Baby Watch, Baby Moon, and a Horse of Course

Hello!  What have you been up to?

I haven’t been doing much.  Just growing a human.  No biggie.  I can’t believe how this baby thing works.  It’s like a science fiction book.  I feel like I need to go back to 8th grade health class.

We are officially on baby watch.  I am 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant.  Which translates into:  I’m completely emotionally unstable.  I cried when my doctor said I was measuring big, I cried reading an article about babies, and I cried for five other things I can’t even remember.  But, I’m so excited at the same time!!!

I wanted to document my pregnancy, but I can’t keep up with my growing “bump.”  So, here’s my favorite from this week.  I was out feeding the neighborhood horse (yes, we have a neighborhood horse.  His name is Stanley, and he stops by every weekend to get carrots, usually on Sundays after we go to Walmart).  Stanley was pretty interested in my belly– either that or he was trying to get more carrots.

horse and bump pic

Since I’m not sure how many more days we have before this baby arrives, I wanted to catch you up on one of my Bucket List goals for this year: going on a baby moon with my husband.

I wanted to go somewhere BIG.  But, as I got more pregnant, we couldn’t decide on where to go.  I kept suggesting places like “exotic alligator farms, Russian cruises, and Antarctic adventures.”  But, my husband kept saying, “ughhhhh, I don’t know.”  After a few of those conversations, I finally got to the root of the problem: my husband is/was scared of the following:

1.  Me going into labor on a plane

2.  Me going into labor in a foreign country

3.  Me going into labor on a mountain

So naturally, we ended up spending our baby moon on a mountain!

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What’s a baby moon if you don’t conquer a fear?  We headed up to Mount Magazine.  It’s a state park in Arkansas with lodges, cabins, a pool, and hiking.   Neither of us had been there before, and it was only a few hours away from where we live, so my husband didn’t have to worry about me going into labor on a plane or in a foreign country.

Here is part of the awesome lodge…

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And views that could make any baby want to arrive…

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Because we were already on a mountain, we decided to try and make it to the highest point in Arkansas called Signal Hill.  We signed our names to the registry to prove we made it.   I thought about sending someone else up to sign it for us, but what would that teach our unborn child?

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Before you start thinking I’m some kind of pregnant hiking superhero, I should mention that Signal Hill was only about a mile from the lodge we were staying in.  Also, it was a pretty smooth hike.  So, I really didn’t do much, but don’t tell anyone.

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Other than hiking, we swam, ate, and napped.  Our baby moon was wonderful.  I had the best company ever.  Since I did so much napping, I guess it’s good we didn’t go on a Russian Cruise.  I probably would have just slept a lot.

Here we are at our last dinner (at Mount Magazine).  Don’t worry, we’ve been eating dinner since then.

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Thanks for reading this!  I hope you’ve been having the best couple of months.  I’ve got some pictures of our nursery to show you, and then I can’t wait to tell you about the awesome new project we’re working on (besides the baby, of course!)

 

January Bucket List Update

I’ve been waiting to post because I wanted to tell you some exciting news.  Then, it didn’t happen.  So, I’ve really been waiting to tell you that we don’t have exciting news.  Except for our most exciting news: I am still cooking a human–in my belly– not on the stove.  That’s illegal.

This bucket list update is going downhill FAST.  To keep this post from deteriorating any further, I’m going to start the update.

1.  Figure out (and write about) our next big financial goal (January) -In progress

We paid off our mortgage last year, and since then we’ve been pondering our next big goal.  It took us a little longer than expected, but I think we’ve finally figured it out.  I’ll write about it soon.

2.  Take a babymoon (February, March, or April) -In progress

We haven’t decided where to go yet, but we just got back from Nashville and we’re headed on another trip in a couple of weeks.  Since these trips involve my husband working, I just don’t feel like they are babymoon worthy.  However, if we keep traveling, we might have to just pick a trip and call it our babymoon.  Here’s hoping our accidental babymoon takes us somewhere warm!

3.  Get our nursery ready (March) -In progress

We have picked out fabric, ordered swatches, and are just waiting on it to arrive.  Also, we have a crib and a chair, so the only furniture we’re missing is a dresser.  Any ideas where to get a unique piece at a uniquely low price?

4.  Finish book (April) -In progress

I’ve been listening to an audio book on writing to get back in the swing of things.  I’m just stuck.  I have a rough draft that I wrote last year, but now I hate it.  It’s also about half the length that it needs to be.  This month, I’m going to devote a block of time to it.  Then, maybe I can get my head back into the project.

5.  Have a baby! (May) -In progress

In progress!  Currently, I’m 24 weeks pregnant.  I’ve started feeling the baby move, which in the words of Amy Poehler from the movie Baby Momma feels like, “when you eat a meatball sandwich and then the meatball sandwich starts kicking you.”

6.  Complete 5 Treehouse “tracks” (September)- In progress

Treehouse is an online school that teaches people to design websites/write code/program.  I’ve been working really hard on this.  Unfortunately, the hours I’ve put in haven’t amounted to much.  I’m still on my first “track.”  I’ve been learning to code using JavaScript.  I’m so lost I’ve been trying to figure out how to get coffee out of the computer.

7. Get back to pre-baby weight (October)- Not even close.

I’m not working on this one quite yet.  I’m actually going in the other direction thanks to a little lady named Debbie.  Come here Little Debbies!  Do you have a bigger sister, or should I just eat five of you?

8.  Run a family 5k (November)- Not even close.

Not even thinking about this one either.

9.  Check out our tithe/giving situation (reoccurring starting in January)- In progress.

Good news, we’ve made progress on this one!  I’ll explain soon.  I think I have a new system that will make it easier to do this every month.

10.  Use my Real Estate License (December)- Done!

This is the exciting news I wanted to tell you about.  I wrote a real estate contract last week!  We put in an offer on a rental house, but we still don’t know if it’s been accepted.  It’s a foreclosure, and the bank is toying with us like Pink and Rick with birthday hats (see below and picture us as the birthday hat).  I don’t even know if we’re going to get the house yet.  Honestly, I doubt we get it.  If our offer does go through, I promise to let you know.  Even if it doesn’t, I’ll let you know.  Unfortunately, right now there’s nothing to know.  I wish there was.

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Well, there it is!  The bucket list update for January.  How are your goals going?

Our Baby Is A Girl!

Hello Winter Dwellers,

Can you believe how cold it is?  I would like to take a minute and send a lot of warm thoughts and prayers to everyone who works out in the cold everyday– especially my Dad who is a train engineer.  He spends 12 hours day outside building trains in the freezing temps.  Go Dad and others!

In other warm news: our baby is a girl!

Finding out

From the beginning of my pregnancy, I was dying to have a baby girl.  I know you’re not supposed to have a preference, but I did.  I wanted a girl soooooo bad, I could taste it.  It tasted like bows and ruffles.

However, I thought I was having a baby boy.  It’s not that I don’t want a boy someday, but for this pregnancy, I just really wanted a girl.  Hormones, anyone?

Finally, the day arrived and we walked into the doctor’s office.  We were both really nervous.  When the ultrasound tech walked in the room said, “what do you think the baby is?”

I said “Boy,” and my husband said, “Girl.”

It took her a minute or two to get in the right position, but she finally said, “are you ready?”

Then, she slowly typed three words on the screen.  “It’s a … GIRL.”

And I cried.  Not just one tear. A bunch of them.  I cried so much that the tech asked my husband to get me some Kleenex.

I would say that the tears mean it must have been the most beautiful moment of my life.  But, I cried last week watching a Taylor Swift video.  I cried yesterday at work.  I could cry right now.  I’m not sure I can trust my tear ducts anymore.

The name game

After we found out we were having a girl, we got on the baby name bus.  We drove the bus all around town.  We stopped at names like Annie, Sophie, Cora, and Adaline.  But, none of them felt quite right for our baby.  So, drumroll, please… our sweet baby name is Vera Faye Fannon.  I think it’s the most beautiful name ever.

We picked this name because it represents some very special ladies in our lives.  My two grandmothers were named Vera and Versa.  Their names are so similar, I think naming her Vera will honor them both.  My husband’s grandmother’s middle name is Faye, and his other grandmother is a “Fannon.”  So, we were able to hit all four grandmothers– even though the road is a little curvy.

While our grandmothers were the main reason we chose our baby name, I also really like the meanings behind her name.  Vera means “Faith.”  And Faye means “Fairy.”  I LURVE the juxtaposition of being grounded in beliefs but also realizing there is more to this world than what you can see and understand.  A little bit country a little bit rock and roll?

Nursery

I totally have pink eye.  Not the contagious kind.

A very sweet/super talented lady at work volunteered to make the bedding and curtains.  In celebration of our girly future (and our dog/blog’s name), I’ve decide to pink it out!  Why, not?  I may never be able to see this much pink in my house again.

Here’s what the bedding and curtains will look like (with a few custom alterations of course):

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Well, that’s all I can think about telling you about our baby.  Let me know what you think!  Mostly, I need to know how much pink is too much?  Also, I’m finalizing our next big financial goal, so stay tuned for that next week.

Until then, stay warm!

 

2015 Bucket List

Hello Hump Day-ers,

It’s time for my 2015 Bucket List!  This is the third year I’ve made a list of items to accomplish (see 2013 list here and 2014 list here).  While I’m not always successful, I think writing it goals is extremely helpful in bringing focus to my year.  Also, a lady I work with says you need to “speak your life into existence.”  Isn’t that cool?  You can create your life with your own words.  I know it’s pretty hippity-dippity, but I kind of believe it’s true!

But before I get started, here’s a picture of our New Year’s trip to Dallas.  I was trying to “speak” a glass of wine into my life, but the baby told me it wasn’t interested.

wedding pic

2015 Bucket List

1.  Figure out (and write about) our next big financial goal (January)

Since we paid off our mortgage, I’ve felt a little lost.  I’m extremely goal-oriented, and I’ve missed having something to track, measure, and dream about.  So, we’re working on coming up with out next big goal.  I’ll let you know what it is when we figure it out!

2.  Take a babymoon (February, March, or April)

I’m not sure where we’re going to go yet, but I can’t wait to hang out with my husband for a week– or ten.  Hopefully our trip includes some hours of travel, I love being able to talk to him for hours in a car or on a plane.  He’s always trying to get me to take a nap, though!

3.  Get our nursery ready (March)

I’m not sure what comes first, the bedding or the paint color.  Any advice on where to start?

4.  Finish book (April)

This is a leftover from my 2014 Bucket List.  It is also the most terrifying goal on my list.

5.  Have a baby! (May)

This one is coming if we’re ready or not.   What do babies need, again?

6.  Complete 5 Treehouse “tracks” (September)

Treehouse is an online school that teaches people to design websites/write code/program.  And, they teach in a way that a toddler (or blogger!) can understand.  Unfortunately, each track takes about 50 hours, and I’ve been working on my first track for the past three months.  This may take a while…

Note: this is not an advertisement, nor do I get paid for any content on this blog– unless you’re looking for someone to give your money too, then I’ll take it!

7. Get back to pre-baby weight (October)

I actually stole this one from my friend Stephanie.  Her baby is due just a month after mine, and I thought it was an excellent goal to put on my list.  Plus, what’s a Bucket List without a weight goal?  Predictability is my main move.

8.  Run a family 5k (November)

My husband suggested this one, and I thought it was a great idea.  Last year, we ran a 5k and there were a lot of people who brought their babies along, so we thought this could be a cool thing to do– weather and baby permitting.

9.  Check out our tithe/giving situation (reoccurring starting in January)

10.  Use my Real Estate License (December)

I’m dying to use my license to purchase our first rental house (and build a side business).  Maybe this year will FINALLY be the year of the rental house.  We’ve been working on this since 2013, and I’m the least patient person in America.

 

Well, there it is, my 2015 Bucket List.  I’ve learned a lot about goals since I started making a bucket list in 2013.  This year, I’ve decided to front-load my list.  Hopefully, I will be able to complete several of my items before the baby comes.  I’ve never had a baby before, but I keep hearing they like attention.

Have you made any goals or Bucket List items for this year?

2014 Bucket List Recap

Hello Citizens of 2015!

I was gearing up to write about my 2015 Bucket List, when I remembered, I haven’t recapped my 2014 Bucket List.  A year ago, when I wrote my 2014 Bucket List, I had no idea what the year would bring.  My husband is calling it our heartbeat year because we had extreme ups (here and here) and extreme lows (here and here).  But despite everything, we are excited to start 2015, because we are extremely blessed!

Even though, I didn’t make as much progress on my list as I like, I still think 2014 is a year to be celebrated, so if you will excuse my lack of progress: here is my 2014 Bucket List Recap.

1.  Organize one room in my house every month- HALF SUCCESS HALF FAIL

The insane part about organizing your house is: a few months later you have to do it again–especially if you live in a 1,100 square foot house.  Here are the rooms I organized (that need to be done again):

January: Bathrooms

February: Laundry Room

March: Master Bedroom

April:  Living Room.

May:  Our outside storage room.  True confession: my husband organized this one.  But, I can still count it, right?

December: We cleaned out the future nursery!

2. Lose 10 pounds through the Paleo Diet or South Beach Diet (February)  FAIL

Well, this kind of went the opposite direction.  I kept putting it off, and when I was ready to get started– I got pregnant.  According to my doctor, I’ve gained four pounds.  At least it’s all for a good cause, eating for two, right?  Unfortunately, the other one I’m eating for only weighs 10 ounces, so I’m really just eating for 1.00001.

3.  Go on a Vegas Vacation (March)- AWESOME SUCCESS!

We had the best time!  Check it out.

4.  Run 365 milesFAIL

January: 12.75

February: 19

March: 31

April: 30

May: 31

… and then I totally fell of the wagon.  Not only did I fall off, but I rolled all the way down a hill and into a creek.  Then, when I was in the creek I found a fish named Nemo.  Pixar used my story for their classic animated film.  Just kidding, the fish’s name was Fred.

5.  Go one month without artificial sugar (February)- SUCCESS!

Finally, a goal I’m actually killing!  I stopped eating/drinking artificial sugar in February, and I haven’t looked back.  Don’t worry, I’m still eating/drinking PLENTY of regular sugar.  I didn’t get too healthy.  I didn’t want to shock my system!

6.  Learn to hula-hoop or whistle (June)- SUCCESS!

I’m officially a whistler!  I’m a terrible whistler, but at least I can make a sound– annnnndddd it sounds like a whistle.

7.  Go skydiving (July) (August/September)- FAIL

I was getting ready to book my adventure, and then I found out I was pregnant.  For some reason, my husband didn’t want me to jump out of a plane anymore.  And, I’m obedient so I listened (haha).

8.  Write 2 blog posts every week-  HUGEST FAIL EVER

Not only did I completely fail at this goal, but I couldn’t even keep up with my typical, weekly blog post slackery.

9.  Become completely debt free– including paying off our house (September)- HUGE SUCCESS!

If I had to pick ONE goal to complete this year, this one would be it– and we actually did it!  Even better, we accomplished it two months earlier than expected.  I still can’t believe we did this.  It feels amazing, like a present every month.  Seriously.  Every month, I get ready to pay our mortgage, and I remember it’s gone!

10.  Write a fiction book and sell it on Amazon (October)- FAIL

I’ve been working on this.  I’m about halfway through with the first draft.  I’m going to move this to my 2015 Bucket List.

11.  Do something spontaneous (November)- FAIL

I don’t even feel bad about this one, because I totally forgot it was on my list!

12.  Make $1,000 of side income a month, by freelance writing/blogging/video projects (December)- MOSTLY FAIL and a very tiny bit of success

Typically, I didn’t clear over $100 a month, except for June.  In June, I picked up a side gig at a local university and totally made my goal.

 

So there it is, Pink and Rick’s official 2014 Bucket List Recap!  I promise to do better next year.  I’m going to post my 2015 Bucket List next week, so get ready!

Do you have any Bucket List Items/Goals/New Year’s Resolutions for 2015?

Our Baby Story

christmas card 3Hey Lovely Readers,

Well, it’s true.  I officially have a(nother) baby story.  This one has a happier ending.  So where did we leave off in my baby saga?  Oh, I remember, here (warning: that link is sad.  I never meant it to be sad, but people said it is).

Fast forward four months, and I’m 17 weeks pregnant today!  Here’s how it a-happened.

A little back story.

When I was going through my miscarriage in February, my doctor told me, “I’m surprised you got pregnant.”  He is a really nice guy, and he meant it as a compliment, like, “hey, your body worked, even if it was for a short time.”  I took it as, “Your body sucks.”  So, of course, I started crying immediately.  I never even wanted kids, but I still didn’t want to be told I couldn’t have them.

Hold on, this is where it gets happier!  Anyway, after my body recovered, the doctor told me I could try a drug called Clomid.  It’s a pretty common fertility drug.  I’m not sure why it’s so common, except that it is cheap (under $20), and it works sometimes.  I heard of the drug several times from friends, so I was pretty optimistic.  A little too optimistic.  I thought it would work on the first time. Well, it didn’t.  However, it did work on the third time, bada bing, bada boom, bada baby!

A side note:  some people hate Clomid.  I had some mild side effects, but nothing too bad.  It just made me feel like I was pregnant.  Which, if you’re not pregnant, kind of turns you into a crazy person.  Overall, I don’t know if I would recommend it or not, but it did work for me.

Life is weird.

The timing of this whole pregnancy is interesting.  First, we got pregnant a month-ish after we paid off our mortgage.  And, as soon as I let go of trying to make it happen, it did.  Also, I’m due in May, so I don’t have to go through the hottest part of the summer with a big ol’belly.

Unfortunately, I spent first four months as sick as a dog, and throwing up really cramped my blogging schedule.  Fortunately, I’m better now.  I’m content.  By looking at this picture, I think Baby Fannon is too!

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The journey.

I used to think life was a straight line, then I thought it was a circle.  Now, I can’t figure out what shape it is– amoeba, maybe?  It just seems like as soon as you “figure” something out, life changes.  Like, you think you’ve found the perfect job field, and then you realize something else is more important to you.

Our baby story is far from over.  In the scheme of things, we’ve had it very easy.  My heart goes out to couples who have experienced years of heartaches and disappointments.  Just know, I’m hoping and praying for you this Christmas season.

The end for now.

I’m still pretty nervous about this pregnancy, but the more I talk to my doctor, the easier it gets.  We even found out the gender this week!  I would tell you, but we’re not telling our families until after Christmas, and my mom would hunt you down.  I promise to let you in on the news ASAP afterward.

I hope you have the best Christmas ever, and you get to celebrate this amoeba-shaped-journey called life.  Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

We’re Back!

Good news!  Pink and Rick turned 3.  I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since we found these puppies in our backyard.  It’s a tradition that we make them wear birthday hats on their big day.  For some reason, they WEREN’T HAVING IT it this year.  It’s like they don’t like wearing hats or something!  Below is the best picture I could get.

 

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Even though I couldn’t get a good picture of them together, I did manage to get a cute solo pic of Pink.

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I couldn’t get much from Rick.  He looks like he’s drunk and about to pass out in this picture, but it’s the best I could get.

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I really thought I would get a good birthday picture, so I kept trying.  Now my phone is filled with a ton of pictures like this.  I can’t decide if Rick is trying to help Pink get rid of his hat— or if he’s trying to eat Pink’s face.  Either way, I have about 100 pictures like this.  And, Pink managed to keep his face.

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Here’s a list of the shenanigans they’ve been up to lately.

1.  They’ve been digging holes– DEEP holes.  Probably to China (or a Chinese Buffet).

2.  They’ve put on about 10 pounds a piece.  I thought this was impossible, but somehow they’ve done it.

3.  They love cat food.  When they eat it, their breath smells like a charming mix of nastiness and dead fish.

Here are a few things we’ve been doing in the last few weeks.

1.  We’ve been going to a lot of disappointing football games.  It’s hard to be a Razorback fan.

2.  My husband had his 10 year reunion!

3.  We’re completely debt free (including the house)!  We had a few debts to clean up after we finished paying off our house.  Now everything is paid off!

4.  We’re talking about some future goals… to be revealed here soon.  Right now, they’re like tiny infant goals.

5.  I got my Real Estate License– which should help us in our future infant goals.

6.  I’m going to write weekly.  Expect a post next week.

If you made it to the end of this random post, thank you so much.  Clearly, I’m not good at comebacks.  I tried to think about what Madonna or Cher would write about in a comeback song, but all I came up with was this random stuff.

What’s been going on with you?  Please tell me you’re not eating cat food.

 

 

10 Changes Since We Paid Off Our Mortgage

Thank you so much for your warmness.  I tried to think of a word that described all the support and love I received after writing my last post, and the only word I could think of was “warmth.”  I still feel weird/awkward/I’m-sorry-if-I-made-you-cry about putting that part of myself on the internet, but I think it was the right thing to do.

This year has been insane, but I thought I would answer the most common question I’ve been getting lately.  “What are you going to do with your mortgage payment since you paid off your house?”

The answer is: I don’t know.  There’s a lot of things we need to do like: pay off the little bit of debt we have left (almost there) or build up our savings.  Instead, we’re taking a completely irresponsible awesome breather.  Just so this post doesn’t turn into a wicked rambler, here’s a list of 10 changes since we paid off our mortgage.

1.  We got cable back.  Ugh, I could have continued to live without it.  I’m basically a Netflix-Junkie.  But, my husband wanted sports… sports… and more sports.  Not only do we have cable, but we have the entire SEC Network.  This means I get to critique all the uniforms (or “outfits” as I like to call them).

2.  We got a second tv–MOUNTED in our bedroom.  I’ve been singing, “I’m so fancy…” for weeks.

3.  We bought the dogs some new accessories–including a fancy brush called a “Furgopet” that’s supposed to stop shedding.  We’re still looking for a brush that removes mud…

I don't even know how to caption this.  I'm not even sure what's going on.

I don’t even know how to caption this. I’m not even sure what’s going on.

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4.  I bought some pants!  I hadn’t bought work pants in FOREVER.  One of my favorite pairs had a zipper that was barely hanging on.  Okay, it was busted.

5.  We went on an anniversary trip to Branson, Missouri.  Home of hillbillies and pretty decent pant shopping.

6.  We got a new couch.  It fits us both, and it’s pretty stellar.  I definitely don’t use the word stellar enough.

7.  My husband is getting a new bow.  I wish I was talking about hair bows.  Or bowties.  I’m not.  He’s getting a new bow for killing friendly animals.

8.  I got a promotion at work.  I’ve been spending the last five weeks as an “Associate Director.”  I know, what were they thinking?!

9.  I’m working on getting my real estate license.  If all goes as planned, I’ll be slinging houses by the end of the month.

10.  We’re looking at purchasing our first investment property.  I promise to tell you if we actually purchase one.  Until then, I won’t mention it very much on this hot BlogSpot.  I’ve been the girl-who-cries-real-estate-wolf too many times.

Have you had any life changes lately?  I hope everything has been amazing for you lately!

We Are 4 Years Old!

We’ve been officially married for four years today.

happy anniversary

But, I’m pretty sure we’ve been married our whole lives.  It’s pretty sick, but I think we might have been made for each other.  I know, GROSS!  Here  are my reasons: we’re hella goofy, we’re hella silly, and… we both hella lurve ice cream.  I’m not going to make up any more words for the rest of this post.  Only dictionary words from here on out.  Promisk.

So, marriage.  Woah.  It’s a pretty weird deal.  Sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes it’s really easy.  Sometimes you feel really connected to your spouse, and sometimes you feel like two complete strangers.  Sometimes you have the same goals, and sometimes you have different ones.  It’s interesting to be in the middle of something so fluid, but at the same time, stable.

The first couple years we were married were the hardest.  Sometimes, I felt really confined.  I felt like being married restricted the jobs I could have.  I felt like being married restricted where I could live.  And, it sort of does, for me anyway.  But, jobs and locations don’t matter to me much anymore.  What maters to me is that we have a strong marriage, and my choices are based on that– not moving to South America on a whim (which I hope we can do one day!).

I’d like to say my view on marriage has changed gradually over the years, and it has, but sometimes one event can snap your life into perspective.  For me, that event happened in February.

“I’m fine.”

I’ve spent my whole life saying, “I’m fine.”  I wanted to be tough and strong.  I didn’t want to rely on anyone.  And, mostly, I hated it when people felt sorry for me.

Interestingly enough, I don’t care if people feel sorry for me anymore either.

A really bad thing happened this year.  And, it’s why I quit writing on my blog so much.  I just kept writing this post and then deleting it, not brave enough to tell you the truth.

The truth.

In February, I had a miscarriage.

It was pretty awful, and I tried to ignore it for a while.  I tried to act like, “I’m fine.”

But, I wasn’t really “fine.”  I couldn’t get the pain out of my mind.  Also, I couldn’t handle the emotions of it all, so I tried to cover it up.  I wrote about goals and paying off our house, but the entire time the only thing I could think about was… that night.  The night I spent crippled in pain, lying on the bathroom floor crying.

My husband is the only person I couldn’t act “fine” around.  He sat next to me when we got the news.  He watched me cry for about a week.  He helped me get out of bed.  And, he still makes me breakfast every morning.

Through my husband, I found out why marriage isn’t confining– it’s one of the few things that is really freeing.  Like any good relationship you can be free when you can truly be yourself. When you can truly tell someone how you feel.  When you don’t even have to tell someone how you feel– they just know.

Ultimately, marriage is about dragging each other out of bed.  It’s about leaning on someone because you can’t stand up anymore.  It’s about the ebbs and flow of life.  It’s about healing together a little bit every day.  That’s what we’ve been doing, healing.

I hope you haven’t had to go through a miscarriage, but if you have, feel free to talk to me about it.  I’ve had the best support from my husband, family and friends.  I would love to be there for you, too.

Happy Anniversary Husband!  Thanks for being there for me through the good and bad!

How We Paid Off Our House in 2 Years

Two years ago, we had a crazy goal: to pay off our mortgage (you can read about it here, here, here and here).  Countless paychecks, a lot of headaches, and even a few arguments later, it’s official.  Blog official.  The day we’ve been waiting for: we paid off our house.  At 7:00 a.m., today, we submitted our last mortgage payment.

mortgage burn

Watch that mortgage burn!

 

I hope this post doesn’t sound braggy– honestly, I don’t want it to be.  Everyone has different goals and dreams for their lives.  I just want this post to encourage you to finish your big goals, financial or otherwise.  We didn’t start with a grand plan, we actually just lucked into the right house, and then we just went to work.

 1.  Live off one salary (or half of your salary).

When we bought our house, about 4 years ago, I didn’t have a job.  My husband was working at his first job out of college, so we didn’t have much money.  I was TERRIFIED about becoming “house poor,” so we bought a tiny house that we knew we could afford.  Four years later, we’re still living off one salary.  We aren’t disciplined, and we spend whatever is in our checking account, so my check is directly deposited into a separate account.  There are no debit cards attached to the separate account, so we can’t get to that money.  We automatically used my paychecks to pay off the house, and eventually we were able to use part of my husband’s pay checks as well.

2.  Buy a tiny, inexpensive house.

When we bought our house, 3.5 years ago.  Our house payment was 20% of our take home salary.  First, I got a job (or 4!), last winter we cut our payment in half by refinancing, also we got some raises, and in addition we started tithing.  After all was said and done, our house payment ended up being 4% of our take home salary.  Less than most people’s car payments!  By buying something we could really afford, and then working toward increasing our income and cutting our payments, we were able to pay off our mortgage.

3.  Live somewhere “lame.”

There are awesome neighborhoods around us.  There are really trendy places nearby.  There are places where you can walk to restaurants, parks, and shops.

We don’t live there.  We live in a little town outside a big city.  In our little town there are more retired people than hipsters.  There are a couple restaurants, but most of them are chains.  And, you can’t walk your dog to any stores.  Even thought our little town is “lame” in some ways, we’ve really grown to like it.  It’s safe.  The people are nice.  Our friends are close.  And there is one trail, and my dogs know every inch.

Our “lame” town allowed us to buy a cheap house, which is the ONLY way we were able to pay off our mortgage in such a short time.  Through this whole process, I’ve actually started liking my town.  I think that it’s pretty cool.  I just need to start wearing hats and wearing roller skates.  Isn’t that what hipsters do?  Should I open a food truck, maybe?

4.  Cut your monthly expenses.

When we really got serious about paying off our mortgage 2 years ago, I started looking at all of our expenses.  We cut cable.  I drive a “free” car.  We cut everything that wasn’t necessary.  I increased our insurance deductibles.  I slashed our grocery bill.  I don’t have a smart phone (but that’s another story… and it’s only been going on for two months).  No monthly bill was safe!  I was a serial debt killer.

5.  Have a support system.

Whatever big goal you want to persue, you’ve got to have people around you who will encourage you.  My biggest support was definitely my husband.  Actually, he’s not my “support.” He is much more than that.  He is the one who accomplished this.  He worked two jobs.  He killed it at work to make bonuses.  He got on board with my insane plan.  I can never repay him for all he has done to make this goal happen.

Also, we had some amazing support from our families.  Moms, dads, sisters, brothers, and our friends.  No one ever made fun of us or made us feel crazy.  For that, we are forever grateful.  Thank you more than words can say.

Want to succeed?  Get yourself some support staff.  Even if it’s just one person who you can talk to about your crazy goal, you’ll need someone to encourage and drag pick you up along the way.

6.  Figure out your “why”.

You may not want to pay off your mortgage.  I’m the first to admit it’s not for everyone.  One of the reasons we wanted to kill this debt is because we want to buy rental houses in the future, specifically foreclosures.  After we failed at this a couple times, we realized we needed to get our finances in order first.  We have several other “whys,” but I’m not ready to blog about them yet, or maybe ever.  Please, just know being mortgage free runs deep in my heart for reasons I haven’t been able to tell you about.

If you have a big goal, I know you can do it.  The best way is to focus on your “whys.”  Family, future goals, kids, friends, past failures, etc. are great “whys” to keep you motivated.  Trust me, you’ll need something to focus on to keep you motivated, when all you want to do is buy shoes!

7.  Block out the noise.

Could we have made more on our money if we should have invested it?  Yes.  Would we have worked as hard to invest in a retirement account?  No.

You know in your gut what is right for you and your situation.  Lots of people will give you advice.  There are tons of people who think what we did was stupid.  Heck, sometimes I thought what we were doing was stupid.  But, I always heard a voice in my heart that told me to keep going.  Sometimes you just have to trust that voice.

8.  Figure out what’s next.

We haven’t done this step yet.  Really, I have no idea what is next.  I want to buy some rental properties soon, but I don’t know when that will be.  We’re just ready to take a break, and figure out what is next.  Most of all, it’s time to celebrate!

mortgage celebration

Pink and Rick didn’t like champagne. That’s only the second food they’ve ever rejected… they don’t have the best taste in wine.

Full disclosure: we aren’t quite debt free yet.  We still have a couple little debts take care of–it’s a loooooonnng story about why we paid our mortgage off first.  Maybe something for another day!  We should be done with everything next month, I’ll keep you updated.

What do you think?  Would you ever pay off your mortgage?