Gratitude is Everything

The past year and a half have been pretty rough for us. My husband lost his job last summer,  started a new job about five months later, and started classes to pursue a new career field. Sometimes I get disappointed thinking about all the things we can’t do right now, what we can’t afford, and how much better things would be if Mr. Money had a higher paying job. I then process these feelings, I then tell myself that there is SO much to be grateful for.  After all, there was a point when I thought we may never have kids. Here are some of the many blessings I am glad to have in my life currently:

-A beautiful family, with a loving husband that still loves me thirteen years later.  A healthy, happy six year old daughter that brings so much joy to our lives. There are many days I think: I only dreamed of having this life ten years ago! Even though things aren’t always picture perfect, we have so many good times and are happy to have each other. Life is sweeter that way!

-A nice house in a wonderful neighborhood.  It blows my mind sometimes that we are still in the first house we purchased. We’ve done many upgrades, taken care of issues that have arisen, and loved the heck out of this little house. I try my hardest to keep it decluttered so that we don’t feel as if we are bursting at the seams. It’s a continuous process, but one I enjoy. I always tell my sister that in fifty years we’ll still be in the same houses wondering where time went.  Eventually I would love to build a custom home, or purchase a little larger house with full basement and garage, but for now our house is a huge blessing!

-Food to eat, indoor plumbing, heating and air conditioning, and a nice place to sleep. These are basic necessities that so many other people around the world aren’t lucky enough to have access to.  We always have fresh food in the refrigerator, clean water, and a comfortable place to relax.

-Being a stay at home mom. I have been a stay at home mom for over six and a half years now. It hasn’t been easy, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything! I’m now homeschooling my six year old, and it’s been such a wonderful time for all of us. Throughout the years, I have actually been working from home: on this blog, babysitting, dog sitting, and basically any random job that I can get. I feel like anything I can contribute financially is such a help! We’ve been lucky that we’ve made it work for so long.

Looking at positives is so helpful in many different situations. I think today with social media it’s so easy to compare our lives to someone else’s highlight reel, but the truth is: everyone goes through hard things. Just because their life seems perfect doesn’t mean it is. When you find yourself going through a hard time, write down a few things that you are grateful for. I’ll bet you will be surprised at how much it helps!

What are some things you are grateful for today?

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Travel Now While You’re Young, or Save and Travel Later?

travel-while-young-and-able-life-quotes-sayings-pictures Have you seen this quote circulating the internet? I’ve seen quite a few people post it on Facebook and I have mixed feelings about it.  On one hand, I love it because I love to travel and I’d much rather spend money on traveling than crap that will clutter up my house.  On the other hand, I don’t agree with it because I don’t believe in spending money you don’t have or going into debt just to take a vacation.  We’ve been kicking around the idea of traveling to Colorado for a week to visit family but the logistics and money issue has been making us hesitant.  We want to be responsible but I also don’t want to regret our choices later.  Here are some of the things we’ve been taking into consideration:

Money has been tight because we’re a one modest income family.  Every day I wake up thankful for what we have: a roof over our heads, food in our fridge and pantry, health insurance, good health, happiness, family, etc.  However, each month we don’t have hundreds of dollars left over.  We’re totally fine with that and don’t feel deprived at all.  We feel like we live really well for what our income is!  The only downfall is that there really isn’t extra money to pay for the three of us to fly to Colorado, and driving 17 hours  (not including stops) with a three year old does not sound like something I’m up for.  I could totally be wrong, but just the thought of it makes me feel a little loony. I’ve done the drive quite a few times without a child, and I know how badly I want to escape that car after I’ve been in it for a few hours!

The thing that I worry about is regretting not going.  Family won’t be around forever, and Penny hasn’t seen her one set of grandparents in a year.  That really makes me sad.  I feel like spending time with family is very valuable and don’t want our lack of money to overrule that.  However, taking money out of savings or going into debt just doesn’t seem like a good solution to our problem.  We should be saving for Christmas, for when Mr. Money’s paychecks don’t have overtime, etc.  There are many things we should be saving for and pulling money out of our emergency fund for a non-emergency just doesn’t sound sensible.

I know that a lot of the time I personally overanalyze things and worry too much about whatever so I’m afraid my judgement is clouded on this one.  I guess one good thing is that both Mr. Money’s mother and father plan on making trips to see us within the next 3-4 months so that will be nice!  It would be easier for us to all go out to Colorado so all of the family members could see us, but I guess we have to make sacrifices!

What is your opinion- do you think you should travel while young and just not even consider the money, or should you save and travel later?

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One and Only Child

After the birth of our daughter Penny, I said I wanted at least two more babies.  My thinking was that since we had such a hard time conceiving the first time (we were even considering adoption at one point) surely the second time it would be much easier.  Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.  Last year about this time we decided we would like to try to have another baby.  I met with a new doctor who is a fertility specialist, and she devised a plan to help us get pregnant.  I went through various medications, shots, hormones, ultrasounds, etc. and no progress.  Mr. Money and I decided after me not responding to fertility treatments that maybe we were just meant to have Penny and be satisfied at that.  It took me awhile (and sometimes it’s still really hard for me to go through her baby clothes or our cloth diapers) but as of today I am satisfied with my beautiful daughter and am trying to move forward.  One of the things that helps me cope is focusing on the positive parts of having only one.  Here are some of the pluses to having an only child:

-Time and attention to the one child.  By default, when you have another child the attention gets divided amongst children.  I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing because I think it’s important for kids to realize the world doesn’t revolve around them.  However, with us just having Penny we can focus our attention on her.

-More resources available to the child.  Children can be expensive, and by only having one it can make more resources available to them.  For instance, if we do end up with just one child, we may be able to pay for all of Penny’s education whereas if we had two we may not be able to do quite as much.

-Less stress.  Having kids can be stressful! Naps, bath time, feeding, whining, entertaining, all of it can drain you.  By having one child life can be a little less chaotic and stressful.

-It’s cheaper.  Obviously it’s going to cost us less money over the long run to have just one child versus more.  (Duh)

-More travel. One of the things I’m looking forward to as Penny gets older is traveling. We went to Colorado last summer, and it was not hard to travel with her at all!  I think with two kids it would be more challenging, especially if we had to drive to places.  Also, we will hopefully be able to afford more travel because we’ll have more money (see above).

I’m not saying that being an only child is the best thing in the world because I worry a lot about her not having any siblings to share that bond with.  I think the experience of having siblings is invaluable and wouldn’t trade mine for anything.  Who knows, maybe we will end up with another baby sometime in the future and that would be okay too.  But for now, these are the positives I have to focus on to make myself feel okay with everything.  🙂

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