Introducing Teagan & Announcing Darcy’s Utopia

Hello beloved Sustainable Family Finances readers,

I’ve been busy making babies lately. 

Teagan Brenna Cronin – 5 weeks old

This belated post is to share the exciting news that I have a new baby girl, Teagan. She’s already given me the best birth story imaginable and more joy than I even anticipated. 

My second baby is a new blog and business optimistically entitled Darcy’s Utopia. The blog will reflect on my experiences implementing Simplicity Parenting (while leading new workshops in Portland, beginning in January). I’m very excited about these new endeavors, and would love for you to follow along as my family grows.

Yet, even though I haven’t written regularly on this Sustainable Family Finances blog lately, I’ve decided after a great deal of thought that I’m not ready to abandon it. In fact, given that we are currently down to a single “Sugar Daddy” salary, I’ve been forced to focus more on my finances lately. Plus, I’m still passionate about all things earthy and green, so I’m certainly not ready to give up writing about my family’s efforts to-do-as-little-harm-as-we-can-manage. I only hope that I will be able to take the time to reflect more regularly.

Thanks again for your time and support!

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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Sugar Daddy Budget Comparison

Long-time readers and friends may recall that when my Hubby was faced with a very potential layoff a few years back, I got busy creating a Sugar Mama Scenario

So, when I set my sights on working for myself part-time from home after baby #3 arrives, it meant reviving the old budget and creating a comparison with our current/anticipated finances. This was partly to validate my own assumptions about our budget, but more to convince Hubby that I’m not going to put our family in financial jeopardy by pursuing my dream of blogging and being a Simplicity Parenting Group Leader (more on those plans soon…)

Thankfully, our financial circumstances have improved significantly in the past few years. We no longer have my student loans and we own our Swagger Wagon. These two line items used to be nearly $700 of our monthly expenses. We have also been diligent about saving for a rainy day, and have enough savings to live on no income for several months if we ever faced that hardship.

Childcare has been our biggest monthly expense for some time now, even with our Big Guy now in grade school and only needing after school care and summer camps. Adding another childcare tab would bring our budget way out of balance: a full 3/4 of my income would need to pay for childcare. This was the most convincing aspect of the whole budget comparison, but once Hubby could see that we could still be in the black each month on his income, he was able to understand my perspective on our finances.

Honestly, since I became pregnant (now 27 weeks), Hubby has been a bit panicked about our finances. The idea of one more mouth to feed terrifies him. It’s also because I’ve been quite seriously “threatening” to leave my financial secure career for a part-time pursuit of my passions. For me, the dream of having a third child came at the same moment as wanting a complete shift in my life and creating an independent career.

So, I was relieved that our recent Money Honey check-in went so well, especially given the level of changes we are planning for with a growing family. Hubby’s fears haven’t gone away entirely, but his confidence is growing. Through this process I’ve reflected more deeply on our divergent views on scarcityIn my mind, abundance and wealth is all about your perspective. 

Has your family made the shift to a single steady income?
What were the challenges and advantages?

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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Planting Seeds for the Future

Yes, I realize “Snowdrops” are bulbs, but they are my favorite 🙂

It may be freezing out, but I’m ready to start planting seeds for my family. While I’ve been thinking about my permaculture design lately, it really goes much deeper. I’m ready to take some leaps of faith this year, but even that requires a great deal of preparation.

I just purchased the Right-Brain Business Plan book and accompanying online course. I’m excited about getting my creative juices flowing and continue baby steps toward creating my dreams.
It’s hard to believe that I started writing this blog three years ago now. And while I haven’t written nearly as often in the last year, I’m finally feeling ready to write again. For so long I felt unmotivated, but I’m feeling inspired to express myself again. I know that this is how I grow and learn, and hopefully how I manifest dreams into reality.


Part of my challenge has been feeling stifled by the blog’s focus on Finances, which I know is rather silly and of my own doing. For the first year and a half, this focus really suited my needs and helped me grow in ways I never completely believed possible. We reached our family goal of traveling to Denmark, and I owe this blog to that dream come true. Yet, I’ve felt hemmed-in by feeling like I need to have a financial bent on every post to satisfy. And I’ve honestly felt hypocritical by my loosely monitored personal finances.

Add the fact that we received a personally significant inheritance, and it made me feel even less compelled to write. I couldn’t bring myself to write about how my financial dilemmas included whether or not to upgrade to stainless steel appliances on our new beach cabins. While still being the same down-to-earth mama, I felt distanced from  readers who maybe wouldn’t relate anymore.

Now that virtually all of our net worth has been plunged into building our beach cabins, I feel as though I’m back to square one as far as our finances go, only now I have to worry about paying two sets of bills. Plus, I’m just barely coming up for air after a year of tiresome work on the venture, and I dream of the day where my beach cabin to-do list is merely maintenance level tasks.   

In short, I’m ready for bigger and better dreams. Although they are truly more simplified and sustainable. My dreams are about creating my own personal utopia, Darcy’s Utopia. And by the next time I write, the blog will go by the new title.

So, while my seeds may feel very tiny in this moment, and my dream even still a little unclear, I am excited about this new phase of my blog/life.

What seeds are you ready to plant?

Darcy

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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Keeping Some Fun in a Parent’s Schedule

It’s easy to become so wrapped up in the worlds of work and family that you lose touch with the hobbies and activities that used to make you tick. Though life gets busy as a parent, and this drastically reduces your free time, the reason for neglecting these hobbies altogether is usually forgetfulness — we forget to make room for the things we love.

Though the effects of going a long time without these favorite activities may not be noticeable on the surface, there is a certain kind of healthy fulfillment they bring that we may be missing without them. So how do we reclaim these hobbies when our schedules aren’t getting any easier?
Begin by accepting that making time for these activities is deserved and worthwhile. Parents of young children often feel that their own interests have to be put on hold, and while this may be true in a general sense, it does not mean that they can never make time for the things they enjoy doing.
There are two ways to go about including these activities in your schedule. The first is to determine whether you can involve your children in any of them. If you love gardening, for instance, consider making time for you and your children to establish a garden in the spring. The second way is to hire a babysitter from time to time, or plan to go to the ballgame when family will be in town and can take care of your kids for an evening.
There are many ways to ensure that you maintain some hobbies when you have kids, even if you only indulge in them sporadically. It’s an important way to keep some fun and relaxation in your life, even when times are getting hectic, and it shouldn’t be hard to keep the occasional indulgence within budget.

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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Accepting the Unexpected With Gratitude

It’s hard to express how joyfully abundant my life feels at this very moment. Yet, in very surreal ways. It has everything to do with accepting the unexpected and being grateful for the endless blessings in my life, especially my friends and family. I just love you all to the core, and would do anything for you (pure strangers and blog readers too ;-). 

Hubby has stepped up the most, and continues to be the steadfast glue in our partnership. He’s served the role of a “Single Dad” with all the household cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, chores, errands, kid drop offs/pick-ups, soccer coaching, caring for exuberant children, consoling a healing wife, not to mention excelling professionally. Thank you, Kevin, from the bottom of my heart. 

Even though this has been an exceptionally turbulent year, I can’t help but feel completely in awe of how my life is playing out. Most importantly, how utterly loved I feel by everyone in my life. There’s nothing like a setback or three to attract the most generous and helpful of friends and family. Without the support from everyone around us, I don’t think I could possibly feel this grateful for my life exactly as it is. In fact, I’m able to see all the positives that have come from the negatives. Now that’s gratitude.

I’m not saying that it’s been without stress or uncertainty, but somehow I still feel a deep trust in that my life is turning out exactly as I need it to unfold. My personal roots are deepening and shoots quickening, and my family is certainly becoming resilient. I feel so proud of who our kids are becoming, and Kevin and I continue to strengthen our partnership despite the chaotic nature that defines parenting/life. We’re able to define our dreams and create our intentions. I feel like Brett Dennen’s “little cosmic girl.”

Lately I’ve felt physically and emotionally exhausted from the effort that’s required to re-enter the “work world” after six weeks of being laid up. Yet, my recovery feels very positive, and despite intractable personality conflicts with my manager (or maybe because of them…), I’m experiencing a crystallization of answers to questions I’ve been reflecting upon for weeks…and believe me, I had a lot of time to think while I was on total bed rest. For the pure pain of it, I would never wish to repeat this past year, but I still believe faithfully that the universe gives you exactly what you need.

Not to give away all the details just yet, but this evening I had a series of mini-revelations about some pretty significant direction changes in my nearer and longer term. I have to say that it excites me. I can’t help but feel like the Comeback Kid.

And on top of everything else going on my life, I’m going with my family (minus Hubby who is enjoying a much deserved break by spending the holiday with his beloved family back East) to do the final set up of our Camp Cabins. I get elated just thinking about the places. Even though I will be more than pleased to wrap up the final preparations and transactions, I’m grateful for the whole creative process of building/creating our dream beach cabins. In total, it’s really been a fun time and we’ve loved working with the Olivia Beach team. Thank you to everyone who has played a role in making this nearly unimaginable dream come true, especially my Twin Sis and Aunt CarolThe cabins have turned out more beautiful than I ever could have imagined…more on this topic very soon…


Another catalyst for my recent personal insights and deep gratitude has been by participating in Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge. I plan to share more once I’ve completed this friendly personal challenge, but suffice it to say that it has felt deeply significant. I’m grateful for being at the right place in my life to receive Deepak’s wisdom and begin to transform my life through the power of abundance consciousness.



Lastly, by being open to the many changes and accepting them without resistance or fear, I’m able to ride the waves of flow and continually redirect my own destiny. Gratitude is like the guiding force.

Happy Thanksgiving…may you feel the full grace and joy of this day.

Darcy

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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.