Okay seriously, who ever said money doesn't buy happiness isn't fully correct. Correct in the sense that family is happiness, but if I didn't need money so bad lord knows I would be cuddling and playing with my little love bugs every chance I got, oh and I'd hire a house keeper that does laundry.

Times are tough for everyone and we have not escaped that. I am at a place I swore I would never be again. We have credit card debt... GASP! We worked soooooooooo hard to pay off some old debt about 6 years ago and since then we never carried credit card debt. Well, here we are again, and I must say it is NO where near as bad as before.

Before we had kids our finances were pretty cushy. If we wanted to go out to dinner, we wouldn't think twice. Did we randomly pick up and go on vacation at the drop of a hat, no. However, if we saved for a couple months, off we would go. We never really lived paycheck to paycheck and if we really wanted something we would save for a bit then get it.

Now fast forward $30k in medical bills, 28 weeks on disability pay, a mortgage which sky rocketed to $3,400, cutting my hours at work, and oh.. um two children. Not to mention not sacrificing as much as we should have been.

Over the course of two years we have managed to fall slightly off the wagon again, the wagon I swore I would never be on and here we are. I must say it isn't all too bad, but it's NOT where I want to be.

Can I fix it? Yes I already HAVE. I have been working at it and have paid down a large chunk and then finally decided that digging into savings for the other chunk makes the most sense. The debt will be gone next month and the sacrifices I have been making for the last month or so will stay in place. The debt wasn't huge, about one month salary and it took about a year to get that high, we would pay a chunk, but it seemed we just never had enough to just once and for all get caught up. The point isn't how large or small the debt was, it was the point that I SWORE I wouldn't do this.

September was expensive! A move, which then meant bills at two houses, some new things for the new house, My BFFs b-day, another close friends bday, three kid bdays, 3 baby showers, Noah and Aaden's TWO parties, and now Gabe's bday. We made one last splurge for Gabe's bday... a new BBQ, and dinner at Benihana's, which wasn't all too expensive because he had a $30 certificate. We hadn't planned on the BBQ splurge, but when my husband finds something he REALLY wants, it's hard to change his mind. So, when my Grandma gave him bday money early and my Mom and Step-Dad agreed to buy the accessories, I caved and agreed to let him purchase the BBQ for his bday. Only because of the bday money and because our old BBQ which we got when we moved into our last house was charcoal only, making it hard for me to pop outside and grill up a few pieces of chicken. Well, the new one is combo and oh so nice. Now I am trying to convince Gabe to let me put the old one on craig.slist, which is my new favorite thing to do. I have been selling all kinds of stuff to make some money to pay down that bill. I have also been taking things to consignment shops and almost fell over last week when I had $140 credit at a local consignment shop.

Along with de-cluttering and selling I have also been watching a couple kids, which includes my babysitters son on days off or in the evening to work off some of the hours I accumulate with her while I am at work. I have also been budgeting and changing the way I make purchases. I am trying to use cash as much as possible, because for me it is harder to part with cash than a swipe of a card. Since the bubbies are on milk we go through a gallon every two to three days, my new grocery shopping trick is to walk to the store and only bring $30 cash. That way I can only buy what we really need. #1 because I only have $30 and #2 because we are in the stroller or wagon we can't buy too much. This allows our grocery budget to be $300 a month, and then we usually make one Costco trip during the month as well, but now that we aren't on formula, the Costco trips will probably be less. I will only buy produce which is on sale, and will not buy any name brand products or meat that isn't on sale. I have also changed grocery stores and will only use the lower priced grocery store or super Wa.lmart. So far I can really notice the difference and it has REALLY forced me to use the things in the pantry or freezer.

Switching from a gallon of milk every two to three days vs. the can of formula is a huge and wonderful $17 savings every few days. I have also been giving the kids more of what we eat and not buying the expensive toddler foods. And while I totally love Mott's for tots apple juice, I have been buying generic and watering it in half. It then only costs me $1.50 for two times the juice vs. the $4 it would be for that amount of Mott's for Tots. Along with this comes coupon clipping, which I try to use when the product is on sale. I have also been walking instead of driving when possible, cutting back on prescriptions and the use of paper towels and paper plates. I changed the watering hour of our lawn so that the amount of time could be reduced, I try not to use the AC when at all possible, and am also trying to not run the dishwasher as often.

Thank goodness for wonderful friends and family for the generous gifts for the boys bday. We got 4 cases of diapers, gift cards, money for the boys college account, and a WHOLE 18 month wardrobe. Along with some great toys, just the right amount of toys. Their favorites include the wagon, little tikes car, lawn mower from Uncle Chach & Aunt Jodi, a cell phone from Auntie Drea, and we could never forget the CAT dump truck and tractor which are hands down one of their favorite toys. But as for the best thing they got from their party, the two mylar balloons still floating around. Who would have thought? (Oh and YES of course B-day blogs are coming.)

The gift cards came in handy. I stocked up on their shampoo, these darn gerber raviolis in water they love, fruit, wipes, juice, sippy cups, crackers, frozen waffles, tylenol, diaper genie refills (which I might add will probably be my next cut, those darn refills are $6 every week in a half.)

Could we make it without making these sacrifices? Yes, but why?

Could we live like we used to if I went back to work full time? Yes, but why?

I am willing to give up a whole heck of a lot for these two precious days I get at home with my kiddos. The two days I get to feel like a Mommy. The two days I spend cooking, cleaning, running errands, and taking the kids to the park. These days along with an occasional family day are what I live for. No amount of money or comfortableness can make up for the feeling I get just being the Mom.

My two days are something I would make the sacrifices for. I also wouldn't give up the boys monthly contribution to their college accounts, a chunk going into my retirement account, my iphone, my car which makes me smile every time I load my kids in it, and a cheap bottle of wine every few days.

So there you have it. Money can't buy happiness, and money isn't everything, money would make things easier, but why? A little sacrifice is good for the soul and it shows the boys that their Daddy and I work hard for the things we have. Nothing is handed to us and while it would be nice to be at home with them everyday and it would be nice to buy things without much thought. Those are not the values we want to instill in our boys. I want the boys to know we work to have nice things, but we sacrifice for more family time and for our and their futures.


One Year

Dear Noah & Aaden,

It is hard to believe that today my loves you are one year old. I have dreamt of being a Mother my whole life, and you have made my dreams come true. I feel like the first time I held you boys in my arms was just yesterday, and now here we are one amazing year later.

Dear Noah Warren,

You are such a happy and lovie little boy, notice how I say boy because today my love you are not my baby any more. You are so smiley and outgoing and just plain beautiful. I love when you follow me around the house and reach out for me to pick you up. You make my heart break when you cry when I put you down. I love to hear you say "Mama" and "hi." You rarely cry unless you are sleepy, hungry, or want to be held, but you do SCREAM. You love Annie's cracker snacks, bananas, yogurt, apple juice in your sippy cup, and crunchy snacks. You are content playing alone in your play room and you love the Chica Chica show in the mornings on Sprout as well as caillou. I love watching you at bath time, and your sweet belly laugh. You love to chase Chloe the cat, play with cars and boxes, and you laugh when Mommy sings. When Aaden takes something from you, the look on your face is priceless. The smile turns to a frown and you let out the saddest cry and throw your head back. You do the same cry when Mommy closes the fridge door or the dishwasher when you are trying to get into them. You are my fast crawler and are still very content just crawling, no walking needed for you, although you are very very close and have really been enjoying walking along the walls and furniture. You have six chompers, which might I add are the cutest chompers ever, and you hate to have your diaper changed or get dressed, most days you flip on your belly atleast twice while I change you. You fight falling asleep, but when you do fall asleep you sleep very sound. You are so smiley and for some reason when you smile I always want to grab your little cheeks. You my oldest son are a blessing and I couldn't imagine life without you, although I sure could live with out that horrible screech you have been letting out loudly. Happy first birthday Noah Warren, Mommy loves you with all her heart.

Dear Aaden Parker,

You my youngest son are one smart cookie. You have four chompers, and love to climb on things. You are quite the little dare devil lately and are doing wonderful at walking and trying to talk. You have been able to copy and say so many words lately. I love to watch you dance, wave hello and goodbye, throw your hands up and say "ta-da," and answer your fake telephone. I could watch you for hours while you explore. You are not one to play alone or sit quietly and when you reach for me to pick you up, you usually just want to see what's going on at my level, but sometimes it's just to cuddle, and that melts me. You my little man are always on the go trying to learn new things. As I watch you I can see the wheels turning in your little head, you are always wondering how things work or how you can maneuver yourself to stand on top of the item. You keep me on my toes and I love it. You have a smile that can brighten any ones day, and your teeth are just too cute. That blond hair and new big boy haircut are just the cutest thing. You are my little peanut and my cuddle bug, I love how you just cuddle into my arms and lay your head on my shoulder. You fall asleep so well, but are a rather light sleeper. You too really don't like getting dressed, but you love bath time and the option to just roam free. You are not into television too much, you would rather explore a kitchen drawer. You love food you can pick up and feed yourself. You love lunch meat, cheese, and lots of fruits and veggies. You don't like a sippy cup as much as brother, but you sure love your bottle. When Noah has something you always make it known that you can take it away from him, but you usually give it right back. You my little man are now in a habit of laughing and clapping when someone tells you "no." You also have been standing up in the bathtub, and arching your back when I try to put you into your car seat, which Mommy is NOT okay with. You my big boy have made my life a brighter place and make me so excited for the future. I love you Aaden Parker and am wishing you a very very very happy first Birthday.

I can't wait to see what you boys have in store for us for the next year. You make me proud to be your Mommy. Mommy and Daddy love you more than words could ever express. Thank you for the best year of our lives.



September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010


If I Can Make it Through That, I Can Make it Through Anything

Here, I am and with good reason for my absence. The last two weeks of August I worked 45 hour work weeks, and I survived this while packing for the big move. I was quite proud of myself for that.

On Friday August 27th Noah, started to come down with a runny nose, but I thought maybe it was just teeth. After work I packed up bags for the next few days, just in case I wasn't able to find all our essentials. Then off we went over to our cousin's house for a goodbye dinner for Uncle Jerry, whom was going back to Arizona. Uncle Jerry is the boys' B-day twin, they share the same special day. After dinner we spent the last night in our home. I cried myself to sleep and wondered if we were doing the right thing. I finally fell asleep after hours of struggle. When I woke up, my throat was on fire, and I could tell Noah wasn't feeling so hot either, but there was no turning back now. The move began, and with help from some great friends and family, we completed the move in one day. It's amazing how you can feel like crap, but just push it aside.

The day of the move, was our 6 year anniversary, along with one of my very good friends 30th Birthday. We had planned to be out of town with her for our special days, but obviously that fell through. So instead, I threw together a BBQ at her house with a big crowd of friends. The boys went to my Mom's house for the night and off we went to buy drinks and meat to barbecue. We had a great time and a nice little break from the hecticness.

Sunday, we spent the day unpacking. I was still feeling like poop, as was Noah and now Aaden. I told Gabe I felt like I got ran over by seven trucks. Thankfully Monday Gabe and I were both off work, we took the boys to the babysitter for a half day to get more things done. During this time Memphis found a home, then un-found a home, then got dropped off at the local shelter, we pray that a good family has rescued him. Come Monday late afternoon a sweet little voice came through the door. Miss Serena Hope will now be walking to our house after school on the days I am home, her school is just a block from our house. She was sad that the boys were napping, but soon enough they were up and she played with them in the playroom, which is always a help.

Come Tuesday things were really coming together, and now Gabe was feeling crappy. I offered to watch little Jack for the day, which went well and is something I plan to do more often.

By Thursday we were back in business, although a little sad from news of my Sister-In-Laws Dad passing, and my Grandfather being diagnosed with lung cancer. I spent the day at work, which was a welcome little break.

Friday the 3rd I spent the day packing for the holiday weekend, but not without a walk to Whole Foods and the pet store. I LOVE our new location, oh and I love love love love love love love love our new house. I am so completely utterly over the moon happy for this. The added space is AMAZING, the central heat and air A-mazing, garage, dog run, cute little back yard, the ton of storage space, and good friendly neighbors.

Friday night we took off with The Hernandez Clan to go camping for the long weekend. We ended up at the river one day, and the beach the next, which was a ton of fun. I could blog for days about the adventures of our trip, so hopefully soon I will get to, but for now I will probably just leave you with a few pictures. Hopefully Drea will fill you in on some of the deets. I must say that camping with kids is an adventure. Just plan on them being dirty pretty much the whole time, not napping well, and worrying about the fire pit way too much, while it was NOT relaxing it was for sure fun. We drank too much, and laughed too much, and ate too much. I can't wait to do it again.

After recovering from the colds, and cleaning up from camping, here we are preparing for the big BIRTHDAY! This weekend, we will host a small barbecue on the boys actual Birthday and then next weekend is the big party in the park. Gabe's band has a big gig this weekend, so we thought it best the celebrate the boys birthday the next weekend.

So as the title states, if I can make it through the last few weeks of my life, I can make it through anything! And guess what... I wouldn't have it ANY OTHER WAY!