Thursday, February 28, 2008

Vanagon out... what else?

OK, so the Vanagon is out. Last night I had bad dreams of an oil-burning VW. I completely forgot that my parents owned two vw buses in the mid '80s. These things weren't exactly safe. If I were single, perhaps I might go this route, but looking at my two "angels"....

We test drove the Mazda5 this evening. This was high on the list because of the lease offer of $199/mo. and it seats 6. But there are no government crash test ratings and the thing is tiny. Everything is extremely cramped and my 6' 5" husband looked very uncomfortable in the driver seat. Since he does all of our driving on long trips, I just can't do that to him.

The next option would be something like a Honda Accord, but then we aren't really saving any money, which was the point of selling the van.

My husband does fit very well in German cars. Americans are tiny -- because their population has been diluted by the Irish. We are now looking at *very* used BMWs. We've found a couple for about 5K and that will make everything worth it. If we can walk away with a 5K car that will last us for 3 years we will be ahead of the game. Plus, my hubby fits very well in a BMW. I think he decided to be so tall so that he could only drive luxury cars:)
The funny thing is that he drives a scooter to work every day. It is so funny (and cute) to see a 6' 5", 240 pound guy on a tiny scooter. I am blessed that he isn't vain.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bye, bye minivan

We are no longer the owners of a minivan and I've not shed a single tear. We purchased our van about 2.5 years ago and I have to admit that it is freakin awesome with young kids. It can be a spaceship while you are in the garage doing laundry, the back seat makes a great changing table, you can easily climb around to buckle everyone and even bring many cousins on trips to the park.

Yes, it looks stupid and very uncool, but the convenience makes up for all that. I'm 33 and a mom, I lost "cool" about 5 years ago.

We sold the van to a very nice family today and the reason I've shed a tear is because we are going to pay off some major debt. We have way too many bills and we need to pay them off. Right now we are without a car.
The initial plan was to remain without a car for a few months and, because of the area we live in, it is "almost" doable. We can walk to the market, mall, doctor, school and parks. But we can't walk to my mom's, my work mail center or my brother's house. Also, we started t-ball this spring, and we can't walk to the t-ball fields. Adding up the price of cabs (buses around here are a joke) put us off on the idea.

We were thinking of leasing a Mazda5 because it seats 6, but after a search on Craig's list, we found something that might be even better.... a 1987 Vanagon.

Dude, I remember going on many trips with my bff -- we went camping, on beach trips and berry picking in the Vanagon. It was awesome.
We've got a financial plan now, so in two years we should be able to purchase a new car. Can a Vanagon do us right for the next two years? If we go this way, it will put us ahead in our gameplan.
We're going to check out a couple of Vanagons this weekend, so we'll see....

Friday, February 22, 2008

Snow day

We hit the steeps of Frazier Park last Sunday. It was a perfect day for sledding and the kids had a blast. The last time we went was 2 years ago and Lucas was definitely ready to sled his butt off. He and Phil went down some pretty steep hills and Luc ended up with his face in the snow numerous times. But his favorite activity of the day was licking the snow. Every time we turned around the kid was on the ground eating nature's snow cone.
We made a tiny snowman -- we named him TrashEye McGillicutty because one of his eyes was a budwieser bottlecap we found on the ground.

The one downside to these daytrips is that, as far as gear goes, we are unprepared. We don't have snowboots, snow jackets or snow pants. Why would I shell out $500+ outfitting our family for a once a year trip? We don't have the cash, so we just bought a bottle of scotch guard and doused our jeans. Yes, folks, we were the family in jeans and sneakers at the snow. It wasn't a pretty sight, but the kids didn't give a crap. There were some other families around and they were all decked out in the latest snow fashions.
It reminded me of when I was a kid.... We never had money for snow clothes, so we did the old scotch guard and jean thing way back then. As a "tween" I always swore that I wouldn't be like that as a grownup. Well, look at me now:)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bye, bye binky. Bye, bye sleep.

My daughter finally gave up her binky three days ago. She's been on the fence about the whole thing lately, but on Thursday night, we couldn't locate a "dummy tit" anywhere (the dog has been finding them lately). My husband, who has been trying to get our daughter to give the thing up for more than a year, said, "well, that's it, no binky tonight."
Of course, he got to put her to bed that first night -- she did fine. Friday was a very busy day and she only asked for it a couple of times, but by bedtime, she was jones'n for it. We had the cousins over for a sleepover and I thought that would distract her. I was wrong.
She finally fell asleep at about 9:30. At 1:30 a.m. she was in my bed. My husband retreated to the couch because he was pissed that I allowed her to sleep with me -- he thinks it will set a precedent or something. Our kids are fairly good sleepers now, but it has taken a lot of work and he is very leery of anything that might allow them to fall into bad habits.

So we're at 1:30 and my daughter is like a junkie looking for a fix. I really felt bad for her. I couldn't console her -- she was wringing her hands, jumping out of bed every 2 minutes looking for "something" and just overall nervous. Poor little thing. We got through the night, but my eyes needed an extra dose of visine.

Tonight was bad putting her down to sleep. She was already very tired from little sleep last night and she wouldn't lie down. I cuddled up with her in bed but she was moving all over the place. Finally, she asked me to put her stuffed pig in the freezer for the second time (long story) and I said no. She got pissed and so did I... I had had it with the constant whining all day... and I said, "why don't I just throw your piggy in the trash!" She looked at me and said, "Mommy, that's not nice. Piggy is a stuffed animal, not a toy. I'm going to throw you right in the trash." At that point I was ready for it.

She's sleeping now, and I feel bad for losing my temper.

On a good note, tee-ball practice went much better today. My brother, who is coaching his daughter's softball team, showed me a few pointers and we passed them on to our son. He seemed to pick them up. He stopped a few balls, threw overhand, and ran the bases in order:)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

tee-ball and too much chocolate

Today was Valentine's Day and that means my kids were bombarded with candy of all sorts at school and from grandparents. Everywhere you turn in our house there is a little bag filled with treats. It's hard to keep track of all the stuff and that is why about 10 minutes before we left for my son's first tee ball practice I suddenly realized that my daughter had stuffed a bunch of chocolate in her mouth. Uh-oh, I thought, this is not good.
No time to worry, got to get to tee ball on time (I hate being tardy for anything).
We headed out the door and were back 3 minutes later because I had forgotten my son's glove.

How was tee ball practice? It was painful to watch. My son got out there and hadn't a clue what to do. We've tried to throw and catch balls in the past, but the kid isn't a natural. Every "tee" we've bought in the past has ended up becoming a sword or something of that nature and is broken in a matter of days.
He threw underhand, folks. He couldn't catch a ball and he tried to hit lefty even though he is right handed. He ran from first base to third and then when it was time for him to run home, he headed back towards first. It wouldn't have been so bad, but all the other kids looked like they had been playing for years. He is the youngest on the team (just turned 5) but I was embarrassed that I hadn't prepared him more. The great thing was that he didn't notice his lack of skills and he had great fun. We'll practice a lot more at home to hone his "skills".

After practice we decided to head to the sporting goods store to pick up a real bat for Luc and some of the stuff he'll need once games start. About 5 minutes after we got to the store my daughter didn't look too good. She suddenly said, "I'm not going to throw up Momma." That usually means she's about to blow chunks.
I signaled to my husband that we had to leave asap. I took my daughter to the car and waited for Phil to pay for our things. On the drive home my daughter didn't look good. I grabbed the bag that held the new equipment, dumped everything out and held the bag up to her face.
It wasn't a pretty end to her Valentine's Day. But maybe she'll learn her lesson for next year:)
She recovered after an episode of Scooby Doo and was ready to join us all for dinner. She even had the nerve to ask for a treat after dinner -- I refused and she didn't protest, so maybe she did learn something.