Thursday, July 31, 2008

The second night of our bedtime routine

I fully expected tonight to be a night filled with protest and possibly twenty minutes of crying during our new bedtime routine. I was well prepared for it, even though I was a bit tired. I gave the girls extra cuddling during the day so they would feel like they still get that affection that they crave.

As soon as lights were out magic happened! I put the cd on and tucked both girls into bed. I think KK said one time that she didn't want to sleep by herself but that was the end of that. I never heard a word about it again. As a matter of fact she didn't even CRY! Can you believe it? We went from the first night of screaming for 26 minutes to the second night of nothing! I was in complete and total shock! Was it really going to be this easy??? One night of pain for this! I would definitely say it was well worth it! I would do it again in a heart beat and only wish I had done it sooner.

Hopefully tonight will go just as well. If not I don't mind. Just seeing that I can have a night like I did last night is enough to give me hope. You know what else was amazing? Both girls slept in their beds all night and never got up once! Woohoo!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The first night of our bedtime routine

I prepared the girls for our new routine multiple times during the day talking up that they are big girls and would be putting themselves to sleep. I also had a special talk with Aly and let her know that KK would probably cry for a very long time and since they share a room perhaps Aly could put her hands over her ears or put her head under the covers.

Aly did great just as I knew she would. I am so surprised at how well she handled listening to KK scream. KK ended up screaming and crying for 26 min. and 16 seconds. I know this because she stopped crying when the cd came to the song "When You Wish Upon a Star." So I went back and added up the minutes of the other songs and that is how long it took me to get KK to fall asleep on her own.

I did the normal bedtime routine and tucked them in. I told them that tonight they would be snuggling a special stuffed animal instead of Mommy or Daddy and they each chose two. Once the lights were out KK asked me to sleep with her. I told her she was a big girl now and would be sleepy by herself. The first time she got out of bed I put her back in and told her that she was a big girl now and would be putting herself to sleep. From then on every time she got out of bed I put her back in without talking to her. I must have put her back at least 20-30 times before she starting crying, "Mommy I want to be a good girl now!" That totally broke my heart and when she said that I had to break the rules that one time and reassure her that she was a good girl and that Mommy loves her. I told her she is a big girl now and will be putting herself to sleep every night. After that I put her back in bed as I gave her a hug. She got out of bed probably 15-20 more times and I put her back in without saying anything to her.

Finally 26 minutes into it she fell asleep. My mission on night one had been accomplished. I will say it was hard, it did hurt my heart, but I knew I had to be consistent and stick with it. The most important thing I could do was not cave in. So tonight I will do the same process over again and hope that the amount of screaming will be less. Wish me luck. I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A new bedtime routine

Wow, I can't believe I am writing this post and I can't believe I am actually taking the plunge to change what is no longer working for us in our bedtime routine. For some background information we co-bedded with both of our girls until just over a year ago. We made that transition by laying with them until they fell asleep and bringing them back to their own beds every time they woke up.

So for the past year we have been laying with them while they fall asleep and lately it has not been working for us at all. Why you may ask? For many reasons, first it requires two of us to put the girls to sleep, second it is taking way too long. We start the bedtime routine around 8:30 and by the time it is lights out it can take over an hour for them to fall asleep! Mostly it is KK staying awake so long and it is such a pain too because she is constantly lying on your right side, then your left side, then on top of you, then squishing down the covers between your legs. It is down right frustrating!!!!

For the past month or so I have really been wanting to make this change but haven't been quite sure how to go about it. I did know that recently my friend Cathy whom also co-bedded and had a similar situation was able to put the hard work and dedication into getting both of her girls to put themselves to sleep at night. So I knew who the perfect person to ask for advice would be. Here is what she suggested:

Prepare them ahead of time for the transition and let them know they are big girls now and that tonight they will be laying by themselves and putting themselves to sleep. Talk it up and make it a positive experience!

Make a CD with sleepy time songs. (I spent all day doing this and I targeting specific songs from Disney that are on many of their lullaby cd's. I played the CD in the playroom a few times today and told them that will be there new bedtime music)

Once the bedtime routine is complete give them kisses, tuck them in and sit in a chair with the lights off in the middle of the room. The first time they get out of bed put them back into bed and tell them they are big girls now and they will be putting themselves to sleep! After the first time each time they get out of bed simply put them back in, tuck them in and don't say anything. Keep doing this all night until they fall asleep on their own.

I have to admit I am scared, nervous, and dreading this whole process. I know Aly will do just fine. She is 5 years old and has had many periods of time where she has put herself to sleep. I am scared to death of how KK will react because she is young and I am not sure she will quite understand what is going on. I know this will be extremely hard for her and it will hurt my heart to see her so sad and so confused. I also anticipate that the second I put her in bed she will keep getting out and grab onto me so tight that I will have to pry her off.

I wish that this process will take me by surprise and be as easy as giving up the pacifier was or as easy as giving up breast feeding was. I was so scared of both of those processes and it did go much more smoothly than I thought. I think this time will be different though.

Wish me luck! I promise to report tomorrow on how tough the process was for all of us!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lost & Found + Burning Down the House!

Today was one of those crazy days where you just can't believe all of the events that happen around you. This morning on the way to work hubby found a cellphone at the top of our road. Thankfully we have a compatible charger so he was able to charge it up to see whose it was. With the power of technology he was able to do a search to find that it is a 60 year old man living in Sunnyvale, CA. He is going to contact him tomorrow and I will snail mail the phone to him. I am sure this man will be very happy.

The next event was quite a shock and I feel so careless for the event. I was making Chicken Tikka Masala in the crock pot today. Due to my rush I apparently did not pull the cord all of the way out and it was stuck in between the pot and the metal casing that heats the pot up. So three hours into my cooking sparks start a flying!!!! Fortunately I just happened to be right there in front of the crock pot and quickly unplugged it. The cord was melted and the pot was charred. Can you imagine if I was outside, in the shower, or not at home? That would have for sure burnt my house down! I am so glad that I happened to be in the right place at the right time.

My next shock came after discovering that my cat is such an awesome hunter. I was out in the yard with the girls and found three dead shrews and a dead bird. All must have been from today as we were out in the yard last night and didn't discover any of these dead rodents! Go Shadow, you are quite the cat!

My last and final event for the day was the big, black lab that happened to come over to my house for a visit--and to aggressively mark his territory on my rose bushes, wood pile, sidewalk, etc. I knew he was not a stray as he had a blue leash attached to him. So after some persuasion I was able to get Max to come to me. I read the phone number on his tag, called his family, and had him stay on my deck until his family could come and pick him up. They arrived within an hour of Max coming to my house! Yeah!

Can't wait to see how eventful tomorrow will be!

Frugal party bags

Now is the time to stock up on items for your child's party favors for their birthday party! With all of the great sales for back to school supplies you can stock pile and use these items as party bag stuffers. Walmart has crayola 24 count crayons for only .22 cents a box! They also have rosart 11 pack washable markers for .60 cents. Target has a 6 pk elmers glue sticks for $1.00. Check all of the ads from Sundays paper and put together your goody bag. Children always love art supplies and these frugal goody bags are bound to be a hit!
Think about Christmas too! These items could be great stocking stuffers. If you have a large family and need gift ideas on a budget you could buy the crayons, glue sticks, markers, a coloring book form the Dollar store and some construction paper from the dollar store and your total price for this gift is $3.82. Pretty good price for a gift!
Good luck shopping and stock piling!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Camping trip with hubby's family

I was definatly M.I.A. from blogging last week due to our family camping trip. I don't like to post ahead of time when we will be gone due to privacy issues so when you see me gone for close to a week, chances are we are on vacation!

We met hubby's Dad and his wife Gloria at Lake of the Springs in Oregon House, Ca. This is about a 3 hour drive for us. It was very hot! Apparently this region experienced a devasting fire five years ago so the amount of shade is minimal and it just so happened that this past weekend temperatures were in the high 90's. Due to this heat we swam in the lake everyday!

I didn't get all of my pictures from my cellphone so I will post what I have for now.

Here are some pics at family smores. Aly requested that we have smores for camping because that is what you do when you go camping! For some reason she thought you were supposed to eat your smores off of the stick. KK wasn't interested in her smores and took it apart only to eat the chocolate. Daddy was the chef and since no campfires were aloud at this campground they fired up the grill and cooked the marchmellows that way.
Here is a picture representing what Daddy's do best: Relaxing!!! Here I am relaxing too although really, how much time can you relax with a 3 and 5 year old at camp!
Here is a picture of Grandpa reading to KK and she was so tired she fell asleep! The second picture is Aly and Grandma Gloria hanging out having fun!
More pictures to come later hopefully. I really want to post pictures from our bumper boating experience!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Substitute Teaching

Today I had my orientation for substitute teaching. I thought the meeting would go over ways to be prepared for a classroom where the teacher did not leave out any lesson plans. However, it was a training all about using the sub finder system and the new web connect system. I am happy to see the web connect system in place. Now I can go online and search available jobs and click on the ones I want to take.

I received my picture badge and welcome packet. I think I am going to change my lanyard to a Disneyland one and I think I will start collecting Disney pins to put on the lanyard. Seems like a fun way to bring out my personality a bit and I bet the kids would love to look at the pins.

I have myself all set up in the system now. It is all official! Even though school starts on August 13th I probably won't get my first sub job until September sometime. Which is fine as I have to figure out what I will be doing with Aly from 1:50 until 3:00 when the rest of the school gets out. She is on a modified full day kindergarten program. Since there is no on site child care I have to find somewhere for her to go during that time. If I am subbing kindergarten it won't be a problem but any other grade will. So for now I will sub half days, kindergarten, and maybe the junior high until I get it all worked out. Do you know this has been keeping me up at night? I am such a planner and it is so hard when I don't have it all worked out now!

I got another bonus finding out that due to our school being located way out in the middle of nowhere they pay more than the other districts. Our district pays $125 a day instead of $100 even. I am thrilled! Before I was going to be paying $40 a day for daycare for KK, and assuming they take 25% taxes out it would have meant I would only make $35 after daycare fees. Now I feel like I will actually be bringing some extra money home! My plan is to send it to pay off our car payment earlier!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Berry pickin sunday

Well today we decided to go berry picking as a family. Last year we went and had a great time. Last year there were so many berries we came home with a gallon that cost us nearly $25. I wasn't going to make that mistake this time. Although I didn't even get the choice. Due to new owners taking over they cut back many of their berry bushes and added other fruits and vegetables instead. So given this cutback and the fact that it was a Sunday it was very difficult to find good, ripe berries. If we go again we will either go midweek or go first thing on a Saturday morning. Here are some pics of the girls:

This year KK got the idea of picking black berries instead of the red ones that were not ripe. Aly was a pro and quite picky about her selection. Although in the beginning she was eating more than what was ending up in her bucket.

In this first picture KK is pointing to the ripe berry showing us that she understands what she is suppose to pick. Aly is posing for my phone camera. (I still can't believe how good of pictures it takes!)

In the first picture Aly is inspecting the berry that KK picked to see if it was worthy of being put in the bucket. She decided it wasn't and threw it. We had to teach her to throw it when KK wasn't looking!

Take a look at KK inspecting the berry she just picked. Do you know she never ate a single one? The girls had a great time and we managed to pick just 5 dollars worth. Not quite enough for a pie but a friend of mine gave me a ton of peaches that are just perfect for pie making. I thought I could combine peaches and blackberries into one pie for the family. I will let you know how it turns out!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Where do you draw the line?

So last night was monthly mom's night out bunco night. I love having this night out each month and lately I haven't been winning which is a good thing because I was on such a winning streak I was afraid they wouldn't want me to come anymore.

It was a small group this time with only 9 gals playing which meant we all played as individuals. Alcohol is always involved at these events and the woman are usually very cautious and respectful. I thought this evening was the same but other woman did not agree. One of the mom's brought a liter of Mickeys to drink. She began drinking at 7 and ate a full dinner. I believe she finished most of the bottle by 8:30. BTW a liter is 33 ounces just so you can have some background info.

At 9:30 three of the other women decided that it was not in the best interest of the public people on the roads to let this mom drive herself home. I am pretty clueless in the whole drinking department and don't know how much one can handle to be under the legal limit. So I offered to give the mom a ride home since she only lives 5 about five minutes out of my way. She didn't want a ride a professed that she was completely fine to drive and that everyone needed to just relax and let her go home. The three women against this idea made a united front and stood at the front door blocking her from leaving. Again I offered a ride home but after she declined I had to leave as I had company at home staying the night.

When I got home I decided to look up the legal limit in California for alcohol and driving. This woman neared 200 lbs in weight and according the the chart would be considered at .08 if she had 4 beers equivalent to 48 ounces. I knew that the liter was only 33 ounces so technically she would have past the test and been safe to drive. I had actually thought she seamed fine. I had seen her drunk at her house before and it was quite obvious then. This time she seamed just fine. Turns out she was fine too.

I feel bad for all parties involved really. Now the women are really mad at each other and will probably not want to hang out again at least for awhile. While I applaud the effort and courage of these women I have to ask myself, where do you draw the line? Should a person be obviously drunk? At what point do you interfere? What do you think?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Aly's current reading level

I went down to the basement this morning to drag up my old computer with the accelerated reading test on it, plugged it in, and could not get it to work. I think it has a bad power supply. So I began searching online to find a similar reading test and found one at Reading Key. I had Aly take this test and it turns out she is currently reading at a 2.3 level which is second grade, third month. I wasn't sure if this was really accurate so I found some of my leveled books for the same level and had her read it to me. She did great! So I am confident to say that this is her current reading level. What a great job she is doing with learning to read!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Great Deals at my favorite store Kohls!!!

I just love getting unbelievable deals! I especially love getting my take an additonal 30% off your entire purchase coupon in the mail from Kohls. I am telling you being a card holder here has definately been worth it. It is the only department store card I carry and I love it!

The first picture shows the lot I got for my oldest daughter Aly for a year from now. I always shop seasons end clearance for the next year for my children. Anyway pictured here are one dress, 5 pair capri pants, 4 pair capri stretchy pants, and 3 pairs of shorts. You won't believe how much I paid for them!!! The pink dress was only $2.66, the printed capris were $2.52 each, and all of the other capris and shorts were $1.68 each!!!! So for this entire lot I paid: $24.50 yes for all 13 items! Crazy huh! You can't even get clothes for that cheap at many of the second hand stores!

This picture is for my youngest daughter KK. Again they are for her in a year from now. While she does have some hand me downs from big sis, she doesn't get alot that are in good condition. Big sis is hard on clothes and stains a big majority of her outfits. So with good deals like this you can't really feel quilty about buying her clothes too! She got two pairs of printed capris, 3 cotton capris, 6 stretchy capris, and one pair of shorts. Her total came to: $21.84 for 11 items.

Now I just need to get both girls t-shirts and some more shorts. We really like capris in our house though and tend to wear them more. The slides at parks are hot so the girls always wear capris to parks so they don't burn there legs.

The orginal price for the dress was $38.00 and the orginal price for all of the capris and shorts were $12 a pair. So if I do the math and calculate retail value it would be: $314.00 and I paid $46.34.

I realize that in a few years my girls won't be keen to me buying things a year ahead but for now it works and I will continue to do it as long as the girls like it. (I do ask my eldest if she likes everything when I am buying it. I realize her taste could change in a year but so far it hasn't)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Aly makes her first book!!!!!!

I can't tell you how proud I am of Aly! One of my friends came over to visit today and while we were sitting at the table Aly starts making a book about an octopus. It was so cute! She made a six page book altogether and came up with the entire story line by herself. I helped her with some of the spelling. She didn't want to change how she spelled octapus becuase she said that is how it sounds! I scanned in her book so you could see it too!

Look it is a octapus. The octapus found a jewel.

The octapus found a fish. The octapus was in a fish.

The octapus went out the fish. And he was home.

Isn't that so cute! I am quite proud that she is only 5, hasn't entered kindergarten yet and is already making her own books! Way to go Aly, you really amaze me!

It has been five years!!!!!

Wow, I am so happy I can't even believe what happened last night. In five years time last night was the first night since Aly was born that both of my girls slept through the night! I slept all the way from 11-4 without being woke up. I woke up on my own, went to the bathroom and was able to go back to sleep for the rest of the night. The girls are still sleeping and I am thrilled that no one woke up.

We co-bedded with both girls the first 2 years of their lives. I think with Aly is what more like three years. For KK I had started putting her in her own bed around 2 years old. Ever since one or both of them still wake up at least once a night and need to be put back to bed. Since we lay with them so they can fall alseep this takes a bit of time. Needless to say I have had interepted sleep for five years now. If you look back at this time last year KK was getting me up 4-5 times a night!

Perhpas this will be the start of something good. If I start to get a full uninterupted nights sleep perhaps I won't need to lay in bed for 9 hours to make up for the sleep I lost. Perhaps I will just require 8 hours and will begin to enjoy some quiet time before bed. Hubby and I have actually been trying to make it a priority to spend some time together before bed but it hasn't been working out lately.

Wish me luck. Let's hope that this is a new trend!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Aly wanted a haircut

Aly has been expressing wanting a new haircut lately. I had to make sure the motivation wasn't just so that she could have a lolipop. It has been about a year since her last hair cut so she was due. So I asked her how she wanted her hair cut. She said just like mine which at the moment happens to be a couple of inches above my shoulders. I was nervous she might not be happy with that length since she couldn't have braids or anything fun done with her hair. So I let her know that if she chose it that short she couldn't have braids or a pony tail. She decided to have it cut at her shoulders so she still could enjoy some fun hairdoos.

She is starting to look so grown up now. I just love her big, beautifu,l brown eyes!

Here are some pictures during her hair cut which by the way only took about three mintues!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Do you think she likes it????

The heat has been unbearable here lately and I can only imagine how a long haired golden retreiver must feel. So on Saturday night I decided to go ahead and buy some dog clippers in hopes of using them to give my dog a much needed hair cut!

Sunday morning I began the long process of cutting Nevada at 9:30 a.m. I decided to just dive right in and use the clippers. I used the biggest attachment which would leave her hair an inch long. Here she is before and after:

Check out that pile of hair next to her! It took me almost two hours to do the whole job. Partly because I didn't know what I was doing and partly because I did take two breaks for both her sanity and mine! She was a really good girl about it though. I did learn though that it will probaby be easier in the future if I cut all the long hair away first and then take a razor to it. Do you think she looks sad? I swear she has been moping around and looking at me with that sad face. Perhaps I am just taking it personally. I hope it helps her to feel more cooled down. She was so hot before.

Here is a picture of her playing with our cat Shadow. They have always enjoyed eachother and still play with eachother to this day. So what do you think of her haircut? Did I do a good job? Do you think she is embarrassed now to be seen by other dogs--hee, hee....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dress up days

Aly has really been having fun dressing up lately. Not only is she dressing up in Disney princess clothes but she is making her own creations as well. She dresses up daily now and walks around feeling very pretty. I am glad that she has started to like dress up. It is a fun way for her to get in touch with her feminine side. Perhaps I should start playing dress up as well! Maybe that will help me learn to be a girlie girl! Hee, hee...

The picture on the left is Aly dressed up in the Disney princess Jasmine's top, a dance skirt, and a butterfly wand from her fairytale tea party. The picture on the right is an amazing hand me down we got from my friend Cindy. It is a Disney Princess Aurora dress complete with a crown and wand. This is Aly's current favortie.

Here are pictures of Aly and KK dressing up as Aurora and Cinderella. KK loves to dress up when she notices that her big sissy Aly is dressing up! They are so cute together!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

mexican omlet

Here is one of my favorite breakfast recipes. I had it at a local restaurant and recreated it myself. It is so good. The first few times I made it with chorrizo but now I am making it with ground meat as I read what chorrizo is made out of and I don't think I will ever eat it again. This recipe serves two people.

One 12 oz. package of chorrizo prepared or one pound ground beef prepared as taco meat.
2 flour tortillas

Four eggs cooked sunny side up

1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 avocado cut up
1/2 cup salsa
2 tablespoons sour cream

Cook chorrizo or taco meat. Cook 4 eggs sunny side up. Grate 1 cup cheddar cheese. Cut up one avocado. Once the meat and eggs are cooked begin assembly. Heat up flour tortilla and place on plate. Put half of the meat on each tortilla. Put two cooked eggs ontop of the meat. Put half of the avocado on the meat. Put 1/4 cup of salsa on top of that. Finish with 1 tablespoon of sour cream. Grab your fork and knife and enjoy!

Friday, July 11, 2008

To work or not to work, that is the question

FYI-this is a long post that explores my thoughts and feelings of returning to work!

Back on May 6th I had applied for a position to be an ECE quality facilitator for the county through First 5. This position would require going around to all of the preschools in the county and trying to help improve the quality of education by helping them through the NAEYC accreditation process. Travel through the county would be a range of an hour and a half drive from one side of the county to the other. This position was a new position to be developed and would take a lot of start up time and dedication.

What a challenge this position could be for me. While I wasn't 100% qualified I had worked in preschools for three years and volunteered in preschools for two more years. I worked in two different NAEYC accredited preschools so I was familiar with appropriate practices and standards.

Their ideal candidate however would have been someone who had gone through the accreditation process or would have rated preschools on quality before. I applied anyway in case they felt I was enough of a match in other areas.

On June 16th I received an email letting me know that my application had been approved and I was selected for the interview process. I was THRILLED! I felt like it was such an honor to be selected for an interview for this position.

Two days later I received the questions for the interview.Questions:
1. Tell us three specific things you know about First 5.
2. Tell us three ways to measure quality in an early childhood setting.
3. How would you begin your first meeting with a provider who wanted to apply for the High 5 for Quality program?
4. This program requires community collaboration. Who would you invite to your first meeting and what would the agenda be?
5. It is your first day. You are ready to go! Where do you start?
6. Specifically identify two of your strengths.
7. This position will require working with people from a variety of personalities and backgrounds. What are some strategies you would use to be effective?
8. Questions you may have about the position.

These were the questions they gave us before hand. At the interview they also asked additional questions such as:
1. When you first enter a group situation how do you handle yourself? What would your friends say about how you handle yourself?
2. You enter a preschool and find that they have a Title 22 violation. The director doesn't agree. How do you handle this?
3. Who was the last difficult person you worked with? Describe the situation and how you handled it.

There might have been a few more questions but I forgot what they were.

Anyway, when I first saw the 8 questions I had to prepare for I was pretty confident I could answer them at least on a surface level. Of course I wanted to do a great job at answering the questions so I began doing lots and lots of research.

To some they may find the researching boring and frustrating but after being a SAHM for the last four years I found it interesting and challenging. I looked forward to learning more and finding out new things that I hadn't known before. The biggest challenge was learning all about the appropriate way to run a collaborative process. I had never had any experience with a collaboration so it was fun reading a 22 page article learning about the process, who should be involved, what would be a typical agenda, and what the end result should look like. I had a lot of memorizing to do for this question and it was truly my hardest question to answer.

My interview wasn't for three weeks since the date of finding out so I had plenty of time to prepare. This time also allowed me to stress and continually weigh the pros and cons of returning to work full time.

I can't tell you how many times I would go back and forth on what I wanted. One day I was confused as to whether putting the girls in daycare full time was the right decision. The next day I was sure they would be fine. Then the day after that I was worried again at how they would handle being away from me for so much time.

I had been contemplating going back to work for some time now. Mostly for a sense of independence and an opportunity to have social time, a sense of pride over my job, a feeling of security, and a piece of myself back after giving all of myself to raising my children. However, I thought I would probably be returning to teaching, a profession I love and with hours that are more conducive to raising a family. It wasn't until all of these budget cuts and problems that I realized there just weren't any teaching jobs out there! (in the entire county it ended up that there were only 5 elementary positions--you can only imagine how many people applied for those! Not to mention I cost 10k more than a first year teacher so districts can save on their budget by hiring brand new teachers)

So getting back to the point I kept swaying from day to day whether I wanted this job or not. I was worried it would require long hours. I would be leaving the house shortly after 7 and not returning until 5:30 or so due to our location. The job would be 35 minutes from our house. Plus all of the travel with the job! Some days I would be an hour away from my children. What would I do if they were sick or even worse what if they got injured?

Additional fears came to my mind such as how would Aly transition from going to a new kindergarten and a before and after school care facility. The worst part was they didn't even have before and after school care at her school! She would have to take a bus to the junior high and go to a program there. This is what had me worried the most. That is a lot of responsibility to put on a five year old. To be honest I was not comfortable with it one bit.

The day before the interview I was starting to feel like this was just going to be too big of a change for our family. I was feeling like this was just not going to be a good fit for us. I have to admit though I was worried that I could be giving up a great opportunity for my career and future. I was worried that I could look back on this some day and get angry at myself for putting my family first and not allowing myself to opportunity to follow my dreams or passions. So I decided that it was in my best interest to go to the interview anyway and just see what happened.

I was still nervous at the interview though. I think mostly because the director from Aly's preschool was on the interview panel and I was nervous what kind of impression I would make on her. I knew that the next two years I would be seeing her daily as I drop KK off for preschool. She was nice at the interview and I do feel like I did pretty good. There were two questions I could have answered a little differently but it wasn't like I totally messed up.

Even after the interview I kept trying to think of different things I could do with Aly to make it easier for her to attend kindergarten and a before and after school care program. I considered switching her schools down to a school near where my job could be. Some of those schools do have before and after school care on campus so it wouldn't be as difficult.

In the end though it didn't matter. All of my silly stress and weighing out options were a waste of time. I was not offered the position. This is probably a good thing though because had I been offered it I would have turned it down. I had finally decided it was not the right time for me to return to such a demanding job. I am glad I wasn't selected because I might have had major regret in 5 years or so for not taking such a great opportunity.

I was accepted as a sub for the county so I will be substituting at Aly's school on the days KK is in preschool. I think this is a happy medium for all of us. I will get a social outlet and a feeling of connecting with the community, KK will get to be socialized at school and learn to be away from me, and Aly will be happy on the days that I am subbing at her school. I am also hoping that this subbing will get the schools to know me and that in the future if they are hiring they will consider me. In a county like this it is all about WHO you know!

From cling on to Ms. free

Two weeks ago we were invited to a neighborhood pool that is exlusive to community residents only. Since we don't live in that community we can only go with someone who does. Well lucky me, one of Aly's preschool friends had invited us and wants to try and make it a once a week playdate thing. So we went to the pool with our life jackets and water wings and looked forward to having a great time. Aly chose to have a life jacket and decided to double up on her protection by adding a swimming ring as well! She was so nervous in the water that she never let go of the side.

Flash forward to a week later. Aly is still wearing a life jacket and a swimming ring but is now happily swimming around the pool and even started jumping in alone from the side of the pool and not asking me to catch her!

So when we decided to stay at the hotel to beat the heat I knew this would be a good opportunity to continue helping Aly to get more comfortable in the water. By the last day of swimming Aly is now swimming only with water wings and she is swimming quite fast around the pool. She is doing the doggy paddle and even comfortable enough to float on her back and try swimming backwards a bit.

Last night onour last swimming trip hubby agreed I could sit on the side of the pool and watch him do both girls himself! I was thrilled as I had had my fill of swimming lately! Hubby even got lucky and two teenage girls joined him in the pool. They loved children so they asked if they could play with the girls! Lucky hubby to be able to sit back and watch too! I was thrilled as well and ran up to the room and grabbed my camera!

These pics were all taken from my cell phone. When I have a chance I will try and upload my camera pics and a cute video as well!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It is so hot we are outta here!

Wow, this week is crazy in the way of hot weather and we absolutely can't take it! Yes we live in the mountains but it is still reaching 101 up here and we do not have any air conditioning!!!! Not to mention the fact that our house is over 20 years old and has very poor insulation. So we are hot, sticky, and miserable.

So it got me thinking? How much is a nice air conditioned hotel near hubby's work? I decided to check on some last minute deals on hotels and found one within 5 minutes of his work for $52 a night. If we stay three nights we get a $50 gas gift card back so essentially that brings our cost down to $106. Next I decided to calculate how much gas hubby would spend commuting those days and it would save us over $70 in gas. So I decided it was a no brainer. For $30 we can have three night of air conditioning, a pool for us to swim in, and oh yeah we are close to an air conditioned mall during the day where the kids can play at their indoor play centers. Don't worry I will keep my wallet in my pocket! Remember I am the frugal one and it is not too hard for me to resist!

Hope you are all finding ways to keep cool! What are some of you doing to keep out of this heat?

Monday, July 7, 2008


Yes, it is true, I have been missing from the blog forum for almost the past week. Why you ask? No I wasn't on some awesome vacation soaking up the sun rays, I didn't go anywhere to celebrate the fourth, in fact I was home all week! So why didn't I post anything you ask? I was very busy studying and preparing for an interview I had today. Any free chance I had I was on the net learning more about the company and preparing myself for the questions I knew they were going to ask and questions that they might possibly ask.

I also did not sleep well all. The primary problem: my girls weren't sleeping well which meant I was woken up at least two times a night and some nights I was woken up four times. Grrr. So even if I did get my girls back to bed rather quickly I had a hard time falling back to sleep. I began thinking about the interview, thinking about life if I had the job, thinking of the changes that could come for our family if the position was offered to me. The list of my thoughts goes on and on.

The good news is it is over and I should be able to return back to sleep rather quickly now that I won't have so much on my mind. Part two will be working on getting my 3 and 5 year old to sleep through the night. I currently have a plan of action for my 5 year old and after that is successful I think I will work on my 3 year old. One step at a time!

June's Gas n grocery bill

Well I tallied the gas and grocery bill for last month. Gas came in at $741.23 for the month which was down almost $100.00 from the previous month. I sat at home a lot more now that we are on summer break and Aly is no longer in school. I also tried to just do things near our house when we did go out and about. Pretty soon I won't have a choice though once Aly starts school. Our gas bill will go up again. I feel like the Corrolla will never be fixed. The struts were replaced and that didn't take care of the problem. So that ended up costing $270 between parts and labor. Now we are going to try a front end alignment which will cost around $60. I have started to belive that we could just keep sinking money in and never find the problem...........

Groceries were $377.19. Probably a little higher than normal but with all the birthday parties and company we did spend more on food.

We spent more than I would like on eating out so this month my goal is to seriously curb that spending habit.

How did you do for the month of June? Find any tricks to help your budget?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Letter from kindergarten

We received a letter in the mail yesterday informing us of their upcoming assessment day, and Early Screening Inventory Parent Questionnaire, and the classroom supplies they will be needing.

I am sure many of you are wondering why they are doing an assessment. Typically this is just so they can balance out their classrooms. Having the opportunity to observe children and see their skills can help them have classrooms with children of varying levels and temperaments. Schools that decide not to do this can have teachers that have rough years. For example, by luck of the draw a teacher can have a class filled with children that have difficulty listening and following directions. Or they may have a class with students who have never been introduced to colors, numbers, shapes, alphabet, etc. It is always nice to have a balance of skill level in your class so that other students can have role models.

The parental questionnaire is four pages and covers topics such as parents highest level of education, child's vision, hearing, coordination, health, temperament, favorite activities, and how much time they watch TV. They also leave a space large enough to write things you would like to tell about your child--I am so happy about that! Hee, hee....

Just for those of you that are curious I thought I would post their supply list:

Each child needs to bring:

(must haves)

Backpack with their name

1 complete change of clothes (in a bag kept in their backpack)

1 pair of Scissors (fiskars preferred)

2 boxes of Crayola Washable Markers (10-classic)

3 Large Glue Sticks

1 box of hand wipes

1 box each : Large and small Zip-lock bags with slide close

Homework Folder:

1 Flat plastic folder with 3 prongs and pockets inside

1 3 hole clear zipper pencil pouch

Extra Items for the Class:

(Bring if you can throughout the year )

Scotch tape refill roll

soft kleenex

brown lunch sacks

paper grocery store bags

cotton balls/q tips

play dough

extra snacks for kids that forget:

Pretzels, grahams, Gold Fish

Small Dixie cup

That is both lists. I am sure with budget cuts teachers need all the help they can get! If we don't provide it they will probably be using their own paycheck to buy it. So I will wait to the school supplies go on sale and happily full fill the list. If prices are good enough I will try to buy extra for those students in a financial situation where they cannot afford to buy all of these items on their own.

My how things have changes since I was in school! I am looking forward to going shopping with Aly for some of these supplies. I think it will help build the excitement for her. If you here of a sale of school supplies let me know!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Great Budgeting Tool

I was reading my consumer's Report magazine and came upon a great article on Budgeting money and creating a spending strategy. While I have attempted to do this recently I was never able to be quite organized enough. Last year I tried Quicken but their account linking tools were not good enough for the accounts I currently had.

So this morning I checked out one of the three websites recommended by Consumer Reports to track your spending and create a budget. The website I am using is called Yodlee Moneycenter. I am so thrilled with it. You can link all of your accounts such as your credit cards, bank accounts, etc. It will take your spending and chart it into categories. It did a great job too. There were a few I had to fix like my Safeway Fuel spending was in groceries but it was easy to correct by just changing the category to gas.

It will also allow you to go in and make a budget. It will take your current spending and put those amounts in for a guide and let you change them to what you want to budget for.

If you are looking into becoming more organized and want to see exactly where you are spending your money this is a free, easy to use program that you will be glad you tried!