Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Spending Money We Don't Have

So, if you read Chris' blog, you know that we are not going to Las Vegas and I probably won't be seeing The Police afterall. We really are flat broke and in debt.

Which is why I joined a gym today.

Seriously, I am completely in knots about this. Truth be told, by the end of the year, with the family membership I purchased, we will have spent as much on the gym as we would have for the two of us to go to LV and see The Police. This is still money we don't have. Why do I do this?

Well, it comes down to several things. First, Chris and I need to exercise. Period. We are generally lazy and prefer hobbies that are fairly sedentary. This is not working well for our kids, nor do we feel it sets a good example. We don't want to ruin them before they even go to school.

And honestly, we both don't mind exercising, as long as it is fun. For years, we have said that we want to join a swim and raquet club, because I love to swim, and Chris loves to play raquetball. And we both like to do the other thing as well. But those places are expensive... and they generally don't have much for the younger set.

Now a new gym is opening in Cary, and it has pools (indoor and outdoor), courts (raquetball, squash, and basketball) and all the normal gym accoutrements. It also has a large child care area. It's expensive (a bit pricier than the Y), but it's luxurious, and that alone will (hopefully) motivate me to go back again and again.

It doesn't open until May, and we have 30 days to try it and see if we can really squeeze our money's worth out of it. Our hope is that it will give us opportunities for more family time, despite the fact that in some cases (anything not pool-related), we will be plopping them in child care... again... like we do five days a week. I wonder if I even want to be a parent sometimes. Here I am, trying to do something that will set a good example AND make me healthier, and yet all it seems to be doing is pushing the kids into someone else's care... again.

But then again, Athena will run around like a monkey in the playground... and does she really need me there to enjoy that? I don't know.

If you are wondering how we will pay for this... well, so are we. We will probably pre-sell half of our hockey season next year. The only reason I'm not talking about selling off the whole thing is because we already paid about 50% in three years ago during the lock-out. This is the final year of our commitment (our money from that season has been earning interest for us) and if this gym thing works out, we may give up our treasured third-row seats forever.

Daycare costs are going down for us, since Athena is moving up into the "potty-trained room" this year, so that will help as well. And we are going to give up eating out as much and also cut back on our power use, if possible. We are so horrible about leaving lights on and random shit we never use plugged in all the time.

Hopefully that will equal more than what we are throwing at this fitness center and we can actually afford to keep the kids in clothes and shoes.

And what's in this for you, dear reader? Why, perhaps I will be able to compete with Amy's naked locker room stories... one can only hope not.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Hat and Other Cuteness

Our hat arrived from Jessey's sweatshop! And isn't it cute?! He received many compliments on it today.

And look at our other cutie. I'm really glad I got this picture, because this is my favorite sweater. Or at least it WAS my favorite until they had spaghetti today. Let's hope the Oxi-Clean can knock out that stuff again...

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The First to Hit the Big 03

Aiden turned three a couple of weeks ago and we were fortunate enough to be his exclusive guests at the Festival of Threehood.

First, Athena and I made a cake. She sported her new apron and hat. It actually made her a better chef. Honestly. Truly. Okay, so really, it just made her cuter.

Wow, my kitchen looks junky. Please ignore the clutter...

Then we iced the cake. She was really impressively careful about it. Not that we're ready to audition for Martha Stewart or anything, but she did well...

Then we wrote on the cake. Well, Mommy wrote. Athena just got to eat "icing worms" that I squeezed out onto her finger. And yes, I cheated and used store-bought frosting and icing. The cake was good. When they get older, I'll be better about not cheating...

And this is the birthday boy with his giftie. He and Athena "shared" the toy, which translates roughly into, "Athena bullied him into letting her use the Aquadoodle Pen while he was relegated to the bowl of water, until she saw how you could make handprints using the bowl of water, at which point, she shoved the pen back in his hand and took over the bowl."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Police - Plan of Attack

I am going to join the fan club to get access to pre-ticket sales. I'm going to buy tickets for the June 15th show in Las Vegas. I haven't even told Chris this yet. But we're going to Vegas, baby!

I can get four tickets. Who is in?

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Pox on Your House!

Okay, two housekeeping items to get out of the way.

1) I will totally post pics of Aiden's third birthday. I don't have many... and none from Bullwinkles where we went for dinner. (I forgot the camera). But really, they just ooooooed and ahhhhhhhhed at the dancing fountains while the grownups choked down bad food. I just haven't had a chance to download the pics of Athena and me making the cake, and that's the bulk of the pics I have.

2) I will totally post pics of Marcus' brand new, hand crocheted hat that is on it's way here from Arizona as soon as I get it. Hurricane's colors and all. Cannot WAIT.

Now, on to the meat of the post.

There are three infants in Marcus' daycare class. All of them are about the same age and will be moving up to the Wobbler room next month (Wobblers are 12-18 month-olds). I'm hoping that they will all get along and be great friends, forming a rival gang to Athena's posse (split up temporarily as Aiden and Kaeley have already moved on the the threes, but Natalie and Athena don't go until May).

Of course, I wished for that lovely scenario until I realized today that good friends share. And one of the babies in Marcus' class has chicken pox. And Marcus gets his chicken pox immunization in ONE MONTH. And chicken pox is VERY contagious. And it is contagious 1-2 days BEFORE the bumps appear. And this kid just got his bumps today or yesterday (I didn't read the whole information sheet). So the only saving grace is 1-2 days ago was Saturday or Sunday, unless the bumps actually appeared over the weekend sometime, in which case, we're screwed. Here's the best news from the article I linked you to:

Children under one year of age whose mothers have had chickenpox are not very likely to catch it. If they do, they often have mild cases because they retain partial immunity from their mothers' blood.

I had a mad case when I was five. Which was great because I got out of kindergarten for a week. So I've had it and clearly remember the misery of the itching followed by the sheer boredom of those last days when you are waiting for the damn dots to disappear.

But the bad news is, he most certainly will have it. It's so contagious, and these three kids spend LOTS of time together... all up in each others' stuff. If he dodges this bullet, then I'm going to have to start calling him Callel.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

If I Could Save Time in a Bottle...

At the beginning of the year, I started using a new (to me) time management system. I was beyond fed up with myself... forgetting appointments, commitments, and tasks all the time, feeling disorganized and discombobulated always, and not having any sort of grasp on how much work I needed to get done.

I chose Julie Morgenstern's Time Management From the Inside Out, in which she compares time management to organizing a closet... everything has its place, and if you respect that place, you will find you have more time in your day.

I've been using her system (or a variation of it at least) for over a month now. Just the fact that I've stuck with it is a testament to how well it's going. But I have to just shout out from the mountaintop how much happier I am since I started using this. I've stopped worrying about what I might have forgotten... I get WAY more done each day than I ever have, and I am even finding more time to read and to cross stitch.

The worst part about implementing this system is discovering how much I procrastinate. I knew that I often put off tasks that I was scared of... or didn't want to do. But I didn't realize just how LONG I procrastinated and I had no idea that if I would just DO those things, then it really wasn't so bad.

Anyway, I didn't set out to write an especially exciting post tonight, but I did want to celebrate my success. Hooray!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Paaaaaar Tay!

Well, it's just like I'm 21 all over again. This weekend, I had THREE, count 'em, THREE parties to attend. On Friday, I went to the retirement soiree of a library employee. Tonight, I dragged the whole family to Jen's going away party with the old library crew (although she's not going far... just to be a reference librarian at a local women's college), and tomorrow we are going to a Superbowl party. PLUS I am working this weekend. Whew! I am way too old for this.

I seriously cannot remember the last time I had three engagements in one weekend. I'm all a-twitter. Granted, two were sort of work-related, but they have been fun. If this keeps up, I'll have to get an agent to schedule my bookings!

Hmmmm... that made it sound like I'm jumping out of the cake at these functions, didn't it?