Thanks for the kind birthday wishes for Daughter. She had a lovely birthday and received many fun gifts (I have played enough Candyland and Memory over the past 4 days thankyouverymuch), though she did not like when we sang the birthday song. She told us so after everyone was gone. And again the next day. Oh well, she comes by that honestly. Neither her father nor I enjoy being the center of attention, so it makes sense that she does not.
And aside from the freak 88 degrees we reached on Saturday, the weather has been perfectly perfect for the past week. Low 70s, abundant sunshine, everything bursting into bloom. Unfortunately my allergies are also bursting into bloom, and as of right now I can't quite open my eyes all the way. This morning my husband helpfully observed that I look stoned. Awesome! Just the image I want to project. I tried to put some makeup on to cover the purple undereye circles, but my skin feels like tissue paper and it actually hurt to pat on cover-up. So I guess I'll just have to look stoned for the time being. In addition, my ears, throat, nose, and mouth itch constantly and frankly, it's making everyday living pretty taxing. And no, I haven't taken any medication because I can't. I'm not allowed. Why not?
Because I'm 21 weeks pregnant, kids. Yep, this is the official announcement. And dudes, it's a boy. I'm just a wee bit freaked out by this news because hello, we have no boys in our family (I have two sisters). I hesitate to even post this news right now because I'm so scared of something going wrong, but it's not like I can keep it a secret forever. As of right now everything looks fine - the placenta is a tad low but not over the cervix, and I have had absolutely no symptoms of placenta previa so my doc is not worried - and baby is a-kickin' day and night. I have bloodwork for my thyroid issues once a month and my medication is being adjusted accordingly, so here's hoping things will work out right this time. Please, if you think of it, say a prayer for our son-to-be.
Due to my fear of jinxing myself, I have not been knitting or sewing anything for the wee lad. Not only have I been too tired and queasy (though that has mostly passed), but I also have no money due to the rising cost of EVERYTHING. Ay-yi-yi, every time I go out I see that gas prices have increased by like, at least 6 cents each time! (Most recently I saw $3.65 for the lowest grade.) What is the deal? We live in the sticks so I have to drive a fair distance to get almost anywhere...so we go to playgroup, a once-weekly trip to the supermarket, and usually a once-weekly trip to grandma's house. Otherwise we're homebound. LAME! Thank goodness there is a playground at the end of our street, or else we'd be insane by now.
Also, we are entering a new state of somewhat extreme frugality in our house because last week we purchased a new car. Wheee! The lease on Hubs' car was up, and while a car was ok for him, we did have at least one incidence of it getting stuck in the driveway after a heavy snowfall. So as it was my turn for a new vehicle, we chose another 4-wheel-drive SUV. I know, I know, that is so stupid in this economy, but we have a basic philosophy regarding the vehicle I drive, and it is this: as long as I am driving small fry around in a wintery environment, I will drive a brand-new car that has 4-wheel-drive capability. I realize that flies in the face of what many people believe about buying cars, but this is what we believe works for us. I will not say exactly what we got, but I will say we chose the 0% financing option which unfortunately is a 36-month payoff. Yes, we have to pay for this car in 3 years. It's going to be kind of painful, but not unmanageable. We're both so sick of sending interest out the door every month, and since my old jeep is paid off, Hubs is driving that to work, and we've taken on a large payment. On purpose. Hopefully in 3 years we will have 2 fully-paid-for vehicles in decent shape and can enjoy a little time with no car payments at all.
Oh, we also began contributing a chunk of Hubs' paycheck to his 401k a few weeks ago, so that changes things even more around here. But it's a necessity as we'd like to have some funds when we retire.
As a result of all this insanity, I spent several days (literally) working up a new budget for our family. I have always clipped coupons and shopped sales, but I'm now becoming a complete freak about it. Grocery shopping used to be one of my favorite activities, but now it's become a huge challenge to get everything we need at a reasonable level of spending. Add gas expenses to that, and the mortgage, our stupid, stupid student loans, and utilities...well, let's just say I'm constantly checking my spreadsheet and filling in numbers to make it all work. Hubs is taking lunch to work each day to help out, and I've cut out almost all hobby spending - my only recent purchases have been fabrics/notions for my bridesmaid dress and Daughter's flower girl dress for my sister's wedding. And due to Joann's awesome recent sale, I only spent $21 on all that. Anyway, our main goal right now is to leave our savings untouched, and in fact still save a tad each week, while also paying all the bills (I've mentioned this before, but it's worth re-telling: we use a credit card, but we pay it each month and never carry a balance).
So I may post occasionally about things relating to frugal living, just to keep myself honest. It's hard because I'm the home finance person. Hubs makes the money but I do almost all the spending. It's kind of a huge responsibility, when you think about it. But I've become really adept at working the sales, and I'm turning into a rebate queen as well. It might bleed into the blog because it's a big part of my life right now. We're working hard to create a more comfortable life for ourselves in the future, and we're doing the belt-tightening now, while Daughter is small and doesn't know the difference between W*Mart and Gymboree.
So that is my brain dump for today. There are some projects in the works...my hands have remembered how to knit, and I've been sewing a bit as well (some new things for the etsy shop, finally). I hope to get back into posting something interesting quite soon.