Saturday, March 8, 2008

Life Changing

Yep I think this thing is that good... and that important.
If something happened RIGHT NOW to you or your spouse, something unexpected, something potentially life altering would you be prepared? And I don't mean emotionally... I mean literally... would you know what you needed to know to take over the running of your house? To make the medical decisions that they would want you to make? Could you take over the finances? Do you know where all the "important" papers are or even which ones are "important"? Do you even know what kind of life insurance policy your spouse has? Do you? Because I have to admit that I don't.

If you lost your wallet how easy would it be for you to get all your cards cancelled? What about that Ann Taylor's charge card you haven't used in 3 years?

If you had to evacuate your house RIGHT NOW (and sure that seems preposterous... but it happens people) what would you take with you and could you get at it all? Do you know where you would go? Do your kids know? I'm not even trying to be dramatic people I'm being completely serious. These are the things that we all put off and then one day something happens and you find yourself in a whole heap of trouble.

For Christmas my best friend gave us Life.doc a binder that comes with all the things you need to get EVERYTHING organized into one easy-to-use and completely portable system. The binder is filled with pocketed dividers for 8 sections. The sections come with pre-printed forms that you can actually fill out on your computer (CD-ROM included) and print out or fill in by hand.

The sections are:

Emergency Plan (meet up locations, contact names, whose got the keys, etc.)
Family Basics (phone #s, DOB, work & school names & #s, etc.)
In Sickness & In Health (primary doctors, specialists, blood type, organ donor, allergies, medications, etc.)
Insurance (health, liability, disability, pet, mortgage, etc.)
Dollars & Sense (banks, CPA, financial advisor, loans, investment accounts, credit cards, safety deposit box, mortgage, pension, etc.)
Legal Ease (lawyers, locations of: car title, house title, wills, birth certificates, custody agreement, divorce settlement, etc
Caregiver Information (childcare information including emergency authorization forms, elder care, house sitting, etc.)
Home Sweet Home (electrician, alarm company, dog walker, etc)

I cannot stress enough how thorough these pre-printed forms are. There is a spot for ALL your vital information. From where you want to meet up in an emergency to the name of your electrician. There is even a spot for you to sketch out the location of your water main! Even if you are organized and think you could find all this stuff... could someone else? I mean really think about it... you aren't just doing this for yourself you are doing this to ease the burden on someone else. This is exactly the kind of thing we are all putting off until it would be really useful... you know until you have kids, or a *real* house, or *real* money. The thing is... this is all about being ready for what you have RIGHT NOW. Guess what? You can get another one in 5 years if you need to rewrite it. And you know who needs this just as much as you do? Your parents! Do you know where all their stuff is should you need to access it? Yeah. Me either.

I also wanted to add a little note to make it clear that although these forms call for pretty much every piece of information you have... the forms are written in such a way as to make the process as stress-free as possible. They ask you a question and you fill in the blank. Period.
Oh and you can get it at Target! (and The Container Store and at the link above)

Hold Tight

I'm working on a product review for THIS. I think this is something that everyone should have and something you definitely want your parents to have! You can check it out while you wait at the link above. Even if you think you are organized and have everything together I seriously doubt you have it this together. I want to give you a really thorough review because I know you can't get a good feel for what this is or what is really included from the website. The best thing about this (not just the price) is how portable it is. Do any of you already have this?

I think it is easiest for me just to tell you what it is like...

Okay I'll be back with the written version.

Sorry today has been particularly crazy, Kid had a b'day party, Blogger has been difficult. I'm trying....

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Love Story: Chapter One

It is rather ironic that I am sitting down to pen the Mr & Mrs F love story only moments after laying into Mr F for attempting to curl Kid's hair while I was busy trying to have some "alone time". There is no point really getting into why the curlers are so horrible or why Mr F thought he, of all people, was going to be able to use them (these things are still being disputed) but I will give you this little ditty uttered by moi (and of course no offense is meant by this to anyone but Mr F):
"If I wanted a [mentally challenged person] to do my daughter's hair I would have called down to the halfway house."

So how did a love like this take hold you wonder. Well wonder no more...

Mr F and I met in the summer of '99. We both were living in Park Slope, Brooklyn and had new dogs... that had issues. I was 23, just out of grad school, working in a mental health clinic in Manhattan, and had a Bichon puppy who had a tendency to rip up money (well any paper really... but the money was most problematic). Mr F was 31 and running his own graphic design company. He had rescued a dog that was... well... needy and aggressive. So that fateful summer we both started dog training classes. Mr F was too cool to wear the required fanny pack for dog treats and filled his cargo shorts with them. He was there to train his dog. Although my puppy's issues were annoying I was taking the class for the very same reason any single-ish 23 year old woman would be taking the class... to troll for single men. Mr F thought I was 17 and training the family dog and didn't really think twice about me (I don't think). It probably didn't help that I was going through a phase when I thought wearing cute pjs was perfectly acceptable after work summer attire. Being the chatty Kathy that I can sometimes be I quickly discovered that Mr F had a girlfriend and that was that.

To Be Continued...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Calling All Homeschoolers

Some of you may know that I am thinking (quite seriously) about homeschooling Kid this next year. Kid is epileptic and will reach two years seizure free (hopefully) this fall, at which point she will start weaning off her seizure medication. The weaning process, and the following six months, is when she will be most likely to suffer a recurrence as her brain will be more vulnerable during this transition period. Our school system does not have full time nurses in the schools and since Kid's seizures are life threatening I am most likely going to decide to keep her home next year. This means that I will be homeschooling her.

Kid would be entering Kindergarten this fall as a "red shirted" student already... so even though I believe Kindergarten should be much less regimented and more nurturing and playful experience than it has become.. I'm also nervous about having her keep up with the school system's program. Mostly because we have learned that she is a very self conscious student who is easily discouraged when she is behind the other students (hence the initial decision to hold her back). She has a late birthday and we had to choose for her to either be the youngest or the oldest and after watching her blossom as the oldest in preschool this year we knew holding her back was the right decision. But now I feel even more pressure. Because if she does end up attending our local school for first grade I don't want her to be both the oldest and also the least prepared.

So this is where I am at:

Kid loves school. She likes going to school and loves the strong relationships she has with her teachers. She tends to be shy and has a harder time engaging kids (although she is well liked). She is definitely not outgoing by any means. I worry about socializing her and getting her involved in something that allows for the kids to have kid directed activities (not just dance & swimming, etc). I'm really worried about taking a step backward in her social development. I also don't want to only have her socializing with girls!

Kid can be a homebody who prefers to sit in a chair reading all day. That could be a positive and I do think she will be easy to homeschool because of that. But my point is that she is a pretty independent thinker/doer, I guess I'd say she's introverted. She has always been a reader (as in looks at books) and will spend several hours a day quietly "reading" to herself. Kid does not like to be tested. She does not preform well under pressure. She won't practice things. She will do things (like write, draw, count, etc) when she is confident that she can and will proudly show you her work. She will not even try if she isn't sure she'll be right.

In some ways I think she will be better served not having to follow the State's curriculum. She is a very interesting young kid with a strong imagination and a passion for in depth learning. Kid will sit and be read to for 5 straight hours actively listening and absorbing every minute fact. She can't read and isn't a strong writer BUT she knows all about Greek Mythology, Laura Ingalls entire life, Pompei, natural disasters... and I mean ALL about that stuff.

If I thought we'd homeschool indefinitely I wouldn't worry too much about meeting or exceeding the State's curriculum... but if she is going back then I need to.

There is so much information out there. Right off the bat I am drawn to the Charlotte Mason Approach and it seems like a good fit for her. But I'd appreciate any suggestions.

Most importantly... how do you not want to kill your spouse when you are doing everything you were doing and now you are teaching full time to boot?!?
How did you adjust to the first year?
How intimidating is it to inform the authorities of your plans?
How did you/do you deal with having children of varying ages in the house (obviously Baby will not be homeschooling and I don't want to take away from what I would have been doing with her!)?
Oh and Kid loves science experiments... any good recommendations for that?

Eight is Enough

Okie Dokie Haley tagged me for this movie meme. I believe the original version required 15 quotes... um... not happening... so I'm following Haley's lead and I'll give you 8.
If you are the first to identify the quote you will get the great glory and honor you deserve bestowed upon you right here in the original post (can't beat that). Guess away in the comments. No cheating please!

#1 "Someday you'll find a man, a good man, and you'll love him, and marry him, and live and die for him. And I'll be hanged if I stand by and watch. " (Little Women, Andrea)

#2 "The game starts now. You have to score one thousand points. If you do that, you take home a tank with a big gun. Each day we will announce the scores from that loudspeaker. The one who has the fewest points will have to wear a sign that says "Jackass" on his back. There are three ways to lose points. One, turning into a big crybaby. Two, telling us you want to see your mommy. Three, saying you're hungry and want something to eat. " (Life is Beautiful, Rosalie)

#3 "I had two heart attacks, an abortion, did crack... while I was pregnant. Other than that, I'm fine." (this quote is translated)

"She amuses herself with silly questions about the world below, such as "How many people are having an orgasm right now?" " (this quote also is translated)
(Amélie, Haley)

#4 "Because they look like that hadn't been given anything in a long time."

"Think you can make anymore damn noise, what that damn car of yours?"
(The War, Eileen)

#5 "I think if people see this footage, they'll say Oh, my God, that's horrible. And then they'll go on eating their dinners." (Hotel Rwanda, Feener)

#6 "Don't take away my Telemundo! " (Fun with Dick and Jane, Jasmine)

#7 "I don't need to speak to him. He's driving an Edsel, for Christ's sake." (Mermaids, Anon)

#8 "At my signal, unleash hell. " (Gladiator, John Howard)

Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon

"What are you doing?!" Mrs F says a little agitated as Kid slowly descends the stairs a good five minutes after I told her to put her boots and coat on.

"How do you know I'm not growing?" Kid calmly responds.

What the hell? What does that mean?
I had no idea what she was talking about
and then
my eyes
to the bulges
coming from
the top of her dress...
Oh... growing... I get it. I did a surprisingly good job of not completely falling apart in hyseterics.

The Falsies:
I must say that when these pottery sponges fell out of her dress I was more than a little impressed. They are perfect fake boobs and I can appreciate the quick thinking involved to discern that at such a young age!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cheep Cheep

You know what they say about lemons and lemonade...

Well here we are stuck inside (and since today should have been a shopping day keep in mind that means I'm out of my essential treats!) while Baby naps away upstairs. But fear not... due to my excellent hoarding skills I happen to have a box full of simple unfinished wooden odds and ends I purchased... oh... a good thirteen years ago.

Sixty minutes of quality time later and I present you with the first Easter decorations of the season:

Oh Good Grief

Um... I mean... Oh Goodie.

Look what I found waiting for me this morning:
"Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Due to road conditions, the Ann Arbor Public Schools are closed today."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sweet and Tart

"Yum. You smell really good." Mrs F mutters into the oven.

Sweet & Tart Muffins

One box of your favorite Blueberry Muffin mix (or mix up from scratch if you feel like overachieving) prepared following package directions.
To the batter add:
1/2 teaspoon of Orange Oil (not extract!!!), if you can't find this use 1 T grated orange zest
2/3 c frozen Cranberries, chopped


Sign Me Up

How can these Reality TV spinoffs not exist already?

Instead of 'The Biggest Loser' ... 'The Not So Big Loser' featuring people who have less than 25 pounds to lose. Or better yet a special edition for folks like me who just want to get our ass kicked by Jillian for a little bit!

Instead of 'Wife Swap' ... 'Spouse Swap' (no kids needed) where you trade places with your own spouse for a week and finally see what they are complaining about!

Instead of 'Extreme Home Makeover' ... 'Simple Home Improvements' this is the show that comes in and finishes all the small tasks that were so easy to do you put them off.... indefinitely... like hang your storm doors, paint your kid's bedroom, replace the switch plates you removed for that "simple" electric work you did.

Sure maybe the finales of these shows would be less dramatic for the viewers but not for the participants! Think of the stress it would relieve to have all those little unfinished household projects tackled! That last stubborn 10 pounds obliterated! Your spouse finally appreciate what you do all day!

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Doctor Is In

This Week The Plan

Well I've learned something pretty interesting about myself this past week. When I don't have set exercise goals I actually workout more! Go figure. So I'm going to be changing that section of my plan up to be a lot less defined and see if it continues to work. This week went well for the meal planning and I have not wasted ANY produce... which has got to be a first so I'm pretty excited about that. I've been paying a lot more attention to what we have and finding ways to work it into our meals. That one zucchini straggler at the bottom of the drawer? He got grated up and thrown in the kids apple muffins... Which instantly negated all the calories and I promptly ate three! For those of you who have been sitting on the edge of your seats really concerned about my inexplicable weight gain... fear not... I'm back below 112. Whew! Oh and anybody wondering about the carpet and the blanket? Yes, my friends, it was the blanket that was shedding all over the rug. It has now been relegated to the basement couch.

Okay on to this week...


Monday - Cornflake Crusted Tilapia w/ Citrus Salad

Tuesday - Salmon Noodle Casserole w/ Applesauce

Wednesday - Tomato & Meatball Soup w/ Crescent Rolls

Thursday - Sauteed Chicken Breasts w/ Spanish Rice & Southwestern Salad

Friday - Take out

Saturday - Go out

Sunday - Shrimp & Veggie Lo mein

Diet & Exercise:
I'm going to continue to calorie count and try to be more mindful of my vegetation consumption. I'm also going to take a Magnesium supplement everyday. On the workout front I'm just going to workout as much as I can... you can track it over in the sidebar if you're interested.

Chores & Errands:

Monday - pay bills, fold laundry

Tuesday - Grocery Shopping

Wednesday - vacuum

Thursday - Kid's conference, returns

Friday - vacuum upstairs

Saturday & Sunday - attack Cubby O' Shame!

Also I'm going to work to maintain my desk, the closet, and the kitchen on a daily basis!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Ta Da!

(photo credits go to Kid F)

Weekend Update

Okay I'm not totally done yet....

But everyone knows that filing paperwork is both tedious and mind-numbingly boring so cut me some slack. So what if I spent several hours searching online retailers for a new desk.... and curriculum.... and cheap airfare to Disney (shhh.... )?!?
All that is left are strange lost tidbits and some current bills.

And I did come up with the perfect receipt storage container for all my Target receipts (an old stationary box with magnetic closer that I got at... you guessed it... Target!).
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