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Archive for May, 2013

Beginnings/Endings

May 29th, 2013 at 12:52 pm


I posted yesterday on FB that I am happy for new beginnings. My younger daughter is Graduating 8th Grade this Saturday at 7:00. She'll be joining her sister who is 12.5 months older at high school and is so excited about it. They're doing a Lacrosse camp this summer and can be on the Frosh/Soph team next year. Her friend will also be attending the same school (this is the daughter of the crazy woman I had issues with last year and did a character assassination of my child). Daughter's friend was over last night and said seriously, "Mrs. M, I've missed you guys a lot. I've also really missed your chili. Do you think you can make me some this summer?" I'm glad that maybe my family has made a lasting positive impression on this girl, given I seriously wonder what her homelife is like.

My stepdad is retired after 21 years of teaching physics. He's 60 and ready to embrace the next phase of life. My close friend just got engaged on Monday. I am so happy for him and this is the first marriage for both of them.

New beginnings! I love them. Every year at the Graduation Cap and Gown Mass, at least one girl faints. Yesterday it was mine. I am thankful for the doctor/parent who helped with her and that she rebounded quickly after getting off the polyester robe and cap.

Money is on autopilot. Only paying minimums and watching the spending. The kids are used to me saying "Vacation is now twelve days away." Minimums on credit cards which are bothering me. I need to get rid of those once we get home from vacation.

Off to catch up on the blogs.

2013-2014 Tuition for the High Schoolers

May 22nd, 2013 at 09:35 pm


This fall I will have a sophomore and freshman at my alma mater, a small parochial high school in the suburbs of Chicago. I've been waiting on financial aid since we've learned about scholarships for both girls.

Total Tuition for both:

$20,000
-$3,000 (older daughter's scholarship)
-$5,000 (younger daughter's scholarship)
-$2,000 (grant from our Diocese)
-$3,000 (financial aid from school)
-$1,000 ($600 discount and $400 deposit)
-$3,000 (reimbursement from my grandma for trip)

$3,000 remaining -

This makes budgeting and planning for the next year much, much easier.

Big sigh of relief ...

Checking in :)

May 22nd, 2013 at 02:10 pm


Time is flying very fast, and summer officially starts for older daughter at 10:15 with her last final. The rest follow next Thursday.

Spending-wise, we're doing good. Buying only what is needed, saving money for vacation. We leave 6/10 and come back 6/21. I'm making various lists of things to buy, things to pack, etc.

Tomorrow is the Scholarship Mass for older daughter who renewed last year's scholarship. I'm so proud of her. Her GPA is 4.2/4.0 with her honors classes. She is taking AP World History and will be getting college credit for it.

Younger daughter is still getting positive attention for her scholarship ($5K/year for each year of high school for a total of $20K). We were also notified that both girls have grants of $1K each for tuition next year from our Diocese, so tuition should be manageable.

We officially own oldest son's trumpet, saving us $24 a month.

I redeemed points for a $25 Old Navy gift card to be used for school uniforms in the Fall.

Our YMCA membership scholarship was approved and will save us $16 a month, dropping to $57.

I'm still using the Y at least four times a week and am still watching what I'm eating. I was able to fit into my skinny workout clothes from four years ago. So saved some money there.

We opted out of basketball camp the first week of vacation, saving $150 ($50 x 3). My boys were fine with that, opting to sleep in and then go to the pool.

We've got an offer to spend a weekend with our friends who have a house on Lake Michigan. They don't seem to mind our large family (they're polite and quiet) and they have one child. This is my counterpart for Cub Scouts. I'm being much better dealing with difficult people.

I'm emerging as a team player. I've liked to lurk behind the scenes, but I am now on the Parish Advisory Board with mostly men. I'm the only mother of school-aged children on it, and I find it interesting that people are interested in my perspective. I'm diplomatic and am getting used to speaking in largish groups. Our Pastor and Associate Pastor have been reassigned and our new leadership begins on 6/10 with a Pastor from Vietnam and a Parochial Vicar from Poland. Should be very interesting!

All for now. Off to catch up on the blogs.

(Early) Happy Mother's Day!

May 11th, 2013 at 01:18 pm


Our weekend is looking lovely (and low-key, facing a major ten-day vacation in less than one month). The weather is on the cool side, and to celebrate, we'll be going to noon Mass tomorrow and then to my mom's for a cook out. I picked up a Tiramisu cake at the $5 Friday Sales at Dominick's/Safeway.

This morning my oldest son and DH are mowing the lawn at the Legion Hall with their Boy Scout Team. The AL pays each Scout $10/hour which goes into their "account" to fund future outings. I like that concept immensely - definitely teaches the value of hardwork outside of the home.

There is also a 3:00 soccer game. I'm finding that I really like those, and I've managed to catch a great picture at each game so far.

Then we've got a gift certificate to the premium ice cream place in town to celebrate younger daughter's scholarship. If we weren't going on vacation, it would probably merit a dinner out. But anyhow, we're celebrating her accomplishment with love and admiration.

So, to all the moms, grandmoms, stepmoms, and those who love with a mother's heart, I wish you all a wonderful day. Happy Mother's Day!!

Still riding the wave of "Good News"

May 10th, 2013 at 02:09 pm


OK, we're still riding high on the wave of "good news"; if you missed the post, younger daughter was the recipient of a $20K scholarship for highschool ($5K per year). There were over 190 applicants, with only 25 scholarships awarded. I thought she had a really good shot, given her sister was #26 last year (but ultimately got a different scholarship that she was able renew for this year). So, we're still an awfully happy bunch.

And we're off on vacation one month from today (June 10). We're going to Southern California (Laguna Beach) to visit my grandma who is 93 and decided she's rather come to the Midwest for the holidays. She covers the cost of airfare and car rental (which was $2,700 for round trip air for seven and rental of a minivan for ten days). We're doing three days in San Diego and plan on seeing LEGOLAND, Sea World, and San Diego Zoo and Safari. We saved the Christmas check from my biological father to do one day at Disneyland. I think most of all we're really looking forward to doing the beach and eating Mexican food at an open air restaurant ...

Today is payday. I'm stretching the budget to save for vacation and the spending for the next two weeks looks like this:

$185 for gas/groceries (5/10 - 5/16)
$185 for gas/groceries (5/17 - 5/23)
$70 extraneous (dog groomer, flat of flowers, new light fixture for front porch - using coupons and sales for these purchases).

I've given up carbs and have taken to going to the y - out of the past nine days, I've been to the Y seven of them and have logged 13.5 miles. I've learned that I like the elliptical a lot better than the treadmill, and I wore one of my "skinny dresses" yesterday. People are noticing that I'm losing weight, which is nice. I'm sleeping better with no insomnia and I'm sleeping from about 9:30 to 6:00 with no problems. All in all, I'm glad that I got up off that couch! I may be able to say good-bye to 8s.

God's sense of humor is awesome ...

May 8th, 2013 at 11:08 pm

I like that in this little corner of the cyber-world, there is no stigma that I feel saying that I am a devout Catholic by most standards (aside from the foray to the tattoo parlor with my seventh grader and other less traditional things like that).

I posted earlier asking for prayers and positive thoughts for DH's job promotion. We were a bit conflicted about this move for him, given it doesn't exactly align 100% with our personal goals for him pursuing a diaconate more part-time than less part-time. But it meant a larger salary that we were planning on banking, or applying to mostly defray the cost of parochial school tuition at the high school level.

Our older daughter has been the recipient of a scholarship last year which cut her tuition in half. She renewed the scholarship this year, based on her service record and grades (4.2 GPA thanks to honors classes).

Our younger daughter was waiting to hear about a different scholarship. This is $20K for four-years and the family gives 25 annually. Last year our older daughter was 26 and is on a wait list. Younger daughter is stronger spiritually and academically. we were supposed to find out on May 15th whether or not she is a recipient.

Today a large envelope came in the mail. Last year was a small envelope. And younger daughter is one of 25 Scholars out of a pool of 190 strong and qualified applicants.

The lesson: Thinking that you are in control of a situation is pretty funny. Let go and let God.

Prayers and positive thoughts, please!

May 8th, 2013 at 04:55 pm

Today at 1:00 DH has an interview for a new job within the same company, just a different department and it is a Financial Analyst III position, up from the present I he is working.

This would mean a minimum of $8.5-$12 K more, and a much more peaceful environment for DH to be in. He has been really stressed lately splitting his time between two "bosses" (though he really only reports to one of them). The person who left the position recommended him for it, as did the other key players work on the team. It would also get him out of an area that truly isn't vital to the company and put him in an critical department for forecasting and budgets, at least throughout the merger/acquisition.

This really comes at a time when we are hemorrhaging money - not all bad (but just spent $2,700 on roundtrip air and car rental for ten days in June to visit my grandma), and some other unexpected expenses.

I would appreciate any prayers or positive thoughts you could send. Smile

Happy May! Downs and ups

May 1st, 2013 at 01:32 pm


Well, I think we skipped Spring, and Summer is here. The temp last night in the house was 82, which made for semi-cranky bed-goers. We had to bring up fans and find cool cotton sheets (versus jersey knit sheets). Woke up to a nice 76 degrees. I am hoping for cooler weather today.

I found out that my ex-stepmother (who was always nice and kind to me) is in hospice with her daughter who lives in a town just over the Illinois-Wisconsin border. I'm going to make a visit by myself. I'm not sure what to say or do or bring, but I am following my heart to do this. Unlike my brother, I have no ill-will toward this woman, and personally I hope she had some happiness after she left my biological father.

I also have a great-aunt who doesn't have long left after a recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. She wasn't well enough for a visit earlier in the month, but I sent a plant and a note. My mother got the thank you note that said she always loved me and my family, how sweet we are and that she will remember us fondly.

My faith life is certainly a gift to me today. And while I am so sad, I am happy for their time and gifts to me.

Money-wise: extraneous spending is creeping up: $50 for 8th graders trip to Great America, $24 for class pictures of the Communicant with the other 2nd graders, $20 for class T-shirts for the boys for the VIP Show and Field Day. $190 for summer golf for oldest son. We will also most likely need a new lawn-mower. I paid cash for everything and have $100 toward the new mower purchase.

Goal for May: $1,750 to go toward property taxes on primary residence. Minimum payments on all else.

Happy news:

(1) Older daughter was able to renew her $3,000 scholarship for the upcoming year. She had glowing letters of recommendation from the principal and pastor, a strong service record, and a 4.2 GPA. So proud of her.

* We will find out on or around 5/15 about the scholarship for younger daughter. It is a completely different scholarship.

(2) Our dear friend who is a singleton has met *the* one, and it appears that she feels the same way about him. He is 39 and had planned on being a priest, but it didn't exactly work out that way. He has asked me to go shopping with him for engagement rings. While I adore my own love story, I like other people's too. The flip-side of this is my best friend didn't handle the news very well. She finds other friend weird/geeky/nerdy Catholic guy and he has found love twice. BF's most recent relationship ended abruptly and badly two weeks ago (read as: he slept with her the first time on Friday, then dumped her via text the following Wed. - and I've tried to be supportive, but oh the drama is so highschoolish).

(3) At Goodwill, I spent $10 and purchased oldest son three navy blue polo shirts (like new, and one with the Polo thingy) for his uniform next year. In 6th grade, they graduate to blue on top/khaki on the bottom. And youngest son's knee went through his pants on Monday and today is summer uniform so he was able to wear uniform shorts. I put him in a pair of his brother's pants, so I didn't have to run out and buy a replacement pair.

That is it.