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child support and money stuff

I’ve been thinking about child support, money, budgeting, and teaching my children financial management skills. I posted this on the forum that I help moderate when the topic of child support and whether the children should know about household money stuff came up.

My children are often not able to do all the bells & whistles stuff that some other kids get to do. I don’t tell them that we cannot afford it. I COULD send them if I chose to spend money on that. The thing is, I don’t choose to. I choose to pay the mortgage, the car payment, the utilities, for food & prescriptions and put some in savings instead.

We’re not ever without choices.

Knowing that (instead of feeling like Ms. Have-Not all the time) has been a huge mindset shift for me.

My children know that XH pays CS. They know from XH that it’s deposited into my accocunt before he gets paid each month (military) and they know (from XH) that I took him to court for non-payment of CS & that now it HAS to be garnished from his pay. They even know how much it is (again, from XH).

But I’d probably have told them sometime or another. I really don’t see anything wrong with them knowing. They also know that he provides health and dental insurance for them. They know how much money I make & that all the money goes into my account. I talk to them about which bills are due, how much they are, how much the grocery budget is, how much the clothing/shoes budget is, how much the entertainment budget is.

I know that a lot of people may frown upon this, so I will tell you why I chose to start talking to them about money.

When I went to college, I’d never seen my parents pay a single bill. I’d never seen them balance their checkbook. I didn’t even know that in cities, people pay for water (we had well water). I was sort of aware that people paid electric bills, but had never really thought about it. I had no idea how much utilities or groceries cost. I didn’t even realize that people made budgets & had a spending plan. My parents just took care of it all. Whatever we needed was provided. My sisters and I didn’t worry. Ever.

When I went out on my own, though, I think I was at a disadvantage from the lack of knowledge or experience with that sort of responsibility (ignorance was not bliss in this case). I had to work really hard to learn to budget (it’s not my natural instinct to be a saver) and pay bills first (before going out on the town). I overspent with credit cards and it took several years for me to get them paid off.

I don’t want my children to go through this. I want them to go out into the world armed with knowledge and able to make a budget because they’ve seen one in action. I don’t want to burden them with grown-up things, but at the same time, I don’t think it hurts them to realize that we cannot just go to the ATM & get more money if no more is in the account. We cannot just write a check for something if we want it if it’s not planned or accounted for in the spending plan.

When XH first told the kids how much CS he paid, I was really upset. Of course, he didn’t just say that, he also told them that 1/3 of that money should go to each of them each of them each month to do what they want with it – buy games, toys, books, candy, shoes, movies, etc. He also told them to take their share of the CS & buy themselves a Christmas gift from him. That was about 3 years ago. The kids were much younger then & I’d not started talking to them about money stuff yet. Needless to say, I was spinning – and very very angry.

Once I settled down, I talked to the kids about why the NCP pays CS and what it’s used for. They realize now that it’s used to pay for necessities – like housing, food, clothes, lunch money, etc. Not all of it, but some of it, because XH does not live in the home. They don’t ask me for “their” share of the CS these days. They know that their allowance is built into the budget and they’re good with that. They also know that they get everything they need and a lot of what they want.

Tag – I’m it!

I was tagged by Julie. The theme is three things we’re thankful for.


1. My children. I didn’t realize when I had my first child in 1993 how much my life would change. Having them in my life has been a journey that’s not ever boring, is always colorful, and has brought joys to me that cannot be counted. Each challenge, each struggle, each triumph brings us closer as a family unit.


2. My family. My parents and sisters such an important part of my life. They’re the people who know me best & like me anyway. They’re not only my family, but my friends as well. I love them without measure. I cannot imagine life without their friendships, their love, their laughter & hugs. I’m so very blessed to have been born into such a great family.


3. My friends. I have a couple of friends that I know without doubt are lifelong friends. I treasure those friendships and rely on them. Being a single mom with three active kids is hard work & having friends who understand and care helps keep me sane.

Leo

Last night, Leo (our horse) died. His health had begun to deteriorate and he was no longer to get himself up after laying down. Although he lived at Mom & Dad’s house, I considered him to be mine as well, since he was a member of our family for the past 26 years (that’s since I was 11 yrs old, folks). We got Leo when he was 2 years old. He would have been 28 on his next birthday, March 9.

Leo had a great personality. He’d stand with his head over the fence and clear his throat at us, wanting an apple or carrot or a scratch around the ears. He was gentle with the kids as they learned to ride and put up with their squealing & laughter without a flinch. When he didn’t want to be bothered with all the grandkids, he’d go stand with his back to all of us with his head facing the more heavily wooded part of Mom & Dad’s land. Almost as if he was thinking, “If I cannot see them, they cannot see me and will leave me alone!”

He went elk hunting with Dad in Colorado for many years and was a loyal pet. We loved him and will miss him greatly.

underwire

Someone really does need to invent an underwire material that will not break & poke the dear wearer of the broken underwire in the seiboob.

I’m sure this is a complaint heard from women around the world at one time or another, so I’ll hush now.

which accent?

I saw this over at Jackie’s blog & wanted to see what type of accent I have. What about yours?

What American accent do you have?

Your Result: The West
 

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you’re a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.

The Midland
 
Boston
 
North Central
 
The Inland North
 
Philadelphia
 
The South
 
The Northeast
 
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Bridge to Terabithia

Have you seen it? Did you read the book? What did you think?

I took my daughers & niece to see it this afternoon. We loved it. I’ve not read the book in ages, DD13 loves the book and now DD10 wants to read it.

The book is written at about a 5th grade reading level. It deals with a couple of topics that parents might not want kids under that age to see yet.

I listened to an interview from NPR with the author, Katherine Paterson, and her son David (who wrote the screen play for the movie). It was a great interview. Here’s the link if you’re interested in giving it a listen.

phone call #999,999

A: Which procedure is it that pays by DRG? Arthroplasties?

B: No, arthrograms

A: How do you spell that?

B: a-r-t-h-r-o-g-r-a-m

A: Oh. Ok. I got it right.

Doh. It really wouldn’t be a big deal if I’d not answered that same question all those other 999,998 times (this week). 🙂

handwriting

DD10 got two cards in the mail a few days ago; a get-well card signed by two of her little sisters and one from XH. The one from XH was one of those sappy cards with a long poem on the front & then the rest of the poem on the inside. The poem was about “it’s not fair that this happened to you, but don’t give up.”

When I handed her the cards, I recognized his handwriting immediately. She said, Who’s this from? When I told her it was from her dad, she said, Oh. Then when she read it, she asked me if that was his handwriting. Then she kept asking why he writes like that (he’s left handed & writes sort of loopy – sort of like the Walt Disney script). He wrote a huge paragraph in the card about how he’s so fortunate to have DD10 & DD13 as his daughters & how DD10 should use her diabetes to help other little girls who are going through the same thing and how she gives him strength to do anything because she has a great attitude.

I know it was nice to send a card & all, but SHE’S NOT SICK. Yes, she has Type I Diabetes, but she’s learning to manage, she’s been doing well. Actually, she’s doing great!

I have been feeling sort of put out with him that she didn’t recognize his handwriting and I want to be glad that he made some sort of effort, but I’m not.

I can totally understand that he’s not got a clue about diabetes. Afterall, he’s not living with it each day. I cannot understand not trying to learn.

XH could know a lot if he wanted to.

And really, the diabetes thing doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that DD10 didn’t recognize his handwriting. To me, somehow, that’s worse.

DD10 doesn’t remember ever seeing his handwriting before. I’m not sure if DD13 or DS11 would recognize it, either. They were so young when we divorced. DD13 & DS11 barely remember him living with us before he went to Korea. DD10 doesn’t remember ever living with him (he went to Korea when she was 3).

I’m not sure why it bothers me so much. Maybe because I think handwriting is such a personal thing. The kids recognize mine immedately – just as I recognize theirs, my parents’ and my sisters’ handwriting. I know the handwriting of most of the people in the office where I work and people I’ve known throughout my life. I distinctly remember the handwriting of my 6th grade reading teacher & of my 2 best childhood friends. It’s almost like it’s part of who we are or something. Maybe I’m just weird and am making a big deal of nothing (in my mind).

Saturdee

Overheard:

What’d you do on Saturdee?

I’m not sure why things like this bug me, but they do.
Usually I try to just it & move on about my day.
Today, I’m tired & I want to yell – it’s SaturDAY! Get it straight!

smallest feet and other stuff

I posted on March 7, 2006 that I was not the tallest in my home any longer.

Today, I have the smallest feet in my little family. Youngest daughter got shoes that are 1/2 size bigger than mine.

It’s weird to think that all three of my children have bigger feet than mine.

Today is also the 2 month anniversary of the day that youngest daughter was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes.

This past Friday, I got a call from a diabetes pump specialist from the insulin pump company I chose letting me know that the kids’ insurance will pay 100% for the insulin pump and supplies for youngest daughter. I’m faxing a form to the company on Monday and after the doctor faxes in a medical necessity letter, the pump will be shipped & we’ll schedule a time for training at Children’s Hospital.

With oldest daughter’s asthma and youngest daughter’s diabetes, I’m thankful that ex-husband is in the military & has great health & dental insurance for the kids.

The last searches

that led people to my blog (and my comments) are as follows:

stepmother, spanking, belt, on the bedIt’s weird that my blog would show up with this search, but it does. My ex spanked my son with a belt the last time they went to visit (July 2005) and I blogged about it.

birthday party countdown tickersNot sure how I came up on this one

2006 hooters calendar oklahomaDid ya like that one?

The invention of Hugo CabretThe review I listened to was excellent – hope you enjoyed it as well.

scary pictures of bloody maryUhmmm.. nope, don’t have any of those!

johnny depp linbabaI think Johnny Depp will be excellent in the role of Lin in the upcoming movie Shantaram. Cannot wait for the filming to begin!

“getting rid of” my bunkbed My daughters have bunkbeds that are currently unbunked.

soul number sevenHave no idea about this one

ello beastieIsnt’ that a great line?

stepmom spankingSee above

random conversations between 2 peopleI love posting random conversations that I overhear.

Johnny Depp character quizDid you do the quiz? Which character did you get?

Oprah’s birthday when When is Oprah’s birthday again? I should remember since she’s a better mother to oldest daughter than I. Or at least she was at one point! 🙂

CSI character with no legsHe has legs! He does!

ShantaramA wonderful book – hope you read & enjoy it!

Laurent Graff Happy Days Johnny DeppAnother good book – a bit dark, but good.

coulottes with bootsI see people wearing these two things together all the time – still don’t really understand it, though.

Why don’t I remember my dreamsSorry, can’t help you there. Why not keep a notebook by your bed & write down what you can remember before getting up after waking?

The last searches

that led people to my blog (and my comments) are as follows:

stepmother, spanking, belt, on the bedIt’s weird that my blog would show up with this search, but it does. My ex spanked my son with a belt the last time they went to visit (July 2005) and I blogged about it.

birthday party countdown tickersNot sure how I came up on this one

2006 hooters calendar oklahomaDid ya like that one?

The invention of Hugo CabretThe review I listened to was excellent – hope you enjoyed it as well.

scary pictures of bloody maryUhmmm.. nope, don’t have any of those!

johnny depp linbabaI think Johnny Depp will be excellent in the role of Lin in the upcoming movie Shantaram. Cannot wait for the filming to begin!

“getting rid of” my bunkbed My daughters have bunkbeds that are currently unbunked.

soul number sevenHave no idea about this one

ello beastieIsnt’ that a great line?

stepmom spankingSee above

random conversations between 2 peopleI love posting random conversations that I overhear.

Johnny Depp character quizDid you do the quiz? Which character did you get?

Oprah’s birthday when When is Oprah’s birthday again? I should remember since she’s a better mother to oldest daughter than I. Or at least she was at one point! 🙂

CSI character with no legsHe has legs! He does!

ShantaramA wonderful book – hope you read & enjoy it!

Laurent Graff Happy Days Johnny DeppAnother good book – a bit dark, but good.

coulottes with bootsI see people wearing these two things together all the time – still don’t really understand it, though.

Why don’t I remember my dreamsSorry, can’t help you there. Why not keep a notebook by your bed & write down what you can remember before getting up after waking?

Happy New Year!


Today is Chinese New Year – the year of the Pig.

The kids and I will probably have Chinese food for dinner in honor of this day. What about you?

Read more about Chinese New Year here.

Photo from Wickipedia.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

I listened to an interview with author Brian Selznick about his book The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

I cannot wait to read this book.

You can read or listen to the interview here.

dog years?

Today at work some of us were discussing the halftime show at the SuperBowl. We mentioned how Prince looks the same as he always did & how well he is aging.

A couple of hours later, one of my coworkers (who has a dog named Prince) looked at me & said, “Prince is 48.”

For some reason, I thought she was talking about her dog. I said, “In dog years?”

I was so confused. Everyone looked at me like I was a complete nut.

Then I realized that it was The Artist formerly known as Prince that she was referring to – and I understood (lightbulb moment).

He is is who’s 48.

Not her dog. 🙂