Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hurry Up And Wait

Tomorrow is the beginning of October, one week from my due date. I sit here, still pregnant, still waiting. We have spent weeks preparing for the arrival of our son and now it seems that the to do list has grown smaller and our house more prepared (though I am sure not totally prepared as we never can be for new adventures). The car seat is in the car, our bags our in the car, just waiting for when Logan Dale decides to make his entrance into this world. This hurry up and wait as I have deemed it is kind of not so much for me. At my doctor's appointment last week I was 2 cm dilated, the week before I was 1 cm dilated and I really kind of thought this show would get on the road before my next appointment which is today and the show has yet to begin. Contractions on and off but nothing at any regular interval or even lasting for the same amount of time. I am still so anxious and nervous about being a mom but trying to give those worries up to God.


And here I sit one day before my due date still waiting.....wondering if this means my son will be as stubborn as I am and what that means for the future (if he is anything like me, Matt and I are in for a heck of an eighteen years). Each day that passes brings more anxiety (when is the last time he moved? was that a contraction? why did getting up from the couch hurt like that? and on and on and on). Though I feel that I have gotten better about saying a prayer over these things and moving on with my day. Everyone says he just isn't quite ready yet and maybe that is the truth. Maybe he will surprise us all and labor will start on its own but I feel that I should also mentally and spiritually prepare myself for induction.


Now we are one day after my due date. This is pretty much how I am processing things lately, in pieces and slowly. I have meant to come back and finish up my thoughts twice now and just haven't found those words. Maybe it is because I have gotten out of the habit of writing on a regular basis. As a teenager, words poured from my writing utensil to the page or from my fingertips to the screen. Yeah maybe a lot of it was hormones or crazy teenage angst or something but still the words flowed and I could express myself what seemed to be easily. As I have gotten older and my journaling has trickled to a slow flow, finding the right words (or really any words) has become difficult. I guess that could be chalked up to more complicated problems and situations and therefore emotions but something tells me that what I was once passionate about has fallen down my list of priorities. Writing has fallen down the list behind dishes, laundry, taking care of pets, cleaning, working, errand running, watching Netflix get the picture. And when I start to think about priorities I also realize my relationship with God has fallen towards the bottom as well. I haven't been to bible study in about a month and haven't even done the study which I told myself I would. I still lean on prayer but that isn't really enough. Especially when I am anytime now to be responsible for raising a child in this crazy mixed up world. I want him to know the true love of God before 15, not just as an abstract idea like me. I want him to be raised in a household that loves God and shows it in whatever we do. Matt wants this too but when I think about what that really means and what that means we should change, it can be hard to let go of those habits in our everyday lives. To lay down our lives and take up our cross and show our son what this means. 

I feel like I have started rambling and gone off on a tangent which was not the intent when I started this post. But maybe I needed to remind myself of some of these things. That I need to spend time reevaluating my priorities from time to time because I am not the best at reminding myself what is important when I am tired and/or busy. The hurry up and wait can apply to getting ready for a big life event but I think it can even apply in every day life. We hurry up to get so much stuff done but how much of it is the important stuff? 
Friday, August 15, 2014

Dear Son

To Our Son,

As I sit here 26 weeks pregnant, feeling you squirm and wiggle and even do acrobatics sometimes I swear, I can't imagine that in October you will be here and we will hold you in our arms. Mommy and Daddy already love you more than you could ever possibly imagine. Over the weekend, Daddy felt you move for the first time and the look on his face is one that I will never forget. You see, your daddy already has a little boy in heaven, your little brother who was taken from this world far to soon and his heart aches with that pain every day. And now that you are coming into this world, he sees it as another chance, a new beginning. You can't replace your little brother but you can start to fill that empty spot in Daddy's heart, just as you are filling a hole in my life that I never knew I had until I saw that positive pregnancy test. This feeling of pure joy, unlike any I had ever experienced before, washed over me in that moment and later in the day when I told Daddy about your existence. All we could do was laugh and cry and hug each other in that moment. Now I spend many days thinking about how much will change when you actually arrive. You are the greatest gift we have ever received and I want you to know some things:

  • That you are loved, have been loved since the day you started growing inside of me, and will be loved by us your whole life no matter what.
  • That Mom and Dad will make mistakes, we are not perfect
  • That life is not fair and sometimes things will be hard
  • That Jesus, God's own son, died for your sins and is our Savior.
  • That sometimes things in this world do not make sense and all you can do is pray that God is at work in a larger way than we could ever imagine
This is just the beginning of a long list that keeps growing in my head. I mean to write them down but sometimes they float away before I can put them in just the right words. I think above everything else I just want you to be happy, to know God, and to know that you are loved unconditionally. 


I wanted to put this in writing because I thought the words would be easier to find if I was able to think them through first but that doesn't seem to be the case as I sit here still writing this letter 6 weeks later. Mommy has never been that great with words but writing always seemed to help with that problem until I became pregnant with you, now words mostly escape me. I am just in awe that Daddy and I made you and that you are growing and developing inside of me. I thank God every time I feel you move and still don't feel like I am being grateful enough. I think words aren't enough. I hope that when I meet you face to face for the first time and hold you close, you will instinctively know how much I love you. And that as you grow up that love will never change. As the weeks pass, faster and faster it seems, and we get closer to when you will make your entrance into the world I become more anxious and scared but excitement is starting to be the prominent emotion. I teared up this morning on my drive to work just thinking about meeting you and seeing you with Daddy for the first time. It just brings a joy to my heart that really can't be put into words. 

I can't wait to meet you. God has blessed us by making us your parents. We get to raise you and watch you grow and help you along the way. I feel privileged to have been chosen by God to be your mom. And I only hope that you will be able to see that as your grow up even when you may not agree or like the way that I am parenting. 

There is so much I want to say but am still struggling to find the words. Just know that no matter what happens, we will always be here for you, loving you and praying for you.

Mom and Dad
Thursday, June 12, 2014

Favorite Things This Week

Things that have made me smile this week:

1. The fact that my hubby loves the smell of this soap and asked me to buy more :-)

2. The fact that our little guy is moving like crazy (that's right, it's a boy!!)

3. Sleeping kitties

Passed out!! This one cracks me up every time!
4. Fishing with my hubby even if the fish just eat my worms and he is the only one to catch any lol.

My happy place

5. Going to buy one of Matt's father's day presents on Amazon and realizing I still had a gift card balance! Here is what I got for daddy (and sort of for his new sidekick):

Infant - Superman - Classic Logo

6. Looking at all the fun superhero nursery stuff on Pinterest (follow the link to check out all the fun stuff I have pinned) and Etsy(follow this link to check out the printables I think I am going with)!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Note: This post is about a month in the making and rambles quite a bit but something I think I have needed to write for a while.

I just read a blog post by one of my dear friends about memory. How she can remember all these little things from so long ago and small details that other people might miss. My memories from childhood (and kind of in general) are flashes of moments and mostly completely vague. The smell of rice in kindergarten and letters that had names. Doing multiplication in the hallway in first grade (the only time I was ever better at math than other kids in my class). Breaking my arm somewhere around second grade. Walking to the babysitters after school. One day in the rain because the babysitter had came to pick everyone up but I had started walking and she didn't stop for me when she passed. Then going to my aunt's house after school starting around 4th grade. Riding the school bus in 5th grade, thinking I was cool when I totally wasn't. Losing my best friend in 6th grade who confirmed that I was not cool. Making a new best friend around that same time. And then there is a lot of pain and jealousy and probably multiple bouts of depression that I did not recognize because I just blamed hormones as did my parents. In the midst of that are also those times of happiness and moments that can only be described as joy. Middle school is kind of a blur but I met the person who is still my best friend to this day. And our journey of laughter began. It wouldn't be until the awfulness of the high school experience set in that we would begin our journey in tears as well. Probably 4 of the hardest years of my life in a completely first world kind of way. Actually looking back on it, in a completely self absorbed teenager kind of way which is probably normal for a lot of people. But some of that history still cuts me like a knife to this day, to read things I wrote during that time still breaks my heart because that girl, she didn't know what God had in store and how much of a blessing her life truly was (and still is to this day). Even into college I continued to allow myself to be hurt and opened myself up to pain willingly. I thought that sex would just make everything go away. That it made everything better. Along with just not caring and doing whatever I felt like at the time, whether that be drink or use illegal substances or to give in to what others wanted me to do and be.

Growing up meant facing my issues. It meant letting go of all of those memories and tears and that meant losing the boy who had become my best friend, the one I escaped with, the one I loved. One day I grew tired of the pain, of the back and forth, of the lies and stopped answering his phone calls. It was one of the most difficult things I ever did in my life but that day, God gave me the courage to stand strong and swooped in and truly saved me. I sought help from a therapist and finally, finally moved forward with my life. Most days honestly, I still think about him at least once, then I say a prayer for him and set it aside. I honestly have no idea how his life ended up and it breaks my heart because I thought for so long that I could save him but God reminded me that I am not the savior, He is. I had shown him love and he rejected it. Sometimes the only thing we have left is prayer. Some days I want to call his mom and find out how he is and I did about once a year for a couple years after I stopped talking to him but I found even that was more pain than I could bear. Because knowing he was still lost (and still is as far as I know) is one of the most difficult things that I live with every day of my life. Even though God has brought me to this wonderful place with this man who truly loves me and blessed us with a child growing in my womb, I still feel my friend's pain. It all came flooding back at a concert I went to recently with my husband and a couple of dear friends. It was a Casting Crowns concert. Casting Crowns was one of the first Christian bands I fell in love with as a new Christian and a couple of their songs remind me of this time in my life as I was struggling with how to move forward. They played "Praise You in This Storm" and a strong urge to pray for him once again hit me and the tears fell and I prayed. And I praised God for bringing me out of that storm, stronger and more knowledgeable about the pain of life and love.

To be completely honest with myself I have to admit that there are a few memories from that time and with him that I still have not fully let go and that when I think about them they make me smile. God gave us a memory, a storage center in our brain, to help us to learn, to help us to see things on our journey, to bring us to new places in the journey that He guides us on throughout our lives. To forget where I have come from and how much I have changed from that lost girl with no hope in the future would be to forget the journey God has been with me on even before I knew He was there. 

I feel beyond blessed that Matt and I will be able to raise our little one and make memories as a family that will guide them on their journey. There will be joy. There will be pain. You can not know one without the other. I can only hope that our children will have the privilege of knowing Jesus all their lives and be able to see purpose far sooner than I ever did.
Thursday, May 15, 2014

Debt Reduction March and April 2014

Yes I am a total and complete slacker and am over a month late with this update. As my last post explains, staying on top of things has been difficult for me as I am growing a human being and my head is in twelve places at once. As such, this may be the last official update and I may just continue to keep my paper record and at the end of the year, let you know how we did. Because I know that things are only going to get crazier and I did not even budget for April or May except for our regular bills. I am very happy with where our savings is at this point but I know we need to save more before the baby gets here, which means that I need to get my butt back in gear on the budgeting front. I bought Quicken and am hoping the automatic updating of accounts and categorization will help me to stay more on top of things. Plus we will each have an app on our phones where we can take pictures of receipts and link that to a transaction. So if we lose receipts, it will be no big deal anymore. Though I may not be doing monthly debt payoff updates, I will try to let you know if this change in how we budget helps us out. But onto the numbers....

Here is how our debt numbers looked at the beginning of April...

Credit Card #1: $0 (-363.24) (In other words PAID OFF)
Credit Card #2: $4,190.64 (-152.99)
Car Loan: $12,357.83 (-189.19)
Student Loan #1: 27,865.35
Student Loan #2: $56,914.03 (-151.00)
End of March Debt: $101,327.85
Debt Paid off in March: $856.42
Debt Paid off in 2014: $1342.37

The March debt number is higher because Student Loan #1 has gained interest. But the good news is my smaller credit card balance is paid off!!!! That card hasn't been paid off in a very long time, I did the responsible thing and used our tax refund to pay if off but the rest of it got least there is one less monthly payment to worry about. But for debt paid off throughout the year I still totaled the amount I have actually paid towards debt. I think I will continue to update on debt status but probably not much else for the rest of this year at least. Going to try and get back on the saving and paying down debt wagon. Since it is May, decided to include April pay off as well.

Here are our debt numbers as of the beginning of this month....

Credit Card #1: $21.50
Credit Card #2: $4,073.01 (-117.63)
Car Loan: $12,165.62 (-192.21)
Student Loan #1: $27,865.35
Student Loan #2: $56,781.28 (-132.75)
End of April Debt: $100,906.76
Debt Paid off in April: $442.59
Debt Paid off in 2014: $1784.96

So in case you are wondering I did not use credit card #1, Matt and I went to a zoo last fall right before they closed and turns out their credit card machine got turned off before being closed out. This means that we were never charged until they turned it back on at the beginning of May. This will get paid off as soon as I can get things straightened out with my credit card after thinking someone got my credit card number and then finding out they didn't. Also once again student loan #1 is still a challenge for me to use in calculations, I don't get statements so I can't see balance from month to month, only when I look at it that day. So because I didn't track it like I should have at the beginning of the year, the numbers are slightly off. I will be recording balance at the end of every month from now on in order to keep better track. I am pretty proud of the progress we have made but honestly slightly disappointed that I am falling off the wagon. Hopefully by the beginning of June I can have Quicken figured out (still getting used to the software but like what I see so far in terms of visualizing our spending) with the help of a book. I have a guide in my amazon cart but waiting until there is something else I need so that I can get free shipping. 

I currently have another post in the works and want to do a pregnancy update but sleep has been winning once again, that and housework and hubby time and trying to figure out summer plans and starting to get a little stressed about baby stuff oh and work and....the list goes on and it will only get longer once our little one is here. Ultrasound is May 30 so I will probably be doing a big update after that with pictures of our little bambino :-)

Ta Ta for now!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Journey

I know that I have been few and far between with my posts and that I am failing miserably at my Things to Do in 2014 list. I am also failing miserably at to do lists in my own life and keeping up with our finances. But there is a very good reason for this. One that I have been meaning to write about for quite some time but wanted the news to be out in the world before I wrote a post about it that someone might accidentally stumble across. Matt and I found out in February (the same week he got hired in full time) that we have been blessed with a child growing inside of me. Right now this tiny child that Matt and I created is developing and growing inside of me. To say this is strange and amazing and awesome does not even put it into words. This is the other reason I haven't mentioned it and even when writing in my own personal journal I find myself using cliches and trying to come up with just the right words and I have yet to be able to truly do this miracle justice.

When I told Matt (after peeing on 3 pregnancy tests just to be sure because even though we had been trying I honestly could not believe it) I saw the tears spring into his eyes and he said "We're going to parents" with a look I can only describe as pure joy. The last time I saw him that filled with joy was on our wedding day. And before that the day we got engaged. He has been talking about starting a family pretty much since the beginning of our relationship. Matt is already a father to a little boy in heaven and helped to father 3 children that were not his own in past relationships. I am not going to go in great detail as they are not my stories to tell but hearing him tell the stories and the pain in his voice about how having these children basically ripped away from him because of circumstances beyond his control, I can tell you that my husband was meant to be a father and I couldn't ask for a better man to begin my journey into parenthood alongside. In truth, I am terrified. Matt and I knew this was where we were headed from the beginning. Family is important to both of us and starting our own was the natural next step after getting married. But when you pee on that stick and go to the doctor and hear that heartbeat inside of you, it becomes real. Not just a theory or talk anymore. This is going to happen (if it is in God's will for us to meet this miracle). Being a parent, responsible for the life of a child is a big deal. The biggest responsibility we get in this life. And I think being terrified is completely normal because I also love him or her more than I could ever imagine already. 

In case you are curious, I am 15 weeks along on Wednesday or Thursday (not sure of exact day my last period started) and have a due date of October 9. It doesn't seem far away to me at all but yet it seems to be moving along slowly. Maybe that is because it is mostly what I think about or that the days seem to drag together from being tired and lack of motivation. Thankfully morning sickness mostly passed me over, had some nausea in the very beginning but other than that mostly just bloated and gross feeling every time I eat and now starting to get some heartburn as well. I feel like I am starting to get a baby belly but because I am overweight and have always kind of had a beer gut not truly sure lol. I have taken a couple pictures and need to set them side by side. I would love to not gain any weight but not sure if that is going to happen when only certain things are appealing to eat, vegetables not really being one of them, but I am trying. Eating more fruit, walking more, cutting down on portion sizes. Should probably be counting calories and may start that soon. 

Life certainly changes. There are days when I want it to slow down and savor every minute of this pregnancy and there are days I just want it to be October so I can meet the newest member of our family. Hormones definitely mess with your brain....

I do hope to update on our finances for March sometime before the end of this month as we had some exciting progress. But the monthly updates will probably not continue as I think we are going to change our management system to a more paycheck by paycheck basis as I think that would work better for us at this point. I think we are going to try something like this from Creative Savings. But will probably not be implementing that until May, April is a bust at this point. Next OB appointment is May 2 :-) So hopefully will have a financial post and a baby update in the next few weeks if nothing else......we will see how things go I suppose.
Friday, March 21, 2014

The February Report

Taxes filed. Not as great of a refund as I had expected but something is better than nothing so in the grand scheme of things I can not complain. I started this post at the end of February and am just now getting around to finishing it and updating you on how we did financially in February. So not only are taxes filed but we have received our refund. I have been struggling just to make it through the weeks lately. Work is crazy and was feeling overwhelmed in general. Trying to get back on track but it is tough. Meal planning has totally gone out the window and we have been consistently spending about a hundred dollars a week on groceries, I know we can do better but I have been content with that. Our slight boost in income has made us slightly lazy and feel sort of entitled when it really shouldn't. We should be buckling down and paying more towards debt and saving more. We had a plan for our tax refund but got slightly carried away so still trying to see if I will be able to work the plan out to fruition. Will report on that in the March report as that is when I counted our tax refund as income. I don't know if I had mentioned that but Matt's bankruptcy has been filed and he has his final step this upcoming week, so happy to have that behind us so that he can start rebuilding his credit. February was an ok month financially, though we were able to sock away enough money for the next propane bill which may not be until this next winter now but my grandparents have generously been paying for it for us which I feel terrible about and we keep trying to pay them and they won't let us. First world problem for sure I suppose. When it gets filled this next time around I am handing them the money as soon as possible and not taking no for an answer.

Here is how our debt stacked up at the beginning of March:

Credit Card #1: $363.24 (-$36.30)
Credit Card #2: $4,343.63 (+$131.88)
Car Loan: $12,547.02 (-$190.40)
Student Loan #1: $27,692.93 (see note)
Student Loan #2: $57,065.03 (-$131.79)
End of February Debt: $99,626.40
Debt Paid of in February: $226.61
Debt Paid off in 2014: $485.95

So February was about as good as January which isn't great but the bills were able to be paid and money was put in savings. Student Loan #1 is still tricky, I realized I think I had the right number to begin with and that because I am making such a small payment, all I am doing is paying a little bit of the interest so that balance is increasing each month which is what I knew would happen so really I have probably added more debt than is reflected. I think for now I will track the balance from month to month and may or may not include it in calculations. I will see how it works out for next month's report.

We made more than I planned for us to make in February which actually allowed for the first money remaining at the end of the month that I have seen since we started budgeting. Kind of exciting. Some exciting stuff has happened financially in March already as well. But will fill you in on that probably toward the end of April lol. I am not completely happy with the online PearBudget application and am seriously considering switching to You Need a Budget as soon as possible. I have seen rave reviews about it on a couple of blogs and think that it's flexibility would work better for Matt and I. We shall see. I have yet to enter any receipts into Pear Budget this month, seriously lacking motivation. Sitting here drinking hot cocoa and once I hit publish on this entry, I am going to tackle that. Then clean off my desk maybe. Or watch Grey's Anatomy.....whichever calls my name louder I suppose :-)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

January Financials

We started off the year not as strong as I would of liked. We only payed 15 dollars extra toward debt on the smallest credit card balance. But we put about 100 dollars in savings. As I thought about that towards the end of the month it didn't truly make sense to me. This may also be attributed to the fact that I have been reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey (Finished it just a bit ago actually). For those who aren't familiar, he strongly encourages to have an emergency savings of $1000 and then focus solely on paying off all debt besides mortgage for the first two what he calls baby steps. I agree with many of the principles that Dave talks about but have some conflicting feelings about how the steps work. As we have started this journey to pay off debt, it definitely is making more sense to focus on one thing at a time. For this month I continued the direct deposit into our emergency savings but cancelled all other automatic transfers for savings (our savings accounts are at an online bank so the money is not as easily accessible). Still only planning on paying the $15 dollars extra towards debt though. But if we scrap our car that is officially broken down (sad day,only one vehicle at this point, thankfully have parents with an extra vehicle that they are generously letting us use it) then we may be able to pay off credit card #1 more quickly than anticipated and start throwing more money at credit card #2. The second credit card has a ridiculous interest rate so that would be very exciting. Here are the debt balances as of the beginning of February:

Credit Card #1: $399.54 (-$35.96)
Credit Card #2: $4,211.75 (+$95.29)
Car Loan: $12,737.42 (-$187.33)
Student Loan #1: $25,080.87 (not sure of difference see note)
Student Loan #2: $57,196.82 (-$131.34)
Debt to start: $99, 885.74
End of January Debt: $99,626.40
Debt paid off in January: $259.34

Tracking our progress (even just for a month) has really helped me to gain perspective on where our money goes and make me feel like we are getting somewhere even if slowly. Though it is quite depressing that with all the money we have to use for debt payments, so little is actually paid off. Student loan #1 is a weird one, I am only making a small $23 dollar a month payment but there is nowhere on the website to really see balances and I recorded the incorrect one originally so I changed it in that post as well. Will see if it changes after this month's payment I suppose. Also the reason that Credit Card #2 increased is partly because of the ridiculous interest rate and partly because I charged gas once. Sue me, habits don't change overnight. I had to have gas to get to work. 

Budget-wise we ended up about $324.94 over budget. Basically that means we did not set aside as much money for irregular expenses as we should have. I broke down when looking at the numbers. I feel so helpless but know that I shouldn't, that I should be working on new ways to make more money and save money. I told Matt that just because money is in the bank doesn't mean we should spend it which is kind of the habit we have gotten into. Being lazy and wanting to get food on the way home is still a struggle as is not spending money to have fun. I want to utilize the crockpot more and would love to try out freezer meals. Motivation still seems to be something I really need to find. Winter is killing me. Emotionally draining with this lack of sunlight.

This past week we also got some amazing news on the job front. Matt has been hired in full time at the company he has been working at for a year and a half as a temp. A raise and benefits! So exciting for us and our future. This came after I started writing this post or I probably would have led with it. His first official day was yesterday so next week the larger checks start coming. We haven't decided the exact best way to allocate the money in our budget but we are talking about it. Also we are quite sure that we are not going to opt for the benefits offered through his company for this year (we are still going to review them and then decide). If he opts not to get coverage he will receive $500 which would probably be used to pay off the smaller credit card balance and the rest put towards the larger credit card balance. He does not receive the information for a couple weeks so we shall see.

Anyways Olympic figure skating is distracting me and bed is calling my name.....Good night for now....PS tracking 101 Things to Do in 2014 on the page titled such at the top :-)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Determined and Worn Down

I am determined to change my life but day after day I find myself worn out and tired. Maybe it is because of the physical shape I am in or maybe it is because I feel like I am fighting the battle to get somewhere better alone. I know and feel that I am not alone in the spiritual sense but Matt and I have been fighting the distance battle. The emotional distance battle. We find ourselves sitting in the living room watching TV or a movie and playing on the computer/tablet/phone and not really communicating. I have expressed how I feel about this towards Matt and he understands but I find myself exhausted after work and feeling like I have so much to do that I tell myself that cuddling as we fall asleep is enough. But it isn't. It is far from enough. We seem to always start talking as we are getting into bed and it frustrates me that this is when he chooses to talk when we need to sleep (he gets up at 4 AM and with the crazy weather here we never know what our 45 minute commute will bring these days). He is trying and I am trying but habits are hard to break, we have lived together for 4 years and been together for 4 and a half so we have become very comfortable with each other. This is what I always wanted and prayed for in a relationship,  to be totally at ease and feel no need to put on a show or pretend to be someone I wasn't with someone. And sometimes I love that Matt and I can just be together and feel no need to talk or be engaged with each other. But when it becomes a constant state of being in our house, it makes me sad. And our financial situation has only made things worse. Causing constant tension and hostility. I am trying to include him in more conversations but it is hard when he seems totally disinterested. It is a slow process, a rebuilding of communication. Marriage is work. Though we struggle now, the work we put in will be worth it in the long run. We made a commitment and nothing will ever change that.

This weekend I have just stayed home and it has been awesome. I got a lot of housework done, Matt worked and helped someone move yesterday so I was able to crunch a lot of budget numbers to talk with him about when he got home. Today we slept in and are spending the day watching movies and then the Superbowl and pigging out, the traditional American thing lol. Just because. I still have one more day off and hope to do some organizing.

Also winter sucks......
Saturday, January 18, 2014

101 Things to do in 2014

Here is the list so far:
101 Things to Do in 2014
1. Spend a romantic weekend with Matt
2. Type up half of journals
3. Go to Las Vegas
4. Take a day trip to Chicago
5. Have a girls night out
6. Go to Binder Park Zoo
7. Go to a zoo I have not visited
8. Go to the beach
9. Go camping
10. Try out meal planning for one whole month
11. Pay off both credit cards
12. Try 5 new recipes
13. Try 5 new crockpot recipes
14. Reorganize music on laptop
15. Host a game night
16. Read 5 books of the Bible
17. Read 20 Fiction books
18. Read 5 Finance books (1/5) (Jan 18)
19. Read 5 Christian books
20. Read 5 Nonfiction books (1/5) (Jan 18)
21. Read 5 Memoirs
22. Visit family in Traverse City
23. Recover my blankie
24. Start to learn how to sew
25. Make blanket with old t-shirts
26. Back up my computer
27. Try out a funky color in my hair
28. Make homemade treats for dog
29. Make homemade treats for cats
30. Watch 35 movies I have never seen before (5/35) (Jan 17)
31. See 3 movies in the theatre
32. Start a journal
33. Write 10 notes to friends and family for no particular reason
34. Know all family birthdays and have them recorded on calendar for future years
35. Organize spare bedroom
36. Start walking the dog again
37. Hang up 5 more picture frames
38. Go garage saleing
39. Spend a night at the cottage
40. Carve a pumpkin
41. Volunteer at the animal shelter
42. Organize clothes
43. Watch a sunrise
44. Watch a sunset
45. Play a new game
46. Sort through hope chest
47. Do something with Matt that neither of us has done
48. Give some stuff away
49. Buy a grill
50. Start to look into taking classes
51. Blog four times a month

Only 50 more to go!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A New Year, An Improved Me

I have never liked the idea of "A New Year, A New You." I don't want to be totally different I want to be better, to make improvements, not be a totally different person. This year I hope to grow closer to God, change our financial situation for the better, to take steps toward being healthier, and to better prioritize my life.

Financially we ended the year on a pretty good note. Not perfect but a lot better than I thought. All the money we received as gifts, we used to fund savings' account. We added to our emergency savings, started a car, vacation, and Christmas savings and started a new savings account for the irregular spending categories in our budget. I also set up direct deposit for this new savings so money will automatically go in there each time I get paid. We are paying extra on our smallest credit card balance and hope to have it paid off by June and then start really attacking the higher credit card balance and have both paid off by the end of the year. Part of this depends on the size of our tax return. We are hoping to be able to finish paying off the smaller balance and put a good chunk toward the higher balance at that time but we shall see. In case you are curious about where we stand in the whole bankruptcy thing at this point, the holidays have held up Matt filing so we are waiting to hear from lawyer that all paperwork is ready to be signed and such. Also started paying the fees for that this month, thankfully they have a monthly payment plan. Really anxious to get Matt filed and be done with this and put it behind us as best we can and start taking steps to improve Matt's credit. (Update after I started writing this, paperwork is almost complete!)

At the end of December this is how we stood financially:

Debt Balances

Credit Card #1: $435.50
Credit Card #2: $4,116.46
Mariner: $12,924.75
Student Loan #1: $25,080.87 (corrected 2/9/14)
Student Loan #2: $57,328.16
Grand Total: $99, 885.74

Talk about a scary number. We have a mortgage basically and we don't even have a house. We have dug ourselves into this hole by only making minimum payments and making some bad decisions i.e. we spent too much on our vehicle and we never should have gotten a second credit card because we used it when the money ran out instead of planning better. But it happens. I feel guilty that about 3/4 of our debt is my student loans. It is one of the reasons that Matt filing for bankruptcy is the best option, we can't afford to pay his debt because we have to put so much money towards mine.

Here is a breakdown of how much money we spent on variable expenses in December:

Groceries: $440.35
Dining Out: $195.30
Gas: $623.12
Fun: $11.66
Misc: $75.36

Holy Gas Money!! Think most of that is all the travel for holidays and we fell off the car pooling wagon as the month went on. We also had to travel to a funeral. We did better on groceries than in Nov but we spent more on eating out. Guess it sort of balances out....still so far to go but miles from where we started. 

Here is how we did on variable expenses in December:

Car: $461.41
Medical: $15.52
Gifts: $132.98
Clothing: $57.56
Household: $70.55

I was excited when I first started writing this post because I thought I would be able to share that we didn't use a credit card once in December but I was mistaken. Forgot about fixing the Mariner. Some of the work was covered by warranty but still really hurt paying for that. We didn't spend anything on Pets (besides food which is included in grocery) or propane (which I still have to ask my grandparents about the bill). 

Overall in December we went over budget by $469.35 which is basically the car repairs which I felt pretty good about. We still need to really work on reigning in unnecessary spending. I think for financial updates in the blog for this year I am going to focus mainly on our paying down our debt and our progress in that aspect instead of our overall budget, unless there is something I change or feel especially proud of :-D.

In other news I was reading this post over at Pinstrosity and had a revelation. I haven't made resolutions the last couple years for the very reasons she speaks about. So I am going to give this a try, I don't know if I will be able to come up with 101 but I am going to try before February and will post it on here and update on the progress throughout the year. Also I started a devotional at the beginning of the year and have been mostly keeping up on it and started reading Genesis (for the like the 100th time, hoping this time the bible reading sticks!!!). Also started a reading group with some friends to read 16 books that will be coming out as movies this year. Feeling good being busy again. This post has taken me over a week to write already so think it is about time to wrap it up. Will try to post about these other things this weekend.