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Hello!

January 10th, 2009 at 08:42 am

I got a random e-mail from someone who was reading an old blog entry of mine, which made me fondly remember this site, so I thought I would pop back on for a moment to check in. Glad to see that many of the "old-timers" (in longevity, not age, of course!) are still around. Anyway, just a quick note to say hi and announce my latest addition, Margaret Elizabeth, born healthy and happy in October. She's a champ eater and sleeper, giving us a solid ten hours straight of sleep last night Smile I'm blissfully off from work until May, unless circumstances change and I need to go back sooner - although the EF is stocked and we are living quite cheaply these days. Hi to all!

Still kicking...

May 3rd, 2008 at 06:50 pm

Just not writing! I'm gotten very bad at posting here. (slaps own hand) I'll try to do better Smile

I was just checking out my debt column - $19645. As of today, that number was under $18k. I guess I should get around to updating it. Both of our student loans have gone done about $500. Our Lowe's debt is down to $500. Unfortunately, our cc is up a bit due to car repairs, but that will be paid off before any interest accrues. We just got slapped with a major car repair, but are using the stimulus to pay it off. It's no harm to the budget, but just more scrambling that we will have to do to come up with money for our Roths (since that's what we had the stimulus slated for). Oh well. I guess it wasn't the worst time for me to blow a transmission, although there never is a good time for that.

Running ragged...

April 13th, 2008 at 07:10 am

My clients have flown in from England and the frenzied search for a house has begun! I've spent the past two days looking at houses with them, traveling over 150 miles each day. We had quite a few disappointments this weekend, looking at houses that didn't quite measure up to their pictures and descriptions. Today I have found a few newer listings to visit. Most of the houses that we've seen so far have been on the market for 3-4 months, so I'm optimistic that these newer listings may be a bit more what we've been looking for. And if not, we have seen one spectacular house that my folks would be happy with if nothing better comes along.
I had my pregnancy check-up last week - so far, so good. Sonogram is in 5 weeks, at which point we'll hopefully know the gender (although they did tell us with last pregnancy that ds was a dd!).
I just checked the account online and it looks like we'll finally have some breathing room. It seems like ever since my cat's surgery back in January, we've been juggling the bills - always having enough, but never having extra. Now, it seems we can catch our breath. I'd like to get our EF back up to $5k (and eventually $10k) - it's at $3k now - and start on our 2008 Roth contributions. Lastly, I've still got that bothersome Lowe's bill to pay off before July ($500 left on a $2k bathroom remodel).

yeah, okay, I've been gone...

April 3rd, 2008 at 06:11 pm

But for good reasons. I'm still exhausted all the time (12 weeks prego - hoping this wears off a bit once I'm solidly in the second trimester - soon!). My youngest son had outpatient surgery today for a hernia. A little nerve-wracking - not really for the operation, which was apparently quite common and simple - but for putting your child under anesthesia for the first time, not knowing how he will react. Luckily, he did fine - only a bit of nausea after coming out. He rested today, but really was back to his old self within a few hours (thankfully!). I'm going to be picking up extra hours at work starting next week to cover a co-worker's maternity leave (I negotiated for "extra time" pay for this - yeah!) I can't get overtime as I only work 20 hours a week. Over the next six weeks, this should net us an extra $1000 or so. It will be a much needed boost.

So after dealing with all of that, we haven't been paying much attention to the finances. I did take an extra $1000 from our EF (which now stands at $3k) to put into DH's Roth for the 2007 year. That will get him up to $3500 - maybe the full $4k if we squeeze $500 from our next paychecks in a week. Once I file our taxes, the $600 we get back will go straight back to the EF. I've got a small Discover cc bill to pay off, but I have a month to do it - had to put my real estate MLS dues on there, as well as two tanks of gas over the past few weeks. Other than that, we are in decent shape.

I'm planning a small vacation, probably for May, to take my sons to see the Thomas train. It's coming to two different locations in NY. I was going to book a hotel room and make a weekend out of it, but DH suggested camping. A night at a hotel would cost (at the bare minimum) $87/night. We can camp at a NY state park for $20/night, in addition to saving money on food as well. I think I've picked out the campground, so tomorrow I may book it. We are also very close to finalizing our camping week in July, where we book a cabin with DH's family. Unfortunately, I can think of better ways to spend $350 right now, but cabins are going fast and we may not get 5 cabins together (that's how many we need for everyone who goes) if we wait much longer.

So that's the story in my neck of the woods. I'll try not to be so much of a stranger, but when I'm in bed at 10pm every night...sometimes it's hard to find the time between all my sleeping!

Blurbies

March 18th, 2008 at 06:49 pm

-Still prego Smile Broke the news at work today and everyone took the news quite well. I'm starting to climb out of this depressing fatigue that I've had for the first trimester as well. It won't be a minute too soon!
-Ds2 does have a hernia, requiring minor surgery. I'm waiting for the hospital to call to schedule it. It's a very minor surgery, but there's always that apprehension of putting your child under anesthesia, esp. for the first time. I'll be glad when it's over. At least it won't be a big medical bill as we have good insurance. I'm reminded more and more lately how lucky we are.
-I've made $2500 of DH's 2007 Roth contribution (I was able to make all of mine). I don't think we are going to make it to $4k, but I think I'll be able to squeeze at least another $500 out before April 15.
-Speaking of Roths, I'm just waiting to finish my contribution so I can file my taxes (we qualify for the retirement savings credit). I am literally less than $1000 from claiming the EIC. Anyone know of a way to lower my income???? (legally, of course!!!)
-I am generally pretty non-commercial when it comes to holidays, but I bought the boys a few presents last night when I stopped at Target with my girlfriends. They had board games on sale for $4 and I picked up a few small Thomas trains. So, less than $20...not bad, and I know they will make the boys very happy.
-I also spent over $125 on new clothes in the past week, both maternity and just "larger" clothes to get me through to when I can actually wear maternity without looking like I'm in a tent. My body shape has changed considerably since my last two pregnancies, and all my old maternity clothes are really quite unflattering. I may be pregnant, but I still want to look good Smile
-My sitters (day care provider and my mom) are both taking off for a long weekend, so I'm out of a sitter on Thursday - good news for me, as I justified taking a vacation day from work! Friday we are leaving for my niece's birthday party, than an early Easter celebration with DH's family in Binghamton on Sat. We come home Sunday for a second celebration. I just love the holidays!

bills, bills, bills

March 10th, 2008 at 06:24 pm

Ooh, the bills are piling up - luckily none too big.
$35 for hospital outpatient procedure last month
$100 for DH's "driver responsibilty assessment" (btw, in case you don't know - and we didn't - if you get 6 or more points on your license in NY within 18 months, you have to pay a $300 fine over three years. Installment #2 is due by the end of the month) DH has been ticket free since, though!
$46 in lab bills for my two pregnancy blood tests (and that was AFTER insurance)
And now it looks like we might need to take ds2 back to the doctor AGAIN as he is being incontinent all of a sudden. We took him last week for swelling in the groin area which could be a hernia or could be nothing - but it sure seems like something's going on, when after 6 months of hardly having any accidents, he has four within two days. Hmmm...hoping it's nothing but a fluke, though.

Updates

March 3rd, 2008 at 05:59 pm

-Took ds2 back to the dr. today for swelling in the groin area...doc said possible hernia, possibly nothing...we'll have to keep an eye on it. $18 co-pay.
-Still eating like a crazed pregnant woman (oh wait, I AM a crazed pregnant woman). I did go to the store last week and really stocked up on some good stuff so I wouldn't be so tempted to eat all the bad stuff. I filled the fridge with yogurt, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, grapes, whole grain bagels and English muffins, etc. to the tune of $55. I thought I was doing pretty well - still eating every two hours (I'm pretty sure you could actually set a clock by my stomach), but keeping my snacks healthier and higher-protein - till my parents came back from vacation and bought a dozen doughnuts at the store today! I walked in from my son's Dr. appt, saw those yummies sitting there, and caved. Oh well - tomorrow's another day.
-I've definitely gained a few pounds from above binging. My waistband is just enough snugger to make me uncomfortable. Drat. And I'm only 8 weeks along! I'm seeing my midwife on Friday, so I will get her opinion on what type of exercise is safest to start at this point in the game.
-All these medical bills and the price of gas has put us a little behind in the budget. I'm not sure knocking ourselves out to make our 2007 IRA contribution is really the best plan. I might just (sigh) contribute less for 2007 ($2500 at this writing) and try to get the entire amount in next year.
-Another busy weekend coming up - DH and I are playing in a pinochle tournament at my uncle's house this Saturday, then making a day trip to Binghamton for his grandmother's birthday on Sunday and coming home to bowl in our league on Sunday night. But, it beats staying home, where I sit like a lump on the couch because I'm too tired to move. Five more weeks of being in the first trimester...I can't wait!!! I guess you never remember the negatives, but this is my third pregnancy and I'm always surprised at how completely exhausted I am from doing absolutely nothing. Speaking of...time for bed!

Blows to the budget

February 26th, 2008 at 06:11 pm

$18 copay for ds2 (ear infection)
$18 copay for DH (possible strep)
$10 antibiotics for both
Ugh! We were doing so well too. Granted, it's not much, but it's almost $50 that we won't be putting toward our Roth this month.
I am eating like a maniac. If this keeps up, I might blow the grocery budget too Smile Today's menu:
breakfast:two bowls of Wheaties with strawberries
2nd breakfast: bowl of oatmeal with 1/2 banana
lunch: frozen meal, chicken with potatoes
snack: handful of almonds and cheese stick
2nd snack (about 4 pm is where the willpower breaks down - yesterday it was -gasp- friend Spam on white bread! -which tasted SO good): Doritos/corn chips snack mix
dinner: steak, two piles of mashed potatoes, asparagus
dessert: butterscotch pudding

I said at the beginning of this pregnancy that I would not gain 55 pounds, like I did with my last two..but I'm so hungrrrryyyyyyyy.......I think I need to start exercising or this is going to be disastrous.

Still around...somewhat!

February 25th, 2008 at 06:03 pm

Okay, seems that I have gone MIA from my blog again. It's been a busy week - we went to Binghamton again to help my MIL clean out her house to put it on the market. While we were there, she took us to see an adorable little house that she wants to buy, only a few minutes away from my SILs. She's going to put in an offer tomorrow (fingers crossed). However, we had to rush home Sat. night because ds2 was feverish and saying his ear hurt. We gave him some drops for the pain and Tylenol for the fever and he finally went to bed around midnight. I thought we would need to take him to Urgent Care on Sunday, but he woke up fine and has been great ever since.
I'm am definitely beginning to feel this pregnancy, which is a mixed blessing. It's great, because I never felt pregnant with my last pregnancy (miscarriage) - I always thought something was a bit off. Now, I am really feeling pregnant, complete with the exhaustion and CONSTANT eating. I cannot believe how much I have eaten in the past three days. But I'm feeling like a real slug, not doing much besides eating, sleeping, and watching t.v. (which I rarely do non-prego!). I feel bad because I don't have the energy to do anything around the house or with my kids, but this too shall pass. Luckily, I can hold off nausea by eating Smile
Moneywise, we're doing pretty well. DH and I have stuck to the budget, aside from a few small purchases (less than $20 total). We've made $500 of our $2000 remaining Roth contribution for 2007. Still, March is going to be hectic, as we still have $600 on the cc to pay off, and make as much of a contribution as we can swing. I am going to pick up some hours at work starting in late March due to a co-workers maternity leave, which should net us an extra $1000-1200 over 6 weeks. It will be great to use that to get a start on our 2008 Roth contributions!

Involuntary water consumption and a house full of sickies

February 18th, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Sound fun? It could be worse, I guess. I don't have to do any housework Smile DH and I share a house with my parents, and my parents run a farm. There is a problem with the pump (perhaps - they don't yet know the exact cause) for the water source for the barn - and drinking source for the cows, cleaning source for the piepline. So, they had to switch the barn over to the house well. And a barn full of cows can drain a not-so-deep well very quickly. In two days, they have already had to buy one load of water for the well, and are going to buy another today. A load of water a day adds up very quickly, at $50 or more a load (that's what it was in the summer - may be more in the winter).
So...we are on a water restriction. Super quick showers - and stretch the time between them. We haven't washed dishes in two days, nor laundry. Wait a little between flushes, if you KWIM. But, I am trying to wash my hands often for the reason below.
Both DH and ds1 are sick. DH felt it coming on Saturday night - some aches, then a cough on Sunday. Today he moved from the bed to the couch, but has not moved again since. Ds1 woke up at 6 am gagging - never threw up, but sluggish and feverish today. Needless to say, we've spent ALL day in front of the tv with me asking him if he wanted to eat yet. Ds2 and I are fine...for now. My parents are going on a cruise next week and are keeping as far away as they can from us! My dad was sick for their last vacation and it was horrible. Hoping for some healthy vibes to come our way -

Heading out of town

February 16th, 2008 at 06:54 am

I think DH and I are going to take the kids to Binghamton today to help my MIL clean out her house a bit in preparation for selling, many in 3-6 months. I say clean out a bit because there's not much of a dent we can make in two days (we have to be back tomorrow night to bowl). Let's just say there is many years of accumulation, as well as neglected repairs. She had a realtor over who quoted $90+...but as a realtor (and admittedly not knowing her market, but I do know that there are no inflated markets in our part of NY), I think that's a big stretch. The house has holes in the foundation (when they got their furnace replaced, they were told that it was lucky they did, or else the carbon monixide leak probably would have killed them). Her heating bill is $800 a month on the budget due to the horrible (or lack of?) insulation. Apparently, there are septic problems as well. The kitchen and bath need to be gutted (probably the bedrooms too) and they just need to start over. I'm thinking more like $50-60k tops. But, I wasn't asked, and I am not offering any opinion. Last thing I want to do is get in the middle here. I just hate to see her pinning her hopes on $90k when I just don't see it happening. Maybe I'm wrong about their market - I would LOVE to be wrong here. Anyway, we're going to go down and help where we can. I'm thinking of stopping on the way to the science musuem that we have a membership to. The kids will love it and it will tire them out a bit Smile
A bit of free entertainment yesterday - a trip to the local library and cards at my brother's house next door. We were able to take the kids and set them up with a movie in the basement (both fell asleep on the couch), so no cost for babysitting either.
And, now, a week off from school - that means a week without daycare expense either! We are lucky that our daycare provider does not charge us for days that ds2 doesn't attend (since he only goes two days per week). That's $54 that can stay in the bank!