Settling In.. sort of

So we’ve been in Texas now for one month! It’s crazy really. In some ways, nothing has changed and it others everything is completely different!

We’re still adjusting to daily schedules. Hubby is working on getting settled at school and hopefully he’ll be starting his AmeriCorp stuff soon. He’s a little annoyed at the lack of info he’s getting but he has a meeting tomorrow that should shed some light on things! He has 2 full days of class and then nothing the rest of the week so he’s anxious to be busier! Finally got his desk all set up in our bedroom and the homework has started to eat up his time in the evenings. So, typical student living. Something we’re used to!

Theo is doing good at school – and we’re very proud! The school has a color chart for behavior and Theo has been at Green or above for the most part. He’s only had 2 yellow days. We’re hoping that he keeps it up! Tomorrow night there is a meeting for Cub Scouts and we’re planning to attend. Hubby and I think it would be a good thing for him – help him make new friends and get out of the house doing fun things! Not to mention learning new skills. He tells me he has new friends at school but he can’t remember their names… lol. Goofy kid.

Adeline has a cold. After only 5 days in public school Theo started with a very runny nose. And now the baby and I have it! Yea for school! So in addition to being super crabby because of teething, she’s congested and has a runny nose too. So much fun. In better news, she has shown some signs of walking! The other day she took about 6 steps all on her own without any encouragement. When we try to get her to walk tho she just sits down. Stubborn child. Always wants to do everything at her own pace! I have a feeling that she’ll be off running soon though. And then we’ll have our hands full. We’re also working on talking. She’s a tad behind there but we’re not concerned. She babbles nonstop so its only a matter of time before she starts using words.

I am still looking for work. It’s becoming a bit of a stressor for us. Paying bills when there isn’t any money coming in can be depressing. We’re still avoiding the credit card for as long as possible. Hopefully I’ll get a call soon from one of the dozens of jobs I’ve applied to. In the meantime, I’m looking at opportunities to make money from home. If anyone wants to share some lucrative ventures please feel free! And please say a prayer for us that our financial situation turns around soon. We should start getting the stipend from AmeriCorp next month so that will help a little. But its only once a month and not very much. (Apparently enough to disqualify daddy and mommy for medicaid tho… health insurance is expensive!)

You’d think with all this free time I’d have finished all the unpacking but alas it is a slow process. With the crabby 1 year old who is refusing naps longer than 45 minutes I’ve been busy! But I do plan to put some extra effort into it. I want to get the pictures hung up and my room unpacked. I am missing my things being easily accessible. We had hoped to purchase a few additional items for the house but currently its just not feasible. So I’m trying to organize our storage as neatly as possible, without any of the needed shelving. The garage is a nightmare. Definitely needs sorted quickly. Soon. I hope.

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The Big Move

Well, we’ve been in TX now for about 3 weeks. Things I have learned:

  • Dry heat is just a miserable as humid heat.
  • Rain is extremely uncommon and the water doesn’t absorb as quickly into the ground as it did in Iowa. So when it does rain, there’s always puddles everywhere. Lots of puddles.
  • Someone needs to open another walk-in hair salon. Seriously. They all seem to have ridiculously long waits all the time.
  • Lizards are now part of my daily life.
  • We need to figure out a sitter ASAP because mama needs a break. Really hot weather = lots of indoor time!

Our move was a little hectic. The drive went okay, have a few close calls with the trailer but it all worked out. The major problem was having no electricity when we got here. Apparently the company we chose needed a copy of an ID but we were unaware. So it took a couple days to sort that out – as we arrived late Saturday night and no one was open on Sunday. But by 10am on Monday we had power and moved out of the hotel and into our house! Hubby’s dad and my dad both came down and helped us unload and set up furniture. It was hard saying bye to family. It is a little lonely living this far away from everyone… but that’s what Skype is for right?!

So far, we have only finished a couple rooms. The kitchen and Theo’s bedroom. I finally finished unpacking boxes in Addy’s room but she needs a couple furniture items to complete the set up. And those probably won’t be purchased for a little while. Our bedroom is still a disaster. Hoping to make some major progress this weekend before Hubs and Theo start school on Monday! The living room is mostly done but I haven’t unpacked any breakables or hung any pictures yet. I need to work on how I want to hang everything. New house, new walls, new layout! As soon as the house is more in order, I will post pictures.

Currently, hubby is in Denver for a training session. He’ll be doing some work with AmeriCorps during the school year that required training. He flies back today (he’s been gone since Tuesday) and we can’t wait to see him! It has been a little crazy here with two kids on my own.. especially when you consider that one just get her 12 month shots this week and is super cranky! So yes, definitely ready for Dad to come home and help out.

Last night we went to Theo’s new school and met his teacher. He is super excited! His new teacher seems really nice and his school is less than a block from the house. He’s been asking everyday since we got here if its time to start school yet. The kid is pumped. We went out and bought some school supplies and new shoes. Last year he wore a size 1. He is now at the end of a size 3 so we went with a 4. That’s right, he went up 3 shoe sizes over the summer! I feel a growth spurt coming on…

On our way out of the school someone handed me a flyer for cub scouts. I’m actually seriously considering this as I think it would be really good for Theo. Get him out of the house more, make lots of new friends outside of his classroom, and get him involved in lots of great activities like camping and fishing that he loves to do! I think it would be really good for him so we’re probably going to look into it more. Sign up is in a couple weeks so we have time to decide!

Last weekend we tried out a new church. Overall, we liked it. Very similar to our church back home – Gospel based, big on fellowship and community involvement, small groups that meet weekly. We haven’t been to a small group meeting yet but we did get invited. With Hubs outta town and Addy constantly crying, I felt it wasn’t the best time to explore on my own! But hopefully next week we’ll have the opportunity! I’m looking forward to connecting with more people and building new friendships.

I’m definitely having to adjust to a lot of things – like no more Aldi 😦 But on the whole, things are going well! Now I just need to find a job! Please send prayers that this happens quickly! We’re running low on our savings. Good thing Jonathan will be starting school and we will hopefully be getting a small refund to help replenish some of that money. The last thing we want to do is start using credit cards.

I hope to keep updating more often as life progresses. I know everyone is looking forward to many, many pictures and I promise to take and post some! I still need to take Addy’s one year photos – bought the dress and just haven’t had great weather. But soon!! I promise 🙂

Financial Woes

I grew up in a big family. My mother stayed home and my father worked. We weren’t wealthy. My parents stretched every penny. There were times when we were on food stamps and received assistance. It’s probably no surprise that I dreamed of being rich since I was a kid. I never wanted to be ridiculously wealthy or anything like that. Just enough to live comfortably. This dream grew more as I got older. It was a big part of my whole plan for life, the plan that didn’t happen. I have so desperately wanted to make enough money to not have to worry about my finances. And while I have yet to reach that point, for awhile I was doing okay. Just barely over the line of drowning.

Being married to a college student is tough. This world is not made for single income households anymore. Unless that single income happens to be six figures. It doesn’t seem to matter how many corners we cut, how many debts we pay off, how much we save.. each month we sit down and stress over our finances. Seriously, combining things didn’t feel like it saved us money. Just made everything seem like it was costing us more. And of course we’ll be paying off our wedding for the next few years at least.

Sigh. I just want to be able to go buy a new dress (not second hand), get my kid some new shoes, go see a movie, get a new haircut, and know that I didn’t break the bank. And we’re getting ready to head into the most expensive time of the year. There’s heating costs in the winter, holidays that involve extra food and gifts, and spending a lot more time indoors (more electricity usage). We live paycheck to paycheck. And we will probably continue to live that way for awhile. Hubby has 4 1/2 more years until he’s done with school. And then however long it takes him to find a job. I sometimes fantasize about winning the lottery. Seriously, even an extra $20k would help! Just to have that cushion there would make all the difference. But I don’t play because I don’t have dollars to waste on non-winning tickets.

(And just for the record, I did recently buy Theo two brand new pairs of shoes. He grows way too fast for my wallet. But we aren’t destitute.)

My Grocery Bill

Okay so before I got married, I was living with my mother and one of my brothers. And we spent an average of $200-300 a month on groceries. This seemed okay considering it fed 3 adults and one kid. Well now with my husband I think we’re spending almost $400 a month if not more. When we go to the store we have to purchase 2 gallons of milk and 2 loaves of bread. Oh and we’re going through butter like crazy because he has a thing for buttered toast. No matter what he’s having for breakfast, he has 2 slices of buttered toast. And then eggs. We go through a lot of eggs. And I’m barely baking anything so it definitely isn’t me!

My son is a bird when it comes to meals. He likes the basics, like cereal and mac ‘n cheese. Beyond that it is a struggle to get him to eat at meal times. Unless of course he is going through a growth spurt. Then he’ll eat everything in sight. At one point he ate 6 slices of pizza in about an hour. We were all in shock. Normally he eats one, maybe two. Must of been so good pizza! He’s just turning 5 though so I know his eating habits are going to be changing. He’ll consume more and more food as he gets older and I’ll be the mom wondering where he puts it all as he remains tall and skinny. And the hubby wants another boy. Sigh.

So living with men is apparently rough on the grocery budget. I probably should have known this after growing up with 4 brothers but I never paid for the food back then. In an effort to save money I’ve been looking into ways to make more things at home. Unfortunately, we can’t build a chicken coop in our backyard and livestock aren’t allowed in town so getting a cow is out. But I did find this great recipe for homemade bread!

It looks so simple and only takes 5 ingredients! I only have one loaf pan currently but am planning to make a run to the store and pick up a second this weekend and then I am gonna make me some homemade bread! Hopefully the boys like it enough that we can cut back on the amount of bread we buy. I have been told though that homemade bread disappears faster. I guess its a good thing that it doesn’t cost nearly as much to make a half dozen loaves as it does to buy them!
I am desperately looking for other ways to cut back in a household of bottomless men. Any ideas would greatly be appreciated!! And be ready – the Lego birthday is quickly approaching! I promise to take lots of pictures to share with everyone 😉