Saturday, June 28, 2008

Are you Ready?

This is what everyone wants to know. Are we ready for the baby? What kind of answer are people looking for here? I'm pretty sure there isn't a right one.
I typically say "No, I'm not ready because the kid needs to cook for about 2 more months." Judging by people's responses, this isn't what they were expecting.
But if I were to say, "Yep, we're ready!" Every mother within earshot would tell me about how even when they're 18, you're still not ready.

As far as baby accouterments go, all I've got is 4 onsies, a mattress and the diapers, wipes and shampoo my mom thinks I'm crazy for stocking up on already. Since I'm planning on breastfeeding, in the most basic sense diapers is really all I need. So am I ready in that regard?
As far as being a parent, I've been closley watching several mommies for a while now, and they've assured me that I'll do great, and that I know more than I feel like I do.

I honestly feel like I'm as ready as I can be right now. No I don't know what it's like to wake up every three hours, I don't know what it's like to change 10 or 15 diapers in a day. I don't know what it's like to clean a bellybutton or a circumcised penis. But I feel like I've got a realistic idea of what it's like to handle these things.

I think a better question might be are you ready to give me the prayer, support and encouragement I'll need?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Today marks the first of hopefully many Father's Days where I get to be on the receiving end of the celebration. What does a good father look like? In addition to pondering over that question this last week, I've been contemplating how best to honor my own Dad this Father's Day. The most honoring thing I can think of is simply this: to do what my own dad did right.

So here is a partial list, in no particular order, of the things my dad did right.

Dad has always set a good example in his work ethic. Whether that means working a second job at night as a cytotechnologist while in the Army, or working Saturdays to put my sister and I though school, dad has never been a slacker. Dad has always worked hard at whatever he was doing, paid or volunteer at church. Responsibility is his middle name, and while I may have struggled with that a few years, I believe I'm following that example now.

Dad has also always been available. He has given both his time and attention while I was growing up and to this day. I remember how we used to play video games together, get ice cream, or build something like a potato canon. It was spent talking over theology, school, and the movie we just watched together. Dad always let me help him fix a broken computer and involved me in what he was doing around the house. I remember those times and learned a lot. I will do the same.

Since becoming a believer, Dad has been unflinchingly supportive of my service for the Lord and seminary education. He always offers to help Jessi and I out and I know he means it. Dad is selfless in his giving, something I want to emulate even more when I have the means to do so.

One of the most important examples my dad has set is in still being married to my mom. Not too many people do that these days. Thanks Dad! That is a legacy I want to leave for my own children as well.

But here's the thing about this list: it isn't over. My dad is still setting a good example. Maybe I've brought up things he wouldn't have considered that important. Perhaps I've botched it and left off the most important one! But either way, Dad, I love you and am proud of you and want to be a good father for my children as you have been for me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Saving Money

Tommy and I recently came up with a budget for the fall once the baby is here and we’re down to one income. With only about $50 of non essentials (eating out and Netflix) we came up about $250 short each month. We’re trying to save as much as we can right now while we’re both working and our expenses aren’t quite as high, so that we can afford those tight months. I am also fine tuning some money saving habits so hopefully they’ll be more natural in the fall.

Grocery Shopping

I was first turned on to couponing though my first wife’s class at SWBTS via a site called The Grocery Game. You can sign up for a 4 week trial for only $1. Basically it pairs together coupons with the lowest sale prices so you can get name brand items for much cheaper than generics. I no longer use that website, but have moved on to The Coupon Mom which is very similar, not quite as thorough, but free. I also frequent the blog Money Saving Mom. She provides links to coupons you can print online and some general thrifty ideas. She also explains CVSing quite well. Though I’ve only just begun to explore the possibilities of CVS, I hear tons of stories of customers who get things there for pennies on the dollar. One of the principles behind this idea is stockpiling. Buy more than you need right now because you will use it in the future and it’s at a super low price now. Toiletries and cleaning products won’t go bad; meat can freeze and canned and bottled items have a long shelf life!

My first trip to CVS I bought 3 packs of diapers, 2 packs of wipes, 2 tubes of toothpaste, and 2 bottles of dish soap all for under $30. The diapers alone normally cost about that much, and I also got $6 in coupons to use on my next visit. Tommy’s favorite story is from the time we had to buy a Cadbury Egg at Walgreen’s so they didn’t have to pay us. At Kroger I typically save about 40% on my groceries.

Angel Food Ministries

My mom has been nice enough to sent Tommy and I some money so we can participate in The Angel Food Ministry. There are sites (churches) all across the US where you can sign up. Once a month you can pick up a ton of food, mostly meat for $30, and choose additional specials (all meat) for $20. Right now our freezer is totally packed with chicken breasts, chicken filets, chicken nuggets, beef filets, some kinda steak, pork chops, green beans, a pumpkin pie, a pizza, beef and bean burritos, and a few other items; not to mention the pork chops and beef filets we already ate, and all the other non-freezer items.


When I last filled up, gas was at $3.74. I’m sure we’ll see it over $4.00 before much longer, and many of you have. In CA gas is up over $4.20, I even saw some diesel for $5.10!! Making sure your car is tuned up and combining trips are pretty obvious, but nonetheless make a big impact. I was so blessed to have my windows tinted for Mother’s Day so that’s helping to keep my car cooler. And even though Tommy loves his truck, we pretty much take my car everywhere; it gets about twice the gas mileage. The most difficult thing to improve my gas mileage will be to slow down. Though I’m used to driving ?? on the highway, I’m going to try to bump it down to much closer to the speed limit. We totally can’t afford a ticket.

Shopping at Home

My biggest goal this summer is to cook at home more and to use what I’ve got at home, planning our meals around what’s in the pantry and freezer. So far we’ve done quite well! And eating more salad and being generally healthy because that will be cheaper than having to deal with obesity related problems like diabetes and heat disease in the future.

Credit Card

We’re going to try using a credit card for our expenses. Currently we use a check card and carry no balances or debt anywhere. Praise God! The one credit card we have offers points you can use to buy gift cards to places we actually shop/eat or you can get cash back. Once I figure out which is a better deal, I think we might switch over to using a credit card (which we WILL pay off each month) so we can take advantage of these offers.

What do you do to save money?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Crazy Cali

I got back from California last Sunday to the disgusting heat known as Texas and truly thought I was going to be sick. Then I got to our brand new home and realized that I left California chaos for the chaos that is moving. Today is my first really lazy day since being back.


First, some California highlights! For starters, I missed my flight going out there. Apparently 55 minutes isn't enough time to get both your luggage and yourself on a domestic flight. So I made it out there an hour or two later and at a different airport. While I was there each child thew up, nicely spaced apart, Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday. Thursday almost took us to the ER, but he really wasn't bleeding out the eye, Thank God!

Monday and Tuesday we went to Yosemite National Park. Poor Tommy who's not used to mountains asked Half Dome was kinda like Enchanted Rock.

L to R: Me finally looking pregnant with Katie's mom, Richard, Robert and Raymond near Bridal Vail Falls

on Glacier Point, Half Dome to the left and Vernal Falls to the right

Katie, Richard and Raymond at the Vernal Falls footbridge.

Friday Katie, Raymond and I went into San Francisco, ate lunch on the warf and dessert in Ghirardelli Square. We also enjoyed watching the Bush Man, check him out on YouTube here.
Saturday we drove to Monterrey Bay and enjoyed the Aquarium and the chilly weather.

Since being home, we've just about finished unpacking, which is hard to do when half of what you own is books and you can't lift the boxes. Once we've got things hung and situated better we'll post some pictures. So far we're loving it here. Yesterday we started our Bradley Childbirth classes. In other pregnancy notes, my hands have been swelling, my round ligaments are killing me, but I'm loving watching my tummy move with a growing baby inside. And we're about 99% committed to Daniel as a first name, but still no middle name.


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