Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Senior Pictures

Because money always seems to be tight, and because I like to take pictures... Kels & I have decided that I would do her senior pictures. The plan is to take a few each season, and print out the best of them. Yesterday we had photoshoot #1.

Here are a few, let me know what you think!









While I was Away...

As I mentioned in my last post I believe, I went to visit my brother & his family for a few days. Kels, Bree & I got up early Friday, loaded up the van and headed out.

Our first stop was to the vets in Princeton to drop off Moo who was staying there while we were away. (Normally Bill would deal with her, but he works 2 jobs and she'd have been outside while he'd have been working, it was way to hot for that, and it turned out to be nasty in other ways too.) Upon leaving the vets, we looked at the sky, it looked pretty crazy! A storm seemed to be brewing. We stopped at BK and snagged some breakfast to eat on the road and off we went. Shortly after we got on the interstate, it started to rain. Yuck, I hate driving in rain, and driving in construction in the rain is really sucky. Thankfully the rain didn't last long. We drove, and drove, and drove. Stopped a few times for pee breaks, because we had Bree with she's not super good at holding things sometimes and I didn't want to risk her having to go when it was going to be to hard to get to a potty, so we stopped at easy to get to places as we went.

We arrived in Springfield around lunchtime. We unloaded and visited a bit, then went and got lunch. Once lunch was over it was play play play time for the little girls. Bree & Trinity hit it off well and kept eachother very busy. Kelsey & I took some turns holding baby Jude. He is so cute. Then we had to run to the store for some makings for dinner. I told Robb & Beth that I'd be cooking dinner for them. They always seem to treat us out and stuff while we are there so I wanted to do something for them this time.

Beth, Kels, Bree & I took a quick visit to Meijers for some stuff. When we got back, Robb says to me..."Where exactly in Norway is Jilly?" I told him she's near Oslo... to which he said, "Ummm did you hear a bomb went off in Oslo Norway today? And someone killed a bunch of people at a camp?" My heart dropped. Panic hit. I got my phone and dropped a msg to Jilly's step mom on FB, because that is where I usually find her LOL. I asked her if everyone was ok, and to fill me in on what happened. I was to impatient to wait for her reply, so even though it was late there, I called my ex. (He was staying at their place, his wife was with the kids at their cabin). He answered the phone right away and told me everyone was safe and sound. The bombing wasn't to far from where he works, but he's ok. Jilly & the others were further away at the cabin so they were all safe. I guess the bomb went off right near where my ex's sister works, thankfully she was on vacation at the time. Whew. I could breath easier knowing Jilly was safe. I then went on to the task of cooking dinner. We had sweet and sour chicken, my FAVORITE recipe. It takes forever to make because I make a big batch but its so worth it, YUMMY. We had dinner pretty late Friday night.

After dinner Beth & the baby had to go out for a bit to a goodbye party for a co-worker of hers, so Robb & I and my girls hung out together. We went into the pool for a late evening swim. The weather had been like around 100 for several days, and the pool water was HOT. I've never been in a hot pool before. When I say hot I mean like water I'd take a bath in hot. Wild. There was a deer out in the field by his house grazing as we swam.

Saturday the girls played all day. I made ribs for us for dinner. Beth made a bunch of pasta salads and potato salads during the day, we had them with the ribs for dinner. We basically just hung out relaxing all day and visiting. Jude took a 3 hr nap on me, Bree joined him on my lap for one too. So I had 2 kids sleeping on me for a while. Robb & the girls went out swimming for a bit while I was being a mattress for the baby. It was a nice day.

Sunday morning Bill sent me a text. He said on his way home from work he saw lightning strike a pole that was about 40 feet from his truck. He said it scared the crap out of him. When he got home the power was out. A hell of a storm came through with high winds and lots of lightning. There are tree limbs and some pretty large ones down all throughout the town. Power remained out for 9 hours. I'm glad I wasn't home :) Out in Springfield we got a storm too, but not that bad. We spent the day chilling out and visiting some more until about 5 p.m. when I loaded up and we headed home.

I'm closing with a few pics from our weekend. Enjoy!

This is why I get along great with my SIL Beth...she's a little crazy just like me. :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

I'm a Dreamer

The night before a trip or special event I always sleep like crap. Last night was no exception to that and I had a night of being awake and tossing and turning. In the few hours I did sleep I had a crazy dream. I mentioned before I have crazy dreams right? Well I do. I'm going to tell you parts I remember, it might be kind of rambly, because I don't remember it all, and because well, its RENEE'S RAMBLINGS so .. :) LOL

I was at a party at Mrs. K's house (She is Jilly's old 1st grade teacher, when we moved to Mendota I didn't know anyone and I became friends with her, she told me things I needed to know, doctors to go to etc, love Mrs. K :) ). I don't recall what the party was for, but there was a lot of people mingling about and a lot of buffet tables with food.

At one point, I let Mrs. K's COW, and CHICKEN out into the front yard to roam about for a bit. LOL yes, a cow and chicken... I told you I had crazy dreams! The cow was normal looking, white with black spots. The chicken was a bit odd...It had a LONG neck, and it had a hairdo that kind of looked like one you'd see on a poodle. Anyways, the cow and chicken were out in the yard, pecking and eating grass and stuff. The chicken started to go over the yard border, so I took it inside to keep it out of trouble. I ended up mingling with someone inside while doing so, so I didn't get back outside right away. When I did return outside the cow was gone! EEK! I yelled to Mrs. K that the cow is lost! Mrs. K started crying and got all frantic and we sent out party members to look for the cow. I went back outside calling, "Here cow cow cow!" and what do you know, it came running down the street. Except, it ran past me, and turned down the road where there was a dog out. (This part is sad :( ) The cow got on top of the dog and was like jumping on it. I called off the cow and carried it into the house (I was strong apparently!) while yelling to Mrs. K, "I got the cow I got the cow! But get outside the dog it attacked needs help!" So Mrs. K ran to the dog who was laying in the street wimpering. She had some nearby friends load the dog up and take it to the vets. (Don't know what came of the dog, I hope it survived!)

Then all went ok, we went back inside to the party. I was a famous blogger, lol I failed to mention that earlier :) Yes, it IS A DREAM lol. Mrs. K surprised me by having one of my fans there. The fan loved me and was so excited to meet me. It was a tall older lady with light blue hair, and she wore glasses and her name was Orange Marmalade! LOL

That is all I remember. I hope you enjoyed my crazy dream. Pray for the dream dog ok? :)

I'm heading out shortly to go visit my brother in Springfield. Its just the girls & I because Bill has to work. We are very excited to go see them and the new baby :) As always, I'll be sure to take lots of pics, and probably bombard you all with them here when I return.

Have a fun and safe weekend everyone. Peace.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Earning for Christmas

Money is always tight around here, especially at Christmas time. So, to help out with that I've decided to join several things in order to earn amazon gift cards to buy my kids Christmas presents.

I joined Swagbucks first. I'm a fan of swagbucks although recently they've really pissed me off. I have a referral link to give people to join under me. That way they sign up, and what they earn I earn too up until they get 3000 swagbucks I think it is. Well anyways, I gave this link out to people, and 3 of my last referrals didn't show up as my referrals! So I complained to swagbucks, they agreed to link the one up, but will not do the others. In my opinion, I'm being punished unfairly by not having these people linked up and getting credit. It isn't MY FAULT their link doesn't work properly. Anyways...

Even though Swagbucks has upset me, I'm still going to use it, because I can earn amazon cards! So far, I've earned $75 in amazon cards. Once August gets here I hope to have enough bucks to purchase another $25 worth. Thats pretty good for just wasting time on the computer... Since I'm on it a lot of the day why not earn money at it? I have 6 referrals on Swag, would have 8 if the others showed up...so far only 1 of my referrals has actually tried to get swagbucks. I'm hoping the rest start trying soon!

Next I joined iRazoo. Its nearly the same as Swagbucks. On both sites you can do searches, do surveys, watch videos, get codes, and do other things to earn bucks/points. It can be time consuming if you want to earn faster. But if you are on the computer often, might as well do some earning. I think I earn points faster on iRazoo. So far I've earned $40 in amazon gift cards from iRazoo.

Next I joined Superpoints. This one is the easiest of the bunch. Here you can also do surveys, watch videos and stuff, but I mainly do the easy part. I go on every day, and I get 30 spins of the lucky button. (I get more if I get more referrals). Most of the spins I don't win, but every so often I do. It could be one point, or more... The biggest I've won is 50 I think but there are higher ones. You can also win via lucky point emails from them. Basically they send you an email with points, just click it and it goes to your account, easy peasy. I spend a total of maybe 5 minutes on this site a day. I just recently joined and haven't earned a gift card yet, but I'm getting close.

Last night I decided to give zoombucks a try. This is just like swagbucks and iRazoo. I haven't earned a card yet, since I just joined, but I'm trying :)

All this stuff is pretty simple. Some take time, some don't. If you need to earn extra money to spend at amazon (or you can earn other prizes too), this is something to consider doing! I'm going to put my referral links up to all of these, please consider signing up, it will help you, and ME TOO! :) Thanks for listening to my sales pitch lol.

Search & Win


For SUPERPOINTS Network, please send me an email if you are intersted, it doesn't give me a link or banner to post... email me at reneesramblingsATgmailDOTcom (obviously replace the AT with @ and the DOT with a . ). Once I hear from you I'll get you a referral sent via email right away.


Holy Heck its HOT

Not much is going on in these here parts....other than sweating. The temps have been in the upper 90's for several days now with heat index making it over 100. We've been staying inside a lot.

I've been farting around with Bree's hair, trying to figure out some styles to keep her hair up off her neck, and to look cute too. I've found a few awesome hairstyle blogs to learn from. My styling looks nothing like theirs, its going to take me a lot of practice! Here are a few that we've done:

It would be nice if she'd look at the camera for me and smile...she can be so uncooperative...

Its been pretty quiet around here. Kels has been staying places a lot, Jilly's still in Norway (and I miss her), so its been pretty much Bree & I around here most of the time.

Please keep my son in your thoughts. He's made some bad choices in things. Last night his boyfriend dumped him and kicked him out. He's now staying at his dads and his step mom is NOT HAPPY, she can not stand my son. So I hope Zach can get back on his feet with a good job and some money coming in and get his act together. I feel sorry for my ex too...because his current wife is not the most pleasant person and when she's pissed watch out...

Friday the girls & I are going out to visit my Brother & his family. I can't wait to see them all, and the new baby too, it will be our first meeting of little Jude! I will miss home, and my computer lol, but we'll be having a great time visiting & swimming. :)

In case you haven't seen enough pics of Bree, I'm posting a few more, because its my blog and I can. Here is one of her zonked out with her popcorn, and one of her soaking wet after helping me water tomato plants today....and one pic of our cats cuddling, because they are cute...even if they (well one actually) shit on my floor often...


Monday, July 11, 2011

Premature E...

Premature ENTER hitting...did you think it was going to be something else? Shame on you :)

As I was preparing my previous post about my Relay for Life Reflections, I accidentily hit the enter button (didn't realize my curser was resting on the publish button at the time) before I had the post finished. I hurried and clicked edit and finished the post as soon as I could. So if you happened to see that unfinished post, please go back and review the post and see the rest of it :) Thanks!

Relay Reflections

Relay For Life.

It's an amazing event.

At least it was this year anyways :)

Last year we did our first one, it was in Yorkville. The weather for that one was bad, a wicked storm came through as people had set up, and it blew down a bunch of stuff. The event was moved into a small gym and another small room for everyone to 'camp'. It seemed very uncoordinated, and like they had no plan for rain problems so no one knew what to do, they just crammed us into that area. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't horrible, the even still had meaning, and was interesting, it just seemed not well planned.

I wanted to do the event again.

So I did.

This year 2 different ones!

The first was again the Yorkville one. But we did it differently, as I explained in a post after the event. Our money got turned in, but we didn't stay, in fear of being crowded into the small area again. We came to Dan & Cindy's and had our own little relay at their place. It was nice this way, we raised money for the ACS, and walked, and honored those special to us that passed away from cancer and for those we know still suffering. We enjoyed time together as a team, and shared memories.

The second Relay for me this year was here in Mendota, where we live. When we heard there was going to be one out here Kelsey and I decided we wanted to do it, and set up a team for her grandfather who has lung cancer. We signed up months ago at the meeting. We got a few members for our team and came up with a cool team name "Grandpa's Groupies". Since it was for Kelsey's grandpa, she was the team captain and I assisted her.

We came up with some good fundraising ideas, but unfortunately most didn't come to fruition because we couldn't get plans made right, volunteers, or money to do them...but that didn't stop us from participating. Kels and I talked about the Relay often. We made team t-shirts last week, which was time consuming, but worth it to have some unique shirts. We put letters on the shirts to spell out what we wanted, then sprayed bleach over them to make it look cool. Then after they were washed, on the sleeves we wrote on one "In Support of" and listed those we know that are currently battling cancer, and on the other sleeve we wrote "In Memory Of" for those we know that have passed away from it already. Unfortunately for us, our In Memory Of side had a longer list of people :( Pretty sad isn't it? That we know more that have died from cancer then we know living with it? UGH. This is the reason we do the walk, to help raise money and hopefully find a CURE.

Kelsey & I were anxious for this walk, we just knew it was going to be a good time. We arrived at the location at about 3 to set up our tent. WOW it was HOT out, and our site had NO shade. The sweating started, I sweated in places I didn't know could sweat LOL. We put our tent up to the back of the site, hoping our other team members would set theirs up closer to the front to fill up the space. Only one team member ended up setting up a tent, so we had lots of extra room. This is what our site looked like, there were a few trees, but along the very back so they didn't do any good for shade, and there was a tiny one that was more like a bush.

Our team arrived, some later than others, but at least they made it! Kelsey's grandfather was able to make it thankfully. He was driven up to our campsite on a Gator, and had a wheel chair for use too. We all put on our Grandpa's Groupies shirts, and headed down to the track for opening ceremonies.

Here is some of our team. Terry, Kelsey's grandpa is the guy in the wheelchair, in the purple survivor shirt. The others in the picture are Ed (Kelsey's uncle), Lindsey in the red hat (Kelsey's dad), Kathy (Kelsey's aunt), Kelsey, and Chlovena (Kelsey's grandma).

We listened to a cancer survivor give a speech, and had some other opening ceremony stuff, and then the survivor lap began. For those of you that have never been to one of these, this is a very touching scene. The survivors have on their purple shirts, and they line up and take a lap around the track and everyone claps and cheers them on, celebrating their life and their fight and courage for battling cancer. I always get teary watching this.

That is Terry on his survivor lap with Chlovena by his side, and Lindsey (his son) pushing him around the track it was to hard for Chlovena to push the wheelchair on the grass.

Here are Kelsey, and her aunt and uncle watching the survivor lap.

After the survivor lap was the caregiver lap to honor those that help those with cancer daily. They deserve special recognition too for all they do.

The track then opened up for all the teams to start walking! There was a great turn out! Here are a few of the walkers.

These pictures touch me of some of our team...
Son & Daughter taking care of their dad:

Brother & Sister sharing a moment together on the track:

A grandmother/granddaughter moment:


The Relay was held near the Civic Center in town, where they have a lot of wedding receptions. There was a bride and groom that decided to take a break from their reception, and bring their bridal party along with and take a lap around the track too! The brides grandmother is battling cancer. It was very cool.


There were many events going on during the evening. Bands playing, contests, fun stuff.

Another highlight of the evening is the luminairia (sp?) bags. There were SO MANY! They lined the track and lit the way. There were speeches during this time, and names showing on the screen of those dealing with cancer one way or another.

Even Bill & Bree walked the track that night...

Before I go any further, I need to give a shout out to Kelsey. I'm so very proud of her. She tried to walk the whole event from start to finish! She did really good. She started once the teams were allowed to walk I think it was around 6:40ish, and walked until 4 a.m. with only a potty break and a quick break to go get a water from the campsite. She was in so much pain, her feet hurt, and her hips hurt but she kept walking. Finally at 4 she couldn't take the pain anymore and came to the campsite to rest for about an hour or so, then went to finish up. She did awesome!

I stayed up the whole night too, and did a lot of walking, but not as much as Kelsey. The whole night was great, and there were a lot of events going on to keep people busy and awake. When morning arrived they had everyone line up in the letters spelling out HOPE, and raise their hands, then they had a plane fly over and take pictures. I can't wait to see that.

The closing ceremony consisted of awards for teams and money raised etc. Kels & our team got a award for amazing youth leadership.

The amazing ending was when they announced the totals of the money raised. First let me tell you that last year, they raised 15,000 I believe she said, with 10 teams. They set a goal for this year of 35,000. This year they had 40 teams, and they exceeded their goal by a LOT! The total raised was $154,000!! Isn't that awesome?!

We all had a great time and will do it again next year! I'm sure I left out some details, but thats because I'm STILL tired and I can't think straight LOL. I have a ton more of pics, you can see them here on my FLICKR album.

I think the city of Mendota hosted a great Relay For Life. The participants did awesome too. But, it couldn't be done without the hard work of the ACS crew, and I think most of all a guy named Mitch Landgraf. He was great! He helped put it all together and made the event go smoothly I think. Well done Mitch! (He happens to be Kelsey's counselor at school).

The only changes I can think of to make it even better would be to have it so the parking is blocked off from the campsite area. We had a ton of people just drive through our camp! We were laying on a blanket on the ground snacking and nearly got run over. That was not cool.

I also think maybe a tent set up with things for little kids, like craft things, story time (the story time there was was hard to find lol we found it when it was nearly done), and maybe a bouncehouse or something for the little kids.

I'm glad I decided to do a second Relay this year, and I was proud being a part of it. Well done Mendota.

Two out of Three

Two of my three girls are GONE.

Jilly left on the 8th for Norway. She was very excited to go, and I'm sure she's having an awesome time. Friday was a hard day for me though. I'm an emotional mother. I was all teary thinking about her leaving, for someplace SO FAR AWAY, and for such a LONG time... I was also worried about her flight safety, because I am a worrier. She did make it ok, I talked to her Saturday morning. I miss her! Bree misses her too. I'm looking forward to Jilly's next call home, and more forward to August 14th when she returns home! :)

Today Kelsey left for about a week. She is going to stay at our friends Dan & Cindy's house. Kels & Cindy get along great and enjoy time together.

So its mostly just me & Bree around here, since Bill's usually working. Its going to be quiet, well, as quiet as it can get with a 3 yr old yakky girl around...


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Birthday My Friend

Today is my friend Dazee's birthday!!

Lets all take a minute to sing...
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to yoooooouuuuu
Happy birthday dear Dazee you crazy $*^#@ :)
Happy birthday to youuuuuu!

Dazee rocks. She keeps me company daily over on skype, or on the phone via text. We have a lot in common. She's a great friend.

Dear Dazee, I hope you have a marvelous birthday full of fun, presents, and of course yummy cake. If I was closer I'd totally make you one, but I don't think shipping one to UT would work well :(. I love ya! Now bed over, let me send some long distance birthday spankings ;)


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Vet Visits

Tuesday we finally took Moo to the vet. I was happy to hear that my diagnosis was correct. Well, not happy Moo has issues, but happy to know that my research lead me to the right problem. Moo is allergic to fleas. One flea bite can basically make her whole body itchy. We've been battling fleas for a while now off and on, those little things are hard to get rid of! The cats have had them, but we didn't really see them on Moo, but apparently they got her, even if its not many of them the few that did made her skin flare up into an itchy mess. She was chewing herself raw in spots.

I learned that dogs could be allergic to fleas from watching a video on Swagbucks! It got me thinking that is probably what Moo's problem was. After learning this, I went to Petsmart and got some spray for her to relieve itching and I was giving her benedryl, and I got a cone thing for her so she couldn't chew herself up. We also put some flea killer stuff on her. Things were starting to improve but we still took her to the vets for the check up.

We got Moo tested for heartworms, she is good doesn't have them. We got her meds to keep her good for that. We also got a pill that kills fleas on her, dang that was expensive....each pill is over $13. Moo is all set now and we are working to help her with her itchiness.

Now, we have more fun planned, tomorrow I get to take both cats for their check up! Eek, that could be interesting... lol. Wish me luck :) I'm hoping to get to the bottom (lol pun intended) of Sissy's poop issues. That cat needs help...cats shouldn't fart loudly and spray paint poop all over...



On the 4th of July, Jilly's dad came back to IL to see her! They are spending the days together here until the 8th, then she'll go back to Norway with him until August 14th.

Here is Jilly patiently (not really) waiting for her dad:



Finally he got there! The first few pics I have are bad, because I had the wrong setting on the camera...oops. Anyways, after 1 and a half years, they finally see eachother and share a hug, and tears of happiness..




They have spent the last few days shopping, eating out, having fun. Tomorrow evening Jilly will stay with her dad at the hotel, and on Friday morning they leave for Norway. :( I'm going to miss Jilly! I know she'll have a great time and will be in excellent hands over in Norway... but I'll be anxious for her return. Please say a prayer that they have a smooth safe flight both there and back, and that she has a great time catching up with her dad, step mom, siblings and other relatives over there!


July 4th, 2011

We had another fun 4th of July at our friends Dan & Cindy's house. Thanks for having us C & D! Bill got to come this year, that never happens.
Here are a few pictures of our day!


I made cake :) My inspiration was from Amanda over at i am baker, she rocks. I'm glad my cake turned out. Decorations were not as good as I wanted to do, but with the frig fiasco I was to tired to put much into decorating...

Cool eh? :)

I hope you all had a fun & safe 4th too!


Enough is Enough

Saturday evening, I noticed a slight ice haze on stuff in our freezer on our side by side. I thought hmmm maybe one of the kids didn't shut the door tightly, I'll shut it tight and all will be well.

Boy, did I think wrong.

Sunday, Bill brought home a few groceries, I needed to put some stuff in the freezer. I opened it up to find things thawed out, water dripping from the ice maker...oh goody. He said he thought the door was ajar. I told him I made sure it was shut tight when I went to bed so I don't think that is the case. He said keep it closed a bit and we'll see what happens later.

Nothing good happened. It got warmer. Stuff got ruined.

He said, "seems weird that just the freezer side is broke" that got me thinking, uh oh, come to think of it when I got some pop out earlier it wasn't super cold.


So, the frig side and the freezer side were broke. It was a holiday weekend. Not good. Bill & I spent the day moving all the stuff that we could to our spare frig in the basement, thank god we have that! Other stuff went into coolers. Meats got cooked up. It was a busy day, plus I was trying to get a cake baked. I felt like I was in the kitchen and on my feet all day, I was tired.

So Tuesday comes, holiday is over, we call the repair people and are told they'll come out on FRIDAY! I was not a happy camper to hear that! Thankfully they called this morning and said they could squeeze us in.

So the guy comes and looks at it, needs something for it and goes to get it and returns. Then he tells me the bad news. There is no gas as he said, aka freon (sp?), and there is a compression issue of some kind or something something about vacuum hose and a hole. He said the proper way to fix it would be a new compresser thingy, and freon stuff cleaning out the old thing etc, which runs $500-600. He must have seen my jaw hit the floor lol because he told me there was another option...he could put some leak seal stuff and freon stuff, it sometimes fixes it, but its iffy, could last a day, or years, you just don't know till you do it. Oy. Bill was at work, and I was afraid to make a decision so I called him for his input. He said to go with the cheaper option! So the guy goes back to his workplace for the stuff, and comes back to tell me they were out of it. They had to send someone out to Rockford to get it and he'd be back later today to fix it.

Thankfully, he called a few hours later and was able to come back and get the job done. As of now, my frig and freezer are COLD :) Cross your fingers it stays that way for many years!!

I asked him if this was a common problem, he said no, not in something this new. Our side by side is only 4 yrs old. I'm a little disappointed in Maytag right now. :(

I hope this is the last of our breakages. Seems like everything in the house has died recently. We have had enough!