Always Crazy, Always Fun, Always Love

Ray Romano once compared life with twins to living in a frat house. As he put it, "no one sleeps, there is a lot of noise and a lot of throwing up." I find this very true with 4 young children, including twins. However, though things are always crazy, we always try to have fun and, most certainly, always love each other.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Van Saga...Part III- The Intense Finale!!!

To read Part I or Part II, click on the links in this sentence. So, we had been told on Friday that 3C would not release our van until they received full payment- our deductible and the rest from the insurance company. The ins. had sent one check to us, but they still owed $500 for extra repairs needed. They said Friday that they would overnight it and it would get there Monday. We have been paying full price for the rental since Saturday, because ins. ran out on the rental coverage. Well, we call 3C today- no check received yet. Grrr.... so, Aaron calls Am. Nat. (our ins. -this claim rep has not been nice!) and after lots of back and forth, finally admits that he never sent it over night and has "no memory or notes" of saying he would be overnighting the check, so we can't get our car. We are furious, of course and can't keep the rental anymore. He says nothing he can do, will not extend rental coverage. Check is in "snail mail" somewhere most likely.

Aaron insists on speaking to his supervisor, which he clearly doesn't want Aaron to do, but of course we insist, so he does. Basically, she did the only thing she claimed was possible to do- not ideal, but we have our van back. She would stop payment on check to 3C (by the way, she claims 3C is ridiculously holding our van hostage because even without the paper check, they had all the info they needed to get payment. I think both 3C and Am. Nat. were way wrong in this whole situation!) We had to pay the $500 difference (along with deductible) and they will overnight the check to us instead and we will get it Wednesday. It was the only way to get our van and be able to turn in the rental. They would not extend rental coverage. I think both companies were incredibly unfair and unhelpful, but what could we do? So, we did this and should have their check by Wednesday. The rental is turned in, van fixed, all is well!

I know I have done a lot of griping about this situation, but it has been therapeutic to write it out. I have been thinking about my last post (part II) where Kelly said she knew I would find the positive, and there has definitely been positive things. I like to be a positive person, so I will list the positives out of this, to end it on a happier note:

  1. No one was hurt in the accident (this is the biggest one!) and damage was minor.
  2. Van is fixed and works! :)
  3. A long time ago, Aaron's sister backed into the van, leaving a big scuff on the bumper- it was fixed with this, since the bumper had to be replaced! (We never would have bothered fixing it.)
  4. Aaron was working late, so my dad went with me to pick up the van and then took us out to dinner, so I didn't have to cook!
  5. I got to drive a VERY cool mini-van for a month- one I could never afford to drive otherwise! It was very fun! :)
  6. Kenny's teacher only gave him one short page of homework tonight, instead of the usual Monday pile- this was especially nice since we were out all evening getting the van, eating dinner.
  7. It's all over!!!!! Yay! :)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Aaron! Parts II and III

This is why I love having lots of family that we live so close to. The kids get lots of time with grandparents and we often get to celebrate our birthdays 2 or 3 times. We celebrated on Aaron's birthday last Tuesday. His parents weren't able to come that day, so they had us over for dinner on Saturday.

This is Aaron's Dad, Chuck, with Meghan and Kenny. Jacob stands beside Aaron's step-mom, Debbie, who is holding Ellen.

Ellie rocks in their kid-size rocking chair!

Aaron is with his sister Rachael, who is expecting her first child at the end of May. We were celebrating her birthday as well. Notice the raging river in the background? It is literally in their back yard. It was a bit scary because we had gotten a lot of rain and snow and it was running several mph faster and was about 15 feet higher than normal!

Then, On Sunday, my parents had us over for dinner to celebrate his birthday!

My sister even made this gorgeous cake for him!

Right before we left, I remembered I wanted to snap a picture. This is Aaron with my mom, Sara, and all the kiddos again(L to R, Jacob, Ellie, Meghan, Kenny). My dad was there, but missed the picture..... As you can tell, the girls were over tired and not feeling very patient! :)

Our Families are awesome! :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Van Saga....Part II

So, most people have a general idea of the pain we have been dealing with with our van, due to the MINOR fender bender I had a few weeks ago. This has turned into a big production for what wasn't much damage. In the last post regarding the situation, I stated that they said our van would be ready Thurs. or Fri. Also, the claims rep. stated our insurance would max out for our rental on Fri. (Turns out, their normal van rate is $89/day. They gave us & the ins. company a disc. rate of $42/day, which insurance would only pay $25 of, so we have been responsible for $17/day- it has been 4 weeks- do the math... ) So, we hoped all would work out and we would have our own van today. Ha! Here are the characters in the story:
1) us
2) American National Claims Rep (ANCR)
3) Adjuster- gives quotes & such (ADJ)
4) 3C auto body shop (3C)
5) Enterprise Rental Cars (ER)

Okay, that establishes all involved with abb. I will use. Today, of course, we hadn't heard anything yet. Aaron Calls 3C. "Is our van ready?" 3C says "Yes, just about- it is in Quality Control, you should be able to get it today." Yay! But no, not so fast....They call later and say it is done, but we can't have the car because they don't have complete payment from insurance yet. They need their money & our deductible first. What? Well, ANCR says they don't have final statement yet. Huh? Why not? Well, 3 weeks ago, 3C found more damage- calls ANCR who sends out ADJ for quote. ADJ makes quote and says go ahead with work. ADJ sends fax to 3C with very fine print saying "fax your final copy to me before check will be written" Apparently this is something 3C doesn't normally have to do, so they didn't see it and never did. The ADJ, instead of calling and checking on it, sits twiddling his thumbs doing nothing. So, both 3C (also dragged out repairs) and ADJ dropped the ball- who suffers? US! So, ANCR says check will be sent over night tonight, but because of weekend, won't get there till Monday- so no van till Monday- even though it wasn't our fault no payment was made. We say to ANCR- what will you do about our rental? They say- nothing we can do- you hit your max, not our problem- they will start charging you the regular rate. We say- ha!-They say, no, too bad. 3C at least has some pity and knocks off $100 from our ded. The only one really working for us and being nice is ER! (who don't have anything to do with this at all, go figure- they are the nice ones.) They are keeping it at the discounted rate ($42) and (before, when it was dragging out, ANCR did one nice thing and talked them into 2 days free rental) said they would give us the 2 days free over the weekend. So, ANCR gets no free days on the rental, we get it after they stop paying! Isn't that nice? So, anyway, sorry to drag this on- I know it is long. It is just frustrating, because this shouldn't be that big of a deal and would never have happened this way if the woman who hit me had INSURANCE! So, ANCR will go after her for some of the money, but not the overage on the rental. (if she ever pays them anything anyway....) and if we want that back, we have to take her to small claims court to get it- of course we would win the case, but will she be able to pay? Who knows..... This is just so annoying and heartbreaking to me because we are out a total of $1200 now (between ded. and rental) for an accident that wasn't my fault and complications in repairs that weren't my fault- but who pays- we do! What is wrong with this picture????

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What do stay-at-home mom's do all day, anyway?

Hello again! I enjoy reading advice columns in the paper. My favorite's include Dear Abby, Carolyn Hax, Dear Margo and Miss Manners. A while back, Carolyn Hax printed a letter and response in her column "Tell me about it" that caught my eye. I loved her response to the question "What do stay-at-home moms do all day?" I have heard this question before and it can be hard to answer specifically, we just know we are busy. I loved this article so much, I keep it on my refrigerator. So, to those of you who have kids- here is something you will appreciate. To those of you who don't yet, here is a little insight. I have copied this word for word from her column. I don't have the exact date- it was several months ago at least.

Dear Carolyn: Best friend has child. Her: exhausted, busy, no time for self, no time for me. Me (no kids): Wow. Sorry. What'd you do today? Her: Park, play group... OK. I've done internet searches; I've talked to parents. I don't get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please, no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners. I do all those things, too, and I don't do them every day. What is a typical day, and why don't moms have time for a call or e-mail? I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus work a few late work events); I manage to get it all done. I think the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy- not a bad thing at all. But if so, why won't my friend tell me the truth? Is this a contest ("my life is so much harder than yours")? I have kids with and without kids, and all of us child-free folks get the same story and have the same questions. -Tacoma Washington.

Anyone ready to choke this person yet? I love Carolyn's response:

Dear Tacoma: Relax and enjoy? You're funny. Or you're lying about having friends with kids. Internet searches? I keep wavering between giving you a straight answer and giving my forehead some keyboard. To claim you want to understand, while in the same breath implying that the only logical conclusions are that your mom friends are either lying or competing with you, is disingenuous. Because it's validation you seem to want, the real answer is what you get. In list form. When you have young kids, your typical day is constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, clean, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answer their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keep them from un-shelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces the kind of checkout-line screaming that gets the checkout line shaking its head. It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15. It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier. It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends. It's resisting constant temptation to seek short therm relief at everyone's long term expense. It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything- language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity, empathy. Everything. It's also a choice, yes. And a joy. But if you spent all day, every day, with this brand of joy, and then, when you got your first 10 minutes to yourself, wanted to be alone with your thoughts instead of calling a good friend, a good friend wouldn't judge you, complain about you to mutual friends or marvel how much more productively she uses her time. Either make a sincere effort to understand, or keep your snit to yourself.

Wow- isn't that awesome? She describes it perfectly. Yes, it is a joy, but so much more work than you can know until you have been there. It is the constant attention, constant meeting others needs and taking 3 times as long to do anything and being prepared for any eventuality. I just had to share this. At the same time though, my own "non-kid" friends are so important to me. They are an anchor at times and an escape when I need it. My sister Julie, and my best friend, Jackie come first to mind. They are always there when I need and are so fun to be around. They patiently listen to my stories of chaos and I just love them and love to hear about their lives too. I do look forward to the day they join the ranks of motherhood, because they will be so incredible as mothers- but I love them just how they are and don't know what I would ever do without them!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Aaron!!!

Today is Aaron's 31st birthday, so this post is for him! It was a good day- he was able to take the day of work and pretty much played all day. That is what birthday's are about, right? For dinner, I made his requested dinner- Cajun marinated T-bone steaks with sauteed mushrooms & onions, fried red potatoes, broccoli and chocolate milk.

For dessert, we had Katie's St. Patrick's Day cupcakes, for something different. (They looked good so we wanted to try them, and actually, Aaron was due on St. Patrick's day!) They were excellent! (thanks for sharing the recipe Katie!) (Please pay no attention to Jacob's hair in the above picture....we had a lay around the house kind of day- didn't go anywhere and I never brushed his har. Sorry Jacob- he is cute anyway, though!)Then, he opened his gift from me, which was a TomTomOne GPS unit. He had been wanting a GPS for several months, but we just couldn't afford one. But, I got this one for a great price on eBay! (Gotta love it!)

Notice the glow as I light the candles? He is getting old!

In honor of this birthday, I would like to tell you some things about Aaron that make him a cool guy, a great father, and a great husband as well as some pictures.

-adores his children and loves to hold them and play with them

-loves his wife :) and is always good to me
-works hard and I know I can depend on him.
-is good at fixing things, doing things around the house.
-is also good at working on cars. Thanks to these two talents, he has saved us thousands of dollars!
-is supportive of me being a stay-at-home mom and is willing to crunch pennies for me to do.
-is always willing to keep all the kids so I can go out and do things I need/want to. (even when the girls were newborns!)
-has a testimony of Jesus Christ.

-hangs out with good people.
-is always willing to help others when a need arises.
-kept all the kids for a 4 day weekend last July (with a little help from my mom....) so I could be part of Jackie's wedding in Nebraska. (even though the girls were only 6 months old and still nursing!)
-likes to teach the boys how to do things (especially work on cars). The picture below is Kenny acting like Daddy! It was so funny!

-always speaks kindly of me to others.

So, as you can see, he is awesome! I love you, Aaron- Happy Birthday and thanks for everything!

Monday, March 24, 2008

"When will it get woim?"

I promise I won't usually do 4 posts in a day, but I had to make note of this. This is a question Jacob asked today. (Of course meaning, when will it get warm- his speech is cute!) This is after weeks of 30-low 40 degree weather. I said it is spring now and should be getting warm soon.

My Question is:

Where is "global warming" when you need it????

Our Van Issues

This is the first (of probably many) rants. Our van was rear ended a few weeks ago while I had all of the kids in the car. It wasn't bad- just enough to cause some damage to the van. Of course, the woman who hit me was UNINSURED!!! I don't know how anyone can actually still drive uninsured.... anyway, so it has to come from my insurance. We do get a rental car (which, by the way, is was cool! 2008 Chrysler Town & Country! Sweet!) but it only covers $25/day- which is just a compact. For obvious reasons, that just won't work. The van is $17/day extra. Of course, this is out of our pocket, unless the insurance company is successful in collecting from the person who hit me, then we will get reimbursed. Well, 3C (where our car is) originally said it would be ready 3/19 (like, two weeks). On the 19th, they say Monday the 23rd. Well, we still don't have it. Now they are saying Thursday or Friday because they are waiting on the bumper to get there. And, I got a call from our insurance company today saying the insurance won't cover the rental anymore after the 28th. Grrrrrrr...... I love the rental van but just can't afford to keep driving it.


Being yesterday was Easter, I thought I should share pictures of the kids in their cute new Easter outfits. Even the boys had new shirts with real ties that had to be tied! (Thank goodness for Aaron or they would be doomed to a life of clip-ons!)

Peer Pressure

Okay, here it is- I give in. I have been reading my friends blogs for sometime, thinking it may be fun, but not sure. Then, over the last several weeks, I have had thoughts such as "if I had a blog, I would write about this." Not to mention, my blogging friends telling me over and over I should try it- it is so easy! So, I finally figured- what the heck- why not give it a try. I do have friends and family in some far off places, and this would be a good way for them to keep up with me and my family. My husband, Aaron, is sure to get a kick out of it, as I sometimes hound him about the time he spends on the internet, yet here I go. Hopefully I can keep it in control and not let it take up too much time. Also, I am not a good journal writer, so maybe this will get me to record some happenings of life. Of course, in a real journal, I can say what I want; whereas here I have an audience. But, this is better than nothing. Besides, I suppose even with a real journal, I would be aware of what I was saying knowing my children would someday read it. Anyway, here is my first post and I am rambling already. Take it as a fair warning- I tend to ramble. I hope you all enjoy it. It is a work in progress- it may change. Not sure if I like the template or not. It said I could customize later but don't see where or how. I will have to ask Autumn to help. She is our blogging guru. (Autumn- are you impressed I got this far on my own???) So, add me to your bookmarks and check me out from time to time!