Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A New Purpose

***For your information: This post was actually written the week of Thanksgiving. For some reason, YouTube decided to make the default setting when you click to "share" one of your videos to share the entire playlist that video was in. Aaaaand... I just figured out how to fix it. Happy day.***

There was a time when I really wanted to have a blog that everyone loved to READ. Not just a "here what happened this week" sorta deal. But a blog that was honestly entertaining for people to read. I have found that with that particular expectation placed on myself, I put off blogging. A lot. Because if I didn't have time to make it awesome, I felt like I shouldn't bother. 

Well, I've decided to throw all of that out the window. We have grandparents who live hundreds of miles away who need to see pictures and videos of their grandbabies, for goodness sakes! My new "purpose" for my blog is to offer glimpses into our lives. Not a journal. Not brilliantly written. Just little snapshots of the cuteness, hilarity, and reality that makes up who we are. 

So. To start us off...
I know I already posted a Halloween shot of both the girls, but I just love this one, too.

Sometimes Skyping with the grand-parentals can get a little... frightening
I know it looks like I'm grabbing her head. Totally not. That's all kirby. 

Emily turned 3.
Don't believe what they tell you about the terrible two's. They don't actually end. 

A really cute, loving, extremely opinionated and stubborn monster.

For her birthday we invited a couple friends in the ward. It was very last minute (as in, I texted their moms the night before...). We kept it simple. Pizza. Cake. Balloons. 

And I totally underestimated the fun the balloons would be.
The kids LOVED them!

And for those of you who saw this picture on instagram and thought

Well, here's how...

That's all the craziness for today. 
Thanksgiving is at our place this year. Time to buckle down and clean some toilets! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Checking in.

Yeah, yeah. This is my typical "I can't believe it's been X number of months since I posted!" post. But really--I have just had so much else going on, blogging hasn't been a priority at all.

Emily turns 3 tomorrow.
Sydney will be 18 months just a week later.

Aaand... I found this super cute video of Sydney from a couple weeks ago. I was desperate to get out of the house, and needed to run to the post office. I decided to run to the one by the mall, and stop in for a bit of library-ing, pet store-ing and some unplanned frozen yogurt-ing. Our mall is awesome.

We went through a bit of a rough patch, Emily and I. She is very strong-willed, and she went through a particularly defiant phase, and I must admit I went through a particularly impatient phase. It was a rough, ROUGH time. It was one of those situations where I knew I couldn't do it myself. I prayed for patience, because deep down I knew I was most of the problem. Things didn't improve right away, and I don't know if she became less defiant, or if I got a crazy patience boost (most likely a little of both), but things have been so much better. Not perfect, obviously. It's life, and it never will be perfect, but at least we're not butting heads ALL. DAY. LONG. 

On another note--here are my adorable girls.
Not the greatest quality. I haven't edited my good ones yet...

Here's just a liiiittle bit of that defiance I mentioned... ;)

Alas. My bedtime has arrived. No more updates for now.
I have posted.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

One Year.

The blog world is full of mother-related posts today, and I had to write one of my own. 
Mostly because all I can think about is what was going on in my life last Mother's Day.

One year ago on Mother's Day I was spending my third day in the hospital. 
It was the day they tried to wean me off the magnesium, hoping the contractions wouldn't come back. 

I was at 25 weeks and 5 days along.

It was actually a really good day.

My mom flew in to help out, since we were assuming at the time that I would be spending the remainder of my pregnancy on bedrest.
Kirby brought Emily in to see me in the hospital.
Debbie was my nurse, and she was the BEST. EVER.
I had four fresh bags of blood and two bags of iron sulfate in my body, so my energy levels were up.
Plus--I felt AMAZING without all that magnesium coursing through my veins. 
Seriously. That stuff is NASTY. 

It wasn't until the day after Mother's Day that things really started getting exciting. 

1am Monday morning the contractions came back with a vengeance. 
They hooked me back up to the magnesium, and doubled the dose this time. 
I got yet another ultrasound, after which my nurse decided I shouldn't be permitted to get out of my bed. 

Bring on the bedpan. 
I swear it was more work getting up on that thing than it would have been for me to just walk the four feet to the toilet, but whatever. It's one more thing I can add to my list of "firsts" during this experience... :)

Another first? Firing our OB/GYN.

Next first?
Ambulance ride to Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital.
Just in case our girlie pie did come, since their NICU was better equipped for the super premature babes. 

Tuesday the doctors decided to take me off the magnesium again and let nature take its course. That afternoon I was allowed fluids, so Kirby got me a smoothie from Booster Juice. 

That evening I was allowed food. I asked Kirby to make a run to Applebees to get me some sweet 'n' spicy boneless wings before they changed their minds, or I went into labor. 
I watched The Biggest Loser while indulging in a little piece of heaven. 
Oh, those wings are so good.

At 2:48am on Wednesday, Sydney was born.
2 lbs 2 oz, 14 inches long.

She's definitely our miracle baby. And we are so thankful. 

*Her worried face. Because it's adorable.*

Happy first birthday, Sydney!

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Memories

There's a giveaway on my PHOTOGRAPHY BLOG for anyone interested. 
It's for some pretty cool digital scrapbooking software! 
Go check it out! :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Remember that time I turned babyfood jars into spice jars to stick to my fridge?

Yup. Me too.

Well, a couple weeks ago I was contacted by someone at and they wanted to use my spice jars in an article about reusing everyday items!

It totally blew my mind.

Check it out HERE!

You can find them in the "Kitchen Storage, Solved!" section. 
HERE is the direct link to the kitchen section, if the first link doesn't work for some reason...

Pretty crazy, huh? I shot some new photos for the article. My original photos were taken in a basement apartment, and I wanted to get some shots using the gorgeous natural light we have in our new kitchen. 

These also give you a bit of a sneak peek of our new countertops! :) They took a billion hours to complete, but wow we love 'em! But that's an entirely different post!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Budget :: NOT a Four Letter Word

We love our budget. 

Wait, wait wait. Let me rephrase that. 

We LOVE our budget.

Yes, we are nerds.
But people--it is amazing.

When folks find out how much we love our budget, we almost always get more questions delving into our methods, our spreadsheet, etc. It's not complicated, but there's a lot of information.

Awesome. Information. 

So. I am shamelessly going to write a blog post all about it.
And yes--I will include a link to our incredible Kirbified spreadsheet. 

Before you even start filling out the spreadsheet, you'll want to sit down and brainstorm where your money goes. Stuff like groceries, gas, rent, and clothes. Just write things down feverishly on a blank sheet of paper--you can categorize them later. 

Some things that have snuck up on us that we forgot about initially are car registration. Haircuts. Costco Membership. Clothing. Gifts. Toilet paper (we buy the huge packs at Costco for $20, and when your weekly grocery budget is something like $60, it's really hard to squeeze a $20 package of TP in there!) But I digress.

Once you have a huge list of things you spend money on, organize them into some basic categories. Consumables (this is where we throw things like toilet paper, dish soap, laundry detergent, etc.). Groceries. Car expenses. Student loan payments. Housing. Communications. 

Now open the spreadsheet.
Click HERE to download it. 

These are the budget categories that we use. That doesn't mean you will. If you have other categories, throw them up there. You can delete ones you don't use. You can change this up however you like. There are instructions on how to add cells to the spreadsheet and such for those who may be a little less excel-savvy. Like me. Just look for the instructions tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet.

Once you have your categories and subcategories mapped out you can begin entering values into the yellow cells. 

You have the option to enter them as weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, semi-annual, or annual costs.

Don't worry too much about getting all the values to add up to your income right off. Make sure you have accurate values for things like rent/mortgage, income, student loan payments, etc. Then just estimate on things like groceries, fun, gas--these things can be easily adjusted later to make sure you are not overspending.

We threw some sample values in there--they're just made up. 
I know, I know--just when you thought you knew all our financial secrets! 

Groceries. For me, a weekly grocery budget is easier. I found when we did it monthly that I was almost always over budget by the time the fourth week rolled around!
Fun. Because it's important.
*cough* midnight taco bell runs *cough* 

Paychecks. 'Nuff said.

Cell phone/internet/cable bills.
Gifts. We don't always use up this budget each month. In that case we let it roll over to the next month. When Christmas rolls around we have some money saved up here we can use. 
Car Maintenance. We treat this one similarly to our gifts budget. What we don't use each month I put into a special account for our car funds. Then on that inevitable rainy day when the car breaks down, we have some cashola saved up.
Allowance. Kirby and I have a monthly allowance. This is our no-guilt, spend-on-whatever-you-want money. We each have our own. Kirby usually spends his going out to lunch with the guys from work, and on pepsi. I usually spend mine on knitting supplies, nights out with my lady friends, etc. I highly recommend giving yourself some no-guilt spending money--especially if you are married!
Student loan payments.
Kid Expenses. Diapers, clothing, diaper rash cream, etc.
Medication refills.

Car Insurance. When we were with Geico we paid every 6 months.

Costco Membership.
Car registration.

As you fill in the yellow cells, the values in the green/blue cells automatically adjust! The spreadsheet does all the multiplying, dividing, and adding for you!

Yup. It blows my mind, too.

See why I married this man!? Genius, I tell you!

Once you have all your values entered in, take a look-see down in the lower right-hand corner. You can see your total income and expenses--on a monthly level and an annual level. And right underneath, you can see how much you are over or under your income by. If it's in ( ), you've gotta decrease spending somewhere. Adjust your values to get that number in the positive.

Aim to have no leftovers. If you are lucky and DO have leftover money, you can always increase your savings budget. You always want your money to be going SOMEWHERE, or else it magically disappears.

Wait--you've never gotten to the end of the month and wondered where in the heck your entire paycheck went? Right.

Speaking of savings--check out that tab called "Charts". See the awesome bar chart on the bottom? It takes the value you enter into the savings budget in the "Family Budget" tab and shows you how much you will have in your savings ten years from now, assuming a 3% interest rate!

Go on. Play with it. You know you want to!
Change the value in the savings row and see your savings change!

Don't be surprised if it takes you a couple months to really settle into your groove. It takes actual living and spending to know what's going to work best for you. You may find that you don't fill your car's tank as often as you thought. Perhaps you underestimated how much you need each week for groceries.

Trial and error, folks. 

For those of you who have smart phones, there are several budget apps out there that you can use to track your spending and make sure it matches what you've budgeted. My favorite is Ace Budget. Because I always have my phone, I can enter in purchases right after I make them and it shows me how much I have left for the week or month. I always know how much I have to spend. It also allows me to easily shift money around.

Say we totally rocked the grocery budget this week and want to go out to dinner to celebrate, but we already spent our fun money on miniature golfing earlier in the week. Hang on--our electric bill was $15 less than we anticipated--a little money "moving" and we can do that!

A few additional notes:

At the end of each month I take the excess in budgets like utilities, gas, gifts, and car maintenance and transfer them into savings - just to build a bit of a buffer. The bigger safety net you can build yourself the better.

We put all purchases that we can on our credit card. Since we follow a budget, we know we will have the funds to pay it off each month. Kirby's paychecks pretty much just sit in our checking account until the credit card needs paying. This way we also get the cash back rewards, which really add up by the end of the year. This year we used our rewards points for Christmas. This might not be what works for you, but we love it!

We have some savings accounts through ING (an online bank). It takes 2-3 days to transfer money from these accounts into our checking account, so it helps ensure that we don't spend our savings on frivolous, spontaneous, we'll-regret-making-this-purchase-tomorrow things. 

So there you have it, folks. The Davison Family Budget Method. 
Maybe someday we'll be legends.


If you have questions beyond the basics I've covered here, ask away! Leave me a comment and an email I can reach you at, I'll answer your queries pronto!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.

Please note: I do not watch the tv show Family Guy, nor do I recommend watching it, judging by the "suggested" movies on the side bar of Youtube. Looks dirty. 
(No offense if it is your favorite show.)

That being said--

At the end of today I felt a lot like this:

 Ah. That's better.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Remember When It Was Christmas?

Yeah. Me too.

We decided to try decorating our own stockings this year.
Loved it. 
Isn't Kirby's awesome? It's a rollerblade. :)

We didn't have room for a tree in our little place, so I improvised.
Emily loved those lights. 

Kirby took the entire week between Christmas and New Years off, plus a couple days before.
Bring on the media overload. 
Fate. Mythbusters. Chips & Salsa.

Teaching Emily how to media overload in style. 

Random shot from a Christmas shopping excursion. 

This picture cracks me up.
How BORED does Sydney look here!? 
"Yeah yeah. This happens ALL the time..." 

 I love this shot of Emily's toes. I have one just like it from when she was only 2 months old. 
Blast. I was gonna do a side-by-side, but can't find it right now...

The Latelies.

Ah yes. Remember us? 

Don't worry.

We're still stinkin' cute!

 Sydney's putting all sorts of stuff in her mouth these days. She REALLY doesn't like that tutu in her mouth, but somehow she can't seem to resist it.

Emily spends a lot of time on the floor.

Unfortunately, a good portion of the time she is throwing herself on the floor. Thank you, my child, for making me feel like the mother of the year. :)

But there's a whole lotta sweet mixed in the the tantrums, too, and my little miracle on Tuesday was that I actually caught some on camera. 
She was rocking back and forth, so the focus is a bit off, but I love it all the same! This one's gotta go up on the wall!

MIRACLE, I tell you!

This is the first time in at least a year that she's consented to let me take a picture of her.
She usually sprints at me (and let me tell you--she's speedy!), wanting to see pictures of herself in the LCD.
Maybe, just maybe, my explanation that I can't show her pictures of herself if she won't let me take any has finally sunk in???


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Rude Awakening.

This morning I was awakened by Emily smearing chapstick all over the lip region of my face. 
Who knows how long she had been doing it. I am a VERY deep sleeper. 

Just ask Kirby.
Or any of my girlfriends from high school.

She was talking softly and gently to me, but either I was too tired to discern what she was saying, or she was speaking her own little secret language. 

I will be blaming her for any future breakouts in that region for the next three weeks. 

Well, chapstick--we had a good run. 
Looks like you won't be spending nights on my bedside table anymore. 

I know. I know.

©2009 DAV.I.SON. | by TNB