Sunday, January 10, 2010

Forget the Joneses Continues

Today is day 10 of our Forget the Joneses project participation as a family.

I love that we are teaching our children about the basics of money. We have spent a lot of time discussing our spending freeze with them. We've talked about only buying things that we need, focusing on our spending so that our family can meet goals, and prioritizing and really thinking about each thing we buy.

I think this does an amazing job of modeling how I want them to spend their own money. I'm sure that you, like me, have had those moments where kids make quick decisions with birthday money while you cringe. I know that the toy is junkie and will break.......probably before we even get home with it. I talk, and talk and talk about making good choices, wise spending....sometimes they hear me, other times not so much.

As part of this process we wrote a family mission statement, and are using that as a guide when making purchases. Xander educated most of the Athens Kroger on Tuesday as to the basics of a spending freeze as he simultaneously inspected EVERY item I put in my buggy. ("We're on a spending freeze - you can buy Lucky Charms but we can't - it's not on our list".......repeat.....every aisle)

We are also using our mission statement to guide our discipline, our time spent together as a family, and our goals for house projects.

Today, as a family, we made envelopes to organize our spending. We are going to be using the Dave Ramsey cash only approach this calendar year.

The basic plan is that you pay all your bills, and then withdraw the amount of money you have budgeted for spending - in cash.

You divide the cash out into envelopes - we have groceries (week one and week two), gas, family fun, and date night.

For other expenses that we are saving for - car oil changes, tags, insurance, etc. - I am transferring those balances directly into savings so that we never "see" those funds.

I find myself much more careful in the Kroger when I know that I only have cash to pay at the checkout!

For the kids, they will have three envelopes - save, spend, and give. They will begin to give of their own money at church (which I guess technically is still our money....).

Thanks to my friend for sharing this great site with me that taught me how to make these fabulous envelopes today!

Mikaela's three envelopes - give, save, spendMikaela's envelopes bounded together

Xander's three envelopes - spend, save, give

Family envelopes - groceries, gas, family fun, date night

envelopes bound together - aren't they going to be cute in my checkbook holder?

Snow Day 2010

Mikaela schooled all day Thursday in her winter coat - just in case the snow came down.

No snow in the morning.

No snow when we went to pick up Xander from school.

No snow during lunch.

As we sat down to finish our afternoon school work - SNOW.

Beautiful, white fun snow flurries.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

So Proud of Xman

Xman and Ms. Marni - our therapist

Xman with his Certificate of Achievement for conquering fears - We played legos, ate yummy junk food (of his choice), listened to the radio station he picked, colored only Star Wars afternoon to celebrate Xman!

A little Twister hopscotch when we got home to continue the celebration!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy Half-Bday Mikaela

Because we love to eat cake.........any cake..........for any, we celebrate Mikaela's half birthday (a house hold tradition).

One pan of yummy peanut butter brownies.

One gappy grin smiling 7 AND a half year old!

One goofy younger brother - helping to celebrate and sing!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Daddy's Perspective of 2009: Xander

Alexander Hayden Thrailkill:
Daddy’s Perspective of 2009
1. You are doing a great job reading. I love hearing you read the BOB books when you go to bed.
2. I can’t believe what a great football player you’re becoming. I was very proud to see you wearing #77 on the field.
3. Of course, you are constantly making heads turn every time you enter the room due to your fancy sense of style.
4. I really enjoy seeing you playing outside and running around. You are getting very fast and strong.
5. We both still enjoy playing and watching superheroes. The other day you and I spent about 30 minutes in a book store looking at comic books together. I hope this continues.
6. You’ve gone from play wrestling with me in the living room to Folk Style wrestling on the mat. I’m proud to say that I am you first official wrestling coach. Keep up the good work.
7. You’ve progressed musically this year. We’ve played so much Rock Band and Guitar Hero that you now want a drum kit. I pray that music is something you will continue to enjoy through the years.
8. You and I have really spent a lot of time together this past year. I am looking forward to spending even more time with in 2010.

Daddy's letter last year

Daddy's Perspective of 2009: Mikaela

Mikaela Grace Thrailkill:
Daddy’s Perspective of 2009

1. Wow! You are reading so many cool books. It is amazing to see how well you read, as well as how much you enjoy reading.
2. I am very proud of your writing this year. The Thanksgiving essay you wrote is spectacular.
3. You have become very active with riding your scooter and jumping on the trampoline. You know how I like to exercise.
4. I will always remember you being a cheerleader for the 7-8 Panthers. You did a great job!
5. You have begun making great friends, especially at church. I think we’ve broken the record on birthday party invitations this year.
6. You are growing up so quickly—let’s slow down on the make-up though.
7. I just love playing video games with you. Right now, I think the DSi is your favorite system to play, but I really enjoy playing the music games and My Sims Agent with you.
8. My favorite part of Kaelee is how sincerely sweet you are you. I love that you still want to snuggle up with me and watch a movie. I pray that will never change.

Daddy's letter last year

The Thrailkill Family Mission Statement

This year our family is participating in a "Forget the Joneses" project. The objective of the project is for 21 days to only spend money on items on your approved spending list (made by your family at the beginning of the project). I have been reading many blogs over the course of this year in which lots of families have participated in versions of this. Some do it for the first week every month, some do it for the first month every year, while others do it for a full year.

Assignment one was to create an approved spending list. I am of the mindset that if you are going to do something - you should dive in! So, our approved spending list is short and sweet:
$10 for a playdate that was scheduled before I signed on (we have $4 left and we give ourselves permission to do another activity if it fits in that budget)
Gas - for both vehicles
Bills due will be paid
Groceries - we will do menu planning from our pantry/freezer - and only buy what we have to in order to fill in the meals.
Offering - church

Assignment two was to create a net worth statement. I won't depress you with the details of the networth of a family who has had one full time working adult for the last 7 years.........On a positive note, when I compared this year to last year we are making progress.

Assignment three was to write a family mission statement. What are our goals as a family?

We used this site to guide us through writing our mission statement. It was actually very interesting assignment. You will find bits and pieces of each of our kids in the statement - as they contributed to the discussion too.

Thrailkill Family Mission Statement 2010

As a family we are at our best when we work together.
We will try to prevent times when we are selfish.
We will find more time with each other to spend quality time together - playing the Wii, taking trips, and having fun.
We will help each family member by loving each other and not doing bad things, picking up after ourselves, being obedient to mommy and daddy and God, and praying for each other.
We will help others by using our manners when speaking to others, donating goods to the church, giving money to God, and looking for opportunities to do nice things without being asked.
We will stop procrastinating and start working on: spending quality time together every day, reading together, snuggling up as a family, and reading our bible and praying together every day.
We will be viewed as a family that is loving, nice, cool.
We will fill our home with happiness.
We will make choices and decisions based on: trust, honesty, obedience, service, kindness, commitment.

We will constantly renew ourselves by focusing on:

  • make healthy eating choices, exercise daily
  • obey God and not sin, read the bible
  • read, pray
  • fellowship with other Christians, look for kind deeds, have fun

We envision success for each family member.

Dear Xander,

Dear Xman,

I have happy tears in my eyes as I sit down to write your letter this year. What a privilege it is to be your mommy! We began 2009 with your "4 1/2" birthday in January. I think this year you have grown from a preschooler into quite the young boy!

This year you played t-ball for the first time. Coach Bobby was your first real coach - and you loved him. You were a Muckdog. Daddy and I were so proud of how attentive and focused you were on and off the field. While the other kids wandered around quite a bit - you sat on the bench in the dugout or played your position on the field. Always the rule follower. This fall you played football for the 5 - 6 year old Falcons. You played tackle for Coach Mook. No one cheered louder than daddy and I. You also became a Walnut Grove Warrior wrestler this year. You and I both aren't ready for you to compete yet, but you love to go to practice.

One of my favorite things about you is that you are so personable to be around. Not only are you a blessing to me, but everyone we come in contact with adores you too. You are always smiling. You are very much into Star Wars (with the millennium falcon topping the list in your letter to Santa), super heroes, and legos. You are always thinking - the man with a plan. I love when you tell me "Mommy - this is how I role" followed by some logic that makes perfect sense to you, but I would never have thought of it. You have grown nicely into the little brother role. You love sissy - you want to be where she is, do what she is doing. You also love to aggravate her!

For the first half of this year, Mommy kept Eliot and Preslie while their moms worked. You enjoyed having daily playmates since Mikaela was away at school every day. The three of you were like the Three Muskeeters - always into something! This year you graduated into your big boy bunk beds. You got superhero sheets and comforter. You started the year on the bottom bunk, but then moved right on up to sleeping on the top bunk by the summer.

You adore dressing up and pretending. You and your sister are constantly creating songs, skits, scenes and shows for me to watch. You continued your hat phase at the beginning of this year - with your favorite hat being the one Grandpa Choo Choo gave you. Every time you wear it you remind me that grandpa choo choo gave it to you before he went to heaven. Mid year you became a blazer guy - wearing a black blazer jacket everywhere we went - no matter what the weather was like!

I enjoy traveling with you. You always have so many questions and are so interested in learning about the places you go. You want to know how many miles away places are, how long it takes to get there. You are still a bit impatient - wishing long car drives were much shorter. This year we took many trips and enjoyed some new, and some old places. We returned to Disney in October for a week. You adored meeting all the characters, riding the rides and eating the treats. Your favorite moment of this trip was attending Jedi Training School and fighting Darth Vader. I was so excited for you - you wanted so bad to be chosen to participate, and you were!

You are an awesome helper. You do a great job of cleaning your room and helping me with chores. You love to cook. Nana got you an apron set and you wore it every time you helped me with Christmas baking. I love that you are such a great eater - and will try new things. Your favorites are mexican cheese dip (probably because I lived on it when I was pregnant with you!), salads, zaxby's chicken - buffalo style, pepperoni pizza, and peanut butter brownies. You don't like hot dogs or macaroni and cheese - your sister's two favorite foods.

Mommy and daddy prayed and talked a lot about where we would choose for you to school for the 2009 - 2010 school year. We decided for you to become a kindergartner at bright beginnings at our church this year. You started off the year unsure about kindergarten, but by Thanksgiving you really enjoyed attending. You have lots of friends - Jacob, Ryan are two of your favorites. This year you were chosen to be the blue wise men in the Christmas program for school. You came so excited - sure that you were going to be "the three wisemen - bringing gold, frankenstien and mercy to the baby Jesus." You took your role very seriously and paid close attention in all the rehearsals.

You and I worked hard this year on helping you learn coping skills for anxiety. It was so challenging for you. I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of you for pushing forward with me. You give everything you try everything you have - one of the many things that make me so happy to be your mother. From the moment Dr. Lowman handed you to me, within seconds of being born - I knew that you are I were bonded - forever. We begin each day snuggled together - sharing our dreams, our goals for the day, just being together. I know you will outgrow this soon so I cherish each of these moments that I wake and find you next to me.

Your faith is amazing. You are a wonderful prayer leader. You lead our family in the blessing at every meal - you volunteer. Many times over the course of this year you have been approached by strangers who have been blessed by one your blessings (you often pray loud enough to bless an entire restaurant). I don't know what God's will is for you life yet. I pray daily that God helps me guide you for I know He has great things in store for you.

God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won't stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns.
Phillipians 1:6

I am so thankful that God gave me you - to love, to adore, to teach me about life, to play legos with, to jump in rain puddles with, to snuggle during movies, to remind me that life is funny, to show me how to dress "fancy", to help me vacuum, to make me smile, to push me out of my comfort zone, to put puzzles together with, to enjoy board games with, to read pop up books with, to remember the joy of being able to be a reader, to improve my video game playing skills, and to keep me youthful.

Xman I love you to Millennium Falcon and back

you make me so...................HAPPY

Mommy's 2007 letter

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Dear Mikaela,

Dear Mikaela,

As usual when I sit down to write to you each year, I am suddenly at a loss for words. You leave me speechless. You continue to be such an amazing blessing to me.
This year has been full of challenges and changes for the both of us. In January, you began the year as a first grader at Walnut Grove Elementary. Your teacher, Mrs. Herrick, returned from having her baby. You had many great experiences at school. You enjoyed having best friends to play with on the playground - Maggie and Brittany especially. My heart continued to break for you - as you and I both still cried most days in carpool. "Big school" proved to still be a challenge for us both. Never had you and I been apart so much in so many ways. Xman and I loved coming to have lunch with you.

You are so much fun to be around. This year you spent most of the year toothless! Your gappy grin made daddy and I both smile every time we saw you. You love to play games. Twister is your favorite - and the bone twister from Halloween was even better! You got a DSI (nintendo hand held video game) for your birthday - and now, just like daddy, you love it! Your favorite game changes weekly - but the American girl games, fashion games, and logic games are at the top of your list.
You and Bubbe are inseparable. You love each other so much. This year you grew into your role as a somewhat bossy older sister -but most of the time, Bubbe doesn't mind. You and Xander make up your own games all the time. You also are always creating a new show for us to watch. You both love to perform. You sing, dance, tell stories, make up skits. You are so creative!

I can remember the first time I held you. You weren't even a full minute old when the doctor handed you to me to snuggle. You were a snuggler from the get go! Everyone loves that about you - mommy, daddy, Xander - even Nana and Papa!

This year we celebrated your 7th birthday - you are growing up too fast for me! You and I spent days with scrapbook supplies creating the invitations to your fashion diva party. You knew exactly what you wanted to do, how you wanted to decorate. You have such a keen sense of fashion. Your style is uniquely yours. You love to put on make up, play dress up, draw fashion scenes and make your own fashion accessories.

I am so proud of the young lady that you are growing into. Every day you inspire me to be a better mom - to model for you the type of woman I want you to grow up to be. What an amazing responsibility - and gift! This year you have really focused on improving your manners. It is such a delight to hear that you always respond with "yes mam" or "no sir" when we hear you talking with adults. I know that the level of respect that you show others will be returned to you.

In addition to becoming your teacher this year when we transitioned you in July from public school to homeschool, I am honored to also be your girl scout leader for the 3rd year! We have such a good time. You look forward to girl scouts every week - and love when I let you in on the activities ahead of time:).
I will always cherish the trips that we take. This year's highlight was a trip to Disney World in October for Halloween. One of your favorite moments was getting to meet Princess Tiana from the brand new (not been seen by anyone yet) movie - The Princess and the Frog. Our trip to disney was full of magical moments.
You carefully wrote your letter to Santa this year - deciding just what you REALLY wanted. A sewing kit was the first, and only item on your list. I can't wait for us to learn to sew together. You have carefully organized all your sewing supplies into your sewing box. You and I have spent much time looking at each thing. You are confident that you can teach even me - and I am sure you can.
I am reminded daily that Psalm 127:3 shares that:
Children are a blessing and a gift from the LORD.

I pray for you every day - for your spiritual, physical and academic growth, for God's blessing on our time together, and a prayer of thankfulness that God gave me you. To enjoy, to love, to teach, to be silly with, to jump high on the trampoline with, to get messy doing crafts with, to rediscover a good book reading with, to remember that pillows and blankets are for tent building to, to remind me that rain feels amazing when dropping on your tongue, to teach me how to wear make up, to show me blindness to diversity, to snuggle on the couch with, and to keep me thinking.

Mikaela Grace, I love you beeches to sneeches, tickles to giggles.
Always and forever.