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wife. mom. adjunct professor. we homeschool. i'm a little bit OCD. i love math. bright colors and geometric designs make me drool. we live with a medical rarity, and Jesus saved his life. through that, Jesus is changing us. The american dream and status quo is overrated...and sometimes just plain wrong. our lives, our family, our careers, our faith are all now filtered through a new lens-- thank you Jesus. welcome to our crazy. feel free to take some of it with you, we have plenty to go around.
It's not the load that breaks you down; it's the way you carry it.
-- Lena Horne

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.-- Jesus Christ

Sunday, March 27, 2011

just a thought...or 10

I don't have a lot of direction for this post.  I am just trying to post more often, for myself and my thoughts if nothing else.

We went to church today.  So many good things about that. A)duh, we miss it.  we love our church-- the people there.  we love getting to hear God's word spoken to us by a pastor who lives what he proclaims.  B)I got to visit with some of my gal pals today and when you stay home with two kids all day long and don't get out much, that is something that you desperately miss.  I'm sure you girls (if you are reading this!) know how much those short conversations meant to me.  So thanks for your conversation and listening ears! :)  C) My boys got to get "dressed up"....meaning jeans and a nice shirt, that's about how far we take it in this house.  But they looked so cute in their spiffy jeans and collared shirts and fixed hair and grey converse sneakers.  So cute.  D)Ridge wouldn't be quiet.  Hollering, laughing, fussing...just being loud.  And a friend came up to me after, she has a little boy a few months older than ridge, and asked how he was doing, and mentioned how she could hear him during the service...and our church is so open and friendly about kids being present in the service, I know no one was upset or anything by Ridge's loudness, but as a parent, you sometimes worry about that stuff and try to hush your children...but what a blessing it was when this friend said, "what a blessing!  i asked my husband if he knew who it was making that sound, and she said I told him Ridge. what a blessing for him to be here and to be making that noise!"  and what a blessing to me to hear those words!  i know I said blessing 24678235687 times, but I don't care.  it was a blessing. all of it. 

So there's some update there...

Ridge is probably getting his central line out in the next couple of weeks. Big step here....that means every time we need a blood transfusion, Ridge would need an IV.  that's annoying.  But it's more annoying that we have this line EVERY day, and ridge can't take a bath. he can't go swimming.  if he gets a fever, we go to the hospital bc his line might be infected, causing a fever.  UGH.  So we have decided we'd rather be inconvenienced on the days he  needs blood and be "normal" on the other days, as opposed to being inconvenienced DAILY and being glad for the line only a couple times a month at most.  This also means no more dressing changes, which have become weekly rituals here, and not one of us is "used" to them yet-- I hate it, Ridge hates it, I'm sure B hates it, and Sawyer doesn't like that we have to deal with them either.  So good bye to those.  Some people have asked why dont' we just get a port so that he has SOME type of quick access.  Well, maybe we will.  But  not right away. We are going to try it like this.  Because if we get him a port right away, and then we rarely use it, at some point, some day, we have to do surgery to get the port out.  Why would I want surgery to put a port in that we might not use much, and then have to wait for surgery to get it out?  I'm over that idea.  Right now, we are gonna go without any line access.  I don't care if it sounds stupid or brave or whatever, that's what we are doing- we are done with that line.  And I'm going to believe in faith that it's gonna be just fine to not have it.  And if I'm wrong, oh well, we will just get another line later.  But for now, we are going to plan on living normally.  Which means a lot of baths (can you imagine how much scrubbing Ridge is gonna get the first time I put him in the tub? SERIOUSLY.  The kid has not had a tub bath since he was probably 2 months old!  And he is almost 2 YEARS old!)

Sawyer's had two tball games. Ridge and I went to the first one but it was way too cold for Ridge at the second so we just stayed home.  First game, Sawyer's team lost, second game they tied (even though they had an extra time at bat :) ).  Apparently it was so cold that some of the team members were crying (not my child of course, he'd never do that, ever never ever would he be cold and want to stop playing tball. never. not a chance. if you don't taste the dripping sarcasm here, i'm telling you now that i'm being sarcastic.)  So yeah...maybe one day when it is nice I will get some actual pictures for you and post them here...but for now...this little paragraph will have to do on a Sawyer update.  He's usually really hilarious so I need to do better keeping tabs on things he does, bc I haven't shared that stuff in a long time.

I just ordered some new spring bulbs for my flower beds, and I have some requests for our vegetable garden this year as well.  hopefully a trip to lowe's and walmart (yuck I hate walmart) will yield us some good crops this year :).  I love spring time.

Uh...that's about all on the updates.  I planned to write none of that and instead write a brief synopsis of some more "serious" stuff, but now that I've written all of that, I will digress until my next posting.

Have a good Sunday (or whatever day you are reading this!)

Monday, March 21, 2011

why do you visit?

I don't know why people read this blog- I'm sure there are all sorts of reasons---
A) once you started you couldn't stop (ha, I'm not that interesting, I don't think, but I have a few blogs that I read on a regular basis, even about people I don't know, just bc I can't stop reading perhaps this is some of you people's reason...)
B) you know me, or of me, personally, and like to keep up with me, or my family...
C) you find inspiration here sometimes- usually I don't try to inspire on purpose, but I am told it does, thanks to the Lord for using me there....
D) every once in awhile I have practical advice
E) my kids are really cute and funny
F) you like to check in on ridge...i'm sure that's how most of you found me in the first place, here.  I was writing the blog a while before we even knew Ridge was sick, truthfully. kind of exploded in a very small sense, when Ridge got sick.  Some people read to know how to pray for us.  Others read to keep up with us (because living in the hospital, thinking that terrible things are about to happen- some of which DID happen, one of which I am incredibly thankful did NOT happen...but anyway, living in the hospital it is virtually impossible to keep people posted by phone or text regularly- it is too stressful, emotional, etc the blog was a way for everyone to find out what was going on).  Others read just because they couldn't stop- it becomes somewhat addictive when someone you know, or don't know, is hurting or going through a tragedy- especially if they open it all up for everyone to read, because...well...there it is- you can read their innermost thoughts, the things that previously they may have only told God.  And there's something that we all kind of like about that.  It's okay- I'm the same way, and I am the one who posted it all for you all to read. There is beauty in being honest and being as un-candid as you possibly can.
Whatever finds you here, for whatever reason you started reading or keep reading...I am glad that you do.  I like that I don' thave a lot to update on Ridge- because truthfully speaking, that means things are good. Sawyer had his first TBall game tonight, so Ridge and I made our way to the ball field.  It was our first outing- we have been in hibernation. I would say we've been in a cocoon, but in general things that emerge from cocoons are beautiful, and while I've had a good innerworking makeover, externally I'm not so sure things look any more beautiful than two years ago- these two long hard years have given this lady more wrinkles and more grey hairs, and made me start to just feel old. I'm not old. I know that. But I feel kind of old after living through this.  And I am on shaky feet some days because I am not certain the worst is truly behind us- maybe I am certain of that, but maybe I just fear that something is going to sneak up on us.  I don't know how to be normal, and I don't pretend that I know how to be normal. I know I'm weird, and I think knowing that makes me more sane than insane.  Anyway, Ridge had a blast. It took him awhile to warm up to the fact there were so many people there, but once he did, he wanted to traipse all around that field (well, the "fan" part of it- he wasn't on the actual field).  Sawyer had a good time, too.  His team lost, but I don't even know if he knows that.  So we emerged from hibernation, is what I'm trying to tell you- hibernation fits because we probably look sleepy and rough instead of rested and brilliant like a cocoon emergence would imply.  Ha, either way, we have been in hiding, and we have come out, changed.  We are a little doe eyed and scared.  The world is all new to Ridge.  I mean, duh, he's been outside in the backyard and stuff, and been around family and some friends, but he just hasn't had free rein yet on the world.

Pray Sawyer and Ridge do NOT get sick!  I was praying that on the way to the game and even as I say the words I know that if it DOES happen, God will take care of us. I told Him so.  I also told Him really don't want to have to learn a lesson through some little cold or illness, so let's please not have to go through that.  I am trying to have faith that we will stay well.

The last week or so has been kind of weird for me.  It was Spring Break, but we were home.  It was the first Spring Break that we have been home, not in the hospital, and I haven't been a teacher.  I know some of you might be tired of reading about me, my struggles with missing my job, etc...that's okay, you can just go read something else for now and check back here in a few days for a new post.  But...I can't help but write what I'm thinking/feeling. Anyway, so this week was weird.  It wasn't really a break at all. It was just normal.  Some days I feel okay with not being a teacher...I mean, I can't change the fact that currently, I am a stay at home mom.  And I will be a stay at home mom as long as I have to be- and I'm totally okay with that.  And some days, I'm not only totally okay with THAT, but I'm totally okay with NOT being a teacher anymore (no one has to get all deep and say that I AM a teacher to my boys- I know that...that isn't what I'm talking about, though...).  Other days, I'm totally okay with being a stay at home mom, but I'm not okay with not being a teacher- most days I still really miss it.  Tonight, at TBall, I got to see so many friends from the high school-- a ton of teacher's kids are on our Tball team.  And it was so good to see them, all of them.  But it also leaves me with a weird ache inside bc I'm not a part of that right now.  I know some of them are reading this-- because they are my friends, and they keep up with us....I miss those friends, and I am so glad for this opportunity to see them regularly.  But it stirred in me a feeling I haven't had in two years...a feeling of, I used to be a part of all of that, and now I'm not.  Not that I'm not still friends with all of those fantastic people, because I am, and they all understand why I had to step down for awhile, and they are all supportive.  But I want to be ... done with this part of my life...and back to that one, and it is a hard lesson to learn that I have to do things on God's timing, not He on mine.  It was so sweet for me to be able to get to see those people tonight though.  I needed it very much!  Those people are great blessings in my life- they were two years ago, and they have been through these two years, and they still are.

As we left the TBall game, we saw some college age guys playing volleyball a little bit away.  Several of them were former students- not all great students, but all great great people.  Some I knew for only a semester, others a year, and another I had the honor of teaching them their junior and senior year.  I hadn't thought about those students in probably the past two years of my life- they aren't students I keep up with regularly, nor do they keep up with me.  They don't read this to my knowledge, so...I'm really just rambling.  There are some students I still talk to on a pretty regular basis. Some have become friends, others are still just former students and I'm their former teacher and we say hi when we see each other and we visit about what's going on right now...others have become close to my family and my kids...and then there are some I haven't seen or heard from at all since the last day they were in my classroom, be it 7,6,5,4, 3, or 2 years ago.  But these students, tonight, are students I haven't seen or heard from in the last couple of years, maybe even 3 years...and they were busy and we were leaving so we didn't "catch up" tonight either.  But it took me right back to the time they were in my class.  A couple of them in particular had a lot going on their senior year-- un-fun stuff, difficult stuff, and I don't know everybody's whole story so....all I know is that my husband was still teaching at the HS then, and we both knew these students.  They were really good people.  Not great students on paper, but just good guys.  I'm sure they got into their share of trouble, but Brandon and I both had a heart for them, and I don't know that we ever did anything that amounted to a lot of difference in their life, but I know we sure tried.  And seeing them tonight, although they may never ever know it, took me straight back to how I felt on those days a few years ago when I didn't know how to offer a lot of help to those two, but I knew they needed it.  And I spent a lot of time praying for them and every chance we had that we could do something for them, we tried to do so.  And even though they may not remember me the way I remember them, just seeing them from a distance tonight was so nostalgic that it was just what I needed to be reminded that I totally have to go back to teaching.  I have to.  I know I said in my previous post that I will go back to teaching when I am able to, when God works that all out- I know that.  But when I have times that I don't see how it will work out, etc etc, when my heart becomes full of doubt-- then things like being at a  4/5 year old tball pre season tourney happens and I see so many teacher friends and I see students I didn't really expect to ever run into again...sometimes I think God just gently whispers reminders that His plan is greater.  That He knows our heart and that He has these insanely wonderful plans for us, and that He will fulfill them in His time. those teachers who were just watching their kids play tball tonight, and to those students who probably will never read this but were just out hanging out playing volleyball tonight...thanks.

I suppose that was enough words to last us all a few days.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

when...oh, someday someday!

a few notes before this post.
1) i was sitting in the parking lot of the nail salon waiting to redeem a gift certificate when i wrote this on an old oil change receipt (it was on a piece of paper, like a regular sized one, not a receipt sized one).  when the salon opened, the line was out the door, so i finished this little note and went to kohl's.
2) i miss my job.  i think about it a lot, thus writing about it in the car.  i miss it tons.  some of how i feel about missing it is just too much for me to share here for you to all read....but some of it isn't.  i don't know when everything will be worked out for me to return.  i know that it will all work out- because God has promised me this.  but today, while i was sitting there, thinking...i remembered that He probably has a lot of cool stuff to show me until that day-- and that day may be soon, or it may not be soon, I have no way of knowing that stuff because I can't see into the future and I can't magically make things happen.  But when it is time, the Lord will make it work.  I have faith in that, because He has made it clear in the desires He has given my heart.  And He is always faithful!  So anyway, today, as I was sitting, I decided I can't wait to see what things are in between now and then, however near or far then is!
3) This is written really for myself, but I'm sharing it anyway.  For so many reasons- for people who don't understand moms who work.  For people who are antsy in whatever spot God has them right now.  "This too shall pass" my momma always said (and still says).   This is written for people needing a boost of energy in their career, whatever that career may be.  I had to omit some parts because they were just too personal.  I am not trying to sound arrogant in any part of this- whatever talent I have was not developed but by the grace of God and the many assists of colleagues.  And teachers who believed in me.

so here it oil change receipt note written while waiting on a pedicure that didn't happen.

Does it matter right now?  right. now. ?  i WILL go back when i CAN go back.  ........God WILL make a way for that.  It doesn't matter how much I miss or what I am missing, because I am not there right now, so of course I am missing things.{.....I can learn to live a life without that part of my life for now.  I can learn to love a life without that part of my life...for now.} .... I am a talented teacher.   I love my students.  THEY are why I teach-- not for a meager paycheck, not to sound like I am in a noble profession, not to make friends with my coworkers (though that is nice when it happens!).  The STUDENTS are why I am there- THEY are why it is not difficult to leave my own children at a highly qualified and loving childcare center-  I love working with my students.  They do not always like me- we don't always get along.  BUT, I make a difference, I make a friend-- in more of them than I do not.  there will ALWAYS be students-- I may have missed the class of 2010, 2011, and maybe even more than those.  BUT I will NOT miss them all.  I was created for this job, the job of teaching math and advanced math, in such a way that students can understand.  I am called to inspire confidence and to make math fun and to make the difficult seem doable.  I enjoy doing so.  I will do this again.  Not today.  Today I will rock some other talent God gave me- but I will fall in praise the day I hand out a syllabus again.  The day I meet a new group of young people who have the potential to change the world, and who allow me to be a part of their doing so.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

and i have two.

Dear sweet sweet offspring that live in my house--  you are adorable.  you are exasperating.  you are ornery.  you are rebellious, and even disobedient.  you are intelligent.  you are quieter in some ways than you should be and insanely too loud in others.  you are hilarious.  you can do more than you let on.  you give excellent hugs.  each of you are, and have, something i never had- a brother.  you look like your mommy. you look like your daddy.  you are messy.  you give me grey hair.  you make me laugh until i can't breathe.  you make me tired. i can't imagine a life without you.  there are times i strain my brain trying to remember what it was like before you- when there must have been quiet, and order, and sanity...and something missing.  you hold a piece of my heart that i will never get back, there is nothing i can do about that- you have stolen it with your gentle spirits, your innocence (ha, sometimes), your humongous eyes.

you love each other.

you look different, and the same.

you sleep with your outer arm up and your inner arm tucked under...both of you do this.

you are who i spend almost all my time with.  you may not always like me, and you may get in trouble, but you will always be loved by me.  you are a part of me.  you are a gift.  and i'm blessed enough to have...two.

Monday, March 7, 2011

oh...ya know...a little of this, a little of that...and a lot of rambling.

hmmm...what to blog about....i told you i was going to try to do better, if for no one than myself, so forgive any ramblings.  or just move on over to the dinner you were making or the important work thing you were doing and skip me for today, i won't mind :)

things at the top of my brain list right now:
i want to paint.  paint paint paint, whole entire house. pretty much every room, and the outside.  i know baby steps is the attitude i need here, but i want it all done. like...yesterday.  i have all these ideas and if i don't execute them quickly they will pass.  i suppose that is for the best.

we need a new washing machine. it only works about 50% of the time...if it wants to.  it's the spin cycle.  it's a waste of time in that machine. it doesn't do anything.  i mean, yeah, the drum spins, and the water drains, but the clothes are still sopping wet.  so anyway...we need a new one of those things.  barf.  our dryer seems to be working just fine, but it's spring and i dry what i can on the line outside or the line in the laundry room during spring and summer- i LOVE line drying clothes (i'm serious).

i don't like thinking about things we need.  it's stressful.  i know it will all work out.  the washer still washes clothes, so it's not like a desperate need, but it is annoying having to dry them 17 times (not really 17, but maybe 3 or 4) before they are dry.  That's stupid.  we need a new recliner. ours is dark brown leather and i love it. it is a rocker, a recliner, and it rotates 360 degrees.  i can watch tv and rock ridge, or i can rotate all the way around (well...halfway around, bc all the way would be back at the start) and look out the window while i rock him.  but this chair has rocked two babies and has been slept in as often as our bed.  it's on the fritz.  it rocks, but it's getting ugly.  but it is still functional.  so it's not a desperate need either.  so...i guess we don't need anything.  see how it all worked out in less than a sitcom's timeframe?

spring break is next week.  wahoo!  i have a whole list of junk to do.  we'll see how accomplished i am. 

i tried to be frugalisha (ha ha, play on words) again this week. i did pretty well but not as well as i sometimes do.  I did manage to get $35 worth of groceries at CVS for $20 after coupons, plus I got $8 in rewards bucks I suppose that is like getting $35 for $12 which is pretty good. I also went to Walgreen's and got about $30 worth of groceries for $16 and left with $9 in register rewards... So that's kind of like $30 for $7, so that's pretty good.  Those aren't my best trips to those stores, but they probably aren't my worst either.  I didn't do so hot at Target, although I did save 25%.  Sometimes I just need things that don't have coupons (I mean really need them, like eggs.  And Lara bars, which I love...and which sometimes have coupons, but rarely, and almost never are on sale, but they were a few weeks ago)...and of course I needed those jeans that were marked down to $6 on clearance and which just happened to be in my size, and LONGS, which I didn't even know Target sold.  So I got a great deal, I don't think I've ever bought jeans for $6 in my life- being six feet tall makes it difficult to be a bargain shopper for pants!  However, I will disclose something I wasn't sure I was going to disclose.  I'm all about second handing stuff- Ridge wears hand me downs.  Sawyer's clothes are mostly name brand, but almost every single thing is bought at a consignment store/consignment sale.  Which means Ridge is getting hand me downs from Sawyer, which are actually second hand to begin with.  So tonight, I decided to stop by our local Goodwill. I go there once a month or so to scope out the furniture because I am looking for some nightstands.  I am all about painting and re-purposing things....Well, they had a set of nightstands, and I might go back to get them, I can't decide if they are workable or not for our room.  Since I couldn't decide, I thought I'd just look around for kicks.  I've noticed before that our Goodwill has some good name brand items-- maybe they all do, but I know that our Goodwill has some really nice donors!  I was just browsing, and the racks were full of Gap items.  I love the Gap.  There was Polo...Jcrew...the Limited...Express...a few Banana Republic items...American Eagle...and everything was $2.99 or less for the most part!  There weren't gobs of kids clothes, but enough for me to find some things for Sawyer.  I left with 12 things (maybe more, but I can only remember 12 of them off the top of my head), all name brand labels (almost all were Gap) for $35.  Seriously.  I know, some people are probably above second hand shopping, and that's totally fine.  I usually buy our things new, too, except for the kids'.  But seriously, it was ridiculous- some of the things I bought still had tags on them! As in, the original in, they were NEW!  I'm fairly picky, so I only bought things that looked pretty new.  A few things I bought were half price, so I got them for $1.50!  And Gap dates their items, so I was able to find the year they were made and decide if they were "new" enough to buy.  I won't be a weekly shopper there...or maybe I will...but seriously- it was stuff just as good as what I find at consignment sales, and cheaper because no consignor one gets a cut of the profits.  I've always been a bargain shopper- Ross, WALLS (oh how I miss my hometown for THAT, really, seriously, for reals), TJ Maxx, sale racks at ANY this was kind of right up my alley.  Plus at places like Ross, you don't get big name brands very often, if at all. there anything left to tell?  Sawyer spelled baseball on his own the other day.  It was pretty amazing.  He just decided to write it, with no prompting.  He is going to play tball this year, so maybe that is what made him want to write baseball.  We have been working on that silent "e" in our reading practice here at home for homeschool.  I didn't know if he really "got" it- other than in reading.  He gets it when he reads aloud.  But I came home and saw this:
I shall explain.  The BAS is self explanatory.  It is followed by a red B, and a blue O L (that's not a blue a, I thought it was at first) and a  red E.  The B, O, L is the "ball" part of the word.  BAS-BOL...and he told me he put the red 'e' to make the 'a' say the long A sound.  That's pretty impressive for a 4 year old, right?  So we talked about WHERE that e needs to go (I didn't write it for him, we just talked about it) and that the O should be an A  (which is tricky, bc A says aaaa and ay, but not always does it say the "ah' sound, but O says 'ah' or 'oh'...english is tough!)  Anyway, so he sat down, and did this, with no further assistance from me.

What a funny guy!  He then filled the entire page up with the word 'baseball' and that paper is now on my fridge (which is one thing in our house that is operating perfectly fine).  
Ridge is bleeding some.  His hemoglobin was all right today (10.9) but I just wish he'd quit bleeding.  It isn't a lot, but it's always stupid and annoying.  

Time to get ready for bed, turn on some old skool 90210 and work on someone's wedding veil (did you know I could do that?!?!?  I didn't either, until about a month ago!  It's fun stuff!)

What's going on in YOUR life???

Have a great week!  

Thursday, March 3, 2011

keepin it my wallet

I have wanted to do another post this week but haven't had time for some of the ramblings of my mind, heart, soul, I have a few minutes before B gets home from work and I head out to run a quick I decided I'd post on something I've wanted to post on before, something super boring to some of you I'm sure.

It is no secret I have no job.  I mean, I'm making some extra money by putting my craftiness to good use, and for that provision, I am very thankful!  But I have no "salary" paying job, and I haven't for about two years.  So while Ridge was doing so poorly, it was pretty pointless to try to get a feasible budget on our new single income salary-- the monthly expenses changed every month, as far as medical stuff went, and frankly we just couldn't really think about any of that right then.   So as our life has semi-normalized in the sense that we are no longer in the hospital, we are trying to get back on track, budget wise.  My husband doesn't spend a lot on anything.  I love to be frugal and save money but I have to have a budget to do so-- I work that way.  When I was younger, my parent's gave me my "allowance" that way-- you have this much for clothing, this much for entertainment, etc.  I did have a job in high school, so that helped with extra money, but it was always nice to see that I had this "set" amount in an envelope for clothes each month or whatever.  I still like to operate that way (I love you, Dave Ramsey).  We used to do that, before Ridge-- allocate all funds, even literally using envelope systems (Dave Ramsey).  It was wonderful. Fights about money became non-existent.  Seriously. And we had MORE money even though we weren't making any more at all.  So I am so ready to revamp the budget on this new "diet" income we have.  Only I don't revamp it, BDawg does that.  But when we followed Mr. Ramsey's plan a few years ago, we seriously were able to pay off both of our vehicles (Praise Jesus they are both still in excellent working condition, and that neither of us is big into status symbols, bc we've had these vehicles for 5+ years, which isn't a lot to me, but is a lot to some of "society")...we paid off my husband's student loans, and some other debt that we had, I can't remember what it was....the only bills we had when we moved into the house we are in now were utilities stuff and the mortgage itself.  Then...we had Ridge...and blah blah began my conquest to save money.

I also like to do things myself (if you haven't noticed).  I like to be frugal and I like to try to be enviro friendly...but I'm not OCD about that part.  So the first thing I did to save money required some spending of it first--

I bought cloth diapers.   For Ridge.  I think we forked over about $120 total (I bought a lot of "seconds"-- not second hand, just "not perfect" cloth diapers.  They look perfect to me, so IDK...but they were about half the price of "regular" cloth diapers).  For that $120 I got about 18-20 cloth diapers and their inserts.  They are the cutest things.  Now...$120 sounds like a lot- but you parents or grandparents who buy diapers..think about it.  A BOX of diapers is around $15-$20.  If your child is in diapers exclusively, you go through a box a month, AT LEAST.  So you are looking at less than a year before you spend that $120.  With cloth diapers, the $120 lasts as long as you want to use the diapers (bc they are one size, adjustable, the ones I bought).  AND you can use them with your next child.  We want one more child, so it made perfect sense.  I almost never have to buy disposable diapers..(but if I do....I don't pay full price for the things). 

Excuse me if this is broken up-- I typed all of that, then ran an errand, and am finishing the post while supper is cooking itself.  Magical.

So I bought cloth diapers. That's how I started.  It is fun (as fun as diapering can be).  Another thing that happened almost simultaneously is I started making my own laundry detergent.  It's incredibly cheap. I gave some as Christmas gifts, even.  Seriously.  It's better for your washing machine, too (if you use the right kind of soap when making it).  Depending on which recipe you use, it saves you 50-80% cost wise.  I make a powdered version because it is faster to me than the liquid recipe, but the liquid recipe makes a TON more detergent with the same ingredients.  I usually make a double batch of the powdered kind and it lasts us around 70-80 loads.  Recipe for the powdered kind:  1 bar fels naptha laundry bar soap (most grocery stores sell this with the laundry items like spray n is between $1-$2; other people use ivory or whatever is cheapest, but i prefer to use a laundry bar...truth be told, i prefer to use goat milk laundry bar soap, from, but it is a bit pricier, but still comes out much cheaper than store bought powdered detergent), 1 cup washing soda (i can only buy this at homeland in town, no other stores have is not the same as baking soda but similar, and in an arm and hammer big box), 1/2 cup borax (this is at homeland, but is cheaper at target, about $2 at target, closer to $4 at our homeland).  You grate the bar soap with a cheese grater.  Then process it in your food processor (this isn't weird or gross, it's soap, so at worst, it is cleaning your processor).  You then mix it in a bag or container or whatever with the other two ingredients.  You are finished.  Use 1 T of soap per load, 2 T if it's a really big load.  Let a little water run with the soap in your machine first before loading clothes.  This soap does not suds.  That's another story-- but short of it is, the sudsing with your laundry detergent isn't what gets your clothes clean. Neither is the fragrance in detergent what cleans your clothes.  Anyway, this saves a ton of money, and if you make the liquid kind it saves even more.  The liquid kind only has one more ingredient- water.  There are a ton of recipes online-- just google "homemade liquid laundry soap recipe".  The Duggars (19 kids and counting) have recipes for both kinds of detg on their website- that is where I got mine.

Making our own laundry soap led me to make our own dish soap and dishwasher soap.  If you want recipes, here ya go.
powdered dishwasher detergent  (I use recipe number 3)

liquid sink soap/liquid dishwasher soap (the castille is expensive but it still comes out cheaper, usually, because the bottle of castille lasts for SEVERAL batches.  I occasionally do still buy sink dish soap because I can sometimes get it for close to free):

I use white vinegar as fabric softener and I use white vinegar as a rinse aid in my dishwasher. Super cheap, and better for the environment, I suppose.

I haven't made our own cleaning supplies, but that's something else I'd like to do.

Another thing I do to save money is...I've started couponing.  I always liked a good coupon, but then I started hearing stories from people I actually KNEW, who were getting groceries for almost nothing!  I am not that good- I get the principal of how to get that good at it, I just don't buy into that for us...I don't need 8374728653876 tubes of toothpaste (although I do have about 10)....But I am getting the hang of getting things we want and need for close to free. My rule is that if I have a coupon, I use it on sale or clearance items only, and try to keep my purchase of an item $1.50 or less. Sometimes that isn't practical for certain items.  I also do a lot of shopping at walgreens and CVS because they give you rewards money back.  The other day, I went to Walgreens and bought a baby wash, baby lotion, pack of diapers, hmmm, i don't remember what else-- but it was totaling up at $45.87.  After I used my coupons, and some rewards money I'd earned last time (these are called register rewards at walgreen's, they work like credits sort of ), I ended up paying out for $12.87 I think.  Which was great, but the greater part is, I got $12 more register rewards for next purchase, so it is kind of like I got all my stuff for $0.87!  I spend about 3 or 4 hours a week total clipping coupons and comparing ads at Target, Homeland (they double coupons), Walgreen's, and CVS (Target, Walgreen's, CVS, and Dollar General allow you to stack a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon, which is sometimes as good or better than doubling coupons).  WalMart is awful with coupons so I don't go there at all.  Anyway, I'm getting pretty good at it and am getting more for less money.  I can almost always get toothpaste and deodorant free, as well as other toiletry items for close to free.  I can usually get a pack of diapers for less than $7 but they usually come with rewards or extra bux (Walgreens, CVS) so they actually come out closer to $4 or $5 a pack.  And a pack lasts us a long time, since we cloth diaper almost always.

Now that I've bored you to death with things that thrill me, I will get back to eating this triple chocolate gelato from our Homeland (which I did not get for even close to free- it was my reward for saving so much moolah the other day)...and let you finish your nap. :)  Go ahead and shoot me an email if you have further questions. My email is