Sunday, September 20, 2015

Christmas 2015

I've decided to try and not overdo it on Christmas this year. It's so easy to just get things because you know your kids will like it ... unfortunately it lasts about 5 seconds. They get overwhelmed. Too much I say. This year ... we're going to try this :

Something they Want
Something they Need
Something to Wear
Something to read.

I also gave myself a budget of 100$. Because ... Santa is also bringing :

Something to Play with
Things for Stocking

Even with Santa's budget of 80$ ... that's 720$ for 4 kids! (Nolan and Nikki are not likely to have all their 'budget' money used up which will go back in the pot for next year - but still!)

So you see ... it can add up very quickly for 4 kids. I've already started talking about how Santa told me he has seen how many toys they have and how he's sad they don't take great care of them or play with them as much (although my kids mostly have 2nd hand toys and are HARD CORE toy players. Nothing survives lol). So Santa has decided only to bring one gift each and he might add little things to the stocking. I've also told the kids they won't be getting a lot of what they want so they need to decide their favorites. Not sure if I'll add to my explanation or change it up ...I'll play it by ear.

Santa ... has already gotten one gift that he thought of during the summer when it was on super-sale. I mean when his elves were making it ....

The thing is ... with my budget - even for Santa gifts it means I have to really watch for sales or find awesome 2nd hand for some things.

For example : I wanted to get William a new comforter this year - but also a big lego set. Those are ginormously expensive and we already got him a lego table (something he needs) and a lego idea book. This requires a lot of interesting and number crunching. I love number crunching. Love. It. I also love sale shopping. Got both his items at 50% off so BAM.

I'm hoping to come in way under budget ... Go Me!! I'll let you know how I do. What do you do? Do you have a budget? What does everyone's Christmas budget look like?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dawn's Eulogy

Devon :

We don’t actually know the real beginning of dad and Dawn’s story, but regardless, I was the instant favorite – I mean I’m also her only son -  plus I came already potty trained. By the time we came into her life, she’d had plenty of experience with kids and that’s a good thing because she didn’t just become a mom to four kids … she became a mom to 4 teenagers. It takes a special kind of woman to do that. I have 3 older sisters. Hello drama.

Patricia :

Dawn came into our lives a long time ago. Many, maaaaaany years ago when dad was young …. Er …. And less wise. Luckily for us that was the perfect time for her to step into his life because we were also all at that ‘super fun’ age – I have no idea why Devon is talking about drama - lol. The poor woman had no idea what she was getti--- I mean how lucky she was about to be. Dawn has always been able to find the positive in a situation or put things into perspectives. She also had miles of patience for us. She has always been there to offer the required encouragement or to set us straight. For me – I loved being able to tell her my anxieties and stresses and help me work through them with her ‘What do YOU think you should do?’ and I always knew if I was on the right track because she finished with a ‘That sounds like a good idea’.  I was also the go-to sitter for the dogs – probably because Dawn thought my sisters and brother didn’t have QUITE as much empathy as I did for dogs.

Corinne :

Dawn took to us right away, or we did to her – however that works. We would call, dad would answer, we’d ask to talk to Dawn. Dad’s grunting needed translation. As our families began to grow she went from being a mother to being a grandmother and she did it with grace. She had kidded more than once that she did it without stretch marks. In a few short years she went from having just four kids to having 6 grandkids and two on the way. She was exceedingly proud of being a grandma and never flinched at the title. We never had to worry about our kids ‘destroying’ things or being too loud because Dawn joked ‘she lived with our dad – how much worse could it be?’ We would have ‘My husband did this … competitions ….’ It was always pretty close and always beyond ridiculous. She had a special place in her heart for my husband Corey whom she always referred to as Coreylin. We always said it was because there are multiple Corey’s in the family but I’m pretty sure it was because he was ‘special’ or she understood what is was like for him to live with a Gareau – whatever that means. Corey became another son to her and he was always filling in the gaps – right to the end – bragging about how he was the favorite – unproven by the way.  

Gayle :

Dawn, you are gone but never forgotten; you have taught and continue to teach me many things about life. The one thing I know is that you never used the word step - we were always your children, there was no in-between.  I was fortunate enough to have you in my life and I hope one day my other children will feel for me the same way I feel about you because that is a true love. Dawn you have taught me that being a step mom is more than a title, that even though you didn’t give birth to us you could still love us unconditionally. Thank you for translating all the venting sessions to dad and keeping him in the loop.  Family is so important and no matter how mad I got at my lovely siblings, dad and mother you always let me vent and then said well Gayle they only love you. Dad used to tell me to stop swearing but fuck it. Dawn enjoyed it because that meant she could too. Dawn, I know if dad could – he would tell you how much he loves you and always will. You were always there to tell him what to do and how to do it and where his things were. We will never do it as aptly as you could but between Corinne’s organizational skills, Devon’s sense of humor, Patricia’s sarcasm and my ‘motivational skills’ we will do our best to make sure he hears all the loving ‘Fuck You’s and I love you’s he needs to hear. Rest in Peace knowing we are there for him.