In hindsight it’s something I wish we would’ve just done a year ago, but today we finally bit the bullet and opened Christopher’s college fund.

I think the delay was that the last time I researched all of this, I wanted to go with a plan from Vanguard but their 529 offering requires a $3,000 minimum deposit so we’ve been slowly saving towards that, however in reviewing some of my own retirement savings (through T. Rowe Price) I discovered that they don’t have a minimum at all and it only takes a $50/month recurring contribution to eliminate the nominal $10 annual fee, so I guess I finally just figured why not?!

It’s kind of scary to think of what college might cost 17 years from now when you consider that it’s literally gone up over 1,000% over the last 30 years … I’d like to hope that numerous things will happen between now and then to help get costs back under control, but in the meantime any little bit that we can offer our kid(s) is certainly going to help!

Truth be told, neither Sara nor I really got any financial help for our respective educations. I didn’t qualify for any grants, but I only did two years so was able to balance the costs between living at home and putting on credit cards what I couldn’t pay with my job at the time. Sara pretty much got student loans to cover both her bachelors degree as well as her nursing degree when she left teaching to go into nursing, and although the problems with student loans themselves are a rant that is entirely too un-jolly for an advent blog post, I will say that based on her current repayment schedule the last of them are set to be paid of in 2029.

In comparison, Christopher should be starting college himself ONLY FOUR YEARS LATER in 2033!

Regardless however, the numbers are still very much in favor of a college education being “valuable” in more ways than just the economic and as parents, we kind of look at it as our job to make options like that available to our kid when he has to make that all-too-important decision of whether to go off to college right away or to jump headfirst into a nightshift position driving a delivery truck that will slowly eat away at his soul until he finally decides to suck it up and give college a try anyways… 😛

So Merry Christmas, Christopher – very much belated since you were born 18 months ago, but we’ll do what we can to catch this puppy up in the years to come!

I’ve kind of been more into the older, more classic holiday tunes lately, as noted in this year’s 4th edition of my Christmas Mix Tapes – the other three of which can be found right here…

Not sure why I didn’t put one of these together last year, but it’s fun to look back and see which holiday songs I was rocking out to in the previous years and I’ve got a feeling as Christopher gets a bit older and can more eloquently vocalize his radio demands in the car, we’ll be seeing the list trend rather differently still! But until then…

  1. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (performed by Johnny Mathis)
  2. The Christmas Song (performed by Nat King Cole)
  3. Happy Holidays (performed by Andy Williams)
  4. Sleigh Ride (performed by John Williams & The Boston Pops)
  5. White Christmas (performed by Bing Crosby)
  6. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (performed by Frank Sinatra)
  7. Let It Snow! (performed by Dean Martin)
  8. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (performed by Andy Williams)
  9. Walking in a Winter Wonderland (performed by Dean Martin)
  10. Christmas Time is Here (by Vince Guaraldi)

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  1. Baby’s First Christmas
  2. A Giant Tree Made of Legos
  3. Just Laugh’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide
  4. Frozen Christmas Lights
  5. Holiday Snackses!
  6. And a Christmas Tree for Baby, Too!
  7. So Much to Do, So Little Time…
  8. Caroling with Captain Picard & The Avengers
  9. A Neighborhood of Dancing Lights
  10. Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
  11. Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights!!!
  12. Warm Hugs from Northern Michigan…
  13. Family Photos
  14. The Holidays are Swell!
  15. Bullshit.
  16. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
  17. More Disney Christmas!!!
  18. Baby’s First Christmas, Ornament Edition
  19. 8-Bit Cinema: A Christmas Story
  20. Holiday Exhaustion
  21. Exterior Decorating
  22. The Sevener Family Christmas Card
  23. Baby Meets Santa Claus
  24. Just Laugh Holiday Humor

Bonus Posts:

I didn’t get a chance to wrap things up yesterday between staying up until 4:30am helping Santa and then all of the wonderful Christmas Day festivities to follow, but needless to say it was a pretty great – albeit fast – holiday season!!!

But I’ll tell you, it was so much fun watching Christopher react to everything new, from the lights to the characters over at Disney to of course his extended family and the veritable smorgasbord of presents that he found himself traversing around the Christmas tree come yesterday. As a side note, our little guy also just so happened to turn nine months old on Christmas Day, so it’s kind of crazy not only to think that we’ll be celebrating his first birthday here in only three months now, but also that next year we’ll be doing this all over again with a much larger baby boy who by then will be walking and talking when it comes time to celebrate this glorious season once more in 2015! 😯

Happy Christmas to all, and may your new year be as exciting and amazing as I have little doubt mine is going to be…

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Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to share this year’s Lego Holiday Village because a) I only put it up about a week ago, and more importantly b) I literally didn’t finish putting together the latest set – Santa’s Workshop – until about 3:00am last night!

As you can see, the space issues from last year were only partially resolved by relocating the village to our Lego shelves in the family room and eventually I can still see the entire display taking up residence on a card table or something in the years to come … no idea where said table will go, mind you. But I like how it looks and I think that the lights and the snow are a nice touch … at least until we can really go wild with it and design a set with white base plates and actual brick snow… 😀

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For those of you who haven’t been playing along at home, I’ve been dabbling in a bit of Christmas jokey thingys over the past month with Just Laugh, and although I’m not quite ready to say for sure if this is the start of a new leaf turning over in terms of projects that are back on my forefront once more, I can say that so far I’ve been having a whole lot of fun writing them and if you happen to be looking for a good chuckle on this holiday eve night, I do hope that yule enjoy them, too…

…see what I did there? 😉

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Tonight we spent a few hours at Lowry Park Zoo here in Tampa for their evening Christmas festivities, with one of the more significant features being Christopher meeting jolly, old St. Nick for the first time!

He did … ok … but wasn’t exactly all smiles like he usually is, and we even got a bit of crying lip just when we decided that it was time to go.

For what it’s worth, he was admittedly a bit indifferent when he first met Santa Goofy a couple of weeks ago, too… 😛

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You have no idea how hard it was to pick just ten photos for this year’s card!

…now to address and mail forty of these little beauties… 🙁

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