Archive | December 2013

Eye opening experience

The Wednesday before Christmas I was watching some TV with my daughter when my Lil man came up complaining about his back hurting and asked if I would rub it. As I was rubbing his back I felt a huge lump. It wasn’t there before and was about the size of a golf ball. I asked if he bumped it but he said no. I secretly started to panic thinking of all the things it could and everything was the worse possible scenario. I made a doctor appointment and took him in the next day. The doctor was puzzled too. So she sent us for an xray. I kept calling about the results and driving the nurses crazy. By Monday I was livid and wanted answers. I had barely slept in 4 days and kept thinking this could be the last Christmas together. I know that is crazy for my mind to go there but I always feel like I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. Finally around 1:30pm Monday I got a voicemail from the doctor. Everything looked normal! Now here we are a week later from when I discovered the lump it has almost completely disappeared. I feel stupid for panicking but I would have felt worse if it turned out to be the worse case scenario and I brushed it off.

But, in a way, I am very thankful that this happened. It opened my eyes to how fast your life can change and everything can be taken away from you. I feel like life has been going by so fast that I haven’t really enjoyed it. Or took time for the little things. This whole thing made me take a deep breath and relax. I feel like I am always planning. Planning a grocery trip, planning menus, planning homeschool for next week, month and year. I am always trying to get ahead instead of just stopping and enjoying what is now!

And on top of that it made me realized that tomorrow is not a guarantee. There are so many things that I always say I want to do but then never get around to doing. I always say oh maybe next year. But between being busy and my anxiety, it has prevented me from doing so much.

Not anymore!

YOLO~ you only live once~ my new life motto.

2014 is going to be the year of enjoying the little things and seeing and doing the things I always say we would do.

 

Back to basics~ turning frugal

6 months after we moved out here, the economy tanked and my hubby’s business took a massive hit. We had to quit paying on our credit cards and let 2 cars and hubby’s motorcycle get repossessed. It was awful feeling knowing you had a very, VERY successful business and in a blink of an eye it could all be taken away. But we kept at it and Hubby’s business was one of the few small cabinet shops to pull through. A lot of friends of his had to close their doors and walk away after years and years of being in business. We did everything we could to make it through and the best part is our children never knew we were poor. Today when I talk about the bad days, they are shocked. That I am thankful for.

During that time, I found ways to be frugal and live on cash only. Something I had never done in my entire life and something my hubby had to relearn. If there was no cash for it, then it wasn’t happening.

Now here we are 2013 and I have been looking back at all the stuff we spend money on that we really don’t need right that minute. First off, my hubby loves to spoil me and sometimes it’s very hard to say no when he wants to buy new boots (my obsession) or when he wanted to buy me an expensive camera because I said I would like to photography classes. And if a computer or TV breaks, we have to replace it ASAP. These are all things that could have been bought as christmas presents and he wouldn’t be struggling to get me something now. Hubby can be very extravagant sometimes, spend a $1000 at one time and not even blink. That shocks me.

We are still on a cash system, but have not been frugal at all. We eat out too much….way too much! And every time we go to the store the kids want drinks, snacks or toys. Hubby is constantly buying tools or other things he says he needs.

So with that said we have taken another hit. Now we need to cut back our grocery spending to just $500. I was spending anywhere from $800-$1000 and still listening to everyone complain there was nothing to eat. They also are in a phase of everything needs to brand name. My family also had an aversion to leftovers. Some family members would have a cow if they didn’t have a freshly prepared meal. I don’t even want to know how much money I threw out with all the leftovers.

Well change is coming. I am getting back to basics. The snacking all day is out! The sodas all the time is out! The fast food lunches is out!

We are self employed! We don’t have a 401K or retirement plan. We have only what we have saved. And since my hubby turns 40 next year and isn’t getting any younger. 2014 is my getting back to being frugal and saving year.

Time to break out the Dave Ramsey book and refresh.

My old life vs my new life

City Life vs Country Life

Stay at Home Mom vs Homeschooling Mom

I remember dropping the kids off at school and going to a PTA meeting. Then heading to the mall, Target or a restaurant for lunch. Grocery shopping with no kids was normal. I made sure all of my errands were done by the time I picked my kids up from school so I wouldn’t have to go out with all 3 of them.

But I also remember the traffic and the way our neighborhood was going down hill. Our kids had no yard to play in and even if they did I wouldn’t let them. The playground down the road was home to daily drug deals and bratty teenagers. All things my babies were not going to be exposed to.

Then again, I remember how much I loved my children’s school. How nice the teachers were. You couldn’t go ten feet without someone saying hello or good morning. The school was fantastic. Had we stayed in that area, I don’t know if I would have started homeschooling.

But then I remember the way I had to leash up my dogs and take them out one by one. I also remember how scary it was doing that in the dark.

Then we moved out here where there is no traffic except during our fair days. I have an acre and half for my kids and dogs to run in. No more leashes, drug deals and bratty teenagers (except my own).

Oh but the school, I hated it. I was supposedly part of the PTA board but they never included me. I was made to feel like I wasn’t welcomed because I was new. The teachers gossiped instead of greeting you when you walked through the halls. I remember being mortified when a teacher followed me out of a classroom to continue an argument with me. I remember being looked at with disgusted to whole rest of the year. I also remember constantly fighting with the teachers to follow my special needs child’s IEP. I also remember the way they let kids bully her because she didn’t look special needs.

And now I get up start my day with a cup of coffee. Get my oldest off to school and feel good knowing my other kids are right where they should be. Every child’s path is different. Every family’s life is different. There was a fork in the road for me and I could have stayed being the typical suburban mom or moved to country and become a totally different person.

My heart is fuller knowing I changed into someone who is not so shallow, not self absorbed and very much fighting for her kids. I wanted to fit into the whole status quo of what a suburban mom is: shopping, socializing and, yes on the outside, a good mom and wife.

But I honestly regret those years that I wasn’t home with my girls. I wish I lived out in the country from the beginning and homeschooled from Kindergarten and up. I wish I saw how fast that time was going to go by and treasured it a little more.

Better late than never though.

We have a new diagnosis!

As most of you know, I have a special needs child. I came into her life at age 3 and she was unable to talk clearly at all and not potty trained.  Compared to my daughter who was only 5 months older, she was very delayed. Once I felt comfortable to say, Hey she needs help, I started fighting for her. And I have still been fighting for a diagnosis. In an earlier post, I wrote about my frustration with getting an answer, which you can read here. Well since then we got a new doctor who really listens to me and my concerns and who actually wanted to see the results of the outside test I got done on her. Since then the word Autism has been used here and there. But nothing definite. Finally I said what is her diagnosis. I just want an answer.  As of right now, she has Asperger’s Syndrome with PDD. Now he did say this will change next year because the guidelines and titles are changing. So she will be considered under the Autism Spectrum. But I feel finally on a path to answers. And with this doctor, instead of making me feel stupid for saying I don’t think she is maturing like she should, he has told me that we won’t know what the bar limit will be for her because everyone is different. I always been made to feel like a terrible parent for not having confidence in my child that she will live a normal life but that was not reality in what I was seeing at home. I didn’t want blinders on. I wanted to know why and what to do next.  And now I feel we have finally gotten the right doctor for us. It may have taken 11 years but we are at a turning point.

Here we go again! Throwing out the plans Part 2!

Yes, that is right. I am revamping our homeschool schedule again! This is what I love about homeschooling. The fact that I can stop and change directions on a whim is empowering.

So this what we were doing in the beginning.

I was trying to fit every subject into everyday. I was also trying to do preschool like I did it back 10 years ago in a daycare center. And I was trying to follow the Florida school calendar.

This didn’t work at all!

Then I began:

Doing split scheduling like I did last year. We also started 6 weeks on and 2 weeks off, except preschool. And mostly book work.

Forget about it. With 4 kids that have dentist appointments, doctor appointments, sick days and the everyday household running, I felt like I was flying through the 6 weeks, but not accomplishing anything and rushing my kids through. I would leave out the “fun” part of homeschooling~ all the hands on stuff. And I still had a preschooler who hated school. He woke up twice and told me my school sucked and that he hated school, especially coloring. Plus with Christmas here and all the fun of that, it is hard to fit in school, fun, errands and cleaning.

So for now we are just coasting through. Working on hands on projects, finishing up books that we were reading, practicing our writing and working on Math. For Lil Man, we are making everything hands on. More learning centers, more arts and crafts, more computer and tablet time. And it has been working so far.

But beginning in 2014, we begin a whole new chapter, which the girls and I are very excited about. We are starting back to school January 6 and I will be posting more regular updates then.

Life of chaos

Well the holidays are upon us. And the reason I can tell it’s the holidays is because I can’t get a break.

First there is the Christmas shopping for the millions of family members that we have. Which I do it all. Hubby doesn’t know any other store other than Lowe’s. And he likes to pull the last minute I need a gift for so & so trick.

Then there was the fact that my car broke down on the way home from an 8 1/2 hour power shopping with my mom. And did I mention that I had groceries in the car at the moment….frozen groceries. Luckily I was 5 minutes from home so Hubby came and rescued me. Now I am without a car for a while. This is after putting it in the shop 2 weeks ago for some repairs on worn out parts on the vehicle.

Then there is the income hit that came unexpectedly. So I am having to really, really budget now and be extra frugal.

Next we move on to sickness. Of course, somebody has to be sick. My middle daughter came down with some kind of respiratory infection. Heck, even 2 out of 3 of my dogs were sick. Lysol was my best friend those 2 weeks.

Last, my youngest daughter can’t handle the holidays too well. It over stimulates her, which triggers her ticks and meltdowns. Factor in that she is a teenager and her hormones are kicking in, oh it’s been a joyous season.

Needless to say I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays:

I love the weather, but hate the chaos.

I love the decorations, but hate the amount of money I spend.

I love this season and hate to see it go.

But I also hate this season and love when it is over.