Friday, April 27, 2012

the big one

We've had some strict financial goals the last two years. Ones that at times have made me cry. Other times made me happy for how far we've come.

Shea bought a condo before we were married, which was a great decision when the market was awesome, and he thought he'd live there for a long time. Then he got married, the market tanked, we moved to Kansas City and had the choice between selling and losing $40,000 or becoming landlords. We chose the latter.

If you want to be bored with the details: The mortgage is 80/20 with the 20 percent borrowed from a private group and the 80 percent from a major  bank. For the last two years, we've been paying more than five to seven times the minimum on the 20 percent loan. It's a significant chunk of change each month (actually, it's almost my entire paycheck. I find this moderately demoralizing.), and the rent we charge covers the 80 percent part of the loan plus condo association fees only.

So we sacrificed. A lot.

But today...

...we made the last payment.

Yay, budgeting!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

chicago play

Mom and dad both had to be in Chicago for work last week so Grandma came to show Henry the windy city. Thursday night we went to the Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier. Free on Thursday nights, it was packed but we found many safe places for baby play.

Henry, who has just learned to stand, got a kick out of ringing bells, turning locks, mixing felt balls, yelling into mirrors and most of all, watching the other babies. Though most of the museum was crazy town with children who seem to know no limits (or manners), the babies were safe in their own shoe-less room staffed by a juggling volunteer.

If you're traveling to Chicago, I highly recommend it. Warning: Parking is a completely unreasonable $21. But you'll pay it because you love your baby.

Monday, April 16, 2012

eight months

Dear baby Henry,

You are fantastic! You pulled lots of tricks out of the bag this month. You started crawling (though still prefer the army crawl), can stand up on your own if you're holding on and the best one, learned to kiss.

You are a squirmy worm and never, ever sit still. You still prefer to be awake and even more so now that you're learning so many new things. You're up twice a night to snuggle and nurse, though you are doing much better with your naps. Your top teeth aren't coming in yet but they seem to be bothering you lately. You're talking a lot and shortening down to yells that someday soon will be words. You definitely understand Mac, Mama, Daddy, Pica and kiss.

You LOVE food. All of it. Your favorite baby foods are any fruit, carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes and yogurt. Big boy foods (non pureed) you've tried are cheese, crackers, banana, steamed carrots, apple, strawberries, refried beans, tortilla, turkey, shredded chicken, french fries, beef ravioli and canned peas. You still love nursing and are not ready for a sippy cup.

Your biggest change, though, has definitely been clingyness. You aren't scared of strangers and even sit with your friend Terri all during church. But you always prefer your mama and cry if I am in the room and not holding you. I am enjoying this sweetness while it lasts.

This month you attended your first fantasy baseball draft (silly right?), experience March Madness and had your first Easter.

We love you baby boy,

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

easter cuteness

We picked up empty eggs. Learned to put them in the basket. Had winter squash on Easter. Played with bubbles. Had a first Easter basket from Grandma. Tasted ham for the first time.

And just had a day of overwhelming cute

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

consignment savings

Last week we twice visited the Kid's Closet consignment sale. It takes over an old Marshall's store and more than 600 families sell their items. Last year we learned our lesson about the long lines and I volunteered for a four-hour shift so we could shop first.

For just over $100, we got a wooden Jenny Lind highchair, cute summer overalls and sun suits, a few cloth diapers, books, blocks and this rocking horse that Daddy couldn't resist.

We went back on half-price day and got the rest of Henry's summer clothes and some fall items for less than $50. More than 20 outfits (including brands like Ralph Lauren, Gymboree etc) for the same price I paid for a two shorts and a shirt brand new. Clothes with any stains or extensive wear are not allowed to be sold so we know we're getting quality items.

The ABC blocks with little figures inside for each letter are my favorite. Henry, however, would have preferred I would have attended a Tupperware party.