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Blog and life updates, Motherhood

Reasons I love Raising a Type A Kid

August 21, 2015
Reasons I love raising a type A kid

Our daughter will be 5 years old soon, and she already has the stubbornness of myself and the single-mindedness of her dad. When she gets it in her head that she wants something or wants to do something, good luck trying to dissuade her otherwise. She can be competitive, ambitious, impatient, aggressive, and fast talking. In short, she has all of the attributes of a type A personality.

My husband is also Type A, and our daughter is basically his mini-me. She not only looks like him, but she acts like him too. So between the two of them, there are quite a few power struggles in our house. I have to laugh, because many of the things that frustrate my husband when dealing with our 4 year old are really just miniature versions of himself.

Sometimes I would love to have her be less competitive, less ambitious, more patient, less-aggressive, and a little bit quieter. I honestly wouldn’t change her for the world, though. As much as it can be a pain to have a strong-willed child, there are several reasons why I love raising a type A kid.

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Budget, Family Finances

Can You Be Both Spontaneous and Frugal?

July 20, 2015
Can you be both spontaneous and frugal?

I rarely spend money without first planning for it. Having been on such a tight budget for so long means that I usually have to pry my wallet open. I don’t go shopping unless I need something in particular, and I hate when unexpected expenses pop up.

Even grocery shopping entails about 30 minutes of clipping coupons and writing a list of items by department. Saving $20 at the grocery store could be the difference between being able to pay the utility bill on time or facing over-draft charges. Every purchase for our home is usually calculated, literally and figuratively, into our finances, because we don’t have much wiggle room in our budget for error.

A bunch of home-bodies

What this boils down to is that, as a family, we aren’t very spontaneous. Both because of our tight budget and my husband’s erratic work schedule, we don’t just pick up and travel on a whim. We’re very much home-bodies who would rather rent a red-box movie than go to the theater. Most of our day off activities are free or really inexpensive and planned in advance. Now that I have kids, I have a tendency to equate spontaneity with wasted money and poor financial choices.

Ditching the deliberate and dull 

As newlyweds we did a fair bit of spontaneous travel and made impulsive purchases. While not always the most responsible, spontaneous use of our money was fun. Spontaneity keeps life interesting and fresh. Being willing to jump up at a moment’s notice and take off helps rub the sheen back into a dull life. Until last night, we hadn’t done anything spontaneous in a painfully long time.

Last night we had finished the post-dinner routine, and the kids were watching a cartoon. Since I had a free minute, and inspired by an article by Carrie of Careful Cents to create a productive work space, I got on Craigslist to see if I could find an inexpensive desk or entry table that I could buy to use as my own work space. We have a desk in our office, but my husband’s desktop computer takes up the whole surface, and it’s in the den where the kids tend to spend quite a bit of their time. I have a hard time getting work done in that room while the kids are awake.

After only about 10 minutes of different search terms, I found a beautiful, solid wood desk, with the exact dimensions I needed, listed for only $25. At 7:30 last night I called the sellers to see if the desk was still available. It was, but they were selling it out of Richmond, and they were moving so they needed it gone immediately. She sent me the address, and I told her that we would be there by 9:30.

Spontaneous frugality

So, instead of quiet, lazy bedtime routine, we quickly got our kids in their jammies, brushed their teeth, and piled everyone in the van for a three hour round trip to Richmond and back. Since it was his bedtime anyway, our son fell asleep before we even reached the highway. Our daughter chatted our ears off from the back seat the whole way to Richmond. Getting in the car that late, with no prior notice, was like a shot of adrenaline for her. She was so excited to watch the sunset come down over the trees and watch the deer grazing the edge of the tree line. We danced to music, talked, and enjoyed this spontaneous adventure as a family.

Our daughter fell asleep after we had gotten the desk, so my husband and I had a solid hour and a half ride home uninterrupted by kids, phones, computers, or the television. For $25 for the desk and $20 in gas, round-trip, I have a beautiful, solid wood desk and a fun memory of that time we allowed ourselves to be spontaneous again.

My new  work space

My new work space

Being spontaneous can save you money 

Sometimes you can still be frugal while also being a bit spontaneous. Not only did life unexpectedly give me the opportunity to save some money, but going for a late night trip to pick up a desk off of Craigslist was like a breath of fresh air for the whole family. The experience put a pep in my step, I don’t have quite as bad of a case of the “Mondays” today, and I have a beautiful desk to organize as my own work space.

Do you ever allow yourself to break away from routine? Do you think that you can be both frugal and spontaneous?


The Organized Chaos of Parenthood

June 5, 2015
Chaos is the score upon which reality is written. ~ Henry Miller

My kids are a bustling jumble of messy rooms, constant commotion, and unbelievable antics. They don’t just cause chaos, they are chaos. My son tried swinging from the chandelier today. I wish I was kidding.

My four-year old is precocious and endlessly entertaining. I love listening to her stories and hearing her songs that she makes up as she goes along. My 15 month old is such a sour-patch kid (one minute he’s sweet and the next he’s sour). Right now I love his cuddling, sticky fingered hugs, and messy kisses, but I can’t wait to watch his own little personality grow.

Although my daily reality with the kids is typically chaotic, and a little bit stressful, I try to think of it as an organized chaos. Muddy clothes in the hamper means that they got to explore outside and learn about nature. Popcorn in the couch cushions tells of family movie nights. Crayons and bits of paper all over my dining room floor speak to my daughter’s endless creativity and her constant drive to build something new. Every bit of chaos is testimony to lessons learned, projects completed, and memories made.

The past few months of trying to move forward after the miscarriage have made me truly appreciate my kids. I have been trying so hard to not get swept away in the stress of daily life. It is so important to stop and remember the precious moments that may seem inconsequential at the time. I never want to forget the feel of my baby boy’s pudgy toddler hand as he reaches up for me. I never want to forget how it feels to have my daughter cuddled into my side as we read stories together on the couch. I want to savor each and every moment of this chaotic life of parenthood.

And truth be told, I love the chaos, because in exchange, I receive untold devotion from these tiny people who call me mommy. I have the unbelievable privilege of helping to raise, teach, and love my two precious kids. I don’t mind the endless hampers of dirty clothing, the food in the carpet and couches, and the constant mess of toys. I don’t mind because one day too soon, they will be going off to be on their own. I will look back on this time of my life and yearn for the chaos of their childhood. The quiet will be more overwhelming than the noise is now. Right now, chaos is my reality, and I choose to treasure every moment of it.