A Necessity to Survive Turned Into A New Family

You know you made a good choice when your kids are happy and look forward to going to daycare.  None the less it’s hard when you’re working all the time, you still feel neglectful.  The school my girls had the good fortune to attend offered several extra curricular activities onsite (tumble, dance, basketball, karate) for an extra $ of course.  And music came with our tuition.  All these activities were on site which meant no driving around.  I didn’t fully appreciate this until my older girl was in kindergarten and I was driving her all over town for her activities.   At one time or another my girls had the opportunity to enjoy each of these activities and the skills they learned was impressive.  My four year old can dribble a ball really quite well and knows the correct hand placement on the ball when shooting it.  She can also choreograph her own dances with confidence.

Then comes the decision to end our time at daycare.  I’m not working now and no longer looking for work, so it doesn’t make sense to keep her in.  First I reduced her hours, then came her last week.  We had a little party, she took pictures with all her teachers over the years.

When it came time to say goodbye, it was hard.  We promised to come back and visit, at least through the summer, but it still felt like we were leaving family.  I had feelings of guilt for pulling my baby out of school and away from her amazing teachers.

I had to say to myself “hey wait a minute, she’s my kiddo, and this is the right decision for our family.”  But that doesn’t make it any easier.

We are so grateful for all she’s learned and everyone she’s met and we hope to stay in touch over the years to come.

I even got  a copy of the summer camp schedule so we can “pop in” on field trips for my older daughter.  Although she hasn’t gone to the daycare full-time in two years, she was there last summer for camp and during the holidays when school was out.  She’s made some great friends along the way too.

Closing the door on each little chapter in life, as hard as it is, is a necessity.  We take with us on the next chapter friendship and insights.




Calm Seas (Part 2)

This is part 2 of the story of our turning point.  If you haven’t read part 1.  You can find it here.

So, where did I leave off?  Oh yeah.  Hubby made the suggestion of me staying home and homeschooling our girls.  I built a what-if budget and…..

We could make it work, with some adjustments and some big decisions, that should’ve probably been done anyway, like sell stocks to pay off debts.  I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t believe it.  For a few days that is.  I ran the numbers conservatively and I ran them with possibility and either way, we could make it work.  The biggest change would be where we live.

OMG!!! We could do this.  At least financially speaking.  I chew a few more days.  Then I ask my 7 year old to get her initial take.  She’s totally sold on the idea.  I explained that we’d live in a very small house and they wouldn’t be able to keep all their toys (well I said we could store them for later or to switch out every couple months).  They love the idea of me being their teacher and seeing their grandparents and cousins much more often.  Warmed my heart!!!!  Really, I felt like a winner already.

Okay, but now what?  How does this really work?  After the financial questions are answered, there were three additional areas of concern….

  1. Where do we live?

Idaho?  Oregon?  Washington?  California?  Colorado?  Where shall we go?  We know we want to be closer to family we know we love the outdoors.  So many choices.  Then we realized that hubby needs a separate nursing license for CA, WA, and OR.  So hello paperwork!  One day he comes home and says, how about I get a travel nursing job?  Again I ran the numbers, but then “where do we live?” became an even bigger question.

We have three options and one of them isn’t even a consideration.  a) split the family up (no way!!), b) we move from city to city via apartments, or c) we get an RV and live in that for a while moving to a new campground every few months.

I quickly started looking at floor plans.  I remember going on a family vacation as a teenager with 2 preteen brothers in a 1970’s American Clipper from So. California all the way to BC Canada and back.  Small, cramp quarters.  As I recall, my youngest brother and I slept on the flip down couch while the middle  brother slept on the fold down dinette.

I knew from pictures and TV that RV’s had come along way in design since then.  But wow!!!  Talk about a 4 start hotel on wheels!!!  They even have bedrooms – yes plural – we’re actually looking at a 5th wheel trailer.  Then we took the girls to a sales lot so we could all four be in one at one time and get a real feel for the space.  I’m sold!  Hubby still flip flops a little on the idea, but I’m sold!

1b.   How do we fit into an RV?

We live in a 1600 sq ft house, plus basement, plus 2 car garage, plus 1.5 car shed.   We have a lot of stuff.  So, the last 2 months have been spent purging.  Or at least attempting to.  I’m hoping the next 4 weeks see an even bigger payout in this department.

purgingHow often do I use the juicer?  We have two waffle irons.  One Belgian and one regular.   We have a tea pot collection (one of my side passions).  Until now, I hadn’t gotten rid of anything from the girls baby years.  Nothing.  I had it all still.

So far, Swap.com has received 2T and 3T clothing as well as my maternity clothes.  And Once Upon a Child has bought from me several baby items and Goodwill has benefited greatly along with a little bit on craigslist.  But man oh man, we still have a long way to go.

I officially packed up my nice dress/work clothes, won’t be needing those anytime soon.  And I purged my jammie collection by more than half…really, how many does one person need?

I even got hubby to agree to pack up all his winter clothes to get back out of storage when the weather returns.

I love watching tiny house and dream of being free of all this stuff someday soon.

2. Will the kids and I get along?

I love my babies, but do I like them fightingenough to be with them 24/7?  My former co-workers are laughing about now, because there were many a days that I’ve said….”I love Mondays, because the kids go back to school and I get to go back to work – they exhaust me!”  But, if you recall, I’ve also been known to say “I love Fridays, because I get to spend the weekend with the kiddos.” What’s a mom to do?  My oldest and I fight, constantly about getting her homework done…what’s homeschooling going to be like?  Are we going to kill each other in the process?  Well, if by the end of the summer things don’t work out, then we go back to the originally plan, move to the west and get a job, put kid baby in all day pre-k and the older one in before/afterschool care.

3.  Do I have the necessary homemaker skills?

cleaningDo I have what it takes?  I love working.  My brain needs to be solving problems, that’s what I do.  Identify and solve.  I need adult conversation.  I like corporate life, its what I know and I’m comfortable with.   Cleaning…hubby has cleaned the bathrooms for years (about 20 actually).  I’ve always used the excuse that I’m a busy working, commuting mom and the house can wait.  I’d barely sit down while home so I never really saw the mess.  Now, I’m in the house all day….and it’s a mess!  Its not going to clean itself.  Tedious, physical work that is required to be done, over and over again.  Especially when you have kids.

Well, its been a couple weeks now that I’ve been making an effort in this department and things are looking better, slowly, but surely.  I’m finding new problems to solve….time management, efficiency around the house, organization, a robust family budget, excel spreadsheet to the max with scenarios and assumptions laid out.  I have a GANTT chart for our impending move.  And research on homeschooling curriculum….that’ll be another post.  Then when there’s a little down time, I’m rifling through books and a few games of Sudoku and Solitaire.  Its important to exercise the mind!

So, do we have those three questions answers?  No, not by a long shot.  But at least I know what the challenges are and I’m pushing forward to be successful.  Time will tell.