Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lucas' Birthday Party!

I was SOOO excited when I got an invitation to come to my friend April's son's 2nd birthday party. April is my special friend whom I knew for about 2 years in GP our junior and senior year, but then she moved away to the Big Apple and has been there ever since. It's really funny to think we've kept in touch all these years. I've been to visit her twice in NYC, which were some of my most fond memories, and she's only been down here to see me a couple of times. So 14 years later, a handful of visits and lots of phone convos, we are still pretty good friends. We always joke about how our lives mimic each other. She has a stepson who is 11 and has a son who is now 2 (today, actually!) We've been talking about seeing each other this year to get the kids together but just haven't been able to do it. Her parents live outside of Waco, so when I was invited to go to Lucas' birthday party, I just couldn't wait!
 
Lucas is just a beautiful little boy. And boy, is he such a boy! He loves trains, trucks, cars, all of that good stuff. You can't see it here, but there were about 6 kids eyeing that cake, we could barely get through the song!
 
Everything was so cute...
 
 
 

The kids played and played and played and fought and played.
 

 

We've said ever since we've known we were having a boy and a girl that they are to be wed (hopefully) ha ha. Anyway, this is the picture we will have at their future wedding...
 
 

 
And THIS is the picture that proves to me it's time to lose weight. I just don't even know what to say about this.
 


I just never realized I had this much weight around my midsection and I was so top heavy. We are working on that this week. :-)

I have been waiting to post this post until I got the picture April's cousing took of Avery, Lucas, me and April but that hasn't come yet. My phone was dead, of course, so I couldn't take one with my camera. When I get it, I will post it!
 

Gettin' Away...

Jason and I are the two worst people about going away and spending money on things we don't deem "mandatory." But we've been so busy, and both been so tired, that we decided we were going to be taking advantage of this long weekend and getting away!
 
 
 
 
Nothing big or fancy, just a place to go and get away. We might take the kids to the Alamo (it's in San Antonio) and eat lunch at the Riverwalk, but other than that, it's swimming and relaxing!
 
I am so excited!!!
 

Work Baby Showers

At work, we've had three babies born this year, and they are all girls! We decided to have a baby shower for all of them at the same time. Since all of the babies are 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in their family, we decided that instead of everyone buying gifts, we would give them books and my love chest to keep memorable items in as the babies get older.
 
This is a cool gift idea. If you are a mom, you know it's hard to find a cute spot to keep all of the outfits, cards, toys, or other sentimental items as they get older. I need to make one for Avery, for sure!
 

I made three different color schemes...
 

 


 
 
Some cupcakes....
 


It was a great, fun time!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why I am Pro Universal Healthcare and Changes to Our Healthcare System

Due to my recent proactivity with my credit and paying off debt, I decided to give the hospital a call where I was admitted about a month ago and ask about my bill. I wanted to make sure I didn't miss it in the mail and I wanted to get an idea of what I'd be paying for my stay. I get on the phone with the billing department and the woman is just as nice as can be, really. She was surprised I'd even called her, considering I didn't even have a bill yet. She told me she'd sent the bill over to my insurance to be approved and paid but they hadn't heard back yet. "Just out of curiosity," I asked, knowing I would be responsible for 20% of the final bill, "how much was it?" What I heard next shocked me.
 
"$61,000" she said.
 
I said, "$61,000? I was only in the hospital for a night and only on anti-biotics, you can't be serious! My daughter cost me less than a third of that to give birth to and I was in the hospital two nights!"
 
I would be even more shocked by what she would say next.
 
"Well, we are a new hospital so costs are a little higher, but we will send over the amount to your insurance. They will contact us back and let us know what amount they think is fair to pay. Then, of the amount you have left, you and I can negotiate what is affordable for you to pay."
 
I just couldn't believe my ears.
 
Let's put this into context. That's like never having a set price on a living room set. At Haverty's, it cost $12,000 to get a new living room set. At Rooms To Go, the same set cost $30,000. At Stacey's, it's $23,000. However, you walk into Rooms To Go, and they say "this set cost $30,000." I say, "I can't afford to pay that." They say, "how much can you afford?" Thinking that since they are all valued at several thousand dollars, I say, "I can afford to pay $10,000." "SOLD!" they say. But in actually, the set really only was worth $1,000.
 
This is exactly why the healthcare system needs to be overhauled. Nothing has a set price for anything. Because this hospital was closest, I went there. I ended up paying $61,000 that, at other hospitals, would have cost 20% of that. They didn't operate on me. I had an IV with antibiotics, I had blood tests done. The biggest things I had done were X-Rays and two CT scans. I received the bill for those from the imaging company, and those three items, pre-insurance, were $1,000. I ended up getting charged a little over $100. So, where exactly do they get the amount of $61,000?
 
We say that healthcare costs are high because of lawsuits, pre-existing conditions, and all of the other reasons people can think of, but really, they are high because healthcare providers decide to make them high. Then, the insurance companies pay what they decide is fair and we are stuck with the rest. The thing is, had I walked into that hospital without insurance, I probably would have been given a bill in the range of $5,000, or an amount they could have gotten me to actually pay back.
 
People think that with our current healthcare system, at least you get a choice. Yes, you do get a choice with doctors, even if it's only a choice of what is in your network. And for some surgeries, you get a choice of hospitals. If you go to an OBGYN, you will deliver at the hospital your doctor works at. Elective surgeries, I guess you get a choice. If if you stop at an ER for stomach pain, you are stopping at the nearest one to you, or whichever hospital the ambulance takes you to. You don't get to shop around hospitals, and even if you did, you have no idea how much they charge for their surgeries. It's not like you can say, "I need to have my gall bladder removed, I would like to see which hospital that charges the best price" because none of them, not even the billing department, know how much that bill will end up being. You don't get a choice. The thing is that doctor's visits aren't what bankrupt people. You don't have insurance to go to the doctor. You really don't. You have insurance in case something catastrophic happens, like your daughter breaks their leg or your appendix ruptures or something like that. I've decided a dentist charges too much, so I find a new one. But the $300 bill I got, compared to the $150 bill from my new dentist, that's not what's going to put me in the hole. It's the 20% of $61,000, which by the way, is $12,200. That's a down payment on a house and an emergency fund. That's a new car. That's renovations on my house. That's two years (or so) at a state university. That I just got charged for one night in the hospital and IV anti-biotics.
 
You want me to say I am pro-universal healthcare? YOU BET I AM. Imagine if I was a child with cancer. My parents would sacrifice everything to make sure I was better and got healthy. And now, not only do they have to know that their child might die from this disease and watch me suffer day in and day out for God knows how long, they also have to worry about paying tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, for my hospital bill. And they can't work, not like they used to, when their child is dying in the hospital. It's disgusting. Those people who say healthcare and they ability to be healthy is a priveledge, not a right, have never been shackled by a bill that forced them to declare bankruptcy and for some, worse.
 
This is just outrageous and it makes me angry. And the big thing is that I bet no one ever calls the hospitals like I did, they just wait for that bill to arrive, never knowing what it started off at before the hospital and insurance negotiated what they decided to charge you for your IV and mediocre hospital breakfast.
 

Thank you God, For Making Rain That Make The Flowers Grow....

This line is in a book that Avery has, and I thought it was appropriate. We've lived in this house for almost a year and never seen these two plants sprout flowers! I just thought it was pretty.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, August 27, 2012

How To: Deal with Collectors and Pay Off Old Debt, Final Part Three

PAYING OFF THE DEBT
 (I am certainly not an expert in this field, nor do I have formal training or education, I am merely sharing my knowledge I've come to know in my personal experience. I would suggest doing more research and talking to a financial professional before figuring out a debt management plan.)
One thing you need to know is that once a collection or charge off is on your credit report, the damage is done. Paying it off is not a guarantee that it will be removed from your report, nor will it increase your score very much. Paying or settling it will, however, keep further collection from occurring. Your phone will stop ringing, your mailbox will start looking a little thinner, and you will have peace of mind knowing that you will never have to pay that debt again. While the bad mark of having a collection on your credit might not go away, your debt amount will. The less debt you owe (compared to your income), the higher your score.
Besides the peace of mind knowing your debt is paid, the other goal from paying off debt would be at least to try and get the collection agency to remove the item from your credit altogether. This is not always easy and collectors do not have to do this, even if you ask, but it’s always good to at least try. If it’s a small debt that you can comfortably afford to pay, I would suggest writing a letter (not speaking them over the phone) and offering to pay the entire debt off in exchange for removing the item from your credit report. This is the BEST option, as once it’s removed, it can substantially improve your credit score. If they go for it, great! Make sure they send you proof of the agreement and a receipt after you pay, and follow up by checking your credit score within the next 30 days to ensure it was actually removed.
If they say no, you have a couple of ways of dealing with it. Remember, once the collection is on your credit, and they aren’t willing to remove it, paying it off will only improve your score slightly, very slightly, if at all. So, you have to ask yourself whether you want to pay full price on a debt when it doesn’t really help you too much to do so. However, if you are trying to settle lots of debts, and you could pay two debts by settling with the same money as one debt would cost you to pay it off, it might be better to counter the collector with an offer to settle the account for less than you owe. As a rule of thumb, you would offer 50%. So, on a $200 debt, you could offer $100 to “settle” the account. I guess you could really offer whatever amount you wanted to, but they do not have to accept any amount you offer that is less than the original amount owed if they do not want to. Most of the time, if the debt is not with the original creditor, and it’s an older debt (2 years or more) they will be more willing to settle. They are no longer allowed to report the bad debt on your credit report after 7 years, so the older it is, the more willing they would probably be to take anything you have to offer them. Just make sure you get it in writing that the settlement offer is an agreement that as soon as money changes hands, they will no longer attempt to collect the debt and will report on your credit report as “settled.”
 
In my case, one of the reasons we are cleaning up our debt is to purchase a home. In order to buy a home, the new rule is that any and all collections and outstanding debt of over $1,000 must be paid. Therefore, anything over $1,000 must at least be settled before you can qualify for a home. These days, getting a home requires a lot more hoop-jumping than in previous years. In 2004, I could have had $50,000 in debt, no savings or down payment and been breathing and been approved for a $300,000 house. Those days are no more!
 
One thing to keep in mind with your credit report is that the most important indicator of your credit is time. Your credit score will usually be indicative of your activity within the last 6 months to a year. Late payments within the last 6 months will drop your score way down, but as time passes, that late payment will matter less and less. The same holds true for old debt. The older it is, the less weight it holds with your credit score. Therefore, a 6 year old debt for a very little amount of money is probably not causing too many problems with your score. However, when you contact the creditor and pay that debt, the clock starts over, causing your score to drop initially, because the activity on that account is new. So when paying off old debt, it might be more damaging to pay off that $100 collection account than just to keep it on your credit and let it fall off within a year. All debt will be removed from your credit after 7 years of inactivity. Every time you start communication with your creditors, the clock starts over, so just keep that in mind.
 CONCLUSION
If you own a home and a car, and are not planning on purchasing anything large within the next few years, paying off old debt is not something that’s probably on your mind, however, your motivation for paying off debt and cleaning up your credit could come from anywhere. For me, our motivation is to purchase a home and live life without the ever-present feeling of owing someone else money. It is also important to us that we are finally free to be able to do things with our money that we actually want to do, like take a vacation without guilt that our money should have gone to something else, like our debt. If you are in a situation where you feel it’s time to start paying off old debt, make sure you speak with a financial professional you trust that can advise you on the best way to begin your debt repayment plan.
 
And remember, you can do it! It is possible to be free of debt, if you are willing to work hard and sacrifice for a little while to do so!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

How To: Deal with Collectors and Pay Off Old Debt, Part Two

HOW TO BEGIN THE DISPUTING PROCESS

(I am certainly not an expert in this field, nor do I have formal training or education, I am merely sharing my knowledge I've come to know in my personal experience. I would suggest doing more research and talking to a financial professional before figuring out a debt management plan.)
 When you get your credit report, you are able to see all of the debt you owe. This includes credit card debt, old collections accounts, cars, everything. I won’t go into to how to read your credit report. The main purpose of this is to figure out what to do for old collections and charged off accounts. Before you do anything, you need to request a validation of the debt in writing. I tried to start doing this myself, which you absolutely can, but found it to be incredibly tedious and costly. You really do have to be very organized, very diligent, and very determined to do this process yourself, especially if you have a lot of collections. If it’s just one or two, I would recommend just doing this process yourself and not paying a company. If it’s more than that, and you see there are other mistakes on your credit (like an incorrectly reported late payment) than I have found it costs me just as much money (and no time at all) to hire a company to do it for me. The one I work with is Sky Blue. They are the highest rated credit dispute company on the market and they are very affordable. I believe it’s $35 a person, per month and they do an excellent job. They will also tell you, without taking a single dime, whether they will be beneficial to you. If they can’t do anything for your credit, they won’t even attempt it and just take your money. Their website is www.skyblue.com. (I am not compensated for my opinions of Sky Blue, I am just a happy customer.) The reason I say that it’s better to let a professional handle it is because you have to send several requests in writing, certified and return receipt, which cost about $5 or $6 bucks each time, so, you do the math.
There are several reasons you need a debt to be validated. For one thing, if you really aren’t sure if this debt belongs to you, a validation letter can prove that to you. A validation letter also should clarify the owner of the debt. In our current economic climate, debt is a valuable commodity. Your debt can be sold to companies several times before you actually pay it off. If you have a debt with AT&T for a phone bill, but ABC Collectors comes along and says they are collecting the debt for AT&T, how do you know that they are legally able to collect the debt?
Here is a good example. You borrow money from a friend, Jane Doe. You know you owe money to Jane Doe, but John Smith comes along one day and says, “Jane told me you owe her $10 and I am here to collect it.” Would you hand over $10 to him without speaking with Jane first? Of course not. This is the same with a collector. People have been really angry because I won’t just hand over my money to them when they call me. I am like, “You could be anyone off the street. I need to know who you are and that you are legally able to collect this debt.” Usually when I tell a collector that I am more than willing to pay my debts, but I am not just going to hand over my money to any and everyone who calls me up and asks for it, they are understanding and will send me the validation I am after. If a collector refuses to provide you something in writing, that should be a red flag, as most collectors know that when you ask for it, they are supposed to send it. And furthermore, they are not allowed to continue collecting on it until they have provided you the proof you were seeking. If they refuse to send you something in writing, you need ask them to stop contacting you until they can. They are required, by law, to stop the collection calls if you ask them to. If they continue to call you, send a cease and desist letter. At this point, you might want to look and see if you can find an attorney that would represent you in a case involving harassing collectors and have the collector deal with the attorney directly. There are lots of attorneys out there who are more than willing to prosecute violating collectors and most will do it at no charge to you.
The main thing with a validation is that I don’t want to have to pay a debt twice because I didn’t pay the right person the first time, so I always ask for them to send me one, even if I know I owe the debt, just to make sure all of the rules are being followed on their end.

Another reason to validate your debt is to make sure the statute of limitations on your debt has not run out. Sometimes, you are not legally required to pay on a debt if a certain amount of time has passed, but make sure to check the laws in your states specifically. I have not run into this, but you might.
So, at this point, they’ve sent you a validation letter, you know the debt belongs to you, and you are ready to get it paid. What now?
TOMORROW: PAYING OFF THE DEBT

Friday, August 24, 2012

How To: Deal With Creditors and Pay Off Old Debt, Part One

So, this is something I think about pretty much every day. As I've mentioned before, Jason and I have some work to do on finances, which includes paying off old mistakes and some collection debts. I thought I would put together a list of what I've learned about paying off old debt. I actually talk to alot of people who are scared of dealing with their debt and who just ignore it altogether, so I thought this might be helpful to some people who are looking for some guidance.
 
(I am certainly not an expert in this field, nor do I have formal training or education, I am merely sharing my knowledge I've come to know in my personal experience. I would suggest doing more research and talking to a financial professional before figuring out a debt management plan.)
 
FIRST AND FOREMOST....WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW WILL HURT YOU 
 
Don't ignore your debt. In case you haven't noticed, it doesn't just disappear. In fact, in my experience, it could turn really ugly really fast. I used to never, ever, EVER open mail or look at my credit report out of fear of what was inside. Like, "If I don't open it, it will eventually go away." Well, in some cases, it does. But in most cases, it doesn't. Just because you don't see the debt in black and white doesn't mean it doesn't exist, either. It's like those people who don't go to the doctor when they are sick because they might be told they have a deadly illness. My response is, "So, you would just rather have a deadly illness and not know and not start treating it? Does it mean you don't have the illness because a doctor hasn't told you so, yet?" So, please. If you have a fear of your debt, you need to know how much the debt actually is. I used to make my situation MUCH worse in my head than it actually was. Some people make it better in their heads than it actually is. So you need to know where to begin.
 
On this topic of not ignoring your debt, I've been surprised to find that when I do open my mail, I might actually like what's inside. There have been times that I've found collection resolution letters that allow me to pay off an old account for much, much less than the original amount. There might be GOOD stuff in there too, but you will never know until you try.
 
UNDERSTAND YOUR RIGHTS AS A CONSUMER
 
One of the main things I hear people say is that "I tried to talk to the collections people but they were mean, and told me I was going to get arrested, and that I had to pay RIGHT NOW so I just hung up and now they won't stop calling me and they've called my friends and family and I don't know what to do."
 
I have been here, in this exact situation, several times. You are scared because collectors are scary. They are, pure and simple. They will use tricks and gimmicks to scare you badly enough to pay your debt. Not all of them are bad. I've talked to MANY very nice collectors who are people, just like you and me, who surprisingly are also in debt and don't really know how to handle it. Most people nowadays respond very well to honestly, and are very willing to work with you on your debt. So don't get scared off that "all collectors are evil." They simply are not.  
 
I have researched and researched and researched my rights as a consumer. I've had people violate multiple federal laws, when communicating with me, about what a collector can and cannot say or do to collect a debt. In fact, I had a scam collector (for a debt I didn't owe, but they were trying to collect) violate numerous federal laws when they contacted me about a debt. I found an attorney who works to prosecute these collectors. He didn't charge me a dime, because when he wins, the company pays his fees. Because I had kept voicemails, I had recordings of the said violations. I just received a notice from this attorney that he was in settlement proceedings with this company's attorneys and I was to receive $750 for their violations. I don't know if I will ever see a dime of this money, but the fact is that collectors do not just get to say and do whatever they please to get money out of you. This particular company did not ever say the required "This is an attempt to collect a debt, blah blah blah." In fact, they never even represented themself as a debt collector at all. They are required to do that on every call, even messages they leave on your voicemail.
 
So, what are some other things that collectors are not allowed to do? Collectors have to abide by the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FTCPA). Violations of this act could result in fines of up to $1,000. Here are some basic rules they are required to follow.
 
1. They are not allowed to threaten you with legal action if they have no intention of following through. For example, they cannot say they will arrest you and they cannot say they will sue you unless they actually have an intention to do so. Saying that they will do that just to get you to pay is in violation. A collector also cannot just start garnishing your wages (although, they can with student loans, so heed that warning!). They have to have a court order to do that, which means you have already been to court for this and you will have already seen that coming (hopefully). For them to say "Your wages will be garnished if you don't pay today" is in violation of the FTCPA.
 
2. They are not allowed to call your friends and family more than once, and the only reason they are to call is to get your contact information, not speak with your family about your debt. Calling your friends and family more than once is harassing and they are violating law. Talking about your debt is also a violation.
 
3. They are not allowed to call you repeatedly, constantly, until you pick up. Nor are they allowed to call you late in the evenings or early in the mornings.
 
4. If you request a copy of the debt in writing, which you should do EVERY single time, they are required by law to provide it to you. Do not ever pay a debt that has not been validated in writing.
 
For a complete list and explanations on your rights and also what a collector can and cannot do, please visit the FTS's website at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre18.shtm. The main thing to remember is that collectors have the upper hand most times because most people simply do not know their rights as a consumer, nor do they know when a collection company is in violation of the FTCPA. Don't let yourself get taken advantage of! Educate yourself as much as possible.
 
TOMORROW: HOW TO BEGIN THE DISPUTING PROCESS

Update: Here are the links to the other two posts for the series on debt collectors...

How to Deal with Creditors and Pay Off Old Debt, Part Two

How to Deal with Creditors and Pay Off Old Debt, Part Three

 
 
 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Complaining. Oh yeah, I am going there.

So, I've read several blogs by moms lately who are having trouble being honest on their blogs without feeling like they are not taking things for granted. Like, being honest, while feeling the need to apologize for not feeling grateful and happy 100% of the time. With that said, I say, "complain" if you must, Moms! You deserve it from time to time!!!
 
If you are going to be upset with me for not apologizing for the things I am about to say, then let's skip over my post for today, shall we? Cause I am pretty sure all moms feel this way from time to time.
 
First of all, I will say this. God does expect us to show gratitude and be grateful in our situations. But as our pastor said a few weeks ago, that does not mean having to feel grateful and happy for each and every thing life throws at us. "Thank you, God, for giving me this awesome morning sickness, where I feel the urge to throw up every hour. It means my baby is healthy and growing." "Thank you, God, for giving me 27 pots and pans to wash and a dishwasher full of dirty dishes to do every night, cause it means we are eating." "Thank you, God, for allowing me the chance to fold 17 loads of laundry on a constant basis because it means we have clothes to wear." Don't get me wrong. It never escapes my thoughts that some people would kill to have those things. But does that mean that I have to be happy about all of the menial, boring, unpleasant tasks of life, all the time? NO.
 
Sometimes, I feel like every waking moment of my life is filled with HAVING to DO something. Going to work, going to church, doing dishes, doing laundry, shopping for groceries, playing games the kids want to play, listening to Calliou or the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on constant repeat on Netflix, listening to kids pound away at the piano, getting Avery down from the piano bench (again and again and again) cleaning up toys, cleaning up shoes, finding bows EVERYWHERE, finding clothes for Avery every morning, finding stuff for ME every morning, listening to my husband's stories from the day, making lunch, making dinner, feeding the dogs, taking the dogs out, redoing furniture, cleaning out the fridge, cleaning out the garage, blah blah blah ON and ON and ON......
 
I almost never feel like I have a moment of silence, to do what I want to do, EVER.
 
Last night, I officially had 1 and a half hours after Avery went to bed to make a choice. Either do the enormous mountain of dishes in the sink (which I did) or sit down in silence and watch TV.
 
 
 
Well, I did the dishes and didn't have time to put them away, because there was an even MORE enormous pile of clothes that needed to be folded and put away.
 
 
 
Sometimes, we have time to wash and dry clothes, but putting them away isn't alway something we have time for. Well, I folded clothes and stacked the hangup clothes to be ready to be put on hangers, and by the time this was done, it was 9:45. There was still this mess....
 
 
And this mess....
 

There is just not enough time in life to do every single thing we want to do.
 
(Cut to Jessie in Saved by the Bell: "No time! There's never any time! I don't have time to study, I'll never get into Stanford, I let everyone down I am so confused! I am so....scared!")
 

How often do you sit in silence? Just sit, in silence, not talking with your husband or listening to the TV, just sitting with a book or outside in the breeze? I never do. How many of you have some sort of activity that you do on a regular basis, that is JUST about you and you alone? Bunko, softball, book club? I don't.
 
I swear, sometimes in life you just need a BREAK. I think mine comes around every 2 or 3 months, where I feel like I just want to do something, just for me. Where I can buy dinner at a nice restaurant where I wouldn't be able to take 3 kids. Or get desert somewhere where I don't have to share it with 3 kids. Where I want to do something grown up, like watch a movie with "adult content" and not one with the name "She-Ra" or "Lego Star Wars." I want to spend an afternoon, or better yet, a whole day, doing exactly what I want to do. That does happen in our lives, but not very often. I think the last time we spent a whole day doing what we wanted to do was our anniversary in March. I think it's long past due.
 
But alas, it will have to wait. This weekend, we are going out of town to see a friend of mine from NYC (which I really am looking forward to, actually). The weekend after that, it's a garage sale. The weekend after that, it's taking the kids clothes shopping. Perhaps one day, soon. I will just daydream about that day until it comes.
 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fall Decorating

I am really going to try and decorate more seasonally this year, rather than just Christmas. Starting with fall, I am going to show you some ideas I would like to try in my house. I can't believe it's almost September. I am already thinking about Halloween costumes, for crying out loud! For some reason, and I know this has nothing to do with the weather outside, it's starting to feel like fall. I would really say that Fall is my favorite season. I love the clothes people start to wear, the football on TV, pumpkins, the excitement of the best three holidays....

Great fall colors outside

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Loving the big tray of different color apples...how much do I wish I would have a need for that much firewood this winter?

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Spray painting gourds - good idea, except how long do they last before the rot? Anyone know?

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Ugh, I wish I had a mantle. If anyone sees one for cheap somewhere, let me know!

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Pumpkins...

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Pumpkins...

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And more pumpkins!

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How about some wreaths?

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Ok, who is coming over to help me decorate?!?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mirror Redo

This mirror was part of our "marriage mesh" of stuff. I had two boring brown mirrors and this was one of them.


It just looked so boring above the couch.


I decided to paint it blue to match the desk, but when I put it back above the couch, it just looked out of place.


So I found a new place for it...


And I moved my crosses over too.


Which also means that the corner got an updo. This sewing machine was given to me by my mother in law. I don't really know what I want with it quite yet, but it's very cool, don't you think? I definitely want to learn to sew, but for now, it's pretty just to display.


Everything is coming along!

Weekend Activities

This weekend, we literally were going, going, going all weekend long. This next weekend will be like that as well, I think.

Friday night, we took the kids to the Airhogs game. It was pirate night!





Avery did NOT want to put her head in that thing.




Everyone got a drink and one thing of "junk food" that they wanted. Avery got to eat everything, because she is just that special.



Saturday, Jason and I split up because Jordan had a party at Cosmic Jump. We decided that Avery would have great fun there and that Sophia and I would go do something fun together.
I think Avery LOOOVVEEDDD it. Jason had a hard time getting good pictures, though.


Sophia and I love to go garage sale shopping together. I really like taking her with me, she is great fun! So we did that in the morning and in the afternoon, it was roller skating at Forum Roller World!
I was actually quite impressed at how well it's been kept up over the years. It's not run down on the inside at all, but it still had that same "feel" as it did when we were kids!


I really love hanging out with Sophia. She is really easy going and will try anything. She didn't want to leave for hours. I had fun too, I forgot how much fun it is to just skate and listen to music and be free! She fell down alot in the beginning. I kept asking her if she wanted to leave, to which she would shout a loud "NO! I never give up!" And she didn't. Pretty soon, we was flying around the floor doing jumps!


We spent the rest of the weekend having people over. Great times!!!