Monday Medley: Just Trying To Do My Best

Sorry about the blog being pretty quiet over the last couple of weeks.  What can I say?  I haven’t been exactly myself lately.  Understandably, there is a lot on my mind, but the fact that twins are on their way is only part of the reason for my sense of being overwhelmed.  Being a married, working mom comes with many pressures and responsibilities.  In addition, there are all of our ambitious plans for the future.  I’ve made some recent mistakes too – not huge ones, but significant enough to cost us some time and/or money.  Money and time, such valuable commodities.  I know that you can’t win all of the time, but it helps when the losses are more scattered.  Anyways, here are some updates on the Smith family’s adventures over the past month or so.

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Halloween

The kids had a fun Halloween.  At first, Goofball wanted to be a Velociraptor (on a Jurassic World kick right now).  I had looked on Pinterest and found some DIY cardboard heads, but the scale of the project seemed pretty daunting and I just did not have the energy (the first trimester fatigue was bad this time, maybe even double as bad *wink,wink*).  We convinced him to be Owen (the Velociraptor trainer) instead of the actual dinosaur, because there was a pre-made costume for sale on Amazon.  I found it on sale, but it still seemed like somewhat of a frugal fail in comparison to my other DIY successes.

Miss Tornado made things a little bit easier on me.  She just wanted to be a blue and green butterfly.  I found a pair of wings on eBay for really cheap and made her a little tulle tutu.  The costume cost less than $10, she looked very cute, and she still likes to wear her wings and skirt for dress-up time.

I am really proud of little Trey’s Very Hungry Caterpillar costume (one of our favorite books).  My mom helped me out on this one by sewing a tube of blue and green fleece stripes.  I crocheted a little hat for him and absolutely love how well it turned out!

caterpillar

As an added bonus, the little guy has a nice new hat to wear this winter 🙂

 

Craft Show

Now, speaking of crochet . . . while I won’t characterize it as a “disaster,” the craft show didn’t go very well at all.  I spent so much time creating a variety of crocheted items to sell, with the hopes that my profits could fund a significant portion of our Christmas expenses.  A neighbor gave me tons of yarn when her mother passed away, so I didn’t spend very much on supplies.  My mother and I split the table fee of $30.  However, I only sold a couple of items, pretty much breaking even.

I now have a bunch of items that still need homes, preferably in exchange for some cash.  I may be able to give away a few of them as Christmas presents.  As for the others, I might try a listing on a local Facebook group page or even bite the fee bullet and open an Etsy shop.

One positive is that I realized that freelance writing is probably the best side hustle for me.  It is a much better use of my time.  I have a pretty good idea of how long it will take to complete an assignment and know how much money I will earn ahead of time.  Don’t worry, I will still crochet, but probably just things for friends and family for the time being.

 

Family

Does any parent ever feel like they give their kids enough time and attention?  No, really, do they?  After the craft sale, I found myself really regretting the time that I spent crocheting things instead of playing with the kids.  There were at least a couple of times that I dismissed their requests to read a book or play, because I just wanted to finish up a certain project.  Mommy guilt is a horrible thing.

In an effort to spend more time enjoying the “good stuff” we’re doing an advent-type reading calendar this December.  We read a new Christmas book together from the 1st through the 24th.  Of course, buying 24 new books would be expensive, so I’m just going to keep grabbing handfuls from the library.  We read “The Bernstein Bears Save Christmas” tonight and it was really good!  It’s all about finding joy in a simple old-fashioned Christmas instead of getting all caught up in the commercialism.  I definitely recommend it.

 

Twin Preparations

In deciding to have one more child, we looked forward to the fact that we wouldn’t need to purchase anything besides stuff like diapers.  Things have changed now.  I made my first twin purchase and it started to feel a little more real.  I found a twin nursing pillow on Craigslist for $20, which retails for about $100.  A friend says she has another infant car seat we can have, so that’s helpful.  The other big item on our list is a stroller for infant car seats.

I’ve also begun my big organization and purge project.  We will need to move to another house eventually, but it would really help our finances if we can stay at the present place as long as possible.  I’ve been wanting to become more minimalist, so I guess that space for two new babies will my inspiration.  It feels a bit premature to be “nesting,” but I want to make significant progress before I get too big and incapacitated.  I’ve already made some progress on my closet, with the goal to fit all of my clothes into the closet, so the babies can use my dresser/armoire.  I also got rid of a lot of papers and reorganized all of the arts and crafts in one, new location.

I’m super excited to find out what we’re having (right after Christmas).  Then, I can pull out the baby clothes <3

 

Work

It’s no secret (at least on here) that work is no longer enjoyable or engaging.  However, I had ambitions to be focused on diligent this year to earn a good raise, bonus and/or even a promotion.  My drive faded rather quickly and now I’m dreading my year-end meeting.  Okay, maybe dreading is too strong, it’s not like I totally blew off work for a year, but I know that there won’t be any gold stars for me.  On one hand, I can tell myself that it won’t matter in the long run because I’m not chasing the status of a long-term career.  On the other hand, I’m the breadwinner and responsible for bringing home the money we need to pay off debt and finance our dreams.

 

Finances

We remain on target to have a really good year, if we’re very careful about Christmas.  I was hoping that some money from the craft show would help pay for gifts.  I may be able to use some of my creations as gifts, but being a little creative (definitely revisiting my list of DIY presents) should help out meet our goals for the year.  Also, even a little bonus would be a big help.  You can look forward to an exciting net worth update in January 🙂

My bi-annual tutoring side gig is about to start up again, which means I will get a check in early March.  The timing is pretty perfect because it will keep me busy up until the time when carrying two babies is likely to really start taking its toll.  We’ve already discussed that our tax return bill will have to go towards a new (to us) vehicle.  Maybe we should look into a bus like the Partridge Family – LOL!

I will say that we are killing our energy bills right now.  Mr. Smith collected so much firewood that we are using it to warm up the house almost every day and night that it’s cold.  It looks like the total monthly bill this winter might even be lower than it is in the warmest months of summer (when we spoil ourselves by occasionally turning on the air conditioning).

 

My E-Book

Today, I finally changed the text in my email subscription pop-up box.  Up until now, it has promised a free copy of my e-book when it comes out “later this year.”  I must apologize to my much-appreciated subscribers, because it will not be ready until 2017.  I was really hoping that setting this deadline for myself would push me to finish it.  However, with everything going on lately, it just didn’t happen.

 

I realize that it’s normal to get a little down sometimes, but hate that small mistakes make me question my decision-making ability.  I’m the one who formulated the basics of our plan for financial semi-independence.  Once in a while, I start asking whether our plan is sound . . . whether we’ve crunched enough numbers, considered enough variables, or whether we would be better off following a more traditional path.  I tend to be an over-thinker.  But here’s one thing I know for sure: we are moving in the right financial direction.  I find the need to keep reminding myself of this truth.  Our life may be very different five years from now, but no matter what form it takes, we will be better off and have more flexibility.  We are killing our debt and this will give us increased freedom.

We make mistakes, but it’s important to learn the lesson and carry on.  I’m trying to be positive about how far we’ve come and all of our blessings.  The Christmas tree is up and the festive atmosphere is starting to brighten my spirit.  Reflective as always, I will soon be trying to come up with goals and priorities for 2017.  For now though, I will be spending some time enjoying the simple joys of the season with my family.

16 Replies to “Monday Medley: Just Trying To Do My Best”

  1. Basil

    For what it’s worth, this reader thinks you’re doing great! I’m amazed at what you manage to fit into your days. Stay positive.

    And congrats on the twins! What a surprise.

    Reply
    1. Harmony Post author

      Thank you so much for the encouraging words Basil! I really appreciate the support. It will be interesting to see how much I can maintain once the twins make their debut 🙂

      Reply
  2. Shauna

    You’re doing great! I can’t imagine being able to raise three kids while being pregnant, working full time and doing any side work. I don’t think you can ever fully avoid the mom guilt, but do try to remind yourself that you were doing those extra projects to help out the well being of your family. And you’ve learned which things work for you going forward.

    Reply
    1. Harmony Post author

      Shauna, that’s so nice of you to say 🙂 And you’re right about focusing on lessons learned – we’re not going to get everything perfect at first, trial and error is necessary.

      Reply
  3. Emily @ JohnJaneDoe

    Take a deep breath and be gentle with yourself. You’re making great progress and doing your best. Have faith that the rest will work out.

    Trey’s Very Hungry Caterpillar is adorable. Little Bit’s theater class just put on a play of it yesterday, so it’s very much on my mind today. Best of wishes for a happy holiday season in all ways.)
    Emily @ JohnJaneDoe recently posted…Wash Away Your Student Loans with Federal Student Loan Forgiveness ProgramsMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Harmony Post author

      Thank you Emily. I will try to have faith that everything happens for a reason and just keep moving forward.

      A Very Hungry Caterpillar play? That’s awesome!! I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season too <3

      Reply
  4. Ms. Montana

    I totally agree that by making good choices now to pay down the debt and increase saving, you will have more choices later. We didn’t plan 7 years out to take a year off then transition into self employment. But we tried to buy ourselves as much freedom as possible, and when the time was right, we were able to jump. You will never regret being more ready. And the closer you get, the most possibilities and options you will start noticing. Keep up the good work!
    Ms. Montana recently posted…Our St. Nicholas TraditionMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Harmony Post author

      Thanks for the continued encouragement my friend! Your story is so inspirational and I’m really looking forward to venturing out to Montana some day 🙂 It all comes down to freedom and flexibility – the rest of the pieces will fall into place at the right time.

      Reply
  5. Mrs. Groovy

    You’ve got a lot going on and you’re being way too hard on yourself.

    I remember when you first mentioned planning for the crafts fair and you had high hopes. Sorry it didn’t work out as well as you expected but you found a valuable insight about your writing side hustle. Writing from your own home sounds much more appealing than shlepping merchandise and setting up tables.

    Reply
    1. Harmony Post author

      You’re probably right Mrs. Groovy. It just seemed like a “best of both worlds” situation, where I could enjoy crocheting AND make some extra money. I knew my “hourly rate” wasn’t going to be that great, but figured that I was doing something enjoyable and relaxing. Maybe I will figure out a way to make it work in the future, when time is not in such limited supply

      For now though, I have some baby blankets to work on 🙂

      Reply
  6. Mr. Groovy

    I agree with Basil, Shauna, Emily, Ms. Montana, and Mrs. Groovy. You freakin’ rock, Harmony. I never fail to get inspired from your posts. So keep doing what you’re doing. You’re part of what makes this country great.

    Reply
    1. Harmony Post author

      Wow Mr. Groovy, thank you!!!! I surely hope that what I’m doing will have a positive impact on my family . . . and beyond 🙂

      I often feel best explained by the quote: “I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.”

      Reply
  7. Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor

    Wow, you have a lot going on! Try to be gracious with yourself 🙂 On the one hand, spending quality time with the kids is important. On the other, agreeing to their every request probably isn’t ideal for them. I totally get the mom guilt, though.

    The caterpillar costume is adorable! And thanks for the book recommendation. We are always trying to find new, good Christmas books to read.
    Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor recently posted…Beyond the No-Spend: Approaches for Christmas GiftingMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Harmony Post author

      Thanks Kalie! Let me know what you think of that book if you end up reading it together. Mom guilt is rough, but so hard to completely avoid.

      Reply
    1. Harmony Post author

      Yes, it appears that we are unfortunately in the same boat. Everything new is a learning opportunity, right? I really love how the costume turned out – but your mini Hagrid is pretty awesome too!

      Reply

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