Cowgar Family Adventures

Monday, December 19, 2011

Oh My...

Have I really not written anything here since July!?!?!?!?

Well, the most important thing since then has been that baby Henna Orion arrived on December 2nd!!! I will write out a birth story with pictures a little later.

I guess my New Year's Resolution will be to keep up on the blog more. We are thinking of updating our phone service to the data package and getting smart phones. I imagine if that's the case, I will be posting a ton more photos.

In the meantime, know that I haven't forgotten about the blog, but that life just got in the way of letting me share our adventures...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'm a slacker...

I have no idea how to post pictures myself, therefore I depend upon Luke, and he has been crazy busy with weddings this summer, that it just hasn't happened. Maybe this weekend I will actually let him teach me, that way I can put up vacation pictures from our trip to Florida for his cousin's wedding.

The girls have been doing great in karate, and have their yellow belt already! Lexi has learned a few versions of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on the piano, and we need to go buy her a couple note reading books so she can start learning to read music.

Avery is getting bigger by the minute and starting to finally talk a little bit. The biggest word she says...."Spongebob" :)

I'm doing pretty well. Just turned 27, and I'm about 21-22 weeks along with baby girl number 4! I don't have to go back to work until next week, and we just bought an air conditioner for the living room, so I am hoping to work on organizing all the stuff that came out of the bedrooms. I'm sure I have a lot of yardsale stuff, so I should probably have another yardsale soon. We've gotta come up with some money to pay some things off so we can afford to take on a car payment, since we will need to upgrade when the new baby comes...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Extracurricular Activities

We've gotten to the age group that Lexi and Lilly are big enough to start doing some things... Since Lexi just turned 5, we started piano lessons with a lady through the Wayne Center for the Arts. We go on Wednesday afternoons to her home for a half hour lesson. We have had one so far, and Lexi did really well. We went to Larry's and got her a book and CD and she has been practicing at home and doing pretty good. Lilly may even pick a little bit up before she turns 5 and can start.

We also started karate and Tracy's Studio here in town. The owner is awesome, and the girls enjoy it a lot. Ages start at 4, and since Lilly will be 4 next month, they let her start so it's something they can do together. We go Tuesday evenings for the group lesson, which is them and 4 boys, and then we go on Wednesday mornings for their private lesson. They do really well, and we have a list of stuff they get to do for their first belt, a yellow belt. They should have their uniforms in a few weeks. So exciting!!

Cat Bites!!

So, we've spent some time at Dad's lately, due to a neighbour unexpectedly falling ill and passing away. He has a grumpy old black cat named Sisko (after the captain on Star Trek Deep Space Nine, not that Thong Song guy that Chelsea always thinks of!!) Anyway, we think he was in the bathtub drinking water and Lilly tried to pet him, and of course he bit her. She has one little hole in her arm right above her left wrist. This happened Tuesday, and we've been treating it with peroxide and neosporin, but yesterday we called the pediatrician because it turned red and puffy. They saw her yesterday and did an antibiotic by injection. She had to get one in each leg, and he said that it would hurt really bad, causing burning and tingling and that she wouldn't be able to walk hardly. Poor Lilly had never been so scared. Just last month she saw Lexi get a shot, and even though Lexi did awesome, Lilly has been talking about shots and that she doesn't want one, so yesterday was tough. I ended up being an hour and a half late to work since the appointment was so late in the day and we had to wait around to make sure she didn't have a reaction to the shots.

She goes back today at 2:45. The redness has gone down, so she probably won't need another round of shots, just an oral antibiotic from here!

Just an FYI, the pediatrician said as far as animal bites go. If it's a cat, always bring them in, because their teeth are so long that the bite goes deep enough that oxygen can't get to the wound to heal it. A dog bite on the other hand, unless it requires stitches, would be just fine to treat at home, and the risk of infection is low...

A birthday and more kitchen destruction

We had a friend turn 4 last week, and they had his party at a McDonald's with a play place. I have to say, it gives me a little bit of anxiety to let them play there. We don't do McDonald's except when we meet Nana and Papaw, and that one doesn't have toys. It's just a sticky, icky place. The girls had a blast though!!

The kitchen is still in progress. I am hoping to send Luke to Lowe's today to pick up two cabinets, and then we can get those up, and the rest of the tile board that goes behind the countertop, and then hopefully we can get mud on the walls so we can paint the rest of it sometime this month!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Kitchen Re-Modeling

We had finally put up drywall in the pantry before Lexi's party, and now it's time to finish it up. I always thought the kitchen would be last on the list of house re-models, but I believe it is the reason we eat out more than we should, and eat unhealthier meals. We need a good space to prepare food, and the old kitchen didn't offer that to us. Since we are cash flowing the project, we won't have everything we need to finish it this weekend(like two cabinets and the OTR Microwave), but we will have the soffet done, paint on the walls, shelving in the pantry, and the tile board up. It will be enough that the groceries will fit on the shelves, and we can easily take inventory of what we have. The floor will also stay unfinished, but really, I don't care about that floor anyway. We will get there one day!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pediatrician Appointments...

Lexi had her 5 year checkup this week, and Avery had her 15 month checkup. Lexi did great with her vision and hearing tests and she was 37.5 pounds and 43 inches tall. Avery was a half ounce shy of 24 pounds and 30 3/4 inches tall. They are both doing great, but we did get a referral to see a podiatrist for Avery. It took her longer to start walking because she was really wobbly. The pediatrician was ready to give us a big speech on how kids normally are just establishing a gate at 15 months, and that we should give it some time, until he watched her walk. He said we are in the 1% that should go and see a specialist at this age. He labeled her as severely flat footed, so on the 25th, we go and see the podiatrist at The Cleveland Clinic to see if we need to move forward with some kind of corrective shoe or cast.

I figured, having 3 kids, that one of the would have foot problems, since I did, and it looks like Avery is the winner. He said Lexi is a bit flat footed as well, but he said a lot of kids are until they are older and the arch develops, although I have no doubt that all three of them will stay flat footed to some degree for the rest of their lives.

So, now we play the waiting game until the 25th...

Alexis turns 5!!!

I really can't believe she is 5 now! She had a blast with her party. A Disney Princess castle cake, balloons, clothes, money, workbooks, toys, science kits...she made out! We have pictures up on Facebook, but I'll have to pick some to put up on the blog.

Now I have to seriously sit down with Luke and try to figure out some homeschooling material. We technically don't have to let the school district know until she is 6, but since she is old enough for kindergarten now, we need to make up some kind of curriculum for her, and Lilly will probably just do it right along side her.

I also contacted a karate studio here in town that takes kids starting at 4, and since Lilly is so close to four, her and Lexi can do it together. It's twice a week, one small group lesson, and one private lesson, for $88/month. I am hoping to get my schedule for next week this evening and set up a time that we can all go and check out the dojo and see what the girls think. I also contacted the Wayne Center For The Arts for piano lessons, since we can start those at age 5, but I haven't heard back from anyone :(

Friday, February 25, 2011

Financial Update

So, as far as finances are concerned, we have had a lot of change recently. I started a part-time job back in October, to help bring in a little extra and snowball our credit card debt. I started a spreadsheet in May of 2010 to help track our debt progress (complete debt, as well as broken down into credit card, mortgages, etc...)

Here were the numbers in May of 2010.

Credit Card Debt: $22,489.99
Mortgage Debt (House and Land): $96,204.06
Misc. Debt (Car, Medical, In-laws, etc..): $14,117.30

Total Debt Accumulation: $132,901.35

And now, 9 months later...

Credit Card Debt: $16,064.73
Mortgage Debt (House and Land): $94,190.88 (sad, isn't it?)
Misc. Debt (Car, Medical, In-laws, etc..): $9,873.94

Total Debt Accumulation: $120,149.35

We've paid off almost $13K in 9 months!! WOOHOO!!! Now, we have about $2K in debt for the business that I have not included, but hopefully the photography business will take care of most of it. On top of that, we started sinking funds in January for saving money for different things.
Our Sinking Fund categories are: Car Repair, Medical Expenses, Home Improvement, Luke's Blow Money, Clothing, Holidays/Gifts, and our $1K Emergency Fund.

We have contributed to them as planned so far this year, and we even bought new to us tires for the car in cash. Right now, we are planning a vacation to Florida because Luke's cousin is getting married, and he will be doing the photography. So for now, my paychecks are going straight into a vacation savings so we can pay for the vacation in cash.

We are planning on doing yardsales again this year, and selling some bigger items on craigslist or ebay to hopefully bring in some extra cash for our debt snowball (Dave Ramsey style). I am putting any babysitting money into our Emergency Fund to get it to $1K as quickly as possible as well. (For Dave Ramsey people, we are doing baby step 1 and 2 at the same time). I am also saving up cash to get a few trees cut down this spring, and we are contemplating on how to go about putting up a fence and what the costs would be. We now realize that realistically we will be stuck in this house for a few years yet, and a fence is a must have with the "kind of neighbourhood" that we have :(

We just got our tax refund today, and I paid off a credit card, leaving only 2 left (3 if you count the business expense), so we celebrated by getting chinese food at Asian Wok for lunch. Hopefully, we can continue to be a bit frugal (we've cut cable tv quite awhile ago), and I need to get better at meal planning.

Oh, and a bonus to me working part-time, although I hate to leave the kids. It is close enough to walk to, and since Avery stopped nursing in December, I've lost between 10-15 pounds :) (For everyone that says breastfeeding makes you drop weight, you are all liars to me!!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Christmas...everything Christmas! Really there is not much to say, pictures will show everything. I think we celebrated 3 or 4 times. We went to Luke's grandpa's house Christmas Eve, had Christmas at our house Christmas Day, plus went to Dad's on Christmas, and up to Aunt Lisa's, and then the Sunday after we celebrated with Luke's side of the family. Not to mention, grandma had left tons of presents for the girls when she and grandpa came up for Avery's birthday, so they had those to open, and we stopped by my Uncle Rob's house, and they had presents there too!!! I'm pretty sure the kids will never need another thing again!

The girls opening presents from Nana and Papaw on Christmas Eve

Apollo, looking through the baby gate

Lillian with her name puzzle

Mimi, Avery's new baby

Avery getting in on the action

The girls waiting on Christmas morning

Lilly has been obsessed with tornadoes since we had one hit in September

Lexi with her new Indy hat and whip

and some new astronauts and space ships

The baby dolls got new strollers for Christmas

Lilly with her new hat and whip

Avery opening her tea set

Next stop on Christmas was Grandpa Perkins house

Avery and I

The girls got trains and colouring books

The Perkins clan at Aunt Lisa's

Boxing Day at the Cowgar's

Lilly is keeping a watch on the presents

Anne and Daleen waiting

He always gets chocolate covered cherries :)

A doctor set from Aunt Angie and Uncle Chuck

Aviation is in the blood!

Lexi and Lilly opening presents from the stockings


Build a Bear, Spa style

More gifts...

Papa Cowgar got the big gift this year! A new toolbox.

A New Addition To The Family

So, after seeing Luke's parents dog get better at barking and piddling when Luke's sister's dogs moved in, we got the bright idea that maybe we should get another dog to help Athena work those same issues out. We figured we would get the same breed (after all, what's the chance of getting 2 dogs from one of the smartest breeds known, and have them both be dumb!?) So we drove about 2 1/2 hours south and bought a ten week old male American Eskimo Dog, and named him Apollo. (Oddly enough, we bought him off of a Mennonite family, and we got Athena from a Mennonite family as well, so they must love this breed) Well, Athena hates him. She loves to growl out him, and she often acts scared of him. He is just a little fluffball of energy, and Athena likes to be lazy. We are working on house-training him, but seriously, I think he is just as dumb as Athena is. He is cute though, and Athena has piddled so much less since we have gotten him, so something is working in her brain.

(Pictures to come...)

Avery's First Birthday

My little baby girl turned one on December 6th :( She ended up sleeping through a good portion of the party, woke up a little grumpy, and didn't care too much for unwrapping presents, but other than that, it was a successful party. She got lots of stuff, and Lexi and Lilly enjoyed helping!

Waiting to blow out the candle

Lexi and Lilly picked out a Thomas cake for Avery

Avery wasn't happy I woke her up

Everyone helping with the gift unwrapping

Avery has a new cell phone!

Nana and Papaw made Avery a quilt :)

Preparing To Catch Up

So, we are heading to West Virginia tomorrow for an extended weekend with Nana and Papaw. The weather is supposed to be decent, so we are hoping to get some walking in, and when we are inside, Luke will be editing on the laptop, doing website updates, and going through pictures to update the blog!!!! In preparation, I will be posting a few times, and then the pictures will come this weekend. Once we are caught up, I will hold him to updating as soon as things happen!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Don't know if I'll ever catch up....

I still have the holidays to post, and Avery's first birthday, but things have been so hectic. Luke had some inflammation in his eye, so he was on all kinds of eye drops and pills that left him out of commission as far as editing is concerned for about 3 weeks. That's all cleared up now, and he has had a baby session and a senior session that are finished and on Facebook, and he has two weddings to finish up, and on top of that, he gets to fly to Atlanta next week for work.

Hopefully once he gets back and we can schedule our time better so he can not only finish up his editing, but get the blog up to date and the website galleries up to date.

In other news, we must have a few inches of snow outside and it is COLD!!! We may have to bring in some snow to play with, it's just to cold out there to be outside for any period of time. I've lost about 10 pounds since I started working 3 months ago. Hopefully that trend continues... And we paid of a credit card this month and hopefully with tax time we will be able to knock out another one. My paychecks are going to be diverted into savings so hopefully we can pay cash for our vacation to Florida in July. We are photographing a wedding for a cousin, and decided to make a vacation out of it. I'm sure the girls will love to sit on the beach and play in the sand for a week!! :)