Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Show and Tell Tuesday

I'm linking up with Andrea today at Momfessionals to discuss the topic of Steal vs. Splurge.

Typically I am a pretty thrifty person who is uncomfortable with spending money.  However, after being married for nearly 14 years to a man who has no trouble spending large amounts of money, I've come over to his side on a few things!


There are so many areas in which I don't mind one single bit at saving money.  

Clothes - I wear clothes from Kohl's, Target, Old Navy, or any place where I can spend less than $30 for pants.  However, I did make a conscious effort to look nicer for work last year and spent a bit of money at New York and Company buying nice outfits.  But again, NY&C is not really high end.  I like their stuff and it has lasted well over a year, but I'm not breaking the bank buying a pair of pants and a blouse.

Shoes - I've got lots of shoes, and most of them are from Payless Shoe Source.  Well, my heels for work are from there.  I will spend more on good running shoes.  It's important to keep your feet happy.

Hair - I color my own hair with dye from a box.  I go to the cheap hair cutting place at the strip mall to get trims.

Groceries - Wal Mart Neighborhood Market is where it's at!  Especially with their Savings Catcher app.  I let them comparison shop for me.  We usually earn back $50 every six months or so!  

Books - I love the online library borrowing system.  I like to purchase my "make me better" books, but I'm all for reading fiction for free.

Gas - Costco gas cards all the way.  Cheapest gas in town.

Exercise gear - Every time we go to Dick's Sporting Goods Store, I lust over the Calia line by Carrie Underwood.  But I just cannot make myself buy a pair of leggins for $80.  Not when I can get Champion brand leggings at Target for $20.  This is a category where I just might swing to the other side...someday.

Exercise Bra - That being said, good support up top is of extreme importance (in my opinion) and I spend quite a bit on my Enell bra.  Worth every penny.  It's not that pretty, but it gets the job done.

Purse - I'm always buying cheaper purses at Kohl's and they are ripping within a year.  My husband wants to buy me a nice expensive purse.  We'll see.  He believes you get what you pay for.

Bubble Bath - I LOVE LOVE LOVE my bubble baths.  And I like lots of foam.  I buy the 1/2 gallon size of bubble bath at Wal Mart for $3.  I never feel guilty about dumping tons of suds in for a bath at that price.


Nails - I quit getting my nails done last year and switched over to polishing them myself.  I like to splurge on OPI polish.  

Makeup - I have a sun spot on my cheek that drives me bananas.  In an effort to cover it up, I went to Ulta and the girl (with rhinestones glued to her eyelids) recommended IT makeup.  Tried it.  Love it.  Worth it.

Exercise Bra - see above

Groceries - While I mainly shop at Wal Mart, lately we have been heading over to Trader Joe's for better quality meats and produce.  They are pretty comparable in price, so it's not a huge over splurge.

See?  I'm bad at the splurge side!  It's okay because my husband will spoil me so I don't have to do it myself!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday Talk - Kids in Sports

Today I'm joining in with Erika and Ashley for Tuesday Talk.

Today's topic is completely wide open.  I was giving it some thought as to what I was going to write about and came up with kids in sports.  It's a topic that is NEAR and DEAR to my heart!  The crazy ups and downs that come with sports, the nutty parents (me), and the lessons learned are all a part of our life.  It seems like a natural topic for me to start with today.

A little background:
We have two sons. Evan is 12 and in 7th grade, and Hudson is 9 and in 4th grade.  Both are very athletic.  They both started playing sports at a very early age.  I think Evan was playing outdoor soccer at four, and I'm pretty sure we had Hudson playing indoor soccer at age 3.  Both kids played soccer for their school teams, played competitive travel soccer, ran track, played flag football for school, basketball for school, and they are now getting into competitive basketball.

I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd be a soccer mom.  I never played soccer, didn't understand soccer, and certainly didn't think I'd be screaming my head off on the sideline hoping and praying for a goal!

Evan the soccer stud.

We truly didn't know what we were getting into back when Evan was in 2nd grade. I can clearly remember being at his little school soccer game and contemplating "looking into competitive soccer" after the school season was over.  Evan's best friend was already a part of a travel team.  We asked the friend's dad about it that day, and he basically encouraged/pressured/suggested/cajoled us into going out to the competitive soccer game the very next day!  We went, not sure if the team was looking for more players (they were), not knowing if Evan was good enough (he was), and not sure of what was expected (we learned quickly)!

It has literally been a whirlwind since that day over five years ago.  Evan quickly became a strong defender and we had some of the best times traveling up and down California with our team going to games and weekend tournaments.  Hotel stays with the other parents were a blast!

Winning a State Cup Title was a blast!

My husband quickly jumped in with both feet becoming the manager for the team, organizing events, helping with fundraisers, and being at every practice rain or shine.  If Eric was involved 110%, I was making it to 95% of the practices and events.  It took over our lives.  And then Hudson got involved as well.  Two kids with two practices each week each lasting two hours and countless hours on the weekend.  An hour game come with an hour warm-up, half time, and after game meeting.  It was a minimum three-hour committment for games...and that was when we were in town. 

After five years, I was EXHAUSTED!  And I didn't even know it.  This sporting lifestyle was also on top of participating in regular school sport teams, volunteer work, full time jobs, church, and trying to have some sort of down time every now and then.  A funny thing about soccer (in my opinion), is there isn't really a season.  It just keeps going, and going, and going.  We never really had a break.  In five years.

There were many parts about their time in soccer that I loved. Watching games is fun, hotel stays, winning state championships, watching my kids grow athletically, watching my kids make amazing friends.

These two have inseperable since they were five.  Evan is the blondie.

There were many parts about their time in soccer that I hated.  The time committment was endless.  The extreme weather of dealing with an outdoor sport.  I am not so much of an outdoor girl.  I burn in the summer and freeze in the winter.  The cost.  This stuff is NOT cheap!  That's another reason my husband got so involved...it helped to defray some of our costs.

Watching a State Cup Championship in a rain storm.  Good times.

About a year ago, there were some changes in the soccer rules and regulations that changed the age brackets for the kids.  It changed the structure of the team and things just weren't the same.  Evan came to us this past summer and said he wanted to take a break.  So we did.  And it was GLORIOUS!  I didn't realize how run down and ragged I had become until the child helped us all to stop!  He needed a break, we needed a break.  He said he wanted to focus on basketball.  So we are.  And I love it.

We put both boys into a summer basketball and a fall basketball camp.  Very little committment and they both had a lot of fun.  We are now nearing the end of the school basketball season and will put them in a spring camp before starting competitive leagues.  

You may be wondering why?  I just got done moaning about the competitive soccer, so why would I start this all over again for basketball?  Plain and simple, because the boys like it and they want to participate.

Hudson is playing for his school team.

Get it, Huddy!

Hudson earned the Sportsmanship ribbon that week!

I'm a firm believer in the value of sports.  I think the lessons that kids learn from working together as a team, winning and losing, dedication to practice, working to get better...it all makes kids more well rounded.  Physical activity is especially important.  We have noticed a HUGE difference in Evan's attitude when he gets physical activity.  He's a whole different kid.  Pleasant, funny, and easy to be around.  When he sits around all day, watch out!  He's cranky, listless, and nasty.

Is the money, time, and energy worth it?  Will these kids move past high school level sports?  Yes, it is worth it for the reasons I just mentioned.  Will they make it past high school?  I can't answer that.  However, I always say, someone's kid has to.  Will it be mine?  I don't know.  But if playing college or professional sports is a dream of either of my boy's, then I'd like to do anything I can to help them get there.

For any of you out there with littles just about to get into sports, I'd say a very important thing to do is listen to your child.  We listened when Evan said that he wanted to take a break.  However, it was a break.  He did not quit in the middle of a season.  He knew he'd be going back to a sport in the fall whether that was soccer or something else.  And he knew we valued his opinion on what he wanted to do.  I think those lessons were important for all of us.

Plus, it's fun!  We just won 2nd place in a basketball tournament, and we are all still riding high on the fun of it from the weekend!

Evan is #15 in white.

I love it when I catch him smiling while playing.  That is what it's about!  Having a good time doing something you love.

Two years in a row going to the Championship Game!  Second place winners!

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Little Bit of This and That

Hudson was back to school after one day home.  A good night's sleep did him wonders.  I, however, have been fighting cold symptoms for six weeks.  I finally took myself to the doctor this week and got antibiotics and steroids to clear up the severe congestion.  I'm finally feeling a little more like myself.

We did an art project with our Jr. Kinder buddies and then all walked back to our classroom for some partner reading.  My class was wall to wall kids that afternoon!

I love my Apple watch.  I was impressed with myself on the 5th because that green ring means I got in at least 30 minutes of activity and the blue ring means that I moved each hour.

Laura and I went to Boot Camp and then we headed to a church meeting.  The Pastoral Council is starting six different areas of ministry that are designed to revitalize the church.  We are interested in the Religious Education ministry.

I've been using this app to keep track of my water intake.  

I put Christmas away last weekend.  It sucked.  I hate taking down all the pretty Christmas ornaments, lights, and sparkles.  Eric took all the boxes out to the shed before that massive rainstorms hit our area all week.  I hated doing it, but I'm glad it is done.

This second week back to school was rougher for me than the first week back.  It could be because it was raining ALL WEEK LONG!  We aren't used to this much water falling from they sky.  It made me want to get home, change into pajamas, and burrow into my blanket.  And that's pretty much what I did all week.  I didn't work out, I crashed under my blanket, I read books, and I ate a bunch of comfort food.

I've been keeping up with lesson plans, grading, and responsibilities really well over the past two months.  For some reason, I didn't keep us as well this week.  That is also quite frustrating.  It will just take a few hours of concentrated effort to get back on track, so I'm trying not to beat myself up too much.  I just hate falling behind.

We have a basketball tournament this weekend.  That will be fun, but it takes us an hour out of town on both Saturday and Sunday.  Evan is fighting a cold, so hopefully he'll make it through the tournament without too much struggle.  

Besides wanting to do nothing but read and be in my pajamas, things are good!  We get a few days break from rain and then are scheduled for three more days of rain next week.  It might sound goofy, but the rain wears me out!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Chicken Little is Home Sick

Second day back to school and I had to bring Hudson home because he threw up in class.  Ew.

To his credit, he found me in the resource room during morning prayer and told me he felt like he was going to throw up.  Is it just me, or do we try to convince our kids that they really don't feel that way?

I started in on all the reasons why he probably felt sick: at the doctor yesterday for his cough and wheezing, medicine is making his tummy funny, take off sweatshirt if too hot, tired, and on and on.  I did tell him to run out the door if he really needed to puke.  He didn't take that advice and threw up on the floor at the front of the classroom.  I owe a huge present to his teacher.

I updated some lesson plans and got my classes covered and brought him home.  He is feeling much better.  I tried to get him to sleep.  He is still resisting.  Guess who is going to bed really early tonight?!

At least Harry is happy to have someone's lap to be in for warmth.

In other news, we all survived our first day back to school/work after vacation.  It was a good, but tiring, day.
It was also a little hectic because I needed to get Hudson to the doctor to get ahead of the wheezing and asthma that always accompanies his colds.  Luckily, I was able to get him in during my teaching break.  Of course, he wanted a "treat" on the way back to school.  I'm a sucker and got him a McDonald's cheeseburger.

So much for this being the year of bright and bold lipstick!  I completely forgot to put any on yesterday!

I did, however, remember to pack lunch!  I'm back on my Whole30 plan at least until the end of January.  As much as I loved vacation, I'm ready to feel more alert, less lethargic, and have less cravings for sugar.

I got quite a bit done yesterday.  I've got my planner, my salad, my new scarf, my water, and Hudson's medicine!

My partner teacher surprised me with a Christmas present on my desk at school.  Inside were three Lush bath bombs!  I was so excited!  I've been wanting to try these things for weeks.  After boot camp I came home and thoroughly enjoyed my bath with this thing.  It smelled so good and made the water this super pretty purple color.  I'm going to have to teach myself to make these because I could seriously use one every single night.  At over $6 each, I think even Eric would start to tell me no!  But oh how I enjoyed it!  

Now I have to decide if I'm going to use the other two bombs right away or if I'm going to spread out the indulgence.  I want them now!

My January goal of making my bed each day is going strong on day four.  The dogs aren't really pleased with me as I kick them out of their warm spots.  That bump is Harry who wiggled under the blanket in search of warmth.

Buddy opted to lay on top of the soft blanket at the end of the bed.  I laughed at how laid back he looked resting on his side without a care in the world!

Fingers crossed that Hudson is okay for me to return to work tomorrow.  As any teacher knows, trying to create sub plans is not fun.  Sometimes it's just easier to suffer through and be at school.  I do have to say that the iPad program makes me being gone a lot easier.  I simply upload work and directions directly to the kids.  I just need someone to monitor them.  

In any case, I am getting quite a bit done at home.  Silver lining.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Top 16 in 2016

I have seen so many people who have sworn off the past year as the worst year ever.  I highly disagree.  I understand that every person has their own experience of a year, but I think there is always room to grow and learn from each moment we live on this earth.  I know some years can be tougher than others (2009 - the year my dad died was a TOUGH year for us as a family), but there is also good in the previous 365 days.

I saw THIS on a blog that I follow and wanted to do my little part to remember that 2016 was indeed a great year!  My entries aren't in any particular order of importance.  They are just 16 great moments from last year.

1. We had a great time at the Tulare Basketball Tournament in which Evan's JV team placed first and then Evan also got to help the Varsity team take 2nd place!

2. We enjoyed a fun Catholic Schools Week, and I had the best time wearing my veil and tiara for Crazy Hat Day!  I haven't worn my veil since my wedding day, and I felt so pretty all day pretending like it was my wedding all over again!

3. An AMAZING family trip to Disneyland that also included a fun dinner at Farrell's Ice Cream.  We saved and saved and Eric worked two side jobs to pay for this fantastic trip.  It was so nice to play and play and eat and play and not worry about paying for the fun.  Loved this family trip!

4. I am blessed to work with some seriously awesome people.  My teaching partner, Amanda, is the best of the best.  She has a heart of gold, infectious energy, and is such a great friend.  I am so lucky to plan days with her. Plus, she's always up for a selfie!

5. We went to Stacey's wedding in Pismo, and stayed a few extra days to enjoy Easter at the coast.

6. Eric and I participated in the California Classic.  We did a 35 mile bike ride on Saturday and walked a 5K on Sunday.  We both got our interlocking medals.  Such a fun time for us to enjoy being together.

7. My annual trip with my 8th graders to The Ronald Reagan Museum and Disneyland.  It was extra fun with these friends this year.

8. Eric and I attended a Dave Ramsey SMART conference for a second time.  We love the inspiration and motivation we get from these conferences.

9. I participated in the Spring Concert by playing the piano with two of my 8th graders.  I was so nervous, and it was so much fun!

10. We went to the water park as a family for the first time ever.  Since losing weight, Eric is much more comfortable and excited to do things like this with us that he could not do before!

11. Lots of cycling.

12. We took a baby beach vacation before school started.

13. My principal gave my partner teacher and I the go ahead to remodel our classrooms into a desk free zone!  It was so much work, but so worthwhile!  It gave me such inspiration to go back to school in August!

14. First day of school.  I am blessed to be able to teach and have my kids be at my school.  I have not missed an event in their little lives!  I also marvel at each year of growth that my kids experience.

15. I successfully finished my first Whole30 and it brought me better health, clarity, and vigor for life!  Yes, it really did!

16. We enjoyed vacation time as a family.  This is my new favorite picture...all of us in matching pajamas!

There are many more happy, inspiring, and growth moments that I could have chosen, but it just proves to me that through the bad times, there are always ways to look up and be grateful for the good times we also experience.