Thursday, June 30, 2011

Help for a Hopeless Hoarder

Mike finally had it with me the other day.  The house was beyond crowded with baby things strewn about.  In an attempt to stock up on food for the coming year and to take advantage of the prices of fruit in season, I had the entire kitchen table filled will bowls of fruits and vegetables and our counter lined with jamming jars.  Not that I planned to fill them with jam.  I’m too afraid I’ll end up making a mistake and poisoning my family somehow with botulism. Instead I dehydrate using electricity to slowly draw the moisture from food to prolong its shelf life and trap in nutrients.  I read Dehydrating with Attitude while in the early stages of labor and during my stay in the hospital.  Now I have all these great ideas to prepare for the tough/tight times ahead as my foremothers once did on the frontier in preparation for winter. This excites me-the clutter doesn't thrill Mike.

It is my stocking up that drove Mike’s patients to their limits.  “I can’t live like this any longer, Jamie!” “I just can’t stand it!” “We live like those crazy people on that freaky hoarders show!” I shot back, “I’m not a hoarder- I’m a preparer!” “You’ll be grateful later when there is no money to buy out of season mangos and we don’t have money left over to have any!” But later I looked around and realized I could no longer see the pattern on my dining room table cloth, the bench near the front door was spilling over with those reusable canvas bags I never remember to take with me to the grocery store, and Jenna’s book shelves were spewing piles of literacy onto the living room floor. 

I reasoned that things weren’t like this before the baby. I’ve been exhausted, distracted, busy- but then I shook myself to face the truth: I’ve always been like this, periods of organization and chaos-a bipolar condition not of mood but of living and working conditions.  Things build up until you can’t stand it any longer, you clean like crazy, and a week later it’s gradually getting terrible again. I can remember my mom saying, “Jamie your room is a mess again! If you don’t learn to keep things organized your house will look like a pigsty one day!” Was she right? “Am I a pig?” “YES!!!!” Mike shouts.

I’m organized sometimes. So I guess I’m just a part time pig. My father is exactly the same way.  My mother won’t let him live that way in their house, but at his shop….it looks a lot like my desk in my classroom.  Piles of papers and files strewn about, post-it notes plastered to every stick-able surface, the calendar riddled with details and reminders in case the post it note is lost in the clutter, and if it is super important-calling and leaving messages on the work answering machine as plan c in case the first two  fail. Amazingly he and I can still find exactly what we need when we need to- knowing good and well that invoice is located about half way down that stack to the right of that empty box of envelopes. I like to think the clutter is simply part of my father and my inherited artistic creativity-our process-the way we work.  Still….it does clutter the mind and it’s not very fair to some who has to live in it other than me.

Mike was right. I didn’t want to live with the clutter anymore either. So I am turning over a new leaf and lifestyle.  I’ve decided to call my mother-the queen of organization.  She redid my dad’s shop from top to bottom at least 10 times in their last 30 years of marriage before she gave up.  I know she can help me. So prepare yourself world-a cleaner, better, more orderly me is on the way.  Now only if I can find the phone!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Money Pit

The popcorn ceiling treatment in my bedroom has been raining down like snow.  Actually I don’t think snowing is exactly the best comparison. Have you ever seen pictures of a roof after a blizzard? It gets caked in layers of ice and powder and then suddenly someone slams the front door and an entire chunk the size of an encyclopedia breaks off and nails the unsuspecting Girl Scout cookie salesgirl in the head.  That is a more accurate description of how the popcorn layers are falling.  One night we heard a loud bang and couldn't figure out what it was.  I even searched the house for an intruder.  The next morning we saw another area of the ceiling was clean and there were chunks of white dust and plaster all over the dresser top and scattered across the floor behind it.  The patches are growing larger and larger each day.  At night I lie awake and try to figure out what shapes I see in the bare spots dotted across its surface-sort of an indoor I spy with clouds.  I swear there is an alligator by the air vent and a large bunny rabbit near the bathroom door entrance.

In addition there are tiles loose in the shower and now that the wall hole is getting larger exposing the dry wall there is a funky mold smell taking over the bathroom again. That same smell cost us $400 to fix last time-a Band-Aid on a cancerous tumor.  The windows are rusted, some don’t open, and the kitchen cabinets are in sad shape.  I am currently using two cylinders of salt and a box of brownie mix to prop up the frame work of one kitchen drawer’s framework and anther drawer is actually shedding chunks of particle board so we don’t use it at all.  The dryer is on the fritz which I can deal with because I can just hang the laundry out to dry but I will be absolutely in a pickle if the washer goes! It’s been acting up and we just can’t afford for another appliance to go.  We’ve already replaced the oven and dishwasher. 

Mike says that I got ripped off by the lady who sold this house to me.  It seemed like a good deal at the time.  The market during 2006 was sky high and there were no affordable housing options for a teacher in our area. For $900 a month you could rent.  For $1000 a month you could own.  So I bought, considering it a good investment.  Now our house isn’t worth a third of what I bought it for.

I suspect that I had always figured that the house would be a fixer up type.  Not the greatest shape at the moment but with a little help it could be perfect one day.  Only I married a man who is superior in all things with the exception of handy work.  My maternal grandfather and my mother trained me to use the basic tools so I fix what I can.  I just rescreened the back porch the other day and I’m a wiz at using tape to fix just about anything-temporarily.  Mike didn’t really have the chance to do much tool work growing up in a privileged household so he and I work together to do the various little projects that come up-building the duck enclosure, assembling furniture, ect. But the big things just aren’t working despite that handyman fix everything yourself book that my mom got us for Christmas last year.  Every time Mike takes on a project on his own there seems to be more holes in the wall than when he started-bless his heart.  Oh well.  You can’t have everything.

Mike asked me if I had about $10,000 what would I fix first. If I had to choose one place that really needs help immediately I would say the bathroom.  The rest I can live with for a while. But the bathroom would require at my estimates around $6,000 in repair. There are no fairy God Mothers or Genies that live in lamps to help out with that price tag. If only I could win the lotto or something like it.  
I once saw this movie starring Julianne Moore called The Price Winner of Defiance, Ohio.  It was a true story about a mother who supported her ten children by entering jingle writing contests. I can’t help but wish there was some sweepstakes out there for me to enter and win a bathroom make over. If Mike and I were a little more saintly I’m sure Extreme Makeover Home Edition would help rebuilt the house.  Aside from being teachers and having little hope of ever fixing our home’s set of problems, we don’t really qualify like the deserving families that do get help on the show.

That’s the problem with being lower middle class.  You’re not rich enough to help yourself but not exactly poor enough to get assistance either.  I remember when I was a kid and we were really poor, my mom was almost able to get a grant to get her nurses degree but they made $1,000 that year over the amount required to get assistance.  I’m beginning to think America is shrinking from a three class system to two: those that have and those that don’t.  All we can do is try our hardest to do better than the generation before us and be happy with the blessings we do have. My college professor once pointed out that even our poorest in America are still richer than the truly poor of the world.  At least my family has food to eat, a roof over their head, and clothes on their backs.  Things might be tough at times but we are making it work.  So I will count my blessings tonight and be grateful for the many things that God gave us… right after I Google bathroom makeover contests.  

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Days :)

Today I attempted my first domestic woman event since the birth of my second child. After neglecting my oven and dehydrator for nearly a week I made roast chicken and glazed carrots, then used the dehydrator to make homemade raisins, peach crisps, dried blueberries, and dried chamomile flowers for tea. Naomi was in her swing, content at the moment and Jenna comes screaming to me in the kitchen that her nose hurts.  I asked her if she was picking it again and that is why we don't pick our noses because it hurts it.  Jenna sobbed, "No, Mommy, it's stuck!" What's stuck? "Mindy's food!" Jenna saw the tiny dog food bites and thought it would be a great idea to stick it up her right nostril.  I can't be totally freaked out about this because at around her age I did the same thing with a pea.  Mine shot out when I gave my nose a good blow. But it took a very long half hour to get the hard dried kernel out of Jenna's nose.  All I can say is thank God for my mom rushing over to hold Jenna down, tweezers, and the Baby Comfy Nose Nasal Aspirator I got from One Step Ahead or I might have had to take her to the emergency room.

As for Naomi, she was supposed to start her special colic formula today to see if it would make a difference from the breast milk. I was supposed to take a four day break and pump my milk to keep up the supply.  Unfortunately Naomi refuses to take a bottle and even after missing one feeding I thought she would be starving enough to take the bottle at the second feeding.  She took some, but immediately spit it up and screamed until about an hour later when I gave in and went back to breast feeding.  Surprisingly she seemed to do much better today with the colic.  Jenna made up for the nose incident by being in bed and asleep by 7:15 p.m. Naomi joined her at 7:30 :) Now I am off to watch a non cartoon movie with my husband! A first in a month! Happy Days are here again!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

When it rains....

There are moments in life when it seems that everything is going wrong all at once.  It would be nice if trials came at intervals further apart but it appears it is our lot in life for them to come barreling down all at once.  A torrential downpour has hit our household.  As if the colicky infant combined with the tantruming two year old weren't enough.

After another all nighter with the baby I woke this morning to find Jenna is up at 6 am as usual, despite missing her 7 pm bedtime and falling asleep at 10.  I smile though because Naomi is still fast asleep and just maybe Mike will whisk Jenna away to a quiet place so I can sleep till 7. “Mommy! I WANT TO SEE MOMMY!” Jenna pushes the door open and jumps on the bed, “Hi Mommy! You sleeping?” Naomi awakes with a start and begins to cry. So I nurse the baby and drag myself out of bed only to find that Naomi’s last hick up resulted in hot vomit completely missing the spit rag. Instead it is slowly dripping down between my breasts.  Good morning to me!

Next thing, I’m in the shower, baby wailing in the background, and my Jenna is sliding the shower door open and closed screaming “Mommy I need a shower too!” and I’m like, “No, Jenna you had a bath last night-close the door and go watch Wiggles!” Jenna: “NO! Mommy, I want to see you! You need to read books!” (Door sliding open and closed, open and closed) The only reason I know this is not because I can see it, I have soap covering my eyes because I just washed my face.  No, I’m feeling the frigid breeze, then warmth of the water, then freeze again.  So like every wonderfully stressed out parent I resort to the only weapon I have left when I am too tired and naked to enforce a time out: bribery.  “Jenna, if you don’t close the door right now you won’t go to the park with Grandma this morning!” Jenna, “Ohhhhh…. alright.” She opens the door one last time and suddenly everything gets really quiet. I sigh.

Is this what my 4 years of college and 7 years teaching experience has taught me? Give in, be inconsistent with my punishment? What would Super Nanny have done? Probably marched out of the shower, birthday suit and all and improvised some timeout bench with the potty chair.  But I’m too tired from my 6 hour screaming session with Naomi last night to even chastise myself for long.  So instead I rinse the suds from my eyes only to feel another glacial air blast. “JENNA!!!!” I look up just in time to see that little stinker scamper off again.  Just like Jenna, always needing to have the last stubborn word or action.  I swear that kid has Oppositional Defiant Disorder! But then what two year old doesn't? Score: Jenna 1, Mommy 0.

Toweling off I glance at the floor. Not only is it flooded but the place on the wall that we paid a repair guy $400 to fix is now sopping wet again.  I gently feel it with my fingertips and suddenly to my delight my hand makes a sudden jerk forward as the dry wall crumples beneath it.  A tangerine size hole creates a fabulous mouse size entrance to the wall housing our pocket door.  I’m too ashamed to write which words I chose to express my fury but let’s just say it’s a good thing Jenna wasn’t in ear shot because I just might have some other obscenities to try and un-teach Jenna . Just the other day she dropped her toy and the sweetest squeaky voice shouts out “DAMN IT!”  Jenna innocently looks up at my stunned face and says “I don’t say shit mommy, that’s not nice!” Mom of the year award definitely heading to someone other than me!

After breakfast we head out in two cars to take our Toyota Camry scheduled for repair because the check engine light came on again and some sensor something that controls I don’t know what is faulty and needs to be replaced or our car will continue to stall at every red light and stop sign. That price tag is $350. As Mike is pulling out of the driveway we hear a loud bang noise.  At first we didn’t know what it was until Mike couldn’t roll the window back up. Our window motor broke and the window pane dropped out.  It is rainy season now in Florida so this presents a huge problem.  So we drop off the Van instead totaling $250 and head home.  The camry is a super mess so Mike brings in boxes of items from the trunk and backseat inside for us to go through together.

Soon my mom arrives for the promised visit to the park.  The living room is strewn with junk from the car. Naomi is crying again and Jenna is screaming chasing the dog because our Jack Russell Terrier just ate the rest of her Peanut Butter Crunch Cereal. Hello mother, welcome to insanity! Mom asks if we have a ball for Jenna to take to the park.  I go to the porch to find one and as I pull it back from the wall there lays the largest most disgusting black widow spider I’ve ever seen.  Now I am far from the girly squeal type. As a kid I used to pick up lizards, put sea slugs in my beach pail, and collected bugs with my dad. But black widows really freak me out.  I yell for Mike who rushes out and the nasty arachnid crawls up under the awning where of course Mike can’t reach inside.  So now I am hunting the rotten little thing with a pointy stick and butter knife sawing away and jumping back each time another decapitated insect drops from the spider’s messy web.  Soon egg cases are smashed and the spider is no more than a smear on the concrete.  Just in case I scour the porch for more and find a total of 5 widows and 7 egg cases.  The most unnerving of all is a nest settle in the underside of Jenna’s tricycle.  God have mercy! I don’t even want to imagine the what-ifs with that one! I’m sure I’ll have nightmares to make up for it later. As you can probably tell, we haven’t been to play on the back porch for a while-nearly a month now, being the weather is so hot and Naomi so difficult. So our house cleaning is a touch behind.

Jenna now has her ball, my mom and her leave.  Mike gets the hose and is now blasting what web remnants were left to discover a fire ant nest in the box of Jenna’s art board.  Mike’s yells about our house being a piece of crap and how we need to call an exterminator are muffled enough that Naomi doesn’t seem to mind too much. In the comfort of our central air-conditioning she gradually falls asleep on my shoulder and I lay her in her swing to finally go to sleep.  
Success!!! Rapture!!! I can hear the hallelujah chorus! A moment to myself! What shall I do with it I wonder! Eat breakfast? Check my Email? Pee in peace? Sleep? I decide that sleep is far more important to me than food at the moment but figure I’d better pee first so the urge doesn’t interrupt my rest.  On my way to the bathroom I notice the smell.  I flip on the light and see the remnants of Peanut Butter Crunch Cereal barfed/pooped all over the bedroom floor.  “MINDY!” Clorox wipes in hand, dog in her kennel, I clean up the mess, wash my hands and then proceed to the bedroom.  At last I lay my head down.  Naomi sounds like she is resting comfortably.  I close my eyes and hear the loudest fart a baby has ever made echoing from the monitor and throughout our two bedroom house.  Naomi must have been freaked out too because she is now awake and screaming. Oh! The JOY! Change poopy diaper, nurse, burp, rocking chair-then my mom and Jenna comes through the door.

The rest of the day was pretty much the same.  Got stuck in Home Depot, Jenna fit because she can’t climb the ladders to the plywood, baby screams, went home, more tantrums, more crying, accidental spill of the last of the brand new $12 bottle of Gripe water.  Jenna finally falls asleep at 9:30 p.m. and believe it or not Naomi is still fighting sleep at 10:20- but for the moment the crying is lessoning. I’m still amazed that so many things could go wrong in one day, and I’m even more amazed that my own crying session about my inabilities to be a good mother only lasted about 3 minutes before I pulled it together again. But as I reflect on it all, I realize that none of us are perfect mothers no matter how hard we try.  We are human and therefore doomed to imperfection.  The only thing we can do is give it our best effort and as some say, try to laugh about it.  I don’t feel much like laughing but I’m sure if this wasn’t my own life I was living right now and I was an onlooker it might seem funny how disastrous things can be.  Until I can laugh and not cry, hope is what gets me through the day.  Hope that my prayers will be answered and soon Naomi will be all better, will finally sleep and I just might catch a few winks.  Hope that if my friends, family and the doctors are right, we only have three more months of days like this.  And finally as my heroine Anne Shirley once said, “Hope that tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.” I may not be the perfect mother.  On the amount of sleep I’m running on, I’d say I’ve done pretty darn good……….
Naomi is crying again…(SIGH)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lovebugs and Sweet Peas

The most exciting part about the year ahead for me is that I get to be a full time mama.  I had decided to do so at the age of 5 when at my kindergarten graduation I announced that when I grow up I wanted to be a teacher-that is until I became a mommy and then I would be just that.  Mrs. Marshburn, my teacher, was wonderful and so was my stay at home mother, so choosing both seemed perfect.
That was part of what drew me to teaching in the first place.  Aside from my love of children and an excitement for learning and sharing knowledge, I loved the working hours, holiday breaks, and of course the ultimate perk-summer vacation.  Teaching is the perfect job for a mother.

But what I hadn’t planned on was the condition of our economy and our family finances when I finally did have my children.  Recession and debt consolidation caused my dream of being a stay at home mom to be put on hold.  I was heartbroken when I had to leave my eldest, then 6 weeks old, to return to the classroom. I cried for days just thinking about it and was a basket case on my first day back. My husband and I found a private sitter who was a parent of students at my school and lived just a few minutes from my work.  She looked after another teacher’s little girl so the situation seemed the better of the choices between home care and a facility filled with drippy nosed infants.  Besides, Jenna loved her right away and gradually I adjusted to the new reality. For the past couple years we have been slowly hacking away at our debt and I am proud to say, aside from our mortgage and some medical bills, will be debt free come November of this year.
We were very surprised when we found out we were pregnant with our second daughter.  Jenna was approaching her 2nd birthday and was high spirited, brilliant, and full of endless energy.  But for the first time I realized that we had a bigger challenge ahead than just managing two kids close in age: child care for two.  The cost was already $600 a month for one, there was no way we could double that and still survive.  That’s when we started crunching numbers and came to the conclusion that it would be worth it more in the long run both emotionally and financially if I just stayed home with our girls for the year. I am officially three weeks in from staying home but I am used to having summers off.  My guess is that the summer will act as a practice run of sorts for August when I would normally be returning to work. Mike is off and helping a huge amount.  I figure it won’t really be a stay at home situation until school starts in the fall and Mike goes back to work.  How is my practice run going? Notice this blog hasn’t been updated in a quite some time?

Delusions are interesting things. We create worlds and ideas in our minds of how our life is going to work. There’s an expression, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans!” I had these dreams that I would be this June Clever type (dress and high heels deleted), placing a lovely roast on the table, with sparkling floors gleaming all around, and everything in its proper place in time for my hubby to come home.  The dream bubble popped about a week after our newest arrival came home.  Naomi, now three weeks old, is a chronic colicky bundle of cuteness.  She was so tiny when she arrived a week late, 6 pounds 7 ounces, that we called her sweet pea.  She would just sit contentedly in our arms staring into our eyes and smile.  Now her sweet smile has turned into 14+ all hours of the day-horrific screaming.  The poor little thing is so gassy and in so much pain she pulls her tiny fists into clenched balls and stretches her legs as far as they could go and just belts the most terrible noise.  We’ve tried just about everything on the market. Grip water helps a little, but let me tell you that the $20 Colic Calm only made her poop and puke black which by the way stains anything it touches. I am breast feeding so I’ve eliminated dairy, soy, garlic, onions, and tomato from my diet to try and make things better.  I already have irritable bowel syndrome and don’t do well eating meat.  Next time you are in the grocery store try and look for stuff that doesn’t contain meat, dairy or soy and see how happy you are at your next meal.   Nothing seems to be making a difference and I’m just crankier from it. 

Jenna is not impressed with her new sister and has done everything from scream right along with Naomi to trying to hit her in the head with her beach ball.  This new sibling rivalry was expected but I didn’t plan on the total attitude turnaround of Jenna.  She used to be mischievous at times but this is a whole new person.  Our little love bug (so nicknamed because she wanted to be held and cuddled at all times as a toddler) now punches, kicks, and hits just about everyone.  Mike took the garbage out while I was nursing the baby and Jenna “colored” the kitchen wall with poop.  Another time she looked at me and smiling said, “Mommy, watch!” as she dumped her apple juice all over her table filled with books and the dog standing under it. Some days the only thing we can do to comfort Naomi is to load everyone in the car and drive.  Despite my normal health conscious diet we decided to get hot dogs from Checkers drive through.  Jenna ate one and then asked for another.  After a while she got quiet and I turned around to find she crushed the hot dog and rubbed grease all over her hair, legs, and feet. Lovely! That will teach me the next time I want to feed my kids junk!

Needless to say I am utterly exhausted and at my wits end.  I’ve been trying so hard to live up the expectations of my grandmother’s generation who managed 5 kids under the age of 10 and still got a magnificent dinner on the table each night with homemade desert.  I asked my grandmother how she did it.  She said, “All I can tell you darling is this will pass eventually!”
 I went home and reflected on this some more.  My life is far from complication free. There will be some time from now, mostly likely decades, where I will miss this time.  I decided I’d cut myself and my expectations a break for a while.  Sure we are eating Publix subs and microwaveable frozen food-a dinner that would have ladies from the 50s and 60s sighing and shaking their heads at my failed domestic performance. To these imaginary women I responded, at least my family is fed, has a roof over their head, and clean clothes on their back.  My floors aren’t sparkling, and there is dust on just about every surface I can find. Instead of cleaning I take a nap when the girls do (and Mike does too if you can imagine it).  We are in survival mode but only for a time.  I still plan to get those hot meals on the table some day but for now my goals are simple: survive Naomi colic and keep Jenna from destroying house.  They say that the colic only lasts for 4 months.  I sure hope they are right.  Until then I pray for strength and above patience! All other things else will fall into to place eventually and if they don’t, I can live with that too!  

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Two Different Worlds

My husband and I couldn't have come from more different worlds.  There is an old saying that warns never to marry outside of your class.   For most of my childhood we grew up struggling to make ends meet.  My parents, though incredibly hard working and loving,  lived a feast or famine lifestyle. (More often famine in the beginning). Our tiny rental house had what my mother refereed to as the 12 plagues ranging from sulfur water & termites to snake infestations and having to stay away from the kitchen during lightening storms because the house wasn't grounded properly and you could get electrocuted. (Cozy-right?)   We ate a lot of what my father caught fishing or what grew on the citrus trees in the backyard. Still, we never went hungry so we felt blessed and grateful for what God and the river provided.
My husband on the other hand grew up in a 7,000 square foot house in a gated community. His neighbors were the wealthiest plastic surgeons, CEOs, and inventors of things like the barcode. His father made sure they had nothing but the best.
I rode around in a dilapidated pick up truck with a door that swung open when you went around the corner, Mike rode around in his family's Rolls Royce. I went to brownie meetings, Mike traveled Europe and had private tennis lessons with retired professional players. You get the picture....
It just so happened that Mike's life of luxury collided with mine when I was 16 years old.  My father was a graphic artist and had designed a sign for Mike's parent's office on the beach.  Somehow they hit it off and my family was invited to dinner.  It's funny now, but I remember thinking how spoiled Mike was when I first met him.  Not only did he have an entire arcade game room and talking $6,000 robot but he was in collage and working on this third degree.  I was still in high school and knew all too well that the only hope I had to go to school and earn my teaching degree was if I busted my tail in high school and got enough scholarships to cover what my job wouldn't. He bragged too much for my taste and was "old" (6 years my senior).  Needless to say I wasn't interested in him.
It wasn't until 5 years later that we reconnected.  We dated a bit but I was just finishing up my degree and then the hurricanes destroyed both our homes and things got pretty complicated for a while. We reconnected again in 2007 when Mike ended up finishing graduate school and got a long term substitute teacher position in my mom's ESE classroom.  This time everything clicked.  He had gotten more focused and serious and was ready to settle down and start a family. The 6 year difference didn't seem so large now. We had our love of education and teaching, enjoyed cooking and travel, and shared common values of faith and family.  The following January we were married.
I'd like to say it was all roses and cherries from the beginning but with every relationship there was an adjustment period-allot of it money related.  We took a managing your money in marriage course with our church and read multiple books like 365 Ways to Live Cheap. I showed Mike the magic of finding things cheaper.  When we were engaged Mike had laughed because I spent 4 months trying to find a TomTom GPS system for our honeymoon on Ebay for the "right" price. He said it couldn't be done and we should just pay the full price now. When he saw I was able to save us $150 and got it it to arrive 4 days before we needed it he started to feel the joy too. Spend less=more money in your wallet.  Living within our means was a concept I was well adjusted to but one that took Mike a while to catch on to.  But I can happily say that he is every bit of a bargain buster as I am now. Just last month he happily paid $7 at Goodwill for a perfect condition Croton watch with a crystal face that retails for $300. (SIGH! SO VERY PROUD) That's my reformed hubby :) It really helps having him by my side as he knows all the expensive name brands from experience and can recognize them before I can even figure out how to pronounce them.
The thrill of the hunt for a good deal is one we share together and will greatly aid us in the year to come living on a single income. So to all those that say don't marry outside your class, I say if you are both committed and willing to compromise and put in the work-just about any relationship can make it. Partners in all things, best friends, and married to boot. He even does diapers ladies :) Now who could ask for anything more!

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Journey Begins

I’m a teacher, wife, and mother of two girls who is taking the plunge and living my dream of being a stay at home mom for a full year.  Through frugal living and semi self sufficiency, my family and I will attempt to live on my husband's teacher income in a two income world.  The wisdom of my fore-mothers guide me as I set forward on this wonderful adventure that without a doubt will be filled with plateaus and valleys. 
In this economy some may call this experiment crazy. But my husband and I have crunched the numbers, done the research, and created a strict budget. Challenging though it may be I recognize how lucky I am at this chance to be with my girls and expect that this experience will be one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.   
So... (Deep Breath) 
here I go...