Happy Labor Day friends!
We are certainly starting to feel fall in the air here in So Oregon! The mornings and evenings are chilly- weather has dropped during the day to well under triple digits. I cant wait for the leaves to start turning. Fall really is my favorite time of the year!
The word on the street is that BM (and BF and kids) are on the way here today from Washington. Also, that BM is already using again (and pregnant). She hasn't told DD2 if the kids will be allowed to stay with her or not. They start school tomorrow. Her plan is still living in the mission. Sigh.
I am going to enjoy this beautiful Labor Day at home. While the hub is in Alaska, I am trying to stay frugal- something that isn't as easy when he is home. Lately, it feels like we are on different pages where finances are concerned. I suppose that is because I am more focused on retirement, since my retirement target is about 7 years earlier than his. His allowance goes into his own checking account, but his spending comes out of the household account, because he likes to 'save' his allowance for toys. Hmmm. Definitely a disconnect there. :/
I have 2 more birthdays this week. DD2 and my granddaughter share a birthday on Thursday. I budget for birthday presents, so the $ is already there. Actually, granddaughters gift is bought, and I plan to give DD2 cash. These two are the last of a string of 8 birthdays in August and September...thank goodness!
Well, time to get productive this morning. I will post an update once we know what is happening with Z. Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and kind words. This really is an emotional rollercoaster for all involved.
Viewing the 'Grandkids' Category
Happy Labor Day friends!
DD2 found out thqt Z will be back in town tomorrow. Unfortunately, bio mom (BM) is expecting baby #4- and is heading here so that baby dad #4 doesnt go to jail for whatever crimes he has committed where they currently live. They are also fleeing a no contact order, since they are so volatile in front of the kids and with each other. Her plan, to live in a mission with all 3 kids. Z and his older sister are due to start school next week. Z, kindergarten, sister, 2nd grade.
DD2 has asked BM to let Z and sis stay at her house until more permanent arrangements are made so that they have some sense of stability to start school with. I guess we will find out this weekend. My heart breaks that Z and his siblings are in such chaos. what a broke, broke system we have for kids of druggie parents. BM asked DD2 to enroll both kids at the school nearest to her home. She couldn't even enroll her own kids in school.
I am excited to see Z...but heartbroken for his continued circumstances. Out of the 3 kids, Z is the one BM never bonded with, so she leaves him with anyone that will take him. Thankfully, if she comes and stays local, 'anyone' will be our family.
Maybe baby #4 will be the turning point for Z...I can only hope and pray.
The hub left back to Alaska today. Our weather has cooled significantly the last few days - almost feels like soup weather again- so this weekend, I plan to make a pot of soup to have on hand for the weekend.
Please keep Z and his siblings in prayer, thoughts, fingers crossed, etc. I want BM to get the help she needs- but more importantly, I want the lil guys to have the security that every child needs and deserves..
so heartbreaking, frustrating and unnecessary.
This weekend was my GSs 12th birthday party. My DD2 had asked if we could have it at my house and so we did. It was a sleepover party with GS and three friends, his sister, and DD1's son and daughter. Ended up with 10 kiddos, 7 adults, and 5 dogs. Thankfully, we have two acres for activities! I made lots of cupcakes, and they turned out yummy and cute. Some slept in the house, some in the 5th wheel, and the boys all wanted to sleep out in a little open cabin..I am sure they got cold, but they seemed to love it.
I was POOPED today, but I think everyone, especially the birthday boy, had a great time.
Today was a go nowhere, spend nothing day. I just had zero energy or desire.
Tomorrow and Tuesday I will be traveling for work- meaning all my meals will be paid for. (sweet!)
SG (dog) is doing great. He has lost some weight, which was really necessary. He loves to fetch, and so we play fetch A LOT. While I am travelling the next couple of days, DD3 will watch him. He is an exceptional dog. Extremely well behaved and just a good boy.
I'm not sure I am ready to go back to work already tomorrow. But alas, duty calls.
Recently a co-worker brought cupcakes to work. She had them in a really cute cupcake carrier and they were super delicious. The combination of the carrier and fancy frosting made them absolutely adorable!
One of my goals this year was to start a new hobby- and I think, with 6 grandkids, cupcakes might be a good choice. I found a cupcake holder that I liked on Amazon, but it was $39-so I held off thinking maybe it would make a good birthday gift idea for the family.
A few days ago I went back on Amazon and up popped an offer for $80 in free credit if I got an amazon credit card. Hmmm....so- I got the cupcake holder, a tool for frosting, some heavy stock cupcake liners (which helps maintain their moisture and makes them bakery like)...and got it all for FREE. The cool thing is that the boxed mixes turn out great in these liners...so dessert for birthdays and holidays will be fun and way less than a store bought cake!
And I got everything today...just in time for my grandsons birthday party this weekend! Now I cant wait to start creating.
Nothing like sitting down on a peaceful Sunday morning with a nice hot cup of coffee, only to spill it in your lap soaking my lap and the couch. Ouch and darn.
Now that the mess is cleaned up- hello!
April is quickly coming to an end- and thank goodness it is! Between a state/federal exam at work, taxes, and presiding on a board that just held a two day conference...I am broke and pooped. In the midst of this I lost a beloved brother in law and inherited his dog who I will call SG.
SG has been the happy in our world. Yes, he tears his toys up and loves spreading the stuffing all over the house...and yes, his desire to fetch is endless...but his sweet personality has easily and fully won our hearts! He gets along with our other dogs and even our cat is warming up to him.
The hub is starting to take a little more interest in finances this month. A sign that, on my quest to pay off that visa, I may have cut things back past his pain point. hehe. I will have to continue to tweak and more importantly, communicate so that we are both comfortable with the budget while attaining our goals.
The hub took our oldest gs (12!) to the coast to ride quads today - giving me a whole day free to catch up on housework and get ready for the week ahead. My vacation schedule this year is more heavy on the back end of the year, meaning this first half Ive only taken 2 days off and it will be 5 more weeks before I finally get a week off. I will be ready for that week by the time it gets here - we are going camping up on the river for the first time this year. Then, I will have more time off in June and July.
We have reached the 1 year mark until we go back to Oahu. Its been almost a year since we vacationed there, and we knew when we came home that we would return. So, we booked the house for April 2017 and have been waiting for the one year mark to start getting excited.
I love having 'fun time' plans out on the horizon to look forward to.
Words that melted my heart yesterday!
Backing up just a hair...DD1 caregives for her hubs step-grandfather. He has alzheimers. He fell Friday and fractured his pelvis. He does not do well with change in his environment and was very confused when he was admitted to the hospital- so DD1 spent the night with him to provide whatever familiarity and comfort that she could. (Have I mentioned how VERY PROUD I am of this girl?) Her only request, a coffee Saturday morning...
I was keeping her company at the hospital when DD2 showed up with lil Z. He looked at me and said, HI GRAMMA RAY, I REMEMBER YOU! Do you still have your doggie? Awwwww... a few minutes later he said- Gramma Ray, why do you keep hugging me and giving me kisses?? lol. He wanted to just sit on my lap and listen to stories about when he was "little"...cause, in his words, he is a BIG BOY now...age 5. And handsome, I might add. Then he said, I just want to stay here forever...but we reminded him that he would miss his mommy and gramma. He said I have 3 mommies...and pointed to DD2 and me and said his mommas name. AWww....
Sadly, his visit was brief since we were at the hospital and grampa was not doing so good. But I cant describe what that lil visit from Z did to this gramma's heart.
My back and arm are a little better this morning, which I am so happy about. I actually feel like getting up and doing things today- and after a week of being in pain, my house needs attention and I have a couple of projects from work that I need to spent tima on. And I need to pick up some groceries to ensure I take lunches and make dinners all week! And, and, and... how far behind you can get in a week!
Ouch- I somehow pinched a nerve in my back last weekend. I think it was the combo of sleeping in a new bed (at the vacation rental) and on a different pillow. I broke down today and went to the Dr. This isn't the first time I have had a pinched nerve- so I am familiar with how to nurse it, and just as I suspected, the Dr agreed with my current strategy of ice, heat, meds and practicing the physical therapy exercises...and said if it still hurts in two weeks to let him know and he will order an MRI.
Nerve pain just sucks. It makes places hurt that really aren't hurting and causes muscle spasms that can drop you to your knees..this one is in my upper back/shoulder and its causing my whole arm and wrist to ache....two more weeks. (yippee)
It is annual bonus time at my job. We have the opportunity to leave the bonus in an account that pays 2%- which I would love to do. But because we owe on the remodel and I am paying 7% on that loan, I will apply the bonus towards that debt. (A 2016 goal is to pay that debt down or completely off, depending on the hubs work schedule) Right now, it looks like we will be able to pay the full $24.5k off this year.(yay)- It is already under $20k. And THAT gets us a giant step closer to our 5 year goal!
This is also pay raise time. I received a 4.5% raise. I had already upped my 401k 3% this year. We are checking to see if the hub can up his- he may have missed the deadline. If he is not able to, I will up my Roth contribution another 2%.
Some of you may remember little Z from my older blogs- our little foster boy that lived with my daughter from 4 months until he was 3. Well, he is in town this week and has spent the week with DD2. I get to see him tomorrow!!! This is the 3rd time DD2 has seen him since he left 2 years ago. It will be great to see him, he has grown so much!!
I finally made time to upgrade my laptop to Windows 10. Buh-bye windows 8, I wont miss you one bit! I really enjoyed getting a better product free!
Black Friday ended up being a no-spend day for me. I just didn't see anything in the ads that made me want to fight the crowds or even shop online. I actually just worked, rather than take a vacation day. I have done a pretty good job of shopping sales this year and using coupons to get all of the grandkids gifts. Some, like my grandson's new concert ukulele- didn't have a sale, so I paid full price, but for special gifts like that, I don't mind. I really avoided computer and gamebox gifts and instead went for STEM items, building sets, art kits, outside games, etc. Things that they may not go "WOW" about on Christmas morning, but hopefully will pull out when the holidays settle down and make them think or learn new skills.
All of their gifts are wrapped. I also got each family a family gift- a board game, some jellybeans, popcorn, and a sand kit.
The adults will get cash or gift cards. This is not only easy and requires no wrapping- but certainly lets them get exactly what they want. I am totally at peace with not shopping for the 'perfect' gifts for the adults anymore- as I do special things all year for them.
My son and his family will be here on the 18th for the weekend. We will do our annual 'road rally' and gift exchange on the 19th. The road rally is an annual tradition the teams up different family members in each vehicle and they have a list of tasks they have to accomplish within a set time period. I plan it and the kids and grandkids participate- it is always great fun for everyone.
My son in law and DD1 are hosting Christmas dinner on the 25th.
Which means- with the exception of final touches on the road rally planning, I am pretty much ready for Christmas and am so relieved that I don't have a long list of things to do between now and then.
Work is another story. I am super busy and will have some long days this month. Which means I need to BALANCE work/home and not burn out.
Wishing all of you a peaceful month ahead.
My son called to tell us that his in-laws are selling their treadmill for $60. They are moving into a smaller home and wont have room for it. I am not sure about the size of their new home, but I have a whopping 390 sq ft. However, I know this is a nice treadmill in good condition AND I am going to Hawaii in 10 months. What to do, what to do? My solution, out with the dining table and chairs, scrunch things up a little more, and in with the treadmill. The hub is on his way to pick it up now.
We are getting to have little Z quite a bit- as in several times each week- mom gets overwhelmed and needs breaks - much to our joy!! Z has FINALLY been assigned a CASA worker- thankfully a seasoned one who understands the needs of the child and the pitfalls in the system. He is concerned about some of the decisions that have been made and is concerned about his moms ability to raise him and has requested evalutions. I sure hope Z isn't shipped back out of state to his grandma- he has been moved so many times. We are taking each opportunity to see him and enjoying every moment. He went with us yesterday to the local caves. Unfortunately, he wasn't tall enough to go on the tour, so I spent the afternoon with him while everyone else took the tour. I took Z for an ice cream, we went 'exploring', took lots of pictures and had a great time. He was none the wiser that he had missed out on any fun. And I loved every second!
My sons business is doing great this summer and he is slowly starting to pay us back- not much, but what they can- and it is nice to see the flow of funds reversing. I am so proud of him for working so hard to make his dream successful.
We were supposed to be camping this weekend. Unfortunately, on the way home from picking her dad up from the airport, DD3 and the hub hit an elk. Thankfully, they weren't hurt- the elk and the truck not so lucky. The truck is in the shop. Damage was about $2600- my surprise was that our deductible was only $60. Umm...I guess that's good this time, but I will certainly be raising that - as I am sure our premiums are reflective of such a small deductible. wow.
My oldest grandson, 10, spent the night with us last night- he is curious about ancestry- so we have spent the morning talking about our relatives. He was surprised to see a picture of my paternal grandfather and to realize his great grandfather was full-blooded Cherokee, which means GS is part Cherokee too! Fun times
Happy 4th to everyone! I hope you have a safe Holiday!
This past month (oh wow, it HAS been a full month since I posted) has been so busy. Work has been go, go, go- with full time plus and a couple of weekend days too. The rest of the summer is going to be much of the same- thankfully I have a day off here and there, followed by vacation the week after labor day.
Prayers were answered and DD2 and I got to see lil Z for an entire day. He has grown so much. He was a little shy at first, but soon warmed right back up to us and spent the afternoon enjoying lap time with gramma. I am so happy we may get more time with him.
Tomorrow all the grandkids will be together for the 4th. My dil's mom is having everyone over for a swim party and BBQ. DD2 may even get to bring Z- I will be in gramma heaven for sure with all 7 of them together. PICTURE TIME!!
We are doing pretty good with our finances. We have a line item set up for our trip to Hawaii next May- which will be the next big trip. Our last big trip was in 2012..and next year is the 25th wedding anniversary- so I am more than happy to splurge a little on a wonderful adventure!
I am working on the emergency fund savings and rebuilding it. Helping the kids at the beginning of the year and focusing on paying off debt equaled a drained EF...so rebuilding that is our focus now.
I am still in the little house- and its ok for now. When DD3s friend moves out, DD3 and I will swap houses and I will be back in the bigger country house.
I have missed the blogs- I hope to catch up on reading them all this weekend. It feels great to have the three day weekend ahead!
What a wonderful day! This morning DD2 and I headed down to the lake where DS, DD1 and their families were camping for the weekend. It is about a 2 hour drive. I spent a very HOT day under a shade cover welcoming on my lap whatever grandchild needed a place to dry off and warm back up after a cold dip in the lake. Since I don't see my sons kids as often as I do the others, they were the two that stayed on my lap most of the day. GS is 4 and GD is 6. I loved every second. My son celebrated his 30th today. Then this afternoon DD2 and I drove back home and I am now enjoying my nice cool house. A wonderful day for sure.
Yesterday, I took two $10 off any item cards that I received from Kohl's, and got two candles for future friend gifts. Normally they were $19.99, but were on sale 50% off, so the candles were free. Cant beat FREE!! Thank you Kohls!
Tomorrow I am going to get laundry and food planning done for the week ahead. I love having an extra day off on the weekend- just that one extra day makes so much difference.
We learned today that lil Z is coming back to Oregon! The state is going to try placing him with bio parents- splitting the time with each about 50% of the time.
Mom is in a secured rehab program and dad has passed all recent drug tests, so the state wants to try the placement. It is shaky at best, but it does mean that lil Z will be here locally and that (hopefully) we can have visits with him! He left in November, so its been almost 5 months. I am cautiously optimistic that this will end up being at least semi-permanent for him. (He will be in the area for 18 months while mom is in the secure rehab.)
He arrives in 5 days and dad has stated he is open to letting us see/spend time with Z during his 50%. Not sure if mom will be or not yet. In any case, Gramma is offering free babysitting anytime I can!!!
The hub is back in Alaska for the next month.
Since I am feeding just me, I have planned simple meals for the next week. I put the makings for split pea soup in the slow cooker this morning, will make a big batch of oatmeal today and am going to cook up some chicken for chicken and quinoa. These will make up breakfast, lunches and dinners for the week.
My three oldest kids recently lost their paternal grandma (my ex-mother in law). She was a nice lady who was extremely frugal her whole life. She saved a nice nest egg, only to have her two primary heirs (her son and her brother) fight over everything while she was spending her last days here. Thank goodness the kids were there with her to keep it out of her hospital room as much as possible...and shame on both of them. I am so proud of my kids for making their grandmas final days as peaceful as possible, and to show her that there were at least three people who loved HER and not her money and possessions.
It just drives home the point to have that will and/or trust and make sure you write down what you want (funeral, cremation, services or no) after you go. SOOOO important for those left behind.
The hub and I are making good progress on our financial goals. Unfortunately, there have been some emergencies with a couple of the kids that have really drained the savings. Bank of mom and dad must close, but we have a tough time saying know when it will impact the grandkids. But the hole must be plugged. I am at a point where we have helped, but any more will be enabling. (If I were objective, Id probably say we passed that point a while back- but at least we are drawing a line in the sand now)
I'm about to start my NINTH month in the little house. Thankfully, the weather is starting to warm a little and spring is coming. Spring and fall are my favorite times of the year, and living in the country just makes those seasons more enjoyable. There is an old wooden planter on the side of this house that promises to burst with tulips in a few weeks. The wonderful thing is that my dad planted these tulips years ago, so for me, those flowers are a continuing gift from him. In his younger years, my dad was a burly truck driver but in his older years he softened and loved planting flowers and feeding the squirrels and birds out here.
We will be making repairs and remodeling the big house this spring and summer. I will move into it when it is done and make a final decision as to whether to stay out here or not after next winter. Whether we stay or not, the work must be done.
So, it is a wonderful sunny day today, one that will be filled with cooking, laundry and cleaning. The type of Sunday 'putzing' that I love. I hope everyone has an equally beautiful day!
Happy MLK Day! (Started this post earlier this week)
I am enjoying the day off. I got up early and made a to-do list. I needed to catch up on work, but my work laptop does not play well with my internet here, so I have crossed that item off my list and will just go in to the office early tomorrow. Movin on.
I made a beef roast in the crockpot. It is a good sized roast that should last a few days- I will enjoy roast and potatoes, tacos and beef dip sandwiches the next couple of days.
I am struggling to finish my posts lately. So much going on- and not enough time to get it all done!
Today DD1, DD3 and I are going to High Tea at my friends tea room. The food is always excellent, we get to try some new teas and there will be a guitarist there playing live music. A couple of hours of relaxing girl time.
Yesterday was payday- my increase in my 401k was included. It is pre-tax, the addition to my 401k was about $70, the hit to my paycheck, $40. My raise will be 4.75%...so I will increase the contributions from 10% to 12%.
I spent most of this past week moving into my new work space. Our department will work at this location for the next year. The location is great, the workspaces are less than desirable. But I am being paid to work where they need me to work, so I am fine with it.
I received my evaluation yesterday and got a very good one. I wasn't sure how the eval would be since I was promoted mid year. Even in the new position, I received good marks. Very nice surprise!
We managed to use our entire annual FSA funds already with the hubs and DD3s dentist expenses- I contribute 1200 a year, and it usually lasts most of the year. Oh well, at least it was there to use!
My oldest grandson (9) started Karate last month and got his yellow belt last night. He did so good during his testing. He asked to spend the night last night, so he is here this morning. I sure enjoy the time with him. I know someday he will have other 'more important' things to do..but for now, it is wonderful that coming to grammas is still a big treat.
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