Here is a video of Kaden having a hard time containing his excitement. He waits until Daddy says "Come here!" before he runs into his arms, but it's hilarious to watch how patience just about kills him! Lol Enjoy. :)
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Now, I will admit, back home, I shopped at Winco, which is a "bulk" type store where you can get most things out of bulk bins and you fill your little begs yourself (like you would with produce anywhere else) but they have everything the huge stores have, just much cheaper. So to go off of their prices wouldn't be a true representation of the price difference because I saved money by going there. So I got online and priced the items through Albertson's. They're pretty middle-of-the-road when it comes to prices and so is Lulu Hypermarket, where we shop here.
So, here are the findings. These are the prices we've paid in the past three weeks (I've converted from metric when necessary and priced in American currency):
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (per pound): Lulu's: $ 2.99 Albertson's: $1.99
Gallon of fat-free Milk: Lulu's: $5.45 Albertson's: $1.99
1 Pound ground beef: Lulu's: $6.74 Albertson's: 3.99
1 head Iceberg lettuce: Lulu's: $2.82 Albertson's: $0.99
6 oz. fresh blackberries: Lulu's: $6.81 Albertson's: $2.50
1 box Multigrain Cheerios: Lulu's: $6.53 Albertson's: $1.67
Jumbo pack Pampers size 4: Lulu's: $12.80 Albertson's: $9.99
Men's Stick Deodorant (Gillette): Lulu's: $8.28 Albertson's: $2.50
Total: Lulu's: $49.43 Albertson's: $25.62
That's a difference of $23.81! And this is just for a few specific items. No wonder our freaking grocery cart is always barely half-full, yet is two or three times what I EVER paid in the States. And back then I was constantly buying pre-packaged easy-to-make (read: pricier!) products. Since we've moved here, I now cook dinner every week night and we all eat cereal for breakfast and sandwiches or leftovers for lunches. There should be no WAY we could spend as much as we do on food.
Anyway, at least I feel better knowing we aren't actually EATING double, just paying double. Heh.
Monday, July 27, 2009
I can't believe it's only 9 days until we leave for vacation! After counting down for so long and feeling like it would never come, now it seems like it's here fast! I am sure this is how it's going to feel when we get to go home. We've been waiting for so long to finish our goals and get back home that once it does arrive, I'll bet it's going to feel like the time went fast.
Stu is already getting nervous about moving back home. I am a little, but not like he is. It's a nerve-wrecking thing to be so set in our ways here. We make enough money that we don't really have to worry about anything. If we decide we want a video camera (two weeks ago, hehe) or want to get steak AND shrimp for dinner this week :) then we just do it. We don't have to plan out the money for things and focus on saving up for things because we spend so little money here. The saving just happens naturally. But when we go home and have bills and we each have jobs again (which cost money in themselves with car payments and gas and insurance and work clothes, etc.), it's kind of a frightening thing to think about diving into again.
It was nice getting so many comments (and even more emails) with suggestions and personal feelings about what we should do. I asked because even though I know we feel like we've thought of everything, inevitably, someone will bring up something we haven't thought of before. It happened, and actually for the better in this case. Marcia in particular reminded us that Boise winters REALLY aren't that bad and that moving home then wouldn't be the Hell situation we're so worried it will be. (She also offered lodging, which is always nice, hehe)
I know we've definitely both come full-circle as far as money goes since we came here. When we got here, the goal was simply to pay off debt. If we left here with that gone, we'd be better off than before we came. When that happened so fast, we developed fairly complex goals with specifics in mind and the fact that we'll actually hit our goals come mid-December is such a rejuvenating feeling. I think we've both gotten to the point where money really isn't everything ('cause let's face it, money IS everything when you have none of it) and where those "things" (like, uh, living life instead of talking about it) are important enough to walk away from the money aspect...
We are going to reevaluate everything after our vacation (and how much of a motivator it ends up being) and determine if we think we can and should stick it out here longer than we planned. For now, I'm not willing to ask any more of ourselves than what we've been driving toward for over a year now. I guess we'll let the chips fall where they may, but in the meantime I am soooo excited for this much-needed vacation.
Those who have travelled with toddlers (I know no one has travelled 27 straight hours with a toddler, but bear with me), any handy tips or tricks you'd like to share? Or if you haven't, any ideas that you think might make the trip less stressful for everyone, we'd appreciate the advice! :) We've been considering getting one of those kid leash-type things that allow the kid to walk, but unable to release your hand and go running away (like our lovely child has taken to doing lately). Thoughts on those? Anyway, yay for vacation! 9 days!
Oh, and I have been a loser at remembering to take videos of Kaden, but here is one from yesterday that made me laugh. Any time I need to get anything done, I can pop in Twilight and Kaden is enthralled. Not sure what it is about that movie, but he actually watches it while most movies are just background noise to him. (I know, I know, I shouldn't let the TV babysit my kid, but sometimes, dishes just need to get done) So ha! I'm not the only Twihard in the family. :) Enjoy.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Now, Stu has jumped into the planning process with a vengeance. He's got lists and prices and contacts and, and, and...
Now, here is the problem I am facing: I just can't envision it. Sure, when I think about "going home", I picture myself perched on one of Marcia's bar stools, chatting for hours while Judge Judy screams at folks in the background. I picture Ann Morrison park and my son running wild in the grass. And sure, sometimes, I have a vague idea of what a "home" will feel like.
But, Stu looking up the differences in two ranges has me stumped. I light my oven for crying out loud. How do I know if I need an energy star rating or a stainless steel model? I just want one that can turn its self on when I turn a knob! No more squatting down, removing the drip pan, holding a flame to the gas and watching it "POOF" into existence. I just want a modern, working oven!
The same goes with the rest of the appliances. I wash dishes by hand (like 5 times a day because of insufficient supply AND a sink the size of a cool whip container) and truck my laundry up two flights of stairs to wash it. HAVING a dishwasher and a washer and dryer that don't leave soap on my clothes, or fade them from black to grey in three cycles is all I care about.
"The guys" at work have been warning Stu about the dangers of a wife and a new home. They have horror stories about several-thousand-dollar curtains and drapes and endless paint, honey-do lists that go on forever, top of the line fridges, etc. But these are the same women who trot around with designer handbags and A&F pants. They're high maintenance about everything. It's not me. I grew up with frugal parents (ok, my Dad was plain old cheap) and I remember my Mom's sewing machine working over time to get curtains up in our house. They were adorable. They had this sort of country-feel to our house because they were big antiquers back in the day and it totally worked. I remember how "cool" I thought getting to pick out fabric and a pattern for a new sundress was. They worked hard to save money and now they're WAY better off than people their own age. That was instilled in me from a young age. I've always been frugal and now it's suddenly ME having to rein STU in. He is the one who has his heart set on a side-by-side fridge with the freezer in the bottom, and the water hose that he seems to think is going to cost a hundred bucks.
The bottom line is that my perscpective on what is a "want" and what is a "need" has been heavily skewed by living here. I'm about ready to buy a mobile home and all the fancy-shmancy appliances Stu can stuff it with, a couple cars, and NEVER have any more payments in our life. I probably won't actually rationalize that one, but still, material things mean so little to me anymore.
I feel like even though we have the money now for the nice things we'll eventually want, doesn't mean we need to actually buy them now. I definitely want to upgrade some of the crappy stuff we've been living with for the past few years, sure, but I feel like it makes more sense to slowly transition into the nicer/more expensive things like a super fridge and bedroom set.
I want to live within vacationing distance of my family. I want to be able to let my son play outside without the worry of heat stroke (and in grass, not sand and ash). I want to be able to go on a drive on back roads with my husband, just to drive and talk. I want to have a choice about the friends we have and the types of people I want my kid around (my son has started putting crayons in his mouth... Stu thought he was eating them until he removed it between two fingers... smoking. Neither of us smoke, just our lovely friends). All of these things seem so trivial, but they become a lot more important when you're without.
Also, just a little poll: How many of you would kill us if we decided to stay a bit longer? I ask because I think it's retarded that we've decided to go home in the dead of winter (we don't even own clothes anymore that are appropriate for winter in Idaho) and Stu is adamant that we won't have enough saved to go home before winter starts. So my thought? Wait till March if we can stick it out. We'll see. I want to go home yesterday, so we will see how the next few months go. But, thoughts?
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Kaden is just as excited about the new video camera as we are and he likes to watch himself in the playback. Unfortunately, he doesn't quite grasp that he has to stay in front of the camera to be able to watch himself later! Lol
So here is a bit of silliness and some out of order counting (he can REALLY count up to 5 and recognizes 1-10 written down, but the camera is too exciting to focus on performing). Enjoy, family! :)
And then there's this one, lol. This is what Kaden thought of the movie Jumanji!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Because we already celebrated Kaden's birthday and had cake this past weekend, we decided a dessert would be good instead of doing cake again. We received two packages from Aunt Mo yesterday, so here is Kaden enjoying his dessert! Thanks, Aunt Mo! :)
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Kaden was pretty confused about what having a birthday party meant. He seemed cautiously optimistic when I assured him that Mike would be coming over to play with him. He passed the morning singing Happy Birthday to no one in particular.
The party was a pretty good time. Kaden enjoyed having so many people around, which is good because I wasn’t sure how he would react to it. After Rama arrived first, he accepted everyone else without any freaking out. Hehe.
Kaden got SOOOOO many cool toys for his birthday from all of our (his) friends. I thought his room was crowded before, NOW it’s just crazy in there! Lol. But he is actually playing with his toys again, which is great for Mommy (and giving me time to write this blog!).
Let’s see, he got a fun little sling-shot chicken that he alternates between being terrified of and in love with, and two Paddington bear books from Lindsay and Hilal, which we’ve read at LEAST ten times already! :) His card from them also included some Cars stickers, which is his favorite movie, so he keeps “reading” the card! Haha.
Charmaine and Chi Wai got him this totally awesome play gym thing that has 4 different games in one. It pops open like a tent and then you can play soccer, knock down some cans, play cornhole, or basketball! He loves it and has also found new uses for it, like holding his cars (in the basketball hoop) and pretending to sleep in it! Haha Charmaine was also a dear and came bearing cupcakes that she slaved over on her poor pregnant feet! But Stu in particular loved them and decided one was an appropriate before dinner snack last night! Lol
Lisa, Austin and Myla got him a Mega Blocks train set, which is really cool because we already have a bunch of Mega Blocks, so this morning we made a “train station” out of them and set up the track (which he decided can accommodate other cars and not just trains). He’s still playing with that as I write this.
He got a bowling set and shopping cart and cooking stuff/groceries from Mommy and Daddy. He especially loves the shopping cart!
Matt got him a set of race cars that wind up and Zoooom and Budda got him a remote control Spiderman Hummer. He uses both of those in place of the bowling ball to knock down the pins now and they explode everywhere! Clever kid. Lol
Mike got him a cute little piano that has numbers on it and comes with a book of songs by number so he can learn his numbers and coordinate them to a song! (And it’s travel-sized!)
Dan got him the hit toy of the day with a Winnie the Pooh stand-up piano with a honey pot seat and microphone. It sure is loud, but he LOVES it. I don’t think it’s been off other than sleeping times for the past two days. Haha
We ordered pizza and had snacks and Rama brought a dessert from the Lebanese Flower Bakery that was yummy! Kaden was WAY too busy having fun to stop and have some food though.
After the festivities, we headed up to the common area upstairs and played poker on the pool table (hey, it’s felted! Pretty close to a poker table). Kaden was pooped and went to bed early and Kyle cleaned us all out at poker (and then caught a flight back to the States bright and early the next morning out of Dubai!)
All-in-all, it was a great time and Kaden absolutely loves all his new toys! After hanging out with so many people I’m even more excited to share him with the family in a couple of weeks, now that I know he won’t be too freaked out by a bunch of people around.
Serenading the crowd.
Clapping for himself when he finished playing. Lol.
Poker time! Matt and Mike.
Dan decided not to play but showed his support anyway. :)
Kyle, the champ himself. (Maybe it was whatever was in that sippy cup that gave him the edge...)
Stu dealing the cards
outside the camera flash is super bright
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
He wanted a high-five.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
All-in-all, a very nice night, although I did finish a bottle of wine by myself since Stu found Miller Light at the store (which happens to be more expensive than the imported Irish beers, lol), so getting up with Kaden this morning was a struggle for my head and my stomach. But it really was a good time.