grateful. I'll only need to buy underwear, socks and tennis shoes for Ben (and Noah) for many years. But, I'm a little sad to see the "T" after the size all but disappear. He has some 4T stuff left, but 5 and 6's are popping up. Where did my baby go?
We have a community pool at our clubhouse. I could go on for days about all the things I hate about it. But we go in the summer 4-5 times a week because the kids love it. On the top of my hate list is the fact that they close it all the time for the littlest thing. Now, a Code Brown, I completely understand, but they closed it on Sunday because of no chlorine. Seriously, you can't throw 5 tablets in and let it circulate for a few minutes. No, they call their pool guy and it was closed for 5 hours until he came out. We only found this out after we got everybody ready and sunscreened up and drove the mile to the clubhouse. I was ticked.

So, we came home and did this.

Ben didn't seem to mind.

And after a few minutes, I think everyone was enjoying themselves.

Except me. I wrote a nasty e-mail to the clubhouse HOA lady. Next year, we are spending some tax return money and getting our own above ground pool. We can go whenever we want and we won't have to worry about Code Brown's or chlorine.
When Noah stared cruising around furniture, I thought I should get him a push toy that he could walk behind. I didn't think he was quite ready for it and then I found him doing this today.

Who needs a push toy when you can turn over a laundry basket? And it's extra motivation for me to not keep piles of clean laundry in the basket.
What's next?
Ben starts preschool tomorrow!