I joined a moms group.
One of my cousins recommended that I join one about a year ago, but I was skeptical.
- What would I have in common with random moms?
- Would they be welcoming?
- Would I have to play weird games, like the ones at baby showers?
Naturally, number 3 was my greatest concern. I hate that baby shower game where they melt perfectly good candy bars into diapers and ask you to guess which candy bar it is. Ugh, why can’t we just eat the candy bar?!
Anyway, just so you know, there aren’t any weird games at mom’s group. It’s mostly just talking and eating- two of my ultimate favorite activities.
During one of the meetings, one of the moms brought up this question, “What are you proud of—besides being a mom?”
Answer: I had no idea. It kind of stunned me. Being a mom is so all encompassing; I had forgotten that I did other things, other things to be proud of.
We all get so wrapped up in a certain part of ourselves—work, friendships, relationships, kids, that we forget about all the different parts. There are so many things you do to be proud of!
So, I’ve been thinking of things I can be proud of.
- Writing. It always makes me feel better.
- Selling houses. I’ve sold 8 houses this year. I never thought I would sell even one!
- Growing a baby. Just impressive, am I right?
- Relationship with my husband. He makes it easy.
- Keeping a clean house—just kidding! I’m avoiding an avalanche of laundry right now.
But, I don’t want this post to be about me. I want it to be about you.
What are you proud of?
Are you a great cook? Do you kick butt working out? Do you have a great relationship with your dog?
See, you have so much to be proud of! And even if it seems small to you, it isn’t. What you’re proud of really matters.
Lately, with 2016 passing so quickly, I think there’s a huge need for us to reflect on what makes us proud, because reflection stops time. Refection makes you appreciate who is around you. Reflection makes you focus on what matters to you. And mostly, reflection makes you thankful.
And, here’s the magic. Thankfulness is magic. It kills bad stuff. It kills discontent and depression– it’s like life’s bleach.
I hope you give it a try!
If you find at least five things you are proud of, I’ll send you a candy bar. It might be a little melted, but it won’t be in a diaper.
We went to toddler yoga. There’s only one rule in toddler yoga: you cannot run around the room like a maniac. What is the only thing my toddler wanted to do? Downward dog? Nope. Sing wheels on the bus? Nope. Moo like a cow? Not a chance. She wanted to rrrrrruuuuunnnnnnn!!! She knocked down other toddlers. She stepped on the instructor’s phone. And, she face planted into a stranger’s mat—all while having the biggest smile on her face.
Can someone get this baby a pumpkin modeling contract?!
After spending an hour chasing her around the room (almost 7 months pregnant), I thought, ‘when I became a mom, this is not what I expected.’ So, in honor of my toddler, here are 10 jobs you automatically get when becoming a mom.
1. Lion Tamer. This is what I felt like at toddler yoga. Trying to chase, wrestle, and corral a toddler is like trying to tame the most fearsome of beasts. Only the strong survive! Watch out for the sharp teeth!
2. Teacher. She is really into books right now. She brings me one at least a couple of times a day, and she sets in my lap while I read to her. It’s so sweet… makes me forget the Lion Taming I’ve just endured.
3. Nurse. “Do you think she needs Tylenol?” This is a very common question around our house. Pair that with the question, “Is she teething?” and you’ve just heard 50% of our conversations—you don’t even have to tune into our future reality show :). I wish college would have included a semester class in child health, because we have no clue what we are doing. Sometimes we just look at each other and shrug.
4. Transformer. The first time I was pregnant my husband looked at me one day and said, “Woah, your body is like a transformer!” Since having a baby I’ve realized my mind is also like a transformer. I’m constantly thinking about how to get tasks done during the day while watching out for sluthey baby hands that get into everything.
5. Referee. I actually haven’t encountered this one yet, but with only a few months before the new baby arrives, I thought I would put it on the list.
6. Therapist. “Toddlers love big and live big,” I read that in an article on Facebook (it must be true, right?), and I thought it was the perfect description of Vera Faye. Everything is SUCH a big deal right now. If Netflix doesn’t load her favorite video quick enough—she throws on the floor and starts screaming. When she touched the lace on her pants this morning—she thought her life was over. There are good sides to this too, like last night I was trying to rock her to sleep and she wouldn’t stop laughing. So, I really don’t mind this job. It makes me smile to see that much life going on in such a little package.
7. Janitor. Duh.
8. Fortune Teller. This one is kind of cool. I know what is going to make her mad, happy, sad, even before she does. I didn’t think I would be able to know her so well before she could even speak.
9. Chef. She loves spaghetti, Hawaiian rolls, and bananas. Anything else, she might taste on a case by case basis… if you’re lucky. Don’t even THINK about giving her food that is anywhere close to hot. She will not wait for it to cool down.
10. Detective. Sometimes, I’m a Nose Detective searching out something that smells. Other times, I’m trying to locate the last landing spot of her shoes. Usually, I’m trying to figure out what she’s chewing on. It doesn’t matter what the question is, I’m just always trying to find an answer.
There you go. Ten jobs, you get when becoming a mom. Do you have any more to add?
Worst of Times
I don’t know how to write this post. You need words to write a post, and I don’t have many. I guess I’ll just say it.
About a month ago, he was ran over– and we still haven’t recovered. First of all, I feel like the worst dog mom ever for letting this happen. Secondly, I keep thinking, “What can I do to change it? What can I do to save him?” I feel like life should have a giant undo button that you can press when something terrible happens. Or maybe, like in a Nintendo game, we can have another “life” and get to play the level one more time.
But, I haven’t found those buttons yet, so we’re just sitting in the middle of all the feels. We’re remembering a great dog.
His big smile, his uncontrollable dinosaur tail, his goofy walk, his goofier run, and his amazing ability to get into trouble. As one of our first children, he was a highlight of our life. We’ve cried a lot for that big puppy. And, I cry for Pink. He seems so lonely now. Since the day he was born, he had the ultimate companion– a brother. Pink and Rick were our dogs, but they cared more for each other than they did about us.
I’m still not sure what to say about all this. Except, I’m taking solace in a movie from my childhood, All Dogs Go to Heaven. I know he will be there with a big yard to dig holes in, lots of food, and no scary storms. Love you pup.
Best of Times
Life is weird. Happy and sad events sometimes coincide– leaving an emotional mess (me)behind. Earlier this summer, a couple months before Rick died, we got some awesome news.
I’m pregnant again! I’m 25 weeks this week, which means I’ve almost made it to my third trimester.
Just as I’ve been hesitant to talk about Rick, I’ve also been hesitant to talk about the new baby. After the emotional rollercoaster it took for us to get pregnant the first time, I could hardly believe it could happen so easily the second time. So, when I started feeling a “swampy” feeling, I completely wrote it off. I was still breastfeeding Vera Faye at the time, and there were no signs my body was ready.
But, my swampy feeling wouldn’t go away! While my husband was away on a business trip I decided to take a test. I was tired of thinking I might be pregnant, and I was ready to be done with my crazy thoughts!
Well, I wasn’t crazy- at least not about being pregnant
We’re having a baby! Definitely a miracle after all we’ve been through. At first I wouldn’t let myself believe it. Then, as my belly kept growing, I got even more worried because I couldn’t feel the baby move. At my 16 week appointment the nurse said I should feel it any time, but I didn’t. As the weeks passed, all I felt was heartburn.
Luckily, when we went in for our 20 Week ultrasound, the tech said the baby is great, and I wasn’t feeling it move because of the position of all the baby accessories in there. Now my worries have mostly gone away, and I’m trying to enjoy the last part of my pregnancy.
Since this baby was such a surprise, we’ve decided not to find out the gender. There’s a mystery baby growing inside of me. It really hasn’t been hard to keep from finding out the gender. I was so worried about not feeling him/her move that I didn’t even think about gender, and now I’m so relieved the baby is doing well, that I still don’t think about gender.
I know one thing about the baby. I’m betting no matter the gender, he/she will be just as rowdy as our first fur child…
First Rental: Backstory
(Two weeks ago) I’m sitting on the floor of our old house. I’m surrounded by four trash bags, a blender, and a pizza pan.
If I stood up, I’d be surrounded by a lot of kitchen stuff piled on the counters, but I just ate a bunch of Mexican food so I won’t be standing up for a few more minutes. I stare at the tile floors beneath me and remember the day our parents helped us lay this floor five years ago. I also never thought this house would become our first rental house. I never thought we would have a rental house at all.
(Today) I’ve heard a lot of scary things about being a landlord. 1. Renters will tear up your house. 2. Renters won’t pay their rent. 3. Renters will become zombies and try to eat the neighbors.
Basically, anyone I’ve ever talked to about rental properties has told me, “it’s a terrible idea.” Even though most of these people have never owned a rental property, I appreciate what they mean–“it’s risky!” And, I AGREE! I’m terrified. I’m terrified of failing. Also, I’m terrified of snakes, spiders, plane crashes, and I really dislike Jello. But, I still get on planes, and I still go to the grocery store. Why? It’s good for me to travel, it’s good for me to buy groceries, and I think it will be good for us to have a second source of income.
First Rental: Practical Info
We are managing this rental ourselves with the help of a lawyer and this book from Bigger Pockets. If you want to know anything about how to set up a rental property, I HIGHLY recommend this book. It walks you step by step through the rental process. Here’s what we did (there’s way more detail in the book if you’re interested):
- I read the rental property book and did exactly what it said.
- I advertised the house. I didn’t have to do much advertising because we got 20 calls after we put a sign in the yard.
- We took applications, ran background checks, and chose a renter.
$700 a month
Expenses. Luckily, we don’t have a mortgage on our first rental because we paid it off a couple years ago. Unfortunately, we still have to pay for a few things.
- Insurance: $600 a year
- Taxes: $600 a year
- Lawyer fees: $350 so far…
- Repairs: ???
- Vacancies: ???
So far, this rental has been smooth sailing. Our tenant moved in on the 1st, and we haven’t heard a peep.
Second Rental: Backstory
Our second rental is the house we flipped last year. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it to sell for what we wanted, so we decided to rent it. Instead of us managing this one, we are using a property manager. All property managers work differently, but typically they find tenants and take care of rental properties for a small percentage of the rent. For this property, our manager gets paid half of the first months rent and 10% of every month after that.
$795 a month.
Expenses. Unfortunately, we do have a loan on this property.
1. Insurance: $600 a year
2. Taxes $600 a year
3. Loan payment $1,200 a year (interest only loan payment)
4. Property Management: $1,360
5. Repairs: At least $500
6. Vacancies: ???
So far, this one has NOT been smooth sailing. On the day our tenants were supposed to move in the air condition stopped working. Next, we had a plumbing issue. We haven’t got the final bills, but it’s looking like we’re not going to make money on this house for a while. Awesome.
Well, nothing fun. I would love to say that we are using the rental income to plan a vacation to Aruba. Or Jamaica. But, it’s way more dull than that. We’re going to use the money for the foreseeable future (and if the air conditioners keep going out, we will never make it to the Caribbean) to pay off the loan on the second rental house. As you can see, the loan we have only requires an interest only payment. So, if we aren’t proactive in paying it off, it’s going to hang around forever.
Through this process, I’ve learned one thing. Building a business takes FOREVER! I thought I was supposed to be rolling in the greenery by now! But, I guess it’s going to take a little (lot) more time.
On a completely different note. Our baby turned one last month! Currently, she is thinking about walking, she loves her blanket, and she is babbling in full paragraphs. She recently had watermelon for the first time, and that is the only food she wants to eat. So, she’s basically a real-life humming bird.
We are totally in love. She is the reason we’ve worked so hard to get these houses up and going. Hopefully some day she won’t scream bloody murder as we work on them. :/
Anything going on with you lately? Ever thought about getting a rental property?
Hello! I thought I’d catch you up and tell you about our baby. I’m not talking about the amazing human baby we had last May. I’m talking about the beast we bought last June– our first foreclosure.
My Big Lie
When my husband and I moved in to our current house, 5 years ago, we had to do a few projects. We replaced all the flooring and painted every square inch of our casa. In the process, I turned into a crazy person. I wanted everything done in two weeks. I basically went to bed with a paintbrush and roller in each hand.
When my husband and I decided to buy a foreclosure last June (a month after our real baby was born), he made me promise I wouldn’t turn into Kelsie-paint-hands. So I did what every wife does on occasion: I lied.
I lied straight to his face. Did he know me at all? Of course, I expected it to be done in fifteen minutes!!! Who was he kidding?!?
“Oh, I’m going to totally relax this time. I give us a year to finish it,” I said, avoiding eye contact and flipping my hair to keep him from seeing my eyes.
Oh Sweet Reality, Much Like Getting Hit by a Bus
The joke is on me because it took us seven months to finish our first rehab project. I have one word for this journey. Wow. It was so much more work than I expected. And, we doubled our budget. And, I didn’t have the mental capacity to blog, or do anything else except take care of a baby.
But, luckily we finished. I’m so glad to be done!!! So, here are some pictures to sum up the last seven months of our lives.
This was where they shot the horror film: I Know Where You Ate Last Summer. There were weird, rotting spots in the floor. The cabinets were made of cardboard and held together with old food particles. The backsplash and countertops were a layer of plastic covered with a layer of nasty.
We replaced the subfloor, laid tile, put in new cabinets, appliances and doors. We also painted and hung new light fixtures.
Here are some more pics.
I got a steal of a deal on this backsplash. It was only $30!
We put in the back door. The old one didn’t lock, and we think that is an important function to have.
Scored this brand new fridge for $450.00. But… we paid full price for the other appliances. Lame.
The before: there are two living areas in our house. I actually don’t have a before picture of the Living Room (it was pretty standard), but the Family Room had a giant eyesore of a fireplace that had to be battled and eventually taken down to pretty town.
The after: this is one of my favorite things in our house. It shows how much better a room can look with just some paint (and cleaning, a new light fixture, flooring…).
Here are a few more pics:
The before: have you ever gone into a restaurant/gas station bathroom and had the feeling you just got a disease? The one where you look both ways trying to decide if it’s better just to leave? This bathroom wasn’t that bad, but it was pretty bad. I don’t have a picture of before, but here it is mid gut.
The after: this is the smallest room in the house, and it took the most work. Full gut. Down to the studs (and below). Every surface is brand sparkling new! It’s one of my favorite places, but that could be because I spent the most time in there.
We also rehabbed 3 bedrooms, a laundry room, a deck, a hallway area, put on a new roof, had the HVAC serviced… and the front of the house painted.
The not so good stuff
We busted our budget. I haven’t ran the numbers officially (mostly because I’m scared to :)), but I know we doubled our rehab budget. Luckily, we picked a project that was in our comfort zone so we are still okay. I’ve been debating on whether to talk numbers or not. On one hand, it is the internet. On the other, I love numbers. So, I’ll tell you what I know so far.
House price: $28,000
Projected rehab budget (in August): $10,000
Projected rehab budget (in November): $15,000
Actual rehab spending (in January): $20,000
The craziest part of this budget is that I thought I was good at estimating costs. Apparently not. And if we sell it, after realtor’s fees and closing costs we will make less than $1 an hour.
Oh, there are so many.
- I thought I could do everything myself. I really did. I didn’t think I needed anyone’s help. Then the first time I lifted a box of tile I knew I was in over my head (and upper body strength). If it wasn’t for my husband (and dad’s) help on the nights and weekends, I’d still be at that house covered in grout and tears.
- It’s probably going to cost about double what you estimate.
- It’s probably going to take you double the amount of time you estimated.
- You’re probably going to wish you never started.
- You’re probably going to be glad you did it!
We learned so much. I know this project wasn’t a big success, but I don’t think we could have learned any other way. I think sometimes you just have to jump in. And fail. And jump in again. And fail a little less. Eventually you will succeed, right?
Overall, I’m really glad we did it. If we didn’t, I’d still be watching HGTV thinking I was hidden genius at house flipping. Now, I’m pretty content just watching HGTV knowing who the experts really are…and I’m pretty sure it’s not the people on tv
Maybe I’ll feel more like an expert next time? Wait… did I just say next time?
“The dogs are gone,” my husband said, bursting through the bedroom door this morning.
“Ehhhh…what?” I asked, trying to figure out 3 questions: what time was it, where was I, and what was going on? I figured out the first two questions pretty quickly. It was 6:53. I was in my bed.
“I thought we brought them inside to sleep last night,” I said.
“We did. I took them outside a couple hours ago to use the bathroom.”
I got up.
“Their collars are in the yard. I’m going to look for them,” he said. He left.
My husband was gone. The baby was still asleep, so I decided to look for clues. Based on what I knew, I started to worry. First thought: they’ve been stolen. Someone saw these 100+ pound majestic creatures and couldn’t resist finding out how much kibble they could eat.
Or, since it’s duck season, someone thought they would be the perfect companions and decided to grab them and ditch their collars in the yard.
I went outside to investigate and I knew by looking at the hole in the middle of our fence, I was wrong. They weren’t stolen. They ate through the fence and escaped. This kind of mania was fueled by one thing: Rick’s secret.
You see, we’ve been dealing with a problem for a couple years now: Rick has TSS. Also known as Thunder Shock Syndrome (I made that up…clever?). He’s terrified of thunder. Last time we had a storm, we put the dogs in kennels underneath the carport to help them feel safe. It didn’t work. Rick ate his way through his kennel from the inside. Then, he managed to squeeze his huge body through the hole he created. We found him underneath Jared’s truck in the driveway. And, we found a huge, fury filled fur ball under our carport.
Back to this morn. After realizing that the dogs weren’t stolen by a duck hunting Cruella D’Ville, I called my husband. “Any update?” I asked.
“I just found Pink about a half a mile from the house.”
I started to cry. I was so relieved. Things have been kind of crazy lately, and I really didn’t want to add losing my dogs to the list.
“Rick must be close,” I said. The puppies always travel in a pack.
But, he wasn’t. Jared drove every street in our subdivision, and there was no sign of Ricky. Ten minutes later, Jared called. “I’m coming back to drop Pink off.”
I let Pink inside when he got back. I could tell my husband was worried about Rick.
“I know it’s early, but I’m going to the animal shelter,” said as he walked out of the door.
Twenty minutes later, I called him. “Any luck?” I asked.
“No,” he said, “I’ve been everywhere.”
I started to cry. Pink and Rick are so close, I seriously doubt they can survive alone. And I couldn’t imagine not having Rick. Those crazy puppies are such a big part of our life. We’ve had them practically our whole marriage. It would be devastating to lose them.
“Go check outside again,” my husband said. “Maybe you will see him down the road.”
I slid on Jared’s boots and waddled to the back door. I opened it and looked down. A giant, wet, crazy dog licked my leg. “He’s here!” I screamed in the phone. “This crazy ass dog came home!”
My husband sighed. “I didn’t know where else to look, Kels,” he said.
“Well the crazy asses are back! Please come home,” I said.
I haven’t been this relieved in a loooooooong time. Even though, I’m pretty sure Rick just came back to get some breakfast, at least he came home. We are going to make a Thunder Survival Plan for next time if you have any tips.
Stay warm! Hope you are doing well!
I want to say thank you. It means a lot to me that you are reading this. I love to write, and every time someone tells me they read my blog (it happens very very very occasionally :)) it makes me extremely happy. So, if you’re here, thank you.
I’ve been lost in the cave of motherhood. At first, I couldn’t find the opening of the cave. I was buried under sleepless nights and breastfeeding. I felt like a straight up mammal (as opposed to a crooked mammal).
Now, I think I’ve found the opening of the cave, and I’m clawing my way back into the light. It lies somewhere between 6 hours of consecutive sleep and a freezer full of milk. I hope to make it out of the cave and into the fresh air by the end of the year.
To all you mothers and fathers out there, all I can say is, “Daaaaaaannnnnnngggggg. You make it look easy!”
In an effort to come back into the fresh air of the blogosphere, I thought I’d write about the two original subjects of this blog, my dogs: Pink and Rick.
They turned four last month!!! So, of course we had a party and photo shoot. Our goal was to take pictures of Vera Faye and her furry brothers together… with birthday hats on.
Every year, we’ve taken pictures of the dogs with hats on. So, getting a baby involved should be no problem, right?
It always starts off the same. We put the party hats on the dogs, and they run into the ditch.
I’m not sure why having a party hat on makes you want to run into the ditch, but these dogs have a serious urge.
Then, after they calm down a while, they usually shape up. So, we brought the baby out. After tons of coaxing we got Pink to set down next to Vera Faye.
We were so close to a birthday picture.
Wait, where’s Rick? Well, apparently he decided he was DONE. He stormed off.
Do you see the hat still hanging off of his head? ;)
Can you believe this dog? #diva. He decided he was done and swung his big booty to the back yard. I’m not sure if it he was mad at the baby or that we weren’t letting him play in the ditch, but he had a serious attitude.
So, it was over. I gave up. Pink and Vera Faye would have to commemorate the fourth birthday without Rick. I put up my phone.
Fortunately, about an hour later Rick seemed to be in a better mood, and my husband decided to give it one more shot. And here it is: the birthday picture. Happy 4th Birthday Puppies!
Rick doesn’t know that Vera Faye is about to get his tail.
So, just like Rick came out of his Diva Cave to take a picture, I’m coming out of my new mother cave. Having an infant is still hard, but we’re getting into a rhythm… sort of! To celebrate, I decided to make homemade bread. I don’t have a picture of it because we ate it too fast, but it was turkey shaped.
Why did it look like a turkey? Well, I didn’t have a bread loaf pan. I improvised and just threw the lump of dough on a cookie sheet. Somehow, it came out looking like a turkey.
It didn’t taste like a turkey. It tasted delicious. Like fresh air.
“Keeeellllllsie,” my husband said as I walked into our rental house.
“Yeeeeees…” I said. I could tell by his voice something was wrong. I started to panic. Was it a water leak? Did someone break into the house?
I never expected what came next.
“Did you leave a bag of Taco Bell in the closet?” he asked.
I was relieved and a little scared.
3 Days Earlier…
My parents came down to help us rebuild the bathroom floor of our rental house. As we were cleaning up, I was on bag patrol. We had a ton of bags. Bags from Lowes. Trash bags. Walmart bags. And one bag from Taco Bell with five tacos in it.
I instantly knew what happened. I put the Taco Bell bag that was meant for the trash can in the closet with the rest of the remodeling supplies.
“Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry,” I said, laughing. I always do weird things like this. It’s kind of my thing.
“Three day old Taco Bell– locked in a closet– is not a good surprise,” my husband said, smiling. At least I think he was smiling…
We’ve had several surprises fixing up our rental house.
- It needed a new roof.
- The air conditioning unit works!
- The bathroom needed to be gutted.
We hired people for the roof and the air conditioning, but decided to do the work on the bathroom ourselves with the help of my parents. My mom watched the baby as I demolished this sweet green tile shower.
The bathroom looked like this for a while.
Until my husband and dad ripped out the two layers of subfloor, the tub, and the toilet. Then, it got a little scarier when these worker bees ended up standing on the dirt under our house.
This is when I started feeling bad for everyone.
I never thought we would have to demo the bathroom down to the floor joists. I didn’t know what a floor joist was. Honestly, I didn’t even know what held up a house. I just thought magic fairies held up houses. I was wrong: boards do (unless your house is on a concrete slab…see I’m learning!).
After we ripped everything out, we started putting it back together. We laid down new, solid sub floor and laid concrete backer board on top to put tile on.
Then, we put our tile and new shiny toilet into the bathroom!
I’ve never been so excited about a toilet! A huge shout out to my husband and dad who made this possible and to my husband’s dad who is helping us too. We couldn’t do it without you.
The bathroom still needs a ton of work. We’ve got to put in a tub, sheetrock around the tub, put in a vanity, finish tiling, and the list goes on.
Why can’t this take thirty minutes like on HGTV?
Progress is Progress?
Even though the progress is slower than on TV, it’s been fun. I’ve worked hard– I can’t lift my arms above my head because I spent eight hours painting ceilings yesterday. And, I’ve learned a ton– fairies don’t hold up houses and don’t leave your Taco Bell in a closet.
I haven’t learned my lesson though, because yesterday my husband was outside and I heard, “Keeeeelllllsie……”
“Yeeesssss,” I said.
“How long has this sandwich been in the cooler?”
What are you up to? Ever been under a house or left food in a weird place?
I just got done walking two miles. I was supposed to run two miles, but I made it about 5 feet down the road when I remembered: running sucks.
During my walk I remembered that I haven’t updated you on my bucket list progress since…. a long time ago. Like before I had a baby. I’m not sure if my life existed before I had a baby, because I can’t remember what it was like before I had to wake up twice during the night to feed my hungry nugget before she goes into “beast mode.”
I could literally write a million posts my snuggle nugget, but I’ll spare you the gushing. Let me just say this, she’s the most perfect, beautiful baby in the Americas.
I’m not sure about this bonnet…
Here’s my progress:
1. Figure out (and write about) our next big financial goal (January) –Done!
After we paid off our mortgage last year, we definitely went on auto-pilot financially. So, we set a new goal to replace my salary with rental income. I wrote about the tiny progress we’re making toward our goal here.
2. Take a babymoon (February, March, or April) –Done!
Read about the time I hiked to the tallest point in Arkansas while super pregnant here.
3. Get our nursery ready (March) –Done!
If you’re wondering if my baby has a place to sleep, worry no more. Here is her nursery. Warning! If you’re offended by the color pink, don’t keep reading!!!
A big thank you to my mom and sister who helped me organize the nursery while I sat in the rocking chair dreaming of slushes from Sonic. Also, my brilliant co-worker sewed the bedding and curtains. She did an amazing job!
4. Finish book (April) –Not even close
I wrote a really crappy book, but I’m afraid to finish it because it’s so bad. I need to figure this one out…
5. Have a baby! (May) –Done!
Two months and three days ago, I had a baby.
6. Complete 5 Treehouse “tracks” (September)- In progress
I’ve finished one and a half tracks. I’m going to try to finish another one by the end of next month.
7. Get back to pre-baby weight (October)- Done… sort of
I gained around 23 pounds when I was pregnant.
Good news: since my baby was 10 pounds, I was able to lose the weight pretty quickly. The doctor basically just pulled half of the weight out of me. The other half fell off by breastfeeding (which is super hard. Why didn’t you tell me?).
Bad news: all of my belly parts are still not back to where they were before I was pregnant. And, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a while until they are.
8. Run a family 5k (November)- Not even close.
Please see the description at the beginning of this post. Again, running sucks.
9. Check out our tithe/giving situation (reoccurring starting in January)- Done!
We started tithing a couple years ago, and it’s been really rewarding. But, I am pretty stingy, so we hadn’t adjusted our tithing amount since then. Also, we kind of started slipping on tithing at all during busy months. So, this year I’ve made more of an effort to tithe every month and on all of our income. We’ve only missed one month so far. I’m counting this as a success!
10. Use my Real Estate License (December)- Done!
I’m really enjoying learning about the world of real estate. I’ve written several contracts, and I had my first closing last month.
Overall, I’ve done a lot on my bucket list for this year. But, some of the most intense items are still unfinished… Good thing I have about five months left. Bad thing is the baby thinks I should attend to her needs 24/7 :). We will see how this goes!
So we did it! Finally…
If you’ve read this blog since the beginning (thanks, mom!), you’ll remember we’ve been trying to buy a rental house forever. If you’re just stopping by (everyone else!), you can see our failed attempts here and here.
What you won’t see are the countless amount of houses we’ve looked at, driven by, and put in offers on. I actually stopped writing about them, because it was getting so depressing. Eventually, we came to the realization that we just weren’t ready. So, we took a step back. Waaaaaay back.
Gimme three steps back
1. We paid off our mortgage last July so that we would could lower our monthly expenses. This helps us have more room in our budget so if something goes wrong we won’t be in a pinch. Also it helps us lower our risk by keeping our debt-to-income ratio in check.
2. I got my real estate liscense so I could learn more about the market. And, I am able to put in offers and contracts. Shameless plug: need help buying or selling a house? I’m here!
3. Finally, I read. And read and read and read. I read that we needed a serious emergency fund. I read that we needed to find a house that would give at least a 1% monthly return but a 2% return is excellent. I read that we needed a strong cash on cash return. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Neither did I! I’ll do a rental house numbers post sometime soon… In the meantime if your curious this article is excellent reading.
Now’s the time, baby!
The crazy part of this adventure is timing; we just had a baby. Actually, we put our in our offer just 4 days before our baby arrived. Doesn’t everyone do that? Honestly, after sooooo many fails, I didn’t even expect to get a house so I was just sitting on my couch cooking the kid and making offers on foreclosures.
Normal pregnant behavior right? #crazypregnantlady #hideyourhouses
Well, we did get a house. We closed last week!
Before we rent it out, we’ve got to do some work on it. I thought I’d show the renovation pics and progress here… If that works for you.
Our ultimate goal?
On my bucket list for this year one of the items is to figure out our next big financial goal. I plan on going back to work part-time. I’m sure I will always work, but as we move forward into the next phase I think we would like to get as much flexibility as possible. So, here it is, our next goal: replace my take-home salary. Luckily, my salary isn’t much to replace :).
There are a lot of factors that could derail this plan: we may hate having rental houses, we may want to buy a bigger house (ours is tiny), this could completely blow up in our face, or we may just start having a ton of babies (not! We’re so exhausted with one!). Either way, I guess we will start down this road. When we started our mortgage pay off journey, I never expected to actually finish. But we did! So, who knows what will really happen next, but it’s good to have a big, crazy goal again.
Do you have a big, crazy goal? Are you thinking about starting one?