Where's Margie's Money?


2012, you are kind of sucking

It’s only Feb. 17 and I’m already ready to write this year off.  2012 – you aren’t doing us any favors!  First, my DH tore his Achille’s Heel tendon while rounding 2nd base during his team’s league championship game (their team won but unfortunately all the hubby got was a trip to urgent care).  He’s FINALLY in a walking boot but still uses crutches and truly isn’t able-bodied enough to help tote heavy objects around (including our 16 lb munchkin).

But finally, on Monday, he went back to work after being off just over a month.  He’s sitting at a desk doing paperwork which isn’t fun but it’s better than sitting on the sofa having staring contests with the cat.

Bear always wins staring contests.

 Anyway, Wednesday on his commute into work he got into a car accident.  He is FINE and so is the Cadillac Escalade that he hit (barely a scratch, DH said!) but our beloved Bubbles 2 got the short end of the stick:

Near the scene of the crash: the bumper got crushed and there was some liquid dripping out. :(Thank goodness for insurance! I asked DH what happened because this is SO unlike him - in the 14 years that I've known him, he's been "I'm Mr. Perfect Driving Record LaLaLa" (annoying). He said it happened in slow motion: he tried to brake but the road was slippery from rain - the car slid and he just had this awful "knowingness" of what was about to happen. Bubbles 2 getting towed away. This photo makes me sad.

 So, the $500 copayment has been made, Bubbles 2 is in the shop and DH is now driving a rental Mustang which is pretty hilarious because he’s really not a Mustang kind of guy – but it’s better than nothing!  And we can all count our blessings that it wasn’t worse.

In other Friday news:

  • I’m resisting my urge to splurge on Jimmy Choo perfume. (It smells fanFREAKINGtastic).  Don’t worry, I won’t do it.  But the thought did cross my mind!
  • My little one has become a butt scooter!  Last night she started bouncing up and down on her bottom while doing this sort of scissor kick move with her legs outstretched in front of her in order to propel herself forward toward a favorite toy.  It’s pretty freaking cute. 
  • AND! She slept until 1:30 a.m. in her own crib.  This is major.
  • Also, new research that shows high levels of arsenic in organic baby formula makes me so, so, SO happy that I’m still breastfeeding/pumping.  It’s a MAJOR pain in the nip but the peace of mind is worth it.  Seriously.
  • My brother is visiting this weekend – his flight comes in at 10:30 tonight.  Since I usually don’t stay up that late (I’m an old and tired) I think I’ll try my hand at making homemade bread.  Three weeks ago I successfully made white bread. Two weeks ago I unsuccessfully made an AWFUL tasting wheat bread.  Tonight, I think I’ll give this recipe a shot.

Happy weekend!

 

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Hello out there?!

Oh man, what a crazy 5 – almost 6 – months its been.  I’ve been wanting to come back to the blog world for awhile but life has been cray-ZEE.

My last 6 months in a nutshell:

  • Returned to work full-time after a glorious 13 week maternity leave at the beginning of November.
  • Struggled with adjusting to my new reality and multiple rolls as mother, career-woman and wife.
  • Struggled with my baby adjusting to daycare -working mother’s guilt set in.
  • Moved to a larger (and more expensive) apartment in mid November.
  • The holidays brought a whirlwind of friends and family into town to visit and meet the little one.
  • In January I turned 32 (ah!).
  • The Monday after my b-day, my husband tore his Achille’s heel tendon while playing softball in a work league.
  • For the last four weeks, hubby has been hobbling around the house with a cast and crutches (he had elective surgery mid-January). 
  • With a new baby, a career and an injured out-of-comission husband, I found myself absolutely frazzeled.
  • Last week, husband got his cast off and now he’s in a walking boot – he’s learning to walk again but still using crutches.  This means I’m still shouldering his side of the household duties like grocery shopping, meal preparing, cleaning, and all of the baby-care because he still can’t do much. 

So, yeah, it’s been crazy.  And my little sugar plum?  She’s not exactly cooperating with the whole sleeping through the night thing. AND I’m still breastfeeding – which is something that I’ve happily committed myself to until she’s at least one.  This requires pumping at work 3 times a day (when possible – sometimes only 2).  Thankfully she now takes the bottle while at daycare (but what a stressful process THAT was!).

Finance-wise I have not made any true progress.  Looking at my numbers posted to the left back in August shows me that I’ve actually backslid about $80 in debt.  I have definitely lost a bit of my focus.  But I want it back! 

So, people, I’m making it a goal to participate weekly in MPP’s weekly finance check-ups and to blog AT LEAST one other time during the week.  I’m pretty sure I can do that.  Also, I’m going to attempt to get back into commenting.  For the most part I’ve kept up with everyone!

Yay, it’s good to be back!

Here’s a recent photo of my little pumpkin pants:

She's a cutie!


Baby is napping

Oh. My. Goodness.  The angel is actually taking a nap and, for the THIRD time today, the nap doesn’t involve sleeping on my chest or in my arms.

She’s 6 weeks old now!  And I’d love to say that it’s gotten easier but it really hasn’t.  Sleep still is sporadic.  Sometimes she goes a solid 3-4 hours at a time.  Other nights we are up every 1.5 to 2 hours.

The last few days I’ve been trying to get her into the habit of napping during the day by herself.  Every time I’d put her down she’d fuss and cry until I picked her up again.  Today, it’s finally working! It still takes quite a bit of rocking and soothing, but once she’s asleep she’s stays asleep.  As soon as we have this down for a few days (knock on wood!) I’m going to start trying to get her to sleep in her bassinet instead of sleep-sharing with us in bed.

We found out last week that Baby has a spot at our number one choice day care. This center is actually located at my work which means that I can see her on my lunch break.  However, it’s also the most expensive: nearly $1,400 per month.  A week from Monday we have a meeting with the person in charge of the infant room to discuss everything we need to know and have our questions answered.

I still have another 6 weeks of maternity leave and I’m dreading going back to work.  It’s not that I want to stay home – because I don’t.  I actually miss my job and my co-workers!  But I will miss being away from her and I worry about her making the adjustment.  I know it will be ok and I’m so grateful  that she’ll be so close – just on the other side of campus – but still . . . it’ll be hard for the first few weeks.

DH goes back to work in 2 weeks.  It’s been so awesome to have him home with me! In fact, I think if we could afford it – we’d have him home all the time.  He’d love being a house husband – cooking and cleaning is totally his thing and he’s really good at it.  Who knows, perhaps we’ll get our wish.  I get the impression that DH’s company isn’t doing too well so we’ll see what happens.

Fiscally, I dropped a lot of money on my friend C’s bachelorette party.  I ended up going for only a few hours because AJ isn’t weaned onto the bottle yet but since I organized it I felt like I had to  at least make an appearance.  I estimate I spent about $300 when taking into account alcohol for the girls, my portion of the dinner, the hotel room, and appetizers and drinks.  One of the girls (that I don’t really know very well – one of C’s former co-workers) hasn’t paid me her share of the hotel ($80) and I’m debating whether or not I should approach her about it. The reason I’m considering not saying anything is that she got us a major discount on the dinner at a fancy steakhouse because she works there. I’m kind of hoping she just forgot about it and will remember when she gets back from her vacation to Italy.  Yes, Italy.  I might be jealous.

Okay, well AJ is waking up so I have to go!

 

 

 


A quick hello

I haven’t abandoned my blog!  It’s been an amazing 4.5 weeks – can’t believe it’s already been one full month since my little girl entered my world.  Ever since then life has been turned upside down but in a VERY good way.

“Hi, my name is AJ – and my mom put this sh*t on my head to commemorate my one month birthday.”

From a financial perspective, I haven’t spent much money since she was born . . . unless you take into account the $900 I spent (well, WE spent – DH and I) on newborn photos. 

Also, I paid the entire month’s rent ($1,500) because DH hasn’t received his first FMLA payment yet and it’s been 4 weeks . . . and I think it’s my fault (I’m afraid I filled in a bubble wrong on the form). So even though he has written me a check for his share and INSISTS that I deposit it, I am equally determined NOT deposit his money into my account until he gets his money.

Next weekend is my friend C’s bachelorette party which I’m hosting as MOH.  I put the hotel room (that I’m not staying at because HELLO I’ve got an almost 5-week-old that is still breastfeeding!) on my credit card (I KNOW) and while I’ve paid off my share of the bill I’m waiting for the three other girls to reimburse me. 

Oh, and I bought $150 worth of clothes online from Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic. . . some of it might get returned since my body is not the wonderland it was pre-pregnancy (I’m an entire size larger now and clothes just don’t fit the same thanks to the enormous boobs and new mom hips/tummy pooch) but I needed SOMETHING to wear that didn’t have elastic sewn into the waistband.  Hopefully these will just be transitional clothes until I can get my old body back (please, don’t burst my bubble).

Okay, so I guess I HAVE spent money in the past month – it’s just on different stuff because I haven’t entered a grocery store in forever and I drove my car for the first time today.

My goodness, I am SO behind in my blogs.  My google reader says that I have 1,000 + blogs to read. It’s so overwhelming I’m tempted to reset it all to zero and start again but I know I won’t do that.  So, I’m not commenting much but definitely know I’m reading (as I can) and that I hope to be back on a more regular basis again one day soon!

 

 

 


She’s here!!

Baby AJ arrived 10 days ago on August 11 (8 lb, 6 oz, 21.5 inches long)!  She is the sweetest little baby ever and I fell instantly head over heels in love. 

Here’s a glimpse of the preciousness!:

She looks A LOT like her daddy (he’s Samoan).

I think the long walk the day before is what kicked my body into gear!  But even so, labor lasted 18 hours and the only way I can describe it is “intense.” The day began at 3:30 a.m. when my water broke (I didn’t end up needing the 2nd acupuncture appointment after all!) and ended at 11:43 p.m. But those 18 hours went by relatively quickly (I truly lost a sense of time as I focused on breathing through contractions with the support of DH – he was an amazing birth partner!).  I remember at one point (I think I was going through transition) saying to DH that I was NEVER going to do this again!  But as soon as she was born all of that pain went away and all I knew was the absolutely joy of holding her.  When she was placed on my chest for the first time just seconds after her birth, both DH and I cried tears of joy!  I remember thinking in those first few moments, “I can’t believe we ever lived without her – I feel so complete.”

The last week and a half have been an absolute whirl wind as DH and I have adjusted to our new role as parents.  We sleep when we can and spend the rest of the time feeding, changing, burping, and snuggling her – I love tummy time with her against my chest.  I can spend hours just sitting on the sofa just watching her and admiring her tiny, perfect features.

Can you tell I’m smitten?

From a personal finance perspective, I’ve barely spent any money at all.  About $20 on items from the pharmacy for me, $9 on dinner one night, $11.46 on frozen yogurt (our first trip out of the house just the three of us), and $58 on Amazon.com on some breastfeeding related items.  I haven’t moved my car once in the last 10 days and I don’t foresee driving for at least another week so gas is going to be a super low expense this month.

Finally, I thought I’d share what baby items I’ve found to be absolutely awesome and what items I bought that I haven’t gotten any use out of as of yet.

What’s in:

Sleepers/jammies that zip up rather than button up (baby hates to be changes and gets super squirmy/fussy.  It’s SO much faster to zip her up rather than fiddle with all the buttons.  I only have two sets of jams that zip up and when they are clean they are my favorites!

Swaddleme blankets!  These are basically little sacks with flaps that you wrap around baby to secure her arms to her sides. AJ can break out of the tightest swaddles with the standard receiving blankets but these wrap her up so snug that she can’t break free.  Swaddling is one of the 5 S’s recommended in The Happiest Baby on the Block – the BEST baby book I read during my pregnancy.  During the day she sleeps unswaddled so she can exercise her little arms and legs but at night when she gets fussy we’ll wrap her up in one of these and she falls asleep – and STAYS asleep – much better.

What’s out:

The Boppy

My Brestfriend Pillow

Breastfeeding pillows – both the Boppy AND the My BrestFriend (worst name EVER for a product, BTW).  I bought the Boppy and was given the MBF but haven’t found either to be very comfortable.  Instead I’ve been using just a plain old bed pillow covered in a blanket! Maybe when she gets bigger these will get used, particularly the Boppy as it can be used for tummy time but I dunno.

I have SO many blogs to catch up – slowly I’ll be making my way through my blogroll!  Thanks for hanging with me during my hiatus.  I know my postings will be more sporadic for a while but I’ll definitely try to check in at least once a week.


Still here – no baby…

Sorry if this blog has become a bit too baby centric – it’s just what’s on my mind these days!  I can’t help it!

Another day has gone by – another day without baby.  Today I was on a mission to move my body as much as possible as the doula that taught our childbirth class said labor progresses much faster when the mom has the ability to get up and walk.  So I went on a TWO hour walk on the beach today and estimate that I went about 2 – 2.5 miles (I was walking VERY slow).  I don’t know if it helped physically but it definitely made a difference mentally.  I went to bed yesterday feeling discouraged.  Today I feel like she’ll be here soon – I just have to stay positive.

I’ve been debating whether or not to go back to the acupuncturist tomorrow at a cost of $80 (first session on Monday was $120 but every session there after is $80).  DH is fairly skeptical of non-western medicine and thinks it’s a waste of money but I stand by my first experience earlier this week and the light contractions I was feeling while on the table…unfortunately those contractions were gone by the following day.  After some thought I’ve decided to give it another try and, I admit, it’s partly an emotional decision.

I think I may have mentioned that if I don’t go into labor by this Monday I will be induced per the policy of my health care provider (the don’t let women go past 41 weeks).  I am really attached to the idea of having a natural birth – intervention and drug free – and I’m so scared that the induction will start a slippery slope of drugs and more drugs . . . and that I may even end up with a c-section.

Now I KNOW that if that’s the case it won’t be the end of the world.  Truly my number once goal is to have a healthy baby in my arms at the end of the day.  But, if I were queen of the world and could control everything under the sun, I would go into labor on my own and have a positive natural experience. 

I’ve considered what would happen and how I would feel if I skipped the second acupuncture treatment and ended up being induced.  I think I would wonder if I should have just done it, I would question if it would have made a difference.  I want to be able to know that I’ve tried EVERYTHING in my power to  have a natural birth and THAT’S why I’m dropping $80 (for a total of $200 this month) on acupuncture.  DH thinks I’m a little nuts but he’s supportive. He knows how important this is to me.

So, tomorrow in the morning I’m headed back to the medical center to have a non stress test.  At 1 p.m. I’ll go for my acupuncture appointment . . . and I hope hope hope that I’ll feel a difference!  Fingers and toes crossed!


Weekly Money Update and Musings from a Past-Due Pregnant Lady

It’s August 9 which means I’m officially past my due date.  While I didn’t expect that she would actually arrive on August 8 as so few babies are born on their estimated due date, I do have to admit that I’m ready for this baby!

Yesterday was a bit of an expensive day. I got my hair highlighted ($115 including tip) and then had an acupuncture appointment ($120).  I consider both to be worth it! 

This was my second acupuncture treatment – the first time I went was several years ago.  I didn’t feel the needles at all (they are so thin – maybe the width of a piece of hair) and almost IMMEDIATELY I started feeling contractions.  I definitely think it jump started something because last night I woke up to more contractions but nothing so strong or intense that it indicated that I actually was in labor. 

Today I have an appointment with my nurse/midwife and I’m certain that we’ll see some progress from last week in terms of dilation/effacement.  While I’m not looking forward to the exam itself (OUCH!) I’m hoping that another membrane sweep will push me over the edge.  I want to meet my little girl!

In the meantime, I’m drinking red raspberry leaf tea, taking evening primrose oil, and having a glass of pineapple juice every few hours.  These are some of the natural labor induction methods I’ve heard about.  The only thing I’m NOT willing to try is castor oil.  It sounds awful.

On to my Weekly Money Check-Up:

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a new lamp for our living room and some other stuff from Target.

2. Today I am thankful for being ALMOST done with my pregnancy.  I’m sure I’ll miss parts of it but  it feels so good to be almost done.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was take a walk on the beach with DH.  We actually went both days over the weekend and I walked with my shoes off in the surf.  I loved it!

4. I will consider this week a success if I go into labor.  Come on baby!!

5. This time last year I was planning for my wedding!  DH and I got married in October 2010 after knowing each other for 12 years and dating for 6.  We knew we wanted to start trying for a baby right away and we got pregnant on our honeymoon in Hawaii.  That’s why we joke that our baby is on “island time” when it comes to making her entrance into the world. 🙂  Not to mention her dad is Samoan so the pacific islander lifestyle is definitely in her blood.  This baby is enjoying the good life in the womb too much!

Thank you, MPP for hosting as always!


August Goals

(photo credit)

I’m making my August goals super simple this month since I have a lot on my plate and don’t really know what to expect.

Personal

  • Survive child birth and have a very positive experience with labor and delivery.
  • Meet my baby!!
  • Successfully establish breastfeeding.
  • Enjoy the first few weeks of her life with DH.
  • Feel okay about turning away visitors & guests if I’m too tired or not up to the company.  Don’t feel guilty about not being there as I have been for my friends. 
  • Sleep as much as possible and not worry about the messes.

Financial

  • Pay off Capital One credit card (actually, this is sort of cheating since I’m posting my goals late and I paid off the card on the 2nd.  Whoohoo!)
  • Save $500 into joint savings

Does anyone have any insight into the first month of bringing home baby?  Any financial pitfalls to avoid or things to think about?  I feel almost TOO prepared – what am I missing?! 

 

 

 

 


July Spending/Goal Recap

This post has been on my mind for the last week but I’ve been flat-out lazy.  But one week late is better than never, right??

Gas: $98.38 (under budget by $52!! – I have no idea what happened here.  I guess I drove a whole lot less this month but it didn’t seem like it. At any rate, I’m not complaining!)

Groceries: $392.97 (over budget by $142 – definitely down from my all time high in June but still not happy with this – I can tell that I haven’t really been trying in this area.)

Dining Out: $133.46  (over budget by $83.46 – the most I have spent on eating out since I began budgeting.  I totally failed on bringing lunches to work and would skip on down to my work’s convenience store for snacks almost every day.)

Clothing: $54.32 (on budget)

Home and Cleaning Supplies: $57 (did not budget for this . . . bought some small storage and organizing containers for the baby’s room!)

Yoga Classes: $75 (over budget by $45 but don’t regret this at all – prenatal yoga has been amazing for my physical and mental health throughout this pregnancy!)

Movies/Music: $8.96 (on budget – Netflix and 1 app for my phone)

Gifts: $0

Donations: $5 (on budget)

Salon/Beauty Supplies: $53.95 (pedicure and haircut – under budget as I had planned to get my hair touched up as well but decided to hold off until August)

Pets: $304.21 (yikes, this one seriously threw me off budget but Kona is all set for the rest of the year!)

Electronics: $0

Misc Personal Spending: $0

Total paid toward credit card debt: $278

July 2011 Goals:

  • Clean out/organize purse and wallet – Semi Fail – I cleaned out my wallet and switched to a larger one that I have with more pockets, but didn’t get around to my purse.
  • Knock at least 3 items off of my 52 Tasks in 52 weeks list – Success!  I actually accomplished 5 things which I blame on my urge to nest.  I finally got around to printing and framing some of our wedding and engagement photos, we cleaned the carpets in our apartment, I cleaned out and washed the fridge AND the freezer, and hung up the fancy frame we had used at our wedding as a chalk board menu in the baby’s room (decided not to replace the chalkboard with a mirror as my original goal stated – it’s way too cute as is!)
  • Walk 30 minutes 3x a week and do yoga (via class or video) 1x a week. – Semi Fail – I did great on the yoga going 2x a week but failed on the walking
  • Put the finishing decorative touches on the nursery. Success!  All we need now is a cute little baby to put in there!  It looks amazing!
  • Pack my hospital bag. Success! It’s ready to go!
  • Cook 5-10 meals to put in the freezer for when baby gets here and I’m too tired make anything other than cereal. Fail – I made four meals and bought some freezer meals.
  • Rearrange the furniture in our bedroom and set up bassinet/changing area. Success! 
  • Clean/organize my office at work, catch up on filing, etc. Success!
  • DO NOT GO INTO LABOR AT WORK. (Okay, not like I have much control over this but seriously, how bad would that suck?!) Success!  I did not go into labor at work.  Whew!

Financial

  • Brown bag my lunch to work four out of five days of the week minimum. TOTAL. FAIL.
  • Deposit $500 into joint savings TOTAL. FAIL. Didn’t deposit a dime.
  • Meal plan each week and stay under $300 grocery budget  Fail.
  • Pay off second credit card (about $50 remaining after making July payment) Fail but I did this as soon as I got paid in August –  yay!

Overall thoughts on the last month . . .

I really failed on my financial goals this month.  It’s as if I lost complete focus.  I wish I could blame it on being 8 months pregnant but that’s not a really good excuse.  The vet bill caught me off guard and I’ve decided to start contributing a small amount each month into a pet savings fund so that won’t happen again.  That was the primary reason why I didn’t make my savings goals but I also have to blame myself and the choices I made when it came to eating out so often. This was a record-breaking month for eating out and looking at my budget it was ALL small purchases – a few bucks here, a few bucks there.  Basically, I’m frittering away my money.

The positives came with my personal goals and I’m glad I met most of those . . . but in a way I didn’t have a choice!  A lot of that stuff HAD to get done! 

August is going to be a strange month since I’ll be home from work with a baby. . . but I’m hoping that it will be good to me financially.  Staying home with a little one means that I can’t drop $2-5/day on snacks at the work convenience store!  It means I won’t be driving 22 miles a day to work and back.  It means I won’t be buying much stuff for ME since I’ll be so busy tending to the needs of another!

So, I have high hopes for August.  We’ll see what happens!


Confession Time

It’s been a great first day off.  I have a feeling this maternity leave is going to go by SO fast.

I had my first cervical exam at the dr’s and HELLO that was NOT comfortable!!   But the good news is that things are progressing.  It’s relieving to know that SOMETHING is happening because I seriously haven’t seen any symptoms of impending labor.  Still, the information I got today on my progress really doesn’t mean much since all women are different.  It’s still a waiting game. 

I spent the rest of the afternoon tracking down supplies for C’s bridal shower invitations.  I went to Michael’s, Joann’s, and Paper Source (my FAVORITE) and spent nearly $200 . . . which I KNOW is crazy but half of it is going back, I promise.  I was picking stuff out not really sure how it was going to work out or what I was going to find at each store.  I had a vision but couldn’t find the right things to make it work . . . finally, I believe I’ve pulled together the materials to make some really beautiful invites. I’m actually kind of excited to work on them tomorrow.  I’ll post a photo of the finished product.

Also – CONFESSION TIME – this afternoon I bought a new pair of Birkenstocks sandals  . . . and spent nearly $80.  I’ll find room in my budget for them but I have to admit that they weren’t a priority.  I will justify this to you and to me by saying that I have been wanting this pair of Birks ever since I saw this photo on The Sartorliast’s blog back in September of 2009 (yup, I’ve been thinking of these sandals for nearly 2 years now!):

 

(Photo credit)

So cute and stylish on her – I love them paired with shorts (and she does have great legs – I’m going to have to work on mine a bit!) and a tunic-y top.  Birks are a little granola-y and some styles remind me of my 9th grade English teacher (a TOTAL hippie chick who I actually really liked as a teacher even if she was a bit bizarre at times) but with the right outfit, they are super cute in my opinion.  

Yesterday I told DH, “I think I’m FINALLY going to buy those sandals I always talk about.”  And he said to go for it – so I did!  It’s nice to have a pair of slip-on sandals that aren’t flip-flops or cheap-o ones from Target.  I’m looking forward to getting a lot of good use out of these over the next few years. All I need now is the bright yellow Vespa. 😉