Thursday, February 13, 2014

Last week

Last week was an interesting “mom of a 3 year old” week while the hubs was out of town. Let me state for the record that my child has officially entered into his 3’s, which so far, seem far more terrible than the terrible 2’s. See below:

  1.  During an afternoon pickup at school, T decided to call something a “poopyhead.” Yes, I know all 3 year old boys probably love talking about poop with a passion, but I also know my hubby also seems to thoroughly enjoy making T laugh by using the word “poop” or ahem, “poopyhead” in a sentence. The teacher hears T use the “poopyhead” word and says, “We don’t say that word at school, T. Just like I am sure you don’t say at it home.” To which he promptly answers, “Yes we do.” The teacher then follows up with, “Well, I am sure your mommy doesn’t like when you use that word.” To which my lovely child again answers, “ Yes she does.” Thrown under the bus by my own kiddo at school to the teacher for something my hubby does. Life is so unfair.
  2. We’ve been having lots and lots of weather delays and so far, two school closings. That’s more in the past 2 weeks than we’ve had the past 5 years I’ve been working down here. On one 2 hour delay day, T woke up especially cranky, which amazed me because he was actually able to sleep in for a change and not be woken up when it’s still dark outside. Fast forward to the garage, 25 minutes later than we were supposed to be leaving, after he has thrown an epic tantrum because “he wants to put on his coat all by himself” but would rather scream for a solid thirty minutes about it than actually put it on. I made the decision that it would be nice to not get fired and show up to work sometime that day, and decided my child would have to be manhandled into his car seat (no easy feat to get 40 pounds of kicking and screaming toddler strapped into a 5 pound harness, thank you very much) without his coat on. And cringe as the neighbor I’ve only met once witnesses me deny my screaming child his coat “I want to wear my coat!!” as we get into the car on a lovely 20 degree weather delay day. I swear, I keep the thermostat blasting at a balmy 80 in the car….but still….that awkward “Hi Neighbor! I promise I’m a great mom!” moment – it happened. 
  3.  I’m assuming it’s the same day because the week all blended together – but yet another proud moment happened last week. It happened when I was trying to explain to T that even when he’s bad and mommy is disappointed at him, mommy still loves him. Even when he’s in a lot of trouble, mommy loves him. To which he looks at me and says, “I don’t love you, mommy.”
    Thank you, sweet 3 year old.

I did discover something else last week during one of our non-tantrum moments. My kiddo has a crazy memory. (Which is a little scary in itself, as I thought he wouldn’t be to remember any of these parenting fails I mentioned above.) While we were in the car, he started talking about the boat ride he was on “yesterday.” (“Yesterday” is any time in the past for him…”Tomorrow” is any time in the future…”Pizza Day” is Friday. Got it?) He’s giving me all sorts of detail about this boat ride – that he saw a balloon in the sky, that the boat had 2 levels and stairs, that a man was talking to us on it, that we looked for dolphins on it (and sharks, according to T). Mommy and daddy were on it, but P wasn’t. This boat ride – was on our summer vacation LAST JUNE. Seriously, amazed

Oh, and P during all these goings-on? Since I seem to never mention her? Just sitting there, happy as a clam smiling. I know I will have enough stories about her turning into a crazy child soon enough, but for now, she’s my happily content, happy-go-lucky, always smiling little thing. Good thing she’s so mellow!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Spending less

The hubs and I have decided to make 2014 the year of spending less and saving more.  Like most people, we have a budget but don't always stick to it and every month we seem to have "emergencies" pop up that require extra money we hadn't planned on spending.  A friend motivated me to take a hard look at our finances after she and her husband went through the Dave Ramsey program and it's pretty eye-opening.  This will be an on-going process, obviously, but my goal is both to lower our monthly expenses while also "reclaiming" some money from items we have sitting around our house collecting dust.  For anyone else interested in doing something similar, here's what I did -

Sorted all receipts for the past 60 days

- The purpose of this was to see what I had purchased over the last 60 days that was a "want" rather than a "need."  Anything that was still returnable went back.  In my case this was some clothes for the kids, some expensive shower gel I have a weakness for, and a handbag I had found on clearance and had to buy because of course it was an awesome deal (I am a sucker for "deals.").  Savings = $225

Reviewed all monthly subscriptions/bills

- By doing this I discovered that we're paying for an extra cable box we don't use, a cable package that's higher than we need, and a gym membership my husband started when he was training for the Mud Run last year.  Monthly savings = $75

Cleaned out the garage

- Since we don't have a basement our garage tends to be the dumping ground for random items we aren't using.  Why not try to get some money back for these things?  I found an old stroller, a few kids' accessories, and a coffee table, put them all up for sale on Craigslist and there you go - $150.

Cleaned out the closets

- This has been the biggest job.  I cleaned out everyone's closet and sorted unused items into 3 piles - trash, donation and eBay.  Trash is obviously the broken, stained, unusable stuff.  Donation is the gently used but not-worth-selling stuff and then eBay is anything with the tags still on or brand name stuff in good condition.  Think clothes, shoes, handbags, unused health/beauty stuff.  This is an on-going process but so far my cash intake = $500.

Looked up value of old savings bonds

- I don't know about you guys but my grandparents always gave us savings bonds growing up.  My parents socked them away and then gave them to us when we went to college.  I cashed a few in as needed while I was single but then stuck them in a lock box and pretty much forgot about them.  Thing is, once they mature they stop accruing interest so it makes sense to cash them out at that point and put them in another interest-bearing account.  So, I checked my remaining bonds online and what do you know 2 of them had matured.  Savings = $425.

Obviously this process takes work and I've been doing it slowly over the past 6 weeks when my kids are actually both asleep for 20 minutes at the same time.  But it's motivating to "find" almost $1,500 just from doing the things I listed above.  My next experiment will be grocery shopping exclusively at WalMart for one month to see if I save anything compared to what I'm currently spending at Kroger.  Stay tuned!