Friday, December 30, 2011

It's his party and I'll cry if I want to!

Even though New Years isn’t quite here yet, I’d say it is safe to say we survived the Holidays. Our budget for Christmas gifts, dinners and parties worked out beautifully! We made sure with each month’s breakdown, we always had an idea of how much more money we’d need at that point to put aside and truthfully it all could not have gone better!(Unless, of course, Santa had brought us the winning lotto ticket or blue prints for where to strike oil or gold in our own backyard) But really, I was the one whose survival could have been leaning toward a Mama-sized meltdown. It was never a question for my Husband. He is pretty laid back most of the time and by now has a general idea of when to take a front seat to my insanity and just enjoy or jump into the craziness and lend an oven-mitted hand. Even our little man was more than a trooper. Faced with the non-stop over stimulation of Christmas Eve, his own 2nd Birthday Party, Christmas Day and all of my 'must have' memories cram packed in between, he still was a picture perfect little boy!
But me, I am the one who builds up this idea in my mind of all the wonderful plans of what I’d like to do for the Holidays. And now with our son’s Birthday celebrations added, my list of ‘must-haves’ has probably at least doubled in size. We have to bake this (and this and this and this and this), hang the decorations, take a Christmas card photo, visit with Santa, attend one Christmas/Holiday light/music show, drive around and see the lights, find some snow, watch Christmas movies… etc..etc..etc. And then with the hosting of our little man’s 2nd Birthday, I had even more grand plans of how I wanted things to go down. So needless to say, I can easily become one stressed out Mama. (by my own doing of course!) I made a point though, to keep myself in check as much as possible, after all, things don’t have to go perfectly to make a great memory and Lord knows with a toddler on your heels, plans can change in an instant…or just take hours longer to get started than you had anticipated (or come to an end even quicker!).
Harder than keeping a harness on my overly zealous memorandum, was watching my precious little boy officially leaving behind babyhood and making a full on leap into toddler hood. I find it almost impossible to wrap my mind around the fact that this little being was once nestled inside of my belly, all safe and warm. Whose personality and gorgeously handsome looks was only something I could dream of. And who then started off life so tiny (and quite wrinkly!) and has now grown into his own little person with ideas and imagination and opinions. Who is now not just off and running, but jumping and skipping and somersaulting all over the place(even in the middle of the Target)! Whose ‘repeat everything I hear’ button is firmly turned ON 99% of the time and whose keen observation for only having to see something once before he can do it himself, has now taken hold. Whose little heart has started to develop empathy for other’s bumps and bruises that might require hugs and kisses for healing (or a barrage of concerned questioning concerning a possible poopage in the pants and a diaper change needed if someone should happen to accidentally pass gas). We leave behind the stages of finger pointing and grunting and instead praise the fact that he now calls people and things by their name. Hello to the wonderful world of toddler reasoning (such as believing honey is an acceptable request for breakfast, lunch and dinner; you must always have a cup of milk and water with every meal and rubber rain boots are the must have choice of footwear whether out of the house or in).

Amazing hardly begins to describe witnessing the transformation of life in your very own child that you have helped to create and are now helping to shape and mold. I am proud to admit I was able to hold it together during the party. Before and after however, might have been a different storyJ I did shed a few tears over the fact that this little creature is growing and changing before my very eyes and that he will never again be as little today as he was yesterday. Despite the fact that a 2ft 11inch, honey fingered, milk mustached, rubber booted toddler can melt my heart in one look, I really AM one tough M.O.B. (mother of boy!)….as long as you can look past my blubbering face.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Budgeting for Baby

Can't believe my little guy is already
almost 2 years old!

There are reports every day about how the economy has become a huge factor in family size. Or the option of whether or not to have a baby at all! I hate to become this kind of statistic, but right now that is exactly what we are. A living statistic and example of how we cannot afford to bring baby #2 on board yet and I have to just plain sucks! I know that if we did get pregnant tomorrow, (No my husband did not magically grow a uterus…when I say ‘we’,I mean ME) we would be fine. After all, our favorite little guy was a plan brought on from the Big guy upstairs and that seems to have worked out more than just fine.J But then, I also couldn’t afford to take more than my ‘c-section mandatory’ 6 weeks off work when he was born and that is not something I want to have to go through again. I’ve said before, leaving my little tater tot for work each day still tugs at my heartstrings and I can’t imagine having to leave my poor husband, with his split shift sleep schedule (yay for graveyard…not!), alone with a never-sit-still-toddler and an infant that has NO interest in a sleep schedule at all.
My ultimate goal is to be able to stay at home period or at the very least work part time only, but even if I do have to go back to work, I’d like to be able to take my full FMLA 12 weeks off. We’ve been working on our zero dollar budget for about four months now and it’s been going great for the most part! We have had to put more into our gift/Christmas fund this Holiday season so as to make sure we are more apt to cover all the kiddos in the family including our own. As well as being prepared for celebrating our Christmas Eve cuddle bug’s 2nd birthday. Over all though, everything has been going pretty smoothly. We’ve had things come up here and there but because we’ve been putting money aside every month dedicated to the particulars, nothing has really rocked the boat, so that’s great news. But we are nowhere near having enough debt paid down to feel comfortable adding to our brood.
This is me. The original Octo-mom! 
Most days I can remember very clearly why this is a great plan to wait…..most days. But then there are the days when I see my son around a baby and all he wants to do is give hugs and kisses and even insist on holding baby’s hand while the diaper gets changed; and while I am not na├»ve enough to think he would be like this every day once a new little person enters his domain and is there 24/7, I can’t help but feel my heart melt and my reasoning turn to a mucky mess. I always imagined having a house-full and that my kids would be close in age. I love the thought of my children being little buddies. To have that constant companion and comrade in tall tale adventures, a co-conspirator in driving Mommy & Daddy crazy when we find our living room wall has now become their own personal artwork display. And of course sometimes they will fight like cats and dogs. But no matter the “She crashed my Lego tower!” or “He stuck a boogie in my hair!” spat, witnessing the loving moments of their bond would be so worth it! Each month that goes by I see that gap between my little monkey and his would-be sibling getting bigger and bigger. And somehow this just doesn’t quite seem fair. Since when does a piece of green paper determine the amount of love in a household? (Not that ours doesn’t already feel like it’s bursting at the seams) But why should our yearly income be the deciding factor in aiding in the creation of another miracle?

Because, even a miracle costs a pretty penny these days! And with the amount of debt we’re working on…we’d be pulling out our hair (and probably trying to auction it on e-bay) pretty quickly.
I’ll admit, I have been more than blessed to lead the life I’ve always dreamed of, thus far. An amazing husband who tolerates my crazy ways and scatter brain tendencies better than I could have hoped for, a beautiful home to call our own (in about 15-20 years anyways!) and the most precious and spirited, sweetest, smartest, goof-ball God ever made! But when you have a kid as amazing as I do, why stop now?! My visions of my family didn’t just include one child…they included MANY! Enough to give my husband a deer in the headlights-slow-head-shake-no-way-YOUARENUTS-kind of appearance. So while I know that my own family baseball team may never come to fruition, it also certainly doesn’t have to include an only child. Some day my little guy will have a brother or sister to call his own, to love on and pick on and giggle with, and our hearts will be even fuller (hard to imagine!) when we watch our family grow. And I will quiet this baby fever madness inside of me…at least for a little while.