Money and Marriage

Before getting married, I was never very good at money.  At my best I was budgeting to the dime to get by, at my worst I was overspending and using credit cards to bridge the gap.  (Not advised my friends.)

After my horrible, no-good, very bad, break-up in 2009 I was fully on a spending spree.  It filled the hole.  I deserved it!  I would fly places and buy things like Anthropolie quilts and lovely dinners out.  By the time I had worked through all of those emotions and stopped over-spending I was left with some pretty serious debt and a severely defeated opinion of my ability to handle my own finances.

Then I got pregnant.

Mike had a savings account, which I took to mean he was SO GOOD AT MONEY!  What was actually the case was that he had no real expenses so he didn’t have to pay attention to his spending at all and his savings account would just grow and grow.

When I went on maternity leave, we had to dip into his savings a lot.  When I was only working part-time we had to dip into his savings a lot.  One night, before I found my new job and after my non-profit had declined my request to come back full time, we sat on the couch and had the real conversation that we could not keep going the way we were… the savings account was getting smaller.  We could go on for a month, tops.

That was one of the hardest nights we’ve had since we got married.  I cried a lot.  I felt really helpless and guilty and awful.  Mike felt powerless and frustrated and like he wasn’t properly providing for our new family.

Then I got a new job.  It pays way better, but I was still finding myself needing that next pay check so much.  I had a nebulous idea of “Hey, I’m making so much more money, now I can spend all the money I want!”  (Spoiler alert: This was false.)

We knew that we wanted Miles to start at a new (much more expensive) day care in the fall and Mike needed a new car.  It was time to budget and get our whole financial plan into order.

So we started a budget.  We started tracking.  And it’s been the MOST liberating experience I’ve ever had.

We still get to have all the fun we want, we’re just aware.  We have successfully finished out second month with our budget, and it’s been amazing.

We can confidently start Miles in his new school in the fall.  We can confidently buy Mike a new car, while not being afraid we will run out of money for diapers.

We have money in our savings account.  (We have a joint savings and individual accounts.)  For the first time in my entire life, I am spending less than I am making.  I have a savings account that is growing and making me all kinds of happy.

I have shared our tracking with some people, and wanted to do it here too.  We use Google Drive to track our spending.  We have categories that we’ve budged amount into, and each time we spend and enter that category, my sheet automatically sums up how much I have left in each category.  I made a generic version of what we use.  I hope it helps someone too!

Google Doc

Kissaversary

This past weekend was the first anniversary of ALL THE THINGS beginning with Mr. A.

A year ago I went to a party at a friend’s house and he walked in and we were like magnets.  Even though we had met each other before, something was different that night.  Everything was different that night.  We talked for hours.  At one point I told him that my earrings were too heavy, so he took them out and kissed my earlobes.  (I mean, seriously.)  A year later we have a 3 month old.  MAY THIS BE A LESSON TO YOU ALL.  Letting a boy kiss your earlobes can totally get you pregnant.  You’re welcome.

I think the most common thing married people say about marriage is that it so hard.  You have to work at it EVERY day, they say.  The first year is the hardest and you’ll fight all the time, they warn.  Blah blah blah.  When I was preparing to get married my best friend had opposing advice.  She told me that marriage was THE BEST thing ever.  She admitted that she and her husband loved it more and more every day and that being married was so much cooler than dating or even just living together.  It just keeps getting better she told me.

Well, I’m going to just say it, being married to Mr. A has been easy and lovely and I love it more with every single passing day.

From the beginning things were just easy.  We never played games.  He always wanted to know when he was going to see me next and he was very, very up front with how much he liked me.  I have always felt incredibly secure in our relationship, something that was completely uncharted territory for me.  It’s given me the confidence to be my most authentic self, and I give him all the support I can muster so that he can be exactly who he is (Someone who I think is incredibly cool, BTW).  Most of all, we like each other.  We’re solidly the best of friends; giggling together as we tip-toe into Miles’ nursery to look at his cherub face one more time before bed.

A year later we still have huge crushes on each other, and we tease each other for it.  Last night I was sitting on the couch after a shower with wet, ratty hair and no make-up casually licking the sugar and cinnamon off the bottom of the chex mix bowl with my finger when he came up and looked at me with shmoopy eyes and told me he loved me.  I laughed and said he was crazy, but over the past year it’s really started to sink in.  I believe him.  He loves me, and I love him back.

Best year EVER.

 

 

Birthday Boy.

Today is my lovely husband’s birthday.  He doesn’t like to make a big deal of his birthday but now that he is married to me he kind of doesn’t have a choice in the matter.

Love this man.

Dear Hubby,

I wonder what your response would have been on your last birthday if someone had told you what was coming for you this year.  If someone had warned you that in one year you would be married to someone you vaguely knew with a baby son just weeks away from making his world debut; maybe you would have been completely freaked out.  Maybe you would have run straight for the hills.  I doubt it though.  You could have done any of those things at any point this past year and you haven’t.  Instead you’ve dove into our life together.  You have taken on the role of husband and almost-papa better than anyone could have ever imagined, including me.  I sure lucked out with you my love.

Here are some things I am looking forward to for you this year:

  • I can’t wait for you and Miles to meet face-to-face and watch your heart grow 100 times larger than it already is.  I can’t even imagine what it will be like to fall in love with the Dad version of you.  So freaking amazing.
  • I can’t wait to navigate parenthood with you.  All the sleep-deprivation is sure to provide hours of tears-streaming-down-our-faces-laughter.
  • I can’t wait to snuggle in bed, just our little family, on the weekends and then head to our favorite breakfast place.  We get to be the cute family out for breakfast this year!!
  • This year is your 3rd year teaching, and I love hearing you ramble about how much you love your job and your students.  You are such an amazing teacher and I am in awe of how you are constantly working on improving your style, methods, and lessons.  This year will be even better than the last, which is saying a ton.  You inspire me.
  • This is the year you will hear your son say “Daddy” and you will see his face light up just for you when you walk into the room.  You are going to be able to make him giggle in ways that are succinctly your own.  He is going to love Daddy time.  This year you are going to be so fully altered by the love you’re going to get from Miles.  He is going to think you are a super hero.  He is going to look at you and want to be just like you.
I couldn’t have dreamed up a better partner than you.  I love that you and I process things the same way and love each other so hard every single day.  You and I can do anything.  We are the perfect team I think, each of us having strengths that balance that other persons weaknesses. We joke about how you have a heart of ice because the exact opposite it the truth, you love bigger than any man I’ve ever known.   I love you so very much.  We love you so very much.
Love Always and Forever,
Your Wifey.
(and Miles. He has the hiccups as I’m writing this.  He doesn’t want to be forgotten in this birthday message obviously.)

Newlywed 101: Dates

I love spending time with my husband, but sometimes the extrovert in me gets a bit carried away and we spend the weekend apart or shuttling from one activity to the next. With our first baby on the way we are very aware that one-on-one time is going to be limited very soon, in fact, this past weekend was the LAST weekend we have without busyness until the end of October.  We know that having a baby is going to decrease our ability to have big date nights for a while, so we’ve instituted some rituals and routines into our week to shield us from all the coming chaos of a baby.

How to Date your Husband

  1. Have routine mini-dates each week.  Friday’s Mr. A doesn’t start teaching until a bit later than normal, so Friday mornings we have a coffee date.  We walk to coffee, he walks me to the train, he kisses me goodbye and heads off to school.  Really the total time for our date isn’t more than 30 minutes, but we look forward to it all week and it’s like a big sloppy wet kiss of a welcome to the weekend.
  2. Go the the GOOD brunch place.  I think it’s common to wait for the good stuff for when you’re with other people.  Mr. A and I have a breakfast place that is pretty good, we also have the fancy brunch place that usually reserve for out-of-town guests or special occasions… Saturday, for no reason, he and I went to the good brunch place on our own.  Fancy drinks were ordered.  Shmoopy faces were made over the table at each other.  Sometimes JUST THE TWO OF YOU is worth pulling out the fancy for.
  3. Seize the Opportunity.  Not every date has to be planned.  Sometimes they just happen.  For example, Saturday night we were both so tired after running around and grocery shopping and we smelled the amazing aromas of chicken strips coming from the hot food section.  What did we do, you ask?  Ordered some of those chicken strips, rented a movie from the Blockbuster Express in the store, and promptly went home for a living room picnic.  Date night BOOM.
  4. Have something to look forward to.  Maybe this is just me, but I LOVE having something to look forward to.  I am REALLY looking forward to going to the Pumpkin Festival in Half Moon Bay in October.  It will be such a fun day and it’s in my calender complete with some quality drawings of a pumpkin or two.  Maybe what you’re looking forward to is a movie release that you guys will hit up, maybe its a trip you’ve planned, whatevs.
  5. Build the Excitement.  Text him, leave him a note, shoot him a quick email, whatever; let him know you’re really looking forward to time with him.  You get more excited, he gets excited.  EVERYONE WINS.
What are some ideas you have in your marriage/relationship to keep dating?

Summer Mornings

I have been becoming increasingly aware of how much our lives are about to change, again.  In 2.5 months we will have a family of three, and I am so very excited for it all.  I am also so very grateful to have had a summer like we have had.  I love that life ebbs and flows and I try so hard to be aware of when I am in the restful period of life so I can really make the best of it in preparation for the next phase.  I feel rested and ready.  I feel so incredibly in love with my husband and our life.  Our summer has felt like a safe period for us so we can be rested for another round of adjustment.  Summer mornings, in particular, have felt so insulated from all the changes we’ve had and have coming I am a little sad to see them go.

Every morning Mr. A and I walk to the local coffee shop together.  We hold hands.  He generally wakes up along the walk, transitioning from one words sentences to rambling musings.  They know us at the coffee shop, there are generally laughs exchanged as Mr. A gets his large coffee and I get my vanilla latte.  4/5 mornings involve Mr. A singing a silly song as we’re leaving the shop.  I’m trying to remember what song it was this morning but all I can remember is that it was definitely a song sung by a woman because I can still hear the pitch shift in his voice as I laughed.  My mornings are blissful.

We talk a lot about Baby M on our mornings.  We also talk about music or freelancing or whatever thing one of us read on the internet that was fascinating.  When Mr. A goes back to school next week, I am going to miss these summer mornings but mostly I am just so grateful they happened the way they did.  I feel refreshed and ready for the next wave.

Next summer Mr. A will have another summer vacation and we will be able to walk to coffee together in the morning, but we will be carrying our son with us while we go.  Awesome in its own right, but totally different.

Do you guys ever get super aware of being in a lovely fleeting stage of your life?

 

6 Months ago I was single.

Six months ago I went to a friend’s house for a little party and Mr. A walked in the door and something was different; something clicked. It was like all the air in the room became electric and I just wanted to be near him. We spent hours talking as if we were the only people in the room.  Our first kiss happened that night and he asked if he could come bring me pizza the next day.  I was shocked that someone like him would want to come bring me lunch and he was shocked that I wanted him to come.  That entire weekend feels like a movie I’ve watched hundreds of times, We both remember every bit in vivid detail, and it still gives me goosebumps.  When I am down I replay those three days in my head and feel at ease again.  Magic happens you just have to be open to it.

From the beginning, I could feel that this would be different.

Things moved quickly, but they were never scary.  He was always a step ahead of me and I have always felt completely adored and fully secure.  I don’t know if he will ever fully understand the gift he gave me by giving me a love that is so real and secure I can feel it in my bones.  Throughout my life, I’ve always felt so insecure in relationships.  I was always the one with the open heart.  I was the one who would dive in and then pray that he would eventually see that I was worth jumping in after.  I was equal parts desperate for love and not convinced that I was worth of the kind of love my soul longed for.  Mr. A and I took every step together.   We work so hard on our relationship, we want the other person to feel wholly known, loved, and accepted.  I want him to know that I so proud to call him mine, and he works every day to make me feel loved, beautiful, and treasured.

Four and a half  months ago I found out I was pregnant.  Mr. A and I had been dating for just over a month when I drove to his house with a pregnancy test in my purse.  I was terrified.  That night he simply held me while I cried.  He promised me that we would figure this out.  He told me he loved me and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.  He calmed my heart and he was such a rock.  By the next morning we knew that we were going to have this baby.  I am so lucky that he didn’t get scared and run away, I think so many men would have.  Instead, he held my hand securely in his and we haven’t looked back.

Two months ago we got married, and I have never been so happy ever.  I love the pictures from that day because you can tell how happy we are.

We’ve gone through more in six months then most people handle in a year, but I have never been happier.  I feel like I’m supposed to tell you that it hasn’t always been easy, but it’s not really true. It has been easy.  Loving him is easy.  Building a life with him has been so much fun.  I cannot wait for Baby M to joins us and to watch Mr. A fall in love with our son.  He already loves him so much, you can tell as he sings, reads, and talks to my belly every night.  He is going to be the most incredible father and our son is going to grow up with the best possible example of what it means to be a man.

6 months ago, everything changed.

(And thank you to every single one of you who have been supportive of all the things in the past 6 months.  You guys are amazing)

20 weeks. (Oh Boy!)

We’re having a BOY!!!!!

I am so freaking excited, and a little nervous.  I mean, I know girl things!  What do I know about raising a boy?  I guess I’ll learn?

I’ve already told Mr. A he is responsible to make sure that when Baby A is a teenager he’s not stinky.  I think I have my bases covered.

How Far Along: 20 weeks
Size of baby: 6.5 inches.  A small cantaloupe.
Total Weight Gain: I’m at about 8 pounds so far, which is pretty good!
Maternity Clothes: I wear maternity pants constantly, and then not maternity shirts and dresses.
Gender: It’s a BOY!
Movement: Definitely feeling kicks.  Mr. A felt him for the  first time this week, which was AWESOME.
Sleep: So much better now that I have a body pillow.
What I miss: Margaritas on a hot day.  And sitting in a hot tub.
Cravings: Last night it was pizza… and sweet things.
Symptoms: Totally all types of achy.  My sciatica has flare ups that will make walking or standing REALLY painful for periods of time.
What I’m looking forward to: Getting to buy boy things!
The highlight of my life today was realizing that I am going to have two amazing guys to dress, and I have every intention of making them twins.  Last night after the doctors we went to Target and I was mostly unimpressed and uninspired by their baby boy clothes.  Everything was baseball or monkeys; which just wasn’t doing much for me.  Then this morning I bought Baby’s first pair of shoes (What up SLIP ON VANS FOR INFANTS) (I die.), and Mr. A has the SAME pair.  TWINS!!  JOY!!  Then I found a page on Baby Gap that was basically exactly what Mr. A wears.  Now I can’t contain my excitement.  My two boys are going to be THE CUTEST EVER.

What I Want on My Wedding Day.

My friends asked me last night what I wanted the most out of my wedding day.

I told them that I think a lot of people get carried away planning their wedding and forget to plan for their marriage.  Mr. A and I, on the other hand, are the opposite.  With all that we’ve been processing with the whole falling-in-love-opps-we-are-having-a-baby thing we have been intensely focused on preparing ourselves for our marriage.  We have determined where we think we’re going to have conflict, we’ve talked about how we’re going to deal with conflict, we’ve tackled finances, we’ve debated household tasks, and listed what we both need to feel loved and valued.  We are trying to set ourselves up to succeed in our marriage.  Maybe because we know that we cannot possibly know the extent of what we’re getting into marrying each other, I feel like we’ve intensely focused on figuring out whatever we can. We’ve been trying to build a foundation that can withstand the storms that are sure to come.

Tomorrow I want to forget all about that stuff.

I want tomorrow to be magical.  I want to be so excited tonight that I can hardly sleep.  I want to get butterflies tomorrow morning while Erin and I get ready.  I want to feel beautiful.  I want to fall even more in love with Mr. A when I see his face light up the first time he sees me in my wedding dress.  I want to hold back tears (or not) while I look into Mr. A’s eyes and say my vows.  I want to take pictures with him after our wedding being only semi-aware that anyone else is even there because I’ll be to busy staring at his face and pinching myself for being lucky enough to get him for keeps.  I want to sit with my new husband, my bestie, and her husband and toast to love; the kind of love that does not happen often but happened to us.  I want to snuggle up to him as we fall asleep tomorrow night and hear him whisper “I love you wifey”.

I cannot wait for tomorrow.

A little wedding sneak peak…

In two days, I am getting married.  (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

When we first started making wedding plans, it became very clear that I did NOT want a big ol’ wedding, at all. I didn’t want to plan it.  I didn’t want to spend a bagillion dollars feeding people chicken… I just wanted to be married.  I wanted it to be magical, beautiful, and memorable but I did NOT want the stress of planning.  As soon as I came across the idea of getting married elopement style in San Francisco it just felt right.  It felt just as right to Mr. A, so we ran with it.

Bonus, I think San Francisco city hall is insanely beautiful.

We’re still planning on having celebrations with ALL our friends and family, but we’ll wait until the summer and sunshine to get here.
Our families are super supportive and on board.  My Grams and I have spent every Monday night shopping for the wedding ensemble.  Here is the dress I’m wearing.  I love love love it.  (Mr. A has SEEN it, just not on.)  (And it looks super adorable with my burgeoning baby bump.)
My best friend and her husband are flying in to be our witnesses.  Erin and I are going to spend the morning getting beautiful, and they’re bringing their fancy camera so after the ceremony we can run around the city taking pictures.  Friday night the four of us will go to Spruce for dinner.  Spruce may be the fanciest restaurant I’ve ever been to, with their menu items sounding like something straight from a Top Chef episode.
I am excited to have Erin and her husband coming.  Erin is like my sister, we’ve been besties for 15 years.  The way I see it, the four of us are going to spend our entire lives being friends through everything.  I couldn’t pick better people to stand with us when Mr. A and I start our marriage.
Simple.  Full of love.  I get to marry Mr. A.  Perfect.
Cannot wait.

State of Life

Whew!  Things have been a little on the busy side the past couple of weeks and the longer I go without updating, the harder it is to get writing again.  So today’s post is brought to you by the bullet point.

  • Mr. A and I moved into our new place 2 weeks ago.  We had the best help ever from friends.  I was basically not allowed to lift anything heavier than a broom….  we already have things on the wall and it feels like home.  I still can’t get over how much SPACE we have.  I have been in such tiny little places the past few years; having two full bedrooms, a dining room, and a long hallway feels very luxurious.  It’s also AMAZING to have a baby’s room.  Where baby will go.  Cause we’re having a baby.
  • We spent the first week snuggled on the couch without internet or cable watching Gilmore Girls.  It was his first time watching it, and he is OBSESSED now.  We’re well into the 2nd season already.  Mr. A says he better understands my snarky banter after watching it.
This is a face of joy as I finally get to brulee with a TORCH.
  • Last weekend was my bridal shower.  It was amazing and beautiful. (We each got to brulée or own Creme Brulée!)  My bestie was in town and so were Mr. A’s parents.  I basically love his parents to death, I am definitely getting lucky on the in-law front.  Bonus: His parents got along swimmingly with my family.  This is going to make life way more enjoyable (not that I thought they wouldn’t get along).
  • We are getting married in NINE days.  Nine.  Nine days.  Single digit.  I have all the things I need, and I am so freaking excited to marry him.
  • Baby has a new due date!  11/11/11 which means I am currently 14w5d.  I also started taking Gummy Prenatal Vitamins instead of normal ones, and my life just got way more happy.

    Totes an adult guys.
  • I got an email this morning that it was time to check-in to my flight for Vegas.  I might be 100% regretting my decision to sit this one out.  I am totally going to BiSC next year, and I’ll bring baby too.

Ok, so I think I want to open the floor up for questions. What do you guys want to know about that I haven’t talked enough about? Suggested topics: Mr. A, pregnancy, wedding, my thoughts on The Voice, my opinion of the season finale of Vampire Diaries, my favorite color.