1. Christmas on a Budget, Part III cannot post a grand Christmas on a Budget, Part II today because Christmas was cancelled. Yes, cancelled, my friends; at least, on Matt's side of the family. Scores of people were sick, so we just decided to reschedule Christmas for January 5th, which means I still can't reveal any presents. As much as I don't blame anyone and think we chose the right course of action, I am still wildly angry at the 10lbs of mashed potatoes, two deserts, and pile of fruits and veggies that I was commissioned to make in my pregnant state and will now go bad in my fridge. I'm freezing as much as I can, but I have a smaller apartment refrigerator, so I only have so much space with which to work.
In terms of our little, immediate family savings, I don't have any creative tips. These are our guiding principles:
-We avoided sending Christmas cards this year to save money on cards + postage. If I'd had less to do, I probably would have sent around an email letter and family photo.
-We make a Christmas budget at the beginning of the year, divide it by 12, save up that much per month, and stick within the arrangement when we shop.
-We start thinking a few weeks before Christmas about what we want to get each other, we shop around to get the best price, and we open our presents one-per-person throughout the day to make them feel like a lot.
-We make Amazon wish lists (and I make one for Abigail), for any family members who want to get us exactly what we want.
2. The Weather
A vast majority of the town I live in was hit by a giant ice storm last week that left thousands (tens of thousands?) of people without power. I was sitting in the vet's office the other day, and everyone in the waiting room but me had lost power for at least a few days. Somehow, our apartment complex and three nearby residential streets were saved from the devastating outages. We did lose power for one night, but it came back on again about 30 minutes before the alarm clock sounded. I'm pretty thankful we were spared.
3. Puff PuffWhy was I sitting in a vet's office? Well, Puff Puff decided to boycott peeing the litter box and treat the carpet in the hallway and the tree skirt as her personal chamber pot. Toddler + my pregnancy-induced heightened sense of smell meant that I wasn't messing around. The vet gave us a week's worth of meds to try (hopefully they work) and I borrowed a carpet steam cleaner and bought a bottle of something guaranteed to get urine out of carpet. At least now I can cross "steam clean the carpets before the baby is born" off my to-do list. First I'm going to have to add it to my list.
Damn, I miss hardwood floors.
4. The Hubby
Matt took a few days of vacation time in between the holiday time he already received off to make a one-week long vacation. It almost feels like we're back in law school on Christmas break! Abigail is pretty excited to have a daddy at her disposal and we're all making large deposits into the family relationship bank account. Matt is also super awesome at handling a pregnant Jacqueline. When I'm pregnant, he totally helps out around the house whenever I ask without complaining, and sometimes I come home from grocery shopping to find the dishes done without even having to ask! I'll be laying on the couch complaining about how tired I am while he's vacuuming and taking the trash out. And he'll be sympathizing with me. Seriously, supporting me while I'm pregnant is one of his biggest strengths, and I'm really thankful for that.
5. Pie Dates
One of the best-ever things about living 10 minutes away from family is impromptu pie dates. I'm really close with all three of my sister-in-laws, but one lives really close. She's got five kids and she homeschools, so "me-time" is often last on her list. I'm almost never a "last-minute adventure" kind of girl (I need plans and to-do lists!), but after a particularly trying day, I love, love, love being able to send a text: "wanna get pie tonight?" And we run out in our sweatpants and no makeup to spend an hour or so drinking coffee and eating pie and get home just in time to help with bedtime. I get to pick her brain about keeping oneself from getting burnt out, adding an infant into a family routine, and if she brings my still-breast-feeding Godson along, I get to hold him and marvel at kids who have muscle tone. I've never had that kind of relationship with anyone before, and I love, love, love having it now.
6. That Book I'm Writing
Is done. I got up before anyone else in the family yesterday and cranked out the last section. It was not nearly as bad as I thought it was in October.
-Make Matt read through it all and discuss changes.
-Find a few
-Read through a final time to make it as good as it's going to get.
-Research how publishing works.
-Either find an agent, start submitting, or both.
7. This Child I'm Carrying
Depending on who you ask, my due date is either May 17th or May 20th. If you go by the date of the conception, I'm due May 20th. I know the date for certain because we do NFP and were trying to get pregnant. But the doctor is convinced that I can't possibly know what I'm talking about, so she's going by the last period rule. Except during the early ultrasounds, she's all "you're measuring about 3 days smaller than your due date." I respond, "So...that would put me at May 20th?" She looks a bit puzzled. Then a firmer, "Well, we're still going to go with May 17th." Okay, but I'm writing May 20th in my planner.
On January 3rd, we'll go in for the big Gender Reveal ultrasound. The 20-week ultrasound is also the same one that resulted in the beginning of the Baby Heart Saga the last time around, so this should be fun. We're actually going to do a heightened level 2 ultrasound on the 3rd, which means the ultrasound tech will spend more time studying and measuring the baby's organs than usual, just as a precaution. I suspect the tech will be like, "Aww, look, a cute face shot! Do you want me to print that one for you?" And Matt and I will be all, "Can you move down a bit? A bit more. Yup, right there - now can you turn on the oxygenation color overlay? No, the button to your left. Sweet! That's the shot we want! See how the heart looks like a typical textbook picture? Can you print that one for us?" I'm actually genuinely disappointed that we don't have a ultrasound pic of Abigail's heart before the repair. How cool would it be to have a photograph of your literally broken heart?
Oh geeze. Heart jokes are funny because it all worked out in the end.
Anyway, we're planning to reveal the baby's gender, but not the name. Now I need to start brainstorming some creative way we can share the details.