1987 (Here I Go Again)

With all of our journey along this budgeting / Financial Peace path, I will tell you that I’m not so fond of when we fall of the budget wagon.  And in recent weeks, that is where we are . . off the wagon.

We did SOOOO good with the vacation!  We had the vacation fund, and we used it wisely.  And it was wonderful!  We even had some left over!  We used that at the fair right after we got home.

I did not budget for the following outings to the Lugnuts, Tigers, and Lions.  And we all know those places are not cheap.  Yesterday the boys and I even ate on the way out there so we wouldn’t be hungry!  Guess how long that lasted when the vendors started walking up and down the stairs yelling “Hot Dogs!”,  “Cotton Candy”, etc.  We were all instantly hungry!

Then today I did a stock-up grocery shop.  Without prior planning I stopped at both Aldi’s and Meijer’s.  I will say this house is set up pretty well for the next several weeks.  I will also say that I went over the grocery budget.  *sigh*

So, now, I can admit this:  In years past, I would just turn a blind eye to overspending and hope to do better next time.  But not now.  Not after all we’ve worked on and worked towards!  Now I can say, Yes I’ve gotten off the budget.  And now we’re getting back on budget!

Tonight I am thankful for learning to not hide in shame from myself for the things that need to be fixed!  Just “hoping” doesn’t change things.  Decisions and actions change things.  So here I go again!  (Did you just hear Whitesnake singing?  I just heard Whitesnake singing!)

Safe!

Tonight was pretty special.

Five years ago I took my oldest son to a Tiger’s game for the first time.  He loved baseball and really wanted to see the Tigers!  His great-grandparents were huge Tigers fans and he loved listening to them talk!  So we went.  And we had fun!

The next year I had found a deal on seats with a hot dog, chips, and a drink.  The prices were so low, I let my son invite a couple of friends.  When we got there, I found out why the seats were so cheap.  We were about as far away from the game as we could be and still be in the park.  But that didn’t matter to the boys!  Just being there was great enough for them!

The next year I brought both my boys to the game.  My youngest seemed a little young, but he really wanted to come along!  That year we stayed for fireworks!

Last year I took both of my boys.  They brought a mit, as we were seated more in the area where the boys hoped to catch a foul ball.  They didn’t catch one, but we had fun!

Last year we also added a Lion’s game.  My youngest is a big Lion’s fan.  I hadn’t realized how much cheaper tickets are to a Lion’s game before the official season starts!  So I was alright with going back to Detroit for that!

This year, I planned a little ahead and found a day where we could see both teams at once.  Our big bike race happened to be this morning.  Then home, shower, hit the road, and off to the Tigers!  We didn’t stay for the whole Lion’s game.  The boys were getting pretty tired!

Tonight I am thankful for a wonderful and exhausting day!  The bike race went wonderful!  The Tiger’s game went wonderful!  The Lion’s game went wonderful!

OH!  I almost forgot something else wonderful!  I had not been able to secure parking for today.  After a couple of years of questionable parking arrangements, I really wanted to have a secure spot.  I mean, I have both of my boys with me, in Detroit, at night . . . yeh, I want something solid in place.  I made phone calls to Olympia parking.  I even talked with a guy on Craigslist.  It ended up, that all I had left was prayer.

AND, it so happened that the FOX Theater did not have a show tonight!  So their parking garage was open for sports fans!  And for less than I was going to pay for another place!  See, God even cares about parking arrangements!  I am very thankful for a safe place to park for both games too!!

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Planning

Planning . . . life has proved that this is both my one of my greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses.

Say for instance I planning on a 15 mile bike race with my children.  So we practice and we practice.  We are feeling good about it!  And just a couple of weeks before the race, I fill out the August calendar.  It is at that time that I realize that the bike race is the morning after we are all going to a baseball game, with fireworks after the game.  Oops!!

So I warn the children to come home and get right to sleep.  Do you think that’s happening right now?  Nope!  I still hear voices coming from upstairs.

So wish us luck for tomorrow!  Because I will be waking the bicycling kids up nice and early to have breakfast and be at the race on time!!  And then to pedal for 15 miles with hills and stuff.  (What is stuff in that sentence?  I don’t know . . . gravel maybe??)

Tonight I am thankful that we all had a fun time at the Lugnuts game tonight!  Ron’s work had given him 4 of the tickets back in March.  It was early enough that I could buy our large crowd an additional 2 tickets adjacent to the first 4.  My wonderful aunt gave us an awesome parking spot!  And then we didn’t feel too bad splurging on all the goodies that are at the ballpark!  🙂  A fun time was had by all!

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Ice Cream

I had Sammy in charge of dinner tonight.  He chose pizza.  I had some work to do, so I didn’t get any pizza.

There was no time for food, we had stuff to do at the school.  So we were off.  One meeting finished and we had some time left before picking up my cross-country runner.  So my non-cross country child and myself went to the store.  We had our fill of unhealthy snacks in our hands and were headed to the check out.

At the check out, we were standing in line and we saw a friend buying ice cream.  It looked soooo good!  It was raspberry chip cheesecake!  I sent my daughter to return some of our unhealthy snacks and we got some ice cream!  My dinner was a cup of raspberry chip cheesecake ice cream!  And it was delicious!

Tonight I am thankful for my ice cream dinner!  Yum 🙂

I Don’t Care if My Kid plays with Your Kid

This goes against a LOT of parental guidance out there.  Read anything, it says that I should care.  Pick up a magazine article, I should care.  I should have been planning play-dates since my kids could sit up themselves.  I should have enrolled them in something, anything, to get them interacting with kids their ages, right?

Once in school, I should be monitoring and encouraging their social growth.  I mean, that is what the experts say.  I should want them to “fit in”.  I should put them in a sport, have them join a club, or something, anything, right?

Guess what?  I simply don’t agree.

When my kids were younger, my thoughts on the importance of social interaction were not at the top of the list.  I thought they should learn to dress themselves, shower themselves, eat by themselves, and maybe speak coherently.  When we worked on social interaction, we went outside the house.  I’ve always said that’s the thing about people – you always know where to find them.  So we went out to eat, and I had the kids order for themselves.  We took the kids around family and they learned to be social in a protected circle first.

When my kids got a little older, I encouraged them to talk to other kids.  I reminded them that the other kids, the quiet kids and the loud kids, were all new to the classroom too.  And maybe they wanted to play.  Or maybe they didn’t want to play that day, but maybe they would want to play tomorrow.  Maybe the day their friend yelled at them for no reason, maybe that morning was a bad morning for them.

There was a brief period where I was going out of my way to help my oldest, with the whole “friend” thing.  We had a few social things at the house.  There was one girl who my daughter really wanted to be friends with.  And the girl’s parents were thought highly of in the community.  The mom seemed to snob me, but whatever.  I cared only in the respect that I wanted her to trust me, so that our kids could play; because this was important to my daughter.  One day we had this girl over to our house.  It was just for a few hours.  After the girl left, my daughter was so relieved.  The girl had been pinching my daughter to get her way the entire time.  The girl was mean.  The girl didn’t act mean around adults.  She knew how and when to act.  That changed it right then and there.

Adults are not usually what they seem.  Children are usually different; but not all of them.  I started watching this particular child a little more when I saw her at the school; or in their girl scout troop.  And I could see it then, when she played up being nice.  And when she thought no one was looking.

I was wrong.  I should not have worked so hard to make that get-together happen.  There is a reason that some friendships work and some do not.  Imagine what would have happened, if I had done nothing.  Nothing.  Nothing would have happened.  My child would not have had bruises on her arm.  And she would not have been bossed around for hours in secret.  And then it hit me.  If I am working on living my life to the best of what is right for me; and if I am telling my children to do the same; then isn’t it very hypocritical of me to push and force friendships that don’t come natural?  And the friendship that I was trying to “help” with, would not have been a good one anyway!

School is starting soon.  I certainly want my children to be good friends to others.  And of course I want my kids to have a couple of friends that they can trust.  I remember school!  I would like there to be nice people for my children to play with at recess.    My children and I will talk about a lot of things that happen at school; why this child said this or why they acted this way.  We will break down the mean words and actions; and how they usually come from some insecure or other place from the one dishing them out.

At the end of the day though, I would rather my kids be friends with themselves before they are friends with anyone else.  I don’t want them to ever value themselves based on how the kids at school treat them.  Because they are going to grow in to adults.  These adults will go out in to a world that will treat them meanly.  And I don’t want them to ever, ever, ever believe that who they are is based on what the world tells them they are. I know that this kind of confidence is not built-in a day.  I know this is year after year, month after month, week after week, and day after day of talking and believing and reassuring them that God made them special to do great things!  And he doesn’t make mistakes!  And that has absolutely nothing to do with who their friends are.

So no, I don’t care if my kid is friends with your kid.  On a scale of life importance, it is close to remembering to brush your teeth.  Friends are good.  Friends can be life changing.  Friends can define moments in life.  But friends are never a definition of your life.

Tonight I am thankful for a Mom who spent countless hours talking to me about how I was not what people said I was at school.  If I had ever bought in to the words or the classifications that social interaction had placed me in during school; I would be a completely different person today.  I would be a shell of who I am and who I will become in life.  I am thankful that my Mom spent the time teaching understanding to me about what was really happening.  There is a way to not end up bitter if things don’t turn out like you wanted in life; and that is in gaining wisdom and understanding.  I am thankful I was taught that; so that I can teach my children.  I want them to see that knowing who they are themselves is far more important than making friends.  I don’t want them to ever get lost in the stream of “social interaction” that carries away youth and makes them believe they should be a certain way because it is “normal”.  No one gets to dictate what is normal for my children.  Not social media.  Not teachers.  Not parenting groups.  And not friends at school.  And I am thankful for that.

Vroom-ity, Vroom, Vroom!!

After weeks of waiting, I finally have the final word on my car.  The repairs are covered under warranty!!  Hooray!!

I was around 4,000 miles from being out of my warranty.  So the timing is actually good here.  At the dealership, they showed me pictures of my poor little Blueberry car.

The scoop is, screws holding the wrist pin came loose.  Once there was enough play there, the wrist pin sheared in two, the piston came exploding out.  Metal fragments everywhere.  The picture of inside my oil pan looked like my engine threw up all sorts of pieces of metal.  Poor little Blueberry was sicker than I thought!

A new engine has been ordered!!  And in the meantime, I was given a car to drive!  It looks like Blueberry’s cousin!  A different color of the same model.  But a LOT newer!  Blueberry was already the newest car I’ve ever owned.  Her cousin here has a little over 1,000 miles on it.  Yep, that’s it.  Just over 1,000 miles!  I’m styling over here!

Tonight I am thankful for a new car to drive around in for a bit.  But I am most thankful that my new engine is covered by warranty!  It saves me several thousands of dollars!!!  And hey, I’ll have a brand new engine!!

In A Storm

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; I think that being a mom has taught me more about God than anything else in life to date.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not diminishing the Bible by any means!  But when I think of my heart towards my children; and how much greater God’s heart is to us . . well then the world makes a little more sense.

For instance, I have four children, so I ask them to help each other.  Sometimes there will be a child who really could use some help.  Sometimes it is the child’s own fault that he or she needs help; sometimes it isn’t.  It doesn’t matter.  Sometimes I see a child who needs help and I ask another child to help out.  Many times the child who needs help ends up being mean or rude to the helping child.  They yell at them for not helping how they wanted.  Or they yell because they’ve already tried doing it “that way”.  It doesn’t matter.

When that happens, the child has now lost their helper.  I tell the helping child to leave.  I tell the remaining child that they must now figure it out themselves because I offered them assistance thru their sibling, and they were rude or mean.

Same thing goes for if the helper child helped finished the task; but then the child needing help started to bad-mouth the way the helper child actually helped.  The child who needed help has now lost help the next time that they need it.  Because you don’t get help from someone and treat them bad.  You just don’t do that.  I’m the Mom and I say that is not allowed.  Case Closed.

Now put that in to the adult world, where we are God’s children and he is the Heavenly Father.

A few weeks ago I helped out a person.  Like majorly helped.  One of those helps that a person gets to do only once in a very great while.  Only the parties involved know about this help because it was so big.  I didn’t want the person being helped to feel embarrassed.  I just wanted to help.

The main part of the help was done.  There were loose ends and a bit of work to be done by the person receiving the help.  But they were pointed down the right path and given a helping push to send them off on their way.  Now, weeks later the person thinks everyone is the enemy.

Change is scary and change is hard.  And life is hard when decisions are made for the wrong reasons.  This person is scared.  Their life is going to change one way or the other.  I get it.  I truly do.  But just because change is going to be happening; people are not evil and the world is not the enemy.

Today I think I should have felt betrayed.  I think I should have felt hurt.  And I’m pretty sure I should have felt mad for helping someone and then having names called and threats made against me.  But I didn’t feel any of that.

I just kept thinking about watching my children in this scenario on a much smaller level.  And I felt sorry for this person.  When I watch my children; I explain to the helper child that they did what I asked, they helped, they did their job, and I will protect them from anything the other child might do.  How much more does God feel this way?  I’m not sure . . . but I’m sure it is a lot.

Tonight I am still thankful for the opportunity to help a person in a big way.  I would not change a thing.  Tonight I pray for this person.  I pray they find peace.  And I pray they get thru this chapter in life better than today.  Tonight I am thankful for the understanding that is mine at a completely different level than I would have had just years ago.  Tonight I am thankful that I could stand amidst a storm being thrown my way; stand there and offer a solution.  And best of all, I could stand there unafraid of the storm, confident in the knowledge that I was safe.