anchored in light

anchored in light

A lifestyle blog about finding light in every avenue of life

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Couples Finance



One of the hardest parts of adjusting to marriage for me was figuring out how to do finances. Before we were married I was so used to taking care of my own finances and having complete control over where my money went. When we got married it seemed like all of a sudden the money was always gone. I had no idea where it went or how we spent it, I just knew it was gone. 

For someone who asked her mother to start a savings account for her when she was around 7, having the money just be gone was horrifying. I knew going into marriage that I would be acquiring a lot of debt due to some unfortunate circumstances in Brian's life (hello breaking your back and not getting compensated for it by the school whose property it happened on), but it didn't seem like the money should just be gone. 

After a while (read: the first three years of our marriage), I just gave up and let Brian take care of paying all the bills without me asking any questions. Every once in a while I would try to take an interest again, but it just never seemed to add up. We went through several budgeting apps until we found Honeydue. It was specifically designed for couples and it definitely helped, but it wasn't until last August that we found a strategy that really worked for us.

Here's what we do. Every payday we sit down together and we go over how much we got paid, what bills are due, and any other expenses we have. We plan what we're going to spend any extra we have, whether that be savings or extra debt payments or putting it toward any things we've needed but have put off for a while. We also give ourselves an allowance every month. Money that we don't have to account for how it's spent. Everything else we discuss before we spend it. We have a google spreadsheet that we both have access to where we enter in our bills (using Honeydue) and then track them as we pay them that night. We also have a separate tab in the spreadsheet for our debts and we update the totals each month.



It has become the perfect system for us and has made me feel like I have so much more control over how our money is spent. Even though, honestly, we haven't changed the way that we spend our money. The money is still generally gone, but now it doesn't seem to have disappeared into thin air. Plus, I know where our debts are and how much progress we are making on each one. 

If this is something that sounds like it might work for you, HERE is a link to a copy of our spreadsheet. It will give you a basic template to go off of for your own couples finance meeting. And HERE is a link to Honeydue. It's a free app, that you can choose to pay for if you want. I would if I felt like we had any money because honestly, I think it's worth it. They do a great job of tracking all your bank accounts and credit cards while also keeping track of your bills and when they are due. 

I hope this helps! If you have any tips for how you do couples finance, I'd love to hear them!
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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Cloth Diapering | 6 Months In




Well, we made it to 6 months. If I recall correctly, 6 months was about where we would be breaking even with what it cost us to use disposables. So basically from here on out we would be saving money. That might actually be another month or two out because we did just buy another pack of cloth to keep up with two babies, but again, since we would be diapering 2 babies, it might be sooner ha ha.

I was planning to do this post as a little check-in since our One Month In post, not really realizing that by now we'd have 2 in cloth. I thought that the overlap with Everly and Greyson would be small if not non-existent because I figured we'd be potty training her pretty soon after we started Greyson in cloth. In fact, she got really interested in the toilet a week before he was born, but since then she hasn't seemed like something she wants right now. Since she's only two, there's a chance that she'll be in cloth for another year.

So... just a quick update on what we have in our stash, how long we go between washes and such.



Our current stash:

We have 5 packs of Nora's Nursery diapers. So 35 pocket diapers with 20 extra liners. That's plenty for the two of them. Before we bought our 5th pack of diapers we did get down to one diaper between washes.

We also have 4 Grovia O.N.E. diapers for night time but still use disposables for Greyson at night.

What you need other than diapers:

You're going to need cloth safe diaper cream.
I also bought pail liners
Wet bags (if they don't come with your diapers). 
Extra liners. (If you go the pocket diaper route)
Cloth wipes (if you decide to go that route. We actually went the cloth wipe route before the cloth diaper route).
A pail or laundry basket for your dirty diapers. I've never had any issues with Everly getting into the dirty diapers, but we'll see what happens when Greyson gets bigger.


Washing:

We wash every other day. I really miss summer/fall because I could just hang the diapers outside and they would dry pretty quickly. Currently, it takes almost a full day for the liners to dry hung up (if I were to use the dryer, and I have on occasion, it takes 2-3 full dryer cycles to get them dry) and I throw them in the dryer for a 20-minute air fluff so they aren't so stiff. 

I still haven't had any issues with smells or diapers not coming clean. We still use All Free and Clear powder detergent.


Cloth on Two:

One of the hardest things with starting Greyson in cloth was that I wasn't sure how many diapers to have on hand for him. Plus, I wasn't sure how to deal with our diaper station. It has always been in Everly's room, but when she's napping Greyson is often awake and will need a diaper change or two. I wasn't sure if I should move it to his room, but he naps way more often than Everly and I would need access for her as well. I also wasn't sure how to separate out their diapers since they are in two different sizes and I didn't want to worry about messing with the snaps at every diaper change. 

I ended up leaving the station in Everly's room, getting a bigger diaper pail (Thank you to my visiting teacher when I was 19 and going off to college who gave me a dollar store laundry basket. It has truly seen me through the years), and putting a 3 cloth diapers for Greyson in his room with a few wet bags that came with our Nora's Nursery diapers. I make sure to have at least 12 in the box for Greyson and at least 8 for Everly for two days. So far that has been enough and to spare for them. 

We also use cloth wipes. I had two sets of 12 before we added Greyson into the mix. I just bought another set and 3 sets seems to be perfect. 

Diapering a Newborn:

I always knew that I was planning on using disposables on Greyson until he was big enough for our one-size cloth diapers. I wasn't prepared for feeling guilty for using the disposables or for figuring out when he was ready for cloth. We didn't put cloth on Greyson until I knew that he was 10 pounds (the smallest that our diapers say that they fit) and he was 6 weeks old. It was hard for me to know if we had a good fit because I had never put these diapers on a baby that small. Especially when he had blowouts, always the left leg. I always was wondering if it was a bad fit or if it was just that he was a baby. We had blowouts in disposables too. In fact, I had just put a brand new diaper on Greyson for bed two days ago and he blew out on me. Which was kind of a good reminder that all diapers blow out because with cloth it's easy for me to blame the diaper and think that it wouldn't have happened in disposables. 

He's already gotten big enough though that I don't overlap the snaps in the front. They cover a large area so we've actually had fewer blowouts (they go so far up his back that I would almost be impressed if he managed to blow out there). 

Honestly, cloth has been amazing. I love not having to buy disposables all the time. I especially love that since Greyson is exclusively breastfed I can just throw his diapers in the pail and not have to scrape them. Someone asked what I hated about cloth diapering. I hate scraping poop. Seriously before we started in cloth Everly's poops were a kind I could just shake into the toilet. I'm not sure it's the cloth or I started feeding her differently... but there is almost always scraping involved now. It's not enough to make me give it up, but I don't love it. 

Overall:

I'm still really glad that we decided to do cloth. If I could go back I would probably have started it sooner with Everly. We have had almost no issues with diaper rash since we switched. If I were to start again I think I would probably try a couple different kinds of cloth diapers before committing to one (I have never tried them so I don't know, but I would probably do our whole stash with Grovia hybrid diapers or the Flip System... but I was in love with the idea of pocket diapers at the time). If we do cloth long enough and our stash wears out, that's probably what I'll do before getting a ton of one kind. 

Oh, and if you're going to build a stash and you have the option, wait until Black Friday. I had no idea but the discounts are amazing. 

Thanks for reading! I hope it at least educates you a little more about your options. You don't have to just go with disposables because everyone does, but you should also do what is best for your family. I couldn't have done cloth with Everly when she was Greyson's age because we didn't have our own washer and dryer. You do you! 

If any have any questions please comment below or contact me! I'd love to answer them! 




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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Poems of Motherhood | January 2020


I started writing poems every night before bed. Brian has kindly, once again, taken the 8-midnight "shift" so I can get some sleep. I was going to pare these down and share only a few, but I loved them all so much that I decided to share them all.


12/21/19
For Everly

They told me that seeing him small
Would make you seem big
They rushed you onward 
Because he was just beginning

And I wondered if they would be right
To see a tiny baby next to my first baby

Instead
It only made me see you small again
To realize
How fast the time went from when you were tiny

It made me want to hold you both close
And take in all of every moment
The tiny 
The big
My babies

12/21/19

I went to the hospital
Belly full
Unsure of how this time might go
But grateful that the end of this chapter was here

I went to our hospital room
Arms full
As they wheeled me to recovery
My tiny Greyson, still unnamed, but here
With me
Instead of hooked to monitors

And I waited
For the moment
When this would seem strange
To have an empty belly
To know it had housed two babies there
That this body that had learned to carry life inside me and in my arms

And it didn’t 

I came home
To my beautiful girl 
Holding my beautiful boy
And started over with my heart full
Once again

1/18/20
For Brian

Our moments are few now.
So few
I take in the small things
The clasped hands during dinner prayer
The way we circle together around Everly before bed
The tradeoff of children so we can hold the other

Our moments are different now 
So different 
But I would not trade them
I traded our life as a couple alone to have these babies
And when I look at them I see us
Echoing down through time
In a way that they don’t understand yet
In a way that I didn’t understand 

I see something beautiful and whole carrying on in these little growing bodies
Made from scratch 

No,
I would not trade them
And I would not trade you



1/19/20
For Greyson

You are small
Just a helpless thing 
I’d forgotten the delicateness of newborns
How your tiny hands are strong 
But fragile

You’re still figuring out how to move
To eat
To sleep

We meet alone in the night
You drink sleepily
And I try to remember that this is our only time uninterrupted 

When you can be my only
 for a few minutes 
before I place you back in the Moses basket beside our bed



1/20/20
For Everly

Oh sweet one
We have had many rough days
Days when I wasn’t sure you liked me anymore
Days when it felt like Daddy was never coming home
Days when I wondered whether I would ever be enough for both you and Greyson

I still wonder that

But today
Today was the worst it has ever been
You screamed
You cried
You bit both daddy and I when you couldn’t calm down

And I was helpless

Both of us. Helpless. 

We held you as you raged
Let you break over us with your sadness

I hope you noticed that we didn’t shy away from it
Even though we didn’t know what to do
I hope you noticed that we loved you just the same
Even after you hurt us

1/21/20
For Brian

We left our babies
Headed to the temple
Knelt across an altar
Just like the one we were wedded across

It always makes me feel like a newlywed
So lucky to be holding hands with you
Feeling the hope and love swell and echo through the mirrors behind your head and mine

I’m always hoping that someone will catch us smiling at each other
Gently stroking your hand with my thumb
Winking as we listen to the sealer

I’m hoping that they will see the love 
That it will remind them of their own

Because we have something special, Captain

1/22/20
For Everly

You run everywhere
To me
Whenever you hear someone coming
Away from me
When I have to pick Greyson over you 
When you don’t get your way

Today 
Was a good day
Even though you spent 20 minutes of it crying while I fed Greyson
Even though you didn’t nap
Even though Daddy came home late

Somehow you stayed mostly happy
We read stories
We played with your truck

And you ran and reminded me just how much I love the sound of your tiny feet pounding across the tile



1/23/20
For Greyson

You are a happy boy
When you smile your mouth opens wide
Your tongue lifts to the roof of your mouth
And your eyes sparkle 

I didn’t think I’d get so lucky again 

1/23/20

One of the beautiful things about marriage
Is that I know that Brian thinks I’m beautiful
Always
And that the way he sees me has little to do with how I look

So when I’m big with a baby
He sees his wife
When I am counting the wrinkles in my extra skin on my tummy
He sees his best friend
When I am unshowered and wearing glasses and the same thing I wore two days ago
He sees the mother of his children

He sees me
When I am too blind to see myself

1/24/20
For Brian

I love that we look at each other
We watch our babies
Then we look at each other and smile

Like
Did you see what our tiny humans just did?
Did you catch that smile? Or that laugh? Or the way she said “ayson” for the 100th time today?

It’s a simple look
But so much is shared
In just a glance

Sometimes I worry I’m annoying you
Wanting to share those moments
Glancing at you too often
But then I see you glancing back
It makes me brave


1/25/20
For Everly

Today you said “Momma”
And wanted me
Even though Daddy was home
You wanted my lap
My arms holding you

You let me stroke your hair
Leaned your small body against my chest

It made me feel full
Whole
My walk around heart come home to me for just a few minutes 
it was like taking a breath you didn’t know you’d been holding
You got along fine without it
But now you knew how much you missed it


1/26/20
For Greyson

You’re different than your sister
And I confess that it has been harder to bond with you
We only have the nights
Or when Everly is napping

But, man
If you haven’t still got those tiny fingers wrapped around my heart
I needed you
When you were still kicking around in me
I needed those kicks
Those twists and little nudges 
To know that something good was coming

Now I need those big smiles
The weight of your little body in my arms
The feel of your silk soft hair against my fingertips 
To know that something good is here

That these little moments are fleeting
So that I don’t hate Monday’s 
So that I don’t wish away 4 AM feeds for sleep

This stage of motherhood has taken so much from me
It has stretched me to breaking
But I pick up the pieces
Watch them fit back together in new ways around you

Realize that I like the way this picture is forming. 



1/27/20
For Brian

You sacrifice your sleep for me
Hold our tiny babe as he screams and cries
In a closet so I can dream

I know what that takes
To let the tiny humans slowly leach the patience from you
To let them wear you down emotionally while your spouse is sleeping in the next room
To let the tears fall while they are all oblivious

It means so much to me
That you think I’m worth all that

1/28/20
For Everly

There you are
My happy girl

I thought you were never coming back
Honestly
I thought that a new Everly had been born with Greyson
A sad Everly

I loved her just as much

But I missed my happy girl
I missed the way you jumped into my arms
The way you seemed to radiate joy 
It seemed a core part of you before he was born
And now it’s back again 



1/29/20
For Everly

Today is your due date
2 years ago
And I can’t help but think of those moments leading up to you being born

It changed everything 

My tiny little babe who changed me

Now I’m thinking of how your golden hair piled in stacks in my hand yesterday as we trimmed your bangs
How you fell off a chair this morning and you cuddled into me the way you used to when you were small

When you were small

You have already grown so much
And its only been 2 years

Now you echo me when I put you to sleep
“So much” you say 
Because I tell you how much I love you as I lay you down
“Dreams” you say 
Because I wish you sweet dreams

I hope someday these poems carry to you the honor that I feel watching you grow
Just a snippet of the love I feel raising you

1/29/20
For Greyson

You smile at me now
When I have time to lay you in my lap
Listen to you coo
And talk to you 
Look into those ring of endless light eyes 

You smile

And it makes me feel like a new momma again
Proud of this tiny one in my lap
Meeting a big spirit in a little body for the first time

There is wonder
There is awe
There is honor in these moments that no one will ever see. 

1/30/20
For Brian

You kissed me
Like you loved me
Not that you ever don’t 

But some kisses are special
They take me back to the kiss that convinced me to date you
To the kisses on the front porch when we had to say goodnight
To the kiss after we were newly married

Kisses like that make me feel like a person
Not just a wife
Or a mother
Or a daughter 

A person
A Rachael

1/31/20
For Everly

Today 
You are 2

I went from having a toddler to a preschooler overnight 

You are still my sweet girl
Just a little bigger than yesterday 
Growing up is hard
I’m glad to be here with you through it


Thanks for reading! Especially if you read to the end! I would love it if you would comment your favorite poem or one that you connected to 😊






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