Archive for November, 2008

Co-sleeping Babywise Mama

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

No, we have not jumped to the Attachment Parenting camp.  My wife jokingly admitted to co-sleeping with our 15-month old for an hour or so each morning during our recent trip to Washington, D.C.  Josiah was sleeping through the night in a pack-n-play in the same room with our two older boys, but he was waking when I left for work.  Sherry brought him in an had him lay with her for a little more than an hour until it was time for the rest of the gang to get up.  Both she and Josiah were able to easily go back to sleep this way without waking Riley and Caden.

Babywise and Preparation for Parenting are pretty clear on the subject of co-sleeping and we completely agree with the Ezzos on this subject. That said, there might be a night or two when you can safely deviate on the co-sleeping issue with an older kid without messing up all the great nights of sleep you have been given by following the priciples taught in Babywise? An yes, I know that a 15-months old is well out of the ages covered by Babywise but I thought the title would be cute and catchy.

This post is really not about co-sleeping an, but it is about the two big C’s of parenting.  The two big C’s are Context and Characterization.  What is the context of the situation?  Are you characterized by this as a parent?  The context of this situation was pretty obvious in our case.  Sherry was considering the preciousness of others and wanting to allow our older boys to get the amount of sleep they needed.  I am sure this was also the easiest way to get Josiah back to sleep for an hour or so without having a big power struggle.

We are certainly not characterized by having our children sleep in the same room with us even though there have been some (a lot of) occasions where Sherry or I would bunk in the same room with Caden for health and safety reasons.  Caden has got very congested with a cold in the past and he has required frequent suctioning at night to help him avoid aspiration of his secretions.  At four years old Caden still does not swallow at all, not even his own saliva.  If we didn’t help him keep his airway clear then we could have ended up in the hospital with pneumonia.  We ended up in the hospital a few time anyway, but I am sure there would have been many more hospital stays if we had not taken the extra precautions.  Other than those occasions I can probably count the number of times we have slept in the same room with our kids on my fingers. Most of those other occasions happened when we were visiting relatives or friends.

So it is not unheard of for a Babywise mama to co-sleep with a child, but you can be assured that in our family it will only happen on special occasions based on the context of the circumstances.

Maxwells are coming to Charleston

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

I got my most recent edition of Dad’s and Mom’s Corner today and found that the Maxwells have added Charleston as a stop on their Southeastern tour this winter.  MrsOzz’s bestest friend, better known in our house as Aunt Addie is th primary contact if you want to come get some encouragement from the Steve and Teri Maxwell from over at Titus2.com on the subject of Homeschooling.

You can see the Maxwell’s full schedule at Titus2.com.  Aunt Addie said I was the first to RSVP for this event. ;-)

The Post and Courier – coupons don’t add up

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Post and Courier Cover 11-16-08The Post and Courier advertises on the front page of the Sunday edition of their newspaper that you could save up to thousands of dollars by using the coupons and value savings in their paper, but the numbers don’t always add up.  This week’s edition of the Sunday paper claimed up to $4,531 in savings.  Our family began using coupons from the Sunday edition of The Post and Courier a little over a month ago.  My wife and I have been clipping coupons every Sunday and redeeming between $50 and $100 in coupons per week.  My wife joined TheGroceryGame about a month ago to help her maximize the value of the coupons by catching items when they are on sale and applying the coupon at that time.

The value we have been getting for our dollars by using coupons has brought me back around to being a newspaper subscriber.  The problem is that one copy of the coupons does not maximize the savings for a larger family.  To solve this problem we have been picking up a second copy of the Sunday paper.  The extra $1.50 was well worth it today alone with the additional $96 in coupons that I clipped this morning out of the extra copy.  The coupons will not all be redeemed this week because we follow the recommendation of TheGroceryGame which tells you when to use the coupons to maximize their value.  This week we have redeemed $65.25 worth of coupons already and we have not finished all of our grocery shopping yet.  MrsOzz came home with well over $200 worth of groceries for barely over $150 today. She is already getting comments from the cashiers who are amazed at the amount of money she is saving.

Post and Courier Parade 11-16-08Now that I have given a very long explanation for why we bought two copies of the local newspaper today, I will explain something that caught my attention in the Parade insert paper.  One thing that we learned very quickly about coupons is that they are not always in the most obvious places.  While I will admit that I do not read the paper, I am only in it for the money (savings), I do make my way through things like the Parade paper.  Today’s edition of the Parade inserted into The Post and Courier delivered to my driveway was not the same as the version in the newspaper machine at Dunkin Donuts in Goose Creek, SC.  One version of the Parade was $24 short on coupons while the article content was the same. The two copies are shown above.

Post and Courier Parade pages 21The first half of the Parade appeared to be exactly the same.  It was on page 21 that I found the first difference.  Both papers contained an advertisement for Delmonte Fruit Naturals, but only one copy came with a $1 off manufacturers’ coupon.  The other copy of the Parade had the ad on a different page and the coupon was not there.  This was the only coupon of interest to me, but finding this one missing peeked my curiosity.  I went on to find that there were an additional $23 worth of video and toy coupons missing from page 19 (see below) of the same paper that was missing the Delmonte coupon.  That is a total of $24 difference in possible savings in the Parade paper alone depending on where you got your copy of The Post and Courier this week.

Post and Courier Parade pages 18-19

So which copy of my newspaper was correct?  Both copies said on the front cover, “Inside You could save up to $4,531 in coupons and value savings”.  One of them is incorrect unless The Post and Courier placed those coupons somewhere else in the copy of the paper that was delivered to my house today.  Want your missing coupons?  Contact The Post and Courier at Charleston.net.

Socializism Decides Election 2008

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

The word socializism (some spell it socialisism) is not found in dictionaries or even on Wikipedia. Simply put, it is the value system that results from being socialized. Americans parents will eventually reap what they sow. The 2008 Presidential election win for Barack Obama will likely be credited to the young Americans in this country. Parents who have sent their children into the government run schools and universities without a second thought about what their children were being taught should not be surprised with the values that are appealing to the young voters of this country these days. I went through a spell of detox after I left public education as did my wife. Had this election been held ten years ago my wife and I would have likely voted for Barack Obama based on the beliefs that had been given to us oh so subtly through our country’s public education system. It took a maturing process and a realization that I did not want the government deciding what if any moral character training would be given to my own children. I believe that parents make the best choices for their own children. A liberal democratic run government has proven that they think they know better than parents what is best for children. I will remind you of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in 2006.

“…parents of public school children are not possessed of a constitutional right, either under the
Substantive Due Process Clause or the related right to privacy, to restrict the public schools from providing information on the subject of sex.”

These are the types of decisions you can expect from judges appointed by liberal democrats.

A majority of the children in this country are growing up in a system that teaches them that the system knows what is best for them.  Joel Belz wrote in the November 1/8, 2008 issue of World Magazine in an article titled Children of the state and said:

” Socialized medicine? Most of us recoil at the idea. Socialized airlines? Reminds us of Aeroflot. Socialized banks? When it happened last month, it terrified us.

But socialized schools? Nine out of ten of us patronize them regularly…

…With a nine-to-one edge in value shaping influence, why shouldn’t the government be producing products who think government-sponsored-everything is best?”

We see Barack Obama chosen as the next president of the United States even though he is likely to fight to have the government decide for Americans:

  • When a person dies (abortion and euthanasia)
  • How much can be earned and still be fair (wealth redistribution)
  • Where children go to school (limited choices in private or home school)
  • What children learn (including things like sex ed at very young ages and evolution only science)
  • What talk show hosts are allowed to say (fairness doctrine)
  • Who provides you medical care (nationalized health care)

Let us hope and pray that Barack Obama does as he says and not as he has done in the past. He has made some fairly appealing promises about uniting the country during his presidential campaign. However his voting record leading up to his presidential bid does not line up with what has been coming out of his mouth.

“Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was the most liberal senator in 2007, according to National Journal’s 27th annual vote ratings.”

That is a quote from the National Journal annual assessment of how politicians vote during their terms of office in Washington.

The liberal Democrats tend to lean towards a philosophy of allowing the government and public school systems to prepare children to make wise choices on issues like the ones mentioned above.  I disagree.  I believe that parents do a better job of preparing thier children to make wise choices on these subjects.  What do you think?

Health Care for Small Business – Obama’s Plan

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Many Americans, especially those without health care coverage are concerned about how they might be able to get health insurance coverage.  There are a lot of promises being made about health care insurance and I want to take a close look at the one that looks the most appealing to many Americans.  I want to break down the cost of health care insurance for small business and their employees based on some conversations I have been having with small business owners who do not currently offer their employees health care insurance.  Barack Obama is quoted as saying, “since 1990 companies with fewer than 20 employees have created 80% of new jobs in America”.

Small Business Health Care Cost Example

To set the stage, let’s say a services related business grosses $500K and makes $50K profit after the expenses, taxes, benefits, and salaries (including owner/operator) are paid.  This business employs 16 people who average making a gross wage of $12 per hour.  Before we go too far let’s take a realistic look at what an employee’s household budget might be in this small business.

Employee’s Household Budget:

Monthly Annual
Gross $ 2,250.00 $ 27,000.00
Income (Net) $ 1,800.00 $ 21,600.00
Rent $ 500.00 $ 6,000.00
Food $ 400.00 $ 4,800.00
Car $ 300.00 $ 3,600.00
Gas $ 200.00 $ 2,400.00
Utilities $ 200.00 $ 2,400.00
Misc.* $ 200.00 $ 2,400.00
Total Expense $ 1,800.00 $21,600.00

* Misc includes clothing, toys, cable, phone, entertainment, gifts, charity, savings, etc.

I created the above household budget example based on a single income family of four including two preschool age children where the mom cannot obtain a full-time job to make enough to pay for childcare for two young children.  I added $250 per month that might come in the form of overtime or an evening part-time job by mom or day that supplements the budget.

Barack Obama’s Promise for Health Care Coverage

Barack Obama’s says that his health care plan would provide small businesses “tax credits to cover up to 50% of employee insurance” premium costs.  How will that work for this company and the employee’s family listed above?  Let’s pull data from a very popular health care plan offered to federal government employees that is available throughout the United States.  Since that is what Barack Obama offers as example in his speachs it is only fitting.  One of the standard plans offered to feds is by Blue Cross Blue Shield and costs a total of $1027 per month in premiums.  That plan costs approximately $12,000 per employee in premiums per year.  Please note that the federal government picks up 70% of the premium and there are thousands of employees in this group plan.  To get this level of coverage for a company of 16 employees, you are almost guaranteed that employee coverage in this company will cost well above $1027 per month per employee.

Health Care Cost:

Total Cost
Monthly Premium $ 1,027.00
Yearly Premium $ 12,324.00
Totals for 16 Employees
Monthly Premium $ 16,432.00
Yearly Premium $ 197,184.00
Obama up to 50% credit $ 98,592.00
Net Premium Left to Pay $ 98,592.00
Per Employee Premium Cost Remaining $ 513.50

Now remember that the business only has $50k profit to apply to the Net Premium Left to Pay.  If the employer decides to purchase as much premium as possible, each employee will still be required to come up with at $256 for in premiums.

With Company Help (No profit left to grow company)

$98k prem – 50k profit = $48k remaining

$48k remaining / 16 employees = $3k per employee per year

$3,000 per employee / 12 months = $250 per employee per month

No Company Help ($50k profit used to grow company)

$98,592k prem / 16 employees = $6,162 per employee per year

$6,162 per employee / 12 months = $513.50 per employee per month

The employee’s household budget will not support this premium and will likely not choose to purchase health care insurance in a similar scenario.  This is not just a speculation for small business employees that I know, but this is a fact.  These are the Plumber Joe type of folks who are already running on tight budgets and will likely pocket the $250-500 per month and pray that they don’t have health care issues that cost more than they have stuffed in the mason jar.   Every employee who has been offered health insurance where they would have to sacrifice premiums out of their check has passed on this option. The result shows that the average small business employee cannot afford health insurance even with Barack Obama’s health insurance plan for small busniess.  The average family making wages in the range listed above simply cannot afford to fork out $250-$500 per month in heath care premiums if, IF the employer can get decent health care coverage at this price per employee.

Barack Obama says that for small businesses he will “help them not just create new jobs but good jobs with health care”.  What we can clearly see it that Barack Obama is out of touch with reality when it comes to how many small businesses and households operate in this country.

References:

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/
http://www.opm.gov/ [PDF] – U.S. Office of Personnel Manaement