Friday, June 15, 2018

Frugal Friday 249

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- Mark worked shifts at his part-time job and overtime at his regular job. Mark is also away at a coroner school this week.

- Saturday the kids and I enjoyed the Little Library on the Prairie put on by our county library system. They enjoyed seeing and making all kinds of pioneer things. Owen really loved shelling corn and washing clothes on a washboard. Annabeth enjoyed making her own clothespin doll and doing laundry as well. This was the first year our library has held this event and it was wonderful! We were there two hours and didn't even manage to see or do it all. We headed home because Owen was tired and it was past nap-time but Annabeth and I could have stayed all day!

They each had a great time washing clothes and
then hanging them out on the line. 

Owen thought himself to be quite the cowboy with his
hat and boots.  

- Our sweet neighbor invited the kids over to her garage sale. They each got to choose a few little toys to bring home. Owen LOVES the big truck that she gave him. It's his most played with toy this week - even over his new birthday gifts! She wouldn't let us pay her so I had the kids take her handmade pictures later in the week as a Thank You.

- We have been outside playing every day for weeks. We have two huge bird nests in our backyard. The kids love checking for the birds and looking/listening to them each day. I have been holding onto the Charlotte Mason quote: An observant child should be put in the way of things worth observing. 

- Mark spent Sunday helping one of his scouts with his Eagle Project. The group got lots of work done and the scout sent home extra dessert with Mark. We enjoyed it after Sunday dinner.

- Sunday the kids and I enjoyed our friend Audrey's birthday party after church. Jeanette, Audrey's mom, is so creative and had the cutest party. It was a crafty tea party and the girls made cupcake banks, bracelets, and then decorated their own cupcakes. Owen tagged along since Mark was at scouts and both of the kids had the best time. I also enjoyed a nice chat with some of my favorite Mama Friends.

- Tuesday the kids had their gymnastics spectacular to close out the spring session. Our little tradition has always been to Annabeth out to a special lunch afterwards and since this was Owen's first year we let him choose. We enjoyed the pizza buffet at Chicago's Pizza. Afterwards, we headed down to Camp Atterbury to fish. The kids made it about two hours, thanks to cloudy skies and a good breeze, before Mark brought us home and went back to fish alone.

My favorite fisherpeople.

- As we were finalizing our grocery list for the week, Mark reminded me that one of the items was already in the freezer AND a co-worker texted us to ask if we wanted a couple dozen eggs which were also on our list. I am thankful for the blessing of not only what we need but more than enough! 

- I listed 5 baby items on Facebook. I sold one on Marketplace. It was our jogging stroller and I was able to sell it for what we bought it for! I love coming out even.

- We visited our county history museum (which is free!) yesterday with friends. It entertained the kids for a little over an hour.

We are looking forward to a busy dance filled weekend and Father's Day on Sunday.
We are thankful for the blessing of our earthly fathers and our grandfathers who have since gone Home. We are eternally grateful that Heavenly Father saw fit to make us and to give us the incredible blessing of salvation through Jesus Christ His son.

Happy Savings to All!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

10 Baby Names We Loved But Didn't Use

I love names! I have always loved learning people's full names and hearing the stories behind them.

I had so much fun naming each of our kids and lately I have been seeing some fun blog/vlog prompts and one of them is the "10 Baby Names Loved But Didn't Use" and thought it would be fun to share ours!

If you are curious about how our kids got their names check out those posts here:
Annabeth Sage
Owen Merit

So...10 Baby Names We Loved But Didn't Use:

Girls' Names:
Emerson (nicknamed Emma) - I always had Emerson Beth as my girl name. Mark really loved Emma and I thought Emerson nicknamed Emma would be cute.

Madelyn - We both loved this name and I still do. We know so many Madelyns and I just think it's such a sweet name! This was our "twin name" during Annabeth's pregnancy so if we had twin girls they would have been Annabeth and Madelyn.

Evelyn - This was the other name, along with Madelyn, that we tossed around both times. It is a family name from my Mama's side and just so feminine and beautiful.

Josephine Louise - This was Mark's #1 girl name with both babies. I believe both are family names from his family and he was so hooked on this name. I didn't care for either one (sorry family members!)

Carolina Joy -  I went through a phase while expecting Annabeth where I was obsessed with this name! There was a solid week where I HAD to have this name. Mark thought it was crazy and was never interested in it at all.

Elliott - We both really liked the name Elliott but only for a girl. We talked about it more so when expecting Owen and had a feminine middle name to go with it.

Boys' Names:
Ethan Patrick - From before we were married, this was our boy name. We both loved Ethan and Patrick is Mark's middle name. (We had intended to use our middle names for the kids' middle names)

Isaac - This eventually became our "boy name" during Annabeth's pregnancy. We loved it and the meaning of it as that pregnancy followed our struggle with infertitlity. The name Isaac was given in the Bible to Abraham and Sarah's son and means "God Laughs" We actually know many sons who follow infertitlity and who are given this name for that reason

Everett - We both really loved this name. It was quickly shot down by a family member so we scratched it off the list really quickly. That being said, I loved this name and would have love to use it.

We always had an easier time with girl names as we naturally just liked more of them. Other than Owen we only ever really had one boy name in the running during our second pregnancy. It's the one name "still on the table" in case we decide to name a future pet after a family member it'll be what we use :)

Friday, June 8, 2018

Frugal Friday 248

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- Saturday, we celebrated Owen's third birthday. We had a nice, quiet day at home where he opened new books and craft supplies from us and then spent the day playing with them. We had our families over for a Happy Meal Party for dinner. Owen chose this theme months ago and it was a big hit. He also requested a "cheeseburger" cake so I found a cute idea on Pinterest for cheeseburger cupcakes and cookies as french fries. Happy #3 Mr O!

While trying to get family pictures, my Mama caught this look between
Owen and me. I love this picture so much! Hard to believe our baby is three 

Cheeseburger and Fries Dessert for Owen's Happy Meal #3!

- Sunday, the kids and I took my family to Brown County. We owed my parents their Christmas gift from 2016, a day in Brown Co, and my Dad his birthday gift from April, a trip to Rich Hill's Magic Shop. We had so much fun learning some new magic tricks and buying more to learn at home. The kids played on the nature playground and we enjoyed treating them all to a wonderful lunch at Brozzini Pizza. We came home and the kids played out back in their new slide and pool from Aunt Lu.

Helping Grandpa (and Grandmama - see her in the reflection) explore Brown Co

- Mark escaped with a friend on Sunday and took a nice hike. It was only about 80 degrees and he said they enjoyed hiking a new trail. We were thankful he missed stepping on a six foot snake!! Eek! The kids did love seeing its picture though.

- We cancelled our subcription to our local paper. It just went up a bit in price and we really only get it for the coupons. There have been fewer and fewer coupons so we haven't really been saving with our coupons as we spent more money to get them. We have also found that Meijer often has the same coupons online as in the paper so I can continue to clip and use those.

- We also cancelled our cable subscription. (Yes, frugal friends, we have had cable all this time! We went years without it and when we moved to our current house we were debt free except for our mortgage and decided to splurge on something we really enjoyed) Our cable bill has steadily increased over the four years that we have been here and it just isn't worth it anymore. Now that our kids are older, we are looking more and more at taking bigger vacations and we are excited to use the savings from the newspaper and cable to help fund them!

- Wednesday night I got to go to the grocery, ALONE! I spent a bit more than I had planned but Owen's swim pants were skin tight, to the point he was refusing to wear them, and new ones weren't on sale yet but I got them anyway. I did score $.70 leggings for Annabeth in the next two sizes on the 90% off rack. Our bill for the week was still under $95 including those five unplanned buys.

- Yesterday morning, the kids and I met our friends the Peters Girls at our new park in town. We played there for an hour and then as it began to get hot we headed to the library to play for another hour. We also turned in our completed weekly challenge and earned three free kids meal coupons! Kelley and her girls also brought us a big bag of things to use for school. Thank you all so much!

We are looking forward to a really fun weekend with a special event in town, Eagle Scout projects, and a birthday party.

Happy Savings to All!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Owen Merit is Three!

Today, Owen Merit is three!

Owen is by far one of the funiest people I have ever met! He already has great comedic timing, we joke that he is channeling his cousins Addison and Austin who are awesome comedians and performers. He loves to put on a show and if you give him a giggle he'll do it 100 times to get more! He loves to make people laugh and to encourage everyone to "just dance now!" Owen already has a great idea of how to move his face to show us just how he feels about things. He has a sweet dance move involving his "dance face" and a finger point that would win any heart. Again, he'll do anything for a laugh!

He's also super in tune with people and how they feel. He can read my emotions a mile away. He is so sympathetic and kind when someone is hurt or sad. He also has some big, huge emotions of his own! He goes from zero to angry in about three seconds - we are working on that! 

Owen is often cuddly and sweet beyond measure. He loves to rock in his rocking chair with me and to sing our favorite hymn. He will also often cuddle with Mark and Annabeth still which is so lovely!

His favorite song in "The Giant Song" aka Bethoveen's 5th Symphony. You know, Dun-Dun-Dun-Dunnnnn" He loves to tell Knock-Knock-Jokes (missing the punch line of course, he is only three) He also has memorized many of his books and reads to us quite often.

Owen loves taking 'nastics class with "Aunt" Kari Kermode, Miss Emily, and Miss Tiana at Style. He has learned and grown so much this year! They have taught him gymnastics moves but he also has finally learned to jump! A skill he has been working towards for a long time. Here is Owen's "Yes! Jump!" face: 

Owen has also gotten himself into the K-3rd Grade Children's Church class. He refuses to go to the toddler one and insists on staying with Annabeth. Sweet Miss Teri and Miss Clara both let him stay and even humor him by telling David and Goliath (his favorite Bible story) every single week.

Some of Owen's current catch phrases:
"Hey Gaga! We best friends"
"My dad says about Bigfoot"
"No thanks. I good."
"Why you do that?!"
"Bigfoot says 'ooo'"
"We best friends Mama"
"Hey Dad, you my best friend"
"Giant Song! Dun-dun-dun-dunnnn"

My favorite thing about Owen is that he loves LOVES to pray and to sing praise music! He always prays when we hear sirens, before we eat, and before bedtimes. He also sometimes just prays at random, "Wow! Thank you God that geese! That's my geese!" Since I only play praise music in the car he has memorized last year's Bible School CD as well as some classic hymns ("Shall We Gather at the River" to name one) as performed by Reba. His heart is already so full of love for life and for the Lord! I pray that will stay with him always. We joke that he is our little minister in training.

It's hard to believe he's only been with us three short years. I feel like I cannot remember a time in my life before Owen. He is very much one of my best friends and such a source of joy in our lives.

Happy Third Birthay Owen!
We pray that you continue to grow in life and love and you seek to serve Him in all that you do. Amen.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Frugal Friday 247

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- Annabeth and I each finished our first 15 hours through our library's summer reading program. We each earned an entry into the Grand Prize Giveaway (which is awesome this year!! It's a weekend getaway that would be awesome to win!) We also chose little prizes - a water bottle for me and coin purse/earbuds for Annabeth. The kids and I did a scavenger hunt while at the library and they each earned a free pencil. Woohoo!! Free homeschool supplies!

- Saturday we made the drive down to Evansville for Memorial Day Weekend. We spent part of the day at the Children's Museum of Evansville with my Dad. My parents got a pass for the year and we had a lot of free fun in the air conditioning! We also took Uli Dog out to Sonic to celebrate her 17th Birthday!

- Sunday after church, we drove down to Owensboro to visit Momaw. She had a little birthday celebration for Owen with a fun card and gift. We enjoyed a BBQ lunch from Old Hickory and spent the afternoon alternating between playing board games and checking chores off her to-do list. We wrapped up the visit with a dance show by Annabeth and Owen.

- Monday we spent the day at my family's lakehouse. Owen didn't remember the lake and fell in love with driving the boat! Annabeth loved driving the boat, sitting with her feet in the water, and fishing. Mark had the best catch of the day a HUGE catfish!

 Anchors Aweigh on Memorial Day!
We enjoyed matching in our coordinating anchor outfits.
The kids' are from last summer, Annabeth's handmade by Kelley at
Heaven Bound HCA, and mine was a Goodwill find (new with tags!) earlier
this spring. 

Mark and Annabeth out on the open water 

Owen, Grandpa, Aunt Lu, and Annabeth out
on the second boat tour of the day

- As always, we stopped by the Lynnville Coal Mine Memorial Day Sale. We have been going to this for nearly a decade and always find awesome things! This year I found three books (a women's prayer book, an atlas for our school room, and a book about America by Thoreau), two brand new with tags Mud Pie holiday towels, and a little set of pilgrims with a turkey. All purchased by Mama making a small donation to the museum so completely free for me. 

I bought the Thoreau book for the inscription:
"To Leroy and Polly - Whose depth of existence can only be expressed poetically - thank you, Sally"
I don't know Leroy, Polly, or Sally but I loved this!

- Tuesday night we met our friends Jeanette and Audrey at the city pool for Twilight Swim. Our pool offers $2/person admission after 5 pm.

- Annabeth and I rolled the change in her piggy bank and took it to the actual bank. I try to do this a few times a year.

- We purchased Annabeth's dance costume for next year's solo. She had a very specific wishlist, despite not having a final song choice yet, and one came up that she loved and well under the budget I had set. I was thankful to find a good deal, shipped for less than I had planned for.

We had a busy week doing some deep cleaning around the house and preparing for Owen's third birthday and little party tomorrow.

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Frugal Friday 246

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- Last Saturday, Annabeth had a dance competition in Indy. We packed our water and dinner so we would not have to buy expensive concessions. Annabeth did choose to spend some of her own spending money on a popular item - a squishy toy.

- Sunday, Mark's parents treated us to lunch at Johnny Carino's. The kids especially love eating there and it was such a treat to have fancy, eat out food. Thank you to them!

- Sometimes when we visit our local libraries, I check out their free books to take home. This week I found a great looking pioneer book. The kids and I are currently reading the Kirsten series from American Girl and that will fit in nicely as we discuss all things pioneer!

- Sunday afternoon, Annabeth and I ran to the library to pick up some books we had on hold. We also stopped by the Franklin Story Walk's Free Little Library. She traded a board book about tap dancing for a chapter book about the Bernstein Bears Bear Scouts.

- Annabeth chose her birthday gift to give Owen next week. We used a $6 coupon and she is very excited to give him a PJ Masks "Cat Boy" toy.

- Our church is gearing up for our church garage sale. The ladies mission group puts this event together using all donations from the church and all of the money raised goes right back into local service projects that our church runs weekly/monthly. I challenged the kids and me to each pick out at least 10 nice items to donate. Owen went through his toys and chose about 20 toys. Annabeth went well above and beyond choosing some books and then made lots of goodie bags filled with smaller toys like Shopkins. I went through and found books, photo frames, jewelry, and some household decor to donate. My favorite thing about the church sale is that shoppers just give what they can. Those who live within walking distance of our church do not have much to give and as we work we love to encourage them to fill bags with much needed kitchen supplies, clothes, shoes, and books for their children for whatever they can spare.

- Wednesday was our 9th Wedding Anniversary. I took Annabeth to dance class, Owen and Mark had "Man Night" When Annabeth and I got home, Mark and I went over to our neighbors with her and talked to them for a bit. Ed and Gloria have been married for 61 years and it was fun to get some advice from them! After the kids went to bed, we had Penn Station for dinner and a long, sweet talk about where we have come from and where we are going.

Celebrating #9 with my Always and Forever

- Mark and Annabeth have a small fishtank. I mentioned our new fish last week, and have added two more "Orange Juice" and "Angel." Mark also scored a great deal on a larger tank and stand by buying used from a co-worker. He paid $60 on a set that is worth $300+

- Yesterday the kids and I drove down to the Louisville area to meet up with my best friend and her boys. She set up a whole fun water play area in their backyard and the kids had such a great time! They also have a sno-cone machine so the kids were in heaven! Thank you Rose for the wonderful day away!

We had a wonderful week and are looking ahead to a great Memorial Day Weekend.

Happy Savings to All!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

My Favorite Love Story

I have always been sucker for a sweet romantic movie (You've Got Mail and While You Were Sleeping are my favorites) I always wanted my first kiss to be on a Ferris Wheel, in the rain. I always wanted the love of my life to meet me at an airport as I got off a plane. I always wanted to be chased like those girls in movies.

Then, at 19, I began to see my favorite love story unfold - ours.

Mark and I met on the third Saturday in May. We couldn't stand each other. He thought I was a snob and self centered. I thought he was too rough, too tattooed. We were both immediately uninterested in the other and that was that. Or so I thought.
I started "lake walks" with different staff members and sometimes Mark would join as I often walked with his brother and a good friend of ours. One night, no one met up but Mark and me. So we went. And during a stop on a bridge, I heard that Still Small Voice say "This is the man you will marry." I remember thinking,"What?! I don't even like him! I don't even know him!" We finished the walk and for weeks I prayed over this during my quiet time and I found it becoming more and more firm from the Lord. So, I began watching Mark. I loved the way he interacted with children, the way he conducted himself after a long day of work, and the way he respected our bosses. I loved the simple nature of his interests, that even on a rainy day he would find work to do, and that we seemed consistent and fair in his relationships. By the fourth of July, I found myself praying on Lake Hill "Dear Lord, please let me be his wife."
On August 3, we officially became a couple. We prayed together over what our long distance relationship would look like and we both moved to college.

Our first fall, I returned to school in Louisville and he started college in Franklin. His grandma passed away, I began having anxiety attacks for the first time, and I was deeply grieving the loss of my dear, dear friend Brandon Sage. I felt very early on that he was now "home" to me and living apart was so very hard.
By the next March, my Granddaddy had passed away, Mark had left school, and we were both complete messes. We didn't fix each other though - not even a little. We gave each other space to grow and to learn and to mess up all on our own. We let each other just be. We each made some big mistakes and we each picked up the pieces by ourselves. Little did we realize how important that would be over the course of our relationship. We learned to be together without having to always-be-together.
That June, we got engaged. Mark knew to ask me in the perfect place on the perfect day of the year and it was just every thing I wanted! It was so wonderful to know that the rest of my life was just beginning.
Nearly two years later, on another third Saturday in May, we married.

Photo Credit: Michelle Forche

We first lived in a nice sized apartment, with a lovely rent price, in a terrible neighborhood. He worked nights, I worked days, and all we could do was wave as we passed each other on 31.
We then bought our sweet little dollhouse which become less and less romantic as we had to rewire it, rid the attic of a raccoon family, and build the back bathroom from the dirt up.
We waited and waited and waited for a baby.
We reached the point in infertility when you hate nothing more than being two instead of three. That point where the empty bedrooms in your house have to be closed off so their emptiness doesn't completely consume you.
And then we had our Miracle Girl. And although I've told her story so many times I know there is no one who really gets it but Mark. No one else who knows the joy of having her, the moment when we realized her heart had stopped, the pain of losing her, and the awe of her second chance like Mark and I do.
We made the move to Franklin and even though I was afraid, Mark said jump, so we jumped. And here we have truly made our home.
We added Owen to our family and Mark saw me through his delivery in such a steady and incredible way. If I had to pick a favorite way to see Mark, it would be the look on his face as we met our son.

In my life,
I have always been "too serious" and often be told to "just let loose"
I have always pushed people away before they ever got close.
I have always been afraid to feel, to commit, to lose.
And Mark was the first one, the only one, who never said those things to me. He never asked me to change. He saw who I was, from the moment we met, and he was right. I have a tendency to be selfish and to be snobby and instead of ever asking me to change - he fell in love with me.
And I was right, he is a little rough around the edges and it makes him fantastic at the job he does. God made him tough on purpose. I have rarely asked him to change - as I fell in love with him.
Despite not asking each other to change, we have done just that. Motherhood has softened me, made me more emotional, more open to change, and it's made me more and less selfish all at once. Mark's life's work has changed him. He has seen things that I cannot even imagine, he has processed scenes more horrific than any episode of a crime based tv show, he has met with victims and their families on a daily basis for six year now. His life is so different than when we met, completely different than the lives our family and friends lead, than we ever imagined. We have changed completely separately and yet still find a way to make our lives work together.

Our story is now twelve years in the making, our marriage is now nine years in progress, and it's by far the messiest, loveliest, best love story I know. Our first kiss, my first kiss ever, was not on a Ferris wheel in the rain (it turns out they shut down fair rides when it rains) but it was still completely perfect. He did in fact, once surprise me by waiting at the airport as I got off my flight. And while I always wanted to be the girl worth chasing, Mark made me realize it's better to just find the one that I have never wanted to walk away from.

So, to my Love, Happy #9 - may our favorite love story continue on from today...

To read all of my Anniversary love letters be sure to check out my anniversary tab