the one where I talk about hair. a lot.

“There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means.”

– Calvin Coolidge

Thanks for all the kind words since my last post. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one struggling with a budget. And food. And the lack of desire to cook all the time.

Speaking of budgets, frugality, and thriftiness, I definitely cut my kids’ hair this week.

Oh boy.

Do you know what? It was actually all kinds of awesome. So, the Gabe-ster needed a haircut bad. So, very bad. Here’s him, about three weeks ago.

just eat up all that adorableness

Just eat up all that adorableness. And crackers.

I loved, loved, loved his hair. It was soft and adorable and he had beautiful baby curls in the back. We also had visions of him looking like a surfer dude all his days. [I have grander visions of him becoming an actual surfer, but that’s for another time] I didn’t cut Sophia’s hair for a long time, and was in no rush to have Gabe’s cut either. The problem for him, though, was his hair never stayed out of his face. It grows pretty straight, smack into his beautiful li’l eyeballs. Insert complications of coordination, stumbling, and overall falling over. [Now, he still does fall, but now it’s no longer my fault. the dude is too fast on his feet] I also got a gentle smack-down from our GP, who informed me that Gabe’s eyes will develop inappropriately if the hair is in his face all the time. Stuff about how one eye will overcompensate for the other, since it has hair dangling in front of it. Given that our GP is not an over-emotional or sensationalist guy, I thought I’d rely on his judgment. He saw how hesitant I was to give Gabe a trim, though, and he said even if it was just the bangs, it needed to go.

So, I go home that afternoon, “researched” [read: I watched 1 YouTube video one time, didn’t look any further, and thought I was ready] how to cut li’l kids’ hair. I did no prep, had poor equipment, and just chopped it.

eh. that is definitely not the greatest haircut I've ever seen.

Horrible. That looks horrible. [And the photo is crappy. Man. Double horrible.]

It was super choppy, I didn’t do any shaping so it looked like a mullet, and then I kind of gave up. Because, you know, I do that sometimes.

Fast forward a couple weeks, and then I find out that our go-to stylist is moving out of town. [which is sad on a couple of levels, since she’s our cousin and we’ll sorely miss her] I also could not justify the prices of haircuts, for as often as both kids truly need them. Kids & mens are $25; if we went monthly, it’d be $75, plus tip and product, not counting my own visits throughout the year. [Right now, my budget is dying a little inside as I type this.]

So, I did real research. I watched several how-to videos from professional stylists; heck, I even RE-watched them. And took notes. How’s that for the real deal? I wrote down a list of supplies I needed; we made a mad dash to the box store in front of our place, and we set up a barber shop in our kitchen.

Dr. M is out of town, so 1.) he wasn’t there to document any of this in video and 2.) he’ll be in for quite a shock, either in reading this blog or when we go to get him from the airport tomorrow. All three of us went under the scissors, and are the better for it. Or, so I would argue.

Here’s Gabe, before and after:

He's a disgusting baby. A sweet baby, but a disgusting one all the same.

He’s a disgusting baby. A sweet, smiley, wonderful baby, but a disgusting one all the same. I have no idea what is on his tray & face, but it only got worse as we added candy and hair in the process.

This photo is a smidge blurry. It also denotes a calm, peaceful, happy baby. He was not any of those things while the clippers were on.

This photo is a smidge blurry. It also denotes a calm, peaceful, happy baby. He was not any of those things while the clippers were on.

 

Here’s Sophia, in just an after:

She's a sweet li'l thing, no? She said she liked having me cut her hair, because "going to the salon takes so much time and I don't get to watch Baby Avengers. So I like that you do it Mom"

She’s a sweet li’l thing, no? She said she liked having me cut her hair, because “going to the salon takes so much time and I don’t get to watch Baby Avengers. So I like that you do it Mom. Also, you give me candy.” [everyone, just shake your heads with me – this girl]

Her’s was a little more difficult, surprisingly so; she doesn’t like to sit still for anything, so the back ended up being longer than the front. I fixed it once it was dry, and honestly, it doesn’t look awful. I bought thinning shears, too, and took out a ton of bulk. She had a hair cut in August, so it was time. Her hair is just like mine, surprisingly thick and wavy. She continues to say that 1.) she never wants bangs and 2.) she wants to grow it out. As long as that is her goal, I’ll keep trimming it myself.

And here’s me, in an after:

well, how do you like that?

well, how do you like that? by the way, I’m loving that it’s cold enough for this scarf to be justified!

So, if you hadn’t seen my hair in a bit [I think my most recent photos were in July – face palm], it had been relatively short [see my Twitter photo for an example]. But, that was in May. My hair had totally bulked out, looked weird, and I kept throwing it into buns because I didn’t have time to style it. It needed something. So, like I did with the other two, I researched how to cut your own bangs. They’re a little choppy, but that’s how I like ’em. They also look good pushed over. I think I’ve found a winner!

I’m also considering ditching shampoo, at least in the “traditional” sense. I’ve come across it in my perusing of the Interwebs; the basic idea is you use a baking soda mix for your “shampoo” and apple cider vinegar mix for your “conditioner”. I’ve seen a few folks talk about how they love it; I know some who already do it, and they love it. Pros:  you are saving money on hair care products, your hair is healthier than ever, and saving time because you remove heat and chemicals out of the hair care equation. Con: It’s a bit of an upfront commitment [apparently your hair goes through a detox process for a couple of weeks, where it looks gnarly and people might think you’re a hobo. or a hippie. or something else equally unflattering.] have any of you ever done? thoughts, tips, suggestions?

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I am a grown-up, I am a grown-up, I am a grown-up [Repeat until you believe it]

“Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.”

-Julie Andrews

And now, all I want to do is watch “The Sound of Music”. Anyone else? So, speaking of discipline, I hit a wall with our budget. It was an ugly, brick wall, where I got a nasty black eye and then I punched it because I was mad, but broke my hand, because, you know … it’s a brick wall. Silly me.

After some serious wailing & gnashing of teeth, I think I’ve figured it out[ish]. Dave Ramsey & I are now best buds, and what I previously thought were well-constructed budgets were not, and I’ve mostly fixed it them. All my researching and typing and [poor] math over the last week has been a good thing, and forced us to realize some ugly truths in our spending habits [because let’s say it right now, Dr. M is not the problem in the money world here. He spends nothing. Ever.] The big issue I found in our money is food, pure and simple. I tallied what we spent on groceries and eating out last month, and oh-my-god-it-was-horrifying. Like, go hide under a bed and never show anyone that number. To anyone. Ever.

Part of the trouble was I hated [or, more accurately, still hate] cooking. I’m not that great at it [ask my family]; I have to do it every day [ugh – dishes]; and overall, I’d rather be reading than standing over a freakin’ hot stove in the subtropical climate that is CHS. I admitted as much to Dr. M, and got a wonderful stare down that made me realize how foolish I’ve been. Yes, I hate it. So, make it better and find a solution so that we’re not spending $30 every other night on pizza. [That stare was mighty powerful, right?]

So that’s my new goal. To not eat out [except for when it really, really is important & it’s budgeted for] and feed my family. Streamline the dinner process, make it simple and realize that I will always be making dinner forever and ever, and get over it.

The big lesson I’ve learned over the last week is one of discipline. Saying, planning, and talking are all nice things – and you know me; I love a good list and organized calendar. But the bigger point is to actually do what you’ve planned. Make dinner for pennies at home, and then be able to put money in savings. Don’t buy junk food at Chik-Fil-A and McDonalds, and feel healthier AND have money in the bank. Amazing, I know. I just have been defaulting to what’s easy.

And easy has been killing us. Here’s to better health, eh?