Going through life with the right partner.

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My husband is a good man, husband, and father.  There is no gaurantee in life that when you get married you are making the right choice. Today is my 16th wedding anniversary and I am proud that I made the right choice.

In addition to marrying Kevin, I married into a wonderful family who shares the same values as me and are just great people to be around. Although Kevin’s family and siblings are at a different stage in life than Kevin and I , they have been so wonderful and have shared great advice and experiences with us.  I think they drink more when I am around, but I don’t think it is because of me.

Things I love about my husband:

  • He is very laid back
  • He is not high maintenance
  • He makes a great Cabana Boy and is a master mixologist
  • He makes wonderful cocktails for me and always knows the right time that I need one. 
  • He is a great father to our two children
  • He is wonderul at playing games with the kids and me
  • He knows lots of random trivia
  • He will watch my shows with me if I ask even if it is a silly comedy
  • He has a good sense of humor and is very sarcastic
  • He supports me when I need to get out of the house and get away
  • He is a full time partner in chores around the house and taking care of the kids
  • He makes stuff up quite frequently that can be funny and annoying at the same time
  • He enjoys cooking and trying new recipes with me
  • We make great traveling partners and have had the opportunity to see and do quite a bit before having kids.  Actually, we have gone on some very nice vacations with the kids too.
  • He supports me and my activities and interests in so many ways
  • He is active in the kid’s activities and supports their interests

There are so many things to be thankful for.  Today I am thankful for my husband.

 

 

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Secret stash of ______?

 What is in your secret stash?  Is it just me or does everyone have a secret stash of something?  What is your something?  I don’t mean any illegal substances

I keep a secret stash of cash in my purse.  It is not a lot, but enough to borrow from and repay next time I go to the ATM. I am a firm believer that everybody should have a secret stash of $20 to $100 in their purse.  You never know when you run out of your everyday cash supply and may need to supplement at the last minute because you need to send cash to school with your child the next day for something.  Mine is there in case I need it and don’t have time to run to the ATM prior to the event.  It is a pet peeve of mine to see moms that don’t have money or their checkbook when you need it.   So my secret stash really isn’t secret as my family knows I have it, but it is for emergencies only.

The history of my secret stash is as follows.  When I was first married 16 years ago, I would take out $100 from the ATM and give my husband and I each $40 for lunch money for the week. Neither of us every brought our lunch. Obviously, that meant I was stashing away $20 a week and after 6 months I knew that I really shouldn’t be carrying around $500 in my purse.  I rectified this situation by going to the jewelry mart and buying myself some diamond earrings.  Now my stash is $100 or less. Sometimes my sister would write me a check for $40 and take that amount from my stash.  Mine will never get that high again, but I will never have less than $20 on me either.

Secret stashes are not limited to money. It can be any item that is hidden away for when you are desperate.  My last resort dinner stash is called a couple cans of chilli to feed the family when I don’t feel like cooking. 

I always have a secret stash of chocolate.  Unfortunately, my daughter finds that quite a bit and I have to share.  She is very resourceful. I am pretty sure she has a stash of other candy hidden in her room from me as well.

I know some moms who keep a stash of games or gifts in their closet to pull out when their child’s friend has a birthday and they didn’t have time to shop.

My sister, brother, and I all have a flask.  We know what that is hidden in that secret stash. Enough said.

I am a firm believer in having a secret stash of cash and many other things.  What do you keep in your secret stash?  How many people know and share your secret stash?  Yes, I know that it really isn’t secret then, but I like to go back to the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared”.  After reading this will you start to carry a secret stash of something?

Preparing for Summer is Such a Chore

Spring break is over and it is now time to focus on Summer.  One of the things I loathe is planning my summer.  Summer is supposed to be fun in the sun and a time to relax by the pool.  Unfortunately I work and my big task now is planning summer day camps for my kids.  I cringe at how much money we spend on summer camps and childcare.  Because I work full time, my kids cannot be at home with me while I work from home.  One , they are too noisy and two, they would hurt each other severly after 9:30 am when my daughter wakes up. 

My big dilemna is where to send the kids to camp and not spend a fortune in the meantime.  It is okay for them to have the downtime and complain about being bored with nothing to do (except for every board game on earth, the swimming pool, watching tv, playing video games, and some reading).

I struggle with where to send 2 kids to day camp and how to get them there and pick them up.  I don’t understand how so many day camps are from 9:00 to 12:00 and cost over $200 for 3 hours a day for 5 days a week?  These camps are obviously not for working parents.  What do you do with the other 5 hours of the work day that childcare needs to be covered?  Do you pay for them to go to another camp?  I don’t.

Coming up with a good mix of camps that they will enjoy and possibly have other friends at is a full time job.  I also have weeks where one is a Girl Scout Day Camp from 8:30 to 3:00 one week and I need to figure out what to do with my son while trying to avoid driving across town.  My son will be attending one week of overnight Boy Scout Camp and we have decided to send my daughter to overnight Girl Scout camp for a week.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work out to send them both away the same week.  That means 3 of the 10 summer weeks are not available for family vacation due to some camps.  There is a two week day camp with hours from 10:00 to 4:00 in August that they will be on the wait list for.  We do have a good City of Anaheim day camp that I love to send them to in early summer because it is cheap and outdoors.  It is at a park and only $110 per camper which includes the extended hours of 7:00 to 6:00. They have a small non-airconditioned room the kids use at the end of the day and at least they know each other plus get to go on one field trip. I don’t feel that I can send the kids there in August as it is just too hot to be outdoors all day.

I would love to send them to some art camps that are through the city and cover afternoon hours.  I am surprised at how many camps are from 9-noon. Don’t these kids sleep in?  I have one that will sleep until 9:30 and one that is up at 7:00am but is occupied by the tv for hours while his sister sleeps.  If I am lucky maybe I can find something from 1:00 to 5:00 and can find a dad that could watch them for a couple hours in the morning then take them to camp after feeding them lunch.

The school district tries very hard to provide a good summer program with an outing a week, but my kid’s friends don’t go to this camp and my son thinks it is a bit boring now.  It is fine for afterschool, but gets old for 8 hours a day all summer.  During the school year my childcare costs have gone down to $400 a month total, but in the summer the camps can be anywhere from $110 to $200 a week per child which does not include the sleep away camps. 

In addition to this I need to plan our summer vacation of where to go, what to do, how to get there and where to stay all trying to stay within a budget.  My daughter told me that she really doesn’t care where we go on vacation as long as we have fun.  To a 9 year old, just staying somewhere else is fun. She does have a great point and I am learning from her perspective.

What do other full time working moms do with their kids during the summer months off?  How long does it take you to figure out this master plan called summer fun?

Should Kids be Challenged in School or Is it Okay to Just Get Good Grades?

I have always thought my kids went to a good school. They have an active PTA that does a lot for the school and provides extra programs for the kids that keeps them engaged.  I am starting to wonder how great the school is when the classroom numbers are so high (39 or 40 per class) and they employ teachers that don’t challenge the kids.

I met with my daughter’s teacher, principal, psychologist, and other teacher this week as I was concerned about my daughter not paying attention in class.  She is medicated for ADHD and it makes a world of difference. Thankfully, she is smart, but does have some behavioral issues at times at home.  She has told me many times that she does her homework in class while the teacher is teaching the lesson and that she doesn’t pay attention during some subjects.  The bottom line is that she is smart and gets good grades so they don’t really care what she does in class because she is not disrupting other children.  She is too smart to sit in the front row where she would need to pay atttention because there are other kids that behavior and/or learning issues that need to be there.  The education professionals in that room told me that they don’t care what activities she is doing in class as long as she is still getting good grades and not disturbing others.  While I am educated and understand that principal, is it okay to still be disappointed that she is in a class where she is not challenged?  Is it okay to only teach to the tests and nothing above?  I am sure I should be more grateful that she does well with minimal effort and no, I do not think she is a superstar or better than most kids. 

While my daughter has never been excited about school or engaged in school, I have had the complete opposite experience with my son at the same school. I know that each child is different and they both learn differently, but every teacher my son has had challenges the students.  I know he has the best teacher at the school this year, but all his previous teachers have been great as well. My daughter has not had any of the same teachers.  This year he has been challenged and encouraged to think creatively with writing, reading, and science.  There have been many collaborative learning opportunities that the whole class was excited about.  The same week that I had the meeting for my daughter, my son had a group science experiment day where the kids were encouraged to work together in small groups and build Rube Goldberg displays and created contraptions that would keep an egg from breaking when falling from ceiling height.

I think kids do better when they are challenged and are engaged in the learning lesson. In the adult world so many of us learn from doing.  We have all been through training at work, but the real learning is from hands on practice and doing it.  It is too bad not all classrooms and teachers are created equal. 

Are your children’s teacher teaching to the tests?  Are they teaching so that your kids get good grades?  Or are they challenging your child and making learning fun for the kids?  Does is matter that the kids get good grades, but are not challenged or engaged at school?