Reflections on Year Three

Year 3 was the year of CHANGE.
  • FINANCIAL PLAN: We learned a lot more about money in this year and after waiting for way too long, we finally consolidated all our debt and got rid of my credit card. We got a fantastic interest rate and have been steadily paying it down ever since- those payments will be finished by the end of this year! Wahoo! If we had only known how much all those stupid "things" we bought in year one would end up costing us, hindsight is 20/20. We learned more about how to live on a budget and I started to budget all of the money we had minus my mat-leave money that would be ending in August, so that it wasn't a huge shock when that money was gone. We were sure grateful to have had it for a full year, if I hadn't had so many hours in '07 I wouldn't have gotten as much in '08/'09, so another hidden blessing along the bumpy way. In the summer we also went from having two vehicles to having one. We kept the truck and then after we had Brynlee, I became obsessed with getting rid of it and getting a car, that was dumb, but we keep learning right? Gong show!
  • HOME: In April we found out that we were short-listed for the very desirable co-op that overlooks Fish Creek. We had interviews and all sorts of paperwork to fill out, but we were happy with how much the staff/volunteers involved in the process, cared about our family and seemed to want us in their little community. We found out in May that we had been approved for an end-unit! This was a big deal since we knew that two small kids would not be super quiet and a lot of people who live in the co-op are "sensitive to noise". We moved in at the very end of June and started getting settled. We so appreciated Steve's parents accommodating us for as long as they did and it was actually kind of sad when they came over that moving day night. I'm really lucky that I like my in-laws so much, I literally cried. Pregnancy hormones.
  • FAMILY & FIRSTS: That summer we had a lot of family from my McMurray side come visit for our first reunion. It was really fun to have everyone here and we loved showing Kalea off and getting to meet some of the other new additions to the family. It was also fun to have enough floorspace to host some of my cousins, it was fun spending some extra time with them since we're all so spread out now. Kalea also turned one in August of this particular year- too bad she was super sick and we couldn't have the huge party I had envisioned for her especially since all Steve's siblings were actually in town for her birthday this year, that would've been fun. Oh well. We grew to really appreciate our families and that cocoon they provide from the outside world, and in turn started exploring ways that we could help our kids to have those feelings in our home too. Most of Kalea's "firsts" happened in 2009 and we learned how to let her stumble and fall and get back up and to my astonishment, all the falling didn't hold her back from any crazy antics! Steve helped me learn not to be such an uptight first time Mommy and I learned how to relax into the role. 
  • JUGGLING ACT: In November 2009 we welcomed Brynlee into our home, what a whirlwind that was. I can only count it as an act of grace that we didn't have a terrible time transitioning from one child to two, Brynlee just eased right in. There were only a few growing pains and Kalea didn't seem very phased by it at all which was a huge lifesaver. Brynlee instantly fell into routine and became my sidekick, she was the kind of baby that makes a person want to have more babies, just SO super easy going, completely predictable schedule wise and happy. I was surprised by how much getting up at night with her didn't bother me, but maybe that's because Kalea was still napping so I was able to find time to do that too. Steve adjusted his volleyball schedule to one night a week and I learned to just take things one day at a time. It was around this time that I was called into the Relief Society Presidency at church and so besides my mom-job, I had some other areas to grow into as well. Anyways, we found this year to be a lot about the kids and serving others than it was about us and that's okay, but not ideal, so our new years resolution that year included more time for just us.
  • WORK: In Feb'09 Steve and his boss at the machine shop decided that they should part ways. It was becoming less and less ideal, work had slowed down so much that they were going to 4day work weeks and no overtime allowed, therefore his pay was going down. Luckily Steve was able to start working for our brother in law at Liberty Security almost immediately after his final 2wks machining were finished, and we got a little help from parents in between paycheques- again, we have the best parents. We didn't have a lot of stressful feelings about the change and Steve's health drastically improved once he stopped working there- he was having all sorts of respiratory issues while working there.
Again, I think each year involves a lot of work and this year required a lot of us both. We really began to trust each other more and be more communicative with our needs and our thoughts about all the different choices we had to make. It was also a year of sucking it up- financially- and learning to live off less, which is a hard transition, but it works if you talk about everything all of the time. Forcing conversation about finances has become my specialty, open communication is key especially when you're budgeting down to the last dollar, a slurpee/slushie can disrupt the budget and throw me for a loop, so we came up with other ways to have "fun money" available ie. collecting bottles/cans from our house and both parents houses, yes I forced my parents to let us recycle their bottles that year, it was a first for them, and I appreciated their effort. Can I just add that diapers are way too expensive? They ate up so much of our budget that year- cursed diapers- we sometimes used our bottle money to pay for them, that's when "fun money" becomes "lame-ooooo" but we had to be responsible with it sometimes.
Year Four coming up tomorrow!

    1 comment:

    Sheri said...

    So neat to see all the growth and document it all.
    Keep it coming!