Another Birthday Party?

Last year, for Evan’s 1st birthday celebration, we threw him an elaborate birthday party. Randy and I rented a nice party hall by the marina, we ordered an abundant amount of food from Olive Garden, we prepared giveaways, laid out lots of gifts, toys and activities for all the kids, and we had plenty of in and out of town guests.

We were thrilled to be able to throw a memorable and beautiful party for our sweet son. It was Evan’s first birthday, a special occasion that we wanted to mark with a stand-out celebration. Although I must admit, conducting such an extravagant children’s party was a LOT of work, and needless to say very costly!

So this year for Evan’s 2nd birthday celebration, to save our wits and our wallets, Randy and I vowed that we wouldn’t throw another huge party like his first one. We kept saying all year that we would just celebrate simply, have a nice dinner at home, with maybe even just the three of us.

But then, we discovered this BEAUTIFUL local park and quickly changed our mind.

mysandiegolife.com

Randy and I absolutely fell in LOVE with this park (named Mountain Hawk Park in Chula Vista, CA) and we decided that we just HAD to celebrate Evan’s 2nd birthday here.

What we love about Mountain Hawk Park is the serene setting and its breathtaking views of Mt. Miguel Mountains and Otay Lake. Also, the entire park is clean and so well manicured!

Most important, Mountain Hawk Park has wonderful amenities designed for families and small children: a tot playground (perfect for Evan and all his toddler friends), clean restrooms, a basketball court, BBQ grills, a mini amphitheater, a kid-friendlly water play/water fountain area (AWESOME!), an enormous open grassy field for soccer/volleyball/baseball/frisbee, and plenty of parking spaces.

Our guests can even go on a very relaxing stroll along the park’s picturesque trails.

Although we initially wanted to refrain from throwing another large birthday bash, we just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to celebrate Evan’s 2nd birthday party in this gorgeous park.

Like all party planning, plenty of effort will be required, but I believe that by saving for a party fund, sticking to a reasonable budget, ordering food to avoid having to cook myself, minimizing our guest list, and planning well in advance, I can mitigate a lot of the stress involved.

Because Evan’s birthday weekend falls on Labor Day weekend, I’ve already reserved a gazebo for his party.

Just the thought of giving Evan a simple, yet still special celebration in this beautiful park setting already makes me and Randy very happy.

We realize that every one of Evan’s birthday is a true blessing from God, and it should be celebrated in a special way every year. His birthday parties don’t always have to be as extravagant as his first one, but his birthdays should really be honored annually.

What better way to give thanks to God for blessing us with a healthy and active son than to celebrate his 2nd birthday in this very pretty park – where we can all enjoy the outdoors and reconnect with nature.

DISCUSSION:

  • Do you celebrate your child(ren)’s birthday every year with a party?
  • What is your family’s favorite outdoor activity?

Share your story, your story matters.

A Little ‘Crazy’ Doesn’t Hurt

I’m sure you’ve all seen those spouting water fountains where kids love to play. We have a popular one here at our local outdoor mall and my son has always wanted to join in and splash around with the other kiddos. But since I’m a self-accepted germophobe, I’ve NEVER let my son play in that water because I always thought the water was not clean. Who wants to play in recycled water?!?

Even when Evan would plead with those adorable eyes and respectfully ask me, “Peas, Mama, wata peas!”, I always stood firm and told him that he couldn’t play in the water fountain and explained to him that the water was dirty. It broke his heart every time.

But I did something crazy recently. Something totally out of character. Frankly, I don’t even know who that mother is in the picture above, who seems to be having a BLAST playing in that same “dirty recycled water”. Who is that crazy woman?!?

Oh, that’s me : )

When we arrived at the mall that day, my son already knew where he wanted to go. He led me by the hand to the water fountain area where sure enough, there were already a dozen kids playing and having a blast. Evan of course begged me to let him go in. I was feeling especially generous on that beautiful warm day so I thought, okay, a little “toe dip” would be fine.

But as soon as I let Evan’s feet touch the mini water geyser, that was it. I had lost my battle against avoiding that darn dirty water fountain. Of course, some of the water sprayed onto me too and before I knew it, I was in on the water fountain party. Evan was soaked, I was soaked, and we were running rampantly all over that water fountain. We went under the shooting water, over it, through it, around it… and my goodness, playing in that recycled water turned out to be so much fun!

While all the other (responsible and prepared) mothers were sitting on the side, shaded under the tables with umbrellas, prepped with sunblock, towels, change of clothes and sunhats, I on the other hand was running around with my son and playing IN the water fountain with all the other kids.

Even though Evan had a change of clothes and a fresh diaper handy, I myself had no change of clothes. I had to recruit my cousin (Thank you Ninang Mo) to go to Macy’s and find us a towel to dry off. Then I had to quickly shop at H&M completely soaked and dripping wet to buy new and dry clothes. I’m sure just like the moms who were leering at me at the sidelines, the other shoppers and workers at H&M probably thought I was crazy too.

But you know what? I did have a moment of temporary insanity there. But that’s alright, yeah it was crazy, and I’m glad it happened because my son had so much fun and I’m so happy I was able to give him that gift. I learned that day that sometimes it’s okay to be unrestrained, it’s good to be spontaneous. It reminded me how important it is to have fun WITH Evan.

Being a stay at home mom doesn’t always have to be about complying to the daily routine and tedious schedule of cleaning, cooking, laundering, etc… I can’t forget that while cleanliness is important, creating fun memories with my son is more valuable and meaningful in building a close relationship with him.

I love seeing my son’s face when it’s filled with complete joy. But I love it even more, when I have the same look on my face because we’re experiencing that same thrilling moment together.

So mommies, I encourage you next time you schedule a fun activity for your kids, get your hands dirty and join in on the action. I assure you, you won’t regret it : )

DISCUSSION

  • What was a spontaneous and fun memory you had with your child(ren)?

Share your story, your story matters.

Stickin’ It Out

Recently Randy and I have been battling deep anxieties about determining the next “big step” in our lives.

Although Randy is dedicated to working with at risk youths for a non-profit organization, he is eager to work in his field of study, IT Management. He would love to find another job in IT, but we know how difficult it is in this recessive economy to land a job, and it’s even more challenging to switch careers.

For me, being a stay at home mom living in a small studio has slowly taken its toll on me and Evan. We often find ourselves feeling so confined in our small home, also because we don’t have a second car to get us out of the house. The restrictions of living in such a small space for me and my growing energetic toddler becomes more difficult every month.

There’s only so much freedom playing in the backyard or a walk around the neighborhood can give you.

If we reveal the dreams in our hearts, you will see that our family’s goals are for Randy to work in an IT department, to move out of California, and to settle our family in Colorado, where the lifestyle is slower and the cost of living is more affordable.

However, we understand that it’s just not logistically reasonable to uproot our family at this time.

My husband initially thought of looking for another job now, but that would mean he would be competing with all the recent college graduates who are willing to accept jobs for lower pay.

Also, my biggest concern is that even if Randy could land a job, even in his desired field in IT, there would be a lapse in our coverage as he waits a few months to qualify for health benefits for our family.

After hours of heartfelt discussions, we ultimately decided that although our hearts are eager to move out of San Diego to relocate to Colorado, the most responsible move is for us to wait.

We have to wait for a better time to move. When Randy finishes his IT degree with CSU Global in a year and a half, or even maybe before that, when he has acquired a couple of IT certifications, we will surely be better equipped to face a job search, a career change, and an interstate relocation.

Randy and I in the end decided that retaining our family’s health insurance is more important than his desire to change careers and my desire to live in a less confining house. Especially because we’re trying to get pregnant again, protecting our health insurance is inarguably our bigger priority.

In the meantime, as we wait another year for our lives to transform, we continue to have faith that God has prepared a wonderful life ahead of us. We know it won’t be easy, and our patience and understanding will have to be rigorously tested daily, but we choose to believe that a better life is possible for us sooner than later.

We have to just believe, support each other, count our blessings, continue to work hard, be patient, and always, always trust in the Lord that He will never forsake us.

Like my good friend Rowena advised, “Have faith in the Almighty. He watches out for you, your friends and your family.”

We may not be at our desired destination, but every day that we work hard for our family continues to be a step in the right direction.

DISCUSSION

  • What are some of your family’s life goals that had to be put on hold for better timing?

Share your story, your story matters.

Have Fun Instead

Saturday was supposed to be laundry day.

As soon as I woke up on Saturday morning, I was already consumed with having to figure out the logistics of how I was going to do laundry by myself at the laundrymat. My husband had to work so I was left to my own devices to figure out how I was going to haul my heavy hampers into our Jeep, then wash and dry and fold 6 loads of laundry – all with a very energetic toddler in tow. It was certainly gonna be a long, arduous and challenging day. But I’ve grown to accept that laundry days are always tough, especially with having to wrangle my very adventurous son at the same time.

Saturday was supposed to be laundry day.

At least, I thought so….

I was sipping my morning coffee, obsessing over my laundry logistics for the day, when I saw Evan’s tiny fingers slowly open our bedroom door. Then I heard his toddler footsteps running towards me. As soon as he saw me, his sleepy eyes smiled and his entire face glowed. He opened his arms, invited an embrace and said, “Huck Mommy, Huck”. I hugged him warmly and kissed his sweet smelling hair. Then, he took my face, placed both his hands on each of my cheek and kissed me. After, he tucked his head inside my neck, in that perfect space between my jaw and shoulder, and there he rested peacefully for five long blissful minutes.

At that moment, Saturday was no longer laundry day.

I quickly abandoned my obsessions with getting laundry done that day, along with all the other chore-related items on my to-do-list.

I told Evan, “Son, we’re going to have a lot of FUN today.”

Evan woke up so sweetly that I thought, why should I dampen this beautiful sunny day with doing laundry?!? Having clean clothes is nice, but having fun with my son is more important.

So instead of a surely stressful day at the laundrymat, here’s what we did:

  • I took Evan to his cousins’ house for a play date.
  • We took a long morning walk around my in-laws’ serene neighborhood.
  • We browsed through yard sales.
  • Evan rode on the back of his cousin’s tricycle.
  • We ran around at the park.
  • We sat by the water and watched ducks, turtles and geese.
  • Evan went on the swings and said “weeee!” every time I pushed him : )
  • Evan romped all over the playground.
  • We ate noodles, salad and chips for lunch.
  • We visited my Aunt.
  • Evan napped for 2 hours.
  • We ate chocolate oatmeal cookies for our afternoon snack.
  • We had a veggie pizza for dinner.
  • We watched the Laker game with Daddy.

So it wasn’t laundry day after all. It was a full day, a spontaneous day, a perfectly fun day. We didn’t even plan any of these activities. We just set out with the promise that no matter what we ended up doing, we were going to have a FUN day.

I learned over the weekend that sometimes, it’s okay to not have the laundry done as scheduled. It’s okay to abandon chores for the sake of having quality time with my son. I shouldn’t always obsess over having a neat and tidy house. Taking care of chores is important, but having fun-filled days with Evan is definitely more important.

DISCUSSION:

  • What fun activities did you and your family enjoy over the weekend?

Share your story, your story matters.

Happy Mother’s Day

Dear Khristine,

For so long in our marriage, we weren’t allowed to celebrate Mother’s Day. All we had was Rossi, Dixie, and the dreams of one day becoming parents. God knew that in our hearts, we wanted nothing more than to have a child of our own. I remember praying endlessly, lighting the Holy Family statue, and waiting. Lo and behold, He responded with Evan.

Since Evan has been a part of our lives, I have had the privilege of witnessing you grow and change in many ways; the most prevalent being the inspiration you’ve experienced as a mother. I have also seen your heart open up to the love and vulnerabilities that a child can expose you to. I have seen you encounter so many new things since Evan has been here, and as your husband, it is a blessing to watch you handle life as a Mother.

Although I try to thank you every day, even on behalf of Evan, I don’t think we can thank you enough. We want to thank you for bringing comfort into our home; we thank you for prioritizing our family, our health, and our future. We thank you for your hugs and kisses, meals and walks afterwards. We want to thank you for listening to our complaints and for your patience when we are frustrated. We want to also thank you for your limitless love and affection. We thank you for being our best friend.

On Mother’s Day, Evan and I want you to know that we honor the woman you are. We love you more than anyone in this world. God has certainly blessed Evan’s life by asking you to be his Mother, and I am definitely blessed to be a part of yours as well.

We love you, God Bless you, and Happy Mother’s Day!

Yours only and always,

Randy and Evan

Evan giving me my Mother’s Day present : )  What a cutie!

A custom calendar! Just what I wanted : )

A mother’s love liberates.
~ Maya Angelou

DISCUSSION

  • How did you and your loved ones celebrate Mother’s Day?

Share your story, your story matters.

Let Me Play

This is a poster of my son Evan.

Okay, okay… it’s not really Evan in the picture, but the poster description fits him perfectly.

Oh, and by the way, he’s not even 2 yet!

I wonder what Evan will be like when he’s 3. Wow.

My son is very active and adventurous. Sometimes, I honestly have a tough time holding up to all his energy. Thursday afternoon was a particularly difficult day. Evan tested my patience as he “played” for hours by doing dangerous leaps, dizzying spins and defying gravity stunts.

I often want to pull my hair out and say, “Evan, can’t you just sit still?!?”

But then I think of a lady that I met once at a laundrymat who humbly reminded me, “Let’s not ever wish our children to just “sit still”… so many young children are bound in a hospital bed or a wheelchair… we ought to feel blessed and celebrate that our “adventurous” children are ABLE to walk and run and move around freely.

That conversation always humbles me and puts my complaints in clearer perspective. Whenever I feel crazed and frazzled from my son’s rambunctious ways, I am quickly reminded of the lady at the laundrymat’s wise advice.

Although running around after Evan is challenging and oftentimes frazzling, I have to bear in mind that I am truly lucky and I should be grateful that my son is even healthy enough to run around and be active.

Instead of sighing with desperation and exhaustion, I take a deep breath of appreciation for my wild and adventurous and wonderful son.

My Non-Financial Contribution as a SAHM

The other night I read a wonderful blog called Purposeful Homemaking in which Becky, the writer, posted a thought-provoking question that struck me.

In one of Becky’s recent blogs titled, “The Measure of Success” she asks in introspection, “Will I look back on my life someday and feel I was successful even though I didn’t contribute a paycheck to the family?”

The question prompted me to ask the same of myself, “Can I honestly say that I lead a fulfilling and successful life as a stay at home mom even if I don’t have a career outside the home?”

I also reflected, “Do I still provide a significant contribution to my family even though I don’t bring home a paycheck?”

Without any regrets, my answer when I contemplated on these questions is YES, I feel fulfilled and successful as a stay at home mom. YES, I give a significant contribution in my home even though I don’t bring home a paycheck.

I feel fulfilled and successful as a stay at home mom because I get to pursue my life’s calling and passion everyday. Instead of cultivating a career in the workforce, I’m cultivating my home and family life.

I’m deeply grateful to have found God’s calling and that He has called me to be primarily at home for my family.

Tending to my home, my husband, and our son, is immeasurably more important and rewarding to me than earning money. If I’m being honest with myself, the things that I would be working for outside the home, just to earn another paycheck are exactly just that – things.

I measure my personal success by how much attention I give my family, not by how much money I bring home. Moreover, I would much rather place my daily efforts inside my home, rather than any job outside my home. Being always available and visible for my husband and our son far outweighs what a secondary paycheck could ever provide for my family.

Although my responsibilities as a stay at home mom yields no monetary rewards, I am enriched in other and more important ways. I take pride that from the moment our son Evan opens his eyes, to the moment he rests his head at night, I am the one who cares for him. I would never want to place our son in a daycare or have someone else raise our son, just to have another income. Being our son’s main caretaker is profoundly more significant to me than money or the pursuit of a career.

I’m so thankful to my very hard working husband, Randy, for providing for all our needs. He works long shifts everyday so that I am able to stay home and care for our son. I must also note that my husband has never made me feel inadequate for not having a job outside the home. Quite the opposite actually, he is so appreciative and supportive about my role as a stay at home mom.

I’m grateful that my husband makes me feel valuable even though I don’t contribute a paycheck for our family. I never once felt the need to apologize to him for not supplementing our income by going to work. We both understand the greater value in me being a stay at home mom. Randy is so sweet, every night he thanks me for taking care of him and our son and for keeping our family and home life in order. I feel very blessed to have an understanding, supportive and appreciative husband.

I understand that every family has a different financial situation with different priorities, so having a stay at home parent may not be ideal in other family dynamics.

But as for me and my husband, we have accommodated our lifestyle so that we are able to be comfortable on one income. Let me write that again, we have accommodated our lifestyle so that we are able to be comfortable on one income. Not the other way around – my husband and I refuse to accommodate our family life around having a dual income.

As a stay at home mom, I may not earn a paycheck. But I believe I earn something better, I earn the privilege and rewards of being an available and visible mother to our son and wife to my husband. This is infinitely more fulfilling for me and valuable to my family than any out-of-the-home job could ever offer.

I may not provide my family with money, but I am happier to provide my family with attention.

I celebrate all of you other stay at home moms who have sacrificed your careers and earnings so that you may foster a more positive, peaceful and well-attended family and home life.

She asks not how her behavior may please a stranger, or how another’s judgment may approve her conduct; let her beloved be content and she is glad.”- Charles Spurgeon

DISCUSSION:

  • What are the non-monetary values that you get to contribute to your family as a full time stay at home mom?

Share your story, your story matters.

Weaning a Toddler

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in several days. I’m in the middle of weaning our 20 month old toddler and it’s been quite a fitful week!

BREAK FROM BREASTFEEDING

As I mentioned in a previous post about expanding our family, my husband and I would like to get pregnant again, and we decided it would be best for my son to wean from breastfeeding before I get pregnant with our second baby.

I really want to give my body a rest before getting pregnant again. Although extended breastfeeding has been a positive experience for both me and my son, I’m looking forward to regaining my body back.

I JUST WANT MY MOMMY

My son has been nursing on demand ever since he was born, even through the night since we co-sleep with him as well. As an infant, Evan was never interested in bottles or pacifiers, he just wanted to nurse exclusively.

As Evan started eating solid foods at 6 months old, he received other forms of calories and nutrition aside from breast milk, but he still relied heavily on nursing for comfort and closeness with me.

But now that pregnancy is back in our family plans, I want to wean Evan from breastfeeding now, before I’m pregnant, rather than traumatizing him by abruptly forcing him to “quit cold turkey” once we’ve conceived.

I’ve known other mothers who continued to nurse their older child throughout being pregnant with another baby, but I don’t want to nurse while I’m pregnant.

TECHNIQUES

So that’s what I’ve been doing this whole week, trying to at least, weaning my very attached toddler from his beloved breastfeeding.

To wean Evan, I’ve eliminated his mid-morning and mid-afternoon nursing sessions. I take him on long walks and play a lot of silly games with him to distract him from his “comfort” feedings. I also give him plenty of snacks, offer him water and milk in sippy cups, and entice him with Big Bird apple juice boxes to keep him hydrated. If he really resists and becomes inconsolable, then I let him nurse, but no longer than 5 minutes on both sides.

So far, despite the battles, I’ve successfully been able to delay each daytime nursing session to at least 4 hours apart. Yesterday, he didn’t nurse for almost seven hours!

By the end of May, my goal is to only nurse Evan when he wakes up in the morning, before his one afternoon nap time, and finally before his bedtime at night. I imagine the nighttime feedings will be the most difficult to take away, but I’ll just have to cross that very long bridge when I get there.

RESISTANCE

Just as I expected, weaning has turned out to be quite a challenge. As a result from this new restrictive weaning schedule, Evan has been very grumpy, defiant, and irritable.

I feel terrible that my decision to wean has caused Evan to be so miserable. He must be so frustrated that he can’t nurse as often as usual, which was pretty much as often as he wanted!

NURSING AND WEANING AS SAHM

As a stay at home mom and his only caregiver, I didn’t mind nursing him on demand. I take great pride that I was able to nurse Evan so much, well past his first year. But now that I’m ready to stop breastfeeding him, it’s a really bittersweet period.

Another added challenge to the daytime weaning is that my husband is at work from 6 am to 6 pm. So I’m home alone with Evan all day, battling with no relief all the flaring temper tantrums filled with screaming, crying, arm-flailing, back-arching, pleading, and worst of all, the heartbreaking lip quivers : (

It’s so hard to refuse him repeatedly, especially because he’s my first and only baby. I hate seeing him cry : (

Weaning a toddler that’s so deeply attached to nursing will never be easy, I suppose.

There are many discouraging moments when I feel like giving up and I think in desperation that maybe I should just let him nurse on demand again.

But I know that it’s time to detach Evan from breastfeeding; my mother’s instinct is telling me it’s time to wean. 

IT’S GONNA BE OKAY

Seeing Evan so unhappy breaks my heart, but I have to remind myself that Evan will be okay. I have to just find other ways (cuddling, singing, reading, taking long walks) to comfort him and bond with him besides nursing.

Like during any major life transitions, I have to face this new chapter of parenthood with plenty of patience, persistence and grace. This difficult period requires a lot of adjustments for my entire family. Though I am confident that one day, Evan will eventually adjust to weaning, and he won’t have to be comforted by nursing.

I am so grateful that I was able to nourish Evan and bond with him through nursing for so long. Breastfeeding has been a beautiful experience in my motherhood journey. However, the time has come to end this chapter. I look forward to discovering new ways to connect and bond with my dear son.

“From the time you were a tiny seed inside me, you were fed from my body.
When you were born into this world as a baby, you were fed from my breasts.
Now, I give you this cup, so you can feed yourself.” ~ Shea Darian

Recommended Readings

DISCUSSION

  • How was your experience with weaning?
  • What were some of the most effective approaches to weaning your child?

Share your story, your story matters.

Our Son Is Like Diego The Explorer!

I obtained the cartoon character descriptions below from a Focus on the Family article written by Lynne Thompson. She encourages parents to accommodate and foster their toddler’s “play styles” by determining which activities their kids find most enjoyable. I suggest you read the entire article, it’s really insightful!

I’m curious, which of these cartoon characters are most like your child(ren)?

Bob the Builder

These toddlers love to build. But before investing in Thomas or Brio train sets start small. Begin with Duplo blocks or cardboard bricks for stacking. Help your toddler set up a fort with chairs and a blanket. Be sure to join in the fun by crawling inside with a flashlight and a picture book to share. You may want to drive by a nearby house under construction each day and watch its progress. Have dad help your little builder set up a tent in the backyard and then camp together under the stars… or streetlights.

Dora/Diego the Explorer

This toddler wants out! Be sure to take your little explorer to the park, on a hike, or down a bike trail. It’s also fun to create maps leading to hidden treasures in the house or backyard. You may want to purchase a bug terrarium or butterfly net for backyard exploration. Try visiting the local pet store, zoo, aquarium or space observatory. A family camping trip is a must.

Elmo’s World

This tot loves to learn new things, and games are an easy way to teach. Purchase a box of Old Maid cards and place them face down on the floor. Have your child flip over two at a time in search for the match. Another fun game is to purchase plastic Easter eggs and fill them with treats. Each egg should be coupled with another filled with the same item. Have your little one find the match by shaking the eggs and matching the sound. Sometimes toddlers like to learn from other children. Invite an older sibling or friend to teach your toddler how to write his or her name. Also, it’s always fun to bring home a plastic horn or musical recorder and let your toddler blow out a tune… in the backyard.

Caillou

It’s a make believe world for this toddler. Try to encourage an active imagination with plenty of dress up costumes, found at garage sales or in the grocery store clearance section after Halloween. Children who enjoy the arts might like listening to stories on CDs, or watching DVDs that can be imitated later. Host a dress up tea party with friends, real or stuffed. Or grab the video recorder and act out Bible stories as a family. Then breakout the popcorn and enjoy the performance.

Lionel (Between the Lions)

Make sure you have your library card ready, ‘cuz books are candy for this little one. Check out story time opportunities in your town at the public library or bookstores. Start a toddler book swap, by asking moms to bring over any used picture books to trade. Take in a theatrical performance of your child’s favorite book. Host a literature party where children dress up as their favorite storybook character. Then invite a parent in costume to read some of the books aloud.

Boobah

This is a toddler in motion. You may want to purchase some music from your local Christian bookstore for this little one to exercise and dance to. Purchase a Twister mat and call out colors as jumping spots. You may want to invite other parents with toddlers to join you in starting your own fitness program at a nearby park or in your backyard. Some athletic gyms offer toddler classes or you may want to visit gymboree.com to locate your nearest activity center.

EVAN IS MOST LIKE…..

In comparison to these cartoon characters, Evan is most like Diego the Explorer. Although I would also dare to compare Evan to Curious George, Superman and Spiderman!

Our son is insatiably curious about everything. Evan is fearless and loves to jump off beds, chairs and couches, and much to my worry, he is too fond of climbing.

To nurture Evan’s interests and to expend a lot of his energy, my husband and I ensure that he gets outside and physical time everyday.

We learned very quickly that Evan does not enjoy Mommy and me classes, circle story times at the local library or even Gymboree’s family music classes. While other children thrived in these activities, my son quickly got bored because he found indoor activities to be too restrictive.

Instead, Evan totally prefers being outdoors, especially in a park, where he is free to run and tumble around.

Evan has an unbridled spirit, that’s for sure, much like his Mommy and Daddy….

DISCUSSION

  • Which cartoon characters are most comparable to your toddler?
  • How do you encourage your child(ren)’s style of play?

Share your story, your story matters.

Is It OK To Splurge On One Income?

For my 32nd birthday last week, my husband surprised me with a new camera – but not just any new camera, Randy bought me an awesome Digital SLR (DSLR) camera, a Canon EOS Rebel T3. We’ve been setting aside $50 a paycheck for a while now to save up for this very nice, but very expensive camera. I didn’t anticipate having a DSLR until Christmas time later this year. It’s such a big-ticket item, I figured it would only be acceptable to purchase during the holidays.

GRATITUDE OR GUILT

When I opened the box and discovered that it was a DSLR camera, of course I was so happy and excited, but a large part of me also felt deeply guilty. I felt guilty that he spent so much money on my birthday present.

I asked Randy how he came to the decision to buy the camera now, rather than waiting until the holidays as we initially planned. He responded, “Actually, I kept going back and forth on whether I should buy it or not. But on the morning of your birthday, I asked myself as soon as I woke up, ‘Should I get Khristine the camera for her birthday?’ and I told myself, ‘Life is too short, I’m gonna buy it for my wife!”

He then further explained to me, “Baby, I know that we don’t have a lot right now. We have a small place, we only have one car, we don’t buy much for ourselves, but I thought that buying this camera to capture our family memories can be one of the few ways to treat ourselves.”

Although I was thankful, Randy could tell that I was worried about what such a large and unplanned purchase would do to our finances. Randy reassured me and told me not to worry. He reminded me that using up such a large chunk of our savings to purchase this camera would be worth it because it’s an investment for our family.

SENTIMENT OVER SAVINGS

Having to make ends meet on one income for our family, I was naturally inclined to feel nervous about such an expensive purchase. But after taking the first few photos with our new camera, I felt instantly relieved. I saw how beautiful the photos turned out and I knew that the DSLR camera was a worthy investment. Even if we have to tighten our belts (more) in the upcoming months, seeing these high-quality photos of my son converted me into knowing that such a large expense was definitely justified.

The photos captured by our new DSLR camera are simply STUNNING. Compared to our regular point and shoot camera, the DSLR images have more depth, are clearer, brighter, crisper and more vibrant.  We’ve already made great use of our new camera this past weekend by taking wonderful pictures at our Grandmother’s 105th birthday luncheon and our nephew’s baptism. The DSLR images we took really look like professional photos!

So to answer my own question, is it ok to splurge on one income? I now realize that it is absolutely acceptable to splurge on one income, if it’s truly within your means and especially if it’s in the interest of celebrating your family’s memories. The value of that kind of sentimental investment will prove to be worth the expense over and over again.

Yes, our new DSLR camera cost us a lot of money… and for a family surviving on one humble income, such a hefty purchase definitely made a huge dent in our family savings. But what we have gained in capturing our family memories with such beautiful photos has far exceeded the monetary cost in immeasurable ways.

You can’t put a price on preserving family memories.

DISCUSSION:

  • What do you think are acceptable splurge items?
  • How do you “treat” your family even when your finances are restricted?

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