Catching Up…

The past few weeks/months have really flown by.  I can’t believe we are already just a week away from Christmas.  This is going to be my first Christmas as a mom.  I wish that I were more prepared, but I am just not.  I had all of these expectations for myself.  I would get my house decorated.  I would wrap all of Poppyseed and Oatmeal’s gifts ahead of time.  The stockings would be hung, and stuffed, well in advance.

In reality, we do have a tree, but it lacks a topper or a tree skirt.  I never got around to buying lights for outside.  I made a wreath, but never hung it.  Poppyseed’s toys have been purchased (online of course) but they are perched on the dining room table.  I couldn’t wrap them if I wanted to because I don’t have a single inch of tape in my house.  I did buy a really cute stocking for Poppyseed, and it’s hanging over a chair right now.

Don’t get me wrong, I have had some spare time.  It’s not like my life is jam packed.  But, well, it has been pretty darn busy.  It seems like we go out of town each weekend.  Every weekday morning I spend time with Poppyseed before getting ready for work, so that’s not a good time to get much done around the house.  Then I go to work, and afterwards I pick up Poppyseed and we go home or to the grocery store.  I spend some more time with her, going on a walk with the puppies or nursing or reading a book or just whatever.  By 6:30 I’m sprinting around the kitchen in an attempt to get dinner on the table so that we can eat as a family before Poppyseed goes down at 7:30.

That has been a big accomplishment, by the way.  Poppyseed declared 7pm as her bedtime when she was only a month old.  It was crazy, one day she was a newborn and wasn’t getting sleepy until 10pm, and all at once she just suddenly started going to sleep at 7pm.  Well ever since I went back to work I have been trying to get her to stay up just a little bit later.  Finally, last week, she began staying up until 7:30!  I tell you, that extra 30 minutes is awesome.  I love that we all get to sit down and eat together as a family.  She digs into her veggies and throws chunks of cauliflower all over the table while Oatmeal and I praise her for being such a good little eater.  Ha.

By the time I give her a bath, put her to bed, and rejoin Oatmeal in the kitchen to do the dishes, it’s 8pm.  That leaves very little time in the evenings to chat with my husband, do some cleaning/tidying up, pack our lunches for work, thaw out milk and baby food for baby, etc etc etc.  Especially when I still have to feed Poppyseed again at 10pm so that she’ll sleep though the night and then go right to bed myself.  I recently started waking up at 4:30am a few times a week in order to go to Crossfit, so getting to bed at a decent time is imperative.

(How do working moms with multiple children do it, I ask?  We don’t even have to think about things like school, practices, or homework yet.)

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that I feel as if I have had no time to think about a Christmas tree skirt, wrapping presents, stuffing stockings, or hanging a wreath.  Ugh.  I am a holiday failure.

Well, I confess that I did carve out some extra time last week to celebrate our anniversary!  I guess I could have spent that time doing some holiday decorating, but I really just wanted to go on a date with that hot man I live with.  So, I called our babysitter and she was happy to come and put Poppyseed to bed on Thursday night.  I tell you, I looked forward to that date all week long.  I even picked up Poppyseed a little early on Wednesday and we went to find a new shirt for Mama to wear.  That is a big deal in itself, because I have not bought myself a single article of clothing since mid-August.  I’m serious, I have not purchased so much as a pair of socks for myself in 4 months.  But when I saw this shirt, I just decided that it was coming home with me!  I found it at Northgate Vintage in College Station, and it was only $35!

Now I haven’t set foot in a mall or browsed a fashion catalogue in so long that I probably don’t even have the right to post any type of apparel on the internet and insist that it’s cute.  But I’m going to do it anyway.  I just love this shirt.  If there is a shirt in the world that was created for a date with my husband, this is it.  The colors are not loud at all, it’s just a classic black and white.  The lace and collar almost give it a western streak.  And while it’s completely modest, the black sheer lace at the top make it just a tad bit sexy.  This was probably the first time I actually felt put together since I got pregnant.  And the date was awesome!

Although I will say that getting ready for a date with a 7.5 month old is a challenge.  🙂

Oatmeal and I drove to Bryan.  We got some wine at a wine bar called Uncorked, and then we went to Maddens for dinner.  I LOVED Maddens.  It actually is a very very paleo friendly restaurant.  Roughly 75% of the menu items are gluten free, and all of the meat and vegetables were very fresh.  I had a great time with my hubby.  We very rarely go out on dinner dates because we decided when I went back to work that we would save as aggressively as possible.  We set a pretty lean budget and took a financial class.  We set a savings goal, and in order to reach it quickly we had to slash all shopping and eating out.  But, honestly I think that it made this dinner date even more special.  Because I don’t often hire a babysitter, buy a new top, and go to dinner with my hubby, it made this little occasion that much more awesome!

On that note, I’d like to offer some advice.  I know you didn’t ask, but here it is anyway.

If you are a newly married couple without children, and you are planning children in your future, do yourself a favor and force yourself to save some money.  Take a class if one of you is not motivated (we took the Dave Ramsey class in September, because yours truly just really needed a kick in the butt).

I am here to tell you that when you have a baby, you may regret it if you wasted money when you could have been so easily saving.  For us at least, it’s not that having a baby was so expensive in itself.  I mean sure, babies do cost money.  But really, babies have a way of slapping you in the face.  They are real live reality checks.   It baffles me that Oatmeal and I both worked full time for 1.5 years before having Poppyseed and did not save more money.  I am mostly to blame for this, because I really just didn’t see the point of saving.  I wanted to go to dinner, go shopping, take trips, entertain, and buy overpriced gifts.  Well, once I had a baby, I felt so much regret that I behaved so frivolously with my paychecks.  We didn’t have the savings that we wanted to.  We realized that it was important to us to save for her education, give regularly to a church, live without any debt, and have an emergency fund in case one of us were to lose a job or we were to decide that I may stay home.  So, when we made the choice that I would return to work, we also made the choice that we would live on a strict budget in order to save up as fast as we could.  This has probably been the most difficult thing I have done because it required some serious behavior modification.  No more $100 trips to Target.  No more grabbing lunch to go at work just because I “didn’t have time” to pack some.  No buying Poppyseed a $50 outfit just because it’s so darn cute and she’s my first baby.  Heck, no buying me a $50 outfit until we get our ducks in a row!  Suddenly we are spending our extra cash on life insurance policies and increasing our 401k contributions, paying off the horse trailer and selling the 4runner for a Volkswagon Jetta that gets 48mpg.

Now here is some irony for you.  We began budgeting and saving in early September.  We have paid off all of our debt other than our house, begun saving for our future, and done every type of “responsible” thing we can think of.  Well guess what, we may be getting a doozy of a curve ball this week.  About 2 weeks ago I had a conference call for work and learned that my company is going through layoffs.  We don’t have any concrete information other than the date on which we will hear of our fate, but the rumor is that 20-40% of us are going to go.  And supposedly when you work for one of these corporate giants, all of the decisions are made by HR using some type of equation or algorithm.  There is so much speculation about how the company will choose who is retained and who is deselected.  I have heard some people say that we are all given a rating based on 2 years of sales data.  If that’s the case, those of us with less than 2 years of employment with the company will simply be given an average rating.  There is also some talk of the company increasing the size of each territory and choosing employees based on where they live.  Well I live in College Station, and my current partner lives in the Woodlands, so one of us is bound to be in the “wrong” part of town once these new maps are drawn!  So, on Thursday I will find out if I stay or if I go!  It’s crazy to think that I may be unemployed in less than a week.  While my industry is known for these layoffs, it is still really intense to experience it for the first time.

So for three weeks now I have been wondering to myself… what will happen if I get laid off?  I’ll have to give back my company car and so we will have to go and buy one.  Our income will be drastically reduced.  On one hand, it is a blessing that we have been living on a budget because we know exactly how much it takes to run our household.  On the other hand, having this knowledge has made us aware that we really do need 2 incomes.  I don’t know what else I would do that would give me the type of benefits, flexibility and income that my current position has.   Or, is this just God showing us that I should be staying home with Poppyseed?  Would staying home with baby even be a good option?  It may be a good short term option, but could we pull it off long term?

On the flip side, what if I’m not laid off?  What if I am kept on board, but the company does drastically increase the size of my territory or require twice as much travel?  Will I be able to spend the time with my family and also do my job?  I am not willing to sacrifice more time away from my child or my husband.  I already feel as if I am rushing around all the time, so I really don’t see how I could spend more time away from home!

Luckily, the wait is almost over.  I’ve had 3 weeks to ponder this, but now I’m down to just 3 more days.  3 more days… yikes.

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