If you think babies are expensive . . .

She may look petrified, but she LOVES this slide . . . there's a little bump and she goes airborne and flies down this slide.

Daddy and Jax take a slower side slide than little miss daredevil.

When I look back to when Zac joined the family, I really don't see how he added that big of an expense to our way of living.  Yes, I became a SAHM and lost my income, but our lifestyle changed immensely.   We would eat out 5 times a week, and that didn't include the 5 or 6 buck lunches we'd buy at the work cafeterias every day.  We bowled in a couple leagues, we went to movies regularly, we went out dancing/drinking at least once if not twice a week.   Now I never was into clothes or fashion, but I did need to maintain a work wardrobe, etc.   So most of those activities diminished. And even tho I formula fed (not my choice, but it is what it is . . . or was) and used disposables, I guess I didn't see it as a huge monthly expense.

Now, these with these two little peanuts I realize that babies are INEXPENSIVE!!  I can feed Jaxon for less than $3 a day and it costs about a $1 a day to diaper both kids.  Jax eats about $1.50 of formula a day and I'd guess about a $1.50 in yogurt, cereal and baby food.   Cassidy probably costs about $5 a day to feed.  Most of their toys are presents or I found at yard sales or Craigslist.  Not so easy to find an almost new iPod touch at a bargain basement price at a yard sale ;)

I don't get past NOON to feed Zac for $3 . . . every morning starts with a huge bowl of cereal and or a couple poptarts and a glass of milk . . . his school lunch is $2 and then there's the 10 a.m. break he gets from class and he goes to the store and gets a bag of Jalapeno kettle chips every day  . . . I however, do not fund his snack, that comes from his money he earns by doing various chores.   We are extremely lucky because he probably eats more like $5 in lunch, but my SIL is a cashier in the lunch line and no matter how much stuff my kid piles on his tray she charges him for the basic lunch.  I'm sure we'll have huge sticker shock next year and he'll have to reel in his eating habits next year when he will have lunch at his home school (he eats lunch at the Tech school this year).

He comes home from school and heads straight to the pantry for a snack.  Now, I remember why my parents always hid goodies, if you want to actually eat some of those chocolate covered pretzels you bought or hershey kisses or trail mix or cookies, you better hide them because they will vanish!  You will open the pantry 4 days later and find ONE item left in whatever container you look in, because, Zac will never eat the LAST goodie.  Dinner he eats as much as me or Chuck and of course there's that evening snack finished off with a HUGE glass of milk.  

I can find second hand clothes for 25 cents for the peanuts, consignment shops, yard sales, and handme downs outfit the peanuts 90% of the time.  One pair of jeans for Zac is easily $20 and sneaks are about $25, and I can be thankful that he doesn't care that his clothes doesn't come from Hollister (SERIOUSLY a joke, IMO) or Kmart.  I do get his jeans at Old Navy when they have a sale and Aerospastle has wonderful sales.  Even tho we don't buy expensive items for him, his wardrobe, which is considerably smaller, than the peanuts probably costs twice as much as their wardrobes put together.

Then there are the miscellaneous activities that pop up:  $25 for a field trip, plus money for lunch, $100 to sign up for baseball, $35-40 for baseball cleets, $12 for baseball socks, $10 to repair a catcher's glove because a new one would cost $90.  You try and convince him he doesn't need a new baseball bat (easily at least $100) and to use the one he has and use team bats, going to the movies with friends; hanging out at the hockey rink/baseball games (can I have money for a drink/snack?).

I won't go into how much hockey costs, because that is a very expensive sport that many do not participate in, so that wouldn't be fair to compare that to the peanuts . . . but all those extracurricular activities cost money, there are dues for girl scouts/boy scouts; there are fees for karate/dance/gymnastics . . . and some have quite the price tag.

So if you think babies are expensive . . . JUST WAIT!!   

An early trip to the "Zoo"

I have zoo in quotation marks because it's not really a zoo, I will never think of it as a zoo.  It was called a game preserve for the better part of my 41 years, so I have a hard time thinking of it as anything other than that.  It is very small, with a limited assortment of animals, that can be traversed leisurely in about 60-90 minutes.

When Zac was little we got a season pass every year and we would go at least once a week, it was wonderful, we knew all the animals names from talking to staff, we could identify which arctic wolf was which and knew their favorite hiding spots, we saw a llama being born, etc.

So now that we have two little munchkins I am glad to say we will be frequenting our little game preserve again.  This is wonderful because earlier this year there was a debate from the county that it would be cheaper to close it.  Which would have been a huge bummer.

I wish I was a more adventurous mom when it comes to driving, I'm a country bumpkin who prefers backroads to highways.  I wish I would happily hop on the turnpike and travel 90 minutes to get to "The First Zoo in the USA" in Philly, but truth be told I am a complete wimp in heavy traffic ESPECIALLY when carrying such precious cargo as my children.

Anyway, we had a pretty warm day for early March and headed off to the game preserve.  We were anxious to see the new animal exhibit!  PENGUINS, we now have penguins, JACKASS penguins to be exact.  And they did not disappoint.  Unlike many of the animals, they didn't hide in their cave, hang back from the visitors.  No sirree, these little guys were happy to swim and stand as close as the fence would allow.

Over the years of visiting the zoo, we have learned that the camels enjoy eating seed pods from the trees.  Since half the pods land outside their enclosure we always are happy to treat them to the ones they can't get on their own.

When I was a toddler, my parents and grandparents have pictures of me feeding the animals in the petting zoo.  Of course, in the day when parents weren't neurotic about a llama slobbering on their child or suing the zoo  a deer nipping.  So there are wonderful pictures of me feeding deer, llamas, sheep and goats. When Zac was little it had dwindled a couple llamas and goats.
And now, sadly, they just have goats.  One of my most cherished pics of Zac is him sitting next to a baby llama and hugging his neck. 
Stupid people ruin it for everyone, if you are worried your poor little angel 
might get nipped or nudged or whatever, stay out!!

Cassidy and the Jackass Penguins!

This pic is too sweet for words.

Thank you, Jackie

The rules of the award state that I must list seven things I love, and then to pass the award on to seven bloggers I love to read. Here we go!

7 things I love - aside from the obvious or previously mentioned...(my husband, kids, family...)

1.  Well if I can't include family the first thing that pops to mind is BON JOVI, and along with him music in general.  I have always loved music.  I remember calling the radio station when I was about 10 and requesting Bad Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce.  I always loved the radio and making mixed tapes.  When I was 10 my cousin gave me my first cassette that wasn't a tape off the radio.  It was Heart's Little Queen, I wore that tape out . . . in case you aren't aware that was the Heart album with Barracuda.  I played that song over and over again, so much so apparently that my dad learned it, and a friend at work whose wife made ceramics made him a fish and a mermaid, each with a tag -- one read "Barracuda" and the other red "Bare-cutie".    This began my love affair with rock and roll, and eventually, in the early 80s, my love affair with Bon Jovi.  My room was plastered with posters and I played their songs over and over.  I am thrilled that even almost 30 years later they are still rocking their fans.  Zac has been to a concert and enjoys some of their songs.  ME, I love EVERYTHING except songs from This Left Feels So Right . . . their acoustical attempt to rearrange their classic songs, I just couldn't get the concept.  But everything else, I could listen to over and over again.  Jon just turned 47 on March 3, and damn if he don't make 47 look absolutely gorgeous!

2.  My iPod . . . This little gadget is so frikkin amazing, it has made me fall in love with music even more.  I have a classic 20G ipod, it is just about full of my favorite tunes.   I just made a playlist for Cassidy, so when she wants to dance, I just push a button.  Zac has the iPod touch and that is even more amazing!!!   Even Zac says, "what kind of gadgets will Cassidy and Jaxon have when they become teenagers".  

3.  My Computer/Internet -- I honestly think these things have helped keep me sane these last 15 plus years as a SAHM, it's probably been an important part of keeping my marriage pretty much bump-free.  It allows me to connect to adults and talk about kids.  For a long time (before the peanuts came along) I was a huge trivia player in chat rooms.  I would play and host games, I started by asking trivia questions, but as I became more and more comfortable I would play my music and it was basically "name that tune & artist" . . . of course, everyone knew my games would have at least ONE Bon Jovi song if not more.  I have made many friends online, those who don't frequent the internet will never understand.  I even traveled to North Carolina for Snotfest ---- a beloved interned friend with the nickname Snotrokit, opened his home one weekend a year for anyone who was willing to make the trek.  It has been going on for a few years now.  We went in 2006 before I knew I was preggers and I haven't been able to get back since because of babies or pregnancy.  I hope to get back in a couple years.

4.  Sports -- Watching them.  I also think this is a huge contributing factor to my happy marriage.  I am perfectly happy to spend a Sunday watching football, hockey, or baseball (neither of us are basketball fans).  I think when it comes to baseball I am a bit more obsessed than Chuck. Chuck runs a fantasy league and I take pride in being the only gal in it, I've won it a couple years and have always cashed in some winnings.   I have a few rules for my fantasy teams -- NO YANKEES (booo hiss) and only cute guys . . . which isn't hard.  My favorite players are catchers, probably has to do with Chuck being a catcher.  I do miss him playing, he does get bugged to join an over 40 or over 45 league occasionally, but his knees are fragile and it's probably only a matter of time til he needs surgery so he's always leary . . . I would never tell him he couldn't.  His baseball years were some of the best years of our lives and we made so many friends and had lots of great times.

5.  My house -- although it has gotten quite a bit "smaller" since we moved in as a family of three, thinking we'd never have a child in the third bedroom . . . dubbed the "yellow room" for the first several years we lived here.  Of course, now that's Cassidy's room now.  I wouldn't be surprised if this girls favorite color is yellow, it is the first color she can consistently identify correctly.  Of course when we found out about Jaxon it presented us with a dilemma . . . we gave Zac the option of the yellow room (the smaller of the kid's room) or moving into the basement .  . . of course as most teenagers would choose, he picked the basement.  It's his cave, he does usually come up in the evenings to watch tv with us.  I also love my house because I am so close to my parents.  Zac disappears to my parents often.  We spend several nights a week in the warmer months sitting in their backyard (or my Aunt & Uncle's who live next door to my parents).  My parents are so in love with these two little surprises it's ridiculous.  I enjoy watching Zac go to the same schools I did, he's now in a newly built high school, but I'm so proud he plays Ice Hockey for my high school.

6.  Sleep . . . this one really needs little explanation.  Sleep is elusive for me many nights, I guess I have insomnia, I have never taken anything to help me sleep because of my dislike for most things medicinal.  There are many nights I am looking at the clock 2 hrs later.  So yes, I do like to sleep in when I get the chance.

7.  Photos/scrapbooks . . . My house is filled with photographs, walls and shelves are cluttered with tons of frames.  I also love to scrapbook.  I have 8 scrapbooks for Zac and am working on books for the munchkins.  Digital cameras make it so easy to take so many pictures and spend time picking the best ones to frame or tell the story of a day. 

OK, I didn't nominate anyone for this award, because everyone's blog that I frequent has already got this reward.  If I missed you, I'm sorry.


Why do the "holier than thous" insist that their God and their way is the only way.  I have been told that I'm going to hell and quite honestly I'm fine with it, because if the God these people speak about is so nitpicky; my quirky, rebellious self doesn't belong behind the pearly gates.

For example, in conversation at a sporting event I was told I'm going to hell because I don't go to church every week.  Now, I know the intended message behind this "threat" is to make me go to church every week.  But if I truly believe that God is sitting up there with a scorecard and anyone that doesn't attend church regularly is going to hell, I don't want to go to heaven . . . . there won't be ANYONE I want to spend eternity with there.

My God doesn't care if I talk to him in a specific building at a specific time on a specific day.  He's just as happy to listen to me while I lie in bed at night.  There are lots of people who find something inside the walls of a church, I'm not one of them.

So as the saying goes, It's not God I have a problem with, it's his FAN CLUB!  

In Desperate Times

Desperate times call for desperate measures.   Jaxon drools more than my first two combined.  He goes through about 3 or 4 bibs a day, I mean they are drenched.  AND on top of that if the soaked bib is accessible to are bratty dog, she will steal it and head to her crate to chew a nice hole in it.  So one morning when I opened the bib drawer it was bare . . . except for some pink and purple bibs, so yes, Jax is doning his first pink wardrobe item.