Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ready To Go Back To Work?

Am I ready to go back to work?  I don't know.  And when I say back to work, I mean in general since I didn't really have a real steady job before.

I love my life as a sahm (stay at home mom).  It is my dream 'job', to stay home and raise my kids.  And my hubby loves me home.  I take care of all things to do with the house, the kids and their school and me being a sahm makes dealing with all that 'stuff' much easier than if I was a working mom.  BUT, I was planning on starting working as soon as my youngest was in school, which was in 2013.  However, best laid plans tend to go astray because, that was also the year we had our BIG surprise baby, which meant no working for me (not while taking care of a baby and now a mom of 4 kids).

So I decided, yet again, to just stay at home with my kiddos (and I was not complaining).  But money is TIGHT with 4 kids and three of them being in school.  There is a lot to consider like activities, school supplies, fun outings, clothes, medical stuff, etcetera.  Having just one small income sometimes just does not cut it.  Let me tell you, a budget is your friend.

Now, I am not gonna cry poor.  I have a pretty blessed life. I do get to stay home with my kids.  And they do get to do a ton of fun activities (some of them free thankfully).  We do have fun family outings to the movies or the park or even to a nice restaurant.  We still get to do fun things as a family even on our small income, but we have to budget.

Last year we went on an amazing family vacation: 7 days at 3 different beaches!!!  It was amazing.  We ate out every day for lunch and dinner.  We did a bunch of fun actives at the beach as well, like snorkeling, kayaking and jet skiing.  We also celebrate all the kids' birthdays either with a really special fun activity or a party.  We give our kids a lot, more than most (a nice Christmas, Easter).  So we make what little we have work.  But the time has come to look at our bills, our debt and our income. With all that in mind, it just makes sense for me to help out a little financially. I mean, my poor hubby.  He essentially has two jobs: the day job that pays the bills and his other job, which is more of what he wants for his career.  But it still just isn't enough.  There is just a lot we want to do or need to do and can't do because, well, the funds aren't there right now.

So we talked and I have been more or less looking for work from home jobs (part time) just to bring in a little extra money.  Now, I am not pounding the pavement or the internet searching for jobs; it's more like if I get one I get one, if I don't, I don't.  But I am looking and if I get one, I will take it.  The baby will be 3, so I have a little bit of extra time on my hands where I might be able to get some actual work done.  And working from home gives me the best of both worlds.  I would still be home with my kids and I wouldn't be spending extra money on commuting to and from a job.  Also, part time gives me the flexibility to still do all the things I need to get done as a mom on a daily basis but with just some more money in my pocket.

I did officially apply to one job I found online, a law firm from New York.  I hope it's a good fit (if I ever get the interview).  I am nervous though, because working is working and add that to my already full plate makes me think I won't have any me time at all.  But I know I can do it.  And most importantly I know I am ready to do it.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Potty Training Success??

I believe I may have just potty trained my 4th child.  At just 2 and a half years old, I think my youngest is already, for the most part, already potty trained.  And it feels so so good.

So in the beginning, I was really dreading this potty training process. I had been through it already three times and know just how difficult it can be to try and potty train a toddler (a stubborn one at that).   He was very much against the potty at the very start.  I knew he needed to be toilet trained as he would go hide to do his business and hated for anyone to see him go number 2.  But each and every time I tried to put his booty on the toilet he would scream bloody murder and even hold his poo for days.

I left him naked a few times and also put on cute undies on him and he would still stand with legs apart and piss all over the floor.  He was not ready in my eyes so I gave up many times.  I was just not feeling the whole potty training process and strongly believed that when he was ready he would go to the toilet (I was hoping magically).

Well one particular incident happened about two weeks ago that really pushed the potty training process full sped ahead and led mr. toddler to start using the toilet.  We went to a baby shower and because of whatever unforeseen circumstance, he needed to go but the bathroom was occupied so he pooped in his diaper (he was still wearing a diaper back then.)  However, the diaper did not contain his excrementals so the poo ended up all over him (his shirt, his back, everywhere.)  He was not happy and very uncomfortable and I was very not prepared (I didn't bring a backup diaper, no wipes, no change of clothes, nothing.)

Hubby changed and cleaned him up, and had a long talk with him (how do you reason with a 2 year old?) And then put on his shorts and a sweater (his shirt was pretty soiled).  He did not have on a diaper and for the rest of the duration of the time we spent at the shower, maybe another 2 to 3 hours, he remained dry and seemed content.  So I ran with it (I guess the heart to heart from daddy worked).  I decided from that day on to not put him in anymore diapers.

So far he has done really well.  He did have a few accidents and still has a hard time pooping in the actual toilet but we've gone a full week without accidents and he still remains completely dry overnight which is amazing.  For him to be nighttime pottery trained was something I didn't think would happen so fast.

I really don't want to jinx myself but there is no turning back now.  He pees in the toilet, sometimes he will go and do it all by himself with not much help from me, which is amazing.  And most times he lets me know he has to pee.  He has gone #2 twice and I am looking forward to the third, just to solidify the fact that he is completely potty trained, so we'll see.  But he is off diapers and loves wearing his underwear, all before his 3rd birthday.  Now that is success to me.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Party Over Here

This year, my princess turns 9.  CRAZY!!!  I cannot believe how fast my kids are growing.  It makes me feel super blessed to watch them grow and see their individual personalities shine through.  As the party planning mama, I knew I would be planning a birthday party for the kids this year again, of course.  I figure I may get another year or so for parties as they get older, since the older they get, the smaller the parties get and the more they might want to do a fun activity instead of an actual party.

Last year my princess told me she wanted a Peppa Pig birthday party, so I already had her theme ready to go before we rang in the new year.  I think it's a super cute theme and we all love Peppa so I started collecting Peppa party items a few weeks ago.  The majority of the decorations will be done by moi (DIY), with images I printed off the net (thanks Google).

I have my list of things I still need to get done but I still have about 2 weeks or so to get it all done.  Plus I am keeping parties simple this year to keep the stress level at bay (less work for me = more fun for me).  Keeping the guest list to a minimum (around 30-35 people), ordering pizza instead of cooking a big meal and keeping the decor simple yet fun is what I am all about (I have 4 kids and a house to tend to, I don't need more on my plate).  But I love party planning and I know even though I always start out small, my parties tend to take on a life of their own so we'll see how this one goes.

It's the first official party of the season for us (since we don't host parties for my 16 year old anymore), so I really do hope it's a good one.I have to say I am super excited and cannot wait for the party to get STARTED!!!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Immigration Issues

Whenever you decide to travel for an extended amount of time to another country it's good, especially if you have never been to that country before, to familiarize yourself with the laws and rules to make sure you don't accidentally break any.  It's also good to know a little bit about the place you tend to spend a good chunk of your time.

If you are thinking of relocating for good (or even for a short time), make sure you know what you are getting yourself into before you go.  When I decided to move to Costa Rica about 10 years ago, I didn't do much research.  I had ties here already (Hubby's family) who I thought for sure could help facilitate my move and make it a smooth one.  I had no idea, however, how long it would take for that to happen.

Finally, after all these years, I am in the process of getting my legal status and getting my permanent resident papers.  It was a process, let me tell you, but I hope in the end it will all be worth it. As a "tourist", which is what I still technically am, I can't work here legally or get insurance.  I have had three children here and they gladly and without much hassle gave me medical care.  But as for going and getting a regular checkup, that has to come out of my own pocket.

The biggest drawback for me (because, honestly, I am a stay at home so I don't need to work and I willingly pay for doctor visits as I prefer private anyway) is I cannot leave this country.  If I so much as step foot on the other side of any border (Panama or Nicaragua), I will be banished from entering this country for about 10 years (maybe even more).  So it is imperative for me to get my legal status in order so I can travel, mainly back home to visit family in Boston.

There are loads of websites filled with a ton of information on the immigration laws in Costa Rica, so do your research.  Also, contacting an immigration lawyer for information can be beneficial as some of the info on certain sites can conflict with one another.  Once you do have all the info you need, then it becomes easier in figuring out what you need to do (and all the paperwork you need to deal with) for a smooth transition and trouble free relocation to Costa Rica.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Baby Season

Baby season has arrived in Costa Rica or maybe it's just something in my head.  But it seems like there are a lot of people that I know that are pregnant right now: a neighbor, hubby's work friend and about 3 people in hubby's family (one just gave birth about 2 weeks ago).

I love baby season mainly because I love baby showers.  I love shopping for baby gifts (baby stuff is so CUTE).  I love attending baby showers because the food is always on point.  I love watching the mom to be open her shower gifts because I am nosy and want to see what she got.  And I love baby shower games (I may be the only person ready to admit this but I do.)

So when we got our first invite to the first baby shower of the season, I was stoked.  Well, technically it was the second invite but the other one was in Boston and of course, we couldn't attend that one for obvious reasons.  Then yesterday I got my second official invite (I had already RSVP'd to the Facebook invitation online).  So now I have to think about what I want to buy the baby for a shower gift.

I am always one to put a little thought behind my baby shower gift.  I have to admit I like when my gift is the best one (or up there with the best gifts, something the parents to be can truly appreciate).  If it's a family member I like to spend a little more money and thought on the gift (especially if I don't have to pay a fee to attend the shower...)

The first baby shower is this Saturday and I am pretty excited.  They are work friends of hubby's and I only met them once but this is the second shower we have been invited to by hubby's work friends. I like when co-workers include hubby in their personal lives, especially when it also extends to his family.  So of course we will be attending and of course I want to get them a really nice gift.

Now, in Costa Rica, people mainly gift clothes: it's easier, less expensive and it's something babies need and parents appreciate.  So with that thought, I don't want to give clothes.  I am pretty certain they will be getting plenty of tiny, cute baby clothes for their first born child.  For me, I like to gift outside the norm and get them other necessities like a baby bath tub or a huge box of diapers.  Or fun stuff like a baby gym or bouncy chair.

Now, I do have a budget and it's usually a little less for acquaintances and friends than it is for family members but with my budget, I tend to find a plethora of really cute and out of the box gifts for new parents, thing that other people would never think to give or things the parents themselves would never think to buy. So even though clothes are a necessary option, I want my gift to be just a little bit more special than that.  We shall see what I end up buying.