Best and Worst of Times

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.

Rick died.

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.

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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…

Tale of Two Rentals

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):

  1.  I read the rental property book and did exactly what it said.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  1.  Insurance: $600 a year
  2. Taxes: $600 a year
  3. Lawyer fees: $350 so far…
  4. Repairs: ???
  5. 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.

What now?

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.
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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?


We Flipped a House… and (sort of) Liked It.

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.


The before:

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.

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The after:

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.


Family Room

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.

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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.

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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.

IMG_1743  IMG_1730


Other Stuff

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.

Lessons learned

Oh, there are so many.

  1.  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.
  2. It’s probably going to cost about double what you estimate.
  3. It’s probably going to take you double the amount of time you estimated.
  4. You’re probably going to wish you never started.
  5. You’re probably going to be glad you did it!

The good

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?






Pink and Rick Ran Away

IMG_1097“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!



Happy Birthday Pink and Rick

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.

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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.

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We were so close to a birthday picture.

Wait, where’s Rick?  Well, apparently he decided he was DONE.  He stormed off.

over it

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!

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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.

Taco Bell in the Closet…A Rehab Story

“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.

  1.  It needed a new roof.
  2. The air conditioning unit works!
  3. 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.

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The bathroom looked like this for a while.

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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.

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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.

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Then, we put our tile and new shiny toilet into the bathroom!

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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?


Summer Bucket List Update

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!!!

photo 1


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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!


We bought a rental house!

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?


I had a 10 Pound Baby… and other thoughts on motherhood

Hi! I  hope you’re having the best summer.  Our summer has been pretty life changing so far.

Three weeks ago, I gave birth to a 10 pound baby.  Honestly, she was only 9 pounds and 13 ounces.  But, when you have a 9 pound 13 ounce baby, I think you can round up.

I spent a few hours last week writing my birth story, but I never finished it.  Here’s a recap: it was dramatic, it included an emergency C-section, 13 hours of labor, 4 days in the NICU, and finally, a beautiful, healthy baby girl

Here’s her 2-week-old picture.  She just figured out the meaning of life.  It’s milk, of course!

2 week vera

Even though I haven’t finished my birth story, here are my 20 initial thoughts about motherhood.

1.  I have a new boss.  She is a tiny lady with a receding hair line who screams at me a lot.  But, when she holds my hand or smiles at me, all is forgiven.

2.  My coworker (husband) is pretty terrific, and we make fun of our boss lady sometimes.

3.  I’m up all night.  It’s like college, except there are no parties, drinks, or fun clothes involved.  Unless you count baby parties– which oddly enough– I do.

4.  Breastfeeding is harrrrrd.  It feels like a tiny person is attacking you.

5.  I’m covered in spit up and milk most of the day.

6.  I tried to leave the house yesterday, and I couldn’t because my baby wouldn’t let me put her in her car seat.

7.  If we do make it out of the house, it takes HOURS to get ready.

8.  You come up with tons of nicknames for your baby.  Currently, we call the baby: Milk Monster, Little Bird, V Baby, Boss Lady, and Baby Bear.

9.  You can’t trust your own thoughts, especially at night.  My husband found me trying to nurse a pillow the first week we were home.

10.  Explosive poop is a very real thing.  Watch out!

11.  Babies are kind of like drugs.  You’re addicted before you know it.

12.  I thought dressing her would be fun, like dressing a doll.  Turns out, it’s like dressing a screaming, angry bear.

13.  She makes weird noises.  Sometimes, she sounds like a dinosaur.

14.  I cry when I look at her.

15.  I cry when I watch my husband holding her.

16.  Even thought I’m 29, it still feels like I’m on an episode of Teen Mom.

17.  I have no idea how my mom raised 3 kids.  I’m pretty sure Baby V is going to be an only child.

18.  I feel like a grizzly bear.  The thought of anything or anyone hurting her makes me want to turn into a wild animal.

19.  I love her.

20.  She’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

I hope I’ve had more thoughts since we brought our baby home, but I can’t remember anything these days.  Any more thoughts on motherhood/fatherhood/baby raising/summer that you’d like to share?!







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!

photo 3

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…

photo 2


And views that could make any baby want to arrive…

photo 1


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?



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.


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.


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!)