Monday, December 31, 2007


I don't know how many of you make a budget each month for your spending, but M and I do. We started shortly after we got married and changed our method a bit once we took a Dave Ramsey class offered through our church in Austin. (My brother calls us Dave Ramsey disciples although we do not follow all of Dave's suggestions. I do have to give Dave some credit though. He helped M and I get completely out of debt twice and has helped shape our views on spending. I hope that we are now better stewards of what God has entrusted us.) After the course, we started having a zero budget each month. This means that every penny of our paychecks and bills is accounted for in our budget and the budget has $0 left over at the end of each month. This lets you know where all your money is going - even savings.

Budgeting is very interesting. I work with budgets at work as most accountants do. At work, it is not always a big deal if someone does not stay within his or her budget. But that is a different story on our personal budget. After all, it is OUR money we are talking about. Well, I have had a hard time this year with my grocery budget. I know I should be able to stay below the budget we have set, especially since there are only two of us in the house (three if you count Max). I feel like I need to change my entire strategy for grocery shopping. Do you have any suggestions for saving money in this area?

Friday, December 28, 2007

What a good boy!

I am so proud of Max. He did exceptionally well on our out-of-state visit. I was really worried about it and lost some sleep over it both before our trip and on our first night in Texas. Thankfully, the weather was sunny and in the high 40s and 50s during most of our trip. He was a real trooper. He was excited to see everyone – and my nephews wanted to play with him which was fun. He has never jumped up on us so it is nice that he can say hi to people without jumping up on them. My family sure appreciated that. Here are some more fun facts about Max.
  • He likes carrots and peanut butter – not together (although I am sure he would love that, too). That is the only people food we have given him other than the giblets from our Thanksgiving turkey. He wasn’t sure about those but eventually ended up eating them. I have to say they looked disgusting to me.
  • He does not chew his food. As far as I can tell, he just swallows it. I don’t know how he does that.
  • He snores. He doesn’t snore every time he is asleep. It is not terribly loud so I think it’s cute. If it kept me awake however, it would stop being cute.
  • His name is still only Max. We are still trying to think of a good, upstanding name for his registration. We have had him for a couple of months now and have not come up with anything to put with Max yet. If you have any suggestions, we would love to hear them.
  • He got Christmas presents from M’s sister’s son and her dog. He really liked both. One is a candy cane full of treats. The other is a stuffed duck that really sounds like a duck. It is cute and as soon as we opened it for him, he ran around the house with it. He likes stuffed toys, but so far they don’t last long before the stuffing starts being taken out of them.
  • We learned over Christmas that Max enjoys digging through and eating horse poop. That’s right. What else can I say about that (isn’t that disgusting)?
  • He is a pretty good traveler (at least by car). This was his first time to leave the city – he even crossed two state lines. He mostly napped in the back seat as we drove.
  • He likes the bed…of course, who wouldn’t? It’s big, soft, and warm. After getting home from our trip, I felt like Max needed to be spoiled a bit. He did so good, and I wanted to make sure he knows he is loved. So for the past couple of nights he has slept up on the bed. Tonight it is time to go back to the crate. We all sleep much better when he’s in there.

Baby it's cold outside!

The temperature has not been above 30 degrees since we got home on Tuesday. M used to tease me all the time about the very small range of temperatures that is comfortable to me...and it's true. I don't like to be cold or hot...maybe Colorado isn't the best place for me to live. The ideal temperature for me is somewhere between 65 and 80 degrees. Even though I really like to experience all 4 seasons in the same year and I like to wear both winter and summer clothing, I do not like the cold. I like to see the snow and know that it is cold from inside my warm house. I don't like to get out in it...and my car agrees. It makes quite a ruckus in this cold weather. It is sunny today which is a huge improvement...even though the temperature right now is 9 degrees. It doesn't look like it's going to get much warmer over the next 10 days, but it is supposed to be sunny. It is amazing what a difference the sun makes. That is true in our lives as well...the Son makes a huge difference, all the difference in the world. Today I am thankful for the Son in my life and pray that others see the difference He has made.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I made it!!!

My goal was to be at my personal goal weight by December 31. Today I officially made it! I weighed in at my WW meeting for the first time as a lifetime member. I just knew I was going to gain weight over the last week because I ate a little bit of the treats I made for my co-workers, finished off the bag of Hershey's kisses, and did not watch what I ate as closely as I know I should. I was shocked to stand on the scale today and lose 2.8 pounds. All I can say is that it must be the walking/jogging I've been doing with Max. I have been moving more than I was. My leader did not seem very happy with my weight loss and told me not to lose any more. I seriously didn't lose on purpose this week. It will make the next couple of weeks interesting. I believe I will now let myself have some delicious pie over Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Goodies

One of my favorite things as a kid was helping my mom make yummy goodies at Christmas time. By helping, I probably mean eating the goodies. I watched her, but I'm not sure how much help I actually was. So now, that is what I want to do at Christmas time. M and I do not need to eat all these goodies so I decided to take them to my team at work. I had a good time making everything and hopefully they will have a good time eating it all. I made peanut butter cookies with kisses on top, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate no bake cookies, tiger butter, and peanut butter fudge. There were a couple of other things I wanted to make, but I ran out of time. This is what everything looked like. It's really amazing how much people enjoy homemade gifts.

Sleeping Beauty

Isn't he sweet? If you are sitting still and Max is ready to take a nap, he wants to lay right next to you or on you. Here is taking a nap with his head on M's leg. The other day I was sitting on the floor to play with him while I was talking on the phone. He jumped up on the couch behind me, put his head on my shoulder, and went to sleep. It was very sweet - but his head did get rather heavy on my shoulder. Max was 16 weeks old on Friday. He will be 4 months old on Christmas Eve. Here are some pictures I took yesterday. He is still growing a lot and enjoying chewing on things - like the rocks he is laying on in our backyard. He was the top student in class this week...there were only 3 puppies, but he did very well. We still have a lot of work to do on some things, but he is doing well in general. He really enjoys chasing and retrieving a tennis ball. He is very good at bringing it back to you if he is interested in it, but he needs to work on leaving it with you. He pretty much likes to play with anything as long as you play with him. He likes loads of attention.

2007 Christmas Tree

This is by far the biggest Christmas tree I've ever had. At the nursery, the tree did not look so big. But when we brought it in the house, we couldn't even stand it up because it was so tall. So M had to take it into the garage and use his saw to shorten the tree. That was a fun adventure. When we started getting all the dead leaves out of the tree, we found a bird nest. I've never had one of those in a Christmas tree. Thankfully, there were no birds or eggs in the nest. It made me feel a little bad that we took someone's home for our tree. Max didn't know what to think of the tree at first. He would walk the long way around just so he didn't have to walk directly past it. He warmed up to it before we went to bed though. As I said before, he does not like the vacuum and we have to vacuum a lot with this tree. It has been dropping needles like mad. We are enjoying turning on the lights every day. Now we just need to get some gifts under that tree. We don't have many shopping days left and we have a lot left to do. Oops!

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

I cannot tell you how many times I have mindlessly sang the words to this song. Today as I was singing along, I heard a line I have repeated several times but never really thought about. Here are the words so you can see what I'm asking about.

It's the most wonderful time of the year.
With the kids jingle belling,
and everyone telling you,
"Be of good cheer,"
It's the most wonderful time of the year.
There'll be parties for hosting,
marshmallows for toasting and
caroling out in the snow.
there'll be scary ghost stories and
tales of the glories of Christmases
long, long ago.
It's the most wonderful time of the year.
There'll be much mistletoeing
and hearts will be glowing,
when loved ones are near.
It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Why does it say "there'll be scary ghost stories"? Is the song about Christmas? Or is it about Fall? I have always thought it's about Christmas which makes sense. But what's with the scary ghost stories? Is it referring to the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future? What do you think?

Poems about Cowboys

Does anyone know of any poems or short writings about cowboys? If so, will you share them with me please? Thank you!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Poo on my Pants

So a funny thing happened a week or two least it's funny now.

I went home at lunch to let Max out and to play with him for a bit. We ran around in the backyard to spend some of his energy before heading inside. Then I got down on the floor to play with him. I sat with my hiney on my feet. While I was driving back to work, I called M to give him the Max report. I thought I smelled puppy poo, but I didn't really think anything of it. After hanging up with M, I looked down and saw the puppy poo on the end of my shoe. I thought "Oh, that explains the smell." Within seconds of having that thought, I remembered how I had been sitting while playing with Max. The next thought was, "OH NO! I probably have that same puppy poo on my hiney. Grody!!" Sure enough, I did. But I was almost to work and it was too late to go home and change. Thankfully, I had a couple of Shout wipes in my purse. They generally work wonders, but this is puppy poo we are talking about. I just had to make it the rest of the afternoon and then I could get home and change. I basically work in an office by myself so this wasn't a problem. I did have to clean the seat of my car and my chair at work afterward, but it all worked out. And thankfully, the only person to know what happened (at least as far as I know) was M because I told him about it.

That is why I scoop the poo as often as I can (as well as pay attention to what I am stepping in while running around the yard) prevent this situation from arising again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pray for Julie

I got an email today from my college roommate Rachael. Her sister-in-law needs our prayers. She has had a stroke and brain surgery and currently has a blood clot in her brain. They can do nothing about the blood clot but pray that it doesn't move. Julie and Rachael's brother have a 13 year old son, 5 year old daughter, 4 year old son, and 3 month old son. They had to deliver the baby 8 weeks early because her blood pressure was such an issue. Please keep their family in your prayers. I will add updates as I get them.

Lifetime Member

As of last Tuesday, I am now a lifetime member with Weight Watchers. This means I have reached my Weight Watchers weight goal. It also means that I no longer have to pay to attend weekly meetings. I still want to lose a couple more pounds, but I am so happy with the success I've had on the Weight Watchers program. I would definitely recommend it. Here is a before WW picture (taken January 25, 2007) and an after picture (taken November 22, 2007). I don't really have many (if any) pictures of me alone so M is in these as well. Losing weight is kind of a weird thing. I have to look at these pictures to see the change. Since it has been gradual, it is hard to see a difference when I look in the mirror.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


We have now had Max for 6 weeks. He was 15 weeks old on Friday. I took him to the vet for the third time for puppy shots and his rabies shot, and we are now finished with those for a year. I also had him microchipped on Friday. It doesn't cost very much and any place that finds him should be able to locate us with the microchip if he somehow loses his collar. That was the only "shot" that made him whimper a bit. At 9 weeks he weighed 18 pounds. At 12 weeks he weighed 25 pounds. At 15 weeks he tipped the scales at 36 pounds. He is not fat or pudgy...he is just growing. We call him Maxhead as a term of endearment. Somehow we started adding the word "head" to the end of things either before or after we got married. M wondered today if Max thinks his name is Maxhead. He comes to both so I guess we're okay.

Some fun facts about Max...

  • He really enjoys running around in the snow...and eating the snow.
  • He has mostly learned to stay away from the Christmas tree.
  • He has learned to "sit", "lay down", "stay", and come when called.
  • He enjoys laying on his back...especially when his belly is being rubbed.
  • He also really enjoys walks. Well, actually he enjoys jogging rather than walking. That has been some good exercise for me.
  • He barks at his reflection.
  • He chases his tail all the time.
  • He is quite the acrobat - mostly while chasing his tail. He does all kinds of somersaults.
  • He is scared of the vacuum cleaner - even when it's not on. When he sees us pull out the vacuum, he runs the other direction and won't come back until we put it away.
We had more snow this weekend, and it has been really cold. We went out to shovel the driveway this afternoon because I wanted to. I roped M into doing it and because the driveway was so slick, he fell twice. Thankfully, he was not permanently damaged and we didn't have to make any trips to the ER. We also had our Sunday school Christmas party last night. We had a fun time fellowshipping with everyone. We ate dinner, sang Christmas carols, and exchanged ornaments. The roads were very slick, but we made it there and home safely.

I also watched two new to me holiday movies this weekend - "The Nativity Story" and "The Holiday". I think both movies came out last year around Christmas, but I had not seen either one yet. I thought they were both pretty good. As I am not a great historian or Bible scholar, I cannot tell you how accurate "The Nativity Story" was, but I know they got all the important things correct. I would recommend both if you are into holiday movies.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas Favorites

I really enjoy this time of year. I like hearing Christmas music everywhere I go and seeing all the pretty decorations. I have been surprised with how many houses in our neighborhood have lights out. It is just fun to see.

I also really enjoy listening to Christmas music. I generally try to get at least one new cd of Christmas music each year. M has been making fun of me because I have 192 Christmas songs on my iPod. That is all I will listen to between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I could sit at home in the evenings listening to Christmas music - sitting in the dark with the lights on the Christmas tree turned on. It is all still magical to me - even though I'm 30 now. Some of my favorite songs right now are "We Are The Reason" by Avalon, "O Holy Night", "Don't Save It All For Christmas Day" by Avalon, "For Unto Us" by Bebe and Cece Winans, and "Worthy Is The Lamb" from the New Young Messiah cd. I am sure I am forgetting many. I really love listening to this music!

I also enjoy Christmas movies. My favorites are "Miracle on 34th Street" (both the old and newer versions), "Elf" - this movie is hilarious and genius as far as I'm concerned, "White Christmas", and "While You Were Sleeping" (M says this counts because they celebrate Christmas in the movie).

I have many good memories of Christmas. And what is really neat to me is that the things I remember most are not the presents I thought I "had to have". I remember making yummy goodies with my Mom (fudge, tiger butter, cookies, etc), listening to Christmas music while sitting in the dark in the living room on my Dad's lap, watching all the Christmas specials with my Dad (like Charlie Brown's Christmas), driving around Bishop Hills to see all the Christmas lights with my parents, the Christmas Eve service at our church when we were home for Christmas, driving to Oklahoma to see our extended family, and being out of school for a couple of weeks.

What are your favorite things about Christmas?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Classic Migraines

Several years ago I was diagnosed with classic migraines. They are classic migraines because I see spots or "aura" before I get the migraine. According to the doctor who diagnosed me, I am "lucky" because I know the migraine is coming before my head actually starts hurting. This is helpful if you have medicine that will get rid of the headache before it starts, but it doesn't always work that way. I need to go to the doctor because I have run out of the medicine I had. My migraines are sporatic, and until Saturday, the last one I had was in June. I got one on Saturday mid-morning, Monday afternoon, and Tuesday morning. I have no idea what caused them. They are extremely painful and really take it out of me. After the actual headache is gone, my head is then sore for a day or two. My jaw also tingles when I eat. It is very weird. I sure hope I don't have anymore this week or for many months to come.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmas Party

We had a good time at the Christmas party. The club house was beautiful...with a lot of great food. It was fun to get all dressed up. And it was even more fun that I was able to wear a dress I last wore on our honeymoon 4 1/2 years ago. When we got home, we started decorating the tree. It looks beautiful. I'll post pictures of it later.

Saltimbanco and Christmas Tree

We have had a fun weekend so far. Friday night we went to another Cirque du Soleil performance. This time it was in our city. We saw Saltimbanco. Other than the show we went to in Vegas, this was the first show we have seen in an actual building rather than in a tent. It did not seem like they went all out for this show. We think they may be testing the waters in this city before they bring a bigger show in. This show was only here for a couple of days. We still enjoyed it though.

Yesterday we went to get our Christmas tree. We purchased it from a nursery not too far from our house. They had several really nice looking trees. Hopefully, this one will stay nice through Christmas. This is definitely the biggest Christmas tree I've ever had. It is huge! We had to cut several inches off the base so it would fit in our house. I think we'll have to buy some more lights. We have yet to decorate it, but that will happen early this week if not today. This picture of Max (now 14 weeks old) is one of very few that you can see his tongue. We just got back from a 30 minute walk/jog. That is the longest we have walked so far, and it wore him out. He is now passed out at my feet.

This evening is M's work Christmas party. It is generally at a very fancy hotel here on a Saturday evening. This year it is at a fancy club house in a development the company was a part of. Things have been scaled back quite a bit since the housing industry is slow here. For the past 15 years, the company has taken employees and their spouses to Mexico for 4 or 5 days. That is not going to happen this year either. But it should still be a fun time tonight, and we get to dress up which we don't do very often.