Saturday, July 2, 2016

Last trip to Memphis Zoo and musings on budgeting

This past year we've had a membership to the Memphis Zoo. It paid for itself after just going twice with our family and it made a nice place for one of us to take the kids while the other went to the temple and sometimes Costco. It is a really nice big zoo and has some cool water features that the kids can play and practically even swim in. I forgot my purse as we left Starkville and didn't want to make Chris late for the temple session so I just played with the kids at the Stake Center Gym across from the temple while we waited for Chris and then we all went to the zoo together. Since usually just one of us took the kids, this was our first time going as an entire family and it was nice to have both parents there.  We really enjoyed their new Hippo / Zambezi River exhibit. 

We watched them feed the crocodiles... really cool. Everything looked SO BIG under the water and it was really cool to see them so close.

Charlie and his polar bears. He's getting a little less excited about them, I wonder if he's found a new favorite animal. 

It is super hot and humid in Memphis in July so the kids were very happy to swim in the 'river'.  I don't think we'll renew our membership for another year. We may try to make it to the Birmingham Temple and I think the kids would enjoy trying out a new 'thing to do.' I'm hoping we can find a more interactive children's museum or science center or some parks, or even just play in the Stake Center again. We brought some of our soft IKEA soccer balls with us and the kids had plenty of fun playing with those in the big gym. We also put on some short plays on the stage, which was really cute to see. We did Caps for Sale and Little Red Riding Hood. This one sweet older Catholic lady was wandering around the building about 2 hours ahead of time for her neighbors baptism. At the suggestion of another gentleman who was there cleaning the church, I invited her to wait in the Gym with us and watch the kids' little plays. She loved it, and I love it when people think my kids are cute.

Anyway, after the zoo, we stopped at Costco on the way home and managed to keep to our strict grocery budget and only spent around $150! We're having fun using a budgeting system (a combination of a free App, MINT and our own spreadsheets) that actually makes it easy to budget ahead of time how much we can spend in a certain category and give us updates on where we're at in that category on any given day.  Its very empowering to be so on top of finances. I just have to try and not dwell on the depressing thoughts of how little all our efforts to save a penny here or there make in the face of big random out-of-your-control expenses like car repairs, or hospital bills.  If we stick to staying on budget, its going to make a difference somewhere someday, right?? We have so many dreams to improve our house and pick out furnishings and take future family trips.  I just also need to try and remember to balance these dreams with gratitude and content in my current situation. I get a good glimpse every now and then of how different my life could be if I had been born to different parents and it offers me good and needed perspective. 

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