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Blog: Balancing Thrifty And Fun

This blog will ramble on about raising two boys while working full time as an editor for ThriftyFun. I'm really lucky in so many ways. I have a loving, hardworking husband, a not too heavily mortgaged home, and two healthy and bright boys. But it is still hard, despite my blessings. I thought I'd share my challenges and my techniques (or lack thereof) for staying ahead of the wave of chores, responsibilities and financial problems.

Showing 2 posts from June 2009 for this blog.
Kindergarten Graduation
Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I just got back from my youngest son's kindergarten graduation. Those kiddos are so adorable at that age.  I took my video camera and recorded the whole thing, mostly because I have a DVD of my older son's graduation and I don't want anyone feeling left out.  I'll have to work on converting it over to a DVD, perhaps in time to give it to Grandma Nancy when we visit this summer.

It is so much harder to keep up on the photos and memory keeping with your second (or more) child.  I have a fraction of the photos, despite the fact that we all have digital cameras now.  I have box after box of video tapes from one camera or another that I have to get transferred before I break ANOTHER camcorder.  And those digital photos are hopelessly disorganized and have multiple copies on my hard drive, due to backups and extra downloads. It seems like it is a full time job preserving what is happening NOW for people to appreciate in the future.  I don't even have my wedding album finished, 12 years after the big day.

Still, it is worth doing. Sometimes on a boring, rainy afternoon, my house is filled with laughter from my boys watching their earlier selves.  I put together a DVD, back when I worked for a company that had all the equipment to make this easy, called "The Amazing Adventures of Beck and Ethan" It was about the time my oldest was in Kindergarten and I made it as a Mother's Day presents for the grandmas.  Three out of four of those grandmas and great grandmas are now gone but I'm sure they treasured the glimpse into our daily life.

If you are great about memory keeping, good for you. Keep it up because your children or grandchildren will love you for it some day.  If you aren't so great about this, do what you can. You don't have to use a video camera or even photos.  Some of the best (and funniest) memories I have from my own childhood are from audio cassettes that my brothers and sisters and I recorded: plays, commercials, songs.  It is hilarious and sometimes touching.  If you don't have access to any of this, take a moment and write down some precious memories of your own or ask your kids to tell you what they remember about last Christmas, or what they want to be when they grow up. You will be so glad you did!

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How Can You Possibly Explain This To Your Kids
Friday, June 05, 2009

This post is going to be a bit deeper than usual.  I just got back from a memorial assembly at my children's elementary school.  I live in Hillsboro, OR and last week a father shot his two young children and then himself at a local nature reserve.  The boy was a second grader at our school.  I guess the father was having a tough time, in the middle of a divorce and other problems.  Somehow, he thought this was the best way to "take care of his children".  The mother sent the children to school and never saw them alive again.  My heart is breaking for the whole situation.  This comes on the heels of news last week that a mother threw her two children off the Sellwood Bridge, in nearby Portland.  Only one survived.

I know that these stories are becoming all too common throughout communities in the U.S., perhaps because of the increasing financial pressures here.  And there are tragedies in the world that are far far worse: war, political unrest, the list goes on.  But I don't live there and, although I care about the struggles of people across our planet, I have to be a mother and member of my own community first.  And I don't know what to say to my own children, that won't scare them.  

I have utmost respect for our principal and teachers, who dealt with a very tough situation with understanding and compassion.  Elementary school age children are too young to have to deal with such horror.  I looked out at the sea of young bright faces, especially the first graders, and tried to imagine how anyone could snuff such potential in a selfish and desparate act.  And I wonder what I can do to prevent these tragedies.  Of course, there is not much I can do directly.  But indirectly, there is something we can all do.

This family, or the countless other families that dot the headlines regularly, were part of a network of extended family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.  Someone must have had concerns about the mounting pressures but maybe didn't want to bring it up.  It is embarassing for grown-ups to accept help, or a sympathetic ear, or a couple hours of child care.  So if you see someone suffering in your community, see what you can do to give them the support they need, before it is too late.  It might bruise their pride a little bit, but it also might be the connection that they need to make it through.

I hope everyone will take this opportunity to hug their children, or grandchildren tight. I know that is what I am going to do.


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jess (Contact)
Hillsboro, OR USA
About Me:

I'm a 39 year old . . . what? Mother, college graduate, housewife with a full time job, mostly unpublished writer, the list just goes on. I'm spiritual, but not religious; lazily liberal; frugal but with a love of pretty, shiny things. My mother, Susan, was the founder of ThriftyFun and scrimped all her life to have enough for her kids. I try to do her proud but sometimes stumble along the way.

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