Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Budgeting isn't something that is always easy with children around.  When the nephews and niece first came to live with us we tried to redo the budget as part of a park play trip.  Supposedly the two older children would watch the baby and play with each other while we worked the budget.  What actually happened was the two older children mostly ignored their baby brother and our budgeting was interrupted more or less continuously by making sure he didn't wander off the park and get lost and I think even (if I recall which day this was when it happened) by a prolonged search for a shoe which was thrown backwards into the underbrush of someone else's back yard as part of a game of catch.  So the finances were never reworked the entire time they lived with us.  Between me finishing off my first degree, both of us working, and taking care of our nephew even after the older children left we never had a chance to sit down and look at things.

When we took the leap to Bonnie Jean not working, we did so based on a financial analysis that was incomplete.  Basically, we made sure there was going to be enough money for day to day living expenses.  Since then we have redone the budget to include all those once a year expenditures like buying Christmas presents and found we were lacking.  Since Bonnie Jean not working has been an important improvement in our relationship health we have kept trying to figure out a way to make sure we had more money coming in than going out.  Some of the things we've done I don't think we ever expected to do.  Diapers and other disposable hygiene products including napkins have been replaced with cloth reusable.  We've changed cell carriers (lower rates), replaced my bike (avoid using gas), purchased a second freezer (to allow us to store frozen foods when they go on good sales), and aggressively purchased foods when they were on sale.  Assuming the interest rates from out bank accounts say similar to what they are now, we can finally say that including all of our yearly predictable expenses and meeting the savings targets we have planned for (which aren't as high as we'd like but they're something) we now have a predictable $15 excess cash per month.  And that's assuming we spend every penny we have budgeted and Bonnie Jean has been so aggressive on keeping food expenses low we're an entire week ahead in grocery costs.  We also have our crisis savings fund 3/5ths funded, which I think is the highest its ever been considering our 3 months living expenses prediction and all insurance deductibles goals are also the highest they ever have been because of having a baby.  Last I checked, our retirement investments are worth about 19k and Taliesin's college trust even has $90 in it.  It's taken a lot of effort to get to this point and honestly I'm thrilled.  Bonnie Jean is very relieved to finally see the numbers saying that even with all the money we were saving that there is enough money coming in to pay for what is going out.  Feels like we've finally done it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Talk talk talk...

I talk too much each day.  I think this evening I took 51 calls, all from people I will never meet and will never talk to again.  Since I can't manage to sit near the same people regularly I somewhat depend on this parade of strangers to keep me company.  I wish I talked less and communicated more.

Taliesin is just learning to communicate.  We've tried teaching him some signs to tell us when he is done eating at the table or things like that.  That one is to raise both arms above his head.  Today he tried raising my arms above his head and since he often does that to invite me to rub his head I couldn't tell till afterwards what he was trying to say.

It's very cute when I'm trying to do something and he crawls up to me and gives my foot a hug to say "pick me up Daddy!"

Its hard not to smile when getting him ready for the bath and he tries to pull up on the tub to crawl into the bath to say "I love splashing water."  He loves the bath, especially now that he has perfected the techniques he needs to play with the bath toys after throwing them all out of the infant bath tub.

We've started down the road to diagnosing and monitoring a possible language development delay.  He's about 3 months delayed on his speech development according to the initial assessment.  We'll see in time whether he takes after his father and keeps near silence until gems like "Oh Boy, I've got joy" and "Mom I want a peanut butter sandwich" can fall from his mouth.  In the meantime, he'll roar and growl at his toy dinosaur.  And then bite the dinosaur's head.  And smile.  I like that form of communication.

Memorial day

So I don't really have any memories of celebrating memorial day growing up.  I have no idea where any of my nearest related dead relatives are buried (though I'm certain I could easily find out).  I've enjoyed visiting the national cemetery before, but its different thinking that the person in the ground is connected to you.

It was a very different experience celebrating memorial day with my in laws.  The family dinner, well, lets say I was a little busy shoveling baby food into my son's mouth to be paying much attention.  But visiting the grave sides was very different.  I started thinking about what I would want on my own gravestone.  Probably an outrageous pun if I could think of one that would ease people's memory of me.  It tugs at the heartstrings seeing the little grave markers for children who died very young and thinking about my own son.  I hope he outlives me by a long time.  I'm glad to have had a chance to visit the grave sides.