Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Work-life-blog balance?

This adventure in blogging has been interesting thus far, but what I really am struggling with is the whole work-life-Twitter-blog balance. Case in point, at the moment I'm on my 15 minute break, and I'm blogging. I haven't signed on to Twitter since last Thursday or Friday, and I am just now catching up on blog posts made since Thursday. All in 15 minutes.

Maybe I'm trying to be too large-scale in the beginning. Trying to Tweet and blog and then do all the other things in my life simultaneously. I know I could "schedule" 15-20 minutes at night to blog after the kids are in bed and the chores are done, but then it just feels like another chore on the list.

I'm not sure where I want to head with this blog. I like sharing my thoughts/perspectives on parenting... yet at the same time I don't want to feel like a slave to my blog. I have other things going on in life besides it, obviously!

Just something I'm mulling over...

Friday, May 25, 2012

7 Quick Takes: The Virgin Edition


I follow several blogs that participate in 7 Quick Takes (Ahem, Rabbit, Catholic Newlywed, A Mom's Life, etc.) and I thought I'd give it a whirl as well. Woo-hoo to new things!


There is nothing more energizing than a glass of Tropicana orange juice (FROM THE BOX, which is hard to find anymore! We buy it by the case at Costco.) first thing in the morning. It's even better than coffee. I've read that citrus can be very mood-lifting.


Two weeks from today will be Bebe's last day of school. She has an awesome summer schedule filled with YMCA camps like Paint Splat Camp (super soakers + giant bedsheets = FUN!!), Down on the Farm (learning about growing foods, being on a farm, etc.), and of course, swimming. I am a bit jealous.


I miss Brazil. We used to travel there every 12-18 months. We haven't been there since March of 2010. I was looking at old photos and just wishing we could get away. Buying plane tickets for 4 is going to suck, though. We plan to go in 2014 for the World Cup, but I'm hoping we can make it there in 2013, too.


My fingers are really dirty and I can't get them clean. Any tips? Two days ago I was trying to un-clog our garbage disposal. I got out a bunch of gross stuff, and my fingers were covered in black/brown gunk. I have scrubbed with pumice stones, used hot water, tons of soap, etc. But there is STILL dirt in my finger prints, corners of my fingers, etc. I look like I work in a body shop, and I have a wedding to go to tomorrow. HELP?!


On Monday there were 10.5 pounds of strawberries in our fridge. I think we're down to about 6 now. I loooove strawberry season! I can not get enough of those red hearts of deliciousness.


This weekend we're creating our "Summer Bucket List" of things we want to do between Memorial Day and Labor Day. What will be on yours this summer?

HAPPY FRIDAY, and have a safe and fun-filled Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Isn't the saying, "Time flies when you're having fun."??

It's been a week since I last blogged?

"Time flies when you're having fun!" Isn't that the saying?

Time flew this past week. But I wasn't having fun, that's for sure.

I thought getting back into our regular routine after having house guests would be easy. Nope. Bedrooms needed to be re-arranged to their normal setups, catch-up on housework needed to be done, etc.

Friday night I picked up the kids, and we headed to Target to pick up a few items. As we were leaving after school, Bebe complained she was cold (when it was 70 degrees out) and said she felt shaky when we got to Target (she does have issues with low blood sugar at times), so I told her I had a fruit cup she could have while we were shopping. She barely touched it as we walked in, then proceeded to spend 10 minutes in the restroom (but told me twice she was OK). She came out looking pale but said she was OK, just "shaky" so I told her to eat. I lifted her into the cart and realized her sugar might be lower than I thought. So I snagged a sugar packet from the cafe and had her down it while we headed to the cheese section to grab some cheese sticks to "chase" the sugar with. We finished our shopping, and once in the car, she was asleep before we even left the parking lot. Still feeling alarmed that her blood sugar was out of whack, I drove home, got her to walk in the house, took her temp just to see what was up... and it was 101.3.

Her fever lasted ALL WEEKEND LONG. It was between 101 and 103 all weekend. She had no other symptoms of being sick at all. But the weekend was such a battle because Bebe *hates* taking medicine. So every 2tsp dose of ibuprofen came with a battle. It was exhausting. :/

Monday morning came around and she was still feverish, so D took her to the pediatrician. The verdict? Strep throat. Bless his heart, it took D TWO HOURS of arguing/fighting with Bebe to get her to take her antibiotic. And it wasn't easy. In the end it was my threat that she had 10 minutes to take it or D would take her to the hospital for a Rocephin shot that prompted her to do it. Oh boy. And then she said it didn't taste too bad, apologized to D, thanked him for staying home with her, and started looking up "bacteria" and "antibiotic" in the dictionary.

Between my parents' visit, and then this, and Dois getting his 2 bottom molars, we have not had a single night of straight-through sleep in about 3 weeks. Both D and I are completely and totally wiped. So give me a few more days to sleep and revive my wit and wisdom and I'll be back on track... (I hope.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Just one of 'dem days...

Today was just NOT my day.

I found out my parents missed their connection flight home. I got to work late (AGAIN). Five minutes after I got to work, I got a talking-to about errors I missed (later in the day I would find out that this wasn't my fault, but still, it didn't make things better). I was in a cranky mood by that point, which meant bickering with D. Sometimes I wish he'd ignore me when I'm in a mood (although, granted, that might make me angrier!) but instead we went back-and-forth 10 or 15 times. I picked up Bebe from the Y after picking up Dois, and her face had evident of chocolate on it. Turns out she had chocolate pudding for a snack. Bebe is HFCS and dye-free... and we don't let her eat chocolate much at all lately. We keep a snack box at the Y that she is supposed to choose from, but she didn't. So I'm like, oh great, this is going to be a funnnnn night. (Usually it means she's emotional, wired, can't sleep, etc.)

Then on the way home my kids decided to do their own personal version of the "Charlie Bit Me" video that went viral a few months ago. Sitting next to each other in the car, Bebe "was touching Dois' nose" (according to her) and he bit her. HARD. So then she starts freaking out and crying hysterically because it hurts and it might be bleeding and she hates seeing blood, and then DOIS starts freaking out and crying hysterically because SHE is...

And at that point I'm remembering the "Calgon, take me away!!" commercials from my youth.

I guess the evening wasn't TOO awful, although Bebe did go to bed later than normal.

I sure hope tomorrow is better, though. I'm exhausted!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Countdown to summer...

As I mentioned a week or so ago, there was standardized testing going on in Bebe's classroom. All year they had been talked about, prepared for... there was a lot of anticipation about testing. And now? It's over. But SCHOOL isn't over. There's 4 weeks left.

I don't know what they're doing in class, but it seems to be lacking in momentum, and Bebe is getting bored. And when Bebe is getting bored, she wants OUT. Last week and then again yesterday, we had phone calls from school about "stomachaches" and "headaches." Yes, I use quotes, because they were NOT real.

Yesterday, her complaining caused school to finally call and say "COME GET HER." And wouldn't you believe it? She was "magically" better when I picked her up! She saw how angry/upset I was about having to leave my job and come get her, and instantly said, "I'll go back!"

We got home, and I had her go in her room, stripped her bed of all her toys and left only her pillow, and she laid there for 45 minutes. I went in and we talked, then I allowed her to have a book. She read an entire Magic Tree House book in the next 30 minutes, then asked for a snack. We talked more over her snack, and I decided that we needed to move past it--she understood that she needed to stop doing this, how her leaving school affected our entire family (with us losing vacation time for the summer, etc.), and what good would it do to harp on it for the rest of the night?

So we sat down with some paper and scissors and made a countdown to summer chain for her to be able to see the days slip away. Pretty soon summer will be here, and it will be filled with fun Y camps that she adores. I know *I* am looking forward to summer, too. No more homework so that our nights can be occupied with playing and crafts and other fun stuff. I know, I sound just like a kid, but homework means that our nights are pretty much come home-homework-make dinner-eat dinner-bath (or brief play time or homework if it didn't get done before dinner)-bed.

Thankfully, this week Bebe's homework is something I can live with--to log the # of minutes she spends playing OUTSIDE! Yippee!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Mother's Joy

As I mentioned yesterday, we had two things to celebrate--Bebe's First Holy Communion, and Mother's Day. We made an effort to separate the two occasions so that we could enjoy the sacramental rite of passage for Bebe, and also celebrate that which is known as "motherhood."

The morning was a flurry of activity as we prepared for First Communion. The hair, the dress, the tights, the shoes, everything had to be on and in order by 8:15, to be to church by 8:30. Bebe is not a morning person, nor is she one to sit still... so it was definitely an adventure to get ready so quickly! The Mass was beautiful, both kiddos were so well-behaved. Besides my parents being here from the West Coast, D's sister and her boyfriend, and D's aunt and uncle attended as well. It was nice to have a little group of attendees for Bebe's special day. After post-celebration photos, we headed home for some breakfast treats and gift-opening. Of course, her favorite gifts were the cash ones. She's saving for an iPad so she can play "Angry Birds" and "Fruit Ninja". Oh brother. Only $463 more to go!

Then we packed up a picnic lunch and headed to a local park to barbecue. Dois proved to be quite an adventurer on the new-to-him playground, eagerly climbing up stairs, crawling across a bridge, then butt-scooting his way to the top of the slide. At the top he would shout and clap excitedly, before scooting himself far enough that he slid down. He'd stand up, run to the stairs, and repeat. We dined on hot dogs and burgers grilled by D (a typical "American fare" barbecue, which is unusual for us--usually we barbecue Brazilian-style), and then the breeze got to be too much for us (it blew over several plates of hot dogs and chips!) so we headed home. Over a dessert table fit for royalty, gifts were exchanged. D got me a Kindle Fire from the kiddos! (Of course, Bebe started asking me ASAP when SHE could play it.) I have heard about it but have no clue what to do with it. I'm sure it comes with a learning curve.

All in all it was a GREAT but busy day. It was nice to spend Mother's Day with my mom AND my kiddos all together.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to any readers I might have out there who are moms!

As we get ready to celebrate Bebe's First Holy Communion and then follow it with a barbecue at a local park, here I am sitting at my computer writing my very own Mother's Day confessional. I am not a perfect mom, and I am going to list the Top 10 reasons why. (If you have pearls, go get them, so you can gasp and clutch them at any moment. And if you don't have pearls, a necklace made of cereal and strings will do!)

10) I hate playing Littlest Pet Shop, Squinkies, Little People, etc. Somewhere in the last few years my imagination apparently died. Because when I sit down to play these things, I'm immensely bored.

9) My children are very familiar with quick go-to meals like boxed mac 'n cheese, chicken nuggets, and pot pies.

8) I've hit my children before. Yes, I have, out of frustration and anger. And I regret doing so, because that's the type of house *I* grew up in. But apologies and lessons learned always followed.

7) Bebe only drinks chocolate milk. Yup, she hates all other beverages. And I hate that she only drinks chocolate milk.

6) I feed my children food I don't eat. OK, some of this, I have a reason for. I'm allergic to it (OK to MANY different things). But there are some things I CAN eat, I just choose NOT to, and yet I make THEM eat it. Before my food allergies developed (as a teen/in adulthood), I was a picky eater. My allergies initially made me pickier, but in recent years I've broadened my palate. I give them a lot of foods to try because I don't want them to be picky like I was.

5) I never finished Bebe's baby book, and Dois' has never been taken out of its box.

4) I raise my voice a lot. Sometimes, I feel like it's the ONLY way Bebe will listen to me. Our personalities are so different, and I often take things personal. I'm working on it, but I yell a lot more than I'd like to.

3) There are times when I just want to run away. To a very, very far corner of the earth where I can just cover my ears and rock back and forth for a while.

2) My kids get way too much "screen time." I think this is one of the trade-offs for me working full-time and D working 2 jobs. The screens are definitely babysitters while I get normal day-to-day stuff done.

1) I'm human. Yup, not a robot, so I'm going to make mistakes here and there. Hopefully (at least so far it's been true) the kids will continue to love me and we'll keep growing together. Life is just one big learning experience after all, isn't it?

Friday, May 11, 2012

When man plans...

Have you ever heard the saying, "When man plans, God laughs."? Someone told me that years ago, and whenever something I plan goes wrong, I hear this statement over and over in my mind.

Yesterday there was a plan. Bebe had rehearsal for her First Communion, and then I was taking the kids and my parents (here for the aforementioned First Communion) to the portrait studio for a sitting. You see, when Dois was 6 months old their other grandmother visited us and we had pictures taken with HER. I had this GREAT idea to do a similar picture/pose with my parents so that we could put them side-by-side in a frame. Yeah, I know, all too picturesque.

So we hop in the car and head to the portrait studio. We didn't have time for dinner but I made my best effort to have them filled with snacks to buy us time before dinner. We got there, dressed, and when the photographer starts to set up the shot, Dois FLIPS OUT. He doesn't want to be touched, looked at, or even talked about. Complete and total meltdown mode! I tried to suggest other poses or setups that involved him just standing nearby, but yeah, wasn't happening. So that was plan #1 that God laughed at (and we rescheduled for tomorrow--let's hope it goes better, because they leave on Tuesday!).

Today there was a plan. I only had one day of vacation to use for the entire week my parents are here. I decided that I would take today (Friday) as my day off. Monday was the other option, but I don't recall why I opted for today. Anyway, the plan was to send the kids off to school/daycare until 2pm so that I could do some very important errands to prepare for this weekend. Then I would pick them up and we'd all go somewhere fun for the afternoon/evening. Bowling, mini-golf, whatever.

At 6am this morning, Dois woke up and was making noises. Bebe, sharing a room with him temporarily for the week, woke up. Over the monitor I heard her tell him, "Shhhh Dois, Sissy is just going to tell Mommy and Daddy that she doesn't feel well." Oh boy. She tip-toes into our room and I notice she has a fever. Sick child #1. Then I go see our screaming banshee of a child named Dois, and he's got boogers plastered ALL OVER his face. Sick child #2. Then my parents get up and my dad's nose is running, his eyes are glassy, etc. Sick child #3. (Yes I know he's a grown up but the way he acted all day makes him a child.)

So we all stayed home. ALL. DAY. LONG.

I hope God's enjoying this one, because I sure didn't. I am bored out of my mind. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. I'm not up for anymore laughter.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Time, why you punish me?

(Credit, Time Magazine)

We've seen it. We've heard about it. And thousands of bloggers are blogging about it. And yup, I'm joining them. 

It's the "mommy wars" that brought me to start this blog at all. "I did xyz and you do abc so I'm better than you..." Working vs. staying at home. Cloth diapering vs. disposables. Organic clothing vs. thrift store sales. Homemade babyfood vs. baby-led weaning vs. jarred food. The list goes on, and on, and on.

Time Magazine decided to celebrate Mother's Day by bringing to the forefront such "Mommy wars." Gee, thanks, Time. Like we don't already know it. Like we don't already feel the competition between ourselves as individuals and other mothers. As if we're not aware that there are so many different paths to choose when it comes to this thing called "parenthood." Then we have to add in various pressures and directions that we receive from religious institutions, the media, politics, etc. on top of it all.

Like others, I haven't read the article (but I will!). But let's just discuss this cover, which Time obviously created for the shock value. I already have friends talking about buying this magazine when it hits the stands despite not usually being Time readers... the cover is doing exactly what Time wants it to--drawing people in.

"Are you Mom enough?" Seriously? We all don't make the same choices, and whether or not you've birthed a child in your heart or from your body, I'd say that 99% of mothers out there ARE "Mom Enough". Yes, I think there is a scant 1% of women who are mothers who AREN'T "Mom Enough"... and that percentage is reserved for those who do horrendous things to their children (and let's not say "horrendous" is debatable here, we all know purely evil, intentional acts when we hear of them). 

You see the text under the heading mention attachment parenting, and then you view an older child (sources say he was almost 4 here) attached to his mother's breast. Yet, look at her pose, as well as his. It's unnatural. Attachment parenting (and I can say this as someone who does follow many AP practices and has never read a Dr. Sears book) is about connection and bonding. And well, they look very awkward and posed. Many people single out "attached parents" as freaks, and I feel like this picture accents that instead of showing typical breastfeeding of an older child. No, it doesn't look like this at all.

I love how Dr. Sears is the "guru" of Attachment Parenting. Really? He wrote books about it but he sure as heck didn't invent it! It was around for centuries before him and will survive centuries after, even if the term itself dies out. 

With Bebe I exclusively breastfed, I worked at jobs where I could keep her with me until she was 2, and we bed-shared until she was 3 or 4 (at least part of the night). I knew very little about babywearing, we used a stroller with her until she was 5 (obviously at that age it was more for places like Disney, but she was in a stroller a lot until 3.5), etc. We used disposable diapers and she didn't potty train until she was 3 years, 9 months old. She had a pacifier until she was 6 months and then she rejected them. We fed her jarred baby food before moving to table food at 1 year old.

With Dois he was breastfed (with MANY issues) until 6 months, when we moved to formula-feeding. I went back to work when he was 16 weeks old. We set up his crib sidecarred to our bed but he wanted nothing to do with co-sleeping at all. He still doesn't at 17 months. But we babywear him more than we did with Bebe (although he is quite heftier) and I find us using our stroller less. We cloth diaper him, and he's addicted to his pacifiers. We never really used jarred foods and followed baby-led weaning instead this go-around.

So tell me, Time, which child was I "mom enough" to? Because both of them I parented in the EXACT SAME WAY (yes, even looking at those lists of all the differences). I parented them using INSTINCT and following THEIR CUES. At work I was trained about how to work with people of different work ethics/work styles. Shouldn't the same principles apply to dealing with children?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

For the love of houseguests.

My parents arrived yesterday from the East Coast. Bebe was excited to see them, while Dois was completely clueless (we last saw them when he was 3 months old). We Skype with them occasionally, but having them there in-person is a lot different. When we walked in the house, Dois was stand-offish, but after handing my dad his favorite snack (a cracker) and my mom his favorite toy, it didn't take much to get him to approach them to claim the goods. :-)

We enjoyed a really nice sit-down dinner (a rarity for us, sadly) prepared by D. Bebe chatted up a storm, Dois played silly with his Papa, and after putting Dois to bed the rest of us sat down for a game of Apples to Apples Jr.

It was a really, really nice night.

This morning, though, things were very off. Dois woke up at 5:45am and cried (usually he talks and then falls back to sleep). D tried to go and comfort him, but he was up for the morning. When my parents woke up, he greeted them happily, but the rest of the morning Dois seemed annoyed by their presence. They couldn't look at him without making him mad or upset. It was very... odd. I'm sure it's going to take getting used to--two extra people around. And just when he's used to it, they'll board a plane and go home.

If my posts are more scattered in the next few days, that's why. I'm juggling work, the kids, and everything we usually do, PLUS my parents being here, PLUS Bebe's First Communion is Sunday (and it's Mother's Day).

Monday, May 7, 2012

A sign of the times.

When Bebe was little, Baby Einstein was the "in" thing. She was around 2 when we bought her Baby Wordsworth, and I remember being amazed as she picked up some signs from it. So I knew when I got pregnant with Dois that I wanted to use sign language with him from an earlier age. Not knowing much sign language myself, I did some research and finally decided on the Baby Signing Time series.

When he was 6 months old we started putting on the first video "every now and then", and probably around 9 months he started watching it once per day (I tended to put it on while getting ready for work). At 17 months, we've "graduated" to more than just the first DVD (we have been watching 1 & 2 for months, so I recently purchased 3 & 4), but this past weekend I suddenly became aware of how frequently Dois is using the signs he's learning.

Just a few examples:
  • When I told him it was time to put his socks on, he signed "socks."
  • When he saw the bag of groceries my husband just brought home, he signed "banana."
  • When he comes into the kitchen whining because he's hungry, he signs "cracker" or "milk" depending on what he wants.
  • After hitting his big sister, I told him to be nice, to which he signed "nice" in reply.
  • We saw a dog at a community safety fair on Saturday, and he immediately started signing "dog."
  • We went on a carousel ride yesterday, and he was signing "horse" the entire time we were in line for the carousel.
  • On Friday he heard a bird on the way into daycare, and signed "bird."
It's really, really cool!

I'm hoping that providing him with a new means of communicating besides words, that it will help him to express to us what he needs/wants... and avoid a few (notice I didn't say all!) meltdowns here and there.

Just for fun, a list of the signs he uses consistently:
All Done
Wash hands

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Teaching moments.

Bebe was bored this afternoon, and knowing that her closest neighbor/friend was gone, she asked if she could go play with the girl across the street, K. Now, they used to play together quite a bit, but they bickered constantly, and it got to the point where we just stopped encouraging them to play together. Their personalities just clashed too much.

Needing to get a lot done in the house to prepare for my parents' visit this week, we agreed. She went over to K's house for a bit, and then they came over to our house.

One of the main issues we had with K playing at our house was that as soon as something happened that she didn't like, she'd run. As in, just walk out, with no notice and go home. Which was a concern, of course, because she's only 6 and she has to cross the street with no one watching.

This afternoon things were going smoothly until, while playing Monopoly, apparently Bebe said something like "Haha, I got $10" and K decided she was done. Thankfully, we were all upstairs and the gate was closed so she wasn't able to make a break for it. I asked her, "K, where are you going?" and she said, "Bebe said, 'Haha, I got $10.'" I explained to her that instead of running away when her feelings are hurt, it's better to tell the person how you're feeling. I instructed her to go back to Bebe and say, "I feel this way because you said..." And she did. And Bebe apologized, and you could tell, she really was sorry and she hadn't thought her statement had hurt K's feelings. They went on to play for another 20 minutes before K's mom came over to get her. I'm just so glad I was there to have a "teaching moment" with both girls.

Friday, May 4, 2012

All's fair in love and workouts....

Dois hates our gym childcare with a passion. The tears start as soon as I start turning the doorknob to go in. I confess, it's gotten to the point where I've given up trying.
But this week I've felt like a blob and really wanted to get a workout in, so I decided to give the gym childcare another try. He walked in hesitantly with me, cried whenever a worker approached him, but also found some toys that interested him and got to work. Bebe sat down with him and I was able to sneak out so easily that it surprised me.

10 minutes on the elliptical and suddenly I hear,
"Anne to child care. Anne to child care, please."

I got off the elliptical and walked down the hall thinking, "I knew that was too good to be true." As I opened the childcare door, I was completely confused, as Dois was standing there in the middle of the room not crying at all. I walked in, puzzled, and the worker closest to me says, "He pooped." Well, of course he did. His stealth attempt to sabotage my workout... but I would not be defeated! I changed him quickly, shushed his whimpers as I sent him back to play, and went back to work out.

The rest of the night went surprisingly well. I don't know what changed. It was MUCH quieter/calmer at the childcare yesterday. Or is it just that he's gotten older/more mature?

Who knows. Whatever it was, I'm glad I got a workout in... although how my legs feel today are a reminder that I should be doing so more often.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The descending of the parentals...

Our house is abuzz as we prepare for my parents to arrive on Tuesday. I've got a list a mile long of things to do before they arrive (the biggest one being that we are moving Dois to Bebe's room on Saturday, since my parents will be Dois' room for their stay).

Last night when I talked to them, my dad asked to talk to Bebe. They wound up talking for about 10 minutes, which surprised me (usually she's not a huge fan of talking on the phone). We last saw them over a year ago. I'm really excited for them to see the kids again, and for me to see how the kids interact with them.

The sucky part is that I have to work the entire time. I'm not sure I can get a single day off. :( I have to save my vacation hours for this summer, because we rented a cabin for a week in July.

Oh well, it will be nice to have them here. They'll be here for Mother's Day (which is also Bebe's First Communion), and we're planning on having a barbecue. Can't wait for that!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Whatever works... with money.

I may have mentioned in passing that D works 2 jobs. He has your typical 8-to-5 (1 hour lunch) day job, and then he works a night job 4 nights per week. With one child in daycare and another in after school, our day jobs alone don't make enough for us to pay the bills (including child care). If I were to become a stay-at-home mom (something I would love to do but don't see happening anytime soon), he would have to work both jobs for me to do so. And we'd be living paycheck to paycheck, with very little savings. I've been in the midst of arguments before (with others, not D) about how you can never get back these years, you can't put a price tag on quality time, etc. What people don't realize is that we KNOW these things. And it's not like we haven't questioned our lives, where we live (which has a high cost-of-living and is very far from all family), etc. We've done plenty of that. But in the end we come around full-circle. We realize that while it feels like we've been doing this for eternity (that is, D working 2 jobs and me working 1), we know that in the grand scheme of things it's only temporary. It's not going to be forever.

We don't usually track our expenses, and we don't have a budget. Every month we're able to put money into savings at the end of the month, so that's all we cared about. As we've been talking more and more about buying a home, we decided "just for fun" to track our expenses for a few months. We started in April, and yesterday I was REALLY excited to take a look at our budget and see how we did. We went quite a bit over what we budgeted for gas and groceries, but that was because we actually had no idea what we spent. The best surprise, though, was seeing that D brings home a considerable amount more per month from job #2 than we had figured.

So if we make an effort to live more frugally (it's not like we're big spenders at all--we cloth diaper, don't purchase many paper/disposable products, rarely eat out, etc.) then we can manage for D to drop a shift or two at his second job and still be able to save quite a bit monthly... while getting in some extra "daddy time."

It was very eye-opening and in a way very liberating to see what was happening down to the last cent. I'm curious what May will look like!