Hard to believe we managed to stay in one place for 6 years, but we did...and now, the reign is over. I've spent the last couple of weeks packing, moving, getting settled and whatnot.
My favorite thing about our new place is that I have my own washer and dryer! This makes all the hassle of moving totally worth it. Being able to do laundry whenever I want, or more aptly, whenever is most convenient for me, is total freedom!
The new place also just feels more like home. It's ironic that we spent the most time in the place that I never really loved. It was so...pedestrian. It's a long story of why I started looking, but I'm glad I did, and I am loving our new place.
I just realized that I never mentioned here something that I did a few months ago. I got a new car! It's an electric!
Believe it or not, I did it mostly for financial reasons. The monthly payment is less than what I was budgeting for gas each month, the fact that it's new and won't need repairs - and the fact that it's electric means I don't even need oil changes every few months! Plus, now that Sylvia has her permit, we needed to start thinking about a 2nd vehicle. And the state of CA gave me a nice rebate for buying electric.
That was another advantage to moving: I have my own private garage now for charging - and keeping it safe. And our new location means an easier commute, too!
Another financial change I made: I've started investing with Acorns. This is an app I heard about on Listen Money Matters, and I preferred it to Betterment because - well, frankly, it means less $$. Acorns uses the rounding up method for investing. If, for instance, I spend 11.59 on an Amazon purchase, Acorns will take 41 cents to invest. (Betterment, I believe, requires a minimum investment, and then through its pricing encourages you to invest at least $100 a month.) I've only been using Acorns for a couple of months, but it looks like I'll average around $25 that gets invested each month - and it's a far better use of change than sticking it in a jar! When I was living paycheck to paycheck, I would round up transactions, so this just does that more effectively. (If a purchase is an exact dollar amount, Acorns takes a whole dollar.) Once I've paid off my credit card debt completely, I'd like to start investing with Betterment, but I'm not there yet.
Riley is going to be 14 this weekend, and Sylvia will be 17 next. Sylvia has grown into my favorite theatre date. We went to see a play last weekend, and she's so used to musicals, she wasn't sure how she'd feel about a straight play, but we both really enjoyed it, and had plenty to say about it on the ride home. It was a really lovely evening.
Riley and I are re-defining our relationship as she becomes more and more a teenager. She loves high school and is doing well there, but she can also turn quickly. I'd forgotten about the whiplash that comes with this age. One minute, they're reveling in the remains of their true child-like behavior, and the next, they're testing the boundaries and impatient for "adulthood" - or at least, what they think being an adult means.
But some things never change. I'm still struggling to find the balance of how much to guide them, and how much they need to learn on their own. I want to give them everything, and I want them to earn and value everything. Sometimes, I'm completely stressed that I have totally let them down, and others where I am so proud and content with the women they are becoming.
And that goes for me, too.