Monday, June 30, 2014

rock'em sock'em

This morning greeted me with a fire engine red diaper rash (Rad...not me, Jake or Rhett) and a slew of a to-do list. We left last week for a mini stay-cation and I love fresh towels everyday and raiding the deluxe shampoo's and soaps but I always kind of dread the first day home.

I had it on my bible (read to do list) to blog a slew of not really important things before we left, but it didn't happen. So now I think doing a quick and dirty run down of semi blog worthy items (3) is a super idea.

Item #1:

About once a month I like to take the boys to visit the Gilbert temple grounds. Lest you think in Arizona we never do anything outdoors in 103 degree heat. Not only are they beautiful, but they are relatively expansive and I like to exert maximum energy when playing with the boys. Why do they always run in different directions? And clearly we named them the wrong names because they don't respond the ones we gave them.

And I hope God has a sense of humor, because right after this pic, Rad dumped (an almost empty, thankfully) bag of Goldfish crackers into His fountain. Maternal mediocrity opted to leave the fishy's floating rather than fish (har har har) them out. It was either the fish stay in the H2O or Rad would enter it. 

Maternal mediocrity also achieveth the good fortune of having a plethora of fuzzy ducklings to entertain the young men.

And don'y worry, I kept on lathering that SPF was a real hottie.

Item #2

I really have no idea why Target still let's us through the sliding doors. On several visits Rhett has climbed the security sensors by the doors and set them off, we've spilled many a blue icee and we often visit the toy section but rarely buy anything. But we Miller's are known for our very strong-glutton-for- punishment gene and so we keep going back. 

I won't take all your time with all the gruesome details but basically the entirety of the hour tossing things we really needed that day into the cart was punctuated every 90 seconds by Rad throwing his head back and showing off his lung capacity. I thought of calling it quits several times, but it was one of those rock and a hard place moments where we need this stuff and as the cart got more and more full I knew we couldn't just leave. 

Really it wouldn't have been that bad if we hadn't been meeting and greeting the same lady on EVERY SINGLE ASILE. The same elderly lady who kept turning around and loud volumed whispered at us to be quiet and "SHHHHHHHH!!!" complete with finger on mouth and eyebrow furrow. This didn't amuse Rad and encouraged his shrieks and head bangs and kicks which only exacerbated the lady's already sourpuss attitude. I would like to mention that the offended was donning some heavy duty hearing aids and if Rad had understood English I would've definitely instructed him to reach over and swiftly turn them both to the off position. I mean his shrieks literally pierce my ears so I can't imagine what that amplified is like. But really. Any statisticians with thoughts on the probability of a 29 year old mother of two having the exact same shopping list as an 86 year old woman? Yeahhh.

Item #3

Anyone still here? Maybe? Well you know what they say. If you have no one to listen to 

I'm way overdue to post pictures of the backyard. (If anyone remembers 1, 2, 3) We've got the sprinklers and grass in and it's one of the best things we've done to the house.  

Well it is Rad. Don't try to argue. 

And we are now more official home owners because we own a lawnmower. Mowing the law is so satisfying.  The smell of summer brought to you by fresh cut grass. And the non thriving raised beds all brought to you by summer. We're working on it. 

We did make a major water your lawn faux paux but we'll save that for another day. 

And those are the highlights...because you care so very much. ;)
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

jokes for the anxious folk

Guys, this maybe the tiniest blog on the planet (99% sure it is), but I was totally floored with the response I got to this post. Not only the comments, but the Facebook messages and especially the emails. You emailed me your experiences, your support, your humorous takes on anxiety. You emailed me. In my honest, heart felt opinion that is above and beyond considering for most of us...we've never ever met.  When you have too many emotions, little things go a long way so thank buoyed me up. :)

A sweet internet bestie, Sabrina sent me this beautifully accurate image.

If only I looked half that good when I'm in full on nervous chihuahua mode.

And whenever I'm in said full on nervous chihuahua mode I enjoy a good laugh, so here are a few of my current favorites. 

Have you read the Bloggess*? Gurl. Get over there now. Start with this post. And then turn on Netflix for the kids and keep reading. 

To say I wish I had thought of this first is an understatement. 


I can't even. Breathe. His face. I need an inhaler.  


Still can't even. Lol-ing to the bathroom if you catch my drift. 

And once you use the facilities watch these. 1, 2 and 3. I can't pick a favorite. 

And really again, thank you for the support, really. I've made some big steps with getting back on the not-always-having-a-break-down train and I'm pretty happy. :)

*just an fyi the bloggess can sometimes have some more colorful language, just wanted to let you know before you click over. :)
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Friday, June 20, 2014

but she ain't messin with no broke

So...writing about money and finances can be...kind of weird. Everyone's financial situation is so different, and I never want to be someone who thinks she's the next Dave Ramsey because she can find a penny, pick it up and all that day have good luck. Although when I find a quarter anywhere it's like finding gold. A quarter can buy a handful of Mike&Ikes and appease anarchist toddlers. I digress.

We are a single income family and Jake's job is 100% commission. Since starting his job, he has steadily increased in earning residuals and trails and will continue too. However, currently those residuals and trails aren't enough to cover our bills so we start each month at pretty much zero in his paycheck. And that gives me a mini panic attack at least once a week. Does that surprise anyone? Everyone shake their head no.

Now I'm all for living on love, but this lady also needs her dinero. I don't want to go into too much detail of our budget breakdown because that seems a little too personal for me, but in a nutshell our monthly goals are to be able to pay our bills, including our debt for my medical bills from my foot, put at least 10% of his paycheck into savings and have a little extra "fun" money. It's kind of a "well duh" budget plan.

Last year was the hardest financial year for us. I don't know why this is so embarrassing, but it's hard to admit. We had months where we could only pay our bills and had no money for food. (And we live a pretty modest life. Like Little Ceaser's and Netflix for date night kind of modest.) We had a month where we had to borrow $1000 from a family member. We sold furniture and jewelry to make ends meet.  One of the hardest things was that we really didn't have anything to cut out of the budget in order to save money. We didn't have a gym membership, I don't get my hair colored or nails done, we don't have expensive hobbies, we coupon for our groceries etc. We are a two car family now and after having been a one car family for most of our marriage, for us having two cars is a necessity so we drive the cheapest cars we can get. So our budget was kind of set in stone and we somehow had to find a way to make ends meet with things as they were.

Thankfully we've come along way since than and we've tried a bazillion creative budget strategies and we've finally found something that works really well for us. Like I said, everyone's financial situation is incredibly different and personal and what works for someone, wouldn't for someone else. But I thought I'd share incase in might be of use to anyone who's been in, or is in, a similar boat to us.

I present the financial fast.

So earlier in the year I was watching the TLC show Extreme Cheapskates while folding laundry on a Saturday night. (Like I expensive hobbies around these parts.) One of the people on the show talked about doing a financial fast (going without spending any money) for a week once a month. Since the shows title is extreme cheapskates he had some creative ideas to get money that week if he needed it (like raiding vacuums at car washes) but he could only spend money if he found it. Not out of his bank account.

This idea really stuck with me and as our financial situation became more critical we decided to give this a try, but modify it slightly for our family.

We realized that when we looked at were our money was going, we were doing tons of little trips to the store to pick up one or two things that we really did need, but we would end up spending and additional $10-25 dollars each trip on other item that weren't necessarily bad or totally not useful purchases, but still things that were not really needed or planned. On top of that we tended to be impulsive with little things like grabbing snacks on the go or fast food for a quick dinner.

We decided to do a financial fast every Monday through Friday evening, every week of the month. We could only spend money on Friday evening so that we could have a family date night (or a date night just for Jake and I) and then on Saturday. On Saturday we would prep for the upcoming week. We would go grocery shopping, fill the cars with gas, make sure we were set on diapers and miscellaneous things like cleaners or hygiene products that we would need that upcoming week. We would also buy one or two gift cards to places like Sonic or McDonald's with $5 each on them so that we could keep our tradition of getting a treat and going to the park or play place.

Our goal wasn't to make us feel restrained or like we were having a dramatic change in lifestyle, we just wanted our spending to be more purposeful and controlled. Because think about it. If you're going to the store three times a week and you're spending an additional $10-25 a week that totals to be anywhere between an additional $120 to $300 a month of lose spending. And that really adds up if you're on a tight budget.

It has worked SO well for us. We have made a few changes over the past 4 months of doing this. We realized that sometimes we didn't need to go shopping every Saturday, but that by say Thursday of the following week we need some stuff. So now we take an inventory of sorts on Saturday and see if we can go a few days more or if we need to go that day. So we do one "big" shopping trip a week. We still do gift cards for treats because we've found for us, it's better than cash because the money goes toward a specific thing that lose cash that can go toward anything. And if we know we have an event that week like a group date or something we decide ahead of time how much we'll spend and use cash for that as well. Like I said, we didn't/don't want to feel like we can't ever do anything fun or spontaneous, just for now we are really focusing on purposeful spending.We also started pulling $20 cash out each week (unless we haven't touched it from the previous week) for any "emergency" that comes up like medicine for one of the boys or a last minute birthday party or if we didn't plan the diaper count well enough.  I mean we are a family with young kids so if we need to spend money, obviously their welfare comes first, but for the most part we try really really hard to "fast" from any spending at all.

We don't have plan as to how long we'll do this, but it's kind of fun to have that challenge every week (nerd alert!) and it's super easy, there's no crazy "system" other than setting and maintaining our regular budget; it's really just about adjusting your mindset. It is really calming to feel like we're in control of our money and not the other way around. Being a single income, commission based paycheck family with kids is not what I thought we would ever be, but we are that, and you know you just gotta do what works for you.

And again, I'm not a financial guru but I thought I'd throw in my two cents. (Like the money pun?? :)) You can take it or leave it obviously, but if it helps then awesome. :)

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

this is fancy living

Sometimes I wonder what the Beyonce's of the world think if they were to ever stumble across all the small fry mom blogs out there. (Hey hey Beyonce!! What up home girl?) Do they ever cringe at the non Juicy sweat suits we we wearing? Do they ever wonder why all of our selfies have a half diapered baby in the background? Are they jealous of our custom Crayola wall art/scribbles?

Yes. This is fancy living my friends. (Beyonce included.)

So I present a carefully collected, curated, and captioned selection of quality photos. Say that three times fast.

(And full disclosure...this is a quasi photo dump)

1. Frenemies
2. I took too many pictures than should be appropriate before stopping this.

3. American flags for Captain America. 
4. Floor fuel.

5. I lost him. I found him. Rolling on the floor. "Singing."
6. Who knows.

7. Indeed.

8.  Never, ever, EVER take Rad's Cheetos.
9. Rhett = over it. 

10. Bachelorette cocktail parties have nothing on our Friday evenings. 

11. Rejected.

12. That camel was giving me the stink eye. Totally. 
13. So was Jake after getting caught, trapped, and stuck in a mass of herding kids.

14. Saturday rock climbing (climate controlled rock climbing).
15. Lama lama(s) tackle momma.

Totes fancy schamncy. Totes.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

tents, hiking and being the fun one

I have this theory that if you blog about something it becomes significantly more true. Think about it, if it's on the internet, it's gotta be legit right? Right.

My kids are so lucky to have me as the super fun mom. (hey hey it's on the internet now!) I know how to make an ordinarily long stretch of the 3:27 in afternoon lovelies a bazillion times funner.

Look at all the fun in those expressions. Fun for days.

PS No comments on the pathetic state of our bedroom. It's horrible. 

Well, well, well - look who managed to stage herself as the fun parent? A mattress?! Hanging off the bed frame?! The fun (and white trashiness) can hardly be contained. The sad thing is we actually resort to this more often then not...

Of course, once the boys had to pretended to be GI Joe mountain goats several times and after I had tried to doze while they climbed on me (never works) I slipped right back into my role as second place fun maker (because it really is Jake) be not impressed. It was a "blast" while it lasted though.

Thankfully Jake had the brilliant idea to go camping with our church group (much more fun than my mattress idea). However, lest the blog title fooled real camping was enjoyed (or loathed) by myself and Rad. We're mildly adventurous at best...but we're not crazy, and until Rad sleeps through the night, family sleep sessions will be enjoyed in the comfort of our climate controlled, hopefully bug free bedrooms.

But Jake and Rhett were feeling the boy scout vibe and embarked on a camping excursion.

My wifey heart is very grateful for all the work that went into these stellar photos.  It was a home run, grand slam with Rhett who still tells the tall campfire tales for his experiences.

Rhett: "And all the squirrels ran around like SO FAST. (as he runs in place) They really had to find the potty." 

Rhett: "At the camping I got to go potty outside and it was the best potty EVER EVER!"

Rhett: "I want to go camping again. I want to go right now. I just got to get it out of my system guys." 

Rhett: "Here's the deal. I get to sleep in my sleeping bag tonight and I won't pee pee in it. Promise with all my heart."   

And now that the boy's club of the Miller household officially bonded over camping, I have been told that certain activities are boys only. Well if that's how they just further cements Jake as being the fun one. No hard feelings. 

Rhett posing by a pile of "poop." His choice, not ours. Also, he just reminded me that we don't eat cactus. A PSA from him in case you faced that craving today. 

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