Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I firmed up our plans for this weekend. We're headed to Santa Cruz on Saturday, and taking M's 5 year pictures at the beach. I'm excited, since we'll also take some pictures of the boys, as well as the family. Its been a year since we've seen the ocean, I know the older ones will like playing in the sand, have plenty of sand toys to take with us. I'm packing us lunch and dinner, or at least enough food to get us started on our journey. We'll spend the night at my sister's apartment, and then head to Happy Hollow Zoo in the morning. We may hit up another park too, just depends on temperments and what the boys enjoy at the zoo. We'll pack a picnic for the zoo, so that'll be nice too. It should be a frugal weekend, even if we decide to eat along the way-using our Entertainment book (or my sister's one for the Bay Area) has come in handy, we can often find a place to feed all of us for under $20 (w/ a coupon).

In other news, I've decided to join the Stretch Your Dollar Community Challenge w/ Ivillage, geared as "You work hard for your money, so make your dollar work hard for you. Join the Stretch Your Dollar Community Challenge and starting May 4 you'll get a four-week action plan to save big on home, food, family" I've put the link at the bottom in case anyone is interested in doing it too-I'm betting that although we've done well cutting back our expenses, this pay show us other ways we can accomplish our goals.

Everything is stable at home right now, we're taking a free picture at Sears this afteroon and getting a free collage print. Normally I wouldn't do these type of thing, but plan on using the print for M's scrapbook. I'll bring some coupons I found online, but am ambivilant over whether I'll order any other shots. It'll break up the day, and that's a good thing. Otherwise, its another day at the park, with a picnic lunch in tow. I'm hoping its warmer than yesterday-the wind was kicking up here, and making it a bit uncomfortable for me. Hope everyone has a good day!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Simplifying life

I want to write about this weekend, and our anniversary; I'll do both later, but for now I have thoughts on my mind.

I went to a baby shower yesterday, and it was far from the traditional ones I've gone to in recent years. It was a scrapbooking party, and we all made pages for the baby's baby book. The planners put a lot of thought into the planning, and I know my friend appreciated their efforts. What struck me as unique was how cards were homemade, gifts were homemade, favors were homemade, even the fruit display ala Edible Arrangement was homemade. It was very relaxed, and I'm glad I went.

I walked home from the event, even though it was nearly a 45 min walk since I took my time, it was a nice way to spend the afternoon. R had the boys sleeping at home, and I've been feeling grateful for my good health, so figured it was time to get some exercise too. I used the time to think about what I want to do next fall. I spent some time at the party conversing with some of my friends who are working now, and their oldest are entering kindergarten w/ M. They also have younger children (including the one that the baby shower was held for).

I'm on the fence about what I want to do, I really am. Part of me feels that this is a great time to reevaluate what I want since R and I spent time during our night out for our anniversary on Friday talking about what we want, what our indivudal desires are, and how best to work them into our family.

My immediate plan goes something like this:
1. Look into licensing and an additional credential for my degree. R is concerned that if something happens to him, coupled with the state of the job market, I need to be able to support the kids and myself. Frankly, we're both unsettled and want to use this time to shore up my education more before things get crazier with home life, and before something happens to his job.

2. The boys will go to the preschool's summer preschool program two days a week. I'm also looking into another preschool program for the fall, one that has a different approach, and may suit G and E better. I'm learning as I go how what's worked for one child (M) may not be best for G. Hopefully, this will coincide with when I can pursue credentialing/licensing classes. At the least, it'll keep my sanity, because its a structured activity, or at least one I know someone is responsible for planning vs me.

3. R's going to continue going to school after the semester is finished. He needs to continue his momentum, if he doesn't do it, he knows he won't finish. The boys and I will make plans to keep busy when preschool is not in session, and we'll do what we can to make Daddy's study time quiet.

4. We're going to have a quiet summer at home. Take advantage of farmer's markets for produce, cook at home, swimming, library time, free activites in our community. I'm excited to see what adventures we take, day trips galore. There is a summer program at a preschool I'm thinking about going to, I'm not sure how crazy enrollment is for it, but I'm going to call next week and find out. Its the same one I'm thinking about for G and E next year, as an alternative to what we're doing now, or on a non-preschool day as an activity for us to do together while M is in school.

5. I hope to wipe another chunk of debt away by my birthday-that would be the best present, it would be peace of mind.

Well, our day is getting started. The playground is calling our names, and I have a baby to push in a swing. I'll fill in later on our weekend activities.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Learning something everyday

I never want to be a nodder-I feel like the best thing I can do with my children is show then I am capable of getting stuff done, even things I don't like. Take refinancing, I am completely oblivious sometimes to things, but as R knows if I din't know, I ask questions. A lot of questions. I remember we thought about refinancing last year, and decided not to-it was going to take more money than it would be in any savings for us to break even-and I did not want to extend out mortgage by X years. I am glad we researched it before we spent money on before hand.

Another thing, school. R's going to summer school this year, 5 mornings a week (guess we'll have early starts every day), and I was starting to pull my hair out trying to think of what cheap activities I can do with the kids. I found a nifty book at the library-101 cool things to do with your kids. I plan on pulling ideas from there, as well as my stash of family fun magazines too. Love having ideas, love even more having it cost me nothing to get those ideas!

I'm debating some summer outings with the children. Found a few places in outlying towns to try out. We'll see how adventurous we are-and how hot the weather is in K town. I'm wanting to do more science activities, in part because I miss doing that stuff.

Finally, I'm planning a special thing for M's classmates for the end of the school year. I have the okay from his teacher, and I'm going to dive in and put my craft skills to work. I'm hoping it turns out well, I'm taking the boys with me this afternoon to price things out, I'm looking forward to how it turns out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Facing life with school aged children

It's been nearing closer, knowing that M is starting kindergarten next year. I had delayed for as long as possible to submit his registration paperwork, in part because I couldn't place my finger on his immunization card. I finally relented, facing the fact that I'll get a copy of his records at his physical next month. The other touchy part is the emergency card info, while I know people in town, we don't have any family nearby, so I need to double check and see if I can use them before I add their name. I brought it by the school office, and had no problems, it was almost too easy. The big upside is I missed out on the crush of people waiting the first day, and given that the assessments are during a two week period next month, and I got the slot and day I wanted, it all worked out.

I must admit though, it was strange parking my minivan in front of the school. I vividly remember my mom parking her van in front of the school, every school we went to. It was a bit de ja vu for me, knowing I'm now the mom, I'm the grown up, and M gets to live and laugh and learn. Complicating it more, M and I had this weird conversation this morning, he didn't want to go to preschool. Yammering on about these three kids (ones that he plays with a lot) that were playing and said they didn't want to be his friend. I listened, and my heart ached, I thought, oh no, what's going to happen next year? We talked about it and I learned that he didn't like it, that it made him feel sad. I told him the next time it happened to tell them that even if you don't want to play with someone, you should still be nice to them. Then a second later, he was off and running again. Didn't give it a second thought. When I went to drop his brother off today, M couldn't get out the car fast enough to see his friends. Did I hear him right this morning? Problems at this age must all be relative, because M told me he didn't want me to keep him home. Go figure that one out.

About the school, I love it, it reminds me of an old fashioned school house. It was a bit odd seeing Dr. Seuss (and other characters) painted on the inside of the office, then again, so were the small chairs by the principal's office. I handed the secretary the paperwork, she made copies of the gas bill, social security card, and M's birth certificate, and I made the appointment for the kindergarten assessment. Bright and early two weeks from now, on a Wednesday morning so M can see the kids at the school, and get a taste of what next year will be like. I asked for and received the application to be a parent volunteer and will bring that to M's assessment w/ my tb test results so I can start to help out right away in his classroom.

The only thing that threw me for a loop was how the city offers bussing to the schools, even though we live less than a minute away from the school. The drop off is at the end of our alley, and another p/u is at the 1st grade school. I'm not planning on using it, there's no need, but its nice to know its there. I'm not quite sure if I'll work past 1:45 when M's in school, depends on how this summer goes, what we're facing in August w/ R's job. R knows that my first priority is taking care of the kids, and being there for whatever they need. At the same time, I know he'll do whatever he can-he's already asked me if I minded if he's the one to volunteer in M's class every week. That's why I'm on the fence about the specifics about working. I need flexiblity so I can carry the load of working and tending to our family. Then again, I have a spouse who wants to be just as involved as I am, so we'll share this load together. August 19th is penciled in now, the start of a new chapter in our lives.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Taste of summer

We had a wonderful Sunday, spent family time together at the park followed by a trip to Superior Dairy in H town. We ordered one sundae, and shared it. It was yummier than Baskins, and ands down better than Cold Stone. It was cheaper than both of those other places, even w/ a coupon. R has already given his approval to go there a lot this summer. Thank heavens I'm not on a diet, hahaha! Oh, and our dinner appetites were ruined, but no one complained. In fact, no one was hungry the rest of the afternoon until bedtime. Bathtime soothed everyone when we came home, and slept like logs. If this is a taste of summer yet to come, bring it on!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Vintage days

Talk about a day of sheer (cheap) fun! The boys and I spent the morning at home, enjoying playtime and breakfast with each other. When I sensed the boys getting restless, I decided it was time for a roadtrip. I loaded up the car with snacks, diapers, and wipes and off we went. The plan was to check out a festival for awhile, then head over to Costco and Home Depot for groceries and gardening supplies. We ended up having so much fun that we spent 4 hours at the festival!

It wasn't very crowded when we arrived, and the weather was perfect. I bought the older boys a wristband for $3 each (unlimited activities for kids), and they went on ponyrides, did arts and crafts, and played in the never ending supply of bounce houses. We walked around the booths, the boys got free plants from Home Depot. We also spun the (free) wheel at the Elephant Bar display. We cleaned house-G won a $25 gift card, M won a $10 gift card, and I won a free appetizer card! We also received three coupons for free kid meals. I know where we're taking the kids next week if we go out as a family for our aniversary ;) We ended our visit by sharing a huge fruit cup under the shade, listening to some good music, which reminded me of my college days. I bought the musician's cd (Erik Janson)-M and G were rocking out to it while he played, and since we've been under budget eating at home now, I knew we had some wiggle room. I asked the musician to autograph his cd, which he did. He asked if I was going to a local brewery in town to hear his set that night, and with three kids underfoot, I said it depended if my husband and I had a sitter (and at that moment I flashed back for a brief moment to our pre-kid days).

I left right before the boys started to melt down (no one had naps all day!) and we all had a quiet ride home listening to our new cd. I was thrilled about how our excursion went, and how we stayed way under budget (spent only $20 the whole afternoon!) When we made it home, R was already home. He was just as suprised as I was that I ventured out alone to the festival, and how well the boys behaved. He asked if I wanted to go to the brewery, and I said as much as I wanted to go, I wanted to use our sitter (and pay for one) next weekend for our anniversary. For dinner, I made salad, along with a delish steak and rice. I also made a tasty lemon cake for dessert. We all relaxed after dinner, and the boys fell asleep while watching a movie with us. It was truly a great day. I'll post pictures from our day soon.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

End of one chapter, start of another?

Last night was a lot of fun with the boys. They went on a train ride, played in the bounce houses, and played carnival games. They also watched the cake walk-but as they didn't quite grasp the concept of it, just watched it. Before we left, the boys each had their face painted w/ a horse-very cute, and it was worth the five min wait :) The kids had dinner at the event, and R and I had planned to eat at home. I ended up falling asleep w/ the two older ones, and he crashed out with the baby. Something hit me last night, seeing families with school aged children and then a baby/toddler/preschool, a visible gap between the older two or three and the youngest, it made me wonder-is this what I want for our life, or is what we have enough? It was nice not having to carry a diaper bag, letting E toddle around. It was nice thinking about the trips we want to go on with our family of five. At the same time, seeing cute babies snuggled up, surrounded by older siblings, seeeing large families of six at the event (and more and more at other places) makes me think, having another child wouldn't make life any more chaotic than it already is.

I told R I'll start getting rid of the baby things, we had a lot of stuff and have learned how little babies need in the beginning. I'm not sure if we'll have one more, until he keeps his appointment, getting pregnant is always a possibility. He's told me he's done, yet his not taking permanent action and understanding that I'm not going to, leaves us open to having one more. Maybe we'll have another, maybe not. We'll enjoy what we have and see what's in store in the months ahead....

Friday, April 17, 2009

Family fun night!

After a mellow week, we're headed to the junior high this evening for family fun night. Its a great way to connect with others in our community, and is fun for all the kids. Bouncehouses, face painting, a cake walk, even the firefighters and police officers make an appearance. The boys love it every year, and this year should be fun too. R's leaving work early so he can come, he knows the boys want to do some of the activities with him. I'm hoping to connect w/ some other families we know, so the kids can play and we can have adult conversation too. Bringing the camera too, so I can capture these fun times.

This weekend should be nice and relaxing. R has to work (because of sping break, he switched days last week), so the boys are I have a day wide open for possibilities. Lots of free community events are taking place, so we may do one of those for fun. I hope to get some gardening done, it just depends on the moods of the kids. It's supposed to be warm, so grilling is on the menu for dinner. That reminds me, we should probably hit up the farmer's market tomorrow-I miss my fersh veggies, and maybe I can get some even though its early in the year.

Time to get moving, stuff to do today!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Is it spring?

The weather here is downright chilly. That was obvious this morning during our annual Spring Fling. I'm glad we held it, despite the downturn in participation, and its given me food for thought on how I want to proceed with mom and me groups in general. I'm going to enjoy what I do, and not bang my head against a wall if others don't want to participate. Its their loss, my gain-since really I need the parent interaction. If others don't-more power to them. I sent off an email removing my commitment to Baby Fest this weekend. Its too much w/ R working, and me watching the boys. Not to mention I don't have a raffle item to donate. Instead, I'll plug along w/ planning the activities I want to do, and welcoming others to join in the fun. Looking forawrd to the Hanford train trip in mid June, that should be fun.

We're hanging tight with our finances right now. We have a nice padding in our savings account, not to mention the funds to pay off the second credit card in full (the one from emergency car/house repairs). I'm sitting on it right now, since I don't know whether to leave that additional money in savings or towards the credit card. Once that debt is gone, I really feel like we're almost at the top of our game, that much closer to being debt free. We've made so many changes, so many sacrifices, both big and small, I feel the shift in how we live our daily life. I know that everything we've done will make life so much more pleasant this summer, and the best one yet. I'm almost tempted to treat ourselves to something, but not sure if I should take that leap. We're making so much headway, that I wonder if by giving into a want, if it's really the best thing to do. This is where the rubber meets the road, or as Dave Ramsey says, Live like no one else so you can live like no one else later on. for thought as I ponder purchasing a season pass for our family for somewhere (the aquarium for 12 months seems like my favorite at the moment for $120) Just to know we could go, that I could go with the kids at the drop of a hat, even taking them to Monterey there's a ton to do beside the aquarium that we could also pop in for an hour or two just because, hard to keep focus on the end goal, that's for sure!

That's where I'm at now, we're off and running to take R to class, love being a one car family.....

Monday, April 13, 2009

Comings and goings.

It was a glorious weekend, this past weekend. R and I had a date on Friday night, we had Chevys paid for, and babysitter fee covered. It was nice to get out amongst adults, and sweet to return to our boys a few hours later.

Saturday I took M to a birthday party, while R hung out with the younger two boys. It was the first time M was invited to a party by himself, and I'm glad R was around to watch the boys. It was a bit odd to just take M, most the kids we know know M and G, but then again, its bound to happen as M starts kindergarten next fall. By far it was the most simple of birthday parties, but I think M had the best time. There were five children to celebrate a 5 year old's birthday-and this was after the mom had invited 16 kids from preschool. She had cake and punch, and the boys played outside. There was an attempt at a party game, but the kids had more fun getting spun around than anything else. That was it. For three hours (it was meant for two, but us moms talked a lot longer!), they played. M was tired after a healthy dose of sunshine and fresh air. The boy loved the Chutes and Ladders game, and it wasn't one he already had (love my game stockpile :) ) After the party we picked up R and the younger boys and had dinner at Red Robin courtesy of a company. We ended the night with stories and cuddles, and all went to bed early.

Sunday was an off day. I woke up feeling ill, and E was also not doing so well. I had noticed that both of us weren't completely feeling 100% for a day or so, but I think we hit our bottom. We made it easy-ate at home, played outside. The boys were not interested in more eggs-I think they had their fill, so it made it better for us since I was feeling under the weather. We hung out outside, let the kids play, and eventually we had dinner at home. Two nights of eating out, and I was thankful we didn't have anywhere to go.

Today was much of the same. R stayed home since I was feeling ill. He took me to the doctor's office, where I was promptly diagnosed with bronchitis. I rested much of the afternoon, so we went down to V town when it was time for R's class, since the boys needed shoes. I scored a great deal at Stride Rite outlet, and learned a lot about shoes. G was a size 10 1/2, but ended up with a size 12. M was a size 11 1/2, and bought a size 13. The ones I originally wanted were the 11s and 12s, but after trying those on and the next size up, and then trying on a few other pairs, the sales woman helped me get a proper fit for the boys. I was completely off base with what I thought would fit; goes to show, shoes are not equally designed or created. With the sales and promotions, I got each pair for $22, the same price I would have spent at Target or Payless on a couple of shoes-these however, are durable and well made, and I know won't hurt their feet at the end of the day. Yay for new shoes!

Tomorrow its about rest and recuperation. We'll stay home until I'm feeling better, I hope in time for our Spring Fling on Wednesday :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

False sense of security

I was all ready to post about the wonderful weekend I have planned, but watching Suze Orman last night jarred me back into reality. While we have cut a lot of our discretionary spending, we're not truly living below our means. I'm not just talking about my family, but families in general. We're paying for McDonalds, outside activities for our children, day trips, car trips, video games, it all adds up. While I'm not one to say, okay go live bare bones, I'm wondering what will it take for us to really live bare bones? I have two months left of teaching for the school year, and plan on putting everything I earn into our savings account. I'm also going to put everything I earn from my side work into that account. I'm going to have us live on close to half of what we bring home income wise, just so we can put more in savings. Is that possible, I don't know. I do know that there are things we can do without, we can watch what we spend. I already was putting a majority into savings, while paying down our debt with the rest. However, I feel really insecure. I don't think the bottom is done falling out from the economy. Gas is going up, does anyone see that? More layoffs and more closures are happening-I don't think its being covered in the media as much, and I think its to give people a false sense of security-so they'll go out and spend. Spend. Money they wouldn't otherwise spend if they thought their financial well being was at stake. Well, I'm sick of being insecure, and I'm not going to lay down and let more crap happen and we pay the price.

I'm human though. I want my kids to have, for us to go out, we deserve it, we all do. Then again, having a summer of fun at an amusement park won't do us any good if something happens to R's job. I'm leaning hard core about not paying for membership to additional places, and just making do with what we have. Easter baskets I was going to fill with stuff I bought today-yeah, I'm going to make homemade treats and find stuff lying around that we haven't used yet. No need to splurge on extra stuff, my kids really do have enough stuff. The trip I want to take to the coast-we'll go to Santa Cruz instead for the day-and bring food, toys, and not do the amusment park this time. We'll survive-I did all those years I went to the boardwalk and just walked around. When I finally went on those rides, it was a bit anticlimatic-I actually thought, I'm paying how much for this? Anyways, this is my plan. We'll have a fun time, and really, the kids won't know the difference. If they say something, then we won't do it again for awhile. I want our kids to appreciate what we do and what we have; there may always be something that is out of reach, and frankly, I rather them learn this lesson now than years from now.

For now I'm going to utlize everything I possibly can until the nth degree-because I don't want to have a black cloud hovering nearby. I don't want to hear one day that the bottom has fallen beneath us and we're living with material goods we can't use since we don't have the means to use them. My mantra this summer. Free. Scale back. Appreciate what you have. Whew. I feel just the slightest bit better now.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New challenges

I'm not one to shy away from challenges or new experiences. Why do I say this now?

I just nominated myself for every position on the Moms Club Board, including President. Without leadership, the club is going to fall apart, the current board members are eady for new ventures. Its been an invaluable resource to me, and I want to step up and pay it foward. I figure this is a good way to test the waters before I get involved with M's school, as well as other ventures. R is on board with me, he knows I'm happier when I'm busy.

We're off to a free activity at a local attraction, and then not sure what e;se we'll do today. Due to inclement weather, I postponed our Spring Fling until next week. It works out well, since we returned late from S town last night, and it didn't look like the rain was going to let up for today. It was a great, frugal trip, since we planned ahead and brought snacks with us. We ate at Grandma's before we headed home, and we made it home before the rain really came down hard. BTW, no cavities all around, which means no expense!!! Yay!!! I'm also still on 6 month recall-which is awesome since as of 2 years ago I was on 3 month recall, and have slowly improved. The dental bill is paid off as of this month, so next month I'm applying that payment to another bill. That's it for now, I'll post more later :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Family/kid/couple time

Tomorrow we're taking a trip to S town to see R's mom and sister. I'm looking forward to it, in part because I get to spend some (alone) time at the dentist. While that part is not necessarily enjoyable, I know it needs to get done. We've been looking into switching dentists down here; however, I'm a bit reluctant. Our insurance isn't wonderful, and I know we're going to pay out of pocket to have a nice dentist (since full coverage is limited to Western Dental, yuck :( )I rather go up north, make a trip to see R's mom-and get away from K town for a day. The boys are excited too, they get to see their cousins. We have a mystery shop possibility for lunch/dinner while there, or on the way back. If it doesn't pan out, we'll eat at home and bring food with us.

Wednesday is a fun day-Spring Fling, complete with an easter egg hunt and potluck. I have no clue who's coming, and frankly, I could care less. At the least, the boys will have fun scouring the grass for the eggs I bring, and we'll have a picnic at the park.

Friday night is date night. I've arranged to have a mystery shop pay for a nice Mexican dinner. I'm trying to arrange for us to go bowling too-that's something we haven't done in awhile. That shopper fee would cover the games and the sitter, so its a win-win situation. If not, we'll manage, we planned to go out for our anniversary. This will just be our early celebration (in case I don't get a fancy dinner shop by the time our anniversary rolls around).

Its a mellow week, fun times all around.

This is why we're watching our money

I'd love to say that we spent no money this weekend, besides the pizza for my family. If G hadn't tore through our home office, opening a fiing cabinet, literally climbing the bookcase, and having us believe that he swallowed a Chuck E Cheese token, that would have been true. We now have a $50 bill courtesy of an ER visit to shell out next month. Thankfully, we have that money and then some.

The plan yesterday was for grocery shopping and Big Hat Days. We didn't make it to Big Hat Days, since on the way home from Costco, all the boys fell asleep in the car. I personally preferred to head home and hang out there, R didn't care, so instead of tempting us with things that we really didn't need, we headed home. Yeah, that turned out well.

On the upside, Poison Control and the ER staff rocks! I wasn't freaked out, considering what we were up against. However, its not like this stuff is lying about. It was tucked on the top shelf of the bookcase, in a bowl-so it wasn't on the floor, within reach, nothing like that. I suspect G thought it was candy, or thought it was a good excuse to pull when I opened the office door during what was supposed to be the remainder of nap time (all the boys were still asleep upon being placed in their beds, and I for once decided to take a nap too). Sigh....on the upside, at the ER, I texted R to start dinner since I wasn't there, and roasted chicken greeted us upon coming home. We have enough for another dinner, plus lunch for today. That eased my stress some, until R went outside to mow the yard, and I was cleaning the dishes. It was too quiet.....the older two boys wrecked havoc in their bedroom (E was with me in his high chair). Lets just say I took a walk to destress and everything was still there to greet me upon getting back 15 minutes later, and bedtime couldn't come soon enough. It was a rough day from middle to end. And to think, I thought it was getting easier with three now, ha!

So while we spent $50 at the ER, the rest of the weekend was frugal. Hopefully this week will be the same way.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Family lessons

This weekend is another mellow weekend. We had a nice visit with my family who came down from the Bay Area for the day. We spent time on walks, taking the boys to parks, and spent time outside. We brought in pizza from the local pizza place in town-that was a treat for everyone since we're all watching our money closely these days. My dad gave me new ideas for salad and meals, so I plan to try those out in the coming weeks. My sister took pictures of the boys, her boyfriend showed M and G how to ride their scooters like skateboards, all around it was a taste of the fun side of parenthood-minus the diapers, time outs, and overall cost associated with having children. Always glad to loan out the kids though, they sure were tuckered out come bedtime!

R and I both had good long talks with my dad about everything going on (and R did about stuff that was weighing on his mind). It was stuff I'm glad I learned, I gained insight into why I parent the way I do (and also why I'm now seeing how I'm trying to change some things that I do since they aren't as productive as I thought (but I did anyways since that's what my parents did), does that make sense?

Minus the pizza, the weekend's been frugal. We're contemplating heading out to Big Hat Days today, and will bring snacks/drinks and the camera with us. I told R that we'll bring money just in case we want a treat. We also have plans to go grocery shopping, and hit up Costco too. We'll probably eat lunch or dinner at Costco, but I'm going to recommend to R that we grill up some chicken for meals early this week. It always makes mealtime less chaotic when I have a few things to fall back on.

We're headed out for the morning, so have a good one everyone!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The price of a marriage.

I don't think anyone really thought my parents would split up-I for one didn't see it. 30 years, first marriage, in early 20s when they were married, waited a couple of years to have children, one cross country move, home ownership, involved w/ their children, kids turn out okay. Then again, it didn't suprise me-or at least shatter my world. I definitely think the circumstances under which I left color my reaction to everything.

This is a teachable moment. I know I need to get our finances in order. I know I need to be able to support myself and our children. I love my role as wife and mom, but seeing how 30+ years can end, no marriage is perfect. I don't ever want to be blindsided the way each of my parents have by the other's actions. This is only the beginning (middle?) of the end, and its going to get worse before it gets better.


Its late, I can't sleep. I hate nights like this, when I know I should sleep, boys always get me up super early. I have thoughts swimming in my head, so maybe once I get them out, I can go to bed, with my mind at ease.

I picked up our refund check today. It sits like a heavy weight. I love having the money, yet I know it'll be gone in a blink of an eye. I know the sooner we apply it to bills, the freerer we'll become. R wants to put some aside as part of our emergency fund-I'm torn. I really want to erase one more debt from our lives. As it stands, this month we're done paying for our dental expenses, but as we have a visit next week (and I'm pretty sure I'll need an old cavity filled again), I don't know how long that bill will have a zero balance. At the same time, I rather have my teeth than have bigger problems. So, we'll see. We're going to talk about it this weekend and revise our plan.

Our photographer sent an email about family pictures at the beach. I'm tempted to do them for M's 5th birthday, as well as a combined Mother's Day and Father's Day gift for R and me. It is the only way we do our pictures-and I love how they come out-no questions about it. And I miss the Bay Area-what better excuse to go up north for a weekend getaway?

My dad is visiting this weekend-its a suprise for the boys. I'm a bit nervous-its the first time we're seeing each other face to face since I loaned him money for the attorney-and yesterday was the hearing and I didn't call him. For some reason, while the divorce of my parents is important, I feel like I'm busy taking care of my own family (mainly making sure the boys don't hurt one another!) to get involved in their drama.

R is stressed, school is getting harder, and time is passing by faster than he blinks. I'm relieved spring break is next week-if only so he has one job to tend too, and not two. Add in our anniversary towards the end of the month, and R wonders where I want to go for dinner-meanwhile I'm perfectly happy eating at home. Right now I feel like eating out is highly overated and it doesn't appeal to me.

Another thing that doesn't appeal to me-paying for activities right now. I read something yesterday about living below our means now and reaping the rewards later. I've bene on the fence for so long about summer activities-I still don't know what to do-and R has left it up to me. M was interested in bowling recently, I almost wanted to do that once instead of invest in some set 4-6-or even 8 week class. I'm not sure if that's the route I want to take-I like options, choices, not feeling broke in summer even we are watching our dollars more. Time will tell what we decide to do-having a coupon book eases the pinch, that's for sure.

I'm of to bed, my fingers have slowed their frantic pace. Hopefully I won't be a walking zombie in the morning.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

This is who I am

Yesterday I showed the world who I was. I opened my pantry, my fridge, for all to see. Was it all neat and tidy like I had envisioned? Not even close, but it was real. R was the best supporter, helped with the kids so I could interview in peace. I love that man-he knows when I really need him. The tv segment will air in May-the tv reporter is due with her second child in a few weeks (gosh, she looked tiny!) so this was something she's trying to get wrapped up before maternity leave next week. She was in awe of the receipt, the food, how passionate I was about saving money.

It was an amazing experience, one that caused me to evaluate myself, how I'm living at almost 30 years old. I've been contemplating whether to dive back into substitute teaching next fall-it's been helpful this year, but I'm not sure I want to go back and continue it. M is going to be in school, and G and E are going to be in preschool. Do I really want to continue on the same path? I'm going to keep it open-no telling what will happen with R's job (I continually worry when R goes to work-hearing about police involved shootings doesn't help), and I know I need an outlet-otherwise I'll go crazy. I'm contemplating how I can combine my current focus on saving money with helping others less fortunate, maybe that's something I can work on to meld my interests until I find a work environment that's right for our family.

Before I go, here are some pictures of the pantry-mind you, its not all neat and tidy like I had envisioned, and you only see half of the items (just think double rows of what's behind the first row), and yet there's still stuff I couldn't take pictures of (because there's no sense to my ordering under the stove, but I have more canned/boxed goods there too), nor does it show the health and beauty items I have stockpiled too, but its an indication of why our weekly grocery shopping is so inexpensive.