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Em says farewell (but B&B is still here to stay!)

bon voyageYep, you read that right…my time with B&B is ending. :(

I’ve been honored to be your resident Blonde for almost a year and a half now, and I’ve loved getting to know all of you and sharing ideas on money, health, family, and everything in between. B&B readers are an amazing community, and I’ll miss sharing pieces of my life with you all and getting your great feedback in return.

But, life is about changes, and it’s time for me to lay down my pen (err, keyboard?) and go off towards some other adventures. So I wanted to take a minute today to thank you all for being so awesome and to welcome your new B&B leader.

What I’ll be up to

As I mentioned (or, rather, freaked out about!) in my last post, The Hubby and I have decided it’s time to get started on starting a family. The Hubby also has some exciting opportunities on the work front, so our lives are going to be a bit crazy over the next several months…but in the best way possible. I see a lot of “nesting” and DIYing in our future, followed by some little feet running across our floors, other than Big Dog and Little Dog’s. :)

But you can’t get rid of me that easily! I’ve come to consider you all my friends, and I’ll be watching to see where B&B goes from here and maybe even popping into the comments now and then (if you’ll have me). You guys are the best, and I’d write more about it if I wasn’t already starting to get misty as I write this. (Is it silly to get misty over a blog? I don’t care!)

Your new fearless leader

I’m excited to announce that you’ll be in great hands from here on out. The new blogger at the wheel of B&B is none other than the lovely TK, who’s actually been a long-time reader of the blog since the beginning. How cool is that? I can’t wait to see what she has to say and I know you’ll all love her.

So…

Join me in welcoming TK to the blog! Let’s give her some B&B love! And, from the bottom of my Blonde little heart, it’s been so much fun writing for you guys. Take care of yourselves!

 

~Heart,

Em

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photo credit: Vertigogen

How much does it cost to have a baby…?

LaraThe Hubby and I were putting up Christmas decorations this year when I had a very surprising thought. I was thinking of how much fun Christmas was when I was a kid, and feeling like some of the magic was missing with just the two of us putting up our tree. And then it happened.

For the first time since we got married, I had the serious thought: “What if we’re ready to have a baby?”

Eeek!

It was only a matter of time…

Of course we’ve talked about having kids ever since we got together. We both know we wanted a family, but we were giving ourselves a few years to get our house and lives in order before we seriously thought about taking such a big next step. I’ve thought now and then, “I can’t wait till we have kids!” but I’ve never really seriously considered we might be ready for it yet.

Until this week.

We might just be ready now. I mean, not like anyone is ever really “ready” (as my mom reminds me often!). Both financially and mentally, I don’t think anyone ever is 100% prepared for everything that having kids means. But I feel like we’re stable enough right now that we could realistically do it. And I kinda want to!

Emotionally, we’re both at that point where the idea of being parents doesn’t seem like some fantastic thing that’s years ahead of us. I don’t feel like we’re not even “adults” yet, so a kid is a distant possibility…I feel like now is the time. We’re in our (very early) 30’s, we have our routines down nicely and work well together as a household, and when I’ve held all the babies my friends and family have had recently, I haven’t felt terrified that I’d drop them (which I did, once!)…I’ve felt like “Hmm, I could get used to this…”

Financially, we have most of the big stuff with our house taken care of. We have some savings built up. We’re doing good with our budget and recently started putting away for retirement, and we could afford the extra monthly expenses that come with having a kid. But, being a PF blogger, I of course have to run it through my money mind…

How much does it really cost to have a kid? The hospital bill, the doctor’s visits, all the baby doodads and gizmos I don’t even know we’ll need yet…Do we have enough to cover any foreseeable emergencies? (Can you ever foresee emergencies?) What about his/her college fund? Sure, we haven’t even started trying yet (and we just graduated college ourselves not that long ago), but how on earth will we build up a whole college fund???

Maybe it’s just the worrywart in me…

Way deep down, I think we can handle it, and The Hubby does, too. I know people raise kids with much tighter budgets, and that there’s a lot more to being a good mom than making sure all the numbers line up. But like I said, I’m a PF person, and I guess I feel like, with all the things to consider, the financial part is at least one thing I can kind of “control.”

But when it really comes down to it, I’m not sure if I care that we don’t have everything 100% figured out. I think it’s time.

Help me out, readers! Am I being overly cautious? How can you “know” you’re “ready”? (Can you?)

(Again, eeek!) :)

 

~Heart,

Em

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photo credit: Sergiu Bacioiu

My favorite part of the holidays

christmas cookiesOne of my favorite holiday traditions has always been baking Christmas goodies with my brother, sister, and mom. Growing up, one of the first weekends in December, we’d totally take over the kitchen (which wasn’t that huge to begin with) to do a marathon two-day baking event that turned out yummy treats that would last us the rest of the holidays, including giving plenty of goodie baskets away to neighbors, friends, and family.

Recently, my brother and sister and I have started transferring this tradition to my sister’s house. We pick one weekend early in December, and my brother (home from break) and I go over to my sister’s lovely, roomy suburban kitchen with the big island and lots of counter space. My mom comes too, of course, but she largely spends a lot of time telling us how to do things while she “samples” our results. (The benefit of having grownup children, I guess! She certainly earned it with all those years she helmed the baking.)

My little niece and nephew love pitching in (as much as they can). Right now, that consists of super-easy tasks like pouring chocolate chips into cookie batter and pressing cutouts into dough. But soon enough, they’ll be able to really roll up their sleeves and pitch in, and I can’t wait to watch the next generation start to learn all the cookies and candies we learned to make grown up. (Probably adding in some new ones of their own.)

For me, this is one of the best parts of the holidays, because I get to enjoy that great family get-together feeling without all the stress of dressing up, cleaning, decorating, and hosting. We wear whatever we don’t mind getting floury, usually go into giggle fits several times, and blast the cheesiest Christmas music we can all weekend long. It reminds me of all the great times we had growing up, and it creates new memories for the future. As much as I love seeing my family on Christmas itself, this is always one of my favorite times of the season because it’s just plain fun and we all get to relax and just be silly.

So, I wanted to challenge you to find your favorite, non-Christmas-day part of the holidays. Is it putting up the tree? Watching those Claymation Christmas specials? (They totally make me feel like a kid again.) Driving around the neighborhood looking at all the lights? There are so many lovely parts of the holidays that we tend to overlook because we’re so focused on getting to the big day. But instead of the whole month of December being one big race to Christmas, how can you find ways to enjoy the whole month, and all the great things that go with it?

Let’s enjoy the journey and not just the destination!

What’s your favorite part of the holidays? What do you love about it?

 

~Heart,

Em

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photo credit: Rebecca

Blog Roundup (12-6-13)

I always love sharing my favorite blogs with people, so each week I’ll be giving you guys a roundup of the posts I’ve really enjoyed reading.

If you like them, make sure to subscribe and follow these great bloggers on Twitter and Facebook to share the love!

~Heart,

Em

Are there any great posts you came across recently? Share them with us in the comments!