Since I last posted about grandkids, our family has grown quite a bit! I keep thinking we are at capacity and my kids keep surprising me!
DD1- has 2 bios, 2 fosters that they in the final stages of adopting, and 1 foster, who is fairly new in the system, but they are willing to adopt should it come to that.
DS - 2 bios
DD2 - 2 bios, 2 adopted (X and Z!) and 2 fosters.
DD3 - 1 step daughter and DD3 also had a baby girl in December!! (remember when I started blogging here, she was just a little girl!!)
That's 15 grandkids!!
(One of DD2's friends lives in my parents little house here on our property and she has 2 kids, who are just like grandkids to me....so 17 total if you count them, which I do.)
Family gatherings are quite the event anymore. So many kiddos!
Years ago, I set up a special savings account in order to give them each a graduation and wedding gift. I am so thankful that I did. I have deposited $100 a month, and the account is now over $5k. By the time each graduates and gets married, I should have $500 for each occasion. Its not much, but with a family this size, it is what I can afford.
I am blessed beyond belief with all these amazing little humans!! It does make Christmas and Birthdays a challenge- it takes a very organized spreadsheet to keep everything organized!
Viewing the 'General Thoughts' Category
Since I last posted about grandkids, our family has grown quite a bit! I keep thinking we are at capacity and my kids keep surprising me!
Over the past few months, I have been trying a new way of budgeting and so far, it seems to be working well for us. I get paid bi-weekly and the hub works 4 weeks on/4 weeks off, so his monthly income varies greatly.
Since I know what our monthly expenses/bills are (mortgage, utilities, etc), on the first of the month, I transfer that amount to one checking account. I transfer our family budget (food, entertainment, gas, etc) to a second checking account. Non-monthly expenses such as car insurance, vet bills, Christmas, birthdays etc. goes into a special savings account and is transferred to the family checking as needed.
As paychecks come in, that money is transferred straight to savings. Once the savings balance surpasses the amount needed for the next month, the extra is transferred to long term savings.
As expenses occur, the money comes out of the respective checking account and at the end of the month, both account balances are usually depleted. (Occasionally, the family budget runs short, which helps me to understand where we are over spending.)
This is working well for us because we are not as tempted to absorb any extra pay into the budget and on those months when the hub gets one paycheck, the budgets are still fully funded. We have managed to sock away a nice chunk of savings and avoid stress in short paycheck months this way!
While we are NOT out of the woods yet with the fires (there is one less than 5 miles from me that is 6 miles long, by 3 miles wide)...most of our towns have now been declared safe!! This is such amazing news.
Sadly, because of the fire still burning, our air quality remains hazardous. As an asthmatic, I am staying indoors as much as possible. It seems I have spent 2020 indoors...something I can't wait to eventually remedy!!
This morning, we had our first team meeting since the fires destroyed much of our communities. Our agenda was simply to let staff talk. And boy did they. Their stories were gut wrenching - about having little to no notice to evacuate, loss of family, loss of friends homes, lost sense of security, and what I would deem- newfound PTSD. Everyone is suffering from headaches. Our meeting was virtual...and I cried most of it. I will never look at natural disasters the same way again.
I am looking for ways to plug in and help- it is just tough being that I have underlying conditions that make exposure to covid very scary. But I am determined to find a way to help. In the meantime, I am donating financially to those I can.
There are so many are now homeless, and who have lost everything. Our community has overwhelmed our support organizations Red Cross, United Way, Churches, etc) with donations. But it is going to take a LONG time to rebuild and repair. Two entire towns are gone.
This disaster blew up quickly, and people, no matter how well prepared, were still caught off-guard. The most scary thing was that all of our main arteries out of town were shut down. People were scrambling to find alternative routes, that were all very packed. I know all of this will be a lesson in how as a community to do it better next time.
So many want to place blame for these fires, which is causing even more divide. I hope people don't rush to judgement. But I do hope that when the truth comes out, justice will be served. It is apparent that several of our fires were intentionally set - but I am holding judgement until an investigation is done.
Honestly, I dont know what our world is coming to...
This year is certainly one for the record books.
Currently, our valley is on fire, we have completely lost 2 towns and 2 more are in danger still tonight. It is like an apocalypse here. We don't know the human life toll, but 100s of homes, dozens of businesses, and thousands currently displaced. Our air is hazardous and there is no current end in sight. On top of the pandemic, life is just day to day. THANKFULLY, my family is all safe. Our homes are still standing, although DD3's home is just outside of the evac zone for now. PRAYING it stays that way.
Back in March, when the pandemic started, I began working from home full time. Thankfully my job is one that can be done remotely. The hub was laid off at the beginning of the pandemic, but he went back to work at the end of June. I have decided its time to retire. So I have let my job know that as of June 2021, I am done. I will be 60, and we will be in a good financial position to make the change. While I am retiring from my job, I will continue to work, just for my son with greater flexibility (more on that in a future post).
I hope everyone is fairing ok. I plan to catch up on posts this weekend. I have missed everyone!
Update! I am still in disbelief, but the funds were all returned to my DS and DIL this afternoon and have been submitted to the title co. The house will close on Christmas Eve. I have no words for how relieved I am. Thank you for all the kind words of encouragement!!
My DS and DIL fell victims to a horrible scam this week. They were closing on a house purchase and received an email with the wire instructions... the email was spoofed to look legitimate and just like that, the kids are at high risk of losing $35k.
I say at risk of, because thankfully (if there is a thankfully in this situation) DIL sent the receipt of the wire to the legit email at the title company and they called her right away. The receiving bank, Wells Fargo, was notified and they are investigating. Unfortunately, they can't (won't) tell us anything. So the kids are in a very sickening limbo as the closing time on their house ticks closer to the deadline.
I knew this type if scam happened, I just had no idea how organized it was and how prevalent it has become.
It is a billion dollar industry that has grown 2200% over the last 2-3 years. This makes me sick. Why isn't more done to protect innocent people????? The title company told them to expect an email with instructions. WTH- if this happens so much, WHY IS THIS STILL A PROCESS??? I guarantee if the title companies were liable for that money, something would be done.
My DS and DIL worked diligently the past 4 years to rebuild their credit and save this down payment. They looked for the right house for almost a year. And two days before closing, their hard work and dreams may likely vanish.
UGH. If you or anyone you know is buying a house, PLEASE make sure you are aware of this scam and how it works. It is VERY organized - the timing of the emails, the spoofing of the emails, everything makes an unsuspecting purchaser believe it is legit. Don't fall victim - it is a gut-wrenching experience.
Hoping, praying and keeping my fingers crossed this was caught in time... Even if the kids don't get this house, if they can just get their money back and be financially whole again, this momma will be so thankful.
As I get closer to retirement, my focus on health and health insurance is increasing. Thankfully, I don't have any serious health issues (knock on wood). I am running the gamut of tests this year to make sure everything is in good working order. I did get diagnosed with pre-diabetes a couple of months ago. Actually I was borderline diabetes, but the doctor gave me three months to try to change things. At two months in, I have learned so much about nutrition, sugars, carbs, fiber and protein. I check my blood several times a day, work with a nutritionist, move a lot more during the day, and am seeing good progress. I have lost over 20 lbs and my levels have dropped to 'low pre-diabetes' and continue to drop. I really hope this last month will get me where I need to be. I DO NOT want diabetes, especially when it is still in my control not to get it.
Things are going really well at work and it looks like I will finish out the last two years of my five year retirement plan here. That is a good thing, as we still have checkmarks to get on debt, savings, etc. and having that second paycheck will certainly help. I also anticipate a significant raise at the first of the year, which will help even more. Now if the stock market would be kinder...
We are really close to adoption. Everything is done, we are just waiting for the ceremony to be scheduled. DD1 still has the boys' older sister. Bio family has made no attempt to contact her- so after the 6 month mark is up, they will reconsider her permanency (guardianship or adoption). DD1 also still has the other two girls, sisters who went into the system just a couple of weeks after the boys sister did. All 5 of these kids are amazing little people and are as much family as the rest of us. We are so blessed!
We are planning a family trip in December - if you can believe it, it was DH's idea! We started planning and saving a year ago for this trip. It is scheduled for the first week in December and we have rented a huge home in a resort about 4 hours away. All of my kids and grandkids will be under one roof for 5 days! So excited. We havent done a trip like this with all the kids and grandkids since the year after my dad died...so 10 years ago.
When we started planning, we thought there would be 18 of us...we rented the largest house available on the rental site...which was 8 bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms. We are going to do Christmas movies, hot cocoa, make Christmas decorations, get a tree from the woods, and just do all the fun Christmassy things we can think of!
Well, since then, DD1 has taken in 3 foster girls. Bringing our total to 21 - (12 kids ranging in age from 3 - 14!). (DD2 would love to bring her boyfriend and his 2 kiddos, but the rental is restricted on how many we can have- and sadly we are at the max already).
One of the ideas DH had was to get all the kids matching or coordinating jammies. So, two days ago Kohls posted an ad for Christmas jammies bogo- 1/2 off. Sweet....so I ran down and bought twelve pair. Of course, the next day, Kohls put those same jammies on sale for 50% off and was also giving Kohls cash... I took the receipt in and they credited me $105 and gave me $40 in kohls cash- bringing the total for each set at about $13.50. SCORE!! I am thrilled to save the extra $$- which with 21 people can easily help with the food budget.
So, I still have plenty of planning to do, but get a nice checkmark on the jammie box!
And, came in well under budget for that line item! Ho-Ho-Ho!
I love planning stuff like this so the next few months will keep me busy putting all the special touches on the plans. I am hoping by the time we go the boys adoption will be final and we can celebrate while we are there. One of the girls that DD1 has is the boys older sister- so, they will all be together for this trip- which will make it extra special for them and us!
This summer, like many previous summers, has been very smoky in So Oregon. This weekend has been really bad. In addition to thousands of acres of forest burning, hundreds of firefighters are risking their lives to battle the blazes.
I am so tired of choking every summer. I love living here, but this smoke is wreaking havoc on my asthmatic lungs. I told the hub I am ready to start summering somewhere else...I am sure by early fall, this will become another distant memory, but today, it is really depressing- both physically and mentally, just looking out the window at the yellow hazed sky...
The hub is working long shifts this summer, an unusual schedule for sure- as normally, summers are slow months for his job. But they are short on mechanics, so he is working similar to a winter rotation- 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off. It is helping to speed up debt payments and savings goals- but it also means very minimal camping and summer fun time. He doesn't seem to mind the extra hours- so I shouldn't complain. I just hate that we dont get to camp as much as usual...then again- with all the smoke, it would be difficult to find somewhere clear skied to go to.
I am on month 2 of no satellite tv. I cancelled the $165 a month service and am just using netflix, hulu and amazon prime. It is saving a boatload, and I am wondering why I waited so long cut the cord! I watch way less tv now- and don't really miss it. DD1, DIL and I are sharing subscriptions- so the cost is minimal. I did bump our data plan up a little to cover the streaming- but this is def cheaper and more disciplined than having 24/7 access. I find myself reading more, which is great.
I made a quick trip to Costco today and got a few things that will last all week for lunch and dinner. Much cheaper than eating out or grabbing something to go on the way home!
So much has happened since I last blogged. Where has the time gone! Even though I havent been active here, I have tried to check in on others' blogs.
Well,right after I gave notice at work (literally within seconds) I was told that my job was changing and things in our department were changing...and after hearing about this, I reversed my decision to leave. :0 Meaning, I am still at my job. I still plan to transition to my son's business...I am just not sure what the (new) timeline is now.
So far, with the changes at work I am much happier so I am taking it day by day. Having options gives me a wonderful feeling of freedom though.
My son still needs his procedures developed, so I will be doing that for him on nights and weekends.
DD2's adoption of the boys is plugging along. The process is still on track to finalize by year end. Everyone is eagerly waiting for this final chapter to be done with.
But a major turn of events is that DD1 now is fostering the boys sister (age 9) She had been living with dad's family, but it wasn't working out and they needed a place to move her to, so DD1 stepped up. Of course, we are already like family to her - we have known her since she was 2.
Other than this, things are just moving ahead. DH is still working lots of hours up north and we are still saving for retirement.
I am planning to join my son's business in 5 months and this makes me really excited and beyond nervous all at the same time.
With the exception of a 2 year break (2005-2007), I have been at my current job since 1994. Leaving the security I know here, is a little unnerving.
I will be working part time for my son. His business is growing fast, and he needs someone to help formalize policies, guidelines, and procedures- and to help drive company culture. These are things I enjoy doing- so the day to day work I am looking forward to. I also will enjoy working independently from my home. No more commute each day! No more driving to work on icy roads in the winter!
The downside are things like insurance, my 401k match, and my current salary... these are BIG DEALs.
I will be able to be on the hubs insurance, and can also join my son's company insurance plan- which is just a catastrophic type plan. My 401k will continue to grow organically...and my son will add me as a business partner and 'buy me out' as part of my retirement plan with him (which will amount to more than I would achieve with the current 401k match). My current salary is really nice, but if I am not enjoying the job, is it worth it? I am at a point I say no, it is not.
I am going to ask my son for an insurance stipend each month, to cover the cost of being on the hubs insurance.
What else am I missing?
So the next few months will be spent cleaning out files at work for the next person..and creating an office space at home. And wrapping my mind around letting go of the current comfort zone...while preparing for the future.