A Nine-Month Project is Complete { Work-In-Progress Wednesday }

Posted by on Sep 24, 2014 in knitting, motherhood | 0 comments

Well, I can’t say I’ve done a lot of knitting this week, but I’m happy to report that I finished off a work-in-progress that we’ve been slowly working on for the past nine months or so. ;)

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Isn’t he a cutie? He’s so adorably teeny right now.

Happy sigh.

I love these little longies on him. I love the colour and the fit! I do need to add i-cords to tighten them around the waist, but I’m waiting for the umbilical cord to fall off before I worry about that. Or, more likely, I’ll just add an i-cord when I knit more pairs in the next size up and not worry about these ones.

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Those who have been following me on Instagram know that I’ve made some progress on my cardigan since my last WIP post, though not as much as I’d hoped. Even for the past few days, when I’ve done nothing but nurse a baby in bed and watch Friends from start to finish, I’ve only been able to knit a few times.  For some reason I can’t master knitting with a newborn in my lap – I always get the yarn stuck in the baby’s toes and none of my children have been happy about keeping tension for me.

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Here’s a shot of how far I’ve gotten – sorry that the picture is not super awesome quality. Turns out sweaters aren’t as fun to photograph as squishy little babies. :)

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Saving for My Sanity #RESPwithRBC

Posted by on Sep 19, 2014 in motherhood, organization, School | 0 comments

Riiiiiiiiiiiiippppppppp…….

No, not my pants – though at a day past my due date, I’m ready to give up on pants altogether and buy a muumuu instead.

No, that ripping was the sound that greeted me last week when I opened the large wet bag that hangs on the door knob of our bathroom door. After years of keeping dirty diapers safely away from curious little fingers, my favourite wet bag has finally given out.

I tried to ignore it – I tried to pretend I hadn’t heard anything. I tried to use the bag for the rest of the day. But every time I opened the top up, I could hear the bag rip even further.

Argh. Did it have to rip this month? This month of new car seats and crib mattresses and paint purchases and home birth supplies? Couldn’t it have ripped last spring? Or maybe in December, just in time have Santa stash a replacement in my Christmas stocking?

I’m so tired of spending money.

Honestly, I had no idea a third baby would cost so much more than a second baby! I don’t think we bought much at all when The Pixie was born, but with our third, we’ve had to make a couple big purchases that took me by surprise.

New Car Seats – Fitting Three Across the Back Seat

First of all, the baby needed a new car seat. Even if we could have fit our big old infant seat in the car, it’s set to expire any day now – after all, we bought it nearly six years ago! In fact, to fit all three kids in the back seat of our Mazda 3, we had to buy THREE new skinny seats (and for those that are wondering, we chose a Peg Perego Primo Viaggo for the baby, a Diono RXT for The Pixie, and a Graco Turbo Booster for The Princess).

Car seats are not cheap, but we figured that even buying three new seats at once would be cheaper than upgrading to a minivan, right? Except now that I’ve experienced the “delight” of having the girls side by side in the car, I’m not sure I can handle the bickering. Not to mention that The Pixie will be right beside the baby, feeding him a steady diet of french fries and tiny plastic princess shoes. I haven’t told my husband, but the other day I drove around used car lots and dreamed blissfully of minivans, ignoring my children as they loudly protested from the back seat that they were thirsty/hungry/tired/bored/still-able-to-maim-each-other-even-back-in-their-original-seat-places-on-opposite-sides-of-the-car.

A New Crib Mattress

In addition to new car seats, we really needed a new crib mattress. When The Princess was born, we opted for a chemical-free, all-natural mattress that would provide a toxic-free sleep – and that was hard to find seven years ago! We ended up shipping one up from California, making it one of our most expensive nursery purchases.

Unfortunately, The Princess hated that mattress. So did The Pixie. I’ve actually slept on it myself a couple times and I have to say that it really is just awful – I don’t blame my girls for insisting on sleeping in my comfy bed instead. I knew we’d never use that mattress again – even if we had more kids – so we stashed it downstairs in the crawlspace to try and insulate against the cold winter draft. This is also where we keep the cat’s litter box, so needless to say, I couldn’t use that awful mattress again even if I wanted to. I have high hopes for our new mattress though – a Purflo mesh mattress that is machine-washable. Genius? I think so.

To save room in our budget for these bigger purchases, we’ve been scrimping every where else we can. We’re happily taking used baby clothes from people. I’m knitting new diaper covers because goodness knows I have enough yarn to do it. I’m even selling off more baby carriers from my collection than I’m actually buying new (and as a self-identified baby carrier addict, this is no small feat).

Future Spending

But as overwhelmed as I am now, I know this is nothing compared to 12 years from now when The Princess goes to university. When I see the numbers of what tuition will cost by then, my head starts to spin. If she takes a four-year program, she should be graduating *just* in time for The Pixie to start her freshman year. Maybe we’ll steer The Pixie towards a three year program to save money – that way she’ll be finished *just* in time for The Baby to enrol. ACK! Do you realize that we could be looking at paying university tuition for 11 or 12 years in a row?

Hold me.

If we’re going to make it through this without losing our minds, we are going to need to do some planning. In fact, there are things that we can do even now to be sure our family is ready.

Sticking to a Budget

First, the kids need to learn to be responsible with money so that when they go off to university, they are comfortable living within a budget. I’d like to start The Princess on an allowance this year so that she begins to understand the value of things and of money.

Being Self-Sufficient

Second, I want to teach all three of our children to be self-sufficient so that when they do live on their own, they don’t waste money needlessly. For example, I wasted a fortune on the horrid overpriced food at the university cafeteria. I vividly remember watching jealously as the Parisian students in residence cooked amazing meals for themselves that were far beyond my KD dinner-making abilities. I want my kids to be the ones baking fish in a lemon-butter sauce while other the other kids eat styrofoam cafeteria burgers. Bonus points if my kids talk with delightful French accents while they do it.

Saving for My Sanity

Registered Education Savings Plans

Third, I want to teach them the value of saving money. One practical way we can do this is to set a good example by saving in advance for their college education through a registered education savings plan.

Even stashing away just $25 a week away in a RESP can add up to over $50,000 in 18 years – AND the government’s Canada Education Savings Grant will match our investment with up to 20% on the first $2500 that we contribute each year – at $500 a year, that could mean an up to $7200 towards tuition!

Now, when I first started thinking of RESPs, my first question was what would happen to the money if my kids decided not to go to school – would all that money be lost forever? I mean, The Princess is pretty darn clever, but The Pixie… well, we caught her trying to taste latex paint the other day. No worries though – it turns out that if our kids decide not to go to college, the money can be used to fund our own RRSP. So keep licking that paint brush, kiddo. Just don’t get any paint on these retirement cruise brochures that I picked up … you know, just in case. ;)

Another cool thing about RESPs? We can even have friends and family contribute, which is a great alternative gift idea for parents looking to cut back on the amount of toys in their house. And really? Young kids just want an old box from your basement to play in – an RESP is a far better use of birthday money.

Grow Your RESP with RBC

To be honest, I’m really not great with budgets and saving for the future and all that stuff – there are plenty of days where planning ahead all the way to supper time feels overwhelming. Thankfully, nobody has to figure this all out themselves.

RBC has gone to great lengths to make RESPs easy. They’ve created tools like the RESP-Matic® which makes saving practically effortless, and they’ve set up websites with great tips on saving for a child’s education:
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rbc.com/education

RBC is also a running a contest right now where you could win $500 towards your child’s RESP! Win one of four $500 prizes by visiting:
http://bit.ly/1tY3nGZ

I LOVE university – in addition to my college diploma, I’ve taken university classes off and on for years and I’m just one class short of finishing my Political Science degree. Taking that last class isn’t financially feasible for us right now – not to mention that I don’t have the time – but I’m fine with that. However, I don’t want finances ever to be an issue for my kids – I want all three of them to have whatever education they dream of and that means we have to start saving now. And who knows? With some careful financial planning, maybe I’ll be in class along with them. We can carpool together in our minivan. ;)

Disclosure: I am part of the RBC RESP blogger program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Two More Weeks. Maybe.

Posted by on Sep 9, 2014 in motherhood | 2 comments


Two Weeks Left

There are just under two weeks left in my pregnancy – nine days until my estimated due date. It’s funny – for most of this pregnancy I generally had no idea how far along I was and I once a week or so I’d enter my due date into pregnology.com to find out.

Then, once I hit 37 weeks, I could tell you the exact amount of days left until my due date. Because I’m done.

Actually, I think I’ve been done for about a month now. To be honest, this has been my easiest pregnancy by far. I credit having a great chiropractor who kept everything aligned and was able to take away almost every discomfort I had.

But now there are less than two weeks left and I think I’ve had enough of this pregnancy thing. I’m tired because I can’t find a comfortable way to sleep. And because I have to go to the bathroom 17 times a night. And because my clothes have stopped fitting me. And because I have two kids that chose to be sick for the entire month of August.

And I’m done with the typical comments that strangers give you. Like, “wow – you must be due any day now”! But it’s not any day now – it’s two more weeks. And technically it could be four more weeks if this bun decides to bake a little bit longer.

I apologize in advance for anything that I write here on my blog if I go two weeks overdue.

About a month ago a beautiful young girl at a farm was ringing through my purchase and she flashed me her perfect smile and stated that I must be ready to pop any day now. (It’s always any day now. I HATE any day now.)

I smiled back and said no, I still had six weeks to go. She smiled even wider and leaned in, asking me in a knowing voice,  “is it twins”?

Being the charming person that I am, I forced a laugh, all the while praying silently that someday she’d be blessed with pregnancy acne, varicose veins and stretch marks. I’m not sure if you’re allowed to pray for things like that, but if it ever comes up, I plan to blame my hormones and third trimester sleep deprivation.

It’s hard not to be impatient. It’s hard not to think about all the things I’m missing out on in September, things that I could do with a baby rather than a belly. But I’m also trying to enjoy this time which is really going by so fast.

There are only two weeks left.

Two more weeks to take my girls to Chapters where they will run around like hooligans. Because after two weeks I will think back fondly on the days where I only had two kids to take out.

Two more weeks to find a way to cram another car seat in my back seat. Because I’m too cheap to buy a minivan.

Two more weeks to get the diapers prepped and the clothes sorted and to find the other half of the crib. I mean, if I don’t set up the crib, where will I store the diapers and clothes??

Two more weeks to avoid the supermarket so I don’t have to hear anyone accuse me of stealing a watermelon and then laugh like they are the first person to come up with that joke.

Two more weeks before this baby comes out. Although I suppose it could be four.

I hope it’s not four.

Photo courtesy of Torsten Mangner on Flickr and slightly modified by me.

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