Meet The Nat Pack!

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The Nat Pack: The super fashionable, super mod, super hip family consisting of Nat, Pete, Jakob, Brock, Troy, and Ivy. Like The Rat Pack, only younger, cuter, and not as rich or famous.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thirty-One-Derful Day

As if we needed ANOTHER thing of ours to break, my camera decided to stop taking pictures yesterday! was my birthday. YAY for perfect (comedic?) timing! Oh, it still takes pictures, but they look like this:

And...because I was fiddling around, thinking/hoping it was just some button that got pushed, I accidentally erased all the pictures that were on my card at that time, including one of my dear friend Steph and me together. (I see her once every year or two. Grrr.)

My camera came back to life for a brief moment, and Pete caught this gem of a picture.

So, that's my one record of my 31st. YAY! But, I still wanted to blog about my beautiful day, so we're going to do a little Paint recreating. Hold on, it's about to get ugly.

So, here's me and Pete at the Playmill Theater Friday night. We're saw "The Foreigner", which was hilarious! I had seen it once in high school, but didn't remember much about it. I LOVE the Playmill-they always do an amazing job.

(Yes, he looks a little pale and a little hairy. Just trying to keep it real, yo.)

And here I am yesterday at lunch with my kids and Pete, at Chili's. YUM! I'm sitting next to Jake, and we had just taken a way super cute picture right before the camera died, that-yep-got erased.

(That would be a burger and fries, and a blackberry lemonade.)

After Chili's we went to the temple visitor's center, and watched the movie about Joseph Smith. It was really good.

And here's a picture of me opening gifts. Jake made some airplanes for me, my parents got me a willow tree for my backyard, Kar got me some couponing supplies, Arin gave me some super yummy fudge, and Pete gave me the first part of Glee on DVD and an external hard drive for my digital scrapbooking stuff.

Oh, and I'll be getting a new camera for my birthday as well.

I decided to have cookies instead of a cake for my birthday. We stuck a couple of candles in the cookies. Betcha can't guess what I wished for!

I liked turning 30, but 31? Not sure how I feel about it yet. Although I can say "thirty-one-derful", which reminds me of one of my favorite movies, "That Thing You Do!" At first they try to spell their band name, the Wonders, like Oneders, and everyone calls them the "Oh-Need-ers". Liv Tyler is all, "Look! The Oneders!" and Steve Zahn is all, "It looks like the Oh-Need-ers", and Liv holds up her finger, and says, "No, ONE. The ONE-ders." And Steve says, "Got it. It looks like the Oh-Need-ers."

So anyway, that about sums up my birthday. It was really great, in spite of the camera gods shunning me. (Go here for kicks and giggles.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Getting Pruned, or, The Silver Lining

Unfortunate occurrence #1: the car wreck. I missed my red minivan. It was gone for two weeks. (It's back as of Friday-hooray! But it was making funny noises, so it goes back in tomorrow-boo.)

The silver lining: Since we're kind of homebodies anyway, it wasn't the biggest deal in the world to be without a car. I got a few things done around the house, like fix a sprinkler drip line, and weed a lot, and clean a bit, and replace light bulbs, etc. I half-heartedly attempted to potty train Ivy, who is totally okay with using the potty before baths. But when I tried to get her to go, say, in the morning, she sat there, and yell-cried at me, giving me this look of utter contempt. Maybe I need to show her the Tinkerbell undies that I got. (Ivy loves "Tee-beh".)

In the meantime unfortunate occurrence #2 happened: our air conditioner leaked. Kind of a bit, onto our basement floor and onto bottoms of boxes.

(You can't really see it on this picture very well; it's just the still-wet cement two days after getting it all sopped up. Who knew cement stayed wet for so long?)
The silver lining: Fortunately, I've kept our cat's food and all that near there; if I hadn't, who knows how long it would have been before discovering the awesome wetness, and who knows how much further it would have spread.

Because I was stuck at home, my schedule was wide open to have the fixer guys come. And they fixed one part of it for a small fortune. Then, it leaked again the next day, and the guy came and fixed another part of it for another small fortune. I think it's good to go now.

But the leak turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It forced me to pull out all our boxes and go through things. And because I'm a minimalist, it was way super awesome to get rid of a bunch of stuff that we haven't used in a long time.

I also pulled out a bunch of books and put them out on our bookshelves. They had been in boxes because little hands kept bending them. But those little hands have grown up a bit, so now I feel safe pulling all those books out again.

And also, because I love to organize, it was awesome to put a bunch of things back in place and all together. I can Tetris the crap out of anything. And since I got my car back, I was able to haul off a bunch of stuff to D.I. and to the dump. I feel lighter!

Which is ironic, because I just read this scripture the other day: Helaman 15:3-...yea, the people of Nephi hath he loved, and also hath he chastened them; yea, in the days of their iniquities hath he chastened them because he loveth them. I looked "chasten" up in the dictionary, and it says "... to prune of excess, pretense, or falsity, refine; to cause to be more humble or restrained; subdue." So, monetarily, we've been chastened in the last couple of weeks. But maybe it's because I needed to get pruned of some of my excess.

*sigh* I love blessings in disguise.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Vampires, Wrecks, Money, and Blessings


No, I'm not talking about these vampires.

Nope, not these guys either.

I'm talking about these vampires. You know, the people that only come out in the early morning or late at night. They aren't searching for blood, but for good deals. They aren't armed with venom and sparkly skin, but with binders. Binders full of coupons. Coupons that can get them cheap stuff, or even stuff for free.

I've been bitten by the coupon bug. And I like it. I think I might be addicted. I talked about this bug briefly in this post. And I must say, it's been going really well. I haven't necessarily taken money out of my bottom line yet, but I have been getting way more stuff for that same amount of money. And my heart does a little leap of joy.

The habits of the coupons ladies, I have discovered, is that they shop early in the morning, or late at night. I've joined those ranks, mostly because I stand in the aisle of the grocery store doing math in my head, and pulling coupons out of my binder, and arranging my groceries into transactions in my cart. And I don't want too many people staring. (Yes, there are times and stores when you have to do more than one transaction. I never would have thought that I'd be the type to run to two different Albertsons, just to find some cereal.)

So yes, it's a lot different than how I used to shop even two months ago. But it's been paying off. I've even gotten some stuff for free.
And, in general, I've saved 50-ish% on my groceries. (Well, right now, like I said, I'm spending about the same. So I guess you could say instead I'm getting twice as much stuff.)


Sad to say, today while I was leaving Albertsons, and heading to Walgreens and then Smiths in my quest for cheap grocery items, I got in a wreck. Not a huge one-we were in the parking lot. But the lady hit me in just such a way as to make my car immovable: she T-boned my front passenger wheel. I don't know for sure yet, but it looks like we might have to get an axle replaced. YAY for expensive car repairs! Oh, and we're down to one car for the next who-knows-how-long, because our insurance doesn't cover car rental, and there's no way that I'm going to spend $50 a day on car rental. Because that's not a racket.


However. I read this awesome book called The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. This is an awesome read for anyone and everyone. I loved reading it, and not just because I'm into finance stuff. He had some really interesting statistics and great stories. Basically, he sets out an order of things to do with your money-baby steps, if you will. And because I had started doing the baby steps, we have enough money set aside to cover our car insurance deductible in what is called...wait for emergency fund. Imagine that. Not that I'm looking forward to having that money leave us, but at least it's there, for this very scenario. I think I might have to write Dave a thank you note or something.


Now, even though I got in a wreck, (and let's be honest, who would want to get in a wreck?), I'm glad for several things that at least have occurred to me.

1) I'm glad I was alone, and not in a wreck with my kids in the car with me.

2) We were in a parking lot. No one was hurt. I had even felt prompted to pray last night really hard that we would all be safe. And I think that that's why this wreck was not a big deal-my Heavenly Father was looking out for me.

3) My dad came and got me. I have awesome parents.

4) I realized that I have so very much, including a car that gets to get repaired.

5) I have been feeling prompted, to the point of overwhelming pushing, that I need to get our finances in order. This feeling even started before reading that book, but it's been at the forefront of my mind for a while now. And I'm so very glad, because if I hadn't been feeling that way, we absolutely would not have had money sitting in the bank for emergencies. (Stupid, I know, especially for someone that graduated in finance.) The company for which Pete works has a contract at the Site, and in May 2012 that contract ends; we have no idea at that point whether things will dramatically change for us or whether things will stay the same. I don't know if that's why I've been pushed, or if there is something else in our future that is coming our way that we need to be ready for. But I'm so grateful for being pushed to save, and pushed to be smart with our money.

And for being pushed to become a "vampire".