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Posts tagged with: preschool

House Hunting….kinda

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Hi from sunny (and HOT) Madison, Wisconsin!!!

I’m here for my work conference and, unfortunately, brought the Tucson heat with me! Just last week the average temperatures were in the mid-80s. I arrived on Tuesday of this week and since I’ve been here it’s been in the high-90s/flirting with 100 degrees F plus muggy. Boo!!! Get it together, Madison! (I kid, I kid – it’s actually quite gorgeous aside from the heat + humidity).

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. The REAL point of this post is about HOUSE HUNTING!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!! The time has finally arrived. It’s FINALLY arrived!!!!

Hubs and I had originally planned to start house hunting in early summer but had to push back the start of house-hunting a bit to finish adding to our house down payment fund. As a reminder, we’re planning to put down 20% so we can avoid any mortgage insurance. To do so, we wanted to save up $10,000 during the first half of this year (one of our 2016 goals, now done – yay!!!); we’ll add to that all the money from my money market account (roughly another $10,000…a little more at this point); and, finally, my mom is gifting us a sum of money that I haven’t disclosed.

We decided to start by shopping mortgage lenders. We’ve hired a realtor and got her recommendation, plus called around to all the local credit unions to ask about mortgage current rates (though none of them keep the loans in-house, they can still offer better deals than most big banks). Note, we haven’t actually hired a lender yet or processed any paperwork. At this point, we’ve just begun the process of shopping different lenders. We’re not letting anyone run our credit, etc., until we’ve decided on a lender, so we’re just comparing generalities (by giving our credit, an estimated loan amount, etc.)

I’m pretty sure we’ve found who we’re going to go with, but I’m still waiting to get my contract for the 2016-2017 academic year so we won’t actually start the paperwork process until I have that in hand to prove my continued income, etc.

Once that occurs, the hunt is ON!!! We’ve already been zeroing in on a couple of neighborhoods/areas that we like and I’m dying to actually get in some houses and look around. Can’t wait!!!

In other news – remember how I mentioned having a friend who lives in Madison (it was one of the reasons I was excited about coming here for my conference)? Well, I totally called it because she had her baby literally in the early morning hours on the day I arrived in town. I’m glad many of you advised me to really make the trip more about WORK than about socialization. I’ve been here 2 full days and have yet to see her. I was going to swing by her house this evening after the conference, but she had just gotten home from the hospital, is nursing a 3rd degree tear (in addition to her infant, har har), and just didn’t feel very well. No hurt feelings – I 100% understand. I should be able to go by tomorrow after the conference. Even if it’s just dropping off dinner and a baby gift, I’ll at least be able to say hi and meet the new baby for a couple minutes. I’m sure other parents can relate to the overwhelming craze that surrounds the first couple of days home from the hospital with one’s first child!!! Just sucks that the timing of the conference worked out like it did because I would’ve loved to spend more time together and take advantage of my kids-free nights! ; )

That being said, I’ve been ultra productive while I’ve been here. In between conference sessions I’ve done tons of grading. In the evenings I’ve been making lessons for my Fall classes, updating syllabi and course calendars, and getting final grades up from my summer classes (ahem, and writing this blog post). I still feel way behind (I think that’s my new normal, which is uncomfortable for someone who is always totally on top of their work), but I’m still treading water and doing better than I have most of the summer so it’s all good.

And, why don’t I just continue (since this post is total stream-of-consciousness at this point anyway. Let’s just go on with it, lol)…. my girls’ first day of preschool was today!!!! It still breaks my heart a little that I wasn’t there, but it’s helped that hubs sent lots of fun pictures of the girls all ready to go and full of smiles in their new classroom. I’m not going to lie though, it hurt when I FaceTimed with them this evening and they asked, “Why didn’t you get us from school, Mom?!” (tear). I’ll be home Friday afternoon in time to pick them up, so that will have to suffice. The GREAT news about the girls starting back to school is that it means I can go back to working full-time (thank god, given that I have both a full-time AND a part-time job. Whew! How have I done it all summer with only part-time care?!). When I return I have exactly 1 week before the Fall semester starts and it is literally jam-packed just about every minute of every day with meetings, To Do’s, workshops, etc. It’s insanity! I’m so very thankful to get some solid dedicated work-time in both this week (at least in the evenings after the conference) and next week (while the kids are in school – YAY!)

Sorry it’s been a hot minute since my last post! I’ll try to be better about it but, you know, life.

What’s one good thing happening in your world right now? When do kids go back to school in your area? Any must-do thing in Madison before I leave? I don’t have much time but could maybe squeeze in a restaurant or something???


Back to School

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How quickly the summer has flown by! Even though it doesn’t feel like Fall yet (and I guess technically its not for another month and a half!), the Fall semester is soon upon us!

This month is going to be a little on the pricy side for childcare. Our current childcare facility (the JCC)’s last day is on July 31st. They close for a week for teacher planning before the next school year begins. But our new childcare facility doesn’t start until August 12th. So we’re left with 7 weekdays with no childcare! Yikes!

Although my job does allow some flexibility for working from home, there’s no way I can stay home for the entire 7 days in a row. Especially at this time of year (being brand new, trying to get all the prep work done for my classes, endless meetings, setting up my new office, etc. etc. etc.) it’s just not feasible.

So after racking our brains for possible options we’ve finally resigned ourselves to the fact that we’re going to have to pay someone hourly to come to our house to watch the kids. This is WAY more expensive (per hour) than taking them to a childcare center. But I also don’t feel good about just throwing them in a random childcare center for 7 days and then moving them again to the new place (they’re not great with change, and moving to the new facility is going to be enough of an adjustment. Plus – anyone remember our bad experience with a childcare center last summer? That experience has scarred me a little so I’m extra careful about vetting places now). To me, this is really our only available option.

And, even so, I’m still going to have to take off work. Our babysitter is a senior in high school and schools start back next Thursday so she can only watch our kids Monday-Wednesday. The plan now is for me to stay home Thurs-Fri, and for hubs to stay home the following Mon-Tues, and then they start the new place on Wednesday, August 12th. Whew!

In addition to babysitting expenses, the new school has a whole list of things we need to bring. I’m going to use our same lunch boxes, but we need a new backpack (I’d only bought one last year and we never even used it, but the new place requires them and I want them to each have their own), we have to bring some school supplies, oversized shirts (to wear over their clothes for art projects), and it seems like a ton of other things that I can’t even remember right now. I just remember going through the paperwork seeing dollar signs as I was reading.

Even so, I’m VERY excited for them to start this new preschool. I absolutely loved the JCC and will sing their praises to the very end. But it’s not practical to stay there given the distance from our home (especially now with me working), and our new place seems really awesome, too. I ADORE their teacher, its closer to our house, the curriculum is incredible (it follows NAEYC standards), and it’s cheaper! A win-win-win all around!

So hopefully after this first month of extra childcare expenses (due to babysitting costs and back to school supplies), costs should even out a little bit.

I don’t know if its just because I’m in higher education, but I have always LOVED back-to-school excitement! You can just feel the energy and buzz in the air! I find it especially true on a college campus, but I’m sure it’s a similar feeling everywhere.

When do your kids go back to school? How much do you typically spend on back-to-school supplies?


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