a smaller approach to 'extreme'


This past week I've developed a new hobby--couponing!  I always knew that you could save money, but never really got into couponing until now.  For a while now, I have been watching extreme couponing on TV--and honestly have been turned off by the ridiculous amount of junk(i.e processed and packaged foods) people buy and have to purchase in order to save.  So, I have taken a smaller approach to the whole world of couponing--scaled it down a bit, and have decided to just save on household items and occasional food items we use normally(if I get a good price). I figure the bulk of our money goes to household items anyway when on a weekly shopping trip, so why not stock up and save for the future?  Plus, it's nice to just go to the 'stock pile' and grab a bottle of shave gel if we run out! Last week I saved over $150.00! 

Value: $60.10,
Paid $16.64
a 72% savings
It's no 'extreme' TLC episode by all means, but it has truly given me confidence in knowing that I can help our family financially, even if I am a stay at home mom.   



Today was so nice out, I thought I'd let Jonah get in his jeep and 'drive around' outside.
It was cute to watch him explore...
He's close to walking on his own, and the jeep sure helps him get to where he wants to go! It was pretty cute seeing him get so frustrated when there was a 'bump' in the road(aka: side walk curb). I turned his ride around several times just to see this driver's determination! :)


a birthday surprise


Today we celebrated Patrick's upcoming birthday by surprising him at his squadron.  About 20 of his friends/co-workers gathered together to surprise him and celebrate his 30th birthday! I was sneaky enough to contact a few people he works with to help plan the surprise--we pulled it off! I was happy, as it has always been difficult to surprise him, let alone keep any type of secret from him.  He had no clue--and it was fun to see him in the moment.  

Patrick is his moment of surprise

I ordered a custom C-17 cake to present at the gathering for him..it turned out awesome! I contacted this amazing, new and upcoming cake artist in Federal Way(you can see more of her cake designs here) and I couldn't have been more pleased with how it turned out! 

It's so great to have celebrated today--I remember celebrating with Patrick on his 21st birthday--look how far we've come together:)  Happy Birthday, hunny. We love you!!

A bittersweet farewell


As a mother, you learn that a child's immune system is not as strong as an adults and they are more prone to catch colds, and other illnesses.  As parents, we naturally understand that, and know that Jonah is likely to catch a cold from time to time.  However, for a while now, Jonah has seemingly carried a constant stream of congestion.  Sad to say, and feeling guilty as I even type this, ..it's becoming the "norm" in our household--we've heard several times from family members and friends, "Wow..Jonah doesn't sound good!"  We've come to the point where we nod our heads and explain that it's a constant issue we've had to deal with.  We know that bad sinuses run in the family, so it could have something to do with passing down that 'fabulous' gene. But this past week held the last straw and I simply became too tired of shrugging off the "norm".  I became frustrated at all the doctor's visits, the repetitious cycle of waiting 10 days the nurses say to wait before making an appointment for medication, getting that medication and witness a happy, congestion free child for a day or so, only to hear it again a few days later.

The final straw came in a two deal package.  Not only had I had it with the constant wheezing, and mild coughing, I had an epiphany.  This could be allergies. The last straw emerged when Jonah had been playing near the window in our downstairs living room.  Julie(Patrick's mom) and I witnessed the most horrendous coughing spell coming from my sweet little boy.  Partly my fault, the curtains had a lovely stream of cat hair all up the side of the curtain.  The cats sit from time to time on the ledge of the windowsill, so naturally, the curtain attracts hair. I felt horrible.  Jonah cannot even play in specific parts of his own home without being affected.  

We took Jonah to get tested for allergies this past week.  The results have not come back yet, and we are aware that since he is so young the test can come back as a false negative on all levels.  With that said, Patrick and I ultimately made the decision to find new homes for all three of our animals.  

Mojo, Echo, and Iris
Iris and Echo a few days after we got them in 2006.
Iris laying on my pregnant belly--her way of protection.  I believe she knew I was pregnant before I did. :)

There were several factors in making such a decision--Amongst the probability of a false negative, the pet dander clearly doesn't help the matter.  And despite this obvious reason of a possible allergen in our household, the level of attention the animals receive has diminished since  having Jonah.   We feel that it's best for them to find homes where they are given an abundance of love and affection.  With answered prayer, we quickly found homes for all three this past weekend.

To be honest it's bittersweet.  Bidding farewell to the kitties leaves me slightly sad remembering the sweet cuddles, affection, and protection given by them.  Even trying to find pictures of them left me feeling a bit empty. Iris always knew when I was sad and was always right there to offer her source of encouragement. She often was there for company when Patrick was away on trips. She'd talk to you, motion with her paw when you weren't paying attention, and was always willing to sit on your lap and cuddle. She was my favorite. Yes, Echo was skiddish from time to time, but I think she hid from the spotlight of her sister.  Deep down she was sweet and innocent.  Mojo, was Mojo.  I laugh as I type this, as he clearly made it known he wasn't too impressed with Jonah and often left him alone, lacking any curiosity. He was a sweet cat though, cuddly and affectionate.

It also leaves me relieved.  No more cleaning out the litter box. No more finding gum wrappers(amongst other bathroom necessities) all around the house dug from our trash. And no more hair. Uhhghh...I vacuumed yesterday. To give you a glimpse of what three cats can do to a home in less than a week...I emptied the "wind tunnel' over five times. YUCK. You would never think of the amount of hair, and pet dander that can accumulate on carpeted floors..but it's there. (An update on the curtains--washed, ironed, and put back up. All done by Patrick, I might add!)

In two days we've seen a difference.  Jonah still has a bit of congestion, but you can tell he's feeling better and what could have been a factor is no longer in affect.  Patrick and I have slept better and have woken up less congested.  Overall, we are happy with our decision. The kitties are in better homes as we are in ours. We sit in cleaner air, less cat hair, and hold memories of the animals who provided much love over the years. It was a good decision.  A bitter sweet one, but a good one. 

Grammy's visit


This past week Patrick's mom, Julie, came to visit us from North Carolina.  It was a much anticipated visit, as the opportunity to visit doesn't always come as often as we'd like it to.  Patrick is currently driving her to the airport, and I sit with a lump in my throat.  I hate to see her go, as her visits are always anticipated and loved by our family.  

The week was pretty laid back, and I think that's how we intended it to be.  Our week consisted of a couple trips to the park, normal errands, a doctor's visit, a couple homemade meals, an early celebration of Patrick's birthday, and a few hours of pampering for the ladies(a mother's day treat!).  It was fun watching Jonah interact with his Grammy. There were many lazy mornings and afternoons playing with toys on the living room floor.  Hugs, laughs, and loves were given and received between them both.  We all caught up, shared stories, and noticed more and more similarities between Jonah and Patrick.  

That said, having her here gave way for more stories of when Patrick was little.  Learning of the tendencies, temperaments, and habits Patrick held as a child painted a noticeable connection between father and son.  It was fun to hear of all the glory and fun Julie has had as his mother. Truthfully, learning more of the amazing mother and woman Julie is, there were moments I second guessed my mothering abilities.  After all, an amazing mother stood before me.  She was there though, to pick me right up, encourage me, and give me so much support in what I am currently doing, and continuously strive to be.  I cannot help but smile on the blessing God has bestowed on me and our family to have such a wonderful Grammy for Jonah, loving mother to Patrick, and a sweet, caring mother-in-law, always willing to offer any words of encouragement, support, or advice.  

It will be a couple months until we see her again.  I am sure many more laughs, and stories are on the agenda. I cannot wait to spend more time watching the interaction between her and Jonah. I love the joy and pride she holds watching her son fly.  And I love the moments of motherhood clarity I experience when with her. 

Until then, here are a few captured moments to smile on.