well it's december & christmas time. i love christmas. i enjoy the baking & crafting that goes with it. i love the warm wishes. the kindness of strangers. i love that it's the time of the year where most people just really are more considerate of one another. (well...depending on the person i suppose) i love that it's a time of reflection & a time of hope that in the new year it's a restart or the hope of a better year. a new beginning of sorts.
i really am making a point in 2012 to be more purposeful. i am not making resolutions as I never keep those but i am striving to just be better in Christ.
i want to be more purposeful in my spending habits. keep & stick to our decided budget. stay disciplined. i get a anxious when i think about clothing all 6 of the kids. i get anxious when i think about our food bill or wanting a swimming pool or about the failing economy or thinking about my sister not having a job, or about trying to take a vacation with the family since we havent in years - since rachel was the only child! or when i think about what i will need for the new year of education curriculum for the kids, or rachel starting college in the fall of 2012 (dual enrollment). when that happens & i get anxious...i tend to spend money. it makes no sense i know. its my addiction i guess. it's emotional. and it's a problem. so what my plan is, when i get anxious, is try to go to my crafting supplies & make use of them...make something. use what i have & make something instead of going out & buying something. when i get anxious about the kids clothes, take inventory & get a list of what they really need - not what we want for them. when i get anxious about their educational curriculum needs....take inventory of what i have...as i have tons! many different years, many different books. go to the library. borrow from friends. also i am not carrying my debit card with me on a daily basis. i think that will help also.
one thing i will say is this: clay & i have never been on the same page when it comes to our money in regards to how we look at saving & spending. how we look at budgeting & what it takes to care for a family of 8. but we are finally on the same page. granted we still dont look at things the same, but we are at a place where everything is out on the table. where there are no secrets or no hidden credit cards (yep i have had those). i will even be completely honest here.... (to Clay's dismay)...we are completely debt free - COMPLETELY!!! we want to call up Dave Ramsey & hear him play mel gibson's "FREEEEEEDDDOOOOOMMMMMMM!" for us. we just havent done it. so we are at a place where we are working together. clay is getting a better understanding of what it cost to clothe, fed & educate the family. (he has for years just turned his checks over to me & i did everything) i am also back to using coupons, shopping deals, taking better inventory of what we have & differentiating between need & want. granted clay would still say that i can be excessive & i would still say that he can be cheap...but at least we are being honest about it & talking about it.
i do have going for me that i LOVE shopping at the thrift store - one particular one - CHKD on Battlefied Blvd. they have the very best clothes, purses, shoes..toys..etc! they had a kate spade bag - very cute - in there the other day for $4. it was in excellent condition. i almost bought it & thought to sell it on ebay but i then thought, well i have no clue if it's a fake...so i left it. they also had a emille m huge purse/bag that i loved for $8...and it was not a fake for sure....but i left it because $8 was out of my price range. but what i did get was 2 pair of nice fleece pants from Old Navy for Abigail, 2 jumpers from Gymboree for Levi, 2 body hugging shirts for Asher (i'm not sure what they are called, but they feel like a silkie nylon type material that keeps the sweat off of the body, but also keeps the warmth in)...he hates to wear undershirts - the long sleeved t's under his short sleeved shirts...but these are supposedly "cool" to him...so i got them & he is wearing the red one as i type under his ironman costume! I also got elizabeth a new pair of "notw" converse like shoes. i was able to get Levi a very nice talking tonka truck to add to his christmas since he probably has the smallest amount - which isnt a big deal as he wont care. i was able to get abigail a needed fashionable jacket from Target & rachel a new pair of "lounge" type pants. they are kind of like yoga pants. oh & i was able to get asher a pair of cargo pants in off white from the children's place. i paid maybe $35. oh & i got esther a dress & a shirt from the children's place. all cute, fashionable, still in style, barely worn....and best of all - cheap. now could they have done without all of these things. oh yes. BUT these things add to their wardrobes, will be passed down & around through siblings & friends - most likely, definitely used & i hardly paid $2 an item for quality clothing!! i buy most of my girls pants/jeans at this thrift store & lately our shoes. they always have mudboots & snow boots there. mudboots are ridiculous - how much they cost! but not here! always a bargin. they always have nice shoes. i got a pair of nine west leather boots there for $13. i was able to get elizabeth 2 pair of leather knee boots there for $13. that's where their converse shoes come from also or vans....always they have them there. i know i got carried away, off topic a bit...but anyway...i am trying.
i think the best way i will be able to do better in 2012 is by the fact that Clay & I are on the same page with our money - for the first time in our married life - in the whole 18 1/2 years. do we still disagree. yes! for sure!!! do we make compromise & strive for unity & agreement in our finances - more than ever before. and the reality is...i'm not trying to do better for myself (even tho that is ok)....i really want to set a better example for my children. i dont want them to have my money issues because i didnt teach them well. also, i really dont want clay to drop dead of a heart attack because of the stress (and he has tons) of providing for the family. he does very well & there is more than enough. by handling it well, shows him that i appreciate his provision. and i believe that clay is trying to be realistic in his expectations, based on today's economy & what things cost, and get away from the mindset of "when i was coming up" - because if any of you know how he came up....well he was pretty much on his own financially at 14 years old and it was not pretty. he learned discipline & about being frugal in a very negative manner...in a very unbalanced manner. but again, he is trying to be realistic. by trying, well he fails...but he keeps reseting & trying again. so together we will strive to have a better budgeted 2012!!
i really, really, REALLY want to be a person that strives for what is right for myself & my children - based on God's standard PERIOD!!! no one else's standard. and based on the convictions i have - no one else's. i want to walk out my convictions, in Christ, with hopefully, an attitude of humilty and not one that cast judgement. i dont want to come across as a judgmental person. i know that in the last 8 years i have learned until i have walked in a person's shoes, i have no understanding of who they truly are or why they do & say the things they do. i know that i have been a judgmental person...but i know that i know that i know i am not - in my heart of hearts - i am not anymore. i have learned in a very hurtful way that it is hard to shake the person you were - even with those closest to you, as they dont always see or want to see the different you. they refuse to see you as you are now & still see you as you were. everything they hear or see from you is through the old filter. not the new one.
i wonder why it is that when we do things in our family, for our family, make decisions for our family, that other people take it as judgement on them or their families?
and i want to go into 2012 trying not to care that some people still see me as the "old wendy" - no matter who those people are, realizing that they have to bear the responsibility of their judgement & i mine. i need to just try to be the best wendy i can be in Christ & do what i am suppose to "in light of God's standard".
anyway, back to christmas.....our tree.....very ecclectic - wouldnt you say? very random!! i have kids...what can i say? i think the tree is pretty considering... i like it because i like my children. i like that levi feels free to pick off an ornament or two & holds them. i like that the others choose once a day the candy cane they want to eat off of the tree & are delighted! i like that they all have ornaments of their very own. i like the memories we have of making most of the ornaments that hang on the tree. i like that i didnt put one single ornament on the tree this year....the children did it...all of them. i'm not kidding. i put the tree up & spread the branches off. they decorated it - with my supervision of course. and then clay put the star on it & moved it back into the designated corner. again i will say "i like it!"
and then there is our poor rachel. she had all 4 of her wisdom teeth cut out last thursday. here she is with her swollen little face!! (she does know i put this picture on here & she was ok with it.)
thankfully she is feeling better. still swollen & even bruised on her little face, but minimal pain!!