Couponing 101

I woke up Saturday morning ready for my next (small) adventure. Ron was going to stay home with the kiddos while I drove myself to Chattanooga, TN for a coupon workshop. Yep, you heard me... Jenny from Southern Savers was holding a 3 hour workshop at Brainerd Baptist Church.

The first hour of the drive was great. I left the house at 6:30, which would give me plenty of time to get to Chattanooga for the 9am event. I even stopped on the side of the road to take a picture of this bridge that I've always found interesting. It's just not something you'd expect to see in the middle of the country. I was listening to some podcasts from the White Horse Inn. Everything was great.

Everything was great until I realized I was heading to a workshop in the Eastern time zone. I went from being 30 minutes early to 30 minutes late in the matter of a second. Oh crap. I picked up my speed and got to the church at exactly 9:30. Fortunately for me, she had just wrapped up the storytelling and was only 5 minutes in to the real stuff. I joined about 500 others in learning how to be good stewards of our money.

Here's a quick picture of Jenny (mostly for you, Ashley). I know it's not the best picture I've ever taken, but I felt awkward pulling out my camera in the middle of a meet-and-great. One picture and I was off...
I made it home safely, opening the door to Sam's sweet voice saying "Mommy, I'm so glad you're home!" I was glad to be home too.
I love how star puffs look like redneck teeth...


forts are awesome

help, fellow bloggers...

hey guys.

i have a question for those of you who are more familiar with blogger than i am. how and why do these random comments show up? (someone felt the need to leave a comment with curse words.) is there a way i can keep things like this from happening?

thanks ahead of time...


first bite...

Laney enjoyed eating food for the first time today. She's been eating cereal and baby food for a few weeks, but today I gave her some apple cinnamon puffs. Here she is in the action... Putting the star in, chewing, swallowing, and a peaceful look after she finished filling her tummy.


One of Sam's preschool friends came over to play yesterday since school was out. He has a little sister in Luke's MDO class which meant Luke had a friend too...

Lauren and Luke

(While taking a few pictures of the boys, I heard Gavin say "This is a really good day.")
Sam and Gavin

It's a beautiful day...


Laney's first day at MDO

Laney went to Mother's Day Out yesterday for the first time. Every Friday morning, for four hours, she'll be loved on by Virginia and Gerri.
Just as I did with the boys, I had to get a picture of Laney on the buggy ride.
She was more impressed with the toy in her lap than she was with the actual ride. But she had fun just the same and enjoyed a morning with new friends.

we always knew he was special

we always knew luke was a little different, like the way his 4th toe is longer than his 3rd. it's silly that i even notice things like that, but it has always made me chuckle to see that toe just sticking out.

another peculiar thing is that one of his top teeth is very long and skinny. we assumed it was growing in sideways or something...
we found out at his first dentist visit this week that he has two teeth growing where there should only be one. apparently, cells can divide and create an extra tooth. now i get to look forward to the big gap he will probably have when his two baby teeth fall out and are replaced by one permanent tooth. now that will be extra special. ☺


Sam's new teacher

I may have mentioned to a few of you that Sam's teacher moved away unexpectedly. Her husband is a music minister and decided to go to a church in Savannah, GA. Sam liked Mrs. Blevins which in turn made me sad to see her go. I'm pretty sure I even cried about it.

Well, the new year has started and so has his new teacher. Sam absolutely loves her. Meet Mrs. Land...
do y'all want to know what i'm doing right now? sitting at home in complete quietness. all three kids are at whitesburg (this is laney's first day) and i'm enjoying time alone. i'm about to plop on the couch and drink a diet coke while i watch hgtv. ahh..... ❤
I don't remember how old Sam was when he figured out how to sit this way, but I remember him thinking he was such a big boy. Luke figured out yesterday how to sit mid-air between the ottoman and couch. They are two of a kind. It's little things like this that remind you how fast they grow. What a day... ☺


Laney's checkup

Laney went in for her 6 month appointment on December 28th. At the time she was 16 lbs 6 oz (52nd percentile) and 27.5 inches (93rd percentile). Also at the time we discovered an infection in her right ear! As a follow-up to that visit, our pediatrician checked her ears again earlier this week. The right ear has cleared up, but now the left ear is infected. 5 infections in her first 7 months! We have an appointment with the ENT the end of this month to get some tubes...
I mentioned to Brian that she HATES baby food and cereal. We've been trying to give her solids since she turned 4 months old. She didn't want anything to do with it. She also wanted no part in rolling over. The very next day, I kid you not, she was eating three times a day. She also can roll both ways (front to back and back to front) since her visit. Yesterday she started scooting for the first time; she's on her way to a crawl. Kids just have their own timeline...
Laney is such an easygoing baby. She wakes up happy and doesn't let much bother her. I discovered one thing this week that she doesn't like: the boys growling. They don't get away with it often, because like most parents, I don't want my kids growling at each other like dogs. But if they do it nearby Laney, she just bursts in to tears. It's the most pitiful little thing...

That's a short update of who Ron lovingly refers to as his "little buttercup".

the green night light

Sam has been a little afraid of the dark for the past 6 months. So for Christmas we gave him an adorable green night light that he could put on his night stand. In addition to the light, he likes leaving his bedroom door open when he goes to bed. I don't mind it, because I get to peek at him while he's asleep. Here's a picture of him tonight, sleeping peacefully, with the glow of the light on his face.

at Sam's urging...

I was cleaning in the kitchen yesterday and heard Sam yelling something from Luke's room. So I turned the water off and listened to him as he said "Mom, you have to come take a picture of this. It is the sweetest thing ever." Well, to say I was intrigued would be an understatement. I picked up my camera and headed for the boys. This is what I found... my little Sam posing for a picture with his little brother.


Luke at Little Rosie's

Pops and B took us out for a birthday lunch at Little Rosie's today. As usual, Luke wanted all eyes on him. While driving through Jones Valley this morning, Luke said "moo" as we passed the cows. He always says moo, but this morning he started making a face while saying it. It was hilarious! So when he attempted to make the face again at lunch, Ron begged me to get a picture of it.
First attempt, he just wanted to say "cheese" for the camera
Second attempt, we're getting closer as he gives me his pouty face.
Third attempt... this is it. He's saying "moo".


We got some snow and the boys had fun playing. And I mean all the boys... Sam, Luke, Ron, and Dave ventured out late in the afternoon Thursday and made a snowman.


January 5

January 5 comes and goes some years, without too much thought and with very few tears. But for some reason, yesterday was tough on me. My dad passed away 12 years ago and I couldn't shake my sorrow and self-pity. My mom and I talked last night; I told her the hardest thing for me yesterday was that I felt robbed. I loved him so much and wish I could've had more time with him. It wasn't fair that he died 4 days before my 22nd birthday. That's young. I went to bed with puffy eyes from crying, but woke up with a new outlook. Even though he left this world at a young age, he accomplished a lot for the Kingdom. He was a follower of Christ and a great influence in my life and the life of others.

He was funny...

He was a good sport...

He loved his siblings...

He was a family man...

He would try anything...
(Don't ask me why, but State Farm held a "woman-less wedding" in the early 80's. He's the blond.)

He was a great dad...

Sammy Keith Banks was a great man. He was a great friend and father to me. I could talk to him about anything, knowing he wouldn't judge me but point me in the direction that would honor my true Father in heaven... When I'm tempted to get lost in sorrow again, I hope instead that I'll be grateful for the time we shared and the memories I have stored.


two things...

ok. don't worry. i'm not turning this blog into Money Saving Mom or Baby Cheapskate. i just want to share two things with you that i've discovered over the last 6 months.
first, i've been a loyal quilted northern toilet paper purchaser for several years. then lo and behold i buy a new pack of t.p. a few months ago and found the squares to be 1/2 of an inch narrower! oh my word! that's a drastic difference, and without any warning at all. but, it's not like i need the extra half an inch or anything. the thing i noticed in addition to the size change was that it was remarkably rougher. so i'm done with q.n. and i've moved on to charmin. there. i'm glad i got that off my chest.

secondly, why didn't you people tell me about how great target diapers were 4 years ago when sam was born? i've been a loyal pampers purchaser all these years and just recently found out about the up&up diapers from my sis-in- law rebekah. they're only 13¢ a diaper vs. the 22-24¢ you'll pay for pampers. and i have a bonus picture for you. while i was in luke's room taking a picture of his diaper, he plopped down and said "cheese". so here you have luke...