Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bry and the cat!

OK, so my hubby is NOT a cat person. Given the choice he would have gotten a dog in a heartbeat, but we have a super small backyard and we are constantly moving so he lowered himself to getting another cat. He loved my first cat and Fuji loved him the problem was we couldn't afford to spend $3,000 to bring him to England so he went to live with my parents in Kentucky. He has since become an outdoor cat and I have gone on to have 2 children which he HATES the last time we went to visit my parents he wouldn't even let me touch him. So in Kentucky he stayed and off to the Humane Society we went for a new cat. I brought Bry with me and he picked out a kitten that looks almost identical to Fuji and home we went. That was about 6 months ago and the kitten has NOT endeared herself to Bry, just the opposite in fact. She HATES him! She runs every time he comes in the room, will not let him pet her, and today added insult to injury and PEED on him! LOL! I can not wrap my head around this new insult...there he was peacefully sleeping away and wakes up to realize that the cat has peed on him! OMG I am laughing so hard I am having trouble typing! He woke up long enough to do some very colorful swearing, ripped the sheets off of the bed and got a new blanket and then went back to sleep. I am grateful that she likes me and waited till I was up to pee on him :D I am NOT looking forward to hearing him start bellowing when he wakes up for the day! No chance of getting him to clean out the cat box now! :(

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Feeling MUCH better!

Well after my appointment on Monday I was not feeling to happy about the whole base OB procedures. I really wanted an ultrasound to tame my fears of another miscarriage. After realizing they wouldn't let me have an ultrasound I asked for a HCG level (the level of the baby's hormones in my blood) and they agreed even though it was not something they normally order. I just called and got my HCG levels back and they were 5,502! OMG those are WONDERFUL numbers! Now I am a little more relaxed about not getting an ultrasound or getting to have an appointment in general till 11 weeks. That is defiantly one healthy baby :D

Monday, February 23, 2009

First appointment....blah!

I had my first OB appointment this morning and it was a blah experience to say the least. They did a ton of blood work and took my history and then told me to come back in April! Now if I hadn't just had two miscarriages in the last few months that probably would have been fine, but I just had a miscarriage in January and I am NOT emotionally over it. I just need the reassurance that everything is OK and that the baby is growing and going to stick. No one seems to understand this though. My husband and mother are both of the mindset that what will happen will happen and I just need to relax and let it happen. Why can people not see that that option is the most painful option of all? To let my guard down and then have my heart ripped out again....I honestly don't think that I am strong enough to go through that all over again. By keeping my guard up I know that if I lose the baby it is still going to hurt but maybe just maybe I can shield myself from some of the pain. To start thinking about what this baby is...give him/her a name and start thinking about the nursery and the future and then to have it all ripped away from me while dealing with uncaring and unemotional Dr's I think that might just break me this time around.

I am going to enjoy the next few weeks and try not to think about anything other than the day I am currently in. I will be praying that I make it to April 3rd, but I will defiantly not be taking it as a given that I will ever make that appointment.

Taming my nerves

Tomorrow morning is my appointment with the OB clinic on base and I am working on managing my nerves. I know that I am still pregnant so that is one huge step forward for me. It will be interesting to see what they have to say in the morning. I am hoping that they will give me an ultrasound right away to date the pregnancy since I haven't had a period since this last miscarriage. I think that is what has me so nervous....what if there is something horrible on the ultrasound....this is the farthest I have gotten in a pregnancy since Sara. I am starting to let my guard down and get excited now I am just waiting for the rug to get ripped out from under me. I will let you know as soon as I know anything....lots of good thoughts people!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Maternity Shopping

There was a time not to long ago that when if I was told I needed an entire new wardrobe I would have been ecstatically headed out to the stores with my credit card firmly in my hand. Those days though are so far gone it never occurred to me to do so this time. One would think that since this is my third child I would already have quite the maternity wardrobe already formed, but sadly that is not the case. We recently PCSed from England to Hawaii and we were so worried about our household goods not making weight (especially since they were coming over on a plane and not a ship as usual) that we got rid of anything that we didn't absolutely need. That included all my maternity stuff as well as all the baby stuff Sara had outgrown so that would be from 0-12 mths. To many of you this may sound very extreme but when faced with the possibility of THOUSANDS of dollars in fees we were determined not to go over our weight!

Anyways all this rambling does have a point! Now that I am knocked up again I am faced with the fact that I have NO maternity stuff! So what is a newly frugal mama to do? Hit up eBay of course! I managed to get an entire wardrobe of maternity clothes including several pairs of jeans, shorts, capri's, belly band, dresses, and about 15 shirts for the grand total of $190 and that includes shipping! Now if you add all that up at retail costs of about $20 per item it would have cost me $400 without shipping costs! Not bad if I do say so myself :D

The Good Ideas and the What was I thinking moments

So I have been doing this frugal thing for a few months and I have had some really great finds and some that were a total waste of my time. I thought I would share my experiences so maybe I can save someone from a total waste of time and money.

Great Ideas:
*Homemade Laundry Soap. Cleans just as well as the pre-packaged stuff but for only a few bucks
* Homemade Dishwasher powder. Again works just as well and you can use some of the same stuff that you bought for the laundry soap.
* Homemade All-purpose spray. A little vinegar and water and bam there you go, cuts grease and dirt and is really cheap to make.
*Homemade floor cleaner. I used to buy the Clorox mop refills and that was getting really expensive, instead I use warm water and vinegar in the refill bottle and it works wonders with no vinegar smell.
* Dishrags instead of the Clorox pads on the mop. I just use the big dish towels on my mop, works wonders and since it is just vinegar in the mop no need to worry about washing the cloth with the other clothes.
*No more paper towels. Honestly I though this was going to be harder but I don't even notice there gone now.
*Cutting out all the pre-packaged meals. I thought this one would be harder as well but after the initial shock it was pretty easy to do, especially since there is always leftovers from dinner for lunch.
* Cutting the meat in our meals in half and going veggie a few nights a week. Bry is the only one to complain about this one, but since he isn't here for 75% of the dinners who cares! ;D
* Growing my own veggies. This one is taking FOREVER to come to fruition but when it does it will be wonderful. I plan on canning some of the stuff so that will really help out down the line.

What was I thinking?
* Homemade napkins for the dinning room table. Yeah this one was wonderful in theory but took forever to cut down the cloth and then it wasn't cotton but some other material so it wasn't absorbent at all. BIG waste of time!
*Making my own body care stuff. Again great in theory but all of the ingredients in the book I bought on the topic were really expensive and a royal pain to put together. Just buy the cheap stuff and call it a day.
*Homemade bread for the entire week, even bought a bread maker for this. Um, yeah I don't really have the time for this one....actually I don't think anyone does! I do make all of our specialty breads from scratch (French, pizza dough, etc) but when it comes to sandwiches we buy the cheapest loaf at the store and say good enough!
*Making my own cat litter. It wasn't hard and was almost free since I have tons of free newspapers delivered every week but it was SO time consuming I would have had to make 3-4 batches a week and then let them dry for a week or more before using. OK I love my cat but come on! We are back on the store bought stuff and couldn't be happier.
*Making my own diapers. I love my cloth diapers but making them is a pain in the rear and they were never as absorbent as the pre-made ones, plus after I bought all the stuff and paid for shipping it wasn't any cheaper! No thanks I will just buy mine!

OK so there is my list for now. I will be sure to add some more as we go along, if you have any to add feel free!

Garden Update

On another note my garden is doing really well and I am looking forward to cutting my grocery bill considerably when it is ready for a harvest. I have several cucumbers that are going to be ready really soon, and a TON of blooms. My parsley is actually growing and I have had it for a few weeks and have not managed to kill it yet so that is a good thing! Only one of the zucchini plants made it but it is blooming so that is something. I have 4 bell pepper plants that are still tiny but they are growing and 1 tomato plant that looks like it will start blooming soon. Only 4 onions came up but they are going strong and I am looking forward to harvesting them soon.

I want to replace the lost zucchini and onions but we are waiting till the end of March when we find out if Bry made OTS, if we are going to be moving it is just silly to plant stuff. As it is if he doesn't get the promotion we will be moving anyways to a bigger house since we are having a new baby but the timeframe on that one will depend on how packed the waiting list is.

Feeling Thankful

So I have spent a lot of time recently searching blogs related to family finances to try and get some ideas for how to temper our spending and I have to say that there is some very depressing things out there! I watch the news so I know that massive amounts of people are getting laid off and that there are record numbers of foreclosures I just have no personal experience with it so it is hard to relate to. I am so thankful that both of our jobs are rock solid and we do not have to worry about losing our jobs or our house. The military may be many things and I have had my moments when I wish he would get out and have a "normal" job but I am extremely thankful for it at this time in our economy. A set paycheck that will never go away, a free house, free medical/prescription (even if I do complain about it), free utilities, college funds for our kids (thanks to the Montgomery GI bill being transferable), and an unending supply of military kids for me to watch......yeah this is defiantly the only time since the war started that it pays to be in the military!

I also have to say that I am thankful that we have been slackers and have not invested very much in our retirement fund (TSP). We just upped our allotment to 10% (up from 5%) I figure stocks are cheap right now and we don't make very much to start with so there really isn't much of a risk for us so why not up our investment? I did move 40% to the G bill which is very little risk but left the rest in the L section which has its risk based on the amount of time till retirement, we still have 30yrs so it is a more aggressive fund. Hopefully when the tide starts to turn in the stockmarket we will get a nice little boost :D

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dave Ramsey and going debt free!

So I have decided to start working with the Dave Ramsey Steps for debt reduction. He has these baby steps that if you do them in order you will be out of debt and able to retire before you hit 80, so what the heck here it goes!

Baby step #1: $1,000 to start an emergency fund
OK, so I have over a $1,000 saved in a trip fund but my emergency fund is currently only $ to start funding that again.

Baby step #2: Pay off all debt using the debt snowball
We have already paid off our credit card so that is one thing less on the list. I just went through and added up all of our debt and came to the grand total of $26,230. That includes a car loan, student loans, outstanding balance that student loan didn't cover, and yearly insurance on car and renters insurance. Other than that we are sitting pretty ;D So according to the snowball theory we are supposed to pay off the smallest debt first and then add that payment with the regular payment on the next biggest loan the next month and so on. Following this method we should pay off the insurance, the school bill, the student loan, and then the car loan. I would do this BUT right now I don't owe any interest on the student loan as long as it is paid off before the grace period ends and their is no interest on the insurance or the school bill. So to me it just makes more sense to pay off the student loan first before the interest kicks in then move on to the smaller bills that don't have any interest. So that is the plan, if we stick to the budget the student loan should be paid off in 3-4 months right before the grace period ends!

The rest of these steps will begin one at a time after the debt is paid off.
Baby Step #3: 3-4 months of expenses in savings
Baby Step #4: Invest 15% of household income into TSP
Baby Step #5: College Funding for kids
Baby Step# 6: Pay off home early
**Obviously don't have to worry about this one, I think I will change it to save for a down payment on a house! **
Baby Step #7: Build wealth and give! Invest in mutual funds and real estate

So that is the plan to get debt free, it has worked for so many other people that I am sure we will be there in no time at all! I will be sure to update as the months go by so I can keep track of how well we are doing!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Homeschooling is HARD!

OK, so she won't be 5 till May so it really isn't "homeschooling" yet and she does have ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) so that defiantly makes it harder. We are trying to give her a head start in kindergarten because we know she will need a little bit of a leg up compared to her peers. We are working on the alphabet and I have to say that I have found a new respect for kindergarten teachers! After the 100th time going over the letter A and then asking her what is this letter she looks at me like she has never seen it before and says "I don't know"! AAAHHH! All I could do was lay my head down and try not to cry! Now this is only with saying the letters name, she can point to the letter when I say it and write the letter if she has one to look at but she just can not say the name and it is driving me CRAZY! On the other hand she has her numbers down pat. She knows how to count to 15 and can circle the correct number compared to a picture with varying amounts of animals in it. I just can't wrap my brain around how her thought process works why can she do numbers so easy but letters throw her for a total loop? Please Lord don't let her be dyslexic as well as ASD I don't think that there is a teacher out there who would volunteer for that teaching experience! I have gotten some different homeschooling resources for her that should be here soon, I am hoping that a different approach will work better for her. On the bright side Sara should have one heck of a head start when she gets to kindergarden after hearing me go over and over and OVER the first 4 letters in the alphabet!

On a related note we are considering putting Hailey in a private school when she starts kindergarten, but that is only if we are able to get her a scholorship. Bry thinks it is unreal that we are worrying about a scholorship for our 4 yr old ;D I just think that the classes are so much smaller in private schools and she may have a better chance of keeping up with her peers if she is in a smaller classroom situation. I don't know we shall see how we do on the financial paperwork!

Our Budget Update

I am proud to say that after working VERY hard on our debt and budgeting like a mad woman we are officially out of credit card debt! WOO HOO! Doing a little happy dance over here! :D We still have another 2 months to go on my student loans and about another 12 months on the car loan (which still has another 3yrs before it would be paid if we stuck with the standard payment), but we are well on our way to now owing anyone anything but love :) We have started a savings account for our upcoming trip home in July and will soon be able to pay for the entire trip in cash, that is defiantly the first time that has happened! Plus with the new baby on the way I have worked out the total 1st year expenses and as soon as our trip fund is filled we will be moving the allotment to the baby fund. I have to thank the Duggar family for their very inspiring book that has taught me that it IS possible to live debt free no matter what the situation. If they can do it with 18 kids I can do it with 2! Looking forward to being 100% debt free!!

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