Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A quarter earned is a quarter saved.


Recently Ryan and I started leading our small group through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course. If you have never read or watched anything by Dave Ramsey I would highly recommend it. We did a study about 6 years ago so we already know and practice many of the foundational principals. One of the best things we did for ourselves was establish a written out, categorized budget about 3 years ago. I know, it doesn't sound fun, but it is! Living off an established budget is so much more fun that worrying about money or just hoping that you "spend less". As Dave says, you get the power to tell your money where you want it to go instead of just wondering what happened to it at the end of the month.

Anyway, as parents we want to install financial wisdom into our children. Eva earns a quarter for every day that she plays quietly during her rest time. Yes, we pay our kid to be quiet for an hour and a half each day. You might disagree with that, I don't care. Nap time used to be such a huge source of stress and tension and now it is not. Completely worth it. And with her ability to earn money comes the opportunity to teach her about saving and spending what she earns.

So last week she had saved up a few dollars worth of quarters and wanted to get a new Chelsea doll from Walmart. We were thinking that they cost $5 but it turns out they cost $6.97. Sadly we discovered this when Eva was already on the Barbie aisle with hopes and dreams to bring home her new doll that day. She actually had almost $6 (due to collecting a few random pennies and nickles here and there) so I knew it would be the easy parenting thing to just help her cover the rest. But I didn't. We really wanted this to be about her learning to use her own money to buy something extra for herself. We talked about how she didn't quite have enough and showed her a few things that she could afford to buy, or we gave her the option to come back as soon as she saved up enough money. She spent at least 20 minutes examining everything and saying, "Hmmmm....let me think...." It was pretty cute. In the end she decided to save her money for a bit longer so she could get what she really wanted. I was so proud of her! I wasn't going to force her to do that but I was glad that she really cared about where her money was going!

At home we calculated exactly how much she would need to save. She earned a few more rest time quarters and then did some extra chores around the house on Saturday so she could go get her doll that day. Her normal chores are putting {most of} her laundry away, unloading the silverware from the dishwasher, making her bed, and helping pick up toys. She earned money by pulling weeds and helping to wash both of the cars. I love that she chose to work to earn more.

I finally took her on a date to Walmart to pick out which doll she wanted. She lined up every single Chelsea doll and examined each of them. She finally picked one with beautiful butterfly wings. She gave the lady at the cash register her money. The only sad part was when she had to give away a dollar bill that she had saved in her piggy bank. I guess somehow she didn't realize that was part of the money she needed. After much deliberation she decided she was okay with that.

Since she actually has two piggy banks at home I am hoping now to teach her to have one to save for herself and one to put money in to give, either to the church or to help somebody. We have done Bible lessons and talked a lot about being generous to help others so I feel like she would be ready for this. It is so awesome to get to teach your children about things that matter so much!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Autumn at the Arboretum

Today we enjoyed a family fun day to the Dallas Arboretum. I haven't been since I was a kid and it was gorgeous! We picked a perfect fall day to walk around and enjoy the beautiful flowers and pumpkins.
Little man loves a good pumpkin.
She begged me to take a photo of her holding two little pumpkins. 
The best family shot we could get. Having two little kids definitely lowers your expectations.  Hooray for being "good enough!"
We packed the kids' Halloween costumes to get some sweet photos in the giant pumpkin patch.


Princess Elsa! Not quite Cinderella but still looking beautiful in the carriage. 

Sibling love! 
Eva took this shot! I carefully let her wear my camera and showed her which buttons to push. She has her own little cannon powershot (my old one that I no longer use) so she is used to taking photos. I was pretty impressed that she got this. 
It was hard to capture a few shots because of bright sun along with weird shadows but I love the background of the lake and downtown in this one. 


The coolest tree house. I want this for our backyard! 
Water play in the children's area. 


Beautiful day with my family! There was so much we didn't even get to see before we were all worn out....I guess that means we will have to visit again one day :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

8 Months Old

 Jensen at 8 Months Old

You are 8 months old this week and what a big month is has been for you! You finally got your first tooth! That little stinker was bothering you for quite a while and just popped through last week. I'm sure there are many more to follow so I better cherish your gummy smile while I can.

You are also so very close to crawling. You assume the position....then you scoot backwards....then you end up getting stuck somewhere silly like under the TV table. You also like to crawl around in a circle and roll places.
This week your newest favorite food is fresh mango. Yum! You also really enjoy spinach, along with every other food you have tried. No starving baby here. You are still nursing 6-8 times a day, which seems like a lot but I guess you just love your milk. I am not a big fan of the night nursing pattern you have gotten into but at least I'm more used to it this month. 
Some other favorite things over the past month....you LOVE to roll a ball back and forth, especially with Eva....you have said "Mom" a few times, although it was more a random sound that you happened to make....you like to play with your singing train a lot....you enjoy pulling tons of toys out of a basket, even if they are always the same toys....you have discovered how to take a hat off your head. bummer....you do not like to be left alone and have started crying when we have to set you somewhere (like in the middle of the living room) for a minute....you give the sweetest hugs and cuddles when you wake up....you have decided that being buckled in a car seat is torture, although once we get driving you are usually fine....you have the best baby laugh in the whole world....you have the squishiest baby thighs in the whole world....you are my absolute favorite little boy.

love, Mama