Friday, January 21, 2011

Picture of the Week

We've been stuck home a lot in the last two weeks - 3 snowstorms and a bought of RSV/ pneumonia. Little did I know Monkey figured out how to maneuver the computer mouse and get onto all by herself. Caught in the act!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Are You Ready?

Last Thursday my father-in-law got seriously hurt in a fall. He’s got a broken wrist, contusion on his forehead, 2 compressed vertebrae, as well as some other bumps and bruises. What we thought would be an overnight or two in the hospital has turned into a five day stay so far. We’re at a loss as to how to help my mother-in-law deal with everything. Partially because we live an hour away. Partially because we don’t know a lot about their situations (medical, financial, etc.). And partially because I’ve been home with a sick 3 year old and 3 snow days in the past week. Adding to the stress of the situation is that he’s not being cared for by his regular primary care doctor, and she seems uninterested in helping him, and none of us (my mother-in-law, husband and I) feel that he is being cared for properly at the hospital he is in.

This whole situation got me thinking – how prepared are we if something were to happen to our spouses or vice versa? In dealing with my in-laws, my husband and I have realized that besides living in a house together, they basically lead separate lives. It took a few days for my mother-in-law to gather documentation regarding her husband’s medication and doctors. And now she has to go through all their papers and figure out where the life insurance policies are, pay stubs, etc. for him to apply for assistance. She knows he has a living will but isn’t exactly sure where it is, and what it states. She doesn’t know if he has a medical power of attorney.

Naturally, in a marriage one person usually takes responsibility for the “paperwork” of life – monthly bills, insurance policies, bank statements, etc. This is fine and good. But what if something were to happen to that person, would the other spouse or other family member know where to find those and other important documents? I have a feeling that even as organized as I am – everything is in a portable filing box & labeled – my husband would forget.

Aside of knowing where to find the documents, do you and your spouse have all your important documents prepared – a will, a living will, picked your children’s guardians, etc. We don’t. And that’s something important we need to do, especially since we have two young children. I know it’s not a topic people are jumping up and down at the chance to discuss, but it’s an important topic. I know my parents haven’t yet done their will, even though when my father’s cancer went into remission they kept promising they would. Now, they don’t have any young children and not a lot of financial wealth to be disbursed, but they do have certain wishes – as we all do – that they want to make sure are carried out. A will is important even if you don’t have children or a huge estate to be dealt with. A will allows you to outline how you want certain things to be when you’ve died – how you want your funeral/if you want a funeral, if there are funds to help pay for it, how possessions should be handled, and the like. They don’t have to be complicated. Though you should consult with an estate attorney for peace of mind, you can even access basic will documents, form living wills, form medical power of attorney, etc. on the internet or at office supply stores.

My husband and I, in light of my in-laws’ situation, have renewed our conversations about doing our own wills. And we’ve already decided we need to sit down with his parents and have a serious heart to heart about their documents, wishes, where to find things, etc. once my father-in-law is up to it. And if my parents happen to read my blog – well, uhmm, may this be a reminder to you, too.

So “How ready are you?”

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"Making" Money

For those of you that don't know me, I'm a stay-at-home mom or SAHM. I wasn't always. From the time I was 16 I worked and earned a paycheck. If you want to get really technical, I started working way before then in a family business. But for the official record of earning an income, I was 16. I worked p/t during high school, f/t in the summer, and worked my way through college. I had a variety of jobs like we all did at that age - retail clerk, babysitting, waitressing, hostess at a restaurant, scooper at an ice cream shop. Within one month of graduating college I had a full-time job in a law firm. For about 10 years I worked as a legal assistant/paralegal, first in private law firms and then in a corporate setting for a regional health insurance company. Before I had my son, I did the 50+ work week. Even after Bug was born, I kept doing the 50+ work week taking into consideration the time spent telecommuting. I did this for over 10 years.
When we decided (my husband and I) that the daily 2 hour commute for Bug and I just was,n't working for us as a family anymore, I went to work for a small local company as an office manager. It wasn't what I wanted to do or the type of business I wanted to be a part of, but it was close to home, that really was the only plus to it. That lasted for about 2 years. When we - and my husband can deny this all he wants but it was a WE decision - decided that I would stay at home so we could try to have another child, it was a huge adjustment for me.
I tried my hand at various freelancing and telecommuting opportunities and, for a while there, I was successful at contributing something towards the household finances. During this time our second child, Monkey, was born. Then the economy tanked. I still kept husstling doing what I could when I could to bring in some sort of income and help with the household finances. Then by last fall, we realized the inevitable, I was spending more time trying to find ways to make money then really taking care of and spending time with our kids - the whole reason for staying home in the first place. So I came to the realization that I wasn't going to work and focus on my kids. There is one small freelancing position I still do but it only amounts to 2 - 4 days a month. But for the most part, I spend my time spending time with Monkey and volunteering at the kids' school.
So what's the point of this post you may ask? Even though I'm now a SAHM there are ways I can contribute and "make" money just doing my Mom/Wife job. My plan is to track the "savings" I earn every month from everything to grocery shopping to fill-ups of gasoline. Just about everywhere you shop these days will show you your savings on the receipt. I'm going to track these savings on a spreadsheet and report back on a monthly basis just how much I'm "earning".
My hope is that I can share some tips with you and vice versa. I'm even going to attend a "Coupon Party" in a couple of weeks and hope to have some great tips to share with you by the end of the month!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Favorite Gift

Well, the wrapping paper has been put away. The boxes tossed in recycling. The tree taken down. And, best of all, the kids are back at school. We survived another holiday season! Of course, the kids are still excited and sharing all the details of the fabulous gifts they received. The last two days Bug (my 8 year old son) has come home from school and tells me wondrous tales of who received what for Christmas and how he "needs" it. To which I calmly reply, "Well, your birthday is in 3 months, maybe you can ask for it then." Which in turn gets a reply of "I need it now!" sounding a little bit like Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
There is one present I'm leaving out this year, hoping that it will remind not only my kids, but also me and my husband, of what Christmas should really be all about. It's a present from Bug that he made in school and it's absolutely one of the best presents I've ever gotten. It's nothing expensive but it's absolutely priceless. It's a beautifully wrapped (for an 8 year old) empty box. There's a card attached with his best 8 year old printing that reads:
I took a little box as empty as can be
Filled it with a special gift and wrapped it carefully.
But please don't ever open it, just leave the ribbon tied
And hold it tightly near you because my love for you is inside.
See what I mean - my favorite gift.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year - New Blog

One of my new year goals is to blog more often. But I didn't feel right about continuing to blog under "Of Cheerios and Conference Calls" since I'm really not doing much in the way of work right now. So after much consideration I've created "ReInventing Momma". It's a new year, new focus, new outlook and a new decade starting in my life - hence the "reinventing" part. I hope this blog helps reflect my new outlook, and that you enjoy taking the journey with me.

Re-Inventing Myself

Check me out now at ReInventing Momma. It's a new year and a new blog!