Jul 29, 2014

Big Brother, Family Vacation and Parenting Costs

It's been a busy few weeks at the Birt house. Also: Check out an infographic that speaks to the challenges—and joys—of parenting.

Big Brother, Family Vacation and Parenting Costs

The biggest news out of the Birt household in the last two weeks is that Micah is getting a younger brother. The baby is due Dec. 5, and both he and my wife are well. We're so thankful for this blessing.

In the meantime, a lot of other things have happened this month. Julie, Micah and I traveled with Julie's family to Table Rock Lake (near Branson) for a great four-day vacation. While it happened during the blazing 107-degree heat through no fault of anyone, we found ways to stay cool.

My father-in-law, Bruce, rented a pontoon boat one day, so we all spent several hours out on the water. Jumping into the lake proved glorious. Micah loves boats.

The marina requires youngsters to wear a life jacket at all times, which is a great idea but worrisome to parents who fear the device might cut off blood supply to his brain. It did not: Rather, the rocking of the boat lulled him to a sort of half-sleep only broken by the sounds of people shouting as members of our party tumbled off the flotation device being dragged across the waves behind the boat.

We also enjoyed meals together, took time to go indoors for a movie and visited a museum.

The following week, we had a great visit with my mom, dad and sister, who drove from Colorado and across the plains of Kansas to reach St. Louis. My dad had identified several great local eateries, and we checked out several with excellent results— Goody Goody Diner and Sweetie Pie's Kitchen.

At Goody Goody, I had the chicken and waffles. At Sweetie Pie's, I had the catfish along with okra (cooked, no breading) and sweet potatoes. Both were divine. Please visit these popular sites if you haven't already.

Lastly, you probably noticed the large infographic at the top of this page. Thanks to Karen Dahl at EarlyChildhoodEducation.com for reaching out to share what she and other members of the design team there developed. I haven't really thought too much about expenses tied to children, which is probably a bad thing.

At the same time, Julie and I have tried to be proactive by purchasing used clothing when possible, going the cloth diaper route, opening a 529 savings account and so forth.

Babies definitely change the marriage dynamic. But it's a welcome change, and it's a growth opportunity for the father for sure.

I won't speak for Julie. She's extremely mature.

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