Saturday, March 23, 2013

Winners of the Debt Free Giveaway


YAY! YAY! YAY! O Happy Day! We have some winners!

The winners of the Debt Free Giveaway are:

Prize Package #1-Julie Alicea
Prize Package #2-Regan Garner
Prize Package #3-Tana Hostetter
Congratulations to the winners! Thank you to everyone who shared my post!

Have a great night! (or day, depending on when you are reading this. I guess you can have a great day and night........)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Our Debt Free Anniversary

I love this sweater. This sweater represents financial freedom to me. Let me explain....

In 2004 I had a lot of consumer debt, around $30,000. I starting dating Matt, my husband, and attended a budgeting class he was facilitating. I did not want to tell him how much debt I had...he was too cute:)

I finally told him and started budgeting. After we got married and had a joint budget I thought it was really boring. I like surprises and budgeting did not provide any surprises. Everything was perfectly planned out-blah.

The day that got me hooked on budgeting was the day I bought this sweater.

That morning, I put on a black sweater I had purchased it at a yard sale. However, soon after I arrived at work, I realized there was a huge hole in the armpit. Sometimes you can hide those kind of things or just try to not raise your arms all day:) There was no hiding this hole. I do not know how I missed it when I was getting dressed, but I did.

I needed a sweater and fast. So, I went to the mall. I saw the blue sweater in the picture above and wanted it so bad. But, it was around $40. I thought, "There is no way I am spending $40 on a sweater." I looked at other sweaters, but kept thinking about this one.

Then, I remembered I had money in my clothing account. I could buy that $40 sweater and feel no guilt because I am supposed to spend my clothing account! That was when I started liking the fact that we were living on a budget.

Within the first three years of marriage we paid off $28,000 in consumer debt, paid off our home ($72,000) and put away $20,000 for emergencies. A $120,000 turn around.

March 17, 2008 is the day we sent our final payment in to pay off our home making us officially Debt Free. So, on the day of green, we celebrate our accomplishment. It was a lot of hard work but it is totally worth it now.

We followed Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps. The final step is Build Wealth and Give. So, we are doing a giveaway! If you share the link to this post on your Facebook page you will be entered to win one of the following prize packages:

1. Dave Ramsey's Envelope System, Total Money Makeover book, goal thermometers and 2 letter openers

2. Dave Ramsey's game Act Your Wage, goal thermometers and 2 letter openers

3. Paid tuition to Financial Peace University (If you are currently taking a class or have taken the class before, we will reimburse you for the cost of your kit up to $100.) Plus, goal thermometers and 1 letter opener.

Giveaway ends on Friday, March 22, 2013 at midnight PST. The winners will be announced Saturday, March 23, 2013.

Here are some links to get you to your Debt Free Anniversary:
Dave Ramsey's Quick-Start Budget
Dave Ramsey's Monthly Cash Flow Plan
Dave Ramsey's Irregular Income Budget
Dave Ramsey's New Guide to Budgeting

Someone once said, "It's so funny how lucky hard working people are."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The KitchenAid Dough Hook Does NOT go in Your Underwear!

Last week I got in the mood to bake. I wanted to make homemade bread. I figured the boys would probably want to help me so I got all the ingredients out the night before and got everything prepped the next morning before breakfast.

When it was time to start, the boys didn't care to help me so I got started while they were eating breakfast. I was showing them the ingredients as I added them to the KitchenAid bowl. Right before I heated the wet ingredients, Wayne was done eating and wanted to help. He washed his hands and we brought a chair over to the counter.

I heated the wet ingredients and added them to the KitchenAid. Then, Bruce decided he was done eating and wanted to help. So as I am wiping off Bruce I look over to see Wayne with the dough hook in his underwear. I said, "Uh, we don't put that in our underwear. That needs to be clean." I took it from him. He looked so disappointed. I asked, "Were you trying to hang it from your underwear?" He said, "Yes." "Okay, that would be pretty cool, huh? I can wash it when you're done." He was so happy as he hung the dough hook from the bottom of his underwear. It did make me laugh:)

I called my mother-in-law to ask a question about the dough. I told her about the "underwear hook" and how I never thought I would have to remind my children to not hang the dough hook from their underwear. (Just like I never thought I would have to say, "Don't play with the poopy water after you have used the restroom" or "Y'all stay in your beds and quit spitting at each other") We talked about how instruction manuals include warnings in different languages. I think maybe I need to write an addendum to the instructions with "Toddler-ese".

It would read something like:
The dough hook is not intended to be a hanging device from your underwear. Please do not attempt to "dig for gold" with the dough hook as it may get stuck or puncture your sinuses. To prevent injury, do not use dough hook to act like cartoon characters, Captain Hook for example, as you may hurt someone or possibly yourself. Should you hurt yourself or someone else with the dough hook, call for your mom. She will know what to do with you!

And here is our Allison. She helped by sleeping through the whole thing and then giving us a bunch of smiles when she woke up:)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Oh The Throws of Parenting!

Last night I was on the floor in me and Matt's bedroom with the boys. We were reading a book together when I heard Allison crying. I asked Matt if he wouldn't mind bringing her to me since Wayne was in front of me with the book and Bruce was on my lap. He said he didn't mind and went in her room.

The boys and I kept reading and then started playing with a really big sticker. We were laughing, tickling each other and throwing the sticker when Matt asked if I was ready for sister (Allison). I told him we were and he told me to get ready to catch her.

Now, I thought he was just joking. I figured he would act like he was going to throw her. So, I was expecting him to come to the bedroom door, swing her in his arms and act like he was going to let go. That's when I saw something flying in the air. I thought it was her but it was actually this:

I caught the fake Allison and just held on tight because I really thought it was her. I kept thinking, "I can't believe he actually let go!" Of course it didn't take long for me to realize I was holding a sleeper full of a blanket. It reminded me so much of a chicken when you are cleaning it before baking.

I started laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. Matt was laughing so hard he couldn't breathe. The boys didn't know what to think because they couldn't tell what we were doing. All Allison wanted was to be held, so I held her......after I took the picture!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Yes. She is my kid.

I am not one to remember to take a picture of my child’s milestones. In fact, a few days before Allison turned 1 month I remembered and thought maybe this would be the child I would remember to take pictures of. But on the exact day I totally forgot. Then about a week later I was telling someone how old she was and finally remembered that I had forgotten to take a picture on the day she turned 1 month. Oops!
However, despite my forgetfulness of my children’s ages I have never had someone ask me if the child with me is my child…..until now……

Last weekend, Matt & I were on a date at a restaurant here in town. Matt went to wash his hands and the waitress came over to see the baby. She asked how old Allison was. I couldn’t remember right away, so she asked me if Allison was my baby. I said, “Yes. She’s mine.” (I’m thinking, ‘I know she turns a week older on Mondays. What day is it today?’)
When Matt returned from the restroom I told him about my conversation with the waitress. Matt said I should have said, “No, it’s not my baby. It’s my husband’s. We haven’t figured out who the mom is yet.” (I thought he came up with that all by himself but he admitted he stole the line from a movie. It was still funny!!!!)

Then, later in the week, I was at the store. As I was leaving a lady had that look in her eyes like she really wanted to see the baby. I stopped so she could see her. She asked how old she was. I said, “Uh, I don’t remember. 5.5 weeks. Yeah, that’s it.” She said, “Is she your baby?” I said, “Yes, she’s mine.” I was thinking, ‘She’s fed, breathing and not naked. What do you people expect?!’ Again, I couldn’t even remember what day it was.
In our humanness, we have limits. Sleep deprivation can cause us to forget things. But I am so thankful to have a heavenly Father who is limitless. I may not remember off hand exactly how old my children are, but He does. He knows everything about us. He has so many children yet he knows all of our names (John 10:3b), the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30), the number of days we have been here on Earth and the number of days we have left (Psalm 139:16). The title of Psalm 139 in the NIV Bible is “God’s Perfect Knowledge of Man.” Maybe next time I should say, “God only knows how old she is!”


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Allison is Here!!!

Allison Ann Clark entered the world one week ago at 8:37am on Monday, December 17, 2012! She was 7 lb, 12.5 oz and 20 in long. We just love her so much. Although tired, we are having a great time with the new addition to our family.

I love to hear labor stories so I'll tell you mine. With our second child we prayed that my water would not break before we got to the hospital. Our reason was because with our first child my water broke and I did not have him until 36 hours later. Yes, 36 hours. Not all of that was hard-core labor, but we still had to pay for the whole 36 hours....

Well, I kept having false labors with this pregnancy so on Sunday, December 16 I was praying and asked the Lord to please have my water break so I would know for sure that we needed to go to the hospital. On Sunday night we went to bed around midnight because Bruce was not feeling well. Matt had been at the ER with him that morning because he was having trouble breathing. I got up to use the restroom around 2am. Then, around 2:50am my water broke. Yay!

We made it to the hospital and once they got me in the bed I could not get out. I wanted to go through labor without an epidural so my recovery time would be shorter. However, I was so tired that all I could think during each contraction was, "I want that epidural!" I remembered that the contractions did not hurt so badly with my second child, whom I also delivered without an epidural. Then, I remembered that I was also a lot more rested and positive when I delivered him. So, I started telling myself, "I WANT to do this." That did help them to not hurt so badly.

I also began motivating myself with a visual. My son Wayne had his first preschool Christmas program on Tuesday morning. I thought, "If I can get through this labor with no drugs, I can probably get out of here by Tuesday morning in time to make it to his program." I kept picturing him on the stage and telling myself I wanted to suffer through the pain.

It's funny to me how each delivery is so different. One of them I wanted to hang off my husband, but did not want him to give me a back rub. The second one I had pump up music in the background and was moving around the whole time. This time I just wanted to be pampered and I wanted to see my husband the whole time. It was great because one of my friends, Bonnie Smith, came to coach me through labor so she was able to help my husband keep up the back and foot rubbing! The nurse jumped right in to rub my legs and I was feeling pretty taken care of.

One of the ways that I felt God in the room with me was through the contractions at the end of labor. You know how usually the contractions get so close together that you can hardly catch your breath? Well, my contractions got farther apart. I even fell asleep between some of them and was then woken up by the feeling of another one coming on. It was like I got a bunch of little naps in between to give me some energy to push her out because I was nervous I would not have the strength with such little sleep the night before-2.5 hours or so. I had my eyes closed most of the time through labor and did not talk much. I was just trying to save all my energy for the end.

When it was time to push, I was pretty alert. That kind of happens when you have almost 8 lbs coming out of you! I ended up pushing so hard I pooped as I was delivering her, which I totally didn't care about at that point. When I was delivering my second son, I was coaching him saying, "You can do it Bruce. You can come out." And more positive phrases like that. This time I was screaming, "Get her out of me!" With my sons I had ripped so they just shot out like a bullet out of a gun. However, I did not rip with her so her head was stuck and I got to experience the "ring of fire". I think that's probably when the screaming was the loudest.

Funny thing was my husband shushed me. Yes he did! I looked at him and yelled, "Don't shush me!" He told me later that he thought, "Well, who is shushing a woman in labor?!" Then, without thinking-obviously, he shushed me again and realized that he was the offending shusher. He could not believe himself. It was actually pretty funny.....AFTERWARDS, when we were talking about it:)

After they got us all cleaned up they were trying to get me to use the restroom. I couldn't and I heard the nurses discussing when they thought I had last peed. I interrupted them and explained that I was pretty sure I peed myself in the bed. I told them I was thinking, "This bed is going to get really messy. A little pee is not going to make it much messier and I am not getting out of this bed to go to the toilet. So, I peed myself."

They got me over to the post partum side and things went great. The after pains were horrendous, but other than that I was feeling pretty sore and tired but also so happy and blessed. We expressed our wishes to get out of the hospital the next morning and the staff was so kind to get our paperwork moving along.

The next morning, we were at the doors of the hospital with 9 minutes to get to Wayne's Christmas program which was just around the corner at a local church. Two nurses helped us load the van so we could make it on time. We got there with a few minutes to spare. Everyone was telling me how crazy I was for being there and what a supermom I was. I explained that I was high on drugs-I had just taken a hydrocodone right before leaving the hospital-and I would crash like any other mom after the program.

So, what crazy labor stories do you have?