- went out to dinner and to a play with a friend on Friday night after work
- took the boys to their usual Saturday morning session at The Lit.tle Gym
- made a dent in sorting through my "denial piles" of paper clutter (some of which have been accumulating since I cleared out our former home office and then went on bed rest before the boys were born)
- had dinner out with MM and friends without our kids!
- took the boys and the dog to the park Sunday morning (we had beautiful weather this weekend; fall is a great time in Phoenix)
- Furminated and brushed Hunter, removing enough hair to knit a small afghan
- saw my inlaws
- had lunch out with MM while the boys napped (courtesy of my inlaws' babysitting)
- bought groceries, did the usual minimal household chores and meal prep, as well as seven loads of laundry (including folding and putting away)
All of the above in addition to the usual weekend agenda of playing with my sons and keeping them safe and happy. When I write it all out, it sounds like a lot!
Things generally are going well. The new job is working out: people are nice, and so far I have a lot less stress. Most importantly, I have my weekends back! I'm also able to take a rapid transit commuter bus from a nearby park-and-ride to my building most days at no cost (paid by my employer as part of a pollution reduction plan), which is a nice way to save money and reduce the stress of commuting. I've been able to read five books on the ride to and from work so far.
The paycut has been a bit of a struggle, but I knew it would be. I have cut back on some things and am challenging myself to find more places to save money. Things will ease a little in March when MM pays off his car and even more when I finish my first year on the job because I'll receive an automatic 5% pay increase and qualify for student loan repayment assistance that will amount to an additional $325 or so per month. Until then, we just have to do without some non-necessities.
The boys are doing wonderfully well! MJ is very chatty and probably has over 75-80 words now. He is like a parrot and will repeat most new words he hears. AJ is starting to talk more, though still much less than his brother. He is very interested in puzzles and building things. They are both very fun and happy most of the time, though we are definitely starting to see some toddler frustration and independence emerging.