Monday, December 31, 2012

Count down to savings

My goal for us as a family for 2013 is to save as much as possible. Since I do the majority of the grocery shopping I feel like I have a lot of potential to contribute. This savings will go towards some home improvement projects (like painting) that will really improve the feel of the house. It also feels really good to pay for something with cash instead of credit.

Taking the time to make a quick and easy meal and not order take out will make a giant difference too. Last night I made a quick frittata with ingredients I had on hand. I defrosted some frozen biscuits to go with it and there was dinner. I need to make the most of what I have. Groceries are pricey, but I know I buy too much and make too many impulse buys.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


I decided to write about money. I haven't written in two months because I started a new job and have been a tad bit busy. This past week has been great since it is Christmas vacation week. We have had a week to chill with the kids, which overall has been great. Our chilling area is small, but we are lucky just the same.

Wednesday will be the start of work again and we will all go our separate ways each day until dinner time. More about dinner time later. I do want to discuss it, but I will talk about money first.

How important is money? Money is a funny thing. For years I dwelled on the amount of debt we had. We had it for various reasons. We both came into our marriage with varying degrees of it. When we were both working full time we thought nothing of credit card payments. The paychecks kept coming. Never did I envision that I might actually stay home for awhile once we had children. Being a teacher I was lucky enough that I was able to stay home for the remainder of the year after number one was born. The plan was to go back to work the following fall. Once I made those first few phone calls and we found out what the cost of day care was we were shocked. Seriously shocked. That was when I had my " I will just waitress at night idea". And that is what I did for five years and through my second pregnancy. It worked. No, it was not glamorous, and I gave up a lot of weekends, but it did work. However, that did not begin until she was almost one. We had saved some money to help when I was home, but it disappeared quickly. Some months we paid one credit card with another. Things broke that had to be fixed (oil tank) that we did not have the money for. Yes, we were ill prepared like many people are.

In the time we have been married we have both lost some loved ones that were generous enough to leave us money. There is a lot of sadness when someone dies and leaves you money. My husband was left money that got us out of debt. It seemed like a miracle. We went back and forth trying to figure out the best thing to do with the money before we paid the debt off. At some point we need a bigger house. We pondered putting the money towards renovations or saving it, but in the end getting rid of the debt felt really good. We are in a very tiny house, but believe me you sleep better when the debt is gone.

Since getting rid of the debt we have had to replace both cars. So yes, now we have two car payments. It stinks, but they aren't credit cards, so I feel better about them. If we still had that debt and two car payments we would be in a heap of trouble. We just received some more money. My uncle, who lost his life at 59 to skin cancer left all his money to his nieces and nephews. He was special needs and worked low paying jobs his entire life. Knowing how hard he worked, how much he loved life, and how he much he thought of all of us breaks my heart. Being given the gift of this money makes me want to be as frugal as I can be to work towards our goal of a slightly bigger house. Yes, only slightly bigger. I don' think I need an over sized colonial. I don't want it anymore. After living in about 850 square feet for eight years I think a 1600 square foot house would be fine. Except I can't dwell on a bigger house anymore. It is a waste of my time. My life is going on right in front of me. I have a perfect family in a cozy house. We have all we need. We may want a bigger house and we may have it some day, but right now this is where we are and I want to be happy where I am.

In comparing ourselves to other people we want more than we need. From talking with neighbors, we know our house was owned by the same couple for over fifty years. They raised three boys in these four rooms. It doesn't seem possible that someone could live here for fifty years and not build an addition. Once upon a time people lived within their means. We over buy, and over mortgage, and over spend. Does a bigger house make you any happier? I think it is just more to clean.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day One

Yesterday was day one. I have a couple of days to observe my job before I begin. Since it is a maternity leave there is no set date. I have about a week before things will go full time. It is a bit overwhelming, but I think once I jump in it will be great. I loved driving to work with the rest of world yesterday.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I almost have the job

So yes, I got the job. They offered me the job, my references were checked and I have had to share with a lot of people because I need to work out my child care situation. I still need to meet with the superintendent before it is final. So while I have told some family and friends I have not shared with everyone. For example, the people at my current job. Once it is final then I will make my phone call to my manager and work that out. I already have my last day planned.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Two minutes

I have two minutes before I need to go get my little boy. Today is the day that I find out about "the job". My head is spinning. I want the job; but I am scared to get the job too. I would love to try going back to work full time, but I worry about my little guy. I worry about me too. I have never wanted to get something so bad. I have not come this close and hope whatever happens it all works out.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My brain is in whirlwind

So I am in the process of designing a lesson that I will be teaching in 48 hours. This lesson will determine whether or not I get this job. If I get the job then I need to figure out the child care situation and try not too panic too much. If I don't get the job I actually have another interview, yes, another one tomorrow. This is a part time job; they just called today. So I have to prepare for the interview and continue working on my lesson plan and feel guilty about possibly leaving my three year old who will probably do much better than I will.

I really want this full time job. I am scared, but I really want it. I better work on my lesson.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I am happy

Regardless of the job situation swirling around in my head I feel truly happy right now. It is nice to feel content. It is not a feeling that I have that often. To just get up and enjoy your day, making the most out of your life, seeing joy on the face of my children.

I really want to raise joyful children. There are so many qualities I want them to have. I want them to be open minded, kind, accepting, willing to see that most people have a good side if you look hard enough. My husband and I share those qualities, and I hope we are able to share them with our children.

So here I am waiting

Yes, I am waiting. Both interviews are over. One position had me come back for a second interview, but they went with another candidate. The other position has me scheduled to teach a lesson later this week. It sounds like there are two of us. I have a fifty percent change of going back to work full time. I am terrified. Now I am scrambling for potential child care options. I promised myself I would not make huge changes to my children's schedules. My first option was to hire someone full time, but some other options are possible too.

Obviously I need to get the job first. There may be no need to worry, but I want to be prepared if I do get the job because it could be a fast turn around. I just want my own children to be happy and content. It may be weird for my little one to not have me around as much.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bed time

Today was a pretty good day. One interview down and one to go. I have actually had two interviews for one job; but I am not getting my hopes up. What is meant to be is meant to be. I am going to sit on that for a while. Usually that phrase does not work for me, but I really feel it is true right now. Off to bed. This time tomorrow the interviews will be done.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A new point of view

I made a conscious decision to change this blog. When I started this blog it was designed to be a tongue and cheek attempt to diffuse my feelings about the size of our house. Things have changed a lot in the past couple of years.

Our house is the same, but our life is slowly changing. The kids are getting older, I am trying hard to get back into the professional work force, and we have seen a lot of changes in the world around us.

We have experienced our fair share of loss, as everyone does. Death is a funny thing. It doesn't always hit you right away. Often it takes months or more for it to set in. It changes us. It takes something innocent away and fills our hearts with grief and sorrow. Thank God for children because they truly help balance our sadness.

Another loss that we have been witness to is the end of many marriages. Many of my life long friends are in the midst of divorce for a variety of reasons. My heart breaks for them, and this overwhelming life change. At one time I could not imagine any of my friends dealing with such a difficult situation, but I was naive. Life is not a fairy tale. Bad things happen all the time and we have little control over the situation.

In my attempt to support my friends I gave little thought to my own marriage, but to be honest it terrifies me. We never know what life has in store for us. Things can change so quickly. People die, people leave, life is hard.

This is all part of my reason to change my focus. Joking about my house was supposed to be funny but I was caught up in material things that can't make you happy. It doesn't mean at some point we won't buy a bigger house, but it means I will take the one I have as long as I can keep the people in it.

Cooking is one of my favorite things

I love being in my kitchen. I read lots of food blogs to find new, inexpensive, kid (and husband) friendly meals. The taste buds in my house vary. I like the largest variety of foods and my three year old is the only one to eat hummus and guacamole with me. However his new, sometimes cute, habit when I am making something new is to say "Yuck". Depending on the moment it makes me laugh. My husband likes a lot of basics with his main dislike being most green vegetables. My five year old likes carbohydrates and dairy; peanut butter is her main source of protein.

My overall goal is to put healthy meals on the table and hope no one is hungry when it is over. I like a nice enjoyable dinner where no one is screaming "I hate chicken." I must confess I spoiled my kids a bit and fed them lots of "kids meals" over the years. They are still young, but the transition to everyone eating the same thing is not easy. Also my "staying home" only worked for us because I work nights so family dinner for us was not an every night thing. It is getting better.

One of my favorite things about being home is the ability to cook. It comes and goes in waves. Sometimes I will cook all day and other times I order pizza (like last night).

What I hope to do here is to share dinner ideas that I have had and any original recipes that I have come up with that don't blow up in my face. I may also share any "I hate chicken" comments that come up along the way. Yuck.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I was going to make dinner but......

someone came home from school sick. She did not come home from school early, but when she got off the bus she was teary and not her happy self. She has no voice and got so upset she was sick to her stomach for a bit.

Now she is recovering with a good dose of television, juice and a popsicle. She hates to miss school and as her mother's daughter I am sure that is all she can think about right now. Wondering and worrying if she can go to school tomorrow. I have the same worry. If she is sick I don't want to send her; I can keep her home. Easy enough because I am here. However, I do have an interview tomorrow. If she stays home I can't send her to her sitter's house sick. Is it obvious that I am not feeling that interview tomorrow? It is a part time job. I know nothing about the hours. I will be paying someone to take are of the other one. Enough already I am not supposed to be thinking that far ahead. I can keep her home because I am home, but if I get a job them I won't be home. Why I am so crappy at being home? Is getting a job really going to make me better? Is the guilt (self inflicted) of leaving him with someone else going to eat me alive.

Time to get off the internet and make some dinner. At least cooking uses up some of the energy swirling around in my head.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A weeks worth of goals........

It is the end of weekend. In some ways my weekend is my work week because I work part of the weekend so Mondays for me are a more relaxing day. One child at school and one home with me while I do laundry and cook a little something. I am sure I will play Candy Land at least once.

This week is going to be busy. Lots to do and two job interviews. I am also working on my Couch to 5K plan. My goal is to take each moment as it comes and not think too far ahead. I have nothing tomorrow beyond making dinner, a little laundry, and maybe a Candy Land challenge.

I am making a promise to myself that on my busy days I will take each day as it comes and not think too far ahead. I am a far ahead thinker and it makes me crazy.

So my goals for this week are to

not think too far ahead

not worry about my job interviews that are aren't happening that day (yes prepare for them) but don't get all worked up

stay organized and calm



breathe-seriously I forget this

work on meditation

practice my Couch to 5K

get to bed early each night

I need to go so I can complete my last goal

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The phone keeps ringing

I have two interviews next week. The phone rang again. Now that I had put this all behind me the phone rings twice. I haven't applied for a job in weeks. These were jobs I had applied for awhile back.

The first job is a long term substitute job that starts the end of October and runs through June. It could be a great way to jump back in and see what I can do. The other job is a part time tutoring position. It would be a great foot in the door, with half the time commitment and no take home work. I would need to wait tables at some capacity with the part time job. A big part of me was hoping to end my relationship with serving food.

The crazy part that I am trying to work through is the deep fear and anxiety that attacked me a couple hours after scheduling my second interview. Even though I worked hard to get a job, the idea of getting one is terrifying. I want one, but I am scared. I need to take a step back and just approach each interview as just an interview. If there is any job offer it will be my choice to take it. I will make the right one.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Why am I so high maintenance? To work or not work.

Not high maintenance in the fancy pampered sort of way. High maintenance in the " I just can't turn my brain off" kind of way. I am always thinking. Thinking, analyzing, worrying. It is hard sometimes. Right now my stomach is in full on stress mode due to my upcoming job interview. Yes, I know it is just an interview and that is all I can think about now, but you never know. I over think things before there is anything to think about like childcare for a job I don't even have. If I were to get this job it doesn't affect my oldest that much. She is gone most of the day. It would greatly affect my three year old. He would be spending a lot of time with someone else that is not me. Personally I have no problem with that. I think working/not working is all about personal choice, needs and wants. It is perfectly acceptable to me for woman to go back to work after having a baby. Now I say this knowing how angry people get on either side. I have friends that work and friends that don't. They are all good parents; we all do our best. I always cringed when I told people I worked at night and they made the "it is so good you don't need daycare" comment. I have friends that are great parents whose children were in daycare. This is a judge free zone.

When I had my daughter my original plan was to take off the rest of year and go back to work in the fall. After we got over the shock of daycare costs I said to my husband "I'll just waitress at night". Five years later and that is what I am still doing. I will say that overall that has worked fairly well for us. I could do a whole post on the trials and tribulations of waiting tables but that is not the point of this post. My point is that almost the entire time I have been home with my children I have thought about going back to work. Yes, you say because the grass is always greener. It is so true. I know myself and if I were to get a job it would be scary and overwhelming and stressful. I remember how hard it could be. Even last night as I rambled away my husband, also a teacher, said kindly "You remember how hard it is". I do remember how hard teaching can be. There is a lot of pressure. A lot of my problem is that I was never that good at being home. The thought of staying home was so exciting, but it got old fast. Working could be the same way. Two months in and I could be ripping my hair out wondering what I was thinking.

I guess there's only one way to find out.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Here we go again........

Just as I settle in trying to figure out how be the best "stay at home" mom I can be and get over the fact that I did not get a job the phone rings again. Yes, today it rang while we were out. It was less than an hour ago. It is a long term substitute position that goes until June. It is a great opportunity and I have the needed experience. I am nervous and excited. Nervous because chances are it is just another interview and that is all it will be. Nervous because I could actually get it and then we would have to figure out the child care situation. Nervous because even though it is hard to be home I would be sad about someone else being here instead of me. Excited because it could be an opportunity to get back into a local school system and not be too far away from the kids. Excited to actually be with people all day, and actually wear something other than my mom clothes. Excited to get a real pay check and not work anymore Saturday nights! Unless it was a financial disaster to take the job it would be a mistake not too give it a try. If I learned anything this past six months is that there a lot of certified elementary school teachers out there. A lot, a lot, a lot............. I have a week to prepare.

What do you do?

It is the first time in almost six years that I have had time to myself during the day. Since my daughter was born I have had a child, or children once my son came along, with me every single day. My husband is great about being with the kids at night, but during the day when he is working it is just me. Now my daughter is in school full time and it is crazy. I can't believe it has already happened. My son is gone two mornings. I only have two hours two mornings a week alone. It is not a ton of time, but it is strange. What do I do? Should I fold towels? Sort clothing? Clean my floors? No. I should not do any of those things during this time. I should do whatever it takes to make me feel like a person because (I can't believe I am typing this) parenting takes away a lot of who we are. I am fine with that because we are giving ourselves to our children, but it is really is a draining, straining, stressful job. There are cute moments, hugs, kisses, and wonderful things too, but overall the stress is quite high. Maybe it is me. Yesterday I attempted to go to the gym for a necessary exercise outlet. My three year old failed to see the need for us to go and shamefully I caved. He was having a meltdown. If you have ever tried to put a melting three year old in a car you understand why we did not go. Instead I did some toning videos (yes I have some real videos left) and he joined me on the floor. He was quite cute as he stretched and twisted and it made me a little less mad at him. Just a little though.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Life is a journey...... It has been thirteen months since I have posted on this blog. Lots of things are changed. My focus is certainly not how small my house is. Life is too complicated for that. I don't need more than I have. Not to say that I want to take a vow of poverty but I really have everything that I need right here in these four rooms. My last post was a desperate plea to get a job. I did not get one. I spent the last six months looking again for a job. I did not get one. I have been working part time at the same job for almost five years. It is just a job, but it has given my something that I haven't really appreciated. It has given me the time to be with my children and do that other job. That mothering job. The one I dismiss sometimes. So here I am doing that mothering job and trying to be there for my children. There are so many reasons that it is good for me to be with my children. I guess I should start by giving them breakfast.