Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Two little things

1. Maggie 11 months old.
2. I love this pic of my kids.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My best bargain day ever

Walgreens paid me $97.59 to take $539 of merchandise off their hands today. Seriously. It was awesome.

Some of you know that for about four months I have been bargain shopping with coupons at drugstores, known online as the "drugstore game," because many people challenge themselves to see how much stuff they can get super cheap or free. You get the best deals by combining store sales, rebate programs and manufacturer's coupons to get stuff free or even MAKE A PROFIT (!) for buying certain products.

This week's awesome deal at Walgreen's was (drumroll, please.......) DIAPERS! So with two munchkins in diapers, you can guess how thrilled I was! I don't usually post the little deals I get with my bargain-hunting, but I couldn't resist today. I am so thankful to be able to take advantage of this deal. It is going to help Lucas and I budget-wise so much over the next few months! I really do think it is just a gift from God.

Here's how we came out after a day of shopping:

Items purchased: 

57 Jumbo packs of diapers
4 Baby Einstein teethers
4 Sippie cups
3 packs of string cheese
1 Baby Einstein rattle
1 Aveeno shaving cream
1 2 pack of Binky pacifiers
1 Scrubbing bubbles action scrubber
1 Pert Plus shampoo
1 Baby teething beads
1 Disney playdough
1 CountryTime lemonade mix
2 Coke 2L
2 Ramen noodles
1 Pack mechanical pencils
1 small keychain

And the totals (Can you believe this?!?):

Total money spent out of pocket: $8.19
Register Rewards (can be used like cash at Walgreens) received: $95
Rebates to receive cash back: $10.78
Total shelf price of items purchased: $539.63

Thank you, Lord!!

P.S. I just had the thought that I really should thank my dad for instilling in me the love of a bargain. Although it probably mortified me at the time, those childhood trips to triple coupon grocers where we left with 5 carts full of free toilet paper likely inspired my love of a good bargain! 

Could you cut it as a 1930's wife?

All I have to say is this: if "Dresses for Breakfast" is a requirement, then I'm getting some serious demerits. However, since my husband is usually thoroughly passed out asleep during breakfast, and Max and Maggie probably won't rat me out, I guess I'm safe. :-)

P.S. Click on the picture to make it a little bigger to read it. It's hilarious!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Free BumGenius Diapers give-away

For all of you mommy-of-baby-types out there, you might want to check out this give-away on Baby CheapSkate:

12 Free Bum Genius Diapers give-away

In Which Maximus Proves he Lives in Lucas Roebuck's Home

Today Maximus was looking at a little placemat we have that lists the numbers 1-10 and then the corresponding number of a particular type of food next to it. As I was feeding Maggie her breakfast this morning, I  heard Maximus quietly listing off the numbers and the foods:

"One apple, two carrots, three strawberries, four tomatoes...."

And then he paused, studied number nine and eventually looked up at me and asked me:

"What's this one, Mama?"

I leaned over, looked at the placemat and smiled.

"That, my dear Roebuck child, is an onion. Nine onions."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Works for me Wednesday: Waffle Edition

Am I the last person in the world to figure this out? I have recently discovered that waffles can be reheated in the toaster and come out the perfect crispy-on-the-inside and soft-on-the-outside combination. I knew, of course, about good old store-bought frozen waffles that you could heat up in the toaster, but it had never occurred to me to do this with my own homemade (well, alright... baking mix made) waffles.

Here's what I've been doing lately, waffle-wise:

1. Mix up a big batch of waffle batter and make the entire batch into waffles.
2. My family eats the waffles they want for breakfast, and the remaining waffles go into a plastic zipper bag and into the fridge.
3. When we're ready for waffles again, I toss them in the toaster one slice at a time and they come out steamy, fresh and perfect!

That's what works for me!

For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Conversations with Maximus

[Maximus woke up with a bad dream last night. When Lucas went in to check on him, all Max said were these three little words: "Scary Robots, Daddy." Today, Maximus can't stop talking about the "scary robots."]

Max: That big robot scared Max. He went, "BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!" It scared Max.
Cherissa: Yes, your daddy told me you had a scary dream about robots.
Max: That big robot was in Maggies room, came in Max's room to my bed. He come back to my bed.
Lucas: No, Max, you probably won't have that dream again. He won't come back.
Max: (adamantly) He IS come back!
Lucas: Okay.
Max: That big robot come to my birthday party.
Cherissa: No, that robot won't come to your birthday party. He isn't real.
Max: (after thinking a few seconds) Is Max real?
Cherissa: Yes, Max is real.
Max: You real?
Cherissa: Yes.
Max: Sister real?
Cherissa: Yes.

[Max runs off to play, clearly relieved that he is not living with a family of incognito scary robots.]

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Passing Thought

Tonight as Lucas and I were walking to the car with the two kids, I had a somewhat random thought. And it shook me to the core. Well, maybe not to the inner core, but perhaps to the outer part of the core.

Anyway, For some reason unbeknownst to me, I suddenly remembered two different gals that I knew years ago who had babies born 11 months apart. Maggie will be 11 months old next week.

Let's put that on the top of my list of things I am reasonably certain I would not be able to handle: bringing home a newborn next week with an almost 3-year-old and an 11 month old.

To all you women out there who could handle/ have handled babies 11 months apart: I applaud you. But I am sure thankful that it's not me right now. I get exhausted just thinking about it.

These are the random things that I waste mental energy thinking about. I don't know why. But I do.

A Big Week for Maggie!

This has been a big week of "firsts" for Maggie. Just check out this list of what our little lady is up to these days!

• Waving hello and goodbye
• Saying her first words! ("Cracker," "Da-da" and "Ma-ma")
• Crawling (fast!), to pulling up, to standing, to standing while holding on with only one hand
• Knows the meaning of "in" and "out," and loves to play little games where we put things in something and then take them out again.
• "Shares" her food with us. Loves to feed me and Lucas Cheerios!
• Drinks from a straw

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Double the Fun

We are a two iPhone family now. Given the state of our poor-ness... this seems a little ridiculous to me. But after much deliberation, Lucas and I both thought that getting the second phone was a good choice. 

AT&T offered existing iPhone owners the option of upgrading to the new iPhone for the same price as a new customer who had to sign a new 2 year commitment. Ever since Max threw my phone into the bathtub last year, I have been using a bottom-of-the-line Nokia ("candy bar phone," as Lucas called it) that was the free phone four years ago. Not pretty, especially since it did not work well and I could often barely hear on it. 

So we were looking at having to buy me a new phone anyway since we don't have a land line and use our cells as our main lines. But I wasn't up for a phone upgrade for at least another year and the cost to buy even another bottom-of-the-line phone without the new phone plan would cost close to the reduced price on the new iPhone. 

Blah, blah, blah.... long story short: we took the plunge to become a two- iPhone family. Lucas got the snazzy new white iPhone 3G, and I got his old iPhone. Max couldn't be happier.

Yesterday after all the iPhone purchasing was complete, Max saw the AT&T logo and pointed to it. I said, "That says, 'AT&T.'" He said (very authoritatively) "No, Mama. That says 'iPhone Store.'" 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good news about my mom

Mom and Dad met with their oncologist today to review their finding from the CT scan last week. The doctor had good news for us: he said that as long as the cancer is stabilized (her CT scan showed that it is), the prognosis for her life expectancy remains the same– even if we don't see the drastic reduction in tumor size that we had hoped to see.

It's funny how quickly my perspective has changed. When we started this process, the thought of only having one to two more years with my mom was unbearable. But when the alternative becomes 30-60 days without chemo or if chemo is ineffective, one to two years starts to look a lot more appealing. Again, I'm reminded that God holds her days in His hands.... and I'm thankful that (at least at this point) it appears that her treatment is effective enough to give her a few more months if God wills.

Thanks for following this journey with us and praying for us. The doctor reminded my parents today of how important a positive outlook and a good support network. He said "don't underestimate how huge it is that Vicki has a positive outlook and has a caring husband and supportive friends and family." You are all a part of that, and we are all so thankful.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Must Read

If you are going through any type or degree of difficulty in your life, please, please take a few minutes and read the post on the link below. It was such an encouragement to me today.

What Just Happened Here?

Do you ever have one of those moments when you just pause and think, what just happened here?

Perhaps it was like the moment today that I realized all of this had happened in approximately 93 seconds:

On the front porch, just as I realize that Maggie is standing in the wagon that was supposed to be keeping her contained, I reached to keep her from falling out of the wagon and then see out of the corner of my eye Max waving around an ant trap he had found that was now dripping poison all over him. So I grabbed both kids and ran inside and up the stairs to the bathroom to strip Max down and get rid of the poison before somebody ate some of it. And just as I had lathered his hands down at the sink and stripped of his clothes to toss him in the tub, I glanced over to see Maggie pulling herself up on the open toilet with her tongue heading right for the rim. Nice.

And when I asked myself, What just happened here?, the answer came back so clearly: what just happened here was a normal 93 seconds in the life of a 2-year-old and a 10-month-old. Amazing to think that someday these little people will clothe, feed and care for not only themselves, but perhaps even a new generation of 93-seconds-of-craziness-creators.

O Perfect Day

Saturday afternoon.
Picnic dinner in the park.
Perfect weather.
Downtown Boise.
Splashing in the fountains.
Happy family.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

How to Solve Temperature Issues with your Spouse

I'm not talking about the cold shoulder.

A couple of days ago in our house, I told Lucas, "I'm freezing! Air conditioning always makes me SO cold!" He looked at my like I was crazy.

Don't get me wrong- I'm super thankful for our air conditioning, and I'm a wuss when it comes to hot weather. But I prefer to keep the temp on our AC up pretty high (around 79-80 degrees) so that it just kicks on every once in a while with a blast of cold air and then turns off. When the air is blowing non-stop, I freeze. 

Anyway... I discovered that my husband did not know about my AC freeze-out issues. I couldn't believe it until I remembered this:  for two out of the last three summers, I have been quite pregnant (thus liking things cooler than normal), and the other summer we lived in two houses in Oregon with no AC.

The good news is that our current house offers the perfect solution. It stays nice and frigid downstairs, and cozy-warm-but-not-too-warm upstairs. It works out okay because Lucas and I can chat with each other online from our perspective computer stations: his downstairs and mine upstairs. We are the All-American Tech Nerd Family.

Tooth Garden

Guess who grew tooth number two...

Make New Friends and Ditch the Old

The long-overdue event in Max's life has arrived: bye-bye binky. Maximus has slept with a pacifier every night of his life. Now that we are well past the 2 1/2 year mark... it's definitely time to bid farewell to the much adored binky.

Two nights ago we snipped off the end of his binky with some scissors, and when he found it in his bed, we just told him it was broken. In Max's mind this was really no problem, and he just proceeded to ask if we could go to the store and buy a new one. Smart kid. We said no, but gave him a new little stuffed dog friend, "Chata" (the name of his Grandpa and Abuelita's dog that he loves) to keep him company while he sleeps.

So far, so good. There has been some crying, but overall the transition to binky-free sleeping has been a successful one. 

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Biggest Loser

Well, friends- I have been humbled yet again.  I lost the wager about the line for the new iPhones at the AT&T store in a big way. When Lucas and Max got to the store at 7:45, the line was already wrapped around the store to the back of the building. The manager had just come out and counted down the line to the cutoff point for the number of phones they had in stock, and it was only a third of the way through the line.

I've learned my lesson- I will never again bet against my husband concerning anything related to technology!

Tech Nerds Unite

I'll admit it. We are a tech nerd family. Today Apple releases their new iPhone 3G, so Lucas is upgrading his iPhone and I'm getting his old one. It's 7:45 a.m. and Lucas and Maximus are already gone to the AT&T store. Only a new tech gadget could get Lucas out the door with Maximus by 7:30 a.m.!

The AT&T store opens at 8, and we have a little wager about whether anyone but Lucas will be there waiting for the doors to open. He thinks the whole town will be out there waiting. I think he's going to be flying solo on this one. Check back later to find out which of us was right.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Status Update on my Mom

I just got a call from my dad about the results from my mom's CT scan. The results were not as good as we had hoped. The doctor had previously told us that we would most likely see significant shrinkage of the tumors after this second round of chemo (perhaps even up to 80% smaller). However, the scan showed that the tumors are only slightly smaller or about the same size as before beginning the chemo. 

The good news is that the cancer has not spread and the tumors are not larger. Especially with a cancer as aggressive as small cell lung carcinoma,  the fact that it hasn't spread shows that the chemo is getting some of the job done. The doctors and all of our personal research all agreed: if she had not started chemo, she would most likely already be gone by this point in time. So, we are thankful for the fact that the cancer has not spread, but a little discouraged that the chemo has not zapped those tumors back a lot more.

God was gracious to remind me today in the midst of this discouraging news that no matter what the outcome of this CT scan, my mom will not live a day longer or shorter than God intends. He is a loving and compassionate God who holds her days in His capable and powerful hands.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I See First Steps on the Horizon

It won't be too long now...

Conversations with Maximus

Max: (while looking at one of Maggie's baby pictures on the wall) Maggie was born in Idaho.
Me: That's right, Max. Maggie was born in Idaho, and you were born in Arkansas.
Max: (after thinking for a few seconds) When I go to Arkansas, I go to the doctor to feel better.

Poor kid, he's been terribly sick every time we've been to Arkansas in the last year (three times). We need to go back and have a visit that he doesn't associate with having to go to the doctor over and over!

P.S. And in other major news in Max's life: Wall-E. That's all this already-robot-crazed kid needed. We have all already been to see it twice "for Max."  Finally Lucas has a legitimate excuse to see multiple showings of Pixar films!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Dear Target: Do you sell anything that sucks?

Today we finally caved and bought a new vacuum– only after Lucas and I both tried to unjam the carpet fibers stuck in the tube of the old Dirt Devil vacuum and ended up piercing a hole in the tube with a wire hanger. At that moment, we both looked at each other while thinking the same thing:Why in the world do we go through this every time we try to vacuum? Here's a novel idea... let's get a vacuum that actually performs the function for which it was intended. [Gasp!] Brilliant!!

And so we loaded up the kids and headed to Target, which (thankfully) has a good chunk of their vacuums on sale this week. I was only tempted momentarily by the bottom-of-the-line-just-like-our-old-vacuum Dirt Devil marked down on clearance to $39.99. There's a reason that piece of junk is less than $40. We moved on down the line and picked out one that looked like it would last more than 6 months and would keep our newly crawling Maggie from consuming more dirt from the floor than food from the table. 

Back at home, Lucas put on his handy man hat (the most dusty of all his hats) and assembled the vacuum. And oh, how it sucks. I felt a strange mixture of simultaneous disgust and satisfaction as I saw the collection tube fill up with all the nasty dirt and carpet fiber sludge that has been making its home in my carpet. 

This is when you know you have truly entered adulthood and there is no turning back: Not when you say your wedding vows, birth a child, or purchase an "It's-not-a-minivan-it's-a-crossover" vehicle. No, true adulthood has arrived only when you've spent more on a vacuum than on all your own personal wardrobe, makeup and hygiene for the past two years. And here's the kicker: And you're really excited about it.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

We are home! It feels so good, so familiar, so "take-a-big-sigh-of-relief-because-you-are-where-you-should-be" to arrive home after a long time away. Surely this really is what it feels like to go to heaven- a coming home. 

Thursday, July 03, 2008

On Our Way

Well friends, we start the long trek home today. In about an hour and half, we'll give our hugs and probably shed a few tears and then we'll be on our way to Denver. We'll stay in Denver tonight with Lucas' mom and Tony, spend the 4th of July with them and then head all the way home to Idaho on Saturday.

Please pray for a safe trip for us, good travel for the kids, and peace for us as we leave my mom and dad. It's hard to say goodbye, but we know it is time to go home for a while. And they're probably ready to get rid of us for a while, too! :-)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

When the Abnormal becomes Normal

Dad, Mom and I left the house at 7 this morning to go to the oncology clinic in Fayetteville for Mom's MRI. My mom really struggles with claustrophobia, so she had taken a sedative-type medication when we left the house so that she would be calm and settled when we arrived for the MRI.

My dad dropped us off at the front door of the clinic, and I helped my mom into the building as she was already feeling a little woozy from the medication. She smiled at me and said, "Things you never thought you would be doing, huh?"

I looked around at the oncology clinic waiting room and realized that it has become quite a familiar place to our family. I've known several families who have experienced cancer, but until it invaded my family, I never could have known how cancer turns the world as you know it upside down.

MRI, chemotherapy, anti-nausea medications, blood tests, doctors visits, calls to and from the nurses... these are the events that seem to fill our days with my mom right now. And in between all of these medical procedures, we are squeezing in some sweet and meaningful moments every day. 

There truly is joy in the journey, not matter how difficult; and I would not trade a second of the time I've had here with my mom.