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Dinner without baby

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Roast free range chicken, pumpkin purée, green lentil & root vegetable fricassee eaten at The Silver Spoon Food and Wine, Victoria Park, Western Australia

Yesterday night, my husband and I went out for dinner with friends while my dear sister took care of my little one. She was more than happy to comply with my request – taking the day off to spend with both myself and her god daughter.

It has been ages since I last went out alone with my husband, all dressed up and out fine dining. Parts of the evening made me feel rather out of sorts; I was much too used to eating simple, home cooked meals in my shorts and shirt and being all messy with my little baby as she would smear food all over me while ingesting food.

The night made me realise how long it has been since my husband and I have been ALONE. In the car, we usually have our little one watching our every move and listening in on our conversations. However, this night, I could enjoy looking at my husband in the quiet of the evening.

He had lost some weight from training for the half Iron Man happening next year… Soon, I would need to shave his hair down (which is something I did once every month since his hair grew out quite quickly). His eyes squinted to avoid the glare of the blazing sun descending… When was the last time he shaved? I thought I nagged at him about shaving constantly but he would cheekily insist that he didn’t shave so other women would leave him alone. Silly man.

All in all, I still love him as much as I did 13 years ago. Despite the distance and plans of people to destroy what we had… We persevered and am together, very much in love with one another. Just that lately, we haven’t had the strength or energy to remind each other. He’s been working much too hard and I’ve been pregnant and weak from the summer heat and an exuberant little one…

As he sat next to me, he put his arms around me and stroke my ear. I turned to look at him and he leaned in for a kiss. I felt like the 15 year old having my first kiss once again. How is it that he can impose such a profound feeling within me and bring me back to happy, beautiful moments with a simple gesture? I felt like the one celebrating instead of my friend’s husband, whom the dinner was intended for. A small part of me felt guilty for leaving my child in the hands of another, but I was glad to be able to savour my husband without my child suddenly interrupting us.

3 hours later, we were home and my daughter was rolling about in the bed instead of being in sleepyland, and my sister watched lovingly as she giggled and sprawled herself all over. The intimate night between husband and wife was over, and now our little bundle of joy reached out for an embrace.

I held my husband’s hand and carried my daughter in the other… I love these two people so very much, with all my heart…

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Posted by on 24/11/2011 in Love

 

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Monetary Reflections

Receipts...

For almost a year now, I have been living in a rental one unit apartment in Western Australia with my husband and child, and we have been surviving on one income.

Everything I have mentioned in that one sentence above, was all very new to me when the year 2011 began.

The notion of depending on another for shelter, food and clothing while taking care of a first born child… Learning how to take care of a child = doing unpaid work which goes on for 24/7 and there is no such thing as a holiday… ! Finally understanding what bills look like and having to work miracles with what we have so that food can be cooked and put on the table in the midst of rising costs…

To top it off, I’m pregnant for the second time.

There might be some who are thinking – ARE YOU CRAZY?

 

Yes… Crazy in love with my life as it is. My humble environment now has allowed me to appreciate what I have in life. When I was working, single, had no responsibilities and was able to save quite abit, I had no true purpose in life. But my current circumstances have taught me the following:

– I love and trust my husband (whom I have been with for almost 13 years of my life, including married for one year plus) with all my heart. He is my partner in life and together, we will make the best of what we have now.

– My children give me so much love and strength, that I want to achieve the best in life just so I can be a good enough provider for them.

– I am an amazing person with a crazy, passionate attitude. I believe nothing is beyond me – I want to achieve the best for my family and for myself.

Just because of these few points, I reflect on this year and think of ways to better how we do things about our family.

 

There are a few points I want to work on for 2012…

– Pay off hubby’s time trial bike (my hubby is training for the Busselton half Ironman in 2012).

– Refine our family budget and curb bad spending habits!

– Look and acquire a new rental property for February 2012, for a 12 month period, since we’ll be needed at least another room for the kids to share…

– Look at cheaper insurance for car and health…

– Save money for a home.

– Get a part time job working night or weekend shifts (after baby is born).

 

I find it amazing how we seem to break even every month and wonder what is a good way to assist the process of us saving for our first home… Looking around at some articles on the net (since this is my quickest and most efficient way of setting my mind at ease), I found the following pointers –

Be debt-free: Based on that, I need to calculate what has been paid off on our beautiful car and also on my husband’s gorgeous bike, and decide how we can shave off what we owe on those items. Makes good sense, really. Once we pay these items off, we then can focus on saving for better things rather than having to cut a chunk of the income just paying these items off. It was a good thing that after we had purchased these two items, my husband and I agreed to not purchase any more items requiring loans or long term payment.

Finding cheap insurance: What I have understood from reading some sources is that it is best to compare prices from various insurers and change over if you can achieve a better offer for what level of insurance you want. When my husband and I moved to our rental unit from my parents’ place, we were aghast to discover that because our place was more central and considered more “risky”, our first car insurer increased our premiums to nearly $100+ every month, which was an insane increase of almost $30! Naturally, my husband and I thought this was rather steep and changed to an insurer who offered us a cheaper monthly premium. Apparently if you had paid the full premium but wanted to change insurer, you would be able to get a refund but we figured that monthly premiums was the way to go with us. Anyway, point is – this is another way to salvage some serious coinage…

Entitlements: I must admit that one of the reasons I love living in Australia is how well the people are being taken care of when their circumstances are rough. When I had to make the tough decision of becoming a stay at home mum while my children are this young, I worried very much about having to leave my job and the financial stability I had built for myself. However, aside from making frugal choices, I found out that the Australian Government offers a baby bonus for mothers who have children to assist in the cost of a newborn child, as well as the option of Family Tax Benefits and other payments to assist with childcare and immunisation costs. Centrelink and the Family Assistance Office have more detailed information on this if you find yourself stressing financially like I did and it would be worth ringing them to discuss your circumstances and eligibility to garner some assistance – so that you can focus more on having your baby and regaining your strength in the future. My friend told me that for families struggling with rentals, they might even be able to discuss rental assistance to tide over a rough patch until something good happens…

I’m really grateful for what little I have gained from the Family Assistance Office in terms of having my first child, and can’t wait for my kids to go to school so that I might be able to rejoin the workforce and contribute back to this society that has helped me raise my children and support my family. That, I’ll talk about my plans at a later time…

Open discussion: Honey, we need to talk. Remember that time we bought ice creams/snacks/pregnancy craving stuff, or magazines, or petrol for the car, or nappies? All little money zappers we failed to account for in our perfect little groceries budget, which is probably another reason why we struggle to save for our first home. One of the reasons why I love my husband is even though he grouches and cringes when it comes to discussing money, he still willingly has an open discussion about our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to spending and agrees to work with me to curb our negative spending nature, and save for our slice of heaven. Communication and trust between couples is just so imperative – when I watch some shows on TV and I see couples playing the “you should be able to read my mind by now” game… Really, grow up and don’t be afraid to talk about what you need. Stop wanting people to read your mind if you can’t even string what you feel into a sentence… Everything starts with a single action! The want to try!

Anyway, just talking about these few points has exhausted me and I need all the strength I have to sustain a family… For those of you in the same plight as me and have other tips and suggestions as to how to keep a family afloat in these economical times… Please do share, thank you. =)

In future, I would like to discuss some ideas as to feeding newborns/toddlers on a one income budget, as well as simple activities to do with children. Being a romantic at heart, I’m also going to share how my husband and I keep our passion alive through soiled nappies, sleep deprived nights and temperamental children/hormones (since I am pregnant lol) and I would be ever so grateful if anyone would share when I am inspired enough to write.

 
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Posted by on 22/11/2011 in Money

 

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Walking

On this bright and early morning, I carried my girl to the nearby park.

She recently started walking more confidently, and I wanted to try and inspire her further by allowing her to grow more sure of her footing in beautiful nature. Clutching onto my index finger, her feet found their way in front of her and with caution, she progressed step by step. Occasionally, she would stop to admire the flowers, trees and water features. A duck caught her eye and she insisted we followed the brown creature to its hiding place – a bush of flowers.

Where has the time gone? In the midst of seasons changing, people traversing time and temperamental skies… My child now can move most independently. When she was born, she relied on me for everything. Now, she feeds herself most foods without the use of cutlery… She gets off and on couches and beds easily… And now she walks…

Raising her tiny fingers, she reaches for my hand. Gently, I carry my tired little one. No matter how strong and independent she grew, I just knew she would always need me as her mummy. I would be the one she came to when she had great news, or of she wanted to cry. Who else would tolerate her tantrums or set her straight if she was doing something that could prove detrimental to her self?

Now, she needed me to carry her home. As tired as I am, I tap into some latent strength hidden in me and carefully embrace her up the hill while she strokes my face and hair, humming me a tune.

My beautiful child… Mummy wants to tell you everyday how much I love you and how happy and safe you make me feel with your love. Only a child can show you unconditional love…

And I will show mine utter devotion.

 
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Posted by on 21/11/2011 in Children

 

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