|It's going to be a homebrewed Christmas.
It's hard to believe it's been three years since the last time we brewed a batch of beer, but life has been a bit busy since then. There was marriage, buying our first house, having a kid, etc.
On that most recent life event, becoming a dad has been awesome. Every day I'm amazed at the new life in my life. He has enriched our lives in weighs we can't even quantify. But there's a catch.
As new parents, we find ourselves living in a world of nos. There's no time, no sleep, no energy, no exercise and no money. Yes, Baby Viper has changed everything, as "they" said he would.
It's been so long since my last run, there's no point in even counting. It has gotten to the point where I've considered abandoning this blog and starting a parenting blog, because there aren't enough of those. If I also started a food blog, I could complete the trifecta of most abundant blog categories.
The reality is, I don't have the energy to start up a new blog and try to get you guys to switch over. This one will have to do. It would be different if I were making money from this little hobby. (Oops.)
The lack of money is why we found ourselves brewing beer last weekend.
Even before Baby Viper was born, Mrs. Viper and I were doing our best to save money and pay down the debt we amassed in our more reckless days. Living on the cheap isn't all that new to us, but having a baby in the house has compounded our financial circumstances.
As our son spent nine days in the NICU, parenthood has come with an unexpected deluge of new medical bills to pay on top of the added expense of having another mouth to feed, another body to clothe and another doctor to visit. We are lucky that our family has been able to help us, but still the budget is tighter than ever.
I keep reminding myself that it won't always be like this. It takes a lot of work and patience to pay off debt. We're using ReadyForZero to help us stay on track with our financial goals. According to our plan, we'll pay off all of our credit cards by the end of 2017. We've already paid off one account since signing up in October. It feels good, but we've had to say no to a lot of temptations.
We've had to cut back on most of our entertainment spending. Dining out is down to a minimum. Personal spending is virtually nil. We pay our bills and have just enough for food and gasoline. Christmas is going to be tough.
That's why we decided to make this year a homemade affair. Everybody gets a photo of the baby and something we made. I'm not crafty like my wife, but I have the tools to make beer. Our holiday ale is fermenting as we speak. I'm still not sure what we'll do for our nieces, nephews and younger cousins.
Not being able to spend money has reinforced one of the reasons why running became my exercise of choice. If you don't get caught up in buying all the fancy gear, it's one of the cheapest ways to stay fit. Add in body-weight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups, and I could be super healthy -- you know, if I actually did those things.
Sadly, exercise has fallen by the wayside for both Mrs. Viper and me. She has a YMCA membership that has languished since before the baby arrived. I haven't run in more than a month. I haven't even been walking much since the weather took a frigid turn this past week.
You'd think living cheap would help us lose weight. If we don't buy as much food, we can't eat as much, right? That hasn't been the case for me. Every morning it's the same. My weight stays around 190 pounds, which is 10 to 15 pounds heavier than I'd prefer.
As the holidays approach, the temptation to eat poorly will only increase. We'll have to find more willpower to keep saying no. Saying no is no fun, but it can be rewarding in the long run.