We Cancelled Satellite

Posted 08-20-2012 at 09:41 AM by whitneywalters

After months and months of trying my husband finally convinced me to pull the plug on our satellite. He had been making hints about getting rid of it for sometime now but our contract was not up until the beginning of July. My husband never has been much of a television watcher and when he did watch something it was usually on Netflix. The kids and I were watching it pretty often. I would turn Nick Jr on for the kids in the morning and they would watch it off and on until I turned it off for lunch. I filled the DVR with crime dramas that I would watch when the kids were sleeping.

My husband was trying to get me to see it was not worth the price we were paying when we could spend fifty dollars less each month and get netflix and hulu. Between those two he told me I should be able to watch pretty much everything I was already watching and we would be able to save a lot of money in the process. I knew we needed to find ways to cut back so I finally gave in but I was not happy about it.

Diaper Swapers

A Party Fit for a Princess on a Budget

Posted 08-17-2012 at 12:57 PM by whitneywalters

My daughter Destiny loves to pretend she is a princess. She turned five August 4th and this year she wanted to have a princess party. We are still on a pretty strict budget so I went to work planning a party fit for my little princess.
We decided to have an afternoon party and skip the meal this time. We had cupcakes, punch and princess marshmallows.

Destiny wanted pink cupcakes with sprinkles, so I made strawberry cupcakes with white frosting and pink and white sugar sprinkles. I found princess cupcake liners at Hobby Lobby. The marshmallows were very simple. I dipped them in white chocolate and rolled them in purple sugar sprinkles. She also wanted pink punch so I made a simple punch from sprite, pink lemon aid and raspberry sherbert.

We wanted to have a gift bag for each little girl. I got on Pinterest and found an easy felt crown pattern and a diy ribbon dancer. I already had most of the supplies here. All I needed to buy was headbands, plastic rings, gift bags and I bought a package of princess rings in the party section of Hobby Lobby. My mom spent an afternoon helping me make

Irrational Fears

Posted 08-15-2012 at 01:25 PM by Krista

When I was growing up I didn’t have a great relationship with my mom. OK, that is actually a bit of an understatement—our relationship was turbulent, at best. However, I believed that I knew better, that I would be able to avoid doing the things that she did to hurt me when I had kids. I would be a better mother, because I had a good example of what not to do. The rest was easy as pie, right?

I am a grown woman now and though our relationship has improved somewhat—which comes from not living together and the fact that I have the first grandkids—we are not close. I have tried. I have done everything I can think of, and would be willing to give anything to believe that she loved me. Part of that has to do with the fact that I want my girls to see an example of a good mother and daughter relationship. I feel false telling them that family is important, that we have to love one another when my relationship with my mother does not line up with those values. I have always felt like they will see that and decide that their relationships with me are optional as a result.

Maybe that is just paranoia, but I feel it all the same.

And then there is always the fear that I will duplicate the behavior my mother used with me—verbal and physical abuse—on my girls. It began when I was two (my dad confirmed my age)

A Not-So-Dreamy Extended Family

Posted 08-15-2012 at 01:11 PM by brewanothercup

As an only child, I always dreamed and assumed that when I got married I’d have instant siblings that I’d spend hours with – catching up over coffee in the kitchen as the kids played or walking at the zoo pushing strollers together. It seemed like marriage was my only chance at creating the bigger family that I always wanted.

Well, my in-law family didn’t end up that way. I have an awesome mother-in-law (MIL) and father-in-law (FIL) but my brother-in-law (BIL) and his ex-wife , my sister-in-law (SIL), are less than enthusiastic about spending time with us. They didn’t visit my son when he was born. They barely see us three times a year, and only because we go to them. My son hardly knows them.  His cousins enjoy spending time with him (we take each one of them overnight for their birthday) but it’s always slightly tainted with an underlying jealousy about the time and attention he gets that they don’t.

How to Afford Travelling With Kids

Posted 08-14-2012 at 10:23 AM by brewanothercup

I’m a traveler at heart, and my husband has become a traveler at heart once he left the country for the first time on our honeymoon. I like to try to go to more exotic places – once in a lifetime kind of trips. We don’t lay by the beach or pool but we go to museums and try to combine all the things he loves (food and mountains) with what I love (culture, trees and water). This has made for some great trips with amazing stories, but as you can imagine, they add up fast.

We try to make our travel as affordable as possible. We set a budget about a year out and contribute to a vacation fund.  This budget is dictated by the total cost of our trip, including spending money. As the account grows, we purchase different parts of our trip. I scour kayak.com for airfare first, and once we have our seats I try to book a car from Costco (we saved about $200 off travel site’s price for this last trip).  We often book hotels as we go, but I always book the first night through a savings site like kayak.com or groupon. I double check the hotel website because they frequently will match lowest prices and have extra specials – I got $1 parking in the heart of San Francisco a few months ago this way, and an adorable boutique hotel for $60 a night.

Our travel plans are also based on the cost for our toddler (we did U.S. travel when he could fly on our laps for free) as well as trying to do the “off” season to save money. A few years ago we went to Spain and France in the winter, when travel was light. It was amazing to be at the Eiffel Tower the day after Christmas and to spend New Year’s Eve in Madrid – and cheaper because of that time of year, too.  

High School Reunion

Posted 08-14-2012 at 09:38 AM by Krista

My husband’s ten year high school class reunion is this weekend. It is something he has been looking forward to ever since he found out about it. He even bought me a new dress for the occasion and has joined a gym to lose weight. He has lost eleven pounds so far and has turned down junk food. Why is it that seeing people we went to school with can give us such an incentive to change?

I guess the best answer is that a class reunion is a chance for a new first impression. Sure, these people knew who you were in high school and if by chance you were the shy, nerdy kid perhaps you have a chance to show your former classmates that you’ve become something more than the target of their jokes. If you were a former jock or beauty-queen, unfortunately you have nowhere to go but down (OK, only kidding!) Everyone else, however, has a chance to say, “Here I am! Take a look at me now!”

I Do Not Do Anything

Posted 08-13-2012 at 12:03 PM by HollyRay

I’m a stay at home mom, it’s partly by choice, but there is no way I could afford to work outside of the home. My husband’s job has very little stability, his shifts are constantly changing, he deploys for months on end, and we really can’t afford child care unless I got a high paying job, something not easy to find when your resume is a plethora of performance art. We decided it’s best that I stay home.

My husband feels I work hard, I do everything around the house, and I try my best to make some money here and there too, but at the end of the day I look at my life and realize I don’t do anything. A few work out of the home moms have pointed out they do everything I do AND bring home a paycheck, they accomplish something everyday, I merely do the laundry, dishes, and take care of the children. Even if I don’t watch tv all day I suppose I have that option, and that option means that I live a cushy life. I understand where these moms are coming from, I should be thankful I am home all day, after all they have to be to work at a certain time, they have to juggle career, husband, children, and personal lives, and yes I think those women who take that challenge have a very different and often times very hard situation that differs greatly from my own. I think those women do a lot, in comparison I do nothing, as so many of them have pointed out.

What is a SAHM to do? Right now I guess I will have to settle to not accomplishing anything, if motherhood is a trial and a blessing, and I do it every day, all day, why do I do nothing? What am I doing so wrong that the women who are supposed to be supporting me tell me how worthless I am?

Perspective

Posted 08-13-2012 at 11:55 AM by whitneywalters

A friend from high school died recently. She was 30 weeks pregnant, developed pre eclampsia, had a seizure, an emergency c-section and never woke up. She had a blood clot in her brain stem and the doctors told her family she had a one percent chance of survival. She died after two weeks of being in a coma, she never woke up to see her baby girl and she also left behind a husband and four year old son. I was just in shock.

I went back and fourth while deciding if I wanted to attend the wake or not. We were really good friends at one point and time but we were not close anymore. In the end I decided to go, I hugged her mom and told her how sorry I was, talked with a couple people I knew and then said my goodbyes to Kari. I left in tears, I really did not think it would affect me the way it did but seeing her like that was just the breaking point for me. She did not even look like herself, I am trying to push it out of my mind now and remember her the way she was when we were friends.

Toddlers and Tiaras

Posted 08-13-2012 at 01:05 AM by Krista

This show is an American favorite that has become synonymous with parental indulgence, tantrums and chaos. More often than not the child is spoiled—in fact, they seem to find the most spoiled children that they can to make better television. Why would moms enjoy watching this show? Simple: to show us that no, our children are not the worst behaved ones out there. In fact, our willful little angels seem downright…well, angelic next to these huffy toddler divas.

At one time I was interested in getting my girls into pageants because my oldest is very into any glitzy and glam and my youngest is very calm and I think she would do well. However, when mentioning the idea to my husband, J, he was horrified. He too had seen the show once or twice and when I said the word “pageant” he had a moment of imaging our girls amidst glory hungry moms and their equally pushy daughters.

Now, let me say that I know all pageants, let alone all pageant moms and the contestants are not like this. However, after watching the show it will make you think twice about involving your daughter in all of that. As an added bonus, I have seen moms having their little girls teeth whitened, hair extensions put in, spray tan…you name it! It is not uncommon for a mom to hype their kids up on caffeine and sugar so that they will do well in the competition (after hearing pixie stix labeled as “pageant crack” I am not so sure I will be introducing the candy to my girls!).

Hard Lessons

Posted 08-8-2012 at 11:15 AM by Krista

Am I the only one who, as an adult, notices my parents contradicting things they taught me as a child? For example, my mom used to say “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.” She is the first to break this rule, but then, that isn’t exactly recent. I wrote recently about family drama going on between a cousin, my mother and my sister. I have tried to stay out of it, but it has just caused my mother and sister to accuse me of not being on their side.

I do not have a great relationship with either of them, which is what is making this so hard. I have tried to put the past away and focus on the present, but for my sister, this is particularly hard. She wants to keep reminding me of everything I did to her to ruin her life (her words, not mine; and, for the record, I disagree that I have done anything especially horrible, more like normal big sister stuff) and because of it we really don’t get along. She also knows that I disagree with her lifestyle choices, so she is always super defensive around me.

My mom and I actually did not speak for an entire year when I left home. After that, we have gone to ignoring the past as best we could. Even nearly eight years later we tread carefully when we speak of anything