An Open Letter To The Parents in Houston and Florida

To all Parents in Houston and Florida

First just let me say your doing a great job. I can't even imagine being in your shoes. Having children watching your whole world be turned upside down and losing so much and having to stay brave for your kids. The unknown is scary but you can't be scared at least not on the outside.

I guess that is something we get when we become parents the ability to keep it together in front of them. To make them feel safe and secure even when we don't feel that way. To keep putting one foot in front of the other even when we feel like our shoes our made of lead and we are climbing the biggest mountain.

Also how brave are you? Having to make such difficult decisions at a moments notice. I mean the weight of that on someone is crazy but let me tell you this whatever you decided it was right. If you stayed, if you evacuated it was the right choice for you. Because you know your family best and you know to follow your gut no matter what.

I live in upstate NY and so my biggest weather problem is normally snow and we can shovel that. I have no idea what it must feel like to have to walk away from a home not sure what state you will find it in again. A few months back we lost power and it was still pretty cold out here (March is a touch and go month I mean it could still snow!) I had a 3 year old and 11 month old twins at the time and having to decide if we stick it out and bundle up or if go somewhere else. A family member who had a generator thankfully took our twins and we slept in our bed with our 3 year old using body heat and a million blankets and layers to stay warm in our house that got down to 48 degrees overnight. When we woke up the next morning we did not know when our power would be back and the estimates were saying not until the following day. I know the pressure I felt of making the best decision for our kids and us in that situation. And compared to what you have that is nothing.

What you are facing is so much bigger. Your house is damaged and you have everyone's safety in your hands. Power could be lost for weeks and your house well who knows yet or if your in Texas it is unlivable at this point. Memories are lost, everything you have worked for is gone and yet you have to keep going. You can't fall apart at least not in front of them.

So I guess I'm just here to say. Your doing a great job. I'm praying for you. Follow your gut and do what you feel best. It's easy for us who are hundreds of miles away to say I would just walk away I would evacuate but really we don't know. It's easy to pass judgement from where we sit. But there is no judgement from me.

You go parents and keep doing what YOU feel is best for you family and just know you have our prayers.


August Debt Check in and September Goals

I'm going to do at least one post every month about last months progress and the next set of monthly goals. 

So August
Here were our goals

Complete Baby Step #1- Save $1,000.00

Hit Baby Step#2-Debt Snowball
Cut out a ton of extra fat from our budget (I'm looking at you storage unit full of junk and XM radio)
Get Term Life Insurance
Enjoy our last vacations until we are debt free (these were pre-planned and already paid for with CASH!)
Get Grayson ready for school
Organize our house

So the ones in Green are complete and blue are a work in progess

Lets break it down

We hustled and got that $1,000.00 emergency fun fast we pulled it out of the bank and have it on hand for real emergencies although I'm hoping we never have to touch it

Baby Step #2 is a work in progress and will be for a while but we successfully paid off $4,572.93!!! YUP!!! We are so excited for that number. Now this is an exceptional month because we sold some things and really moved our savings down to just our $1,000.00 emergency fund our goal for the months moving forward are between $2,000 and $3,000 a month

Cut out a ton of extra fat from our budget we did just that. We removed the line item in our budget for eating out we just stopped that all together and we also cleaned out our storage unit and cancelled my xm radio. Those alone have given us an extra $210 in our budget a month which we are loving

Get Term Life we have done everything on our end now we are in the approval step where we have done our medical exam and submitted our applications so now we just wait

We enjoyed our last vacations but I'm already cooking up a way that we can do our camping trip next year because the kids just love it so much and so I have a couple things I'm planning on selling to fully cash fund that next summer

Grayson is ready for school and has his first day (with parent drop off no bus yet!) tomorrow so thankful his supply list was only glue sticks and tissues

Organize our house well that is a work in progress because it seems like we have so much to do but we got the basement cleaned out yesterday and go that ready use as more storage

Onto September Goals

Close Pool and get ready for winter
Complete out Will
Start Financial Peace University
Work on Baby Step#2
Halloween Costumes for kiddos
Keep working on organizing house


8 years.....

Eight Years 

I was getting up and ready to head to the salon to get my hair done and it was pouring down rain. 
I was not phased by it at all I was just so happy to be marrying my best friend

Back then (and still today) I was just in awe that he chose me. He was (and still is) more than I could have ever dreamed of.

I always think of what our pastor said during our pre-marital counseling, she told us that she was praying about our marriage and she just kept coming back to that we were written in heaven to be together.

That sticks with us so much and has been the foundation for our marriage.

It hasn't always been perfect and it I know that rough roads lie ahead because that's life but we have a good foundation one that can withstand all the storms

8 years ago we were two young kids getting married and now today we have three kids of our own.

We have endured countless sleepless nights together, blowouts that need a hazmat team, teething of 3 children (still in the midst of that) potty training (still more on the horizon) house repairs, new cars, debt, losing loved ones, 3 pregnancies, one miscarriage, friendships coming and going, vacations and hard decision but through it all we have remained the constant. 

Our love is strong enough and it wins always.


Total Money Makeover took our communication to the next level

So I read The Total Money Makeover about 3 years ago but I could not get my husband to read it.
I kind of tried to do it myself and guess what that is a huge burden for one person to take on. He was on board with paying off debt but he wasn't so on board with the whole rice and beans approach.

So it didn't work very long and we both got back to our spending ways.

Then in the midst of a heated disagreement spurred by money talks I asking him to please get Audible and listen to Dave Ramsey. He did and that changed everything not just financially but with out relationship.

We have always been communicators. Michael and I both talk to each other about everything. We always discussed purchases but it was a "hey there is this great deal so I bought xyz" kind of thing. He hardly ever looked at our account and I paid all the bills. I would print out a budget I did once a month and then he would look it over tell me it looked good and then it would go in the drawer never to be seen again.

We would spend 10,15,20 on drive thru coffee or a pizza for dinner. I added it up one month and we spend over $75.00 on drive thru coffee runs I mean that is just insane but neither one of us was concerned enough about debt and our budget we were just half way budgeting.

I felt so much pressure to make it every month and I started to feel isolated when it came to finances. So while he our marriage was good and we were happy I knew we needed to work on this area specifically.
We thought we were good at communication but we never communicated properly about money! Which by the way is one of the major reasons people get divorced and should be something constantly discussed.

So once he read the Total Money Makeover we had a real talk about our finances. We put blame and shame aside. You see I have always felt guilty about being the only one with student loans but we are a team and we both take responsibility for our debt. Our money is one and our debt is one. There is no separation.

I mean we talk daily about our budget, projected debt payoff, which money is going where, life insurance, long term disability insurance and the man himself Dave Ramsey.

We both listen to the pod casts daily and Michael loves to YouTube debt free screams, which something that is now on our bucket list!

We are on the same page and when I went to pay bills this month. I smiled, like a big cheesy smile because there was no stress at all. We had already budgeted everything and if something came up we had made the necessary adjustments.

We are less stressed and it shows even our kids can tell. I'm not trying to juggle the accounts and squirming when Michael talks about buying something. We are so in sync with this debt payoff and it is so wonderful.

We are starting FPU in 2 weeks and I can't wait to watch our marriage get even stronger. There is nothing like working on a goal with your spouse. Plus it helps that we are both competitive and have hopes to kill out two year projection of being debt free. But I think it goes deeper than that we are changing our family and it's future and that is just something that makes both of our hearts so full.


This that and camping

Last week we went on a family vacation and went camping. Well glamping I guess. We went to JellyStone in Java NY and rented a cabin. It was a blast. It was my brother and sister in law with my niece and nephew and my parents along with us and the kiddos. So that is 6 adults and 5 kids in a two bedroom cabin. It was tight quarters but man was it a blast. There is so much for the kids to do all right at the campground and our cabin was in the best location a short walk to the lake and pool and right next to the activity center.

The kids made shirts played candy bar bingo, played put put, went fishing, canoeing, built sandcastles, and swam every single day. We went Sunday through Wednesday and it was the perfect amount of time.

Michael and I actually left with the twins on Tuesday night because we had pretty important doctors appointment for Charlotte on Wednesday and we just wanted her to have a good nights sleep in her own bed the night before.

Speaking of the doctors Charlotte has been having some tummy problems and going to the bathroom and we have tried everything our pediatrician has suggested and nothing has worked and so we were referred to a GI specialist. We love the specialist who told us this is no uncommon and that hopefully in a few steps we can get it resolved but we are also checking for anything that could be causing the constipation and stomach problems.

Let me tell you getting a 15 month old to have blood drawn was pure torture. She screamed the whole time and I had to hold her super super tight because she kept trying to rip the needle out. However I'm glad we are testing for anything underlying condition.

We are rolling along with our debt. I have a post coming up tomorrow about how our marriage has changed from this already. I'm planning to do monthly posts about what we have paid off and if we have had any set backs (praying for none!) and any non debt victories!

I have developed a huge iced coffee addiction or maybe it's just coffee but I have been having 2-3 a day. Why are they so good? I love them best from home and I just use my creamer in them no sugar and they are everything right now.

Michael and I are counting down the days until we have two whole night of being kid free. We are going just a few hours away and have plans to do nothing. We just want to relax and be able to finish a sentence the first time instead of starting it 67 times lol.


Workin' It Wednesday-Back to School

So this year is my first year with a kiddo going to school

My sweet Grayson is starting Pre-K in our school district!

This is a huge change for us since he has always gone to a daycare right down the road from my work and for the last year 3 days a week he has been in a nursery school setting at that same daycare.

Now he will be in our school district and he will be riding the bus and going half days 5 days a week. 

Our school has a trickle in approach to school so that kids can ease into the process

So school starts Wednesday September 6th and each child is given one day that they will go that week. Grayson was picked for Wednesday so he will only go one day that week on Wednesday and we have to bring him and drop him off. 

Then on Monday September 11th he will start his first full week and riding the bus. 

I took half a day for both days because well I have to be there.

This is our first going to school and since he goes half days in the afternoon I'm not sure if we will have too many traditions start quite yet however we have a few in mind

We will be going supply shopping for him sometime in the next week, it's a small list but we still want to have him have that experience.

He does not need clothes (cousin hand-me downs for the win!) BUT could use a new pair of sneakers so we will be taking him shoe shopping! So excited for that!

Overall we are just praying for a smooth transition and that he will do good in this new setting and schedule.


Debt Snowball AGAIN

I come here today to hang my head in shame a little bit

3 years ago I declared that we were getting out of debt. I had just read Total Money Makeover and was so ready to get out of debt.

We did awesome, we saved $1,000 and fast and then we got to work on our smallest debt. We paid it off in about 5 months and then we stopped.

Like hardcore just stopped. Why? I could give you a million reasons

I self medicated by shopping a little bit after my miscarriage and we justified a weekend trip to Toronto even though we didn't have a budget because it was our anniversary.

Then September came and we were pregnant with twins. We were faced with a ton of financial decisions and we made some moves out of fear (I'm looking at you mini van) and our own pressure.

We had a real come to Jesus moment when Michael went to his new schedule and our daycare bill was about twice our mortgage. 

My husband hates to read. But I needed him to read this book! So I found Audible downloaded it on his phone and he "read" Total Money Makeover in one day and that was it. We were hardcore on the road to becoming debt free.

Our total debt as of August 1st 2017 was 66,000.00 That consists mostly of student loans and some credit card debt. Our goal is 24 months. Seems crazy but we have a hardcore plan and I truly think it will be less. My guess is around 20-22 months.

I will update at the first of every month what we have paid off.
Plus what our monthly goals are outside of debt

This month it is
Complete Baby Step #1- Save $1,000.00
Hit Baby Step#2-Debt Snowball
Cut out a ton of extra fat from our budget (I'm looking at you storage unit full of junk and XM radio)
Get Term Life Insurance
Enjoy our last vacations until we are debt free (these were pre-planned and already paid for with CASH!)
Get Grayson ready for school
Organize our house

I strongly encourage you to look into this book
It has been such an awakening for us

I have a whole other post on the affect it has already had on our marriage and me as a person

Plus now with Audible there is no excuse not to get this information!!! My husband has listened to it twice already it's that addicting!