Monday, February 7, 2011

Valentine's Crafts - Day 2

We did another little activity on Friday. We made tissue-paper flowers. Amy loved this. Even though I had to do most of the work for her, since scissors are hard and she's a little rough with separating the tissue paper, she has been carrying around the flowers every day since!

Financial Goals for 2011

The past year and a half have been crazy, to say the least. We have moved 4 times (including a short stint at my in-law's house) and have changed jobs 3 times. After all the craziness of life and this economy, we are determined not to be thrown into panic-mode anymore.

Our solution? We are going to put aside, what we consider, a year's supply of money. This is not the amount we would spend if we were employed, but should the economy freak-out, should Mike's company suddenly close, or some other devastating event, we don't want to have to immediately move or worry how long we can survive with the amount of money we have saved. So we decided to buckle down for a year and put away a large amount into our savings each month.

So January has come. And we did it! We were able to put away the full amount we wanted to, plus a little extra! We did go over on some of our budget items, but we stayed under on the others. So we are pretty darn proud of ourselves! In fact, with the money we had saved from our previous savings, plus January, plus February and our tax refund (woo hoo!), we will possibly be halfway there already! Although we plan to save for the entire 12 months, putting aside more for a down-payment for a future house and a celebratory trip to Europe hopefully planned for Summer 2013!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Valentine's Crafts - Day 1

Sometimes I strive to be a good mom. I feel like I'm succeeding this week. I've decided that, during Matthew's naptimes, Amy and I are going to do a Valentine's craft / activity / something together. Yesterday was the first day, and we made Valentine's placemats for the table. Cardstock, stickers, glue, sequins, and doilies, along with some contact paper, makes a fun little placemat for the family. And she had a lot of fun doing it ("Mom, I want to do the glue myself.").

Great job Amy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Funny Amy

Well, it's a new year, so it's time for the Biggest Lewis-er again... yes, we put all our weight back on... dang it. The goood news? I'm winning (bring it everyone!)... so far! I bought some special K, and by bought I mean got for .15 a box with a coupon the other day. Amy asked for some, but knowing she probably wouldn't like this non-sugared cereal and not wanting to waste my healthy food, I told her it was for mommies who wanted to get skinny.

Well, the next week she was at my in-law's house while Mike and I were out. My MIL, whom I had sent an extra of my super duper cheap boxes of Special K to, asked Amy if she wanted a bite of her cereal. To which Amy responded, "No, it's for mommies to get skinny." My confused in-laws got a good laugh out of that one!
This is what my kids look like each morning when they have their morning snack of cereal and Toy Story.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

An excuse to wear a formal!

I love to dress up. Any excuse to doll myself up, I'm in. Usually I prefer it when I'm thinner... but I've lost some weight, so it was okay this time. My MIL, mine and Mike's birthdays, bought us tickets to their ward's YW fundraiser. It was a formal dinner and dance. So we went through the closets, sorted through a lot of jewelry, gloves, and purses, and got all dolled up. The girls got a flower for their hair, the boys got a rose for their lapel, and we dined and danced the night away, complete with Salsa dancing instructions and a band. The YW served us delicious food (note to self: get that gravy recipe) and we had a great time visiting with friends and family. And I got to go out with my good looking hubby! Thanks Mom & Dad Laudie!

 P.S. Our night out also included babysitting. I don't think the kids minded at all!
 Note to Amy: Don't fall asleep near your brother. He will pile dolls on your back.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy 30th Birthday Mike!

30 years ago, Michael Richard Laudie graced the world with his presence.
30 years later... he's still here! Hooray for us!
My sweetheart turned 30 today. While we had originally intended for it to be a little more of a low-key day, the kids and I just couldn't pass up the excuse to shower him with love and attention. We started off the day by delivering cupcakes, balloons, and a candy bar to his work - just so everyone would know it was his birthday! It's so fun that he finally works somewhere that we can do that - everywhere else has been in classified areas and we couldn't sneak up on him!

Then we came home and cleaned and cooked and cleaned some more, because that night it was party time! Mike's parents and siblings, including Jim and Emilie and their crew, came over for the festivities, along with John and Elon and Austin (John works with Mike at Imagine Learning). I had invited a couple of Mike's old roommates (shout out to Bryce and John!), but being the dingbat that I am, I accidentally gave them the wrong address (South... not North...) and they didn't have my phone number, but they were there in heart!

We started off the night with some good food - Mike requested ribs for his birthday dinner. Being the worrier I am about not having enough food, I also made BBQ pork sandwiches, a TON of garlic mashed potatoes, a TON of steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and a lot of rolls. Mike's mom supplied the jello. After eating more than our fill, we moved onto the games.

For the record, I am not typically a party game person. I'm more of a "have games and activities available and if people want to use them, great, if not, that's fine too." However, it was Mike's 30th birthday, so I wanted to spotlight his 30 years, so there were games. The first game was "How old is Mike?" I printed off 27 pictures of Mike (one from each year - there were a couple of years that Mike was apparently absent from in his family's collection of pictures) and mixed them up. Then everyone had to guess which picture was his newborn picture, which one was age 1, etc. Surprisingly, it was more difficult than I thought. Even Mike only got about 19 of them! The grandprize winner was Mike's dad, followed close behind by Emilie.
The next game was "name that song." I got a song from each year of Mike's life (not the #1 hit, but just a popular song) and played a clip from it. Points for name of song and artist. While it was recommended that I outsource this project next time (some of my songs weren't appreciated - who doesn't recognize the Tootsie Roll anyways!), everyone seemed to have fun and it was an enjoyable stroll down memory lane! The winner of that game was John by a landslide!

Of course we had cake! This year Mike picked a brownie trifle (brownie, chocolate brownie pudding, whipped cream, toffee bits, repeat). This was a change up from the cake he has requested every year since we were married (Strawberry Tunnel cake), but very good. I think this is the first time that there were NO leftovers of a birthday cake - granted we had a lot of people over! And, yes, I did put 30 candles on the cake. Looks a bit like it's going to burn the house down, doesn't it?

It was a really fun night, and we were all happy to celebrate Mike's birthday with him!

In honor of Mike's 30th birthday, here are 30 things I love about Mike:
30. He has no rhythm when it comes to dancing- it makes me smile to watch him try to dance!
29. He is completely blind. Ever watch a blind man look for his glasses or contacts in the morning? Sometimes I put them right in front of him so I know he'll never find them!
28. He's always willing to try new things - recipes, activities, etc.
27. He's also a creature of habit - while he tries new recipes, he'd still pick Chicken Divan over almost anything because that's what he's always loved.
26. He's neurotic and obsessive about organizing things on the computer. Seriously, do you need your music classified by artist, title, include the lyrics, etc.? How about scanning all the pictures in your parents' closet for the past 35 years and labeling, dating, and tagging everyone in all the pictures? Yep. The world needs crazy people like that! 
25. He couldn't tell you the time if his life depended on it. Even if he was sitting next to a clock, he would still be surprised by the time and be late to wherever he needs to be.
24. He's loud. I feel the need to apologize whenever we go to his parents' house because he runs amok with all the kids and gets them all hopped up and energetic. But my kids, and his siblings, and the kids in nursery, love it!
23. He's cheap. My family used to think my wallet was tight, but then I married Mike and we together were worse. But he's amazing at helping us keep on budget and saving for the things that are really important to us.
22. He's an avid disc-golfer, and he actually tries to learn and get better! I'm a "throw it wherever and see where it lands" kind of player, but he actually aims and stuff. I'm impressed.
21. He loves to read. He listens to books on tape while he's working and almost always has at least 3 books by his bedside that he can't put away because he's in the middle of all of them.
20. He loves puzzles. Mostly logic puzzles, but pretty much any puzzle will make its way into his hands.
19. He's a game-player. Any type of game, especially if its a strategic game, he loves. Our boardgame collection grows every year.
18. He's COMPETITIVE. Which works out well, because I am too. Our motto is "If I can't win, at least I'm going to beat you" (meaning each other).
17. He's a compulsive cheater! The first time he played Phase 10 with my family, he held a wild in his lap - now we always watch him very closely.
16. He still wears shirts that he wore in high school!
15. His "Friday shirt". This is the shirt he wore every Friday night, until he found out my roommates and I were laughing about it behind his back... because it's a Hawaiian shirt with a printed  shirt beneath it... and he left it unbuttoned low enough that you could see the printing! Shiloh? Brittany? Am I right? For the record, I don't think he's worn the Friday shirt in our entire married life... maybe once, but I don't think so.

14. He loves the outdoors - especially camping. This makes me (and the kids) happy, as we love it too!
13. He loves holidays! Mike is always willing to dress up for Halloween, hide Easter eggs, decorate gingerbread houses, and shoot off fireworks!
12. He is a great sport. Even when the game becomes "beat Mike" or we break into song singing "Out in the desert he wanders," he takes it with a smile and a playful comeback!
11. He loves my family. We're a family of loud sisters, but he not only takes it but joins in!
10. He loves his family. He is a great son and brother!
9. He loves to sing. While I am practically tone-deaf, he sings in the ward choir, even though I refuse to go. One of these days he'll get a music calling - he's been holding out for years!
8. He's a hard worker. When we wanted sprinklers in the backyard, who dug the trenches? Yep, Mike.
7. He served an honorable mission and talks about it! We are continually talking about when we can make it back to Estonia and all the things he wants to show me!

6. He loves music and is very musically-inclined. Wherever we go he always looks for a community orchestra to play in to keep up his ability. I hope my kids get that drive and talent!
5. He lets me be a stay-at-home mom.
4. He's always willing to serve - if someone's moving, his name is on the top of the list.
3. He has a strong testimony.
2. He loves my kids.
1. He loves me.

Happy Birthday My Love! Can't wait to spend your next 30 years with you!

Sleepy Matthew

Matthew has, within the past month, switched from two naps to one. So now he's up until after lunch, then down for a couple hours. Well, sometimes he doesn't make it...