On Having Hope

We have officially been on a budget for about 3 months now and let me tell you it is hard.

Really, really hard.

I recently wrote about the lifestyle change we have made by going on a budget.

In fact, we are on a zero dollar budget which simply put means that there is no extra. Whatsoever.

Every.single.penny is accounted for.

It either goes to a bill, or savings, or to paying off debt.

This is a really, really hard change for me.

Every single day now revolves around calculations.

If I spend an extra $20 on gas this week, I will have to omit something from another budget…what can we do without this week? Or how can I stretch the extra two pounds of chicken into a meal our entire family will eat for the next 2 days?

Life hasn’t always been this way.  This is something new.

The past 10 years hasn’t always been this way.

We haven’t always made the brightest decisions when it comes to finances. Then again, we haven’t always had the chance to make the best choices. You see when you grow up poor, the second you get any kind of money this feeling comes over you as though you have to spend that money right now or else a bill, or a collector, or something will come along to take that money from you. Before that happens you need to spend it. The heck with well thought out decisions…

Let me take it back to the beginning for you.

I grew up poor. My family was so broke it wasn’t even funny.

I started working at 14 just to buy my own clothes and any spending money I ever needed.

My parents didn’t have much to give us-thankfully we had family who were always willing to step up making sure we never did without.

I was always the kid passing  in the hand written reports while everyone else’s were typed, and double spaced, and neatly printed off their home computer.

I was the child who had web tv because we couldn’t afford a real PC, and years later when we did get our first PC ( I was a  Senior in high school) it was a rickety hand me down PC from my family members.

So needless to say I grew up with a lot less than most.

I moved out at 17.

It was a personal decision, and really for the best.  I didn’t always have the best relationship with my mother and rather than be threatened to be kicked out, or be charged rent by her, I made the conscious decision to become an adult and move out.

That’s right. While most teenagers were filling out college applications and discussing Senior prom, I was shacked up with my high school boyfriend in our apartment together.

I was determined to go to college and I can remember having a conversation with my parents where I thought there was a magical hidden savings account that had accrued interest over the years so they could send me to college. Ha! They looked right at me and told me they couldn’t help me with anything because they still had my 2 and 4 year old brother and sister to care for. So I began scraping up the $50 for each college application I was submitting.

Because of my childhood I always promised to give my children the best.

Today, we live modestly.

Both by choice and by necessity.

We have a small, two bedroom townhouse for 5 people.

My husband and I don’t have the newest clothing, electronics, and we certainly don’t have fancy expensive date nights.

I was recently part of an online discussion that asked how often do you buy a new bra? My answer? 2 years ago.

We don’t exchange birthday, Christmas, or any other holiday gifts.

Any extra always goes to our children.

They do have the best.

The best clothing, the best shoes, the best accessories, and they attend the best preschool.

Having said that I will never be one that is too good for hand me downs nor am I  one to pass up a good thrift shop find…I do love discounts and sales as much as ever-for our entire family!

Still I want more.

I want a house, with a yard, and a driveway.

I want to be able to host family gatherings and not have people be on top of one another.

Right now though I know that is not a possibility.

Some days, most days, I feel guilty for wanting more-more selfish thoughts that flood my mind on a daily basis.

As though what we have right now isn’t enough…but I know it is.

At this point in our lives, this is what we can handle. This is what we have been given.

So for now we keep trimming, we keeping saving, we keep paying off debt so that one day we can have all of that.

And that day my friends will make all of this mess worth it!

 hope

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Our Trick or Treat

This year I ventured out for the first time in almost 5 years with our crew!

Yes-you heard me right.  We have not been trick or treating in FIVE YEARS!

I should probably preface this post by letting you know that when our oldest was about 3, he had a terrible and super scary experience trick or treating which has resulted in our 5 year trick or treat hiatus!

The poor kid was so afraid he wouldn’t even set foot in the costume store for a few years.

So, as a family-especially a family of 5- we have never really done the whole trick or treating thing.

To us it  has always just been another night at home….of course we bought goodies for our kids and put them in buckets but we never really had the effect of a full night of trick or treating.

But this year it happened-OH did it happen 🙂

Our oldest was finally brave enough to go into the costume store and not act like we were strangers trying to  abduct him by running for the nearest exit!

He was even brave enough to pick a scary costume this year and for the school parade/party both he and his brother let me do their makeup- zombie style!

I was beyond thrilled-my kids were finally enjoying Halloween and doing it in total boy fashion with blood, guts, and gore!

My #momofboys heart was over the moon!

I finally felt like we hit the point of no return. We were past the scared point and heading in the direction of so.much.FUN!

So Halloween came… I picked up our youngest from Preschool and my oldest two from after care and we headed for our house to prepare for a night of trick or treating!

Honestly I was still a little unsure if they were going to follow through on our plan of trick or treating-but I tried my best to not to let me apprehension show and let the night unfold as it did…

and honestly it could not have gone more perfectly!

Thankfully my aunt and uncle (really these two are my saviors! I wouldn’t be able to do half of what I actually do without them!) wanted to join in the fun so they met us at our house and came along for trick or treat.

Once everyone had eaten dinner, dressed in their costumes, and decided on more last minute zombie makeup rather than the actual masks that went with their costumes, and one more quick potty trip (of course!) we were on the road to our trick or treating adventure.

I must say…most days of being a mom are tiring, thankless days for sure but nights like our trick or treat make all those sticky, slimy, yukky, thankless moments WORTHWHILE!

Halloween night we had so much fun!!

ALL OF US!

In fact, I may have had more fun than the boys did!

They all did so good!

They’re boys so of course they were a little bouncy, runny, and jumpy-but for the most part it was a really great time-and thankfully I had extra hands to help me wrangle them.

No one let their fears take away their fun. They truly, truly enjoyed themselves…and as a mom you don’t want anything more for your kids than joy.

Since we haven’t ever really been trick or treating before this year I wasn’t too sure of the neighborhood and totally had this picture in my head of dark streets, dark houses, and my kids coming home with not one piece of candy!

Boy was I wrong!

Almost every other house on the street we were on participated and they were amazing!

From the lawn ornaments, to the lights and music, and the adults who were passing out candy-even in costumes too-it really made for a GREAT night!

The weather was extra chilly for Halloween and that combined with the excitement of my kids brought me right back to all of my chilly years trick or treating as a child.

I know, as a mom, life is crazy as all heck most times and getting three kids ready for trick or treat was certainly no picnic…

but seeing the looks and smiles on their faces and the pure JOY all.night.long made every single stressful second so worth it!

…and of course our kids came home with bags and bags of overflowing candy!

How was your family’s trick or treating??

I would LOVE to hear!

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On Life Lately…

Why does it always seem that when life can’t possibly get any crazier, it does?

I guess that’s just how things go-especially these days!

‘Dad in the Middle’ aka my hubby has begun his rigorous training for his new position at his company leaving me home with 3 littles 5 nights a week.

That’s five days of breakfast, packing lunches,bus and preschool drop off as well as pick up, dinners, homework, after school activities, and the dreaded HOMEWORK all by my lonesome!

The good new is we are 1 week down, and only 7 more to go.

Then his schedule should go back to being somewhat normal.

I have been trying to fill my time with my boys with as many activities to keep them busy, and hopefuly somewhat exhausted at the end of the day-it makes for an easier bed time and quieter night time for me!

So we have been spending A LOT of time outside!

Thankfully the weather has been gorgeous here.

This past weekend was over 80 degrees!

In fact, it was nice enough for the boys to get on their bikes, and my oldest even learned to ride his bike with NO TRAINING WHEELS!

Boy oh boy did my momma heart nearly explode when that happened…he has been wanting it for so long and finally conquered his fear and did it.

I think as momma’s there is no greater feeling than seeing our little ones push past their fears to achieve their goals.

Enjoy a few pictures from our weekend and if you are interested I was featured this week over at Life Without Pink as a #boymom!

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Family life these days…

It’s been a while since I have written about our family….

With back to school and the season changing from long, hot summer days to crisp, chilly, fall days I thought now would be the perfect time!

Our family is growing -no we are NOT pregnant!!

Let me repeat: WE ARE NOT PREGNANT!!

Let me explain…

As a family we are growing spiritually, mentally, and emotionally and its all happening right before my eyes!

I finally feel like these three little people my husband and I created are the most self sufficient they have ever been.

All of that teaching, doting, raising up to this point is finally showing me just the kind of boy we are raising up to be men.

And that makes me one happy momma!

No more diapers.

My oldest two can now bathe themselves (with friendly mom reminders to actually use SOAP!)

My oldest now has weekly chores he is in charge of completing-and rewards when he does.

Ayden lost his first tooth.

Aaron is absolutely thriving and just loving his preschool so darn much!

Angel has really stepped up to the plate as big brother-especially with Aaron-asking him how his days at school have been, has he been making friends, etc.

My husband and I are the closest, spiritually, we have ever been!

Do you know how long I have prayed for that to happen-Soooo long!

But I am SO thankful we are finally where we are, spiritually, as a couple, and as a family.

I think all those years we spent in the trenches just “getting through” are finally coming to fruition!

And I have to say it feels great!

No, every day is not a picnic…

and everyday isn’t the best or happiest day

but I feel like I can finally say I am happy every day.

Not all day every day, but everyday something happens that makes me happy or reminds me how great our little life is!

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