So, Apollos is over a month now. he is amazing and perfectly fits our family dynamic. he is calm and enjoyable and laid back. he balances out the crazy that is his older siblings.

The boys love him and have taken so well to be older brothers. I am delighted with my kids and so very full.

life is trodding on. finances are going well though we have a minimal savings and can't survive a lay off for too long if mike is laid off again.

rachel is 17 weeks pregnant and just starting to show. the plan is to still convert the garage to a nursery.

the older boys are a heap of trouble lately. they entice each other and lead one another into trouble. discipline is now a 24 hr job of its own. I sometimes wonder if its like this for everyone or if it's just my kids. I have the most and oldest kids out of my friends and am lonely in my parenting struggles. a woman moved in 3 houses down with a 4 and 5 yr old and im praying she can be a fountain of advice.

mike is amazing, as always. he is such an amazing father and has basically taken the older boys on solo when he's home so all I have to worry about is Apollos who is no worry at all :-D

for those who want, im now on facebook almost exclusively and you should friend me there :-D my e mail is pinkarcade@yahoo.com
kim nelson
there are a million kim nelsons but im the only one in clinton wa :-D

Full Tipping Rant

If you have any questions about tipping, let this be a tipping primer. What is expected, hoped for, and appreciated by your friendly (and not-so-friendly) waiting staff.

1. 15-20% is average. Not 10%. itipping agrees. In 1980 the tipping average WAS 10% but it no longer is. Call it tipping inflation.

2. WA taxes 20% of a waiters sales assuming that they were tipped the average, 20%. When tips are reported we get back (or lose!) the correct amount when we file our taxes but that doesn't really help us week-to-week.

3. Many states have a minimum server wage that is typically around $2. The customer, literally, pays them their wage.

4. When you camp out (staying longer than the average 45 minutes), prepare to give a high tip. While there is no specific amount per hour you should stay, it is typcailly appreciated if you give out $5 per table you cost them. For example, if you camp for 3 hours, count how many tables the server waited on in that period, subtract your own (which you should be tipping 20% on!) then multiply that by 5. That is how much you should tip (they waited on 5 tables, subtract your own - 4 tables * $5 = $20 on top of your tip). If it's not busy, I typically tip about 50%-70%. Several times a week someone camps out 2+ hours which takes money out of our pocket. I don't want to say don't camp out! Because it's very nice to have a leisurely dinner and enjoy your time - but, if the place is busy be respectful. Either leave to a place that doesn't serve you (coffee shop perhaps?) or tip MORE. It may not make up the differnce on what they could have earned, but it does help and is appreciated.

5. The servers appreciate nice messages written on the bill. "Thank you!" "Great Service!" and such is very pleasent surprise. However. If you do not tip 20% then really, those saying mean nothing. It's like your boss says "good job!" then gives you a pay decrease. Put your money where your mouth is. Don't put your mouth in place of money.

6. If you get crappy service I just submit this to you: when you have a bad day at work, half-ass something, kinda just mope by, does your boss not pay you? Does he say, I know you worked 8 hours but I'm only going to pay you for 3? I agree that servers who serve poorly, with an attitude or not at all, shouldn't get your money which you worked hard for. But, also, maybe be a little lienent knowing that you may not have the whole story.

7. When people dine and dash the server has to pay for what they stole. Moral of the story: don't dine and dash for more reasons than the fact it's illegal.

8. Never tip change. Not as in, don't tip $12.37, but don't tip under a dollar. .02 is crappy and makes us feel bad. When people recieve bad service they usually tip change, kind of sticking it to the man. YOU SUCK, do I'ma give you .10. Just stiff them. It hurts a lot less and does't make you look like such an ass.

9. If the food is late, cold and the bar never made your drinks, don't assume it's the servers fault (unless it is). There are several other people getting your food to you and if one of them drops the ball, your server shouldn't be punished.

10. If you are the very very last person in the resturant or show up 10 minutes before they close, that's cool. IF, you tip appropriately. Everyone's waiting on you friend. You don't need to hurry, you just need to be aware and pay a little bit more for inconviencing the entire resturant. When I say more, I mean nothing less than 20%. Nothing is worse than staying late and only getting tipped 10%. Again, it's like working overtime and getting HALF your wage.

11. If you chose not to tip the average of 20% and feel you are justified in whatever manner, also understand that other people are relying on your tip. Not just family (such as mine) but also the busboys, bartenders, and host-staff that gets tiped out by the server. The typical tip out is about 20%, more or less depending on the circumstance. Host-staff gets little, bartenders get varied and busboys get much.

12. Finally, tipping is not optional. I know you feel like it should be, but it's not. The state assumes the server wage on you friends. They get taxed for it, are paid less than average-joe working the McDonalds counter and budget for it. While it may seem unfair for you to pay a server when, in all other industries the buisness would. But that's just how it is. Don't like it? Move to Europe where they don't tip or take it up with your state senator. It's hard relying on the generosity of strangers so if nothing else, be understanding to those who serve you. It's a hard job, long hours and variable pay. Times are hard for everyone but it's inappropriate and unacceptable to stiff your staff just because your budget is tight and you really want steak for dinner. If you don't have the funds to tip, order take-out.

That's it my friends. I am done ranting. Thank you for listening :DDD

(no subject)

so this is day 3 in our new home. tomorrow will be the first normal working day for mike. he's been finishing up at promenade these past few days.

i have pretty much unpacked most of the house, the boys rooms, bathrooms and kitchen are done.

all that is left is the living room, laundry room and our bedroom. the laundry room has to wait until we get shelving.

this place is pretty amazing. i can't wait to take pictures of the boys rooms, they are gorgeous.

oh! the boys had their 2 mos and 15 mos drs appointment yesterday. boaz is 32 in and gideon is 23 in. boaz weighs 25.5 lbs and gideon weighs 12.5. they both are in the 70th percentile for height and weight.

i was really excited gideon is growing so well.

all boaz' cuspids cut. he now has 16 teeth. i think we are done now until he gets his 2 yr molars.

and last, we are getting rid of all the cats. i don't really want to talk about it. not right now.

i get internet tomorrow and will do a long family blog. be on the look out!