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Surgery is tomorrow

April 29th, 2010 at 02:59 am

It was very last minute but I called the doctor today and told them my dilemma about trying to plan the procedure around my husband's military schedule. He's on leave right now & she had a last minute cancellation so they got me in for tomorrow around noon.

I transferred the money from savings and paid in cash. $1300 doesn't seem like a lot when it means having to no longer be in discomfort. I've been trying to hold off on the procedure, I really have, but its become a daily annoyance. I only recently got the courage to follow through when a friend of mine who had a similar problem got the procedure done with success.

It was tough explaining the last minute procedure as a reason to be out tomorrow afternoon to work. I simply just explained that I was seeing a specialist. The department boss didn't press me, but when my main boss asked if I was okay I told her "Yeah, I'm okay - just some mommy problems". Which I guess could mean anything from a problem with my kids or what not.

I didn't tell anyone I was having surgery, its a quick procedure under local anesthesia where I should be home within a few hours.

Hope all ends well. I'm nervous, but I know because its outpatient and relatively low risk - it should be fine.

I also scheduled my Regulation exam today for the 7th. I think I have a shot of doing okay, although I realize I may be pressing my luck if I'm also including 2 days of being on painkillers as part of my "review" study plan.

Hopefully I don't have to be on the painkillers that long. When I had my breast augmentation I was off of them by day 2 & that seems far more invasive than the surgery tomorrow.

But I anticipate the recovery to be much less than when I got a breast augmentation. I guess I'll see how I feel tomorrow & if so then I can reschedule for $35, but I really want to get this out of the way while DH is still on leave. Knowing the military something would come up if he wasn't on leave & I'd have to go through the same mess like I did with Auditing.

$1000 Saved

April 28th, 2010 at 03:22 am

It took two days, a chainsaw, an ax, a shovel, and cargo straps but DH got the tree out. No 4WD required.

The tree was about as tall as our 2 story house. Since the roots were growing towards the foundation and we had a beautiful Japanese Maple by our front door, we decided to take out the large tree and replace it with the smaller Japanese Maple.

Have to say I'm impressed DH did this all by himself. Once he had the cargo straps, he tied it to another tree and got the tree out. In fact, had we used a 4WD we would have burst our sprinkler system pipe because they would have had to pull in that direction. By using the other tree as leverage, DH pulled the stump in the other direction maintaining the sprinkler line.

I have to say it looks a lot better. And I'm glad I have a DH who can do so much on his own. Like I may have mentioned earlier, a previous landscaper quoted us $1000 to take out the tree and transplant the Japanese Maple. But with a few simple tools, and two days, my DH was able to get it done.

**************

Anyhow in light of finding out we are staying here, I'm thinking about going ahead and scheduling my surgery. Now if the Navy cooperates and at least allows me to plan a few weeks/months ahead of time so I can get it done without losing the upfront deposit. Its still bugging me and after talking to a friend who recently had the same procedure, I feel better about going through with it.

But aside from that I finished studying for Regulation today, now I'm in the review process. I hope to take it by the 6th. I'd really like to be in that first phase of results and they speculate that I'll be in the second phase if I take it after the 7th.

I just hope I'll be ready by then. Some of the stuff I'm not 100% on, but I have to remind myself I wasn't 100% on FAR either but I passed.... the actual exam was much easier than the study materials. If I can get comfortable with the simulations, I should be fine for Multiple Choice especially since they only have 72 MC vs 90.

Once again the Navy throws a curveball

April 27th, 2010 at 03:37 pm

Now we are staying here indefinitely till DH can get a replacement at his command. And in order to fix that he needs to get his command to change his billet from an E5. Its rare in his rate for there to be an E5, and if there were - his command wouldn't want an E5 in his rate. Most people in his rate are E6 and above. So nobody in his rate would want his billet if its saying E5 in the system.

Till he gets that fixed, he can't find a replacement.

We're still slotted for Nevada but with his rate being so undermanned - they won't move him till he has someone in his place. Sometimes they can let a billet go unmanned, but they can't with his.

He says a few years ago they started getting rid of all the incentives and benefits to entice people to join that rate. When we did, he got a $60K re-enlistment bonus. We didn't get it all at once, 50% upfront and the rest is in annual installments over the contract term.

I'm sure everyone is wondering what happened to that $30K. Well, we paid off my Dad's PLUS loan he gave me, paid off our credit card debt, put new flooring in our house ($7K) cause the previous owner's cats had ruined it to the point we bleached the concrete slab underneath to get rid of the smell. Then we also bought kitchen appliances.

But surprise, surprise - we didn't learn by having our debt wiped out and managed to rack it up again. This is why I'm convinced the only way for me to get out of debt and STAY out is the slow, little by little, method.

So anyhow, they got rid of the incentives and started sending his rate to Iraq and Afghanistan a lot. So a lot of people in his rate either retired or got commissioned to Officers. Without the incentives to bring in new people to his rate... it causes a problem with his rate being undermanned.

I have to say I shouldn't have expected anything different from the military. A life with the military is a life filled with tentative plans and changing dates. If anyone can teach you how life can change at a moments notice - its the military.

For someone like me who would sit down in elementary school and plan out my entire life, its been a challenge - but a necessary learning experience.

Life happens when you're busy making plans.

So anyhow, thats that. We were supposed to list the house May 1st but now that is on hold (obviously) but yesterday DH brought the tree down and now he's struggling to get the stump out.

We have a 20 ft tree in our front yard that was put too closely to the house. The roots have been growing close to the foundation and with the prospect of us leaving, I don't want to have to worry about that.

We also have a small Japanese Maple that the previous owners planted right by the front door (Why I don't know). So the plan was to remove the big tree and replace it with the Japanese Maple. A landscaper quoted us $1000 but DH is certain to get the tree out himself. He brought it down okay, but the stump is proving to be a formidable foe.

We'll see though... he's from the "country" so he's removed trees in the past. Only difference is back then he had a tractor to pull them out. Here, we don't have a truck so he is probably going to ask our neighbor if they can help pull it out with their Jeep or ask someone from work.

Either way, its $1000 saved. Worst comes to worse, we will just cut the stump down and put mulch over it and put the Japanese Maple in the backyard.

Rethinking our plans

April 26th, 2010 at 01:52 am

So we bought the water heater today. That obliterated our EF with the other things that have come up this month.

The water heater itself wasn't so bad. $700 including installation, permit, etc. But I don't feel good about now having $134 in our EF. The goal is to really get that EF back to $1000 but I don't know how we'll do that in May. Dh still says the military owes him $300 and by selling our laptops we'll get $268, but we need to get a box.

I'm seriously thinking of just cancelling our South Carolina trip. I really want to go and it would only cost $300 but I do NOT want to tap into my inheritance. Like I've said before we have $11,336 (or something like that, I might have a 3 and 6 confused in the last two digits) so IF a major problem comes up, we're covered but we're moving... lots of things can happen.

We need to touch up paint in our current house, have to put filler dirt in the side yard of the other house. The attic in the other house & the GFCI needs fixed. Then we have our property taxes, termite protection renewal, flood insurance renewals, and the pets annual vet check. Oh and we can't forget his dress blues for $400-$500.

I almost feel like if I took this trip I'd be asking for bad karma. You know, the kind of karma Suze Orman talks about in her book when you take a trip that you can't afford & your roof caves in while you are gone.

Speaking of which, we do need a few shingles and a new "boot" on our roof. Should probably add that to the list of things.

This bites, sucks, whatever dismal word you want to attach to it. Dh would have those days off and it'd make a great family vacation to see a part of the country we'll probably never see otherwise. Yet I just don't want to be foolish.

So we'll see, as of right now - I'm doubtful we'll be able to go after all to our weekend getaway.

Extra money found

April 24th, 2010 at 03:15 pm

Thanks to Earth Day, we saw a segment on the Today show about recycling old electronics.

So I decided to check on the value of the electronics we have at Gazelle.com. Our two laptops that we never use anymore are worth a combined total of $268.

I plan to also recycle some items that don't hold any value (internal computer hard drive, Palm Pilot, our extra desktop and camera)

I'm looking forward to more space & more money in my life with less clutter.

This is not to say we may not one day get a laptop, but we've been holding onto these old electronics forever that just take up space. Its nice to know we are actually getting paid to do something good for the environment.

I also received the clothes I purchased so I went into my closet today and purged some of the items that I haven't worn in a long time. Essentially I have a basic rule, I receive 4 things, I take 4 things out. This way, clutter doesn't accumulate in my life and the clothes I get rid of are donated to Goodwill.

One of these days I'll get down to the essentials, for now I'm still working on it. Slowly but surely I'm getting there.

New Clothes and Affordability

April 23rd, 2010 at 12:39 pm

So I never went into the store, I ended up just going on-line and purchasing clothes. Went by a few basic rules I know for my body shape and a store I've come to be very familiar with their sizes/styles.

Bought a shrug, 2 shirts, a pair of jeans, a pair of pants, pair of cargo pants, and a black dress. All for about $163.

Had I ordered them all at once it probably would have been cheaper ($5 first order, $6 second order, $10 third order) because of shipping but most everything was on sale. Then today when I went online I noticed a few of the items went on sale so I'm going to call today to get a price adjustment. It won't be much but $12 is money.

But hopefully the clothes I bought work out. I really hate having to do returns. I never trust those sizing charts though. The size chart says I'm a size M for tops, but I have SEVERAL pieces from that store & the Mediums that I do have feel like they are going to fall off, but all the Smalls fit.

I wanted to order stuff from Ann Taylor Loft or Banana Republic, but they are sooo expensive. Plus I don't have any pieces from them so I think I actually have to go into the store to see how they fit.

Speaking of affordability, while I was making dinner I heard Entertainment Tonight on the TV give fashion advice and say "This shirt was ONLY $36, add that to these shoes which were ONLY $42, and a pair of slacks for $58 and you have a very affordable outfit"

Are you serious? THAT is affordable?!?!

That is ONE outfit for $136... and I didn't even include their "accessories" they quoted.

I spent $163 and got at least 5 outfits (some I can mix and match with pieces I already own)... and I got them from New York and Company.

If you followed their guidelines of affordable, a new wardrobe would EASILY cost $5000. Me? For a few hundred dollars I'm set (well, except for business suits... the most affordable I can find are still around $100-$200 per suit)

The sad part of that is this is probably why you see people go into a store and say "Well, its ONLY $30." I'm hesitant to spent that amount on one item of clothing unless there is a buy one get one off or half off special. Crazy. DH can buy an ENTIRE OUTFIT for $30 or less.

DD #2 listened to my rant as I told her $136 for ONE outfit is certainly NOT affordable. Most people probably make around $10/hr give or take, so they would have to work two days or so just to pay for the outfit... maybe more if you factor in taxes.

Told her it didn't make sense to me, you have ONE outfit you have to work two days for when you can buy FIVE outfits for approximately the same price, work two days to pay for it, and put the other money in savings or use it to enjoy your life when you aren't at work.

Toddlers, Homework, and Ambition

April 23rd, 2010 at 02:06 am

My youngest daughter wouldn't leave my oldest alone while she was doing her homework.



I wonder if more kids had to deal with toddlers and homework if the teen pregnancy rate would go down. At least one can hope.

By the way, I wasn't doing this to punish her. DD #3 just loves her sister so much & I was actually really impressed with how nice, gentle, and understanding DD #1 was about a 2 year old DEMANDING that she be on DD #1's lap.

But if any of my kids understand what I juggle, my oldest daughter probably gets it more than anyone. Ironically, as she's trying to do her homework with a 2 year old on her lap... I struggle to find time to study as I try to make sure the kids understand their schoolwork.

I'm still struggling with DD on her math homework. That paper you see her working on took 3 hours for her to complete & I was sitting beside her the entire time. Each time I'd spend a few minutes showing her how to work the problem, she'd try, make a mistake, I'd show her again, she'd make another mistake, and the process continued... over and over.

They are working on multiplication and long division. However, I can no longer keep up with how teachers teach kids math these days. I told her to multiply 40 by 150 and she proceeds to draw a box. A box? She got the right answer but I had no clue how that box gave her the right answer.

But anyhow... kids are finally in bed, DH is not home (which I'm somewhat grateful for since I obviously didn't get much time to study for my exam since I was helping DD with her math homework), and I just finished R6's lectures. Have some multiple choice questions to do and I plan to start R7 tomorrow.

Not much longer and I can put this CPA exam behind me... which I'm sure all that "free" time will be replaced with finding other ways to encourage my kids academically. DD #1 now wants to be a Marine Biologist in lieu of Earth Day, DD #2 wants to be a vet, and DS wants to be a police officer. So I'm using their ambitions as a way to drive their interests in the fields of math & science.

We watched Oprah's discussion on Earth Day and the documentary "The Cove" which inspired DD #1 to learn more about science.

But while we were watching segments of "The Cove" & talking about Marine Biology, I realized there are some conversations you NEVER forget as a parent.

5 years ago, on a trip to Sea world, DD #2 saw a trainer kiss a dolphin. In her 3 y/o words "Dolphin kisses" so I remember asking "So what do sharks give?"

"Shark kisses"

So now whenever I see a shark, I always remember DD #2's "Shark Kisses" Thanks, DD #2

Mistakes on my part

April 22nd, 2010 at 12:44 pm

I made the mistake of counting my eggs before they hatched. DH got his travel money today. He told me he should be getting around $750, what was deposited $463. But he is still saying that we should be getting another $300... yet we'll have to wait awhile for that because the military overpaid on his government CC so he has to call Citi to have them send him a check.

We were supposed to buy his dress blues, but we also had to spend $100 fixing up the yard to get the house ready to be shown. On top of that we'll need to spend money on the following items in May/June:

Paint supplies to touch up paint the house (probably around $50 or less)
Landscaping repair to the side yard of the other house (need estimate)
Attic & GFCI repair to the other house (need estimate)
Property taxes (around $600)
Dog and cat's yearly appointment & flea stuff (around $400)
Flood insurance premiums ($675)
Termite protection/inspection renewal ($130)

I thought we'd be okay cause the trips would help offset these costs. But I guess not, we'd need to start dipping into savings to avoid using the CC's.

This was poor planning on my part. Now debating the trip to South Carolina. The hotel is free, so the only costs would be boarding the dog (3 nights at $20/night), gas, and we could offset the cost of food since the room has a kitchen and offers free breakfast.

The reason we wanted to go was because this is probably the cheapest time we'd ever be able to go since the hotel is covered & its within driving distance. I don't anticipate the trip costing more than $500 and even that is pushing it. Which, a trip for 6 people, once we move out to the West Coast will cost much more. We also haven't taken a weekend getaway in over 4 years. This would also free up the house that weekend for showings.

I think it'll be more like $300 at most. Even if I still did go, we wouldn't use the CCs, we'd pay for it with savings.

So I don't know. I wish I had done better in planning all this. Sometimes I think I can be too optimistic about a few things.

10 hours and 28 minutes

April 16th, 2010 at 03:28 pm

Thats exactly how much more of the Regulation lectures I need to listen to (along wiht 662 Multiple Choice Questions). Not counting the 145 I plan to do today (or the 128 I've already done today alone)

I decided I REALLY want this done & over with. I'm getting bored and burnt out. I'd rather be spending my time doing other things. Did I mention I'm so over this?

So I'm going to do my best to take Regulation either 4/30, 5/3, or 5/4

Then I'll start studying for BEC. I've already done the first module for BEC and aced it at 90%, but I want to take that just prior to or just after Memorial Day weekend.

I MAY try to fit in a trip then though. DH is going to a conference and is going to get a "day off" on the 16th of May so I'm thinking about driving the 7 hours to go see him, sight-see, etc. He has a ton of Marriott reward points racked up so hopefully we can get the hotel for the two nights for free. There was no point in me trying to stay the entire time he'd be there, I have things I need to do and he's there for work... but this will probably be the last opportunity in a long time we'll be able to go and if I can get the hotel for free & a friend to watch the dog for two nights... aside from gas & food - the trip should be relatively inexpensive.

So we'll see. But I do know one thing... and its that I am READY to put the CPA exam behind me.

Think I can do a module for every 2 days? (That should have me done studying for REG by next Friday) I don't know if I can do it but I'm certainly going to try.

$140 Spent Today

April 16th, 2010 at 12:29 am

And I didn't even get anything for myself.

The plan was for me to go out and buy a new mouse & keyboard for the iMac which together cost $140.

But DD #1 came home and her shoes were falling apart. I couldn't even fathom the idea of sending her to school in them one more day in that condition.

DS also needed new cleats since the ones I bought were too small and hurting his feet. I know in many households the moms are VERY aware of what size clothes and shoes the kids wear... not me, that is my DH's realm apparently. So in the clothing and shoe store I leave all the fitting and adjustments to him.

So we get to the Navy Exchange with the plan to buy the keyboard, mouse, and DD #1 new shoes.

While there, I pay attention to the other kids' shoes. They all really needed new shoes. So all four kids got new shoes, and then we went over to a Sports store to buy DS some cleats for his games on Saturday.

So long story short, a trip out for a want turned into a trip for a need. And anytime I considered getting the keyboard and mouse, I kept thinking "I could buy all four kids shoes for less than the price of a keyboard and mouse... and they'd get more use out of it."

Not fun... but I think in the long term, it will lead to the greatest happiness. Besides, I can always get a new mouse & keyboard later when the newest technological advance comes out and the current ones become discounted.

Warranties... on shoes? And Moving Update

April 15th, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Yesterday DH told me the Navy Exchange offers warranties on their shoes. For $10, if they wear out sooner than expected, you can ship them back and they'll give you the money you paid for them.

Really?

Am I the only person that thinks thats a little crazy? Shoes are clothing, I don't get warranties on my clothing - if they break, I either return it & complain to the store or I make a mental note of the brand and never buy it again.

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On another note, I realize DH and I still have not come to a decision about our trip to Missouri in the midst of our move. I've made three concessions but he's not pleased with them. Here is my offer...

3 days in Missouri
Not buying a laptop, but sometimes plugging in the iMac from the hotel so I can work

His offer

Stay in Missouri for a week @ $200/night
Not buying a laptop

So my counter offer was to stay a week, but we'd have to buy a laptop so I could work. He thinks that is just an excuse to get a laptop but here are some of the problems with this trip:

1) The Navy is only giving us 9 travel days (I think our full allowance is $6700) between per diem, travel, lodging, and DLA.

2) Because we have four kids and TWO pets (one being a large golden retriever), we have to get two hotel rooms wherever we go. I estimate this to be around $200/night

3) We don't even have a tenant for our current place yet (although to be fair we haven't listed it yet) and every month we don't, that is $2000 in the red. I'm hoping we can find a tenant by July 1 when we leave here

4) We don't even have a place set up at the new place. I'm estimating it'll take a week to get utilities and everything set up with the movers... let alone FINDING a place to live if we haven't found one by the time we leave here

5) The Navy only gives you about 80-90% of the moving allowance upfront. So some of the money we have to front.

I'm anticipating already having to come up with $1000-$2000 (since we won't get all of the $6700 upfront) out of pocket based on the below costs:



This is assuming a 3 day stay in Missouri (that is not including the travel day there and the travel day leaving)

So I don't know. I told him I'm trying to be reasonable, I understand he wants to see his family but I also harbor some feelings of resentment because back in January of last year he was SOOO pressed to see his family because his Dad was having heart problems. Being a good wife I supported that and pushed my family off.

Then guess what happens? MY Dad dies and the only memory I have of seeing him healthy is 2 1/2 years before his death. So I'm fully aware that I harbor feelings of resentment about this.

He got mad and said "So now I can't see my family?" And I told him it wasn't that... but these are feelings that come to me, because had I known then what I known now - I wouldn't have been agreeable to see his family then and instead saw my family.

But there is no crystal ball to say his Dad will be just fine in a year from now. I know that. If I had that ability to see a year from now, and if his Dad was okay I'd say "Lets go next year", but if he wasn't then I'd say "Let's go see them"

I really don't want to see them cause there is just so much going on and I can't take more than 2 weeks off of work. But he doesn't understand cause not everyone has 3 MONTHS of PTO they can take.

Happiness and Finances

April 14th, 2010 at 01:33 pm

I truly believe that if you're happy in life - TRULY happy - your finances will take care of themselves because who we are as people, have no need to consume or spend more than we need. If we are truly happy, we already have what we want and need.

Of course this doesn't relate to certain emergencies. Like $5K to travel back home to Hawaii to see my Dad's funeral, etc. But I'm talking about the types of finances that we are in control of. Its those behaviors that really determine our true financial picture and whether we are headed towards success of failure.

I thought more about my last post. I know how I say I take better care of myself when DH is gone, but there is another part in there that I sort of eluded to: I also spend more frivolously when he's gone.

Even though I may be handling a situation well on the surface, my finances show the true picture. $30 on shampoo & conditioner? Considering the purchase of a waving iron and spending hours on my hair.

Bottom line is... I spend more when he's gone because I'm not happy. I go through the motions, I do what needs to be done and I don't dwell on it on the surface - but I know a huge part of me misses him and although I can ignore those feelings to get what I need done, they still surface in other ways.

He came back yesterday and it was like an instant thought... I no longer needed all the extra stuff to make me happy (or to get my hair the way I wanted it). It was like instant happiness. I stopped thinking about all the things I wanted to do to make myself happier... I just was happy in that moment and didn't feel the need to buy anything or do anything else but be with him.

Overall, regardless of how mathematical and scientific I want to be about my finances - the bottom line is that a level of psychology is involved because of the human element.

He did get me a necklace and bracelet while he was away in Panama. It was his last trip there and he wanted to get me something. I thought it was sweet. I'm not really one who wants a souvenir because it just takes up space... but he knows that jewelry is one area that I'll always appreciate.

I know he didn't spend much on it, but that doesn't matter. It could have cost him a penny and I'd still love it. Its like my earrings from Dubai, I can look back on them/wear them and know there is a story behind it. And if I ever pass (I make it sound like death is optional LOL) then its something the kids can have and know the story too.

My mom STILL tells the story about how my grandfather came back from a deployment and gave my grandmother a diamond (now worth $10K), but my grandmother was disappointed because it wasn't a pearl. But still... 30-40 years later, my mom remembers it and still wants that diamond one day because she can remember where she was & that moment in time he gave it to her.

But anyhow, aside from that we went out to eat yesterday cause we got back so late from the airport. However, again - we paid with cash so it was nice to do.

Overall though, I'm just glad my hubby is back. I missed him and its amazing how happiness can affect your spirit... cause to tie into all this, I also have a renewed vigor for studying for Regulation. I finished 70 of the 195 multiple choice questions yesterday and plan to get through the rest today and start module 4 tomorrow.

So long story short, I may look better and be more productive when he's gone - but my finances are better when we're together and I'm happier.

It's Official

April 12th, 2010 at 02:41 pm

I'm burnt out of this CPA stuff.

I was ahead of schedule in studying for Regulation this week but I'm in module 3 and I just CAN'T bring myself to retain this stuff. Suddenly my mind wants to think of anything BUT accounting.

So I'm contemplating taking a break. However, what continues to push me is that I REALLY want to be done with this by the time Memorial Day weekend comes around. If I can just get through REG, BEC should be a piece of cake.

Normally REG would keep me interested. After all, I always used to like tax. When I did my internship, I enjoyed the fact that taxes told a story about a person's life. It was like getting a minor glimpse into their life and realizing that appearances are not always what they seem.

I did tax returns for the divorced attorney who barely had an income to show for it because she was struggling to support her two kids. Then a tax return for a newly commissioned sailor who was doing rather well for herself.

I enjoyed that aspect of tax. What I haven't been liking in studying for REG is that I've probably overloaded myself. Taking 2 days of a break in between sections is NOT really a break... thats a weekend.

Throw in work, kids, and having to pretend I'm a single mom - I think I'm just burnt out.

Maybe I should just throw in the towel and succumb to the idea that life would be far better if I just took REG by the end of May. That would give me MORE than enough time to study for BEC and take it in July. It may be a headache trying to study and move at the same time, but I've done it before with my undergraduate degree & taking finals... it can be done.

Above all I still have to remember, there is a life outside the CPA exam - but this exam is like a huge burden on my plate that I just wish it was over with. I'm almost 29 years old.... I'd like to start putting school/exams behind me so I can start LIVING life and ENJOYING it.

Trying new things

April 11th, 2010 at 08:20 pm

I've been flirting with veganism for awhile. Not so much because I don't think we should be meat eaters or anything, sometimes I just like to explore the alternatives in life.

Think of it like a frugal "no spend day"... sometimes we'll have a "no meat/dairy" day.

I bought Alicia Silverstone's "The Kind Life" a few months ago and some of the recipes are a hit. My kids LOVE the rustic pasta - which is essentially pasta, a whole head of cabbage, an onion, celery, shoyu (soy sauce) and marinara sauce.

But this experiment also has me buying new foods that I would have never otherwise picked up. It also has me paying more attention in the food aisle.

For example, in my area, I have been to three different grocery stores and CANNOT find Brown Rice Syrup to save my life! That and umeboshi vinegar, let alone umeboshi!

Yet, some other things I managed to find. Like tempeh.

I bought some today and although its loaded with protein and iron, I'm just not a fan. My son loved it & I could imagine this being a good alternative for him to get protein in his diet since he hates beans - but I'd rather have a bison burger or a ribeye steak to get my iron.

I'm still not sure where I'll fall in this organic, reduced meat-eating diet. It has saved me money, although that could be because DH is gone.

Last week I spent $125 on groceries, today I spent $85 for the week.

Spending less money on meat is allowing me to spend more money on produce. So I guess in the end its a wash.

Will I forgo meat? Likely not, at least not entirely... DH's midwest, farm boy roots would think I've gone off the deep end if I adopt veganism... and I enjoy seafood too much. Thats pretty much where I draw the line. I could cut back on red meat and poultry without a problem... tell me I can't/shouldn't eat fish, shrimp, lobster, crab, and clams - and I'm ready to abandon the whole vegan lifestyle.

In the end, I realize I could adopt a Japanese or Chinese diet for the rest of my life and be content. But even they eat meat. This as we are having Shrimp Tempura for dinner. I realized at the grocery store that I should probably take advantage of DH being gone and eat as much shrimp as I can since he's allergic so that has fallen off our menus out of consideration for him.

So, its shrimp for dinner.

Yet, like I said, if this book has accomplished nothing else - at least I'm trying new things and paying more attention to what is in my food (and also becoming aware that some foods are just NOT available in my area).

********

On that note of trying new things, I also tried FlyLady yesterday. With the help of the kids, I was able to get everything done. My house has never been so clean without the help of DH.

The iPhone has an app called HomeRoutines that I used to get me started. I'm definitely a fan of it now that I see the results and hope to keep with it.

I also forgot how much of a workout scrubbing walls and cleaning baseboards can be. My arms and legs will be thanking FlyLady as well once they stop hurting.

A good doctor is worth their weight in gold!

April 9th, 2010 at 08:40 pm

Can't describe how grateful I am for finding such an amazing pediatrician for my kids. Its not even just that doctor, its the practice and the network. ANYONE I've come into contact with in that network has been amazing. Are all civilian doctor's like this?

DS has been getting bloody noses again on a daily basis since Sunday. He even got one on the way to today's doctor's appointment.

But I'm still amazed that from a mild cough & frequent bloody noses, our pediatrician knew to get a chest X-ray & bloodwork. Turns out DS had bronchitis (I didn't even know, I just thought it was a cough). He is anemic as well but he always seems to be on the low end of normal. Two years ago, hematology said that might just be "his" normal. So I'm still not 100% sure what to think of it.

I still don't really know why DS keeps getting these nosebleeds. I thought we solved this two years ago when he got his adenoids removed. They didn't really start till he was 18 months and they were daily. Thats how we discovered he was anemic, but his anemia was not iron-responsive. But the military just wanted to keep throwing allergy meds & iron at him.

After getting the run around, we switched to a civilian practice. Saw hematology and ENT. Hematology ruled out the more serious problems & ENT discovered he had enlarged adenoids. Took them out and the nosebleeds stopped. He hadn't even gotten ONE until this past week.

I'm hoping this is just a fluke. I'm just not sure why this is happening.

I am kind of sad to be leaving the area for this reason. I feel like my kids finally have a doctor that knows them, sees all their siblings, and "gets" our family history. I don't have to re-tell my story (or theirs) every time we see a doctor. Its nice. Nice to go into the doc and they remember you from last time because they were the ones to see you.

Didn't get that so much when we had to go to military clinics. But continuity of care is so important and when you find a good doc that you trust, they are worth their weight in gold.

DH emailed me today. His phone stopped working but now he'll be home sooner than I anticipated. Just a few more days. Still haven't gotten a chance to tell him about our son.

Going to be a longer trip than I thought

April 9th, 2010 at 12:40 pm

DH called last night and I still have a little bit longer to go before he comes home. Its still not a deployment, but by the time he gets back - he'll have been gone for almost a month.

On the bright side, that means he will get a lot more per diem this month. Thats almost 10 days of $120/day per diem. Grant it, he's probably spent some of that but we have to buy his dress blues when he gets back. That costs anywhere from $300-$500.

I miss him when he's gone. I don't feel "separate" from him when he's gone... at least emotionally. I like to pretend when he's gone that I've taken on the role of "girlfriend". It keeps our talks pretty light-hearted and easier to deal with. If I was just a girlfriend, I probably wouldn't bog him down with the details of DD#3 regressing in potty-training, etc. Sure some stuff would come up, but our role then changes from "support & help" (Ie. when we are together) to an "escape" (I.e, when we are apart).

Silly, I guess. I miss the help and the quiet evenings together. We make dinner together, he does the laundry, the yardwork, and remembers to take the trash out.

I forgot this little fact when it was trash day & I saw the trash truck zoom by our house. These are just things I don't normally do cause when he's here, he helps out a ton.

But again, looking at the positive - I'm really catching up on studying for the CPA exam. Already finished the first two modules for Regulation in 5 days. Going to start the 3rd today and hopefully have it done by the end of the weekend. I'll likely have the fourth done by the time he gets home, maybe the 5th.

There are 7 modules so it would be nice to have most of the material studied before he gets back. I'm hoping that if I can manage to do this I'll be ready to take REG by the end of April/early May so I can take BEC in the last part of May.

And then... hoping I pass... I can put this CPA stuff behind me and focus entirely on work, potty-training DD #3, family, and moving.

Now wouldn't that be nice?

Statistics and lucking out

April 7th, 2010 at 09:31 pm

Sometimes I'll watch "16 and Pregnant" on MTV and there was one episode, the one about the girl being pregnant with twins really struck me.

Lots of times I'll walk away from those shows and think to myself "I lucked out". You look at the stats for young marriages/teen moms/military marriages and my life could have been VERY different. The biggest reason I am where I am in my life today is because of DH.

When I found out I was pregnant I was 18 and he was 20, we were on the verge of breaking up. In fact, when I told him about DD #1, it was during a heated argument on the phone. We hung up on each other and then he called back immediately after cause he couldn't believe what I had just said.

Within a month, we were married. I don't think I really knew what we were getting into.

Take that back, I KNOW I didn't know what I was getting into.... we were just kids. We had NOTHING, just our clothes, some CDs and a stereo. He got paid $500 every two weeks in Hawaii while we lived in housing. I remember having to try make a grocery budget of $75-$100 for every two weeks last. May sound doable on the mainland for 2, soon to be 3 people... but in Hawaii, its not.

Watching Leah and Cory on the show, kept bringing back memories. Memories of me being a kid & thinking about "What ifs", feeling like I missed out on life... when I had a wonderful man at home willing to give me his world. Not in a doting way, and he certainly wouldn't put up with any mind games - but his actions would always speak louder than his words.

He woudn't even be in the military today if it wasn't for our family. He would have gotten out YEARS ago.

Leah never wised up, and by the time she did - Cory was done with her. At least in my case, I wised up & my husband was still there.

I don't even want to imagine what my life would have been like if DH and I never worked things out. You worry about such dumb things as a kid (I'm referring to my 21 year old self as a kid) and letting thoughts like "What if he's not my soulmate?" allow you to throw away the chance of a great & happy future.

Marriage is definitely work, its still work to this day but whenever I watch these shows - I just want to give DH a big hug and say Thank you cause I really lucked out.

People like to congratulate me for what I've accomplished in life but I don't think many people realize that I couldn't even do this if I didn't luck out with such a great guy.

Poor DH, he's going to call tonight & probably wonder why I'm so sappy for him. If he was here I'd just give him a big hug.

Fun Activities

April 6th, 2010 at 09:49 pm

Took my kids to the aquarium today. It cost $100 for season passes but at least I can take them again for free for as many times as I'd like. With as many kids/people in my family, I'd only need to go twice to make it pay for itself.

The two year old loved it and they loved going down the hall of mirrors, petting stingrays, and touching starfish. If it wasn't so crowded I probably would have stayed longer.

Afterwards we stopped and ate. $20 for the five of us to eat. Really would have preferred to eat at home, but I have way too much to do today. Need to finish studying for Regulation 1 and start section 2 tomorrow. Then I have some stuff to do for work.

I guess this is the nice part about working from home. The kids were driving me nuts & I wasn't really getting anything done so at 2:30 I just loaded them in the car and we went.

When I got back at 5, to my horror I realized our 2 y/o golden retriever had free roam of the house. I must have forgotten to lock his crate.

But there he sat in my entryway, looking happy as ever with a smile on his face and my Coach purse sitting on the entryway table beside him... untouched. It was as if he was saying "See, I'm a good boy - you don't need to crate me."

And he is a good dog. We got him just about when I started this blog. Something about golden retrievers just make me melt.

Anyhow, so it looks like I'm going to hit the treadmill again to make up for those french fries. But the kids had fun, we can go again for free, and it'll give me something to do with them while DH is away.

Focus on Yourself

April 5th, 2010 at 03:05 am

It was a rough day. The kids were acting up and I think in large part its because DH is gone. I wasn't feeling my best since I was coming down with a sore throat. I think DD #1 gave everyone her sickness. Turns out it was strep since the doc called me Friday and I had to pick up her antibiotics. However, her 5 minute strep test was negative so I thought she was fine till then.

ANYHOW, DH called tonight. I was still upset but trying to take the Dalai Lama's advice to heart. I was upset, and hearing how he went to Bourbon Street last night didn't make me feel better.

Do I think he did anything wrong? Likely not.
Am I happy about it? No

And I realize the reason I'm not happy about it is because I never get to do anything fun. I got married young, had kids young... my whole identity has been wrapped up into my husband and kids. While that is something I am proud of, at my age, it also leaves me wondering at times - Who am I?

Its why I am able to throw myself into my work or school. That is the one area of my life that is purely and authentically ME. Just me. Its not necessarily fun, but its me. One thing that is purely my own.

I used to go out a lot more but then my marriage went downhill. DH was the one getting upset cause he never went out and had fun. So I stopped, and even then I can't get mad at him about these trips - The traveling is part of his job. I just get a bit upset at times that his job includes going to driving schools to learn how to rally race, ride ATVs, and other stuff that is fun. Other stuff I'm not so envious about.

But I really just want to have fun too. And I don't even really have friends here anymore. I've thrown myself so deeply into family and my career, friends... at least ones that don't include kid's birthday parties... are an after thought.

I realize I just need time to process my feelings with this. So I called up my BFF again. And came to the realization that - I just want something that would even feel remotely equitable. A Thank You for getting stuck with the kids 24/7.

So I texted Dh and told him when he gets back, I want a spa day. It won't really be even to me... but it'll be enough. Enough so that I get a break, even just for a few hours.

I just don't want to end up like my brother and his wife. His wife had her first at 17. Then she met my brother while he was in law school, they got married, and had two more kids. She never pursued her education and just threw herself into the kids.

I remember seeing them in October thinking... no, it can't be this good. She has to be feeling something aside from my brother and the kids. And I was right, in January/February they announced they were separating.

My brother is mostly flabbergasted. She's in her 30s now and just talking about how she never had a life and how she wants to enjoy life now.

I don't feel bad about missing my 20s, at least in the typical sense. I'm not even afraid of aging. I look forward to my 30s, and even older. I just don't want to LOOK older than I am. Yet, the age itself - I'm totally cool with.

But I just want a little thing here and there, my own career, my own time apart from the kids, some time with friends, so that I don't suddenly end up like my brother and his wife.

My DH is a good guy... I think he just doesn't understand sometimes.

Like I told my BFF, they need to make a movie about the women behind these guys. If you watch any "Secret Agent" or "Military" movie, they always focus on the guys and the action they live. Sometimes they'll call back home to hear their wife say "Oh the kids are wonderful!" and then they go back to the action.

They never show the wife. The life of the wife is far less glamourous. And I think the key to surviving as a wife is staying busy and finding a balance in your life.

So I'm going to promise myself that I'm going to spend time and focus on myself. If I need a spa day (or a lunch with the girls), I'm going to do it. Its far better for me to do that and spend a few dollars here and there than to feel the way I do and end up like my SIL and brother if I don't.

And yeah, probably fit in date nights as well. But at the current moment I'm not thinking about date nights. I'm still sort of resentful about all the fun DH is having. Rally racing last week, Bourbon street last night. End of this month he'll be driving ATVs. I'm happy for him... but I want to be happy too.

Is it evil of me to be somewhat hopeful he has a semi-not-so-great time at his current location as he has to work in 90 degree weather building palates?

And just like that he was gone

April 4th, 2010 at 11:42 am

These next few months will probably be very trying for me.

DH will be in and out practically till we move. And I realize the CPA exam is one thing I have that keeps me so busy, I'm not allowed to dwell on any feelings of doubt, insecurity, or disappointment.

But I haven't started studying for the next part yet. I wanted to give myself at least 2 days of a break. Ideally, I wouldn't start till the 12th. Yet, I may start today - its hard for me to think of anything but him.

He came back on Friday but we barely got any time together. He had to pack and finish up the final for his PACE course that he's taking to get his associate's degree. By midnight, I went to bed and by 5:45 am on Saturday, I realized that he had never come to bed. He had so much to do he was practically up all night.

By 8 am... he was gone again.

And I missed him more than I did the day before because I got to see him, yet it was like he wasn't really here. He had to pack, had to do laundry, had to finish up his course.

He usually calls at night, but he went out for beers with the guys. By 10:30 his time he told me he was almost done and would call me later.

Can't tell you how disappointing it is to wake up the next morning to know he didn't call. And I already know why he didn't, he texted me to say he got in late and just went to bed. Which upsets me cause he said he was going to call. That and just before he said he was almost done.

I love him, very much. When he's around we are constantly together. But it always bugs me to hear "I'll call you later" but the call never comes. I can handle pretty much anything thrown my way - just don't tell me you're going to do something and not follow through.

So I am upset now... but trying not to let my emotions get the best of me. I like to read - a lot. And in boredom yesterday I looked at my bookshelf and noticed I still had a lot of books I have yet to finish.

One of them was from the Dalai Lama about "The Way To a Meaningful Life". In general, I like reading books about anything that may help better my life in any way. Books about better eating, how to read body language, understand people better, time management, and in general understanding myself better.

So I turned to the page that I had last left off on. And it was about the types of negative feelings that are better left unsaid and the types that should be expressed. In short, it was about how negative feelings that can demonstrate a conflict and work towards a resolution are the types that should be expressed. However, anger, jealousy, hatred, lust, etc are the types that should never be expressed because the attention gives more energy to those feelings and they grow.

So I'm trying to take that to heart and - as I said, not trying to let my disappointment get to me. I think this lifestyle in general can be challenging from time to time. This is just one of those challenges.

I can't wait for shore duty.

Wealth Starts with Planning

April 2nd, 2010 at 05:34 pm

To pass the time as I missed my husband & no longer had to study for Auditing, I called up my best friend. She lives back in Hawaii and we've been friends for more than half of our lives. Once we hit 30 we'll be nearing the 3/4's of our lives mark.

But anyhow, she's sort of like my other half - aside from my hubby.

We talk about a lot... our relationship has obviously evolved from talking about boys, to planning out our careers and retirement plans. She has yet to have kids but since I have four & she wants kids, thats another aspect we talk about.

So we talk a lot about our plans, our dreams, what drives us.

And she pointed something out to me last night. I'm the only one of her friends that is a peer who she talks to about these things. Most of her other friends are just planning the day to day stuff, maybe month to month, focusing on surviving the day or the month.

She said she was reading a book about wealth. That the poor just focus on getting through the day, survival, they believe in scarcity. The middle class focuses on comfort, living month to month, short-range goals, and limited opportunities. The wealthy plans several years in advance, believes opportunities are endless, and I forget what she said the wealthy's goal was. Fulfillment?

That idea sparked another in my mind. The lessons I have been teaching my children... budgeting = planning, managing your time = planning.

I don't think its too far fetched to make the leap that wealth begins with planning. When you plan you are in control, you tell your money, your time, your resources what you want it to do for you. At times it can almost seem effortless.

I'm sure a lot of other things fall into play to have a truly successful life - happiness and passion for what you do are additional factors. But you still need to plan to find success. Without planning, even the best opportunities that land in your lap will not live up to their potential. Just like the person who wins the lottery, spends it all without a plan and then wonders where it all went.

Of course, life will throw you curve balls sometimes. Yet I believe those curveballs are just a test to see how badly you want something. The obstacles aren't there to keep you out, just to keep those out that don't want it badly enough.

Life would be boring without a challenge. They teach us something everytime and show us what we're made of.

All that said, I still do believe a little bit of spontaneity makes life worth living. We can plan all we want, but we also have to remain resilient and be confident in ourselves that no matter what - we can handle anything that comes our way.

We have all the tools we need at our disposal to succeed, its just a matter of recalling the right tools at the right moment.

At least, that is my belief. It may be corny but I think this is the thing that keeps me going no matter what is thrown in my way. I may not really be wealthy, but I've always been a dreamer. And all dreams need a plan in order to come true.

Waiting game begins

April 1st, 2010 at 06:29 pm

Wow, I think I was more nervous for this exam than I was for Financial even though I studied more for it.

I think it had something to do with the fact DH was gone. The plan was to fall asleep early (10 pm) and wake up at 5:45 am. Well I fell asleep at 11 or 11:30 and tossed and turned. Woke up several times during the night (usually I never do, my alarm clock struggles to wake me up). So by 4 am, I told myself "Forget it" and pulled out the flashcards to study. After all, I was up - might as well put that time to some use since I know I wasn't sleeping.

Studying got me drowsy enough I fell back asleep till my alarm clock went off. Got the kids ready, showered, dog taken care of, made coffee for myself, fed the kids, DD #3 went potty twice before breakfast was over, and as I was heading out the door realized "Hey, I haven't eaten, I probably should."

So I quickly perused my pantry, which is practically empty. Found some crackers, tried to eat a few and felt like I was going to throw up. I should have known. When I am nervous, I can't eat. Its like my body says "No, no food, we don't need to be wasting energy on digesting when under stress"

But I stuffed the crackers in my purse anyway, just in case I got hungry later.

Dropped off the baby, dropped off the kids. My exam was at 9 and by now it was 8:30 and I was stuck on the roads to get to the freeway to drive 30 miles north to the exam site.

Thankfully the HOV was open to everyone this morning so it allowed me to bypass the slower traffic and get to the site on time. Even then, I was still nervous as I noticed I was shaking sitting in the chair to get my fingerprint taken. Or it could have been the caffeine... its been a few days since I've had coffee.

Took the exam and there were some questions I was like "Hey, I've seen that one before." Actually, there were a lot like that... I did a lot of multiple choice questions.

Overall though, I still couldn't tell if the testlets were getting harder like last time. I finished the multiple choice in an hour and a half but the first simulation took me an entire hour cause the written communication caught me off guard. The second simulation, at least the communication part, I feel like I had down cause that was an area my professor stressed to us during my graduate studies.

My hunger didn't start to bug me till my first simulation, but I got so wrapped up in the simulation that the pains eventually subsided.

Anyhow, I hope I passed. I feel like I either passed or respectably didn't. Again, I don't want to be over-confident - what if I didn't know it as well as I thought I did. You never know sometimes, so you can just try your best and hope it was good enough.

Now... off to grab sometime to eat. Its 2:30 now and I can't believe all I've had today has been a cup of coffee and some crackers.

Exam day

April 1st, 2010 at 10:48 am

I don't know why I'm incredibly nervous, but I am. I did worse on the simulated exams with Financial, and I still passed. You'd think by scoring 70-85 percent on the practice questions I'd feel confident, but I'm not.

I think a part of me refuses to gain a certain level of confidence because I remember COUNTLESS times when I felt confident about something and fell flat on my face. Some people think that's a self esteem thing, but really... I would rather be modest about my abilities and surprise myself, than potentially come off as arrogant.

My first car accident happened that way. I was taking a speech class and was sooo boastful about how I was the better driver than my husband. He's a pretty aggressive driver, I'm more laid back. At that point, I was 21 and had yet to receive a ticket of any sort. Meanwhile, DH had speeding tickets.

Then a few days before my speech about "driving", I got into a car accident. I remember that day clearly as I was leaving the parking lot, feeling confident about what I was doing.

Then BAM! As I went to turn left, suddenly there was a car in front of me. I didn't know what hit me.

I think remembering how cocky and arrogant I was back then keeps me from being that way. Its when I'm that way I realize that I'm the most vulnerable to not paying attention & letting things slip by.

Complacency is often my enemy. And you only become cocky and arrogant when you're complacent. After all, you KNOW the stuff... nobody can touch you. And all the while you're sitting somewhere thinking you know it all, a surprise comes your way and karma knocks you off your high horse.

So - If I come off as lacking self esteem, its not really that. I feel confident that I've prepared the best I can but I'm also aware that a few curveballs may get thrown my way that I may not be prepared for.

I took a few of Gleim's practice questions and realized Becker NEVER talked about ElderCare services. When I saw those questions I was like "What is this?!?!?"

But as with anything else... I'm going to try my best & that's all I can do. I feel like I have a good shot at passing, BUT I also know that just cause I feel well-prepared... doesn't mean its a sure thing. I'm sure we can all relate to a time where we took a test, thought we aced it and then find out we completely bombed it. That's how I approach this test.

Creativity in Meals when the Pantry is Empty

March 30th, 2010 at 08:49 pm

Its 4:30 and I did not plan out my meals for this week while DH was gone. Nor do I want to go grocery shopping. In fact, even if I wanted to I can't. I have exactly $3.36 in the checking account that we use to pay bills.

Sure I could transfer money from other places we have money. But I won't. I'll make due till I get paid tomorrow.

So I searched the pantry, we have spaghetti... but no sauce.

We have frozen squash, frozen peas, pre-cooked chicken, and lots of rice

As a result, tonight's dinner is buttered noodles w/peas. I guess I could throw in the meatballs.

And tomorrow we're having brown rice, chicken, and squash.

I don't have much of anything else... I thought about doing grilled cheese sandwiches till I realized we don't have cheese. Just a lot of odds and ends, but mostly condiments.

Anyhow, I plan to go grocery shopping after my CPA exam. We need dogfood anyway.

*sigh* Life without my DH is certainly interesting as I try to juggle all this. DD ended up going to school after all. I called Dh at 7 am in a panic and after looking at her tonsils with a flashlight, they didn't look swollen or red.

But she's gargling lots of salt water, sucking on lozenges, and doing everything else just in case. She has a doctor's appointment in the morning to be on the safe side.

On a better note, I did take a simulated exam for AUD today and I'm feeling more confident - got an 85 on it. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I perform just as well on the real exam.

Burnt Out

March 28th, 2010 at 05:16 pm

If I fail the Auditing part of the exam, I will know where I went wrong.

I got burnt out.

Studied too long on too much of a relaxed schedule.

Last week I was scoring in the 80s and 90s, this week... 70s. I seem to have engagement planning down. My weakness is engagement review.

I took a Gleim Diagnostic Test and they told me my 80% score was broken down as follows:

Engagement Planning 100%
Internal Control 83%
Information 75%
Engagement Review 50%
Requirements & Government 80%

Thankfully, DH left today which I know sounds odd to say "Thankfully" but we are both MUCH more productive people when we are apart. Now that is not to say I would be an ulta-successful single person... but when he's here, I feel obliged to spend time with him, so instead of studying for hours - I'm spending it with him. Even when I do try to sit down and study, suddenly I hear "Hey, you should come watch this!"

I seemed to have been much better at doing that with Financial, but this whole CPA process is starting to drag on and I have to balance my attention with my marriage. I don't want this CPA process to cause my happy marriage of 10 years to go down in flames over a certificate.

So anyhow, on the way to the airport we were talking today & we both agreed we were more productive individuals when we weren't together.

He is taking his last two courses for his associates, so while he's gone this week he is hoping to finish his finals and then apply for graduation. Me, I'm hoping to pass the CPA exam.

I'm really looking forward to when all this can be done. He'll have his degree, I'll have my exam behind me. Then I think the only thing is getting the work experience, but in comparison to what I've been doing - I hope JUST working will be like a breath of fresh air.

He's doubtful he'll go for a bachelor's degree. He's not the school type & sees himself primarily relying on rental incomes, pensions, and a successful wife... and a part time job when he leaves the military.

And I'm okay with that... as much as I enjoy cooking and my family, I don't like being the one that stays at home all the time.

DH is going away to a school to drive race cars, then off to a foreign country, and then another school to ride ATVs for a later trip to a foreign country.

I have to say I'm jealous. I'm not Martha Stewart who enjoys crafts. I would want to be out there driving race cars or playing on ATVs. I'd love to go rock climbing or sky diving (eek!) but I don't. Someone has to stay back for the kids.

Had I HAD my 20s to enjoy and do those things, I probably wouldn't feel this way. But I ended up being a teen mom and this is my life. I'm not complaining, I'm making the best of it and I know one day when the kids are grown - or DH can be there more... I'll be able to do those things too.

Cause really, I'd love to travel, and nothing that I want to do isn't too totally off the wall. Jet skiing would be cool. Running a marathon.

Then I have other goals... like creating a scholarship for my college so that it could give a struggling parent a full-ride scholarship.

But anyhow... so yeah, I'm feeling burnt out at the moment. I think I need some fun in my life.

My co-workers keep saying "What are you going to do after you pass the exam? You're so used to being so busy"

And my response always is...

"I'll probably take up a hobby for the first time"

Want to get rid of something? List it for free

March 25th, 2010 at 06:33 pm

We have 100 red bricks that used to border our flower beds & hubby decided he hated the look... so he took them out

With no plans on what to do with them

So they've become makeshift steps and whatever other decoration we can turn them into

But I finally got frustrated and decided to list them on Craigslist for free. I didn't anticipate the response I got... 30 emails in less than an hour

Just goes to show, if you REALLY want to get rid of something - just list it for free.

I think I'll do this for the excess firewood we have in our backyard when DH had to cut that tree down that fell on our fence.

And my litmus test for deciding whether to sell or donate/give something away is simple... If I was just going to throw it away - then donate it. If I would rather take money than part with it, sell it.

Moving Plans

March 25th, 2010 at 04:02 pm

In anticipation of this move, it has essentially taught me one thing...

We need to downsize and I think in the end it will be therapeutic.

Less stuff, less to worry about, more time to enjoy life.

I've decided through all this a few of things I'm going to get rid of are:

Our sofa, loveseat, chair, and ottoman in our formal living room.

Our two extra laptops that we haven't used in months

Prom dresses I know I'll never wear again, but have kept them for the past 10 years simply for the inspiration of "Hey, I can still fit that"

Going through my textbooks and tossing a lot of them

Letting go of "momentos" I kept from the kids (specifically baby clothes). I don't need to keep their bibs to serve as a reminder of how little they were. Their artwork and one or two outfits per kid is sufficient.

Loads of kitchen stuff that causes my cabinets to overflow. I have two COMPLETE sets of stainless and nonstick cookware. Which really, I could take bits and pieces from each to make 1 set and then donate the rest to charity.

And on that note, I have about 30 bars of soap I think would benefit a homeless shelter more than sitting on the shelf for the next 30 years waiting for me to use it. I use soap but I use the Pampered Chef soap dispenser thing that makes liquid soap last an extremely long time. Hence, I have never used this box that was given as a promotion for buying our water softener.

There is a lot more, but that is just for starters.

I'd like to live a minimalist life and what better excuse to finally start doing it than the thought of moving down 1000 sq ft.

I think in the end, others can benefit from our downsizing - and that in itself feels good.

Kids just don't get it

March 24th, 2010 at 11:06 am

To say the least, I'm frustrated

Got a "low balance" notification in my email this morning from the kid's school lunch account.

Which was a surprise to me because they are grounded from buying lunch from school. DD #1 is struggling in grades and DD #2 broke the bunk bed. So neither of them are allowed to buy lunch until I get good reports back. They have weekly progress reports.

Not only did DD#1 take her lunch to school, she also bought lunch in the same day and bought fruit snacks.

DD#2 isn't so bad. But she did use some of the money for ice cream w/o permission.

But I'm just so frustrated that I just told them I'm done. From now on, once their money runs out, they are taking lunch. I will not put more money in the account.

DD #2 at least has a shot at earning the lunch privilege back. I told her if she was good for awhile, then I'd put money back in the account.

Just don't know what to do with DD #1, her grades are slipping, she's passing notes, not paying attention in class and now this. Maybe if we had money to waste I wouldn't care about buying two lunches and junk food all in the same day.... but we don't have money to waste. I thought I was being generous giving them $20/month to buy lunches knowing full well the lunches aren't really that great nutrition-wise.

I wish kids came with a manual.

Must repeat to myself

March 23rd, 2010 at 02:59 pm

That just cause its nicer to buy... doesn't mean you should or can afford to

This whole move makes me very aware that we'll have to downsize significantly. We're currently in a 5 bedroom with 2500 square feet and in the new place, the majority of places available to rent are THREE bedrooms.

If I had two boys and two girls then I wouldn't worry so much. But I have three girls with one of them being significantly younger than the others. I just don't see how they can share a room because they have different schedules.

On top of that, the house itself is smaller than our other house... 1100-1500 sq ft. At least the ones that fit our budget. And these range from $1000/mo to $1500/mo.

But if I look at the homes available to buy, they have 4 bedrooms with 3 car garages for less than $200K.

Key though is, I want the nice things and the space but I don't want the added headache and having to carry the costs of maintaining 3 homes. My mom and Grandma are in the nearby area but I also don't want anything else to tie me to the new location.

No, must stick to my guns here and not even entertain the thought of buying. It'll be tight, but I just have to hold out hope that something that will be perfect for us will open up in the rental market.

Then again, who knows if we could even buy if we wanted to. With our CC debt and having to get a conventional loan because DH's VA funds are tied into this house... renting is smarter, I know it is. Just may not be fun but I'm sure I'll enjoy less hassle with the headaches of home ownership and the overall reduced costs... no closing costs, property taxes, etc.

Like I said, may not be fun but the right decision is rarely "fun" in the short term but it'll pay off in the long term

Still debate this...

March 22nd, 2010 at 05:01 pm

With the additional inheritance... I have $11,336 in savings, not counting our $1000 emergency fund.

So I struggle to come to terms with the idea of dealing with the $8750 I have in CC debt.

If I paid off all my CC debt (keep in mind, DH still has a $27K balance on his), it would still leave me with $2500

For a total EF balance of $3500. Yet, its not high interest debt... 1.99% and 6.74% after the intro rate.

I get a better rate of return on my retirement accounts. Last year DH got a 25% return on his TSP and we barely put any money in. This was largely because I anticipated the whole Nov '08 drop and transferred the money into government secured funds and slowly, month by month, re-invested it.

I guess patience is key. Like weight loss.

I could easily pay off my card, but the key really is making sure I've addressed the behaviors that led to the CC debt.

That said, once I have the card paid off... I'm canceling the card. I'll only keep 2 cards from there on out with a total maximum balance of $6K, maybe not even that. I don't know. But I plan to significantly downsize my credit report & finances.

The other question I struggle with is the playset my Dad bought. It was a $900 playset... the last gift he gave the kids.

Since we're moving, I don't think the Navy movers will move it. So I debate selling it or trying to move with it. Moving it would cost a lot, I'm guessing we'd have to get a POD or something.

But on the other, I struggle to part with it. Its only a year old and it was built to last 10 years. I wonder if my Dad would be upset that we'd have to part with it just cause of a move.

My husband just wants to leave it here for the tenants. Which I am adamant against. I don't need a tenant to get hurt on the playset and claim liability against us for assembling the playset.

So whatever happens, its either getting sold or we're taking it with us. But I can't decide & we don't have too much time since we will probably be moving within the next 3-4 months.


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