Category Archives: cost of kids

Maybe Baby…

It may seem strange, but after the initial shock of my father’s passing softened, I suddenly had the urge to have another baby. It wasn’t in sorrow, but in tears of joy. I felt like my heart had been broken open and I needed a place to give my extra love. Suddenly, deciding to  only have two children based on environmental ethics felt like I was limiting myself.

Admittedly, the logistics of it had to do with money. Knowing that I would be passed down family money, I contemplated what I could do to satisfy a legacy. My grandmother would have loved for me to have more children…she always joked, “You know, they are cheaper by the dozen!” She had three children herself, but came from a well-off family with seven children. My grandmother was proud of me for going to college and getting Master’s (and she always pushed that in this day/age that I should be able to support myself, just in case), but she also thought I work too long of hours. She worked long hours herself until she had a family (and remembered her hourly wage for every job she worked until she passed away at 94), but she  lived in a different era, and shook her head at the idea of getting two little ones dressed and out the door by 7 every morning. 

So, back to the baby decision…

Well, when I brought up the idea to Hubby he was less than enthusiastic. While he had pressed me for a third just a year earlier (which I thought was way too soon), he suddenly felt he was too old (he just turned 42). Or maybe he thought I was just making an emotional decision (which I was…). At any rate, we’ve come to a place of peace with our equally balanced household.

But I still can’t help but think that if I lived in different economic era that I would be quite happy with more kids. Finances simply does play into our family planning these days, whether families want to admit it or not. E ven if we had decided to have a third, we had only ever talked about the possibility in the context of having at least our older in grade school so we could afford  expensive child care . I know an  acquaintance, whose husband owns a small bike shop, who decided to not have another child based on the fact that they felt they couldn’t afford it while his shop was getting off the ground and she was staying home to take care of their son and assist on the business. 

How much has your family finances played a role in your family planning?

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

Zulily Sales

If you’re in the market for high end kid and mama stuff for sweet prices, Zulily is the place to find great deals. I first started shopping Zulily last fall, and have found some great buys.

I’m mentioning them again now because there are two current deals (until 10/8) for new Mamas that I highly recommend. You can purchase FuzziBunz cloth diapers for over 50% off, which were one of my favorite cloth diaper brands (my cloth diaper tips too!) 

They also have Zooper strollers on sale ($200 instead of $300). While we don’t have the model they have on sale, but they truly make quality products, so I would still vouch for it. And even though $200 may seem like a lot to shell out for a stroller, if you use it for two kids (or sell on CL) this product will last for several generations. We bought ours on CraigsList because the previous owner needed a double stroller, so we managed to get our for about 50% off retail, and it was still totally worth it used. (I’m actually disappointed to see that they don’t have any model comparable to ours, it’s really a hiking stroller…we’ve hiked up to 7-8 miles with it…gone over downed trees, mud, and pretty rough terrain!) 

I find the trick with signing up for Zulily is to have all the emails directed to a special inbox (like other retail stuff), then you won’t be tempted by the latest daily sale. But then when you are looking for something specific (they have great shoe sales!), you can quickly find a bargain. I also shop Zulily for baby shower gifts , because you can look as is you are splurging without spending too much.

What good Zulily scores have you found?

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

Price of Family Passports = Priceless

Today we are flying off on our big family adventure to Denmark!! I’ll have infrequent access to email while we are there, but I’ll make sure to take lots of photos and I’ll be back to blogging regularly in September. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

I knew that buying passports for a family was going to be more expensive than when I only had to pay for myself. But it was still spendier than I anticipated…I expected $400 tops, but here’s the break down:

Adult passport renewal = $120
Adult passport replacement = $120, plus a $25 execution fee
Children’s passport = $80 plus a $25 execution fee per child
Passport photos = $10 per person

Total passport fees for 4 = $515

Check the government site for current fees

Passports are really priceless though. On an inspiration note, my travel-hearted friend Kim wrote a inspiring blog post about the Power of a Passport. A passport is really your ticket to exploring this beautiful blue ball called planet Earth. Our Big Guy may only be 5, but he was the first to get his passport in the mail, and he looked at it in awe for the longest time. While the photo here is pretty goofy, in his passport pic he was very serious, seeming to know that this photo would forever immortalize him as a traveler. And it’s crazy how Girly has already lost much of her baby face in the past six months since we first took our photos. It inspires me to dream of where we may travel together as they grow…

Practical tips:
Unless you are very near your travel date, it’s advised to never pay for the expedited passport services, since typically they are finished in about 3 weeks (rather than the 6 weeks they promise). So unless your trip is just a month away, don’t bother, but better yet send everything off a few months in advance to save yourself the stress.

Keep in mind that kids that you need to have both parents and the child present in order to submit the application. The passport office in Portland has limited hours (City Hall mid-day on limited days, FYI), so the first time we went without Girly, figuring that nap through her first passport application. But we had to return the next week instead.

Also, our other lesson was that it turned out that Hubby had to get a passport replacement, which added a $25 fee. It turned out that he hadn’t seen his passport since our trip to Canada two years ago (very likely in our basement somewhere…). Thankfully he found his previous passport, so the application process wasn’t a complete hassle. Plus, his was set to expire anyway so the $110 fee didn’t hurt quite as much. We definitely plan on having a home for all our passports when we return so that we’ll never have to be in search of them.

OK, so I also have to fess up and say there was one more lesson…I filled out my first application in pencil… I figured that I didn’t want to mess it up! A  big no-no, so it got delayed by about a month.  So, I was really glad that I sent it in 2 1/2 months before our departure…but still a few weeks ago I was starting to get a little worried! 

Now I’m content with photocopies of all four in hand, plus some Danish Kroner!

Is your family ready to travel abroad?
Is travel a priority/value of yours?

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

Mama’s milk

I can hardly believe that it’s been a year since I weaned Girly. I wrote before about the many health and financial benefits of breastfeeding . I also feel strongly that breastfeeding helps with the bonding process, which you can’t put a price tag on.

Truthfully, I kind of miss the closeness and the down time that nursing demands. It’s important to take pauses in your day, especially since I’m so apt to go-go-go. But i t is truly awesome to have such portable and free “food.”

I know not all moms can breastfeed, but that why I also love the idea of breast-milk banks. There’s a formal bank (by a friend of Hubby’s) called NW Mother’s Milk Bank In Portland there is also a Facebook group started by another friend of mine called   Local Breast Milk   to connect moms with/without milk.  

I found this video awhile ago, and I love seeing moms nurse their babies. We are nursing our future…

Did you breastfeed? 
Do you miss it at all?

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

Babysitting Co-op

Maybe it’s because we need a date night, but I’m really intrigued lately the idea of babysitting co-ops. A friend tipped me off about, I’m really impressed by the simplicity of the system they’ve set up.

We’ve only really had close friends and family babysit our kids. They have been very generous in caring for our kids, but we’ve also been reluctant to abuse the generosity. So, as a result, our average for a date night has been maybe every three months…and after five plus years, it sure doesn’t feel often enough. We’re both ready to finally set up regular date nights.

When I was in graduate school (pre-kids), I “babysat” on several occasions for friends/neighbors for free. Their daughter was a great sleeper, and they would always put her to bed before I came over…as it turned out she never once woke up while I “taking care” of her…I just do school reading and listen to a humming monitor. It was a super easy gig, and even though I wasn’t yet a parent, I could tell how much they appreciated it. Plus, they were always doing us great neighborly favors.

The fair trade aspect of the babysitting co-op is what appeals to me most, plus the exponential power of networking. The only thing I’m not so sure about is whether I have the time to be the “leader” just yet…I think I need to do a little more research before I’m ready to commit. 

Here’s a great recent experience from a mom blogger that really gets me inspired.

Are you part of a babysitting co-op?

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