Thursday, August 25, 2011

August Budget Update & September Budget

August was another great month. We were very fortunate and won a ton of prizes from Quality Auto and Utah Carzz. I signed Mike up for text alerts earlier in the summer and he was a finalist to win a car (well $10,000 towards a car and it had no cash value which would mean we'd have to buy a car and sell it to get the money. Hassle!) He didn't win the car, but instead walked out with Lagoon tickets, Beaver Mtn tickets, movie passes, a night's stay at Anniversary Inn and basically $400 cash! We used $100 of it that day for a fun day at Bear Lake (groceries for up there, plus shakes and then we went to the fair). We also each gave ourselves $50 for blow money. $200 went towards the snowball. So here's the rest of the month:
  • We over spent a few areas (eye doc more than we though, we went out to eat once :( , blow money was a little more than planned and our "other spending" was higher because of a weight loss thing Mike and I are doing. We did plan for that in Sept though).
  • I had Gaucho Grill call me for a SMART class and had 6 people there. I did have 2 other classes this month. One had 1 person, the other had 6. Had some people call, so hopefully September is a great month!
  • We still have 1 more of Mike's checks coming this month, but we have no August bills left and our mortgage, utilities and my car payment is already made for September.
  • Estimating his check (more realistically that I do when I write the budget) we have about $750 left over in our budget!! Mike did get 5 checks this month, so there's extra because of that. The other is my underestimating his checks.
  • I will be driving to Brigham City to make EIGHT EXTRA car payments!! I'm going to see if they will apply it to principle only. This should bring the car payments on my car down to 25 left until we own it!! Originally I thought we'd be paying on it until April 2012 but I really think we can get it paid off by December or January.
  • I sent paperwork in to see about refinancing our home. We're 6 yrs into a 30 year loan at a 5.62% fixed rate. I'm hoping to get into a 15 yr loan at 3.something %. That would rock. I'll keep ya updated.

September we're planning a Lagoon trip because the tickets are only good for 2011 year. We're going to pack lunches and then we are allowing ourselves $50 to spend down there. We're taking Mike's dad and it should be a fun day! We also are using this weight loss supplement that costs us around $60 a month for the two of us. In 2 wks I have lost 8 lbs and 2 inches on my waist. I only have 25 lbs left to hit my goal and I'm hoping to be there by Christmas!! We also have 3 parents birthday's coming up too. And my dear friend Jade's baby is turning 1 on the 29th so I get to go down and see her.

I'd love to see gas prices drop because we've upped our gas budget and it'd be nice to have some extra money there. And hopefully our utility bill goes down now that it will (hopefully) be getting cooler. It's been pretty pricey this year.

Ok I'm ready for September! Bring it on!!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

July Budget update & August Budget

July is officially over in 3 days. We did amazing. Halfway through I felt like we got our butts kicked and we weren't making much progress but here's a quick recap of what we did in July:
  • Paid off Great Lakes Student Loans. We started 2011 (Well in February is when I started tracking our snowball) with a balance of $3380 and we paid that off in 6 months. That feels amazing!
  • Stayed in budget, with a few slips but nothing that made us break the bank and we even got to enjoy a RSL game thanks to Mike's boss. That was fun times!
  • Paid 6 additional car payments on my car. SIX ADDITIONAL PAYMENTS!!! I'm kind of speechless with this one.
  • Since the year has started we have paid $6600 towards our debt. Thanks to tax returns, a very generous grandma and cutting our savings back to the $1k emergency fund. At this rate we could potentially be out of debt in 4 years. My goal is 3 years. I honestly think we can do this if we stick to it.
  • We had about $400 extra dollars in our budget to throw at our debt. This came from overestimating the cost of somethings and underestimating our paychecks. (It's a little sneaky, but it makes me feel better to see that we made more than I think we will).
  • I also looked into Life Insurance quotes. It's morbid to think about, but if anything should ever happen to one of us, we need to make sure the other one is taken care of. I'm thinking by the end of the year we'll have policies in place and that will be taken care of.
  • I canceled 2 credit cards that had zero balances and we were just holding on to. One was Kohl's and the girl was like "you know you'll be missing out on extra savings opportunities". My response: "I know". And I'm not even that upset about it. I was spending money at Kohl's cause I had a coupon or because they were offering Kohl's Cash, not because we were in need of something. Good riddance!
August's budget is done and we have a ton of $$ left over. There's 5 Tuesdays in the month so Mike gets 1 extra paycheck. That's going straight towards my car. We have it over half paid now and we got it in Nov 2008. But we did refinance it a year later for a better rate and a lower payment. So we're right on track with that one. Well....we're ahead I guess, but you know what I mean. I do need to add Christmas money into each budget and start buying the supplies for all the gifts I want to make. Better to start now than be in a mad rush come December, ya know!

I just wish I could skip ahead 3 years and be out of debt. Or better yet, jump back 3 years and start doing this then. But I'm very grateful that we're both employed and able to provide for our family and that we are finally starting to take control of our finances.

Meal Plan July 27-Aug 2

Oops it's already Friday and I forgot to post our meal plan. I blame Jillian Michaels for making me forget.

Wednesday: FFA (Free For All)
Thursday: Rice & Bean Chimichungas. They were delicious! Very easy to make and I will make again, but probably do different flavor combinations
Friday: PB&J Pancakes
Saturday: ?? It was going to be grilled chicken but now we're going to see my in-laws so not sure yet.
Sunday: Oriental Chicken Salad w/veggies & pitas chips for dipping
Monday: Rainy Day Brisket. I have never cooked brisket before so I hope it turns out ok.
Tuesday: Upside-Down Pizza.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Real Salt Lake Soccer

Mike's boss had some extra tickets for a Real Salt Lake soccer game, so we invited his dad and headed down on Saturday. The seats were AMAZING. Almost midfield and row K which is the 11th row. We had a blast and the girls were pretty good too. At the end there were fireworks for Pioneer Day which is a silly Utah holiday that celebrates when the Mormons landed in Utah. That's a story for a different day. Anyway, here's some pics. Mike's dad and Mercy:
The fans on the other side of the stadium were passing this banner around the stadium:
Start of the second half. At this time the score was 0-0. At the end of the game it was 4-0 and RSL won!!
Grace is just chillin'.
Mercy fell asleep for a while. Yippee!!
We had a blast and will most likely go see another game later on (hopefully). Mega thanks to Mike's boss!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Menu 7/20-7/26 & notes from last week's menu.

Last week's meals changed up a little because we had to go to a wedding reception. But let me tell you the turn out:

Thurday's Crunchy Chicken called for Ritz crackers and my smart self was thinking Saltines, so I knew I had those so I didn't get any Ritz. Soooooo we used crushed up Parmesan Goldfish crackers instead. O.M.G. that was amazing.

Saturday's Orange Ginger Chicken we didn't make, which was fine cause I didn't buy enough chicken (d'oh) and I couldn't find any ginger. But this was the night of the wedding party, so it all worked out in the end. The party had a chocolate fountain... /drool

Beef & Broccoli Stir-Fry was good. I have honestly never had it before and was a little scared. Found out I don't like water-chestnuts. But I did like the sauce and the beef was season amazingly. Go Mike!

Oh and we swapped Sunday & Monday's meals cause the Mexican Lasagna called for enchilada sauce and I make my own and I didn't have time Sunday before work. So I cooked the beef and made the sauce Monday morning and Mike had the lasagna waiting for me when I got home last night. Even Grace ate some...well, kind of. She has this obsession with sour cream so she was pretty stoked that she got to dip the stuff in the sour cream. But it was AMAZING!! Definitely a repeat recipe.

Tonight is Beefy Noodle Casserole which is like Hamburger Helper but homemade. But since I have like 50 bajillion boxes of Hamburger Helper, maybe Mike will just make that. I'm off at 8, so I guess I'll be surprised.

So on to this week's plan:
Wednesday: Hot Dogs & Soup (I'm closing on Wednesday's now so probably will do my shopping on Thursday. Have to go with something we have on hand)
Thursday: Jambalaya Stuffed Chicken w/salads
Friday: Bacon & Spinach Quiche
Saturday: Burgers. We're going to head up to Bear Lake in the early afternoon so I may make Picnic Chicken, which is basically fried chicken that we eat cold. It's delicious. I'll post my recipe (easy-peasy!) and pics if I have time
Sunday: A-1 Pork Chops w/mashed potatoes & salads
Monday: Roast w/zesty gravy and veggies and some kind of starch (haven't gotten that far yet lol)
Tuesday: Pizza. Same recipe as last week. Love that dough recipe!!

Pretty good week. Have been super impressed with E-Mealz so far. Takes the guess work out of what to make each night, and almost everything we've made, we've liked so far.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Christmas in July

All of our budgeting has me thinking about Christmas and what we're going to get for the girls. I'd like to keep it to spending as little cash as possible. Last year we went a little overboard. I started making a list of what we're going to get each girl. First, I'm on a roll and planning on finishing Mercy's birth announcement which I'll giver her for Christmas. It looks like this:
I've had it for years (like around 10 or so...) and I've been intimidated by it because it's not typical Aida cloth. But so far so good.

Grace is going to get this one:

She loves cats so I figure it's a good choice. Hopefully they won't take me long to do. But I do need to work on Grace's when she's asleep so she doesn't see it.

I also would like to make an Advent calendar if I have time. I saw this last year and I feel in LOVE with it. And looking for the link to the post I found this cute crayon holder and now I'm going to make one for Grace. Probably Mercy too for later on down the road. So many crafting projects and so little time!! I also saw a post for these cute as a button dolls. Perfect for Murp-a-durp! (our current nick-name for Mercy). All of these are linked from Homemade by Jill. I stumbled upon it a while ago and love her crafts! I wish there were more hours in the day :)

Ok next is monograms for the girl's rooms. That idea came from Craftastical and here's a link.
And here's a picture of what I'm going to attempt:
Obviously I'll do the girl's initials. And I may just do one for our living room or bedroom. We don't really have much in our bedroom so I'd be neat to do one with and M & B for our bedroom. Maybe right over our bed since we're missing a headboard. And I get to play with Mod Podge. I LOVE Mod Podge ever since I did the coasters last year for the fam.

Grace is going to get some hair clips as well. There's so many different ways to make these using fake flowers, ribbons, buttons and gems. I just saw a post from The Frugal Girls about "korker" hair clips that look so cute. So Grace is going to get a bunch of different kinds. I'm going to get a long, thick ribbon and attack all the different clips to the ribbon so we can hang it in her room and she can pick and choose each day. Now that her hair is longer and she's letting me style it for her, I think she'll really like it. I'll probably make a few smaller ones for Murps, but we'll see. It depends on how much hair she has come December.

I do have $100 credits with Eversave that I won from Hip 2 Save so I've been waiting patiently for a good deal to come up that I can get some toys or clothes for the kids. I also save Pampers Gifts to Grow points from diaper packages and random bonus points online. You can turn them in for rewards and stuff. I have a lot and I'm saving up for something big. Huggies has the same type of rewards program. And so does Disney Movie Rewards.

And my fave... SWAGBUCKS! I'm saving for amazon.com giftcards. I have enough for almost $25 in giftcards that I'm going to use to get Grace some Tag books or Leapster games.

And Grace really wants a spinning toothbrush. There's often coupons for them so I'll just wait for a sale. It'll make a nice stocking stuffer.

But that's the plan for now. A lot of homemade things which means I need to get cracking. Bring on the coffee and X-Files. I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of late nights!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mysterious Ways

One of my favorite quotes is "The Lord works in mysterious ways." Quick....name that movie.




Give up?



Blue Brothers. Classic. If you haven't seen it, go rent it right now!

Ok probably not right now, but you know what I mean. Anyway, this is SOOOO true. He really does. When we started this TMM (Total Money Makeover) I was very discouraged with how long it was going to take us to pay off our $55,000 in debt. That number is HUGE! I used Dave Ramsey's free debt-snowball calculator to see how long it would take us and it estimated payments until 2025 or something. Way too far off in the future. Now that we're on a written budget and I am telling my money what to do, we keep ended up with extra money each month. Mike's checks are bigger than I budget, our bills are smaller than I budget. So the next item we're attacking is my car loan.

We had to get a car back in 2009 because my trusty Dodge Shadow died. It was more to fix than the car was worth and us, in our debt-filled ignorance, financed a used car. We did pay $1000 down, which helped, but it was our first car loan in our relationship history. And then the next year we got Mike a used truck. And now we have $20,000 in car loans. I'm sure if we called Dave he'd say to sell the truck, but we're just going to pay it off. I'm still full-force on being out of debt in 3 years, including all car loans and student loans.

And it seems like the Lord is willing to help. He's showing us that by not living beyond our means, we can accomplish our goals. I have a whole new outlook on "things". "Things" aren't important. Ya, I like to have nice "things" and I like to look back at old "things" to remember fun times, but the most important thing, especially right now, is that we're able to provide for our family to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. All the other "things" we'll be able to get one day...when we're not a slave to the bank.

This month alone I'm throwing 5 EXTRA car payments at my car. That means there's only 37 payments left to go. We can do this!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Meal Plan July 13-19

Here's our menu for this week.

Wednesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs w/salad
Thursday: Crunchy Chicken w/corn & steamed carrots
Friday: Pizza!! We use THIS dough recipe. It's amazing.
Saturday: Orange Ginger Chicken w/mashed potatoes & salad
Sunday: Mexican Lasagna w/chips & salsa
Monday: Beef & Broccoli Stir-Fry w/white rice & rolls
Tuesday: Beefy Noodle Casserole w/salad & garlic bread

Most of these are from E-Meals and the produce is mostly from Bountiful Baskets.

Appreciating innocence


Today I told Grace that we had a rough day. I said tomorrow would be better and I wouldn't be bad. She told me that I wouldn't have to go to "time out". Sometimes I just need to stop and watch her innocence before she turns into a teenager. I have a feeling that's going to be a rough time in our lives...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Budget Update


Ok one month down. We did pretty good. And the best part is...we paid off Great Lakes!! We paid off $3380 in 5 months! Next debt we're attacking is Box Elder Credit Union which is my car. We have $6300 left and now we'll be paying a minimum of $242 each month instead of $164. Plus adding any extra money from each month onto it. If we can get an extra $260 a month we should have it paid off in a year, but my goal is to do it faster than that. Maybe by Feb or March of 2012.

As for the budget for June, we came in $184 below budget! This money will get thrown towards my car loan. Our dentist appointments ended up being about $90 less than we originally budgeted and we spent $25 less in gas. That and Mike's checks were on average $20 more than we anticipated. I'm keeping our income the same, since his checks to vary from month to month, but any extra money is nice. And gets us out of debt faster! July doesn't really have anything big other than an oil change. And the weeks are weird so we have an extra offertory payment for church and an extra daycare check. But coming up in August, Mike will have 5 paydays! Sweet!!

I did want to share my grocery savings tracker for the year. We're halfway through and I've managed to stockpile a lot of food and save a ton of money!
Hopefully this shows up larger, but as you can see I've saved 44% this year on groceries alone. There are some rebates that I've sent in, but I don't track those. But $5000 worth of groceries for only $2900!?! I'm quite impressed with myself :) My $17.75 newspaper subscription has been paid for. And so has my few hours a week of coupon clipping. I'll get some pics of my stockpile and post those soon. Oh and this savings tracker is courtesy of The Coupon Project. I love her blog and her Couponing 101 is what I used when I first started up.

Lastly, we signed up for e-meals this month. We have been making a meal plan each day but I felt like it has been the same things over and over. And we were making it a month in advance, which was nice, but it was hard to shop for. E-meals uses the sales ad to create a menu and then you can shop the sales. Add coupons to save even more! So far we've made 2-3 things from each week's meal plan and have loved them. I highly recommend.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bountiful Basket 6/18


Here's a picture of today's Bountiful Basket. We had a pretty good basket: 2 heads of romaine, 1 bunch of spinach, 1 stalk of celery, a bag of tomatoes, a ton of small peppers (again), 3 cucumbers, a lot of plums, a cantaloup, a bunch of bananas, a pineapple two pints of blackberries, and a cabbage. We made pork tacos tonight and used some of the peppers. Definitely going to be making some salads this week and we have a ton of fruit for breakfasts and lunches all week. We're eating healthier, which is nice, and getting items I typically wouldn't buy which is expanding our dinner menus. I love Bountiful Baskets!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mercy's Birth Story

Mercy's Birth 10/20/10 - 10:20 pm


I'm still working at Ruby Tuesday however now I'm the General Manager so that means I'm working more and longer hours. Usually put in about 50-55 hrs a week. And again, pregnancy isn't going to slow me down. I didn't miss a day of work, even with a UTI. I was pretty sure Mercy was going to come on her due date, but part of me thought she was going to be early cause I was showing fast. And I was big! I had 2 different people ask me if I was having twins. Not the nicest thing to ask a pregnant woman.

Unlike my first pregnancy, I did get morning sickness with this one. I didn't throw up a lot, maybe 10 times total throughout the pregnancy, but it still sucked. I didn't do much manual labor with this baby other than painting Grace's room purple. Mercy's room was already ready to go since she was taking over Grace's old room. I did however, play Just Dance on the Wii a lot and I guess it was pretty funny to see my belly shake. No pics or videos however cause I didn't want anyone other than my family to see it. I did have contractions early on, but nothing to worry the doctor so when one would come, I would just slow down for a minute.

I was due October 19th which was a Tuesday. I didn't care what day she was born but I didn't want her to come out on the 16th since that's my and Mike's anniversary and I wanted Mercy to have her own day. My last day of work was Monday the 11th and other than some mild contractions, I was pretty sure I was going to make it till the 19th. Needless to say, I did try some things to get mother nature moving a bit early. Heard that eating pineapple helped to soften the cervix so I ate a can one day at work. All it did was upset my stomach. We did take a drive out the canyon once, and that too didn't help. This baby was stayin' in till she was done cooking.

The week I had off of work before she was born I actually “nested” a bit. I got all my old Barbies out for Grace and cleaned and shopped. It was nice to not work and spend some time with Grace before her world got turned upside down.

When we took the Big Sister class (taught by Helen Hale, Paul's wife) I found out that Grace wouldn't be allowed in the delivery room. This changed up our plan a little. Now, thinking about it, I'm sure my doc would have been ok having her in there, but I'm glad she wasn't. It would have been hard to keep track of a toddler while focusing on birthing. Mike's dad was planning on coming up when I went into labor and Jamie was on-call as well.

October 19th comes and I have a doctor appointment. I weigh in (under 200 lbs!) and he checks my cervix and I'm at.... a 3. Really? A 3? That's what I was the week before. He asked if I wanted to be induced or wait it out, and I didn't want to be induced at all. So we decided that we'd schedule an appointment for the following Monday if she didn't come sooner. The doc also said she looked like she would weigh about the same as my first (about 7lbs). His nurse told me that second deliveries usually took half the time as the first so I was looking forward to an 11 hr or so labor. I went home to wait for something to happen. And I went to sleep disappointed.

I woke up the morning of the 20th and thought “if she's born today she'll have a 10-20-2010 birthday which is cool” and got over the fact that she wasn't born on her due date. I had been having contractions all morning but nothing consistent. There would be a big one and then 5 min later another, and then 20 min later the next. Nothing to get my hopes up. Comcast came out and set up our internet around 2 and Mike got home from work around 3. No contractions. Grace wanted to go to Willow park and I figured walking around the zoo could only help so Mike and I were discussing that when I felt a huge gush of liquid. At 3:30 pm my water broke, and when I say broke, I mean “Niagra Falls”. I'm pretty sure I swore (Mike says I did at least) and I scared Grace. I grabbed a blanket off the chair and shoved it between my legs while I screamed at him to get towels and the bag. I called Jamie and I honestly don't remember the conversation except it ended with her coming to get Grace. I waddled upstairs to sit on the toilet while I waited for Mike to get everything in the truck. I had some pads from when I came home after having Grace and thought that would work, cause well, it worked when my water broke with Grace, but it was kinda like plugging a hole in the Hover Dam with a bandaid. Jamie came and got Grace, I got in the truck (and realized I didn't have shoes on so Mike had to go back inside and get my flip-flops) and we headed to the hospital.

Our hospital is about 10 minutes away and thankfully school was already out or we'd be stuck in the insane traffic of parents picking up their kids. I had 4 strong contractions in the car on the way. I swore at every car that was going slow and at every red light. I was sure the baby was coming out NOW. Got to the hospital and can someone tell me why Delivery is on the 2nd floor?? Got checked in and headed to a room. Contractions still pretty regular and still pretty strong. The nurse in our room has to get me in the computers and of course the computer in our room isn't working so instead of switching rooms, they switch computers. Finally, I'm in, they get an IV in, monitors on my contractions and her heartbeat. My contractions are strong, but bearable. Mike heads home to change since he's still in work clothes. While he's gone I start really feeling the contractions and when he gets back I get my epidural (5:30 pm). It was amazing! And I Facebooked it and people made fun of me. :P

Now we just wait. I'm at a 4. I'm shocked that I'm only at a 4. Around 7 pm Mike's dad shows up and we decide to induce me to get my dilation moving. The epidural had slowed down the contractions. So they start the Pitocin and Mike takes his dad to our house (this is around 7:45 pm). Comparing things to the last pregnancy, we figure we have a while. The nurse comes to check around 8:30 pm and I'm at a 6 so she pumps up the Pitocin. About 30 min later I'm feeling the contractions. I shouldn't be, so I push the button and get an extra dose. Still feeling them 10 min later so I push it again. I swear I pushed that thing 4 or 5 times but I don't really remember. Then I notice that the monitor that's tracking the baby's heartbeat is pretty quiet. She must have moved but I'm nervous. I call Mike and he says he's 5 min away. I tell him to hurry, not sure why, but I feel like he needs to be there. The nurse comes in at 10 to check me again and Mike had just walked in the door. I tell her the heartbeat isn't tracking anymore and she explains the baby moves and when they move the monitor usually the baby moves again so she likes to wait. She checks me and her eyes bugged out! I was at a 10 and the baby was ready to come. The nurse wasn't! She told me not to push, she needed to call the doc and get the tables and things ready. Around 10:13pm I started pushing. We had been joking that the baby would be born at 10:20 on 10/20 and 7 minutes later when she came out, it was 10:20 pm. I only pushed through 4 contractions and she came out. Mike and I had an unofficial bet about how big she'd be. I said 7 lbs and some ounces, Mike said less than 7. When they put her on the scale she weighed in at 8lbs and 8oz!! So I was just having a big baby! The cord was wrapped around her head once, but she was ok and Mike got to cut the cord! My labor lasted 7 hrs from water breaking to delivery and I couldn't have asked for it to go any better. My beautiful Mercy Jo was born at 10:20 pm on 10/20/2010. They handed her to me first and I thought she looked just like Grace. Mike held her next and even though she was big, she looked so tiny in his hands. Dicus baby number two was just perfect!

Grace's Birth Story

I was reading one of my friend's birth stories and I thought I'd share mine. I wrote this a few months after Grace was born. Here we go...


Gracie's Birth 11/25/06 3:17 pm

I am a salary manager at a restaurant so that means I work 50+ hrs a week. And I didn't slow down once after I got pregnant. We had some former employees who were pregnant and always needed to sit, or throw up or complain about the aches and pains of pregnancy. I did not want to be one of those women. I don't think I complained once about being pregnant. I never missed a shift (with the exception of a kidney stone...ouch!). And other than peeing every 30 minutes I was enjoying working and being pregnant. And hey, working in a restaurant I got tons of free food :)

I did not throw up once during my pregnancy. I craved mac and cheese and french fries and I pushed myself to my limits. I even painted the nursery and our kitchen (and got yelled at by every co-worker!) I took a lot of naps and whined while at home, but when I was at work, I sometimes forgot I was even pregnant. And got in trouble again for putting dishes away, lifting boxes (not heavy ones, I promise!) and being constantly on the move.















































The baby was due Saturday, November 25th - 2 days after Thanksgiving. I was going to take maternity leave the following Monday cause I assumed I would be late. Then I got to thinking if something happened I didn't want them to have to cover shifts for me so I took leave the Tuesday before. Wednesday I felt guilty for not being at work. Thursday (Thanksgiving) we didn't do anything. We didn't even have a turkey cause I thought if I went into labor I didn't want to have a whole meal being made and wasted. Friday was another boring day and again felt guilty for not working. Mike (hubby) went to work (we were working at the same restaurant) that night and I sat down to do some cross-stitching and watch some movies.

Around 5:30 I went upstairs to pee (again) and stopped to peek out the window. That's when my water broke. However, I didn't know that's what had happened right away. I felt wetter and thought "Well that's different". Soon as I sat down to pee I realized what had happened and started freaking out. I hadn't even had any contractions. I called Mike's cell and of course he didn't answer, so I called our work and asked to talk to him. I told the hostess that my water had broke and she ran back to get Mike. When she told him I was on the phone and that my water had broke he told her to shut up and quit kidding him. Then he realized she was serious. He was out of there so fast.

So there I am, sitting on the toilet wondering what in the hell I'm going to do with all this liquid running out of me. No one tells you it keeps coming! I called my mom and she told me to get to the hospital. So I called the hospital and asked if that's what I was supposed to do. I hadn't had any contractions! I thought I was supposed to wait until they were 10 minutes apart and then go. They told me to come on down. By that time Mike got home and started to grab thing. I had already had the bags packed so we grabbed them and a towel for me to sit on and got on our way. Mike was freaking out and I kept calming him down. I had to keep reminding him not to speed and that we had plenty of time before the baby got there.

Got to the hospital and went to L&D. Stubborn old me refused a wheelchair :) They hooked me up to the monitors and checked my cervix....which was at 1cm.

They called the doc (not my doc...he was on vacation) and then it was time to just wait. Peeing sucked cause you had to unhook all the monitors, drag the IV, be careful not to leak fluids everywhere, do your business and make it back to the bed, all while your bum hangs out of a hospital gown. My MIL showed up as did my FIL (divorced) and BIL. The doc came and said since my water broke they would wait to see how I went naturally dilating, but if I wasn't far enough along by midnight they were going to induce. The monitor showed I was having contractions, but all it felt like was slight pressure. They also did an ultrasound to see how the baby was facing. She was head down but face up and she needed to turn before she could deliver so her head was down. It was only the 3rd ultrasound we saw of her. We could see her sticking out her tongue and putting her hands to her mouth. I could feel her moving inside of me and see her moving on the screen. It was a beautiful thing.

Midnight came and I was dilated to 2 cm. Contractions were a little stronger, but not unbearable. So they came and induced me. About an hr later I could feel the contractions start to hurt. At 2 I was doubling over. They gave me some fentinal (sp?). I think I got 2 doses before they finally came and did the epidural. That was heavenly!! However, didn't realize that you can't feel anything from the waist down. So they put in a catheter. Fun!

So I am drifting off to sleep for about hour long intervals. The nurses keep coming in to check on me. Every time I have a contraction, the baby's heartbeat goes from 140 to 100. Sometimes down lower. The monitors keep losing her (she's really an active baby) so they insert an internal monitor. Hours go by and the nurses are starting to get worried about her heart beat. It takes a while for it to comeback up. Oh, and I forgot to mention that there was meconium in the fluid so they are worried that the baby is distressed. Now I did not want a C-section at all. I didn't even want induced, but had no choice there. The doc wouldn't go longer than 6 hrs after the water breaks before inducing to reduce risk of infection. So I start to get worried every time I see the heartbeat fall below 100. I remember praying that God saves my baby no matter what. They keep checking me and I'm slowly getting more dilated. The doc says if I don't get to a 10 by 2:00 they're most likely going to have to do a c-section because of the stress the baby is in. I do not want that, so now I am praying for God to watch over my baby and for me to get to a 10!

At 2 they come and check and low and behold I am at 10cm. The nurses come in and start changing my bed into a birthing bed. It was like a Transformer. They prop my legs into the stirrups and the nurse goes over how I will push. The doc checks and she is face down. I pushed for about an hour. I remember the doc saying if I kept pushing and nothing happened they would do a c-section. I pushed like there was no tomorrow. I could feel her head and it was an odd pressure feeling since I was numb. Then I couldn't feel her head anymore. The doc asked if I had one more push and the next thing I knew the doc had her in his hands. Mike said she slipped out like an eel!

I just started bawling. There she was, my beautiful baby girl. After checking that it was indeed a girl, I counted her toes while they cleaned her off. I couldn't hold her right away because they needed to clear her lungs of the meconium. Turns out the cord was wrapped around her head twice which was why her heartbeat was dropping. She was born 3:17 pm on November 25 --- her due date! She weighed in at 6lbs 15 oz and was 20" long. Right after they gave her to me I threw up :)

Doesn't that figure.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bountiful Baskets & other random things.

We'll start with our Bountiful Basket! I have been wanting to do this for a while, but kept putting it off. I'm glad I finally did. I showed up at Peterson's Country Store expecting to keep the kids in the car and just grab my basket, but there was a huge line! So I hauled the kids out, with the laundry basket and went to stand in line. We probably waited about 20 minutes. Since it was my first time, I just assumed that was normal, but I guess the truck was 40 minutes late so next time will probably be different.

Here's a picture of our loot: We got 2 bunches of romaine lettuce, 1 bunch of spinach, 3 artichokes, 1 cantaloup, 1 watermelon, 7 apples, 5 yellow onions, 6 peaches, 3 pears, 3 yellow peppers, 4 tomatoes, 12 random peppers and a bunch of bananas. If it wasn't my first time it'd only have cost $16.50, but I had to pay a first time fee of $3 which isn't bad.


Grace was hugging the watermelon and a pepper cause she said it was her buddies. LOL She kills me. The fruit will be nice for Mike's lunch. And we made banana smoothies when we got home. The onions are always useful and the cantaloup will make a great breakfast this week. Not sure what we'll do with the yellow peppers, but I'm already planning a quick salsa with the tomatoes and peppers. Only thing I'm not sure on is the artichoke. I've never worked with raw artichoke before, so we'll see!

Here's a picture of Mercy enjoying some of the banana. What a sweetie.


Lastly, here's the double rainbow from the other night. It was probably the brightest rainbow I have ever seen! But it made me laugh because of the Double Rainbow guy. You can check out his YouTube video here. Funny stuff!



We'll end with where we're at with the debt-snowball. Mike's probably cleaned about 14 or so lines this month and it's only the 11th. So that's about $140 to throw at the debt. One of my bartenders was a sweetie and gave me $20 for helping her out the other night. I told her I didn't need it cause I just like helping but she insisted so that's put in the snowball envelope. This week we're out of grocery money but we're planning on grilling kabobs tonight and then we have hotdogs, sloppy joes and probably a roast for early this week. I'm hoping for some good meal deals soon cause my stockpile of meat is gone. Should be coming up though cause it's grilling season. Enjoy your Saturday!!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

One Week Down

Ok it's been one week of budgeting and our debt snowball. I'm exhausted. No, not because of this, but because of a long week at work and my day off filled with things to do. On the up-side I had 12 people in my SMART card class (which is $150!!), I had to take some tables at work the other day and made $27, and we just found out our insurance rates have gone DOWN (coverage has stayed the same) so we'll be saving an additional $46 a month! And by saving, I mean throwing another $46 a month at our debt!

Ok let's start with the budget. Right now we have it planned that we're spending $14 more than we have coming in. AND I had to make copies of the test for the SMART class which was around $6 and I didn't put anywhere in the budget yet....hold on. Doing that now. Depending on how the rest of the month goes, we may be able to tweek our gas budget a little, but I'm not sure. My husband's truck eats gas and it costs a ton to fill up! But his bonus at the beginning of the month was $40 more than we expected so it could come out of there. I'm finding a lot of little things that we'd forgot about that we have to put in the budget. There's medicine for the dog that makes our lawn stay green ($20 a month or so), my newspaper subscription (for all my couponing) and then formula. I'm done nursing so we have to add the cost of formula. I'm not a brand-name snob, so we're going with Kroger brand and it's been working just fine. And there's $2 off coupons on the top of the little puffs baby food snacks so that makes it around $10 for a canister. And we have to see what the dentist will be like. I'm probably due for x-rays but I wonder if they'll let me skip those. Dental stuff is expensive when you don't have insurance for it!

Mike and I had our first financial meeting last night. He was mostly asleep on the couch, but we did get to make sure we were on track (this is where I found out his truck eats gas) and we could talk about other stuff we have coming up (i.e. father's day...not sure where I'm going to fit this in the budget). The weird thing is we have money in our checking account right now. And if you look at our budget, it says we don't. It's cause we had money from last month's checks and I paid all the bills that were due at the beginning of the month, last month. It'll be interesting to see how the end of the month turns out.

I have shopped 2x with cash only now and not really had a problem. This week, Mercy slept the entire time, which helped. I ended up spending $83 and a couple bucks of that was from our toiletry fund ($30 a month for toilet paper, diapers, etc) So for the month so far, we still have $10 in our grocery fund. We decided to try Bountiful Baskets this week and that ended up costing us around $20 so I had to take that out of the budget. But, I think I'll be really happy with it. It'll be an entire basket of produce for only $20 vs a head of lettuce, some apples and potatoes for $20. And we're finally getting Grace to eat some real food.

So that pretty much covers the budgeting news for the week. I always wrote down our bills and had a ball-park figure, but putting in the grocery, gas and extras has been making a difference. It's not hard for me to not spend money. Hell, more often than not, I'm too busy to think about it. But at the store Grace will want a treat or a $3 juice cup (with a princess on it or something). Unfortunately we waited so long to start our Total Money Makeover cause she's already used to things. Mercy will just be growing up with us budgeting and saving. Grace is used to going out to eat, ordering pizza, and getting new toys all the time.

Ok on to the really exciting news. We started May with owing Great Lakes $2921. This was a loan Mike took out in college. It was a $5000 loan and we've ended up paying over $6k for it because of interest. One thing I'm learning, my kids will never had student loans! Before our house is paid off, we will have all of our kid's college funds going and rolling and I hope they never have student loans. So back to Great Lakes. As I mentioned in a previous post, we took money out of our savings to throw at this. We ended up getting some unexpected money from my Grandma. She does this every once in a while and it's a nice surprise. It went straight into the debt snowball. I had the SMART card money, the tips, plus another random $20 or so. And Mike had his line-cleaning money from May. That wasn't much, but we got distracted with the fence and he couldn't get out much to clean some times. This month he's already at like 10 or 12 lines cleaned (at like $10 a tower) and it's only the 9th! I also took about $100 out of our other checking account. That was the account we threw all our extra money in before. It actually is the account we paid for all Mercy's doctor bills. We own her straight up :)

So May 1st was $2921....balance as of today: $392!!! We have paid off almost $2500 in a month and a week! Granted, it was "found" money, not all earned money, but it's getting us going! If we didn't have dentist appointments this month, we'd be paying that sucker off! But I still have another SMART class this month. I really need to get some flyers out. And Mike has the line-cleaning money still. It will be paid by the middle of July.

Next thing on our list is my car. That's such a weird feeling. We have $6500 let on that, so it will take us more than just a month once we start attacking it, but I'm hoping to have a big dent in it by Christmas and have that paid off by this time next year. We'll be adding $78.51 (the Great Lakes minimum payment) to the monthly payment of $164 so that little extra will help, but it's really going to be the budgeting and throwing all the extra money at it.

Ok I'm almost done. I really think the Lord is watching over us and helping us with this. I don't think we would have had all this extra money before we sat down and started budgeting and controlling the urges for material things. I'm so thankful that Mike and I are both employed and we are able to have insurance. I'm thankful that he's helping us with our NFP so we don't have to add more kids to the equation (yet!) And I'm thankful that our kids will be raised to live debt-free and realize they don't need to rely on credit to enjoy their lives. Ok I'm done. I'll update again later!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sunny Saturday!

Finally, a nice day! We got so much stuff done today too! Mike cleaned 4 towers which is a great help with our debt snowball. I attacked our laundry and have about half of it done. Hopefully will get it finished tomorrow. I also cleaned the kitchen and Grace's bedroom & closet. I did some major purging and got rid of some toys she doesn't play with or even remember she has. We've been rotating toy bins so the Legos and Mega blocks went back downstairs and a bunch of Barbies came up. Grace kills me. Every one is "so beautiful" and all the Ken's are "so handsome". I pulled out some accessories and a ton of clothes, so she should be set for a while. I even had Mercy in her room with her (all little toys were put away so it was safe). It was so sweet to see my kiddo's playing together.

Mike got the lawn mowed and Grace played outside while he was mowing. And he got the garage cleaned out so we can finally park inside again. I like not having to lock my doors every night on my car. Grace did get a nasty cut on her leg from the left-over chain link. That means all of us (save Mercy) have been attacked by the chain link.

Lunch was a hodgepodge of stuff - bread-sticks, chips, etc. Then we cleaned ourselves up and headed to church. I Moby wrapped Mercy, and she was asleep until we walked in the foyer and all my church friends oogled her and she woke up to get some attention :) She pretty much stayed away all during church too. Father Clarence is back from his sabbatical and he was very much missed. And we unfortunately had an organ player at church and it was just awful. I felt so bad for Linda was singing.

After church, Mike & Grace went to 7-11 and got Slurpees because we had some leftover grocery money this week in the budget. Nice little treat.

We had burgers on the grill and oven fries for dinner. Grace ate an entire burger. She has never eaten an entire homemade burger. I'm so proud!

I got some cutie pics of Murp (our little nickname for Mercy) and some of the fence too. Posted. It was a great day. We did it all without spending money and got to spend time with our family together. Tomorrow I got to run some cereal up to church for the youth retreat and then I'm going to take the girls to feed the ducks at first dam for a picnic.





Thursday, June 2, 2011

Total Money Makeover

We're really doing it. We've been mentioning it for years. We've previously cut up the cards and promised not to get new credit card debt. But this time, for real, we're going to be debt free!

If you have never listened to him, I highly suggest finding a station that plays Dave Ramsey and just listening for one episode so you know what I'm talking about. Right now, he's my personal hero. Dave Ramsey promotes "Living like no one else, so you can live like no one else". This means sacrifice and extra work to get yourself out of debt. He has a bunch of baby steps to help grow your personal wealth and live on cash only. Here's a quick recap of those:

Baby Step #1: Save $1000 emergency fund
Baby Step #2: Pay off all debt using the debt snowball, not including the house"
Baby Step #3: Save 3-6 month emergency fund
Baby Step #4: ...??

So we're way far away from Baby Step #4 but I think it's children's college fund and then Baby Step #5 is paying off the house.

The hardest thing we've done right now is cut our emergency fund down to $1000. We had about $2400 in savings and we dropped it down to $1k so we can throw the rest towards our lowest debt. I'm one of those people that wants to have a good safety net incase something happens like me losing my job. But I guess we've already lived through that. And survived.

The next hardest thing is actually writing a budget. We had been using mint.com to see where our money was going, but I haven't been on there in a long time. It is a good tool, but I think what we're doing now is better. I used the guide for a budget in the back of his book and put in into my Excel. Then I created formulas so I don't have to do the math :) Then I put in our incomes and budgeted out the rest. This month we all have dentist appointments and our new insurance doesn't cover dental, so we're looking at about $350 for that, but we're at a zero'd budget. This means we're not spending more than we have coming in.

We also use the envelope system for groceries, gas and entertainment. A set amount of cash goes into each envelope and when it's gone, we're done. I shopped yesterday for groceries with a $100 budget for the week and spent $71 :) Thank goodness for coupons :) The one thing I'm noticing that we're missing is "Blow" money. Money that we each get to buy whatever. I realized that we didn't budget this when one of my friends said we need a play-date which usually includes coffee or something. I have no room in my budget for coffee or something. So we'll be re-working the budget this weekend so we can have a little play money.

If we just pay minimum payments and don't snowball anything, we'll be paying off our debt until 2025. That's 14 more years!! Grace will be 18 and moving out! If we snowball our debt, but keep it at the minimum payments, we'll be paying off our debt until 2018! That's 7 more years!! Grace will be 11. Way better option. But I'm in fan of the next one which is attack it with everything we go. All extra money goes toward the debt, and I'm hoping to have it paid within the next 3-4. We're looking at a debt which is the same size as our yearly income. So if we can live off two-thirds of our income, we'll be debt free in 3 years. Hopefully soon, but we'll see. Anyway, I'll be keeping you updated!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Baby Laughs

Mercy laughing and some Tummy Time. Love this kid!!

video

30 Day of My Life?? How about just Life?

video

Mercy's stories.

I gave up on the 30 days of my life thing. Life just got in the way. Here's a video of my cutie-pie telling a story. She's just too sweet!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 8 - Someone I Miss



So back in the early 2000s, my little sister graduated college and decided to go to Italy and cook. Then she met her husband and they had a baby and she's been there ever since. I know I'm an adult now and we move on and have our own lives, but there are times I really, really miss her. We are best friends and, although not as close as we used to be, I feel like we have this connection even though we're on different sides of the planet. She's funny, silly, a bit blond at times, but that's what makes her....her. I doubt she'll ever move back to the U.S. but she does come and visit and who knows, maybe one day we'll visit her. I just hope she knows how much I miss her and that I think of her often. I love you Jocey!!

Patrick (my nephew), Jocelyn, me & Grace ~ January 2007

Jocelyn

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 7 - What I wanted to be when I grew up...

When I was little I wanted to be a vet. I remember that very clearly. I'm not sure when it changed, but I know at one point I wanted to be preschool teacher and then it changed to cop. And my mom won't let me forget when I wanted to be a cowgirl. We had gone camping out Right Hand Fork and met some random cowboy. He let us girls ride his horses up and down the road. I was last and my mom mentioned that I liked cows so he let me help herd the cattle. I was riding a horse that used to be a wild mustang in Nevada. Funny thing, I actually saw some wild horses in Nevada like 15 years later!

So I have changed my mind a lot. When I started college at USU I went into the Elementary Education program at first. I had a 7:30 class in the second semester which was El. Ed. I slept in a lot. Funny how I didn't miss a day of school in high school but I missed a LOT in college. Anyway, I decided because of that class that I didn't want to be a teacher anymore. My roommate Crystal was a psychology major and she was taking a behaviorism class and she got to train a rat. I thought that sounded neat, so I changed majors. I ended up graduating with a B.S. in Psychology. You can't do much with a Bachelors and I really don't have any desire to go back for more school, or to be a therapist. So I stayed in the restaurant business until now.

Now I have the best job in the world. Wife and mom! I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 6 - Favorite Sports Team

Well this is a fitting post for today. I love football. I always preferred it when it came to sports, but I didn't really understand it until I was in college. And I understood it even more after I started dating Mike. And my favorite team is the Steelers. And they lost the Super Bowl today.

I think I should be more upset that I am. But it wasn't that good of a game. They had a chance to win it in the last 2 minutes and they failed. Oh well. Football isn't my life. Although it's fun to watch and it's fun to bond with my husband over it.

One day I'd like to go to a NFL game. I was in the colorguard in high school and college so I've been to a lot of football games, but I think I would really enjoy a NFL game. Too bad the closest stadium is in Denver and I'm not a fan of the Broncos. Maybe someday we'll head back East and get to see a game in Pittsburg. Maybe.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 5 - A Picture



Grace and I like to take pics using the Photo Booth on my laptop. Sometimes she sneaks on there without me knowing. She's such a cutie.





Day 4 - Favorite Quote

Ok I'm just picking random ones now cause I lost the list I was originally looking at.

So today's in my favorite quote. I actually have two. One is a quote I heard (in a song) when I was in high school. Now, originally it was cause I thought I was cool for having picked this as a quote, but I really feel it means something. Ready...

"Live to win, dare to fail" - James Hetfield

Ya, that's the lead singer of Metallica. And that quote is from a song. And for the life of me, I can't remember what song. Hey, I have kids now. The CD that's currently in my car is a Fisher-Price sing-a-long so forgive me for not rockin' out Metallica lately.

But when I was in HS that quote really stuck out to me cause it made me want to live life to the fullest. Not saying I ever did, and hey, maybe I liked it cause it was from a Metallica song, but I did really like it, and I used it as my favorite quote a lot.

So, a more recent quote that is my fave is actually a Bible passage.

1 Corinthians 1:18 "The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

When Mike and I got married he had to attend RCIA so he could receive communion and confirmation and then we could be married in the church. After that we were attending weekly Bible study where we'd go over the readings for the next week. I started reading the Bible at home. Now I've never sat down and read the Bible from cover to cover, but I did go to Catholic school for 9 years and church for 29 years so I've probably heard about 90% of it. But I did start reading the New Testament and when I got to Corinthians, this passage really stuck out to me.

I wear a cross every day. Usually it's the one my parents got me for my Confirmation, but sometimes it's the one Mike got me for our first Christmas, or the one his Grandmother gave me before she passed away. Members of the faith that is predominate in Utah do not wear crosses and one time someone asked me why I do. I think this passage sums it up perfectly. It is a reminder of what Jesus did for us so we could be saved. It reminds me of the sacrifices He made so I could be saved. I am a sinner. He died for me. By wearing a cross, I have a constant reminder to ask for help when I need it (and I do that a lot) and a reminder that He is always with me and guiding me. And I feel this passage is the perfect response when someone asks why I wear a cross. And it helps remind me of what Jesus did for us. I helps keep me humble and reminds me I'm not going through anything alone. And that God will not give me anything He knows I cannot handle. Sometimes I need that reminder.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 3 - A Memory

There's so many that it's hard to choose, but this one has been on my mind all day. Not sure why.

When Mike and I had been dating for a year or so, he had heard about a place called the Spiral Jetty. It was up near Promontory Point and someone in one of his classes said it was really cool, so we decided to take a short trip out and check it out. We had film in the camera (this was back before digital cameras were common) and some snacks and we took off in the Jeep. Promontory is about hour away from Logan and we were told the Jetty was on a driving trail past that.

Ok, time out. We had NO clue what a jetty was before we went. The girl in his class said it was spiral and out in the Salt Lake. That was all the definition we had so we were pretty much guessing what we were looking for.

So we drive for a while. It's cold out but there's no snow. We get to where we can see the Salt Lake and we see these huge wall looking things built out of boards and logs. This must be it! But it didn't really look spiralish. The cool thing is it's all covered in salt. So it looked like snow. We think there must have been oil drilled because there was piles of salt/dirt with black stuff dripped around it. We wasted about half the roll of film, or more, on what we thought was the Jetty.

Then we drove more.

Then we saw the REAL Spiral Jetty.

And it was a spiral. I guess it was man-made and someone has just built up the land so it spiraled out into the lake. It wasn't very big, but we walked around it anyway. The cool thing was, the salt was all tainted pink because of the brine shrimp (aka sea monkeys).

File-Spiral-jetty-from-rozel-point.png


File-Spiraljetty.jpg


These aren't pictures that we took, but you at least get the gist of it. I do have some cool pictures but I'll have to find them in one of a million photo albums (remember, no digital).


So the reason this memory sticks out so much is because Mike and I can have some intense conversations. On our first date we stayed up talking until 3 in the morning. We agree 95% of the time as well and of the 5% that we disagree, we debate with no bloodshed :)


But this was really the first time we had spent a long time in the car together and it was great to be able to talk to each other and not really have any awkward silence. In fact, I don't think we've ever had any awkward silence. We've always been extremely comfortable around each other.


I can't remember what the conversation was about, but I do remember how much fun we had exploring together. And that has continued on for the 8 years we've been together.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 2 - Favorite Location

My home.

Mike and I decided back in 2005 that we were ready to buy a house. We contacted a local realtor and unknowingly signed a contract that stated we would use them to buy a house, or we'd owe them money. So we went with our newly licensed realtor and checked out some houses. We were approved for a ridiculously high amount but we were reasonable and looked for a house in the lower end of our budget. We had a few things we needed: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, garage, yard and preferable a fence because we wanted to get a dog.

We looked a a few houses. Most were old, and were really run down and needed a lot of work. One had a fire in the kitchen, which our realtor only mentioned when we commented about the smoke stains on the ceiling. One had the master bedroom in the attic and Mike was too tall to stand straight in it. One was great but no garage. One had a garage but it was so beat up it would take us way more money than we wanted in order to make it livable. One was perfect.

We made an offer. They countered and we just walked away because we didn't want to spend as much as they were asking. We found another house and were going to make an offer, but someone else beat us to it. We had only been looking for a few months, but really, we were doing all the searching. Our realtor would call and say she had a house and we'd tell her about 4 more that we had found on our own. Then our mortgage broker mentioned Highmark Construction.

I didn't think we could afford to build a house. I mean, brand new?? That's gotta be pricey, right? Wrong! We ended up building a house for the same amount we were going to buy a pre-exisitng house. And we got to pick the layout, the paint, the carpet, the appliances, etc.

Sure I'd change things now if we could go back and do it again. I'd get the basement finished, and the landscaping done. We'd have a larger master bath. But oh well. The house we have isn't just a house, it's our home.

Mike and I moved in just the two of us, but now we are a family of 4. We put in the sprinklers (with the help of my father in law) and the lawn. We're going to finish the basement ourselves. We have had Christmases and birthdays in this house. It holds so many memories and we've only been here 5 years.

The other day I mentioned that I don't think we need to move any time soon. We still have plenty of room, even if baby #3 comes along soon. We have a list of the things we want to do (fence is next and then the basement), but it doesn't mean our house doesn't work for us now, as it is.

Ok enough of the physical part, the other part of my favorite location is the "home" part. Being here, with my family, is the best part of my house. I could be in any other building, but as long as I'm with my family, it will be our home. And right now, with the way the economy is, I'm very thankful that we have a roof over our heads to keep my family safe and warm.