From overwhelmed parent to grateful parent. Repost.

I decided to repost this blog from May, 2014. It is still relevant, albeit with some minor changes in our lives but I thought it was a good reread for this time of year for parents of three or more kids. Happy reading! 

There are generally three times each school year that leave me feeling breathless, rattled, unsure of my ability to be supermom, flying from this to that. And that was when I had just one kid in school full-time. Having two this year and a third gearing up for kindergarten in September, I wonder how I’m going to handle it all.

The first time is back to school. If you have one or eight kids this is a crazy time as you prepare you little student for their upcoming year. Second is just before Christmas break. Concerts are planned, gingerbread house making nights, presents to buy and the holidays to prepare for. Third is right now – mid-May until mid-June. Four weeks of frantic activity from everyone involved.

The kids start getting their first taste of warm sunshine. They want outside. All the time. Desperate to soak up the rare vitamin D in our part of the world and chase the explosion of white butterflies and bumblebees. Especially after a year like 2014 that has been low on the sunshine and a what seemed like we lived in the movie, “Frozen” where snow and ice-covered our land.  Trying to get them to bed at their regular bedtime is challenging, even with blackout shades as the older ones know how to raise them up and peek out the window at the sunset.

“Mooom!! It’s not bedtime yet. The sun is still out. I can’t possibly sleep when it’s not dark.”

“I know honey, but while school is still on you have to go to bed at your regular time. Read for bit.”

So they read, chat and play and don’t fall asleep until after 9 pm and it is dark outside. For some reason it doesn’t phase them getting up with the chirping robins at 630 am. The only person in the house who is still going to sleep no matter what is Jacob, the three year-old.

“I’m done everything and ready for school. Can I go in the backyard?”

“No dear. There’s still a heavy dew on the grass. You’re feet will be soaked.”

So, trying to match their boundless energy I coerce them into completing homework and practicing for upcoming recitals and performances.

Yes, every single program my kids participate have their end of year performance, recital or celebration within this four week period. If you are blessed with children who like the performing arts, it means costume trials, dress rehearsals and early morning line-ups to buy tickets to your blessed child’s five-minute routine during a three-hour show. It also means trying to prepare them for these routines the best that you can while they blow bubbles in the backyard because how can you deprive them outside playing time when they have waiting almost seven months for warm summer breezes?

But we try. Oh do we try.

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Another testament to my patience this time of year is the endless “end of school” celebrations. I admire and appreciate the school’s desires to honour parental volunteers and celebrate the end of the year. But between you and me, having three kids means I have to squeeze in trying to attend all of their school-related stuff. Spring concerts, BBQ’s, Fun Fairs and volunteer teas. Not to mention the onslaught of trying to do that last-ditch attempt at fundraising so movie nights and art nights. Trying to attend them all,  I enthusiastically cheer and really do appreciate the time it takes to organize these things and have a lovely time when I’m there. But then my kids can’t complain when their summer clothes are being pulled out of the bins as the temperatures increase and I really can’t send them in cords and long sleeved-shirts any longer. A quick check to see if too wrinkled and a sniff to see if items pass the smell-test I throw summer dresses and short-sleeved shirts their way hoping they haven’t grown out of them. Something has got to give!

Oh, did I mention soccer started? Yes, all the spring activities start during this time frame as well and with that means extra nights for picture nights and Friday evenings fraught with on the go dinners to get two kids to soccer.

In between all of the above are teacher-parent meetings as teacher’s start collecting their marks for the year and parents try to encourage their kids to “give it all you got for these last few weeks!” Time to shop for year-end gifts and decide if other parents are giving the jazz class instructor a token of appreciation and who makes the cut and who doesn’t in my quick and dirty gift-shopping spree. Having three or more kids means you also have to remember, did I give that gift to that teacher last year? Will the bus driver appreciate yet another gift card from me for coffee at Tim Horton’s or should I do something new?

Oh and I’m trying to pack for our first summer trip of the year, finish editing a book (this is where I am glad I finished it before this time period), exercise to get ready for two and a half weeks at the beach and squeeze in those last playdates with my kid’s friends because goodness knows there are some kids they won’t see all summer (gasp!) and they absolutely must have them to our house one more time.

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But yet, although I may complain about how crazy life is about to get I am aware this is brought all upon myself. I can pick and choose how absurd our life gets and for that I am thankful. I am thankful I have schools in our area that care enough about their students/teachers/parents to celebrate a successful school year. It is with gratitude I give tokens of appreciation to all the people who taught my children all different things this year or kept them in safe environments. I will buy tickets to support a local community theatre group and try to coerce my relatives to come and see our kids play pirates in an hour-long play or drive to the obscure theatre to watch my daughter dance for five minutes. For these are the markers of another year gone by. One where despite the full and crazy life we have, I manage to get out once a week for a run. I get to travel a little bit with and without the kids. I completed a novel. I took my son to his first professional baseball game. These are the memories they and I will have.

And that, makes it all worth it.

One last note.

Even though all worth it, do not think for a moment that this particular mom of three, will not hesitate to pour a big tumbler of wine after dinner while the kids sing “Let It Go” to the neighbours and sit with my feet up on my toy-laden patio table looking forward to bedtime each night. For it is only after my little darlings are finally asleep and the house is quiet can I permit myself to do nothing. Absolutely nothing at all and for the next four weeks and I refuse to feel guilty about that.

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The Playdate Conundrum

Sisters. A unique bond is forged between sisters in a family. This bond can be different depending on the amount of years between them or how many one person has. But usually, having a sister means having someone to hang out with at family functions, share (or steal) clothes, boss around and sometimes, on those late nights watching horror films, get their opinion on life events.

I was fortunate growing up to have a sister only thirteen months younger than me. Sure, there were times when I couldn’t shake her as she followed me and my friends around or bossed her around telling her she had to play barbies my way or leave. We had our share of scratching take-down fights over something as silly as someone taking the other’s umbrella. But, we also laughed at our mother together, rolled our eyes when people asked us for the hundredth time, “Are you twins?” and played countless hours of board games on rainy afternoons. She would probably have a much different view being the younger one, but my memories of my childhood all include her in some way.

My two daughters, Elizabeth and Audrey, are two years apart. Exactly two years. But already there has been a fair share of sisterly conflict. Elizabeth was quite put out when Audrey arrived, two days after her second birthday. She barely acknowledged her presence unless a doting relative would pat her on the head and say, “Aren’t you the best big sister?”

Then little Audrey would get loving hugs and gentle head taps from her, until no one was looking and give her a not-so-gentle shove.

At the age of three and five they started sharing a room in anticipation of the arrival of their younger brother. We moved to a larger house where they each had their own room. They asked to be together again within a year and together they remain. My heart melts when they rush me out of their room so they can play a secret game of Beanie Boo fantasy land and I hear them chit chatting to each other. They still have their moments, but overall they get along fairly well.

When the girls started asking for playdates, I didn’t think about the logistics of having three kids, all relatively close in age, being together while Elizabeth invited her grade one buddy over after school.

Up until this past year, most of our playdates included friends who usually had two or more of their own kids. Crazy but it worked out as each kid found a playmate. There were a few tears and screams of “They’re not including me!” but overall it was okay.

Then both my girls hit the “social” age. Meaning, they wanted to invite a different friend over each week. As Jacob got more involved and wanted to be part of the action, it became a feat to invite one friend over, distract the other kids, get snack or dinner ready for them all and try to clean up a bit before the parent arrived to pick them up.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I grew up having a mom who preferred all the craziness of kids playing together be at her house. Appreciating that now as a parent, it made sense. You could keep an eye on your kid and who they were hanging out with. But play back then was different. We played with our cousins or friends in the neighbourhood criss crossing amongst the houses in a gang of sorts.

Nowadays, scheduled playdates are the preferred method of interaction. We don’t have a neighbourhood school, my kids are bus kids. I don’t know all the parents of the kids in the classroom. So playdates mean multiple notes or texts back and forth, permission letters from sets of parents allowing a child to ride home with my child all things that need to be coordinated and organized.

But, wanting my kids and their friends to feel welcome in our home, the girls take turns bringing friends home to play. Except, my other two children feel left out when they don’t have a friend. So I go from having to coordinate one playdate to possibly three! It makes my brain tired to think of it.

So much so that after an exhausting playdate trying to manage two friends to come home at the same time to avoid the above conundrum, I told them, enough! This is not a weekly occurrence but a once in awhile treat. We have friends in our neighbourhood, play with them. Play with each other. Please no more playdates!

A couple of months go by and they both plead, “Just one more! We owe E. a playdate back at our house and she really wants to take the bus with me.” So I relent and schedule their playdates, separately with a warning everyone must play together, nicely. And for the most part all is okay.

So, on rare free Saturday, I tentatively schedule a group BBQ/playdate. Two families. One with a little girl that Audrey loves and doesn’t see too often. Another with playmates for Elizabeth and Jacob. Mr. L looks at me.

“Are you crazy? That’s six kids in the house! What if it rains?”

I shake my head, knowing he has not learned the secret.

Family playdates. On weekends. In the summer.

More than one parent to help. Each child has an age-appropriate playmate. Catch-up with other adults. Wine or beer. Hopefully the weather holds and the kids play outside for most of the time. The perfect plan.

“Don’t worry.” I smile at him. “Piece of cake if we have one playmate per kid. We’ll do hamburgers and hot dogs to keep it easy.”

I know this conundrum will not get easier. Well, I could just say no to future playdates. But it’s just not me. I want my children and their friends to feel welcome in our home. I want to be the house “they all want to go.”

However, a small part of me does look forward to the day when they all want to play less together and do their own things. It may make the playdate conundrum a little easier.

 

Volunteering, playdates and mittens..oh my!

Being a stay-at-home Mom can mean many things to many different people. To my kids it is day-to-day life that Mom is waiting at home with snacks, homework schedules and a hot dinner (most nights). They are so used to me being at home, their brief memories do not remember the days where I used to work and they had babysitters, daycare or a nanny to lend a hand as I scrambled from one meeting to the next trying to be home for dinner. My eldest asks me at least twice a month, “When are you going back to work? I want to go to the Y program after school with Ava!”

Usually I sigh patting her smooth hair and tell her, “One day you’ll appreciate Mommy being home. Mommy did used to go out to work.”

How do you explain to a seven and a half-year old the personal sacrifice from a career perspective you made because for your family, having at least one parent consistently home was something worth giving up other things? Mr. L is in no position to be home or share the “at home daily duties”  having a wildly successful law firm, to be “the one,” so it’s me. It’s always been me and I’m okay with that.

To Mr. L it means taking off his shoulder the day-to-day responsibility for the kids so he can focus on growing his business. It means usually, his laundry is done and he has dinner at night to come home to, or at least warmed up leftovers. It is security that I’ve got it handled and will call on him if needed. It also means less of a strain on our bank account to figure out adequate daycare, before school and after school programs plus dog walker to help with Jake, our oldest family member. After all, we do have three children seven years of age and under. Daycare costs in this province, in our area, are high. So when you have multiple children, no other familial support in the nearby area and facing this decision as a family it is a HUGE consideration in your analysis.

To others, well, some get it and some don’t. I’m okay with that too because after all, each SAHP (I’m going to put parent because there are lots of Dads out there who opt to stay-at-home too) has most likely came to their decision in a very personal way and no decision is right. It is right when it works for your family.

For me, being someone who bounces between being energized by a to-do list full of potential to craving silence and solitude depending on my mood for the day, I spent September getting a feel for the rhythm of my days, training for a race, starting a writing class and potty training a toddler. I knew Thanksgiving weekend was going to be the time when “real life” started for me having two full days free a week as my little guy started preschool as I caught up on appointments and answered long forgotten phone calls and emails.  So much time! What would I do?

Volunteering. I have always volunteered in my kids schools. I started when Elizabeth went to JK and have kept on going limiting my hours to a reasonable once a month but still helping out. This year I took on more.  Taking on a coordinator position for a program at Audrey’s school for a snack program and volunteering in class at both girls schools. In truth, I could never be bored and just volunteer at their respective schools. So much help is needed in the classrooms and the teachers are so appreciative to that parent who takes an hour to come and read with a couple of the kids in class to help them get to the level of their classmates. As much as the teachers are wonderful, when you have a class of thirty students in a split JK/SK class that hour every week is precious time spent. I also like to be in the school and know what is going on. I think every parent should take the time to pitch in on something, even if working. There is always help needed to even drop off products for a healthy snack basket program and you can smile and get to know the administration who are the front guardians of your children.

Playdates. For some reason grade two means more social time requested by Elizabeth. She wants playdates, movie dates and each new parent I meet ends with an exchange of contact information to plan a playdate. As much as I prefer the kids to play in our neighbourhood and encourage spontaneous play and friendships with the neighbour kids, having a brood of three sometimes means that once in a while, one of them wants a little special time with a friend who may live a little north of us. Then of course, my younger girl wants her own playdate time with friends and so on down the line. I am surprised Jake the dog is not requesting his own playdates! This is something I will have to wrap my head around going forward as my little people turn into socialites.

Mittens. For the past few weeks I knew it was coming.  A warm fall would give way to the briskness as old man winter turns an eye our way. It happened this morning. Thankfully I have turned over that daunting job of putting away summer clothes and getting out fall/winter clothes in September. My little guy finally had proper warm Bogs on his feet. It is just the hundreds of mismatched hats, mittens and scarves I have to go through and wash for five people. The smell test was given this AM and the winter wear that passed were firmly placed on three children’s heads and hands. Decked out in new coats courtesy of an overseas grandfather who sends new sets of clothes each season for his only grandchildren, my kids were at least dressed to face the cold winds.

So what does being a SAHP mean to me? Never being bored. Each day brings a variety of tasks to be handled and new things to learn. I enjoy being able to put most of my attention on one main goal. Having lived the life of feeling like I wasn’t doing my best at anything; work, family, kids, my own stuff it works for me. Sure I miss lunches out with adults, a nicer wardrobe and reading on the GO train. But I do not miss having to report to someone. I am able to carve out my days exactly how I want and to me, that is priceless. Like right now, I am choosing to work on writing this blog piece. And tomorrow, if I choose to watch Y&R at lunch while my little guy naps, I can. (Okay, to be honest, that never happens but I can dream that it may one day.) Not everything gets done on my huge to-do list, but I feel way more relaxed (as possible) at the end of the day that I got some things done. Who cares if I’m wearing five-year old Lululemon pants because giving up shopping for myself was a sacrifice?  Jake the dog does not care what I wear to walk him.

 

 

Teaching ourselves and our kids. A thought.

January 15, 2013

Jacob’s new phrase is “Go Away Mama!” This is followed within the last couple of weeks of “No fair!”and “No way!” All of these phrases said with the stamp of his chubby little foot as he waves a finger at me. With two older sisters who think he is the cutest thing ever, he copies all their good and not so good phrases and actions. Part of me wants to scoop him up and laugh but the other part that has gone through this twice before, will not succumb to the little smirk on his face and twinkling hazel eyes. Putting on my best “Mom is serious” face, I sink to his level and ask him to look at me. In a firm voice I say, “Not nice Jacob, we do not talk to Mommy like that.”

“Ok.” He responds in his little voice and proceeds to fling his arms out, “Huggie?” After a quick squeeze, I quickly leave the room to laugh out loud. For the life of me I can’t remember laughing when the girls were toddlers and said things like that. Perhaps it’s the third child syndrome. You just have a better sense of humour about things like this.

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Mr. L was home this morning having a nearby meeting so I had an unusually easy time managing with breakfast and bus drop-off with his help. I love these mornings. Once upon a time Mr. L had promised he would try to work from home or arrange meetings weekly to help in the mornings at least once a week. This hasn’t happened yet. The odd time I’ll bring it up and he brushes it aside stating how busy it is at the office. He owns his own business and I do know how busy it is so it’s just one of those things that I’ve let slide and enjoy the times he can be here.

Our neighbour came over this morning for a playdate. Apologizing for the yet put-away Christmas and birthday presents that have been piled in a corner of the front room and thanking her for picking up Starbucks, we proceeded to chit-chat in between managing the toddlers. Thank goodness for our basement which is kid heaven with toys, colouring and is the room I care about the least as long as the toys are reasonably put away at the end of the day. Our two older kids are at the same school so it’s nice to compare notes on how they are handling the transition to Grade One and French Immersion.

Interestingly, she is contemplating what to do when her daughter goes to kindergarten and this has been something that rolls around in my brain in when folding laundry at 11:00 pm as well. The possibilities are huge. Each of us are both mainly responsible for the kids education, health, extra curricula activities and the majority of the home stuff so it’s a concern thinking once we get into the middle of actual homework for the older kids and increasing demand on being a taxi service, does it make sense to also put time into more schooling, or does a part-time local job seem a better fit? We both seem to want to do something “when we grow up” but figuring out what that is can be a challenge.

My mother had three children as well and worked. I was on my own watching my brother and sister by the time I was twelve. We did not have very many activities that weren’t doing school hours because of cost and frankly we had no one to taxi us around. When I was younger, my memories are laced with babysitters after school and visits to my grandmother’s house on the weekends. It is also very different in schools these days. Homework is more intense and parental support is expected. Generally my homework was all done during school hours or at recess in the school library. Very rarely did I have things to bring home. Our children’s experiences with schoolwork and thus my own compared to my mother’s experiences will be very different and require a much different role. Thank goodness we are not at this point yet!

Re-starting the daily grind..

January 7, 2013

Up bright and early today and I am so excited! It’s back to school for the kids! I really enjoyed our time together but I think they are also looking forward to having a break from Mommy.

After a quick shower, I gently nudge my two sleepy-head girls awake. Over the winter break they firmly decided they wanted to share a room. After many conversations and warnings we would not change it back for at least three years, we re-painted Audrey’s room in Easter Egg purple in preparation of creating “a girl’s suite.”  Elizabeth’s room was to become the new play/study area. A full day of painting (which is still not 100% complete and I’ll need to hire someone to come and “finish” it up now that Mr. L is back to work), furniture delivered (Audrey soon to be five years old has been upgraded to a big girl bedroom set.) and all furniture placed to maximize the space, it was ready.

Both girls had been sleeping in during the break so the early wake-up call brought mumbles and grumbles until I gently but firmly reminded them breakfast was going to be served in fifteen minutes. Jacob of course was still sleeping through all of this. Being a parent of three or more you have to learn to adapt to changing routines and personal habits! Just as you get one of your kids settled into a regular routine, another one changes and requires more sleep or less.

After a hurried breakfast my voice starts to thin out as I order them into boots and snowsuits. We make it out barely on time in the frigid winter air to get Audrey on her bus. After nudging her and her huge knapsack up the steps we wave and blow kisses and three of us make our way back to the house until Elizabeth’s bus. Stop and repeat the process above. The neighbours must think it is a gong show at my house seeing all four of us (plus sometimes the dog, Jake) shuffle down the sidewalk, back to the house only to leave again twenty minutes later.

Mr. L and I decided to send our children to French Immersion public school. Mr. L, being fluent in three languages, and my desire for the kids to have as much exposure to languages as possible, did not make this a hard decision for our family. However, we soon found out that French Immersion does not start in our school district until grade one and is generally at a different school than English kindergarten. What does this mean? It means when Audrey started kindergarten this year and Elizabeth moved to Grade One we were a now a family dealing with two different schools thus two different bus routes/times.  I took on the challenge with a grin and a shrug and most days we manage fairly well, especially during the good weather. Jacob being the type of toddler who would rather be outside in any kind of weather and whose first two-word combination was “I go!” has drifted into acceptance that our life is just that, “Go!”

However, this morning’s cold January winds have made me question our decision as I pull on three sets of snowsuits, find six pair of mittens and try to keep my kids warm on the short walk to the corner bus stop. One clear sunny day where the wind chill was biting at my cheeks and was cursing myself having forgotten to put on my own gloves, I thought, “Only two more years and then the girls will be on the same bus.”

Then as Jacob went hurtling down the sidewalk chasing the garbage truck yelling, “More! Again!” I came to this realization: he would eventually start school, so it was really four more years of different bus stops. Pushing that thought out of my mind, I can only hope Elizabeth is responsible enough to get her and her sister home from the bus. Four years of this just may break me. One day at a time is all I need to get through.

After dropping Jacob off at a local nursery school where he goes a few times a week to socialize, play and really to be honest, give Mommy a break, I had a couple of rare hours to myself. Chatting with another Mom in the parking lot of the church where the school is located who is also a Mom of three or more we exchange quick pleasantries about the holidays. (Sidenote: As Mom of three or more does anyone notice that parking lots, street corners yelling out car windows and grocery stores have replaced the meet-ups and phone conversations you used to have?) I inch towards my car anxious to get back to the house and start attacking the disaster that awaits. When I mention this she nods in agreement, “I know, it’s going to take me all week. I think I’m going to start with the bedrooms because all the toys are up there. But, not this morning, I’m going to sit and have a coffee and do nothing for myself. I’ll tackle it tomorrow.”

Applauding her I nearly cave in agreement. To sit and listen to the silence of our home for a little bit would be wonderful,  but with a determined frame of mind, I march upstairs when I get home and start in the girls new bedroom that is already a mess of toys, papers and leftover hardware that Mr. L has yet to put away.  The feeling of accomplishment is worth my hard work as is knowing the girls will have a tidy room to come home too. It will actually look quite cute as a “girls suite” once I get new shutters, pictures on the wall and canopy nets for their beds. But that is another project for another time.

January 8, 2013

Another day and the sun is shining. It is still bitterly cold out there this morning but smartly I remembered my scarf and gloves.

Tuesday mornings are standing playdates with neighbours whose toddlers are the same age as Jacob. We started getting together just this past December rotating houses for coffee, juice and snacks.  The kids play well together and it was nice to sit and chat for a couple of hours. I used to do that with Elizabeth but it became much harder to organize as mine and my friend’s families grew, some of us went back to work and we all just dealt with busier lives. I haven’t had the chance to really find those same connections with Audrey or Jacob. Today it was my turn to host. Looking at the Christmas and birthday presents still piled high in one room and the tiny Barbie shoes scattered in the playroom, I text them and suggest a change of location being honest and state, “my house is disaster!”

These last few years, I have really let go of any preconceived notion of privacy and am very open to all who enter my sphere. Perhaps it’s my brain being too tired to worry about it or maturity that people should just like who I am. Sometimes I’m blunt but my friends will know, I’m always honest. If my house is a mess, I’ll say it. Generally, I find admitting to not being the Martha Stewart for all ages and not worrying (most of the time) about having my home look as if I live in a magazine has taken a lot of pressure off me. Like me and my home for what it is, a place where a family of five lives! Other Mom’s tend to agree with me. Or they are being polite. After all I’ve been to their houses and I always feel as if mine is much more cluttered than anyone else’s.

So, all agree and after getting the girls out the door for school and chasing Jacob through the house to put on boots only to realize a diaper change is in order, we arrive only ten minutes late to the indoor playground a short ten-minute drive away.

Jacob runs off playing with the toys and trying the little slides. He is going through a “mine!” phase right now, egged on by older sister who thinks it’s funny, so I keep one eye on him to ensure he’s playing nicely. JE and I catch-up on holiday events and laugh as we realize both our husbands fell asleep around ten o’clock on new year’s eve leaving us to drink wine alone while watching a bad movie.

“Next year, just text me and come over,” suggests JE to which I agree.

Our other neighbor, N texts us to say her little guy has come down with a fever so she’s going to pass on this morning. We will miss her but such is life with toddlers. All plans depend on a fever or runny nose.

Tonight the girls having swimming lessons. Usually I have a babysitter come and stay with Jacob. Chasing him through the halls as he tries to jump into the pool and stay out of the shower as I get the girls rinsed and dressed is something I try to avoid. Our usual sitter is still away on vacation, so I’ve begged Mr. L to be home a bit early to which he agreed. Thank goodness! But it also means that the brief nap Jacob has finds me running to finish laundry, ensure we have a quick and healthy dinner ready and maybe get some bills paid. Yes, I am the accountant of the family on top of everything else. However, today a package arrives via my father-in-law from overseas. A box for Mr. L’s upcoming birthday which will definitely include clothes that do not fit him, underwear and socks with a pair of shoes thrown in. Why a seventy-six year old man thinks he has to buy his son’s underwear is a mystery to me. Of course, the postal carrier rings the doorbell and Jacob is awake yelling, so the bills will have to wait until tonight.

I dread paying the bills. Not for any fear of not paying them, we are fortunate not to have that worry although it does seem I continuously juggle paying one credit card after another on top of a credit line that keeps growing. My job of paying the bills comes with the added pleasure of keeping track of our budget which I have been trying to do for the last few months very diligently and putting everything into a neat and tidy excel spreadsheet. I have undertaken this year to better manage and control our money and save, save, save!! As a starting point I adopted the “envelope system” until I could further research where to put the money I was carefully placing in “Emergency Fund Savings” and “Vacation Savings” along with the spending envelopes of allowance for each person for the month to purchase lattes, lunches out, book orders or take-out on a Friday night. December was a bit of a lazy month, especially near the end in the tracking department but once I’m caught up, we will be back on track. Hopefully.

With bills paid, one credit card paid off (huge sense of relief) and all of our envelopes filled for the month, I can focus on sleep. Jacob is having a bit of restless night which could mean another tooth or an impending illness. We were lucky this winter break and none of us caught the various flus going around but now that school has started up again, anything can happen. It is nearly time for my shift and I need to let Mr. L get some rest. I’m very much looking forward to sitting in the big comfy glider with a sweaty two-year old trying to get comfortable until he is so asleep I can release him into his crib. Let’s hope the other two are so tired from swimming they do not move until morning.