Two.

This past week was Addie’s 2nd birthday. People aren’t joking when they say that time really does fly when you have a child. I attribute this to the lack of sleep. For the past two years I’ve been walking around in a sleep deprived haze in which one day blends seamlessly to next.

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Addie’s Birthday Party
We had a small low key event where we invited a few of Addie’s friends to a children’s art studio named Averyboo Arts in Long Beach. There were painting stations, arts and crafts, spinart, and many other toys and costumes for the children to play with. The party only lasted two hours and ended with pizza and story time. It was the perfect amount of time for my daughter.
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Having a party at a location other than your house is the way to go. Everything is setup for you, there’s no clean up, and you’re in and out in a few hours. This was far less stressful than the year before when my wife and I had her birthday party at our home. Addie had a great time playing and painting with her friends.

Two Years Ago…
I never wanted kids.

All I thought of was all the things I would lose by becoming a parent. No free time, less money, no sleep, no social life, no time for myself. I used to look at parents and pity them for spending most of their days cleaning up and caring after their kids and not having any time for themselves. I used to listen to former coworkers talk about how going to work kept them sane because it was a break from their kids.

Who wants that life? I didn’t.

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So while I knew my wife wanted to have kids sooner rather than later, I delayed and delayed it. I was waiting for that perfect time – when we’d have more money, established careers, and after we traveled the world. AFTER WE ENJOYED OUR LIFE. We were married for seven years (together for 15!) before we had Addie.

Parenting Ain’t Easy
Nothing can truly prepare you to become a parent. I thought I had an idea because I babysat, listened to friends with kids, and read What to Expect When You’re Expecting. 

That all went out the window when Addie was born.

Waking up in the middle of the night to clean vomit and change diapers sucks. Not having time to yourself is tough. There were many times when being a parent has put a strain on my relationship with my wife as the focus is on the tiny human being that we created.

It’s all worth it.

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All the hard times of being a parent are outweighed by all those amazing moments being a father brings. It’s amazing seeing Addie grow from a tiny baby to a rambunctios toddler. Watching Addie smile, laugh, or repeat a silly catchphrase I taught her (peace out homies!) makes everything worthwhile. I now understand all those parents that post every single thing their kid does on Facebook – because everything your child does IS awesome.

Becoming a parent is the one thing in my life that has truly made me feel alive. Yes, I had a pretty good life and an awesome wife who always encouraged me and believed in me. But it wasn’t until I became a father that I truly felt I found my purpose: to become the best damn husband and father I can be. Since Addie was born I have been continually hustling to be able to provide the best life I can for her.

Of Birthdays and College Funds
My wife and I budget $1000 a year for Addie’s birthday. For those who think that’s a crazy amount for a birthday, you must not be a parent ;). Between hosting a party, booking a location, getting food, entertainment, and buying gift bags for the kids who came (a must!) it isn’t too hard to hit $1000 for a birthday party. And if you do something extravagant like have pony rides? Sheeeeit…….

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As a Budget nerd, I’ve been saving $83.33 since last May so that we would have enough for Addie’s birthday. I was doing this even during the few months that I was laid off.

We intentionally budget a lot more than we intend to spend for Addie’s birthday. Every single penny that’s left over after the birthday party we put towards her college fund. This encourages us to be a little more mindful when it comes to spending on her birthday. By the end of her birthday we dumped an extra $300 into her college fund.

As I’ve written in a previous post, birthdays and holidays are a great time to have a college fund setup for your child. In our evite for Addie’s birthday we included a link for her college fund. A lot of people I’ve spoken to love the idea of donating money towards Addie’s future rather than buy her a toy she’ll get bored with or an outfit she’ll quickly outgrow.  As a result of the link (and because I nerd out about it to anyone who would listen), Addie received $445 in gifts towards her education.

Currently, Addie has about $8000 in her 529 plan. I look forward to seeing what her balance looks like when she graduates high school.

To those who are wondering, yes – Addie still received a lot of toys. 🙂

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31 thoughts on “Two.

  1. All I can say is that Addie is a very lucky girl to have a father (and mother) like you! This post was so heartfelt it actually brought a tear to my eye. We wish Addie a very happy birthday and future that continues to be bright and happy! – Mrs. FE

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aww!! Happy birthday to Addie! You have such a beautiful family. It’s so smart to budget in her birthday and college fund months (and years) before. I don’t have kids, but if/when I ever do, I def feel less stress about it. I guess it all comes down to planning and preparing (especially financially!)

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    1. Birthdays can get crazy expensive so that’s the only way we could pay for a party – by setting aside a little bit each month for it. I think the costs will get even higher as she gets older as the kids usually have to one-up each other on who has the better birthday. Hopefully we don’t fall in that trap (too much) 😉

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  3. I love that you have a set budget for the birthday party every year, and that it’s generous enough to allow for all the extras that can make a party memorable to the kids. So smart! And Addie’s college fund is impressive for a 2 year old. Way to go on that! I do not have any kids of my own, yet, but I will file these ideas away for the potential future…

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  4. Happy birthday, Addie! It’s awesome how much you guys have saved for her college, and that you give your party guests the opportunity to contribute to that instead of bringing gifts. I keep hearing from parents that gift giving is out of control, and same for those party favor bags, and so giving people another outlet is great. Peace out, homies!

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    1. My wife grew up poor and was saved by having a good college education so saving for college is pretty important to me and my wife.I think we do a good job of saving for retirement while funding Addie’s college at the same time 🙂

      Gift giving can get out of control. I just hope as Addie gets older she’ll be content with her toys and not pout if she doesn’t get a mountain of gifts for her birthday. Kids don’t need that many toys. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy birthday, Addie! 🙂 She’s absolutely adorable! I think it’s great that you remain focused on saving for college. I like how you gave your guests the opportunity to contribute, and that you kept her birthday party simple. Kids birthday parties are so expensive nowadays!

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    1. Thanks Madison!

      A lot of people have told me how awesome it is that I’m giving them an option to contribute to their college fund. I think most people feel obligated to buy SOMETHING, so they buy some random gift from Target that they hope Addie likes. My daughter is pretty content with her current toys so getting a little less toys on her birthday in lieu of college fund money is a win win 🙂

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  6. Happy birthday Addie! I love that her leftover birthday money goes towards a college fund. I’m very blessed as my parents paid for my education. I’m forever grateful for that gift!

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    1. My parents paid for mine as well which I’m very thankful for. The thing I take away from that is that my parents didn’t save so they were scrambling taking out loans and finding ways to fund our college. I didn’t know how hard they worked at the time to make my life easier. I want to do the best I can to fund Addie’s college as much as possible 🙂

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  7. A thousand bucks is a thousand bucks and I never like it when people judge other’s spending habits. If you want to spend $1,000 on a birthday party, do it. You save responsibly and you do it, don’t let other people live your life, you know? (plus, those early birthdays are really for parents to relive their childhoods anyway… so it’s really a birthday for you too)

    As for the parenting, I always wanted kids because they’re fun but they are a ton of work. I think lots of parents like to vent with each other, commiserate, and just blow off a little steam. It feels silly to gust over your kids too though because it’s like an embarrassment of riches how cute and awesome kids are. 🙂

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    1. For sure! As long as you’re responsible with your money it’s ok to go all out for your kid’s birthday party!

      I totally get the blowing steam part – I have been accused of influencing some of my non-parent friends to not have kids yet because I talk of all the hardships of parenthood. It just feels weird gushing about how cute my daughter is sometimes 🙂

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  8. Happy birthday to Addie!! You are right, time flies fast. My kid is in the university now. Raising a kid is very fulfilling. Dealing with tantrums and sicknesses were hard. But, I don’t think I wanted to trade it for anything.

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    1. Thanks Sarah!

      I think with kids birthdays, a lot of people just randomly get a gift the kid MIGHT like. How many toys does a kid really need? I hope my wife and I teach Addie that there’s more to life than getting every single toy.

      While we’re thankful for every gift Addie gets, it’s nice to get college fund money that’ll benefit Addie in the future 🙂

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  9. My friend asked for contributions to a 529 plan instead of gifts also. Kids got too much toys already and we’re in NYC. Space is LIMITED! He wasn’t sure if it would be tacky to ask for what was in essence I guess a cash gift, but I was fine with it. Much easier for me…didn’t need to go shop for a gift. Adorable pictures! And you’re right, parenting is tough but so worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think it’s tacky at all to ask for cash type gifts for things like kids birthday parties.

      Kids don’t need that many toys, and I would rather someone by something useful then just get something random at Target because they HAD to get something.

      Then again, I do like that Addie gets toys from some people because I don’t buy a lot for her in the first place 🙂

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  10. My mom was sure I would never have kids. I kind of doubted it myself. And it is an insane amount of work! (15 load of laundry a week, Hello!) But there isn’t a single one of my kids, I look at and think, “yeah, we could do without you in our life.” We were really fortunate to hit work optional before there was a whole herd of them. And being able to take this year off of paid employment has been awesome! I get a few hours of alone time each day, to write, think or drink a cup of tea while it’s still hot! =)

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  11. I’m a little late… However happy 2nd birthday Addie (+a month haha!) ❤

    I don't have kids yet but I'm taking notes from you now Vic. I'm getting some brilliant ideas! Hosting her party somewhere else besides your own home (or friend or family member) is a fantastic idea, probably worth the extra money you might need to spend to book the venue if it means less stress. I love that you budget for her birthday party over the year and that you've incorporated her college fund (by allowing people to contribute money to it and also putting extra money you didn't spend on her birthday party towards the college fund). I will steal these ideas for when I start having babies 😉 hope you don't mind lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, of course Jaymee! I hope you do steal my ideas haha.

      The college fund idea is great! Instead of buying something random at Target, this donation will truly be going to Addie’s future. People I’ve talked to have been more than happy to contribute 🙂

      Like

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