Friday, May 27, 2016

Slow the Eff Down!!!

If you know me, you have probably heard about our neighbor who drives way too fast down our road. We live at the end of a cul de sac and the street isn’t very long with only 3 houses on each side before the bulb of the cul de sac starts. So there is really no reason to go fast because, at most, you are only going to save 15 seconds and that is if you have to completely stop for someone crossing the street or if a kid runs out in the road. Everyone but one house on our street has kids and there are 17 of them ages five and under. The kids enjoy playing outside together which usually involves driving their power wheels (there are 4 of those) and riding their bikes.
Photograph from Morgan Grosz via Facebook
So this neighbor comes flying around the corner and blasts right through the kids every single time she comes down the street. The speed limit on a residential thru street is 25 miles per hour and she is most definitely going over that. How do I know for sure? Because the other day when no one was outside playing I decided I’d go 25 up the street to make sure we weren’t all just being overly sensitive. She is probably going 30 miles an hour, maybe even faster.
A couple neighbors have yelled at her to slow down when she goes by but it has never made a bit of difference. There was even an instance where she came within a couple feet of a 4 year old little girl who was going down a driveway into the street. We yelled to the little girl and scared her which got her to stop but the neighbor just kept on driving and pulled right into her garage like nothing happened. It wasn’t my kid so I didn’t feel like I had the right to go rip her a new one like I wanted to so I just stayed put and kept my mouth shut.
Then, the other day she came flying through again and actually weaved around the 3 year olds riding their bikes, mine included. The day had come and I was in the right frame of mind to calmly and nicely ask her to slow down.
Here is our EXACT conversation:
Me:  “Hey, how’s it going?”
Her:  Looks blankly at me.
Me:  “So I know you’re paying attention but it makes us all really nervous when you come in here so fast while the kids are out. Could you just slow down a little bit?”
Her:  Scoffs, throws her keys in her purse, says “Well, we’re always in a hurry. Obviously I pay attention.” Walks away and starts closing her garage door.
Me:  Completely stunned by her response I have no idea what to say so I blurted “Well, we just want our kids to live, thanks.” And away I walk.
They’re always in a hurry? SERIOUSLY? That’s your reason for going OVER the speed limit and endangering all of our small children? Other neighbors were out and saw and heard it all go down and pretty much all of them couldn’t believe that that was how she responded.
Now, I understand it’s a street meant for cars, not for people but it is a cul de sac which she used to let her kids play in when there were a little younger and wanted to be out there. We all pay attention and never leave any kids unattended and we’re all doing our best to teach the kids to watch out for cars. However, they’re all so young that it is impossible for them to always be vigilant while giddily frolicking like children do, without a care in the world.
Apparently she told one neighbor that she was upset by me talking to her. SHE was upset? By me very nicely telling her we were concerned for our children’s safety? I’m not sure how that works. At this point I’m at a loss for what to do next, if anything. It isn’t like I’m going to call the cops because I don’t want to escalate things (plus they would probably just tell me to keep my kids out of the road). But even if we keep the kids from ever riding their bikes or power wheels in the road, what if a ball rolls into the road? If that happens, one of the kids is more than likely to run out after it and if they run out in front of her there is no question that she will hit them. Not on purpose obviously, but she is going too fast to stop quickly enough. Period. There’s no arguing about it. It’s the laws of science. You drive a certain speed and have a certain amount of momentum built up that the weight of your car can’t be stopped on a dime. Even if you’re “paying attention”. Even if you think all of the kids are on one side of the street and you’re safe, there are so many that it is highly likely another could come running across the street to join their friends. Now I know that sometimes there’s just a freak accident that wasn’t preventable on the driver’s part. But if you’re going that fast there would be no way to know if it had been preventable and to give you the benefit of the doubt.
You really think you’re saving time? Those 15 seconds are nothing compared to the time you will lose having to deal with the fallout of running over a child. All any of us want is to keep our children safe, and if I was doing something that was endangering someone else’s children and they asked me to stop, I would. Period. End of discussion. If I was upset because I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong I would respect them as a parent trying to keep their kids safe and just do it, and complain to my husband about it later (which I never do of course). But I guess we can’t all be as perfect as me now, can we?

Friday, May 20, 2016


Picture this…
You go to bed as early (or late) as you want, wake up at whatever time you feel like and have a delicious muffin with some fresh fruit for breakfast while sitting on your private patio on the banks of a beautiful lake that is currently pretty much deserted. You then have the whole day to do whatever your heart desires. Get in a workout? Go for it! Indulge in a facial at the spa across the street? Why the heck not! Wander the local shops, grab an ice cream cone, or just lounge in the sun by the lake. It may not be your own tropical island with a butler, but I can’t think of many people who wouldn’t think of this as an ideal day.
Well, that’s exactly what I did two days ago. Every single one of those things. And I enjoyed myself very much, but there was one thing missing:  my two children. Yes, I’m aware that I wouldn’t have been able to do ANY of those things (except maybe the ice cream) if my boys were with me but I missed them like CRAZY! If they were there we would get up bright and early, whenever the kids felt like it, after staying up extra late until they were exhausted enough to go to “sleep” (which really means talking, flopping, and kicking all night long). Then the day would consist of literally running around after them, at least the youngest so he doesn’t trip down a hill, the stairs, or fall off of a dock into the lake. Once I was completely exhausted from that we would then be stuck in our hotel room with only a couple small toys that we brought with us. This would then cause me to cave and turn on kids cartoons (and probably listen to the oldest complain that he doesn’t want to watch this show, he only wants to watch Octonauts). Nap times would likely not happen because there would be nowhere secluded or remotely quiet to put them to sleep, which means they would be the crankiest kids in the world by the time daddy got out of his conference and we wanted to go somewhere for dinner.
Yet despite all of that and knowing that it is almost inevitable that this is the exact scenario that would ensue, I still missed them. Now, I know what some of you may be thinking. Why are you such a masochist? That is simple, because not every second of the day would be complete chaos. Sure, they would be running around like little terrors and I would be at their beck and call and ridiculously exhausted by the end of each day. But they would also be so sweet and would love to play in the sand and see the baby ducks. I can even picture them both squatted down watching the baby ducks and big brother looking over at little and saying “You see the ducks? Ducks say quack. Can you say quack?” Those are the moments I live for.
Since having my boys I have basically identified myself as their mom. “What do you do?” people would ask. And my reply is always “I’m a stay-at-home mom to my two boys.” I’m really struggling to identify myself as my own human being and figure out who I am as an individual outside of being a mom. This blog is an attempt at doing that but I’m afraid it will be such an array of topics that it will seem chaotic and unplanned and not be relevant to anyone. But I guess that’s how my life is, chaotic and mostly unplanned, and I want this blog to be a reflection of my life so I guess that’s what it should be.
So who am I? What do I like to do? For now I’m just going to be happy being a MOM who likes to read, sing too loud along with the radio, stay decently fit, and most of all, spend time with my boys while they still want me around all the time.  Some day they will have their own lives, and maybe families, and they won’t need me to make their lunch, take them to the bathroom, read them a bedtime story, or give them kisses and ugga mugga’s. Until then, I’m going to smother them with love, probably be a helicopter mom, and be judged by everyone else who thinks they can or are doing it better. And I’m just fine with that. You want to know why? Because THIS is what I got the second we pulled into our drive way home from our trip yesterday.
So I guess I must be doing something right, at least by their standards. And those are the only standards I care about.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Do you ever look at your bank account and think what the heck happened since last pay day? We make a budget every month and at the end of the month there just isn't as much to put in savings as there is supposed to be. We decided to do something about that last week so, as of last Monday (4/25) we are on a spending freeze.

What does this spending freeze entail you may ask. Well, we have plenty of meat in our freezer so we only need to buy things like produce, eggs, milk, diapers, and fuel. Obviously we are still paying bills too (mortgage, electricity, insurance, etc.) but those are things we can't really go without so they aren't negotiable. I'm not keeping track of things we want but wouldn't have purchased under normal circumstances or we could claim to have "saved" a lot more than is realistic.

So you're not doing anything fun then you may also think. However, that would be an incorrect thought. Fun used to mean sometimes going out to dinner as a family (or for date nights), going out of town for the weekend, and "me time" which usually entails shopping at Target. Target is a BIG danger for our budget because as long as I'm not buying things for myself I feel like it is alright. The kids NEED more clothes. I can't afford NOT to get those picture frames that are on clearance. Those are my two biggest weaknesses. Well, those and the "dollar" section. Now we are going on walks to the park as a family, going to my mom's house to swim in her pool, and just playing out in the yard with all the other neighborhood kids. Of course, it helps that it is nice weather here now so we can do all of these things. Winter is even worse for me for not spending because of being stuck inside all the time and because I always go a little crazy for Christmas.

In just the first week of our spending freeze it is unbelievable just how much we have saved.

Here is a break down of the things we would have spent on:

-Monday (first day):
  Eating out-$20
  Honest Company bundle-$45

  Stitch fix box-$20 (minimum)

  Milkshake (McDonald's)-$3
  Pizza dinner-$30
  Power wheels jeep motor-$17
  Belt for lawn edger-$15

  Unnecessary groceries-$37

  Car wash-$9

  Pizza dinner-$30
  Rubbermaid tubs (organizing closets)-$20

  Eating out-$20

  Mall shopping (2 typical stores+food court) -$50+$15

Total for eight days: $398

As you can see, in just these first eight days there is already a very good chunk of money. That is almost airfare to Hawaii for one of us or airfare for TWO to Las Vegas (both things I'm planning for a later date)! It has been very challenging for me at times, especially at the grocery store, but I have found some added benefits, aside from saving money of course.

1.We have been eating a lot healthier. We don't eat all that bad in the first place, but we have been doing a lot better this last week. I'm not buying things like cereal, tortillas, yogurt, or goldfish crackers so those aren't options to eat. Also, we aren't going out to eat, picking up some Burger King on our way somewhere, or ordering pizza when we feel too lazy to cook. That has been the biggest part of the healthier eating and we feel much better because of it. We would always gorge ourselves and feel totally sick after eating out so now we don't have that problem.

2. I'm spending less time online and on my phone. I'm not on Amazon, Cartwheel, checking ads, and looking at travel websites. I know I'm not going to spend the money so I've decided not to torture myself. (First world problems, I know.) This means that the time I would usually spend checking prices I now have to spend with my boys or cleaning the house. Let's be realistic though, I'm not very likely to waste that time cleaning, am I?

3. It is becoming a lot easier as the days go by.  The first few days I kept thinking to myself, I didn't think I could do this in the first place so I'm just not going to. But I REALLY want a trip to Hawaii next year so I kept thinking about that and knew I could do it. Now, I don't really have to purposely tell myself anything. I just don't spend the money and don't even have the thought to as much as I used to.

We didn't specify how long we are doing this for but we will just try as long as we can. I'm sure we will make it at least through a month. Of course, I told my husband if he has to break the freeze to buy a Mother's Day present for this weekend that is allowed. I'm also accompanying him on a work trip later this month so I'll have to buy my meals while I'm there, but that was planned before the spending freeze started so I'm not counting it!

So if you're thinking of saving for a vacation, car, home improvement, or just for the sake of pumping up your savings account, you should definitely consider a spending freeze. It is totally liberating and really does work!