Friday, November 28, 2008

Oh Yes I Did

Go and see Twilight with my sister and 13 year old daughter.

And my 19 year old son...who chose that over seeing Bolt with the dads and 6 and under crowd.

And I liked it...even though I expected to hate it because I loved the books so much.

So when does the next one come out?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Autumn Asks: You know what FEELS GOOD??


I guess that title can take us in about any direction. But this is a family blog. Well, I think it is. Family pretty much defines my life, so yep, its a family blog.

To the post.

You know what feels good?

Pulling into the gas station to fill up for a 170 mile trip....and paying $27 to fill the tank. Oh yeahhhhhhhhh! That felt good! Those $60 fill ups were real tear-jerkers. If this keeps up we can afford Christmas! LOL!

You know what else feels good?

Making a quick stop at Best Buy on the way out of town. DH has not said so, but he has a very fat wallet from hording his mad money, his trip money from being gone and closing a few odd accounts that we had strung all over the United States. His computer has been driving him nuts lately because it drops letters. Well, back up. HIS computer bit the dust. So mine (we are talking laptops here) was confiscated (since I have the big daddy computer of the house anyways) and became his school computer. After he took it the letter dropping started. It's looking like a bad CPU but it still works for what I use it for...a travel computer or movie player on the treadmill.

Wait - back to the subject. So we walk into BB and he looks at the computer he's been watching in the ads...all the discounts are immediate, not mail-in rebates, and he announces that he is buying his new laptop.

Being the good Dave Ramsey groupie that I currently am, I asked for the details on the money -- he explains and I am very happy for him. I'm also happy for myself as I get my laptop back. (Note to frugal friends - all old laptops, including Songbirds, were free due to being in the right place at the right time...otherwise there would not be all these laptops floating around our place -- and they were all used and salvages laptops, never brand new.)

So here is what feels good: We go up to the register and they bring the laptop and my husband proceeds to count out the wad of cash and lay it all down. Cool. And the cashier and manager are standing there smiling in a rather cute way. So the cashier marks on all the money with a special pen to make sure its real, and then looks at DH and says, "Look how small your wallet is now! I've got all your money!"

To which he replys, "Yeah, but you've got NONE of my interest!"

Of course DH and I look at each other, do a mental high five and start laughing.

And the cashier and manager look at us with rather puzzled smiles and you can tell they had no clue what he meant. And what was funny? And did they need to call security or what?

And it felt good.

AND THEN... one of my favorite people, Kylie over at Bus Driver, gave me an award.

You know what else feels good? Having a brand new will all signed, sealed and filed away in a fireproof box. My children are provided for without anyone being able to question. Executor and guardians named. Assets divided as we wish. Also, our living wills and medical power of attorneys are taken care of. Out of pocket cost: $0 (we were on orders so even the gas and lodging were paid for). Peace of mind: Priceless.

And now I will turn back to into the wild eyed and crazy mom trying to bake her contributions to Thanksgiving while getting the laundry done to repack to leave tomorrow to go to Arkansas. And did I mention Bones doesn't get out of class until 3:00pm, DH works and it is a 7 hour drive? Tomorrow will NOT feel good.

Maybe the lingering feel goods will carry me through!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Everyone travel safe - in town or out. And enjoy your family!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

On the Road Again

Once again we are on the road. Back to San Antonio to update our wills. With my great aunt and uncle passing away and then my father being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, I pulled out our wills to make sure all was in order for us.

To my surprise...they were done in 1991. They are yellow even. We only had Bones. Not satisfactory. Having an adopted child we need to get this fixed and have her named in the will. I don't want some idiot coming out of the woodwork and challenging her in any way.

Lecture starts here:

Please, please please! If you don't have a will, GET ONE. Make one up using info on the internet and then have it notarized if that is all you can do.

My aunt and uncle did not have a will. She is now fighting to keep her house and vehicles and everything else because its all primarily in his name. She is living in a probate nightmare with no idea how its going to end and what she is going to do. On top of dealing with the grief of the loss of her mate. Do not let this happen to someone you love.

My parents didn't have their will together. Along with a prognosis of "2 days to 2 months" they had to scramble to get this done during the most devastating time of their lives. Do you want to be in this position?

And those of you with children at home....

Do you have relatives that you DO NOT want your kids to be raised by if you and your spouse were wiped out in a car accident tomorrow? You'd better get it in a will who you want your children to be raised by. NOW. You can change this in a later update if things change. Right now we have an adult son...but not one that I would want to have raise my daughters. He's just getting started in college - how could he? And there are other families members that we love dearly...but would not want raising our girls. Maybe they have a bad track record on marriages, or finances. Maybe they have religious preferences that are just not acceptable to us for our girls to grow up under. Maybe it is lifestyle choices they make - or all the parties they have (and you have a teenage daughter). Does this sound familiar? NAME a guardian for your children. It doesn't even HAVE to be family if its in a legal will.

Lecture over.

Anyways, it will take us a couple of days to get it all done and legal.

Tonight we got to eat dinner with granny. Tomorrow she says she can teach me to crochet. I'm hopeful! I want to make baby blankets to donate to The Care Center in town. Also I know that many of the agencies that handle fostering are in need of blankets and things also. I'd like to help in that way -- I like to keep my hands busy and this would be a way to be helpful to others at the same time. Wish me (or granny) luck.

On a side note, we had the squadron Thanksgiving potluck yesterday. We picked up Bones and he came to eat with us. It was a very wonderful meal. Of course we got accused of being all kinds of unsociable since we were off at a table by ourselves. Sorry! But we were catching up with our son so we sort of circled the wagons and had a wonderful family time in a crowd. Bad politics. But then, politics have never been my strong point.

PS - please excuse spelling...I can't get spell check to work and this computer is so old it drops letters also. Fun stuff from the road!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Autumn Asks: Did I give you an award today?

Heather at Want What You Have gave me an award today. (Check out her page to see her answers...she will make you laugh). This is my first award. I think that means I'm somebody now...but I'll have to check to make sure. Anyways, thanks Heather!

Here are the rules that you agree to when you accept this award:

"When you receive the prize, you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in their content or design. Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing that they were prized with 'Honest Weblog'. List [if you can and/or dare] at least ten honest things about yourself. Then, pass it on!"

Thinking of 10 things is always hard...but here goes:

1. I don't like spotlight attention. Can't stand being in charge. LOVE being the right hand of the person who is in charge and doing what needs to be done to keep them doing what they need to do.

2. I don't like being around 95% of other military wives. It's too hard. We are too lonely or stressed or tired or whatever. It's too much like being at a funeral.

3. I used to draw. So much that I was always in trouble in school for "doodling" on my work. So I stopped drawing. I picked it back up briefly while living in Iceland. The results:

4. I cross stitch -- but only when I watch tv -- which is not often and usually only movies. So it can take me 8 years to do one piece. Yes, 8 years. I tend to finish 1 piece per place we live. This would be Autumn Queen, that represents 8 years in Omaha.

5. I really, really, really want to learn to crochet or knit -- but haven't found anyone that can teach a serious lefty. I'm really hard to teach. I should be ashamed.

6. I spent too much money when my husband was overseas so much. Shopping was something to do to fill up the empty hours. Having always been frugal I find this quite shameful...even though "too much" wasn't into the thousands, it was still useless excess.

7. I am ashamed to drive a minivan. It is practical but ugly and boring. My first car was a 1969 fastback Mustang that screamed...and the minivan just doesn't compare. Heck, the Honda was better than the minivan.

8. I failed math classes in school. More than one even. But I was always the consumer math teachers favorite cause it was way too easy and I turned everything in and made A's.

9. I failed PE in high school. Not hard to do. Don't dress out and its pretty much over. I mean they really didn't expect me to play basketball or volleyball and risk breaking an nail did they?? Seriously. Not a joke.

10. I once threw my books at a star high school football player in typing class. And then I kicked him in the head when he bent down to pick them up. And I didn't even get in trouble although I did get pulled into the hall so the teacher could ask me what happened. That's the day the nickname "Spike" stuck. Sigh.

The 7 great blogs I will pass this on to are:

1. Angela at Adventures of a Supermom -- her blog entries are great. She is always making me laugh and the more I learn about her the more I love her!

2. Molly at Dark Oak Woman -- Molly is a fairly new web friend and I'd like to know a little more about her.

3. Amy at Having It All - one of my favorite people. Sure have missed getting the girls together and our play dates this fall!

4. Heidi over at Zeigler Family Adventures (Rainbow after the Rain) - another military and adoptive family that I love to keep up with.

5. Debbie at Suburb Sanity - another one of my new web friends that I like to follow. Would love to learn more about you!

6. Melissa at Tea with Milk - one of the blogs I have followed the longest. We tend to have "funks" at about the same time. Not sure what that means.

7. Suzie at Up the Hill Backwards -- fast becoming one of my very favorites. Love your blog!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Sandwiches and a Friend update

My web friend Suzie commented yesterday that she was more interested in my sandwiches than Albania. Probably a good thing since I can expand on the sandwiches part of the post...but used up everything I know about Albania.

If you have never read anything by Suzie, you should check her out over at Up the Hill Backwards. Today she filled us all in on Beer Pong. Yep. Everyone should know about this.

Anyways! Here is the sandwich recipe just for you Suzie. I took a recipe I found somewhere and messed with it to make it our own. I'm always looking for new recipes because when the family has graduations, I try to get everyone to contribute to a family recipe book to have made and send the newbies off to college with. This way they take those favorite food recipes with them. Our first edition was a huge success (We had 2 newly graduated and 2 college age when we did them for the first time.) Our next one will be when Songbird and her cousin are Seniors...about 4 1/2 years. Since I used up all my good stuff in the first edition, I now am on a 4 year quest for new favorites.

Hot Tuna Rolls

2 cans tuna
2 eggs, hard boiled, chopped
2/3 c. diced celery
1 tsp celery seed (which I used because I forgot the celery)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp. grated onion (I like it really fine)
1/2 tsp salt
Dash Lemon Pepper (if you have it)
White pepper to taste (black pepper is fine)
2 tsp lemon juice
4 Sandwich rolls (think subs) - uncut

Mix filling well. Cut a slit into one side of each sandwich roll. Pull out some of the bread middle to make a hollow space to put filling. Add filling to each sandwich but do not overfill. Wrap each roll in foil. Bake in 350 oven of 20-30 minutes.

This is fast. Notice there is no mayo or salad dressing in the filling. Since I use these as a picnic food I would not put any in to keep it safe. If the filling is looking a little dry to you, just add more will melt and make it not too dry. I put the sandwiches (still wrapped in foil) in a soft-sided, insulated lunch sack that my son used to use. The sandwiches were still warm over an hour later when we sat down to eat. They were really good and DH has requested they be written in "the book".

If anyone else has any good picnic type recipes please share. We like to meet daddy after work in town sometimes and need a portable dinner on those nights. I've run out of ideas.

On to different subjects...

I noticed today that my friend blogroll was very out of date. See, I got turned on to google reader and do all my blog reading through it now. Since that time I have new favorites and have new friends blogs added that never made it to my blog page. Today I fixed that.

I was horrified to find that I did not have Amy or Rose or Barb on there! Shame on me!! Also, I have new internet favorites that were missing. So, that's all updated. Check it out if you are bored and want to look in on someone new.

And now Mighty Mouse and I need to go get ready to spend some time with a Crazy Lady and her birthday boy~

Monday, November 17, 2008

Autumn asks: Don't you love 70 degree weather in November??

I do! I do!

The girls and I met DH at the library after work and then had a picnic dinner. I tried this recipe where you make basically a tuna salad with cheese (no mayo or mustard) and stuff it into some rolls, wrap it in foil and bake it for 20-30 minutes. The foil kept them warm until our picnic. They were really good. I got a thumbs up from DH, which is always wonderful. Anyways, it was 75 degrees when I left the house. I LOVE IT!!

BUT...when we got up this morning it was cold!! I had to turn on the heat for a bit. And there is something wrong with the thermostat. It makes noises at me. Well, it makes noises at DH also, it's not just me. Looks like yet another shoddy product used by Majestic Homes. Have I ever mentioned how all the closets collapsed???? But hey, not a big deal to replace a thermostat. As long as it doesn't short out and burn the house down until the budget will allow.

A sad: today was the last day of our Monday Mornings Ladies until January. I will really miss my group. I love it when we mix up the learn so much.

How about some pictures of Albania today? Albania was communist for a long time so most people really don't pay much attention to it. Its over by Greece and Kosovo in the Mediterranean. Not so sure its someplace I want to visit...I'd rather spend some quality time next door in Greece.

This is a church in Albania. The country is mostly non-religious (thanks to the Communists), but of those that do believe it is 70 % Islamic and the other 30% Catholic branches.

Kids in "native" dress. They look very proud of their clothes. Albania also has many orphans. I do not believe they adopt out internationally, but it you are interested in sponsorship there are companies that cover that, such as: SOS Children's Villages

The City of 10,000 windows. This village overlooks the sea. Nice.

Mother Theresa was born in Albania. I know I've mentioned before that I really look up to her. I need to read some books on her. Has anyone read any good ones that they can recommend?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Autumn asks: How about a post with no rants???

Wow! I've been rather cranky, fearful and angry in my posts lately, it seems. I don't enjoy that - believe it or not. Think I'll blame it on my husband being gone and playing the single mom game. Not fun. Stress.

Lame, huh?

DH made it home tonight - a whole day earlier than planned. I'll take it. You see, I REALLY like him. Even after 21 years. Or is it 22? I'll have to ask him...he's the date man of the family.

My hero gave me a new mouse today. The one I have been using has been double clicking when I single click. Most of the time its not a big deal, unless you are trying to highlight something or delete things out of your mailbox. What a pain. But now I have a fully functional mouse and am doing a happy dance. At least I was until he came into the room and informed me that my old mouse is working just fine on his computer. Like I was making it up. Well Buddy, maybe I will go buy that cordless mouse/keyboard combination I was looking at today for $60. Hah. Eat rice and beans for two weeks! Not really. I'm so proud to have saved money that I actually couldn't spend it when I was looking.

I'm a little fuzzy headed tonight and probably have no business using a keyboard. You see, I watched an old movie yesterday and the girl was drinking a Tequila Sunrise. Then I wanted a Tequila Sunrise as I haven't had one in ages...and I like them. So, when I saw the money I saved on groceries this last week I was able to buy the fixin's. But I bought Sunny D instead of orange juice. Note to self: not the same effect when you add the grenadine...its just not as pretty. ANYWAYS! Besides the overall visual effect being skewed, I also don't look anywhere near as cute as Meg Ryan as I drink one. What was I thinking? And I have to get up and go to church tomorrow. Just plain dumb.

Forget all of that.

What I really wanted to say/share are my three favorite things. Photographs. Travel. Children. (As long as I'm not babysitting them.)

Today, I want to share a couple of pictures of Afghanistan. Its easiest to start at A.

I have read 2 books that deal with Afghanistan that I really liked. One was "Three Cups of Tea". Its a book about an American that raises money for a school in a village that helps teach GIRLS also - as this was a problem in the area. Great, great, heart-warming story. Highly recommend the book.

I also read "My Forbidden Face" which is written by a girl/woman that was living under the unwanted Taliban. It's amazing what they do to women. I must say that I am looking forward to the Big O following through on his promise to beef up support in Afghanistan and pay more attention to defeating these terrorists. I agree whole-heartedly that we need to get in there and get serious. Please add this country to your prayers. I know I have.

Many women are forced to wear clothing that completely covers them. They barely have eye holes. Now, if you are convicted in this area, that God wants this from you -- well, more power to you. But if you are not convicted in this area and are being forced, beaten or killed if you disobey...this is so wrong. Women that are widows, with children, are not allowed to work and support their children. WHAT???? My God would never ask me to let my children starve.

I love pictures of children in their "native" dress. I love children in general. I love orphans and want all of them to be in families. Afghanistan has a large population of orphans due to the war in their country. My heart breaks for them. And Afghanistan does not recognize adoptions in the way we do so we can't help. I hate that. If you would be interested in supporting an Afghan orphan, look into groups like:

Afghan Child Education and Care organization

Okay, Bones has moved out to go to college. I have room for these two.

I wish.

Don't you wish you could save the world?

Anyways, at this point in time I don't actually wish I could travel to Afghanistan. Too much war and death. So instead, this is the time to pray for this country. For the women that are trying to raise their son's without loosing them to the Taliban schools and and armies. For mothers of girls that know they can't be educated and go to work. What a waste of talent. For college educated women that cannot use their education. Can you imagine what it would be like to be a woman doctor and be told you cannot work because you are a woman?

Can you imagine not being able to see a doctor because you are a woman and men cannot see you?

Genocide in a whole new way.

Don't forget Afghanistan in your prayers tonight, ladies. They really need them.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Autumn asks: Since when are teachers allowed to attack their students...and not loose thier job????

This clip starts in a language other than english but only for a few seconds. Watch what goes on in our schools. And I'm going to say it. If the teacher was WHITE, she would be so FIRED. If the teacher was a McCain supporter, she would be so FIRED.

I watched this and then I cried. And I cried again. And this went on every few minutes for some time today. Now, I'm NOT one of those people that cries easily. And I'd rather be caught picking my nose or my butt than caught crying.

And guess what...its not even about politics.

I watched my son self-destruct as a teen due to his father being overseas in the desert so much. All alone, I tried to handle a male child (and I didn't even have brothers so this was alien to me) full of anger and determined to make us pay. It was the most awful time...time spent hanging over the toilet being physically ill with his anger and acting out.

My daughter handled it in a different way. She cried. Non-stop. All the time. Especially in school. And the day another child told her that her daddy must not love her to be gone so much...well, lets just say its a very good thing he was a Sudanese refugee or the school would have had a huge issue on their hands. (Meaning I had no desire to go gunning for a family traumatized by its own war and horrors that I couldn't even imagine.)


This is a mental health issue!!!!!

All for politics????

That was NOT expressing an opinion - it was gunning for a child. It was humiliating a child. It was messing with the mind of a child.

A child that misses her daddy. A child who has no choice but to live without her daddy. A child that fears that her daddy might not come home alive.

Congratulations lady!

You verbally abused a child, on camera, and got away with it.

Welcome to the new america. (Lack of capitalization intended.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Autumn asks: Don't you hate it when you let something bother you ALOT and you just don't know why?

I've been really, really bothered by my complete disgust and lack of willingness to even acknowledge our new president elect. After all, there have been other presidents that I didn't vote for and I moved on with a shrug of the shoulders and an "Oh well!" I believe in our system and that our differences in opinions and focus are what makes our country strong. Plus, as another link in a long line of military dependents, it has been bred into me that the President gets our support no matter what.

As I put together my Veterans Day post I realized just how often I throw out nasty comments about the Big O and his supporters. And I just couldn't quite put my finger on what was making me act bitter. What the heck???

As I was going through my daily blogs, I came across, and there is was. Below is a partial post...please click through to read the whole thing if you are interested.

"The United States is quickly moving towards a society where the government feels they need to keep things “fair”.

Example: You have person A and person B, both fresh out of college. Person A gets a job and immediately starts to waste money on big screen TVs, cars and homes he can’t afford, racks up huge amounts of debt, and basically lives way above their means. Person B on the other hand, also gets a job, lives very frugally, puts money every month in his 401k, and lives well within his means. At age 55, person B has accumulated a great deal of wealth. According to many politicians, he must be punished, taxed heavily, and the money given to person A, who has nothing saved and a huge debt load, via government programs and bailouts. All in the name of fairness. I ask this question: “What could be less fair?”

Another example happened in our house on Halloween night. My son really hustled when ‘Trick or Treating’ and had accumulated twice as much candy as my daughter. When she realized this, the first words out of her mouth were, “Daddy, that’s not fair, he has way more candy than me.” I explained to her that “it might not be equal, but it was completely fair. He went to twice as many houses as you and really worked hard at it.” I guarantee my son would not have worked so hard had he known I was going to take 40% of his candy and give it to his baby sister!"

Our family lives rather below our "means". We put money away for retirement. On a single, military salary, that is saying alot. (And when we stepped outside this we ended up in debt that we are now working HARD to eliminate.)

We don't get to take vacations like other people. Our vacations consist of going to see family, hopefully twice a year, but sometimes only once.

My daughter and I both have bottom of the line cell phones. No camera. No texting. Nothing cool - just a phone. My daughter is mortified as cells are a total status symbol to kids. But, if it keeps me from being on a dog-food diet when I'm retired, I don't really care that she suffered from having such a non-essential item.

Our electronics and computers tend to be second hand or bought new and not replaced until they are beyond dead...years and years and years. They are never the "newest" thing as we'd rather watch someone else pay for all that new technology and go buy it after they have dropped the prices.

We buy a lot less house than the banks and realtors tell us we need and can afford. Peers can be rather shocked when they see the modest homes we live in. But, I will have a home when I retire that will not be a burden. I will be able to travel because of the money we put away while living in these small houses.

We almost always have used cars. We did buy my current vehicle new, but that probably won't happen ever again. I was traveling alot - 12 hours each way - and with my husband gone all the time couldn't afford a break down that he wouldn't be around to help handle.

So, now lets look at the people I know that voted for this change. And these are just ones I know personally.

Usually two income earning adults putting NOTHING away for retirement.

Latest phones with internet, texting, camera's and whatever else. And even if the phone itself was free...your paying for the stupid money plan because you CAN do all this extra crap. (And yes, some people do need this crap for work, I get that.)

They usually have two car payments...for cars bought brand new. Some of these homes have more cars than drivers.

Then there are all the after-market car rims or whatever.

Jewelry to impress the masses. Well, maybe they can hock some of this later.

House rich. Need I say more? Or at least they were house rich before the mortgage industry crash.

New clothes constantly. Not out of necessity, but out of "fashion sense" or whatever you want to call it.

They have no savings. No retirement fund. At least 10K in credit card debt. They are going to take out large student loans to get their kids through college (and let their children start their adult life with 30K in student loan debt.)

They vacation in the coolest places. Usually more than once a year.

Manicures, pedicures, expensive hair places...even when they are coming up short on paying a bill or two. This one is really beyond me. At least they look good while they are ripping off their creditors, right?

They buy DVD's, video games and equipment, the latest computers and laptops and an outrageous amount of Christmas gifts for their kids and over extend their cards....or just keep the balances so high that mom CAN'T stay home with the kids even though she desperately wants too.

And I could go on.

So, that's it in a nutshell. I'm going to get to retirement age with money to live on. Money I sacrificed for EVERY DAY. Money that was HARD to put away. Money I would rather have spent.

Money that will be taken away and given to those that did not do the work and make the sacrifices necessary to take care of themselves.

FEAR. That's what I'm feeling. Fear that all the hard work and sacrifice will have been for NOTHING. It will be taken from me to give to the greedy, over-extended "poor" people.

And yes, there are people that are truely "poor" and in need of help. We need to address that. So, how about government loans to start grocery stores (think mom and pop) and subsidize while necessary in those poor parts of town that no store wants to operate in. They NEED groceries and you can't tell me none of these people would be interested in owning a store. How about huge incentives to businesses to open up factories or whatever in these same areas to provide jobs for those with no transportation. Since companies like to get away from the 35% taxes in America and go to places like Ireland which has only 11% taxes -- give an incentive of 10% taxes to businesses that operate in our poorer areas that need these jobs so bad. And its American workers that are making the wage! With the tax incentive they can afford to pay the workers a decent wage.

Lets get rid of these stupid pork-barrel grants to things like pig research and put in into the communities that actually need help thriving. You know we have so much of that. It could be done.

And there it is. The reasons I really don't even want to deal with the new big guy. You know, the one that is so big on fixing public education....and is sending his girls to private school. Yep, that one.

You know, my husband made a joke about finding out about off shore accounts....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Autumn asks: Have you prayed for a Vet today?

I am so glad we have Veteran's Day. It should bring to mind all the sacrifices that our service men and women have performed in our favor. Maybe those that don't serve will slow down for a minute and be thankful. I don't really expect that from the Obama generation...but you never know. (Childish dig daily quota now met.)

Being that my little world is so wrapped up in these hero's, I wanted to do some cool, thankful post that was just profound. I just can't seem to flesh it out with words. Part of that is because DH is gone for yet another holiday. Its hard to be thankful when your kids don't see their own dad on holidays...especially one honoring them. And my father is very there is another cloud of sorrow for this year. I really miss my grandfather also.

So, after racking my brains on what to say I gave up. Instead I'm going to post pictures of the hero's of our family. I am sad to say that I am missing some very important people here. I'm going to have to make some phone calls and see if they can send me a picture in uniform. If you are part of my family and don't see yourself....I need a picture!!

Since life is all about me, I will start with my side of the family:

My Grandfather BQ. 1st Calvary, US Army. I miss you Papa!

My grandparents after the war.
My grandparents, mom and uncle in Japan.

My Father

DH. My, isn't he handsome?

And on DH side of the family:

Great Grandfather...World War I
DH grandparents, aunt and father.

DH father. You can see who he looks like!
DH older brother. he looked when I married him. I don't think either of us looked over 14. But then again, we barely were!

Love this picture. DH and two younger siblings that he did not grow up with. Wish Bones had been able to be in ROTC.
Same younger brother a few years later.
And yet another younger brother.

I am missing my Uncle, who followed in my grandfathers footsteps. Also DH has an Aunt that retired from the Air Force and an Uncle who is currently a general.

I am very thankful for these family members...and all the others that have served. I will pray for all of you tonight and thank God.

But, Uncle Sam, stay away from my Bones. We've done our part. Amen.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Autumn asks: Are you actually working with a written budget?

Budget, budget, budget. Kinda sounds like the name for pimple on your rump. "Oh no, not another budget! Need to buy some more breathable cotton undies."

For the first 15+ years of our marriage, we were golden. If we had $700 in debt I would need a paper bag to help me breath. People were begging us to take their credit cards or loans or whatever. We had to fight off the bank when we went to get a loan to buy our first house (and second even) -- they wanted to give us a stupid amount of money...which we knew was more than we could pay on a monthly basis. (It was no surprise to us when the mortage market crashed.)

I grew up the daughter of a career military father. And my mother did the same. We can stretch a dollar. We can cut a corner. You have to be able to in order to survive on a military income. (I do believe military is paid better now than it ever has been in the past...but that still isn't saying much). And the best thing about this is that there are systems in place to keep you in check. The creditors can go to the government and get your pay. You can be put in mandatory budget counceling, etc. You have to answer to THE COMMANDER if you mess up...not a good thing.

Anyways. When we adopted we began using the credit cards. It would be for things like the plane tickets (which I would then turn around and pay off) and such. We did this for many things. And then, the waiting between submitting paperwork and actually getting your child went from 10-12 months to less than 6 and we didn't have the money we needed to finish in cash. Ouch.

And that was the beginning of the end. You get over the despair of swiping that plastic and you are had. Add a move to an area with no military housing and a 2 month stay in a hotel (of which only 10 days is reimbursed) and you've got a problem. Or at least we do.

So one day we wake up to the fact that we have over 10K in dept (not house and car related). WHAT??? I also haven't worked in 4 years so this makes it worse.

All that to say that we decided to go to the Financial Peace class at church. I thought I knew all about budgets -- but I was soooo wrong. Take this class! It is fantastic!

Now, its going to take a little time to get the wrinkles ironed out, but by putting down that budget on paper for this month I was really encouraged. We can do this. And there is something about writing it all down that makes it easier. Yes, I said easier.

So we are working on a zero balance budget. This means every dollar is put down on that paper and told where to go. (And there is a "blow" category also so its not like you have no mad money.)

But, we do have some growing pains.

Songbird needed fall/winter shirts and the clothing allowance isn't built up yet so we blew that and ended up hitting the plastic for the extra. But, it is less than what we will put toward the clothing allowance next paycheck so I will put that money straight onto the card. Not too bad.

And I ran out of entertainment money so I wasn't able to attend a trip to the corn maze with friends that I was really looking forward to. But I sucked it up and was good. And for coffee night with some friends this week I will have to rob the grocery money...but DH is out of town so we aren't spending what we usually would so I can afford the $5 for a Chai.

And I now know I need to increase my blow money to closer to the amount DH gets. And I found 3 categories I need to fund raisers being a big one, and office supplies (think printer ink) being another.

But I feel better than I have in months and months. And we will pay off our first bill the 1st of next month..a whole month earlier than I have planned because I can SEE where everything is going to go and work it that way without shorting ourselves in another area.

And right now, I have very little faith that things will get better in our country so I NEED to get this paid off and handled. And hey, it might happen quick if the government is really going to go after our IRA's or 401k's -- we'll cash those puppies out and pay the debt if the government makes a move to touch them. NOT. I didn't work so hard to get that money there to entrust it to the government.

The funniest thing about this has been figuring out what you can get rid of and what you will not. The newspaper is gone. Another monthly household bill is gone in March when our contract runs out. Songbird can mow the lawn if DH is not home (I have serious grass allergies that prevent me from doing it).

The things that I will not get rid of:

1. The internet. And I won't even get cheap internet. DH is taking some college classes on line so it is not optional. He wants to have his degree finished before he retires from the military so it is very important. Plus, I couldn't breath without it. Hello, my name is Autumn, and I an internet addict.

2. Cell phone. I want to be able to reach out and touch my kids anytime, anywhere. Now, that being said, Songbird has a pay-as-you-go phone that we top up with $20 every 3 months. That is cheaper than the $10 extra a month we would pay if she was on my plan. Plus, it keeps her OFF the cell phone. At .25 a minute, there is no talking to the buds. There is no texting. It's a "call mom/dad" phone only. Rather embarrassing for her to explain to all of her friends, but I'm building character here!!!

3. My Netflix. This is because we decided to get rid of cable. Really. We did. But I couldn't do I turned it over to my husband. And I see that he still hasn't done it(for 2 months). So, in the end this might be one of the things that he just can't give up and I might let the Netflix go instead.

What about you? Are you working on an actually budget? And if you are, are you just doing what you are told or are you actually involved in the budget planning? And what are the top 3 things you wouldn't give up?

I'd love to hear any tips or pitfalls you want to share.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Autumn asks: Mommy Brain anyone?

Mommy Brain. It sends shudders down the spine to even go there.

Why do so many of us lose our minds after having kids? Maybe not in a big way...maybe its just misplacing the keys all the time...without help. Maybe its being unable to recall a conversation you had with your spouse...20 minutes ago. Maybe its forgetting to check the gas gauge in the car.

And on and on.

My latest brush with Mommy Brain occurred when I tried to put a new hook in the ceiling of the pantry. During the ant invasion clean-up I pulled one basket set out of the ceiling and I was just now getting around to replacing the hook with a stronger one.

So, I stepped into the man cave and pulled out a power tool. Now, power tools are a good thing, but I'm not real versed in them. If DH is around he handles all power tools. Its a guy thing at our house. But if he's not around its not like I CAN'T use sometimes I do.

Mighty Mouse was being a little over the top, which is not really normal. Actually, its becoming the new normal, I just haven't adjusted to it yet. Anyways. I got out the drill and found myself a bit and put it in. Of course I'm fending off the thumb sucking, blanket loving, noise factory as I'm trying to do this.

And I marked the spot I needed. Then I put the drill up to the wall. And then something warned me that all was not right.

Couldn't get the shot to focus...but what you are seeing is a drill bit...backwards.

At least I can say I did not actually try to start drilling this way. But I was close. Too close. Yep, I was feeling rather special (ed) about the time I realized this.

So share! What's your funny Mommy Brain story?

Now, on to being Thankful.

Today, I am thankful for Emergen-C. Have you heard of this? Its a suppliment you put in your water. Some are straight vitamin C, but others have B vitamins or other stuff in them. They have a whole line of different formula's and flavors.

Whenever I start feeling run down, or have a sniff or scratchy throat I reach for this stuff. Or if I know there is a reason why I can't get sick before a certain event, I will take it daily to stay well. I also use it daily when I travel.

It really works for me. And I don't mind giving it to my kids if they have been exposed to a nasty. We have a ugly stomach bug going around church right now and since we are up there three times a week I've been keeping the kids and I on the C.

Vitamin C is water soluble, so you void the excess the body doesn't use when you go to the bathroom. This is one reason why you don't have to over worry about giving too much. Also, an overdose in C can cause diarrhea, but that's pretty much the worst of it. (Disclaimer: I am not a doctor...this is just stuff I learned in college nutrition.)

I recently sent a bunch of this (in all the different flavors) to my mom to try. My father was recently diagnosed with cancer and it is really important that she stay well this winter.

And you know what? Right now you can go to Walgreen's and buy their brand of this stuff. They have a sale of buy one, get one free. The name brand is 8.99 at Walmart and HEB here for a box of 36. The Walgreens brand is 9.99...but they have a sale of buy one, get one free right now. So if you use this also, run down to Walgreens. Flu and cold season is just around the corner.

What helpful stay healthy hint do you have for cold season?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Autumn is not Thankful

So I said I was going to post what I am thankful for with each post this month. Clearly that cannot be the case today.

I forgot to factor in the election.

So today was more of a monster movie kind of day. (Hey, at least I have my outlet.)

Yep, today was all about...

Blood sucking, radioactive mutants from another planet. With sneaky crab mutant people that popped out of the water and got you. And don't forget the bat people that dropped down on you from no-where.

And it was about blood sucking vampires. The kind that prey on the hard working people...while they party all the time. And it doesn't matter how good looking you are...because you are a vampire. I mean, really!

And to wrap it all up perfectly...giant rats and maggots.

Yes, so the world makes sense again. And now I know how to survive the next four years. Although, it might be kind of hard to find one of those holy water balloon launchers. Guess I'll have to check Ebayyyy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Busy Hands Make Happy Hearts

I spent the day working on some Christmas ornaments for Songbird. Her scout troop will have a craft booth at a Craft Fair on the 15th of this month. They are raising money for their trip to NYC. I thought I would send her with a few extra things to try and help out a little. After know who pays the difference if they don't raise enough money.

The fun thing is that it kept my hands and brain busy and happy. Since its election day and I really really don't want the other guy to win, it was a good day for a distraction. Never once tried to peek at the news or figure it out...tomorrow is soon enough to find out who the next president will be.

I have had this project sitting in a ziplock bag for no less than 10 years - ribbons, pins, the whole deal. I thought they looked neat so this was the perfect thing to give a try. The bad news is that I like them so much I want to keep them! LOL! Maybe they won't sell and Songbird will bring them home to me.

Well, still have several more colors to do so back to work!

Hugs to all that went out and voted. And I give anyone that sees my son permission to kick him in the pants for not voting.

I also came up with the idea that this would be a good month to count my blessings. So in each blog post I do this month, I'm going to start it with something I am thankful for. What better time than around our Thanksgiving?


The number one thing I am thankful for is my husband. The guy I want to spend every day of my life with. We got married at 19, so we've been together a long, long time, and I look forward to tripling it!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Autumn asks: Alone again?

Seems like several ladies I know are doing the single mom act this week. Better now than at Thanksgiving!

DH left this morning. Mighty Mouse is already asking for her daddy and wanting me to call him. This is super cool if you know our history. The first two years we had MM she only wanted me. I was her security blanket -- and she needed that blanket 24/7. This December will make 4 years home and we can say she is just as much a daddy's girl as a mommy's girl now. That rocks.

Anyways, I went to Bible study this morning and then pretty much headed for home. First day I always like to lay low and feel sorry for myself...or just re-adjust...put on the BOSS hat, that kind of thing. It's been a nice quiet evening.

Sharing an all time favorite picture of mine today. Look at this baby's face...she/he knows love when she/he sees it. Mother Theresa was amazing. I would love to have spent an hour in her presence.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

It is Done

Well, we did it. DH is leaving town for awhile so we met for lunch yesterday and then went and voted.

I so can't wait for this election to be over. It makes me want to throw up. For real.

But, I did the right thing and went in and cast a vote.

Soon it will be over.

And we can get on with the process of picking up all the pieces. We can concentrate on surviving whatever CHANGE we get hit with. And I can pray that next time around there will be candidates worthy of voting for instead of voting against.