Friday, February 10, 2012

Where'd the money go?

So Michael and I have been talking about paying off those lingering school loans (they last for ten years you know), or maybe paying the cars off early, or basically, just wondering what it would take to live debt free.  Now, I'm fairly good with money.  I've been reading a lot of debt and money saving books and most of their suggestions are things I'm aware of.  I check resale shops for toys at birthdays and christmas, I only buy their clothes at the end of season sales, we very rarely visit starbucks, and when we do, it's a full outing.  I have some vices, we've decided we are tv people and we like our cable. So I did call about six months ago and get the best new deal I could, but we don't want to cancel it.  I'm also a bargain enthusiest, which means I shop online sales ALL THE TIME.  Now, I only buy the really cheap stuff, with free shipping, but I do buy sometimes.  Most of it is saved for later, for instance, I already have all the toys for the easter baskets because of after christmas sales, I have my dad's bday present, my husband's father's day presents, and some things for next years stockings all taking up room in the corner of the closest.  I budget, I use coupons when I have them, I use my stop and shop car to discount my gas, shall I go on?  I thought I was good at money.  However, while reading one of those debt books, this guy said to pick a few months here and there throughout the year and not spend any money on anything that's not a necessity.  I liked the concept, I wanted to know how much we might save or if it wouldn't be a big deal at all because we already only buy necessities.  So I chose February, a short month, to try this new money saving plan.  (The book says to use any savings from that month towards your debt... it's called the snowflake effect I think).  So here we are, ten days in, and I never thought it would be this hard.  First, Lake's birthday was celebrated on the 3rd.  I already purchased a groupon back in november for chuck e cheese so I thought we were all set, but what about plates and cups and hats and streamers???  Nope, not this year.  He didn't miss them, but Kai commented on the lack.  I did cheat and let him pick out two balloons and a bouncy ball, and we added french fries to the groupon order, so that was some 10.00 on non essentials right there, three days into the month.  Then Lake got money for his birthday, so we took him to target where he and kai used some gift cards they got from christmas and some birthday money to buy toys.  Do you know how hard it is to go to target and walk out with NOTHING???  Come on, target is 100 dollar trip easy... always.  But we managed.  (we did buy razors and milk, but those are essentials so it's okay).  Then there was the time I dropped Kai off at school and needed to kill some time, but I couldn't take the other two for french fries at McDonalds...  or when Michael left for his trip saying that he couldn't wait to get a magnet from switzerland and the netherlands because he'd never been there before and I had to remind him that he'd have to wait to purchase those until his next trip, magnets are not essential.  How about those itunes purchases that help him make it through the eight hour flights?  Nope, not this trip.  And hello people, it's oscar season.  Out come the nominations and off to the ondemand channel I go.  Oops, not this year.  (for those of you reading my facebook status, I had a free rental from charter, and the rest I will be renting on itunes via my christmas gift cards, so I'm not cheating).  Oh and the kindle store....  michael has his itunes obsession and I have my kindle store.  Come on... that book was only .99 and it was only a little terribly written!  Not this month, no horrible fiction for me, back to the library I go, for paper books, which smell funny now that I love my kindle :( So I've babbled on and on and I'm sure you get the point by now.  This has not been easy, it's been a lesson.  We use a lot of money and things that are not essential to our daily lives.  I've had a hard time letting deals go by (plush are buy one get one free at the Disney store, and the Old Navy baby sale is going on now fyi), and maybe I'll find out that we didn't actually save that much this month.  Maybe it's just 50 bucks, maybe I should have purchased that 17 dollar comforter for Kai because he needs one anyway and I may never find it for that price again, but even if the dollar amounts don't add up to massive savings, I think I've learned something.  Ask if I really need it before I buy it, and be thankful that a random drive by Starbucks will not break the bank.  Because for some people it does.  And think about how my "essentials" still include soda, paper towels, and birthday cake mix.  Some people have to decide how "essential" buying a gallon of milk is, we do not, and for that I'm greatful.  Hopefully we make it the next 19 days and learn something from it.  And maybe get to make a double payment on a loan.  We will see.  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It might have been a good day

I had no reason to believe that today wouldn't be a perfectly average Thursday. We have plans to clean the house today... Mundane and boring. I woke up to the happy news that I have a new niece and everyone is healthy. Then i watched the news. Did you know a hurricane is suppose to walk right over my house on Sunday? That's right, first an earthquake, now a hurricane. They are talking about 75mph winds on a path right over my house. Fabulous! So that gave me something to stress over, do I take the kids somewhere a few hours west and just leave the house to itself for a day or so, or do we sit here and hope it's more like a bad thunderstorm and hope none of the trees near our house come through the windows? So as I'm stressing about that, I get a call from michael... My van went to the this morning, it has been making a funny noise, it needs an oil change, the back door sticks, etc. So I expected a little bit of a bill, but michael says that ac fan has been making a funny noise because something has built a nest in there and it will take three hours of labor just to get it(and possibly its inhabitant) out if there. By the way, we have three cracked belts, would we like them changed? Hello, I bought the car 10 months ago, with that 60 point check that said all systems were go.... Did that not include the belts? Ah, so that's why dad said to take any car you want to buy to an impartial mechanic. So, two other problems were covered by my warranty and will be free, but I'm just shy of 60k miles and we should really get that check up done... And it's a big one, with all fluids replaced, which granted, when you buy a car with 55k miles on it, you know upis coming, and that does account for nearly half the final bill, but in connection with everything else, is just annoying. So now I have to pay this huge bill instead of taking out two trees that we've been planning in getting out if our yard. Sad. Then, while I am still on the phone getting this wonderful information, the dog bites Kai. Not a little warning bite like he normally gives, but a full on leave a perfect indentation of top and bottom row of teeth on his arm kind of bite. No blood, but I think that has to do with the size of the dog, not the ferocity of the bite. So now I really do have to get rid of the dog. I've been saying it for a couple of years now, but this time I mean it... I can't have the dog biting the children. He's small, but if he gets an eye or something... Plus, I don't want the children to be afraid of dogs because ours is mean. So does anyone want a very badly behaved yorkshire terrier? Well, I'm off now to figure out how to make over 1000 dollars by selling stuff on eBay

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

why must they turn 2???

For any of you that know Lake, you would agree that he is one of the most sweet tempered, easy going children you've ever met. Or at least, he was. Lake is almost 2.5 and I was really hoping that he had skipped the dreaded terrible two's altogether. Besides a few testing moments, we haven't had much trouble with him, and then a couple of weeks ago, the whining and crying and questioning and general headache inducing behavior started and I thought, "no!!!! Not Lake too!!!!!". But yes, the two year old drama has him in a firm grip. I want to know what happens to their previous personality, the one they had before the two takes hold. will I see it again someday or is it permanently tempered by this stage? I'm still waiting to see the old Kai again. He's not the two year old Kai anymore, but he's not the 15 month child who was emerging before he hit 18 months (yes, he started the terrible two's early) and we slid into the "stages" (the thistooshallpass everyonewilltellyouitsjustastage endlessness of stages!). I do have a little more patiants with the drama this time around, and it's easier for me to walk away from (which is why Lake sat on the floor of his room crying this morning while Kai, Reece, and I went about our business), but my heart actually hurts when they day is long and hard and all I can think of is how very pleasant he was to be around just a couple of weeks ago. Ah well.... Here's too surviving the terrible two's.... Again

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It takes a village

We went to visit my family in Florida for two and half weeks (thanks mom and dad!) and just got back home this past weekend.  I learned something while I was there....  it really does take a village to raise a child.  And not just any village, but one comprised of your extended family.  There were always extra arms to pick up the baby and willing aunts/uncles to play with the boys.  There was my mom to make meals and help pack everyone into the car.  At the end of the day, I didn't have a headache, I wasn't testy, and I wasn't counting the minutes until I could put the boys to bed.  In fact, I kept them up late more nights than not.  It was lovely to really enjoy all my children instead of feeling like all I'm doing is instructing and avoiding catastrophes all day.  Granted, they had a pool and beach at their disposal, new toys, interesting surroundings, which all worked to help them be on their best behavior, but it really was cool to see how much easier things are when you have a host of people who really love your kids helping you.  I can only imagine what it would be like to have it all the time, and what that would add to my childrens' personalities.  So count your blessings if you live near your family (yes, I understand that it probably comes with some difficulties) and if you don't, enjoy every minute that you get to spend with them.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I had a particularly bad day with Kai yesterday.  It seemed like I was disciplining him every five minutes, listening to nothing but whining or hostility from him.  After a particularly bad altercation around five o clock, I cried downstairs while he cried upstairs.  Because, let's face it moms, it really does hurt us more than it hurts them.  I HATE making him unhappy and there are many times I wish that I could just let him go.  Let him do whatever he wants, say whatever he wants, and be happy and awful.  But I don't because I love him.  So I started thinking of my mom and how many times she probably had to cry after dealing with me on my bad days.  Well that made me think about that fact that I don't remember any bad days.  In fact, I could only recall maybe three actual disciplinary actions though I KNOW there were many more.  Especially when I was Kai and Lake's age and still in the training process.  So why don't I remember them?  Well, I guess they weren't very traumatic.  When I think of childhood memories, I feel happy.  I think of laughter, of my dad on the floor playing crab, my mom playing hide and seek, I remember going to church together, and always dinner time around the table.  Why do I remember these things?  I guess it's what, in my young mind, made up the best parts of my days.  So the only thing I can hope, is that my children will also think back and remember only the happy memories, and these days that I find particularly bad, will work to strengthen his character and instruct him, but won't be the things he remembers about childhood.  Therefore, on this mother's day, I'd like to say thank you mom, for doing it right.  I hope I've learned enough from you to do it right too.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Things they forget to tell you about motherhood...

Your children will embarrass you.  Not later, though I'm sure then too, but right from the beginning.  I had such a wonderful day today, that all three of mine managed to do it within a half an hour.  The first day back to a regular schedule after the weekends is always a trial, the day after a three day holiday is even worse.  Therefore, I was already a little worried about taking the kids to their normal Monday outing for story time at the local library.  Especially after Kai received his first time out by 9am.  I should have followed my instincts and stayed home, but I needed books for Kai's school week and I had a few things on hold at the desk, so I got everyone together and went as planned.  We had only been at the library for about two seconds when Kai tells me he has to pee.  Now, this may seem mundane to you, but gathering all three children to go to a public restroom and making sure no one touches anything as I help Kai on and off the ridiculously high toilet is not something  I relish.  In fact, he's suppose to go before we leave home for that very reason.  But, I had forgotten to have him go, so off we went to the bathroom.  We had only been back in the play area of the library for about ten minutes (which was enough time to find the weeks' school books thank goodness) when I see Lake standing on a chair which is slowly tipping backwards.  Of course I reach him too late and he lets out a loud scream.  I quickly quiet him and have a talk about not standing on chairs.  Next, Kai and a little girl decide to talk to Reece, who's in her car seat, and the little girl pokes her in the eye.  I calmly tell the little girl not to touch Reece, who takes it pretty calmly, until Lake walks by and throws a large plastic ring on her head.  She let's  out with a blood curdling scream that makes EVERYONE in the room turn and stare at us.  Yup, embarrassment number one (up until now is pretty much a normal day).  It takes me a while to get her quiet.  By the time she calms the library lady is inviting us all in for story time.  Yeah, we made it right?  I wish.  Story time is always a battle.  Sometimes they are quiet, sometimes they sit still, other times they don't.  While I'm pretty relaxed on whether or not they sit still, I do require quiet so as not to disturb the other children, and some basic respect for the story teller.  Well.... Lake was not in a respectful mood.  He had brought his ring toy in with him and kept throwing it on the ground, so I had to take that... then he decides to lay on the floor and roll around.  Then he climbs on top of Kai which means Kai has to push him which makes Lake laugh and do it again.  So I grab Lake up and tell him if he can't sit up and be quiet we will have to leave.  To which he yells, "no mama" and slithers off my lap to lay prone on the floor and kick himself away from my hand (I had one arm full with Reece of course).  Embarrassment number two... I mean seriously, can't this woman control her own child?  So I tell him we have to leave and tell Kai to get up and head toward the door.  Kai of course loudly says, "but I haven't done the craft yet".  So the lady stops reading, everyone is staring at me, I'm ushering out my children while Kai is repeatedly saying...loudly.... that he doesn't want to go yet.  Yup. embarrassment number three.... in under thirty minutes.  So, needless to say, I was not in a good mood by the time I managed to get everyone in the car.  I turned on the radio and told them all that Mommy didn't want to talk to anyone and I stewed about it until I got home.  Then, of course, life must resume and now I'm bitching about it in my blog that only one or two people will read.  But I feel purged and ready to resume my day.  I hope yours is going better than mine!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

water water everywhere....

So a couple of weeks ago I officially started Lake's potty training.  Now, being the middle child, the amount of attention I can pay him is scant compared to what I was able to give to Kai.  So the going is slow.  We have progressed just this week from running around the house naked, to having a max of three pairs of underwear a day.  Once they are all wet, we return to running around the house naked.  The problem is that he can't pull the underwear up and down yet, so I have to run over, pull them down, help him sit, then pull them back up when he's finished.  After which, of course, he demands his "emenimenem".  I feel like I'm always holding a nursing or sleeping baby when he is in need of this service.  HOWEVER, I felt like we were getting somewhere when he made it three full hours in one pair of undies yesterday evening.  He was doing well enough today that I put him up for lunch in his underwear instead of switching him to a diaper before eating.  I had just locked him in and turned to the microwave to retrieve his chicken chunks when I hear the unmistakable sound of running water.  Yup, not just a drip, a full on deluge of pee running down his booster and under his chair.  He sheepishly says, "pee pee eminemenenm?"  Ah well, back to diapers for meal times.