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I'm a twenty-nine year old Army wife currently living near a large Army post. I have an unhealthy obsession with Dr. Pepper, the Internet, cloth diapers, and ridiculous TV shows. I'm a stay at home mom to two beautiful daughters, AJ and Amelia. We also have a 6 year old beagle named Abby who is as dumb as a box of rocks.
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Sunday, January 13, 2013

31 Weeks

As my life has gotten fairly boring since we returned from Florida, I figure I should at least continue to post about my pregnancy, seeing as there isn't anything else to write about. 

I'm starting to feel nervous about everything, mostly the unknowns.  Its not so much the lack of knowing when she will come, but more about not knowing how it will happen.  As of my last appointment, baby was head up (hooray, not) and I'm sincerely hoping that she doesn't take after her sister, who remained breech until she was surgically removed.

With that being said, I think most of my fears center around the whole idea that there will be a very attached 3 year old waiting for me to return home.  I'm freaked about the possibility of having a C-Section and then having to try and give AJ the attention she will want while keeping her off of me and caring (read nursing) a newborn with no sleep.  Please tell me it won't be as bad as I'm expecting it to be.  I'm basically preparing myself to be a hot mess for 10-12 months after baby 2's arrival.  Okay, so maybe only for a few weeks, but I'm sure it will feel like months.

The problem is I just remember how hard it was to come home and care for AJ after my C-Section with her and I'm worried about over-doing it unintentionally this time.  The good news is that hubs will be taking his paternity leave and my mom should be in town for a few days, not to mention friends and neighbors who are all willing to help as well.  I'm crossing my fingers for a VBAC and planning for the worst.  (Its the pessimist in me, I can't help it.)

Anyway, moving on.  I thought you all might like to see a recent picture of me, AJ and the bump.  Its from last week, but I'm wearing the same shirt today, so pretend like its this week, 'kay?

If you follow me on Instagram or are my friend on FB (lucky you) then chances are high that you've already seen it, but if not, its your lucky day!

As far as other pregnancy related news--I've been feeling the urge to cook and freeze food like a crazy person.  I think its my way of nesting, seeing that we have most of the stuff we need for this baby already and I think it would be silly to wash diapers and clothes when we have 2 months to go.

So, there it is, folks.  Another super entertaining pregnancy post from yours truly.  I bet you all can't wait for March when the baby is here so these posts come to an end.  I don't think anyone is anticipating that I'll have time (or motivation) to do monthly updates for baby 2, so no worries there!

Until next week....

Monday, January 7, 2013

30 Weeks...

Eek!  Am I really already 30 weeks pregnant?  I feel like time literally could not go any faster than it is.  There is still so much to do in these last 10 weeks, but we're making good progress.

Physically:

I'm feeling pretty good overall.  Physically the only real complaint I have is a wicked case of heartburn.  Its like nothing can even touch it.  I've also noticed a few times that when I overdo it or don't drink enough water I have somewhat painful contractions.  They usually go away after laying down and drinking more water, which makes me less worried about it.

I had my glucose screening and iron test the week before Christmas and passed the glucose with flying colors.  My iron was another story, however.  I tested lower than my midwife would have liked, so now I'm on a supplement to try and bring my levels up.  This deficiency definitely explains why I was so tired before, and I've been enjoying the extra energy!

Mentally:

Feeling much more ready to add another member to our family.  I think this may be because its finally 2013, the holidays are over and I can focus on all things baby now.  It also helps that we decided on a first name for this sweet girl.  Sorry, we're not going to share until she arrives!  ;)

Preparedness:

The only thing we're really still lacking is clothing, as we ordered the newborn cloth diaper rental and video baby monitor last week.  We also stopped at Ikea and bought a dresser/changing table for the nursery.  I have plans to go through all my one-size diapers and get them organized and arranged so they are ready when baby gets big enough to wear them.

What I'm Looking Forward To:

I'm feeling a little anxious about having two kids, so I would say that I'm looking forward to her arrival so that I can jump right into being a mom of two kids!  A friend of mine is also throwing a little shower for me, and I'm looking forward to that as well.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Would You Like Some Sass With Your Milk?

AJ has been a bit of a handful lately, mostly in the attitude department (I have no idea where she gets that from...;)  Today we spent the day grocery shopping, taking down the Christmas trees, organizing the garage to house the 74 Rubbermaid bins of Christmas decorations and other fun household activities.

AJ "helped" take the trees down and put them away and by the late afternoon her attitude had really started to come out.  She was playing with one of the cardboard boxes that was laying around, pretending it was a car when hubby walked by her and handed her a little plastic jug of milk from her kitchen.  He said, "Here's some milk for you."

It must have struck a nerve with her because as soon as he said that she grabbed it, threw it across the room and yelled, "that is not real milk, Dad!"

We took her straight to time out, which is a pack 'n' play placed directly in the center of the living room away from any furniture.  She proceeded to cry, scream, yell, writhe around and generally make her displeasure at timeout be known for a while (typical timeout).  I was making dinner and when she stopped crying and was quiet I told her that she could get out if she was ready to apologize to Daddy.

Imagine my surprise when she is suddenly walking through the kitchen.  She apparently was ready to apologize and climbed out of the pack 'n' play herself.  (Normally we take her out and have a little chat with her to go over the reason for her punishment.)  She walked over to hubs and said, "Hey Dad, sorry, but its not real milk."

Bahahahahaha!  Apparently in the mind of an almost 3-year-old the problem wasn't her attitude or tone of voice, but the fact that they were disagreeing on whether the milk was real or not!

I reminded her that she was apologizing for the way she talked to Daddy and she eventually got it right, but it just goes to show that even if something seems cut and dry to us as adults, it may not make quite as much sense to a toddler.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Living Like No One Else

Because its the new year and I briefly mentioned our plight to pay off debt in a random post at the end of 2012, I thought I'd sit down and write about what finally worked for us and our financial goals.

If you know us in real life, then you know that the hubs and I are not great with managing money, historically speaking.  By not great, I mean that money basically burns a red-hot hole in our pockets the moment we get it.  Okay, we're horrible with money.  At least according to my mom.

That isn't to say that we're struggling to pay bills and stuff, because we're really not.  We did at first, when we first got married and started living on our own, but that was mainly a lack of attention to what bills were due and when.  A few times at the beginning of our marriage we found ourselves staring at a due date that fell the day or two before payday with $1.47 to our names.  That is not a good feeling, folks.

Anyway, at the start of 2012, we were one measly year into a 30 year mortgage and suddenly became motivated to get rid of the rest of our debt that had slowly crept up to a slightly uncomfortable level.  I won't lie and say that it didn't have something to do with the fact that we thought we were moving and didn't have any real way to pay our mortgage and rent should our house not sell, or renters skip out on us.  It had a lot to do with that.  Basically it scared us shitless.  I also knew that on hubby's income there was no reason we shouldn't be able to pull the purse strings a little tighter and be float two house payments for a few months if needed.

There was no way we could do that with the debts we owed at the time.  I had heard about Dave Ramsey and his idea seemed to make sense.  So we (I) made a budget.  A real one.  Down to the penny every month.  It is tedious.  Tracking every cent we spend is definitely not fun, per se, but it has become somewhat of an addiction.

Here's how it works.

You start with a zero based budget.  That means that you take your income, let's say its $3000 a month, and you tell it where to go.  Basically this means that you assign every expense a category and a dollar amount.  For example, your rent (or mortgage) might be $700 a month.  Your electric bill usually runs you between $75 and $125 a month, depending on the weather.  You spend $400 a month on groceries and $250 on gas.  You get the picture.  Next you compile all those categories into a budget in which you go line by line and assign dollar amounts until you run out of money.

It kind of sounds scary to say "run out of money", but the idea is that you have sinking funds and other categories in your budget that don't get completely used up each month.  So even though you have $125 left over at the end of the month, you know that $25 of that is earmarked for new clothing and $100 is set aside for future car repairs.

Let me explain sinking funds a bit.  A sinking fund is when you set aside money for something you know you will have to pay for later.  For example, we have a yearly Homeowner's Association Bill that comes due at the end of the year.  We knew about it all year, so instead of trying to scrape together the money this month when spending is already crazy, we saved it all throughout the year.  So, if your bill is $1200 due in December,  you save $100 a month every month and then the money is available when you need it.

The same idea goes for home and car repairs (and other bigger ticket things you can't exactly anticipate, like losing weight and needing new clothes).  If you are just starting out with a budget a safe amount to budget for car repairs is about $75 a month per car, depending on your car.  Now, if you know you need $1200 of new tires on your car and your hubby's car is a beater, then you probably need to set aside more than that.  Use common sense.  For home maintenance and repairs, the guideline is about 1-3% of your home's value.  If you have a new or newer home, you might be able to get away with less for a bit, and vice versa.

Anyways after you have budgeted everything you hopefully have a little bit of money leftover.  This is the money that will go toward paying off your debts.  Let's say you have $200 left after all bills and sinking funds are paid every month.

The first step is to commit to no longer using credit.  That means no credit cards, no financing, no payment plans, nothing.  Next you set up a small emergency fund that will tide you over in case something happens and you need to make an $800 repair on your car or something.  The suggestion is that this emergency fund be $1000, which is enough to give you a bit of security, but not enough to make you feel comfortable.  You want to have a motivation to get out of debt.  If you already have more than $1000 in a savings account, Dave Ramsey actually suggests keeping the $1000 and using the rest to make a lump payment on something.

After you use the $200 excess each month to fund your $1000 emergency fund* the next step is the snowball method.  Basically you tally up all your debts and then list the minimum payments for each.  These should already be a part of your budget, because presumably you're paying them each month.  Here's an example:

CC1: Min payment $25, balance $500, interest rate 10%
CC2: Min payment $25, balance $5000, interest rate 10%
Car: Min payment $200, balance $10,000, interest rate 5%
SL: Min payment $500, balance $20,000, interest rate 2%

Obviously these are made up numbers, but you get the picture.  Since you're already paying the minimums on all these debts every month, you'll continue to do that.  With the $200 that you have left from your budget, you'll start to pay down the lowest balance.  So instead of paying $25 to CC1 every month, you'll pay $225.  In 2.5 months, once you have this card paid off, you'll take the $225 that you were paying there and apply it to CC2, making the new monthly payment to CC2 $250, because you include the minimum payment.

After CC2 is paid off, you "snowball" the $250 to the car payment, making it $450 a month that goes toward the car.  As you can see, this picks up speed pretty quickly, allowing you to see progress and really feel like you have accomplished something!  I should also add that DR says that any extra income (from gift money, side jobs, yard sales, etc.) should go directly into your snowball each month.

We started this plan in January 2012 with more debt than I realized once we tallied it up.  As of January 2013, we have approximately 2 months left before our credit cards are paid off and our car loan will be paid off by the end of the year.

We have decided that instead of continuing the snowball after paying off the credit cards, we're going to take a break until hubby leaves and then I'll snowball the heck out of the car and get it done while he's gone.  We both decided that since we'll be able to pay the car off by the end of the year this way that we want to have the extra money (and freedom) to have fun as a family before he leaves.  We also have to travel to two out-of-town weddings this summer that we are funding.

But that is the plan in a long-winded nutshell.  Its really rather simple, but I may have made it seem more difficult than it actually is.  If you have any questions about the plan in general or our journey specifically, please don't hesitate to ask.  I may reserve the right to not answer personal questions, but I'm more than willing to help if you're interested in getting started on the road to being debt free!

*Dave Ramsey actually suggests that it take you no more than a month or two to come up with the $1000 for your emergency fund.  He recommends selling things you no longer use in a yard sale or babysitting to make some extra money.   Basically you want to get this $1000 in place as quickly as possible so you can move on to the "fun" stuff, paying off debt!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, New You!

As excited as I am to be welcoming 2013, this year holds a lot of unknowns for our family.  We're planning to welcome a new baby in March, have two out-of-town family weddings to look forward to and a deployment.

As you can imagine, I have mixed emotions about this year.  Part of me wants time to speed up so we can meet our new girl, while the other part of me wants time to move slowly so we can savor our time together as a family before hubby leaves.

I've spent a lot of time the past month or so thinking about how I want my 2013 to look.  Much of it may be out of my control, but I'd like to have a grasp on how I react to things that happen to me and my family.  I've made a few goals, or resolutions, for the year and sharing them here is a good way for me to keep track of how I'm doing.

1.  Be/Eat Healthier
I haven't had too much trouble keeping myself in check this pregnancy, but I do want to make sure that I am more conscious of the things I eat and drink.  I also need to make a point to exercise at least a little bit after the baby comes.  I know that its going to be hard to find the time and energy, but every little bit counts.  We've already kind of started eating more healthy, so I need to just make sure that I'm keeping up with it and being conscious of health when meal planning.

2.  Financial health
In 2012 we started following the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover and have since paid off most of our consumer debt.  By the end of this year we should be completely debt free aside from our mortgage.  That means no car payments, no credit card debt, etc.  I am very excited for this milestone, but I also want to make sure that we don't go crazy after we get everything paid off.  I still want to maintain the working budget we have and save as much as we can while hubby is gone.

3.  Patience/Serenity
This is a big one for me.  I need to work on controlling my temper and being more patient.  In addition, I want to try to be more calm and serene about things that are out of my control.  This can include anything from my kid(s) to my husband's work schedule to old people blocking the aisles in the commissary.  I feel like I spent a lot of 2012 being mad about something, and it leaves me anxious and unsettled.  I think if I concentrate more on being content and patient with others then I will see a noticeable change in my mood most days.  This one will be a challenge for me.

4.  Be Nicer/A Better Wife
Probably the most challenging goal of mine will be to be a nicer person and more responsive/caring wife.  Its not that I'm disrespectful, I just tend to use a certain tone of voice that is not the nicest.  It can best be described as abrasive.  The problem maintaining this goal will be that most of the time I don't even realize that I'm being condescending and abrasive.  I'm hoping that by being more conscious of my attitude (see #3) I'll be less angry and explosive by the end of the day.  I also think that finding an outlet for myself will help in the stress-relief aspect of this.

5.  Accountability
I want to hold myself accountable for things financially.  I've been much better about this in 2012, and I want to continue on this track.  I often find myself out at stores and figuring out a way to fit something into the budget.  This is good, but also bad.  Its good because I know I won't spend the extra money on something if we truly can afford it, but bad because I "steal" from other budget categories to get what I want, when I want it.  For instance, if I am at Target and decide that the baby needs that dress or AJ needs those boots, I'll get them because even though I know I already spent the money allotted for baby stuff this month, I can use the money set aside for the dog's vet bill in a few months.  This only really becomes a problem when I need to take the dog to the vet unexpectedly because she ate a whole ham or chewed through an electrical cord again.  I need to make sure I keep myself accountable to the budget and our family's financial goals.

So there you go, a short (kind of long-winded) list of what I want to aim for this year.  After thinking about all these goals, I decided to come up with a short "focus phrase" for myself.  Something that encompasses my main goals for the year.  Something I can concentrate on and remind myself of that is easier to remember than those five points above.  Since I tend to be a worrier and most of my goals revolve around stressing less, being more peaceful, and not worrying so much I've decided to use the word "kairos" as my word for the year.

Kairos is a Greek word that loosely translates to mean "on God's time" which I think is fitting.  I like having the reminder that He will take care of any problems I may encounter as long as I let Him.  When I was in high school we went on a retreat that was named Kairos and the main theme of the retreat is to "Let Go and Let God."  Meaning, let it go and let God worry about it.

So for 2013, my plan is to trust in the higher power and know that He will never give me more than I can handle.  Where will your focus be this year?