Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Temporary hold of $

I just looked at our Discover statement and realized we need to go on a spend hold until the statement switches to the new month (since we pay it off monthly).  We have to go almost 2 weeks with only buying a few, very limited, groceries and gas.  This is the ONLY way I can stay in budget.  I, duh, forgot that this was the month we had to pay $125 for Chase to play football this fall, so I'm that much behind for the month.  I really don't think I realized just how much things would change and how expensive things really would get as the kids got older.  I mean everyone tells you that happens and you think yeah, okay, things get more expensive.  But, with no raises for a few years, going backwards in income because of increasing insurance has starting putting me into more of a panic.  Especially since they're getting ready to release our 2012 premiums.  I'm really worried since whatever they raise will probably be per child since they decided to start charging that way last time.

I think I'm getting sort of sad knowing that my part time is now limited.  I have it approved through August 2012, but unless something gives, monthly, I don't think we can keep this up.  I'm taking out of savings to pay bills and that's not okay with me.  It's too hard to get it there in the first place and that is supposed to be for Korea, no touching.  I'm going to try to last it until I can either get a decent promotion at my job to make up for my decrease in pay or until we just absolutely, without a doubt can't do it any longer.  I don't perceive that to be too much longer, though, at the rate we're going.

Money truly stinks and sometimes feels like such an evil.  I mean, people would behave differently, sometimes I'm not sure if better or worse, if money weren't such an issue constantly.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thanks to Apple

Chase is getting a new iPod Touch.  We had called after the toddler tornado incident (aka Jaemin) and they said it was $99 for the replacement since it was probably put in water (the toilet).  I had Chase call back today to find out if it would cost to ship his to Apple and the new one back or not.  I thought that if it didn't it would make sense not to try to get to an Apple store 2 hours away.  The rep he got was so nice.  She told him it would cost for both ways and asked if he wanted a replacement.  I told her we couldn't afford that extra cost right now.  Seconds after we hung up she called us back.  She thought he was such a polite child and felt so bad that baby brother was the culprit that she wanted us to hold to see if she could find a way to help out.  After about 15 minutes or so on hold she's doing everything for free.  She's even shipping us an empty prepaid box to ship his broken iPod back in.  She said about 2 or 3 days after they get his they'll send him a new refurbished iPod.

I put Chase back on the phone with her so she could explain what was going to happen and he was pretty happy and was able to tell her thank you himself.

Now, hopefully, Chase really has learned his lesson about leaving his stuff whevever and maybe, just maybe, he'll put his iPod up out of reach of a VERY curious 2 year old.  I told Chase he better thank his lucky stars for that kind of break.  It was going to cost him $50 of the $99 plus the shipping and these breaks don't come around often in life. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

iPod down the toilet?

This is the question of the day in our house.  Poor Chase, and I use that loosely right now, left his iPod Touch where baby brother could get to it.  Next thing you know, Chase comes home from fishing and finds his iPod in the bathroom trashcan.  Now, little brother loves to throw everything away; including batteries that are not dead yet.  However, when Chase pulled his iPod out, it had drops of water in it.  We knew little brother had played in the toilet, so if he put the iPod in there, it must have been quick or somehow he had his hands wet and then touched it.  Who knows.  Needless to say, the iPod isn't working.  I finally was able to get it to restore and sync, but it still won't turn on.  We wrapped it in a papertowel and let it sit in rice to draw out any moisture, but it wasn't wet at all when he brought it to me.  Still nothing today.  According to Apple his only choice is to send it back and get a replacement for $99 or we could try an Apple store and see if they're willing to say it wasn't wet.  I'm doubting they'll say that and it's probably not worth the $30+ in gas it would cost to get to the nearest one.  I told Chase I'd pay for half of the replacement since little brother did it, but I wouldn't pay for the rest since I'd told him a million times to put it up and keep it up out of his reach.  They know he loves to play with them, so don't tempt a little boy how loves iPods and water.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

School Supply Time

Man these things get more expensive every year.  I decided, this year, to spread out the purchases.  I'm buying some on this month's credit card statement and some on next month's statement; since I pay it off every month.  I already went through my leftover stash from last year and the items the kids could reuse.  We've been reusing scissors since Cole was in kindergarten.  We finally got the lists this week and after we loaded their bags up with what we already had or could reuse we picked up a few of the smaller items at Walmart today.  It still totaled $37 without tax, without those zippered binders that are required at almost $15 each, without the $5 dry erase markers, baby wipes, chlorox wipes and oh yea.....none of that includes Cole's high school list because they haven't released it yet.  I'm betting what I have left is going to cost double what I've spent.

I like our school, but sometimes it just makes it too difficult for parents.  For instance, we have to have certain colored folders and notebooks.  I couldn't find some of them so we substituted red for orange and blue for purple.  You would have thought the primary colors would have made the most sense anyways.  Then they ask for things like 3 packages of "Crayola" washable markers at almost $3 each for a kindergartner.  Yeah, they're getting Rose Art for 1/2 that.  Or, and I love this, the $5/package pencils for a 3rd grader.  Sorry, this family cannot afford this with 4 kids in school this year.  So, while everything on the list will be purchased and supplied it will not necessarily be the brand specified by the school.

Oy!  Same frustration from me every year.  And just wait.  In 3 years I'll have all 5 in school!  Jaemin will start kindergarten when Cole is a senior.  Then college!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stinky situations

I'm so done with opinion after opinion after opinion.  I'm all talked out!  There's teeth and sewer...doesn't that sound yummy?

We were sent to an orthodontist when Chase was 7 because of a cross bite.  So, off and on for 4 years now, we've been getting opinions.  The first guy wanted us to pay $7,000 and start on an expander and brace phases immediately.  He told me by the time he was 11 his palate couldn't be expanded and would have to be broken.  When we couldn't afford to do that I felt like a terrible mother.  So, eventually, I went to get a 2nd opinion from the only other ortho in town.  This was two years ago and he told me $5500 for expander and braces.  Still couldn't afford it, so we held off.  This year we ventured to a city an hour away because there's more competition there, so it's less expensive.  This guy said no expander, but braces at $4900 with discount of paying off.  Okay, that was closer because he said I was in no rush as his crossed teeth were not hitting yet, but would hit in the next few years.  Right now it's his 3 ectopic permanent teeth that are a bit of an issue due to no room on top.

Me being the bargain shopper I am I called opinion #2 back since it had been 2 years and asked that he look at him again; before I commit to an hour away ortho.  He said he'd grown dramatically in 2 years and while something still needs done due to his cross bite and ectopic teeth he was going to try to be creative with our budget.  He said wisdom teeth can make all the difference.  So, after finding out that our backwoods dentist would only charge me $54 for a panoramic xray (because we pay out of pocket with no insurance) he said he would match it so that he could make a decision that day.  Turns out he does not yet have his wisdom teeth and since mine have still not come in on top he felt comfortable not using an expander, but rather pulling a couple of babies that are almost ready to fall out (free of charge) and then next year pulling a couple bottom baby teeth (under anesthesia due to the roots) and putting a few brackets on top and bottom to hold them in place and prohibit them from moving forward.  This will allow all of his ectopic teeth to move down into their places and shove his two front teeth together.  He said it won't be perfect, but he said it will look nice and be medically stable.  This for about $3500-4000.  Not that I want to spend the money, but it's pretty necessary and we'll take it.  So, at this point, it looks like next year we'll be putting one in braces.

We almost had 2 in braces.  I had to take Cole in for the consult too because our dentist was concerned about the crowdedness of his bottoms.  I told the ortho that we were very limited in funds due to septic problems.  He works with the menonite community, so he understood.  He said Cole's uppers were perfect and while his bottom doesn't look great he says it won't change and won't cause issues.  So he can due it at any time into adulthood.  With three kids younger, we decided it's better to treat the worst case right now, not knowing how the younger ones will be.  One win there!

We've been researching septic solutions for awhile now.  A couple of years ago when we added on our pantry and garage it changed the direction of rain drainage and we think is what contributed to our problem.  We planted a willow in the wet spot and hoped it would help soak up the moisture.  Three years later it's getting wetter.  It's not standing water, but when you can't mow even 6 days after a heavy rain, you have issues.  We had someone come in and redirect it to the woods as a temporary fix, but have been looking into our option ever since.  We don't, by law, have to fix it unless we sell, but I don't like the risk of the bugs and the wetness and the kids falling down, etc.  I've talked on the phone to several that are licensed with our county to do the proper work and some have even come out to look at it.  I've had every opinion you can imagine.  One said replace the whole system with an engineered system at $15,000-30,000.  One said they wanted to put in a $2,500 aerator.  One said we could do a lagoon, but that's illegal due to our restrictions in the neighborhood.  We have city sewer coming in 18 months.....IF we annex into the city.  So, I am trying to get the neighbors to discuss our options.  If they want to annex, now would be cheaper.  If we're forced to annex down the line it will cost more.  But, it's not a guarantee we will be annexed.  So, we're finally going to discuss as a neighborhood next month.  I know we cannot afford this new system.  There's no doubt.  I will NOT spend eight years of saving for Korea on poo!  We had yet one more guy come out last night and he thinks we have a crushed pipe at the end and it may just need an inexpensive repair and extended drain field due to the size of our family.  Luckily when we built our builder put in a bigger tank, so it's fine for our size.  He's going to get drawings from when we built so he can better figure out our options and give us a good estimate.  He said it won't be bad.  Finally, I feel like I have some hope on this one.  I've been so stressed about poop.  Isn't that awful!

I'll update on the poop situation after August 10th when we have our bid and our meeting.  The teeth will have to wait until they make their determination in November, 5 months after he gets some babies pulled out.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Korean American Actor Doing Well - On Screen

You can no longer say there are no Korean American actors as role models on the big screen anymore.  I'm not saying there are lots or enough, but there definitely are some making their way.  Brenda Song, of course, is the Disney star my kids recognize.  And then you have Daniel Dae Kim the cutie on Hawaii Five O.  Now we also have Ken Jeong doing quite well.  He's been on screen for a bit, but is doing quite well at this very moment as you'll see from the link here.  Don't forget he's also a medical doctor by training.  Amazing?  I know.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Regrets anyone?

Do you have regrets in your life?  I think most people have some.  While some would do their whole life over again; I think most would choose just to tweak theirs.

I would like to tweak mine.  Sure, I think it would have been better if I had finished college, etc., but that would have changed my destiny and my children that I have, so I really don't dwell on that.  It's not a regret that makes me stay awake at night.  The regret I have is how I parent.  I'm always people watching in public wondering if everyone's a better parent than I am or we are.  Do they all lose it from time to time (sometimes more often than others) and yell or say something they regret and have to apologize for?  Sometimes, it doesn't seem as though that's the situation.  I feel like a really awful parent sometimes....a lot of times.  I wish I could calmly say 'no what made you choose to do that?' instead of 'what the heck were thinking?' or worse.  I'm pretty honest with my kids about life, but am I too honest sometimes.  Do they need to know the intricacies of being an adult?  Okay, no I don't share the gory details of everything adult, but I do try to prepare them for some heartache and pain.

The thing is, I know it's not too late on my 3 youngest.  I can change the sort of parent I am and when they talk to each other as adults it will be as if they grew up in different households...hopefully.  It feels too late for my older ones.  Is how I react to situations going to hurt the people they become?  I pray not.  I pray they become better parents than I am.  Am I terrible?  I know I'm not terrible.  I know there are worse, but I feel like I could be better.  I want to be better.  I pray I can change and be better while instilling the same respects into them for the long term.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

He's gonna scare his momma!

My little man.  I absolutely love Jaemin with all my heart and soul, but that boy is one day gonna give me a huge scare.   We took the kids to the pool today since we had a freebie after swimming lessons.  Jaemin wanted his floaties off and since we were in the 2 foot area I let him have it off.  I was right there.  So, picture this.  There is 2 feet of water and Jaemin is 35 inches (1 inch under 3 feet).  He goes under.  Now, I knew he wasn't scared of putting his head under because every time we're in the 1 foot baby pool during swim lessons he puts his head under and practically kisses the bottom. 

He would bend his legs in that 2 foot pool and squat down.  I'm not talking about quickly bobbing under to get it over with, I'm talking slow motion enjoying going under.  He LOVES the water so much.  Then, Chelsi was swimming next to him and I told him to kick his feet and move his arms and swim under water like Chelsi did.  Sure enough my brave little man kicked his feet in back of his body floated down into the middle of the water and and kicked and swirled his arms around.  I left him go for a bit and he was still down.  Much longer than I swear any 2 year old has stayed under water.  I'd finally grab his feet and put them on the bottom of the pool.  Jaemin would stand up and smile; no water coughing, nothing.  That boy can hold his breath at 2 years old.  He' purely amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I fall more in love with Jaemin with every passing day of getting to be his mother.  I'm so blessed.