Friday, July 20, 2012

Oh my

Actual statement made by my 2 year old to her father today - "Do you want color the k, a, y, c, i, or e?"

Monday, July 16, 2012

Confessions of a Financial Slacker

Truth be told, blogging isn't the only thing that's gotten away from me over the past few months. Greg and I came to the realization at the end of June that we'd hit a point of financial sloth that was downright embarrassing. We were bleeding money through a hole the size of our debit card.

The reality is, the only way we can stay on track with our budget and be in a position to save money is to use cash. If we start debiting money gets away from us. One dinner out at a time. One song or app download. One book for my Kindle... At the end of June we were a couple of thousand dollars short of our six month goal. A little reconstruction of our spending showed exactly how much we had spent eating out with the debit card last month.  I was shocked.

I don't know why I was shocked. If I don't have the time and energy to blog I certainly haven't had the time or energy to cook dinner. And you can only eat so much fast food before you really want a $35 meal at a real restaurant. We'd also gotten in the habit of treating ourselves to a "special" dinner out every time Kaycie left with the grandparents. Hey, we didn't want to take her to a nicer restaurant so we needed to take advantage of the opportunity to go without her, right? Except we were spending $50 a trip and she was gone more often than she was home last month...

I'd also gotten very bad about downloading books for my Kindle and letting them go to the debit card instead of using my allotted "stuff" money. Greg was buying music and apps and we were both ordering crap off Amazon on a whim, often stuff for the kids just for fun.

I spent $82 ordering clearance Disney pajamas for Kaycie.

It had to stop. We sat down over the course of a couple of days, remodeled our budget, made some changes to the process we use to get and spend our cash to make it more flexible for me to shop, and went back on the envelope system. We've eaten at home the vast majority of the past two weeks. We have resisted the urge to go nom a $50 meal while K was gone (although we may do that for Greg's birthday next week, if we can ditch the kids). I've gone as far as to start buying Kindle gift cards with my cash to load on our account for books. Greg's done the same with his iTunes purchases. I've started using a very nifty little program called Pepperplate to organize meals (I'll probably discuss that a little more later). I even used Amazon gift cards, purchased with cash, to order Greg's birthday gifts. Except for one, but my mom owes me for that one.

We had hoped to go on a couple of trips this fall, but we've come to the conclusion that it probably won't happen. Well, one of them is going to happen, but it's the cheapest one we take and will result in spending a long weekend with some people I have been sorely missing, so I'm guessing it's cheaper than therapy. It will also require diving 9 hours with both kids in the van across 4 states, so I may need the therapy anyway.

So far we've done really well this month. Granted, we've almost run out of eat out money for the month, but because we're back to using cash we know how much we have left and we know that if we want to keep having lunch out during the week we either have to use our stuff money or find it somewhere else in the budget. I suspect we'll be able to borrow some from groceries by the end of the month since I haven't been spending as much as I anticipated. We haven't debited anything but gasoline since July 1.

Hopefully in the next 3 months we'll be able to transition Luke off formula, which will save us about $150-200 a month. If I could get Kaycie to quit being so darn stubborn and potty train, it'd save us another $30-40 a month. But I'm almost certain she'll be wearing diapers in college. She better get a good job...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Luke's Six Month Update

Look at me, posting something in a timely manner...

This post is dedicated to all you people who suggested I'd totally slack at taking pics of the second kid after taking a million pics of Kaycie. (And to my iphone, without which I would have none of these pictures.)

Luke turned six months old on Wednesday. It's been kinda fun to go back and review where Kaycie was with these updates and it's even better to know that I actually never did a six month update on her. What? Yes, I totally missed it. Apparently I was just as brain dead then as I am now, which suggests that it's not having two children that causes it, it's having a six month old. (It may suggest a natural state of being for me, but I'd just as soon ignore that for now.)

At his six month checkup on Wednesday Luke weighed in at 20.1lbs and 28 inches. To compare, Kaycie was 18lbs and 27 inches and I referred to her as a giant. I'm not sure what this means for Luke, other than he'll be outgrowing his infant carrier in 3...2...1... It's rated to 22lbs.

Thankfully, he's trying so very hard to sit up by himself, so maybe ditching the carrier won't be the nightmare I think it will be. Can you imagine trying to go grocery shopping with a kid that can't sit up yet but is too big for his carrier? Can't stabilize himself to ride in the buggy. I may have to take the carrier around for a while just for buggy containment after we move him up to his convertible seat.

Our sleep situation has improved a bit over the past few weeks. Luke has been sleeping from 8-7:30 most many nights. It's better than nothing. And if Kaycie and Casper would both start sleeping through the night consistently, we'd be on to something. He's napping pretty good too. This is the part where I should probably admit that we're still swaddling him every night. (WHAT??) Yes, I know he's six months old and most kids stop swaddling around 4 months but I'm desperate for whatever sleep I can get. For the record, he busts free within the first hour every night anyway, it just goes a long way towards getting him to sleep since he still doesn't have the best control over his arms. He's getting better with the arms, but he still yanks out his paci first thing then proceeds to bonk himself in the head repeatedly. Because that's useful. Yesterday I did put him down for naps without it, but he also didn't take very long naps (less than an hour both times, compared to the 2-3 hours I've been getting recently). Last night I started the weaning process by only wrapping up one arm. That was after an hour of trying to get him to sleep totally free.

He's not quite rolling over yet, but boy he wants to. I really think he can, he just won't. The boy lacks motivation. If a toy is just slightly out of reach, he's all, "Meh, I didn't want it anyway." Speaking of toys, his current favorite playthings are the giraffe his sister gave him at Christmas (it hangs off the stroller, but he'd rather nom on the plastic ring), his play saucer, computer cables and power bricks, whatever cup I'm trying to drink from, the pup, and Kaycie. Not that he's seen much of K lately, but that's another post.

The newest thing on our agenda has been spoon practice. Yes, our pediatrician was all "Blah blah start with grains at 4 months blah blah..." but after talking to her about why we start that early I decided to do the same thing I did with K - wait until 5 1/2 to 6 month to start with the baby food. If you haven't noticed, I'm not one to push my kids into their natural development as quickly as possible. I have a firm belief that they'll get there on their own if I give them time and encouragement, but don't feel the need to force it.  Instead of spending two months struggling with teaching him to eat, I waited until he was ready and giving us the evil eye every time we sat down to eat without him.  When I did sit down and feed him the first time, he took to it like a true velocipotamus.

He's now eating carrots, sweet potatoes, peaches, banana, green peas, avocado (which he loves but his tummy can only tolerate in very small does) and most recently, mango. Yes, I'm making his baby food, just like I did with K. Next up will probably be green beans. It'll be another month or two before he's ready for more creative foods. And hopefully he'll start getting biters in soon. No teeth yet, although he drools like crazy so surely he's thinking about it.

Going back and reading about K at this stage is hilarious. Most of it I could just copy and paste for Luke. Granted, I did a combined post for 6-7 months for her so I'm getting an idea of what to expect over the next month with L. One stage we seem to have missed (and lets hope it stays that way) is the big fear of grandfathers that K had. Holy moley did we hate that. Luke seems more laid back. He's never really gotten upset about anybody manhandling him. I'd also forgotten that K showed signs of being left handed at this age, but she's since become very much right handed.

Of course, now there's the big green elephant in the room that we didn't have to deal with for K - Luke's follow up neurosurgeon appointments.

We went for his MRI on Friday. I don't even want to talk about the nightmarish eight hours we spent at the hospital. But he was a trooper, never really complaining even though he wasn't allowed to eat all day and only got short, restless naps a couple of times. I was amazed at how well he held up. They sedated him to do the scan and we'll see the doctor on the 27th to get the results. I'm seriously hoping this is the last time we have to do this. His pediatrician hasn't seen any signs of developmental issues that concern her, I haven't seen any signs of any issues that concern me...  The last time we saw Dr. Lancon he told us the part of the brain that was damaged affects speech and language development. Lately he's been squealing and jabbering at us like he's got something very important to say, so I'm hoping that's a good sign.

So what's next for our little man? Learning to drive, of course...

(And I realize that I probably need to do an update on K since she turned 2 1/2 in June, but that would require me to actually SEE her. She's been home all of 3 days in the past two weeks. She spent more time with grandparents than at home in June. I'm not complaining. She loves those grandparents and it's totally mutual, so I hope she squeezes every bit of joy she can out of them!)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Bad Sign

Captain's Log: Star Date Unknown

I logged on to my computer today to find that I have lost two months of my life.

My Bloglines has exploded with nearly 4,000 unread posts.

Pinterest has forgotten who I am.

Facebook is full of re-posted crap I don't even want to wade through.

My blog suggests my six month old just turned 4 months.

What the hell.

I'm not dead, folks, I'm exhausted. We've gone through several weeks where nobody in my house is sleeping. Not Luke. Not Kaycie. Not Casper. And definitely not me. I've been in survival mode and I'm barely managing that. This is literally the first time I've turned on my laptop on gotten online in weeks. If I can't do it from my phone I just don't do it. And blogging from my phone isn't really easy.

I haven't even taken my camera out of it's bag in over month.

I have read nothing but certified trash on my Kindle.

If it requires brain cells, it's just going to have to wait.

Thankfully the grandparents have been coming to our rescue or I would probably be locked up in the looney bin by now. We've been sharing custody, especially of Kaycie, all summer. I don't think we've had her home more than about 10 days in a row since school was out. She's at my parents' house this week with her BFF cousin Robin. Every time I call to check on her I hear squealing laughter in the background. I don't think I'm missed. And I'm ok with that.

The only reason we're having this conversation now is because Luke chose this week to take pity on me. He's slept through the night until 6:30-7:30ish the past two mornings. With K gone and Casper banished outside at night, this has allowed me to become almost something close to what might be considered human over the past couple of days.

Unfortunately, this development led me to believe I could dink with iTunes to sync the music on my phone today which may very well lead me back into the abyss within the next five minutes.

In the meantime, I miss my peeps. Hope you guys are hanging in. I'll try to swim to the surface next week to give you the up-to-date on Luke's six month checkup. Later in the month we should be having another MRI and his follow up neurology appointment. Frankly, I have no worries about the little man. He's a pretty happy camper.