Archive for December, 2009
Until our government gets off it’s A@@ and fixes our ridiculous lack of maternity and paternity support (we are one of the ONLY industrialized nations with no federally mandated family leave coverage) many new parents may be in the same penny pinching mode we are at the moment:
Just in time for the holidays, the most expensive time of year, we are living on the tightest budget we ever have. So how do you make the best holiday joyous on little to no money?
1. Remember the old days when people just enjoyed each others company? Embrace the spirit of Christmas past and agree to get together… Without presents.
2. If “no presents” is too cold turkey for you consider organizing a present exchange so everyone only needs to get one gift for someone. Secret Santa, or even a White Elephant Exchange, can be just as fun and easier on everyone’s wallet!
3. Make gifts! Even if your not super crafty, a thoughtful gift that took your time and hands to create is always more meaningful than a commercially bought knick-knack. Bake cookies, make cards, write a poem and frame it, the possibilities are endless. Who wouldn’t love a made up gift certificate for a foot rub or “Get out of chores” day!
4. Find cheap thrills. There are plenty of spendy Nutcrackers and Christmas Carols to see, but there are just as many freebies out there if you take the time to look. Try searching your local paper or parent groups. They are sure to be listing some free attractions. For those in the Portland area, here are a few:
Peacock Lane Lights
Holiday Ships & Bonfire
I could go on, but you get the idea. The moral of the post is, remember WHY the holidays are special and resist the urge to be sucked into debt keeping up with the holiday “Joneses”. Get a smaller tree, make your own cocoa and snuggle up with those you love in front of a toasty fire.
Squir • el • y (skwer • el • lee) noun
1. The state of the infant in which all movement is rapid, unpredictable and otherwise crafty in it’s attempt at escape.
2. Any difficult to anticipate movement rendered quickly and inclusive of mischief.
Kahlan is officialy eleven weeks old and with all the Holiday crazies next week, the three month mark is fast approaching. It daily astounds me how rapidly infants change. One minute she’s Jell-O baby, the next she’s super wiggle worm attempting her first daring escape from the swing, my arms or whatever else is keeping her immobile. Luckily I’ve thus far been able to thwart her evil plans, but she’s getting SQUIRELY!
It all started two days ago. A nice gray rainy Oregon day like any other. We were enjoying a bit of midafternoon tummy time on the play mat, Mommy flexing her windpipe and baby head bopping to my throaty rendition of Scarlet Begonias. Man, that kid loves her tunes!
Then, like it was always possible and nothing new, the munchkin lands one perfect arm plant sync slash head bop and “TA DA!”, her once tummy bound roundness flipped onto her back with a big fat grin and squieal of delight.
What a triumph! Her first mobile moment and again without a camera. My joy was short lived though, as I soon realized there was now a new game brewing. Like every little achievement, Kahlan latched on to this new flip maneuver like a starved babe on the boob. However, the mat was old news. Been there, done that Mommy. She quickly adapted the head swing body flip so at unpredictable opportunities she can fly back and attempt to roll, not just over, but out of just about anything including my arms.
Game on Mommy… Game on.
I always loved the holidays as a kid. The hustle, the bustle and of course anticipating Santas arrival down the chimney. Once I reached adulthood, reality came crashing down and what was once an exciting and joyful time of year, became stressful and WAY to expensive. The holidays became more about outdoing last years gifts and blowing a months income doing it, than spending time with family.
There is something magical about having a new baby. The anticipation returned, the joy rekindled and I have to at least pretend I still believe Santa comes down the chimney. We went simple this year. Being on maternity leave, six weeks of which were unpaid, we had to. The days of blowing minds and our wallets are over. Just a little “Charlie Brown” tree, a new stocking for the Munchkin, and a few “family” gifts. I’d tell you what, but then we would know what we bought ourselves and spoil the fake surprise Christmas morning!
Being on a new tighter, penny scrounging budget this year realy brought into perspective what is truly valuable and worth having. Sure it’s nice to buy DVDs every Tuesday, books nearly daily and picking up a warm frothy peppermint mocha in the mornings isn’t half bad.
I’ve found though, there is a certain satisfaction in the “freebies”. Waking up to a smiling baby, warm Hubby snuggles on a cold winter walk, making a game out of penny pinching at the grocery store, cooking new crazy dishes because leftovers are no longer disposable and getting super sleuthy about finding free admision family activities.
Getting our first tree with Kahlan was hilarious and fun, not a chore. Having to dicker down to the $10.99 special didn’t feel like a sacrifice. We just laughed and admired our baby proportional Christmas twig. We didn’t need a big tree, we don’t need a ton of “stuff” under it either. This year we got the greatest gift already, our little Kahlan. So although all that stuff is nice, just being together, with our daughter on her first Christmas, is all I want from Santa…