Saturday, October 25, 2008
Today the wife and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.
12 years by the numbers
- 1996 - The year we were married
- 22 - The age I was when we got married.
- 34 - The age I am now, for those of you with poor math skills :-)
- 4380 - The number of days we have been married.
- 520 - The number of days we were married before we had kids.
- 3 - The number of children we have
- 4 - The number of dogs we have had. (Currently 0)
- 5 - The number of cars we have had
- 1 - The number of house we have bought
- 6 - The number of companies we have worked for. (Since we have been married)
- 16 - The number of kids birthday’s Celebrated (+1 more in a couple weeks)
- 1 - The number of True Loves I have…
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Those opportunities always escape me.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Time to get the addresses together.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
- Smoked Swiss ~ Asti Spumanti / Sparkling wines
- Colby / Jack ~ Reisling / Champagne
- X-Sharp ~ Cabernet, Rioja, Savignon Blanc
- Baby Swiss ~ Asti Spumanti
- Port Wine ~ "Not Sure" - Port Wine maybe?
- Parmigiana Reggiano ~ Chardonnay
- Lightning Jack ~ Blaufrankish (Lemberger)
- Mozzarella ~ Chianti
- Raw Sharp Cheddar ~ "Not Sure"
- Raw Smoked Cheddar ~ Blaufrankish
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
When my wife and I first discussed having children we were both on the same page when it came to determining the primary care provider–their mom. We knew living on one income would take some sacrifice, but it was one we were willing to make. Ten years later we continue to live on one income.
The other day someone asked what my wife did for a living, and I told them she is a full-time mom. Their response struck me, “You guys are so lucky she is able to stay home with the kids.” Lucky? I guess there has been an element of luck to my career success but we’ve made our share of sacrifices to pull off this lifestyle, particularly early on.
We both drive older vehicles (mine is really old!). We did upgrade to an SUV a few years ago, but it was purchased as a used vehicle and came to us with some mileage already accrued. I drive an 8 year-old car back and forth to work. Unfortunately, I have a long commute, and even though the vehicles have been pretty reliable at that distance, the commutes are definately taking their toll.
Our entertainment budget is virtually non-existent. Early in our marriage we had several sets of friends who were double-income families. It seemed like they were vacationing every three months, and often hit amusement parks, aquariums, etc. in between. That’s not to say all double-income families can more easily afford to entertain themselves, but with the extra disposable cash I suppose it is less taxing on the household budget. We try to take an annual vacation, but we usually only get away once every two years or so.
We have less money in savings. Since living on one income tends to be tight we have had less money to save and invest over the years, which will probably lengthen the amount of time I have to work. College savings, retirement, and emergency savings are all behind where they should be, but we are comfortable with this trade off for now.
My wife put school and a career on hold. No reason a woman can’t have a successful career and be a great mom, but for my wife she made being a mom her top priority. My wife may someday return to school to finish her degree, or maybe even return to the workforce when our kids are older. But for now, she is content with her role as a full-time mom.
The opportunity for one of us to stay home with the kids is not granted by luck, rather by making other sacrifices in our lives. Opponents of stay-home parenting often cite the lack of social interaction as a negative aspect of keeping kids out of daycare. All of our kids (well the school aged ones) attend public school where they get plenty of socialization. I think the bond that they have created with my wife and I is better than any benefit of social interaction they would possibly get at a daycare. The bottom line is it is all about priorities. If you are willing to make certain sacrifices, being a full-time parent can be a rewarding experience for both you and your kids.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Lately Saturdays have been pretty hectic. Both girls have games and notoriously they are just far enough apart that they take up a bulk of our day driving around the county. Don't get me wrong - it is fun to watch the girls enjoy themselves and they both seem to really enjoy what they do. We were having a good night unwinding from the day. The air was cool and the sky was clear so I decided to light up our firepit. We all sat around the warmth of the fire and toasted marshmallows and made smore's. Mmmm What a nice way to finish a day.
Friday, October 3, 2008
This week, if you haven’t yet, sit down with a cup of coffee and jot down what you think your holiday season will cost. It can be done a number of ways, but here’s a number of the most common line items:
- misc. decor (ornaments, candles, wreath, etc.)
- craft supplies
FOOD (not including regular groceries):
- cookie ingredients
- misc. dessert ingredients
- Christmas day dishes
- cards and/or envelopes
- paper for family newsletter
- other relatives
- dining out
Once you come up with a number for your line items, add up the total, and divide by the number of months left until Christmas. If you’re doing this now for the first time, that would be three - October, November, and December. That is the amount you need to budget starting this month to meet your Christmas budget.
Decrease Your Expenses
As I mentioned, you really don’t need to spend money on all this stuff. Every family is different, but I think we can all agree that extravagant spending doesn’t make the holidays any more special. How much you’ll spend has nothing to do with how much fun your season will be, and the amount you spend on gifts certainly has nothing to do with how much you love the gifts’ recipient.
I recommend setting a price limit on gifts, then searching for the right gift within that budget. Instead of being pre-sold on that $75 sweater for your sister, then stretching your budget to make it work, decide the maximum amount you’ll spend on siblings. If that sweater is just too much, then let it go. If you know ahead of time that your max is $30, you’ll need to find something in your price range.
The count down has begun with the 12 weeks before Christmas. One of the other blogs i read posted a break down to help with the stresses of the season. My wife and I have decided to take a swing at it. Here is the schedule:
- Week 12: solidify our Christmas budget
- Week 11: inventory our holiday decor stuff; make notes on what to look for in stores on sale
- Week 10: organize our mailing address list for Christmas cards
- Week 9: research ways we can volunteer time and/or donate gifts as a family
- Week 8: Hmm... I'll find something i am sure
- Week 7: design our cards, order stamps, and address envelopes
- Week 6: finish shopping for our gift list
- Week 5: get out the calendar and schedule dates and events
- Week 4: Go Christmas Tree hunting with my brother and decorate for Christmas!
- Week 3: thoroughly clean, prepare for guests; make food plans; freeze meals for the next few weeks
- Week 2: make and freeze cookie dough; prep food gifts
- Week 1: enjoy the time with Friends & Family