New Home Love

By on June 14, 2017

We’re feeling a ton of New Home Love around the COD place lately. There are so many things about the new house that are vast improvements over our previous house, and we’re enjoying it! To be sure, there are also negatives, but I’m not even going to address those here today. Mr. COD’s and my seventh wedding anniversary was this week, and it was lovely to be celebrating it in our new home. Nearly two weeks in, I wanted to record a collection of things we LOVE about our new Kentucky home!  (more…)


An Escaped Cat and Other Moving Adventures

By on June 8, 2017

I’m writing this in our new town in Kentucky! We moved last Friday and are settling in little by little. No Internet is set up at the new casa yet, so I had to come to a coffee shop to use their WiFi. (I’m not complaining…Mr. COD took Jr and Mini to a park and I’m soaking up the tranquility!) 

Bonus points if you can identify this coffee shop!

MOVING HELPERS

I still need to be rather quick with this, but wanted to update y’all on our progress. We left our home in Illinois on June 1st and closed on the new house in Kentucky on the 2nd. We utilized tons of help from friends, family, and neighbors throughout the process. My mom made the trip to our place three times in the final month in IL, and having her there for a couple of days at a time allowed me some precious packing, painting, and errand time. The last day in Illinois, I had three different local friends come over to entertain the boys at staggered times throughout the day. They were awesome, allowing me to continue packing, cleaning, going out for more storage bins, and all that fun stuff that accompanies a move. 

My amazing sister-in-law and her family showed up the night before the move. They had to drive four-plus hours from their home in Iowa to help us pack the truck, then do the entire long 7-8 hour trip to Kentucky the next day. They and their two kids were SUCH a huge blessing during the move! Ty, my nephew, mowed the lawn at the old house so it would look nicer for prospective buyers. Trista, my niece, kept an eye on the little guys for much of the time. Everyone pitched in to carry boxes, load up the monster moving truck, and finish up all those last-minute tasks we forget about until it’s time to go. 

We had (naively) hoped to be on the road by 10 AM, and of course we weren’t ready until 1:30 in the afternoon. Mr. COD and my brother-in-law, Jimmy, were especially beat from doing the bulk of the physical lifting and loading for hours on end. Then, we began getting the three felines into their carriers for the long trip. Sadie and Sasha went with minimal complaint, but then Kimchi was another story. 

AN ESCAPED CAT

Kimchi, cat number three, decided to pull a Houdini on us at the final loading time. We COULD NOT FIND HER. Keep in mind, our house was nearly completely empty by this point (except three or four furniture items we just couldn’t quite fit in the vehicles and can do without until the house sells). So you would think that finding one cat in a virtually empty house would be a pretty simple task. NOPE. She had just disappeared. 

Long story short, we had to leave without her. I know, I know! It sounds absolutely terrible. But we were already way behind schedule, were going to lose an hour on the drive, and had to close on our new house at 10 the following morning. So, we told ourselves that she must have gotten out during the moving hullaballoo, she still had all her claws, and she’d survive on her own. I texted our pet-loving neighbor two doors down to alert her to keep an eye out for our cat, and we set out on our way. Along the way, she called Mr. COD and I to let us know that escaped cat Kimchi was fine, but still IN the house! Fortunately, they got in using our old backup key hidden outdoors and brought her to live in their basement temporarily. (We’ll have to go back and retrieve the little escape artist in the next few weeks.) 

VARIOUS CRITTERS

Several large bugs and creatures showed up in the moving process. During our final walk-through of the house before closing, we found two dead birds. A third one appeared later on, when we moved the piano that came with the house. (Yay! Free piano!)

I encountered a nice wolf spider in the downstairs shower. Then, while fixing the A/C, my brother-in-law and Mr. COD met a spider they claim was four times that size! Ewwww. SOOO GLAD that I did not have to witness the thing! Jimmy had nightmares and trouble sleeping that night because of it. Teresa, my SIL, refused to go downstairs after she heard about it. 

Since then, no enormous insects have made their appearance. We do have a lot of dead bugs in the windows and corners, since the house was sitting empty for three months before we moved in. Now, the only bugs we’re really hanging out with are the variety that Junior and Mini COD are collecting on the porch and in the yard. They’re having a blast. 

inspecting lightning bugs with cousin Trista

Space to roam!

BIG PURCHASES

Unfortunately, a new house tends to require a few purchases. This one did not come equipped with a washer and dryer, so that was high on our list to get in there as soon as possible. We’d hoped to find a used one in the area, but nothing showed up, so to Lowe’s we went. In addition to the washer/dryer set, we pretty much had to get a big ol’ tractor-like mower for our ginormous yard. It’s about 1.25 acres and quite sloped, so a bigger mower is paramount. We found a marked-down one that Mr. COD approved of at Lowe’s. All three big items will be delivered next week! 

shopping helpers

Internet will cost quite a bit more as we’re somewhat rural now. We’ve definitely been missing our unlimited internet since getting into the house. We do have quite a few movies downloaded on Mr. COD’s laptop, so we’ve watched a movie a day during downtime. However, the plus side is that the boys have adjusted to less screen time. They have so much more space to run around now, both in the house and outdoors, so they’re not getting nearly as bored as they used to. 

Enjoying the playground in town!

I hope to update more on the blog once we have Internet again! What are you all up to this summer?

 

Frugal Friday: Free Summer Fun 

By on May 5, 2017

Hey, guys! Happy Cinco de Mayo! I almost forgot to share my post “6 Free or Cheap Summer Fun Ideas” from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff! I’m here to share some ideas for your frugal summering. Fun does NOT have to cost a lot of dough, but we sometimes need to plan ahead for free summer fun. Lots of you already do many of these, such as hiking and biking!

Young explorers!

I can hardly believe it is May already. I know time moves at the same pace no matter what, but it sure feels fast to me lately. Perhaps it’s something to do with the fact that we BOUGHT A HOUSE a few weeks ago and we’re moving in ONE MONTH! So there is a ton to do around here to get ready for the move. 

JUST KIDDING! Not our new house 😉

We still intend to enjoy plenty of frugal fun this upcoming summer as we settle into our new home and new town. Head on over to Budgeting in the Fun Stuff to read the article! 

Our actual new house! It has tons of trees and space; we can’t wait!

Tell us, friends, what are your must-do summer fun activities? Is there something you’re willing to spend a bit more money to do, or are you strictly frugal?


Water Parks, The ER, and An Interview

By on March 9, 2017

Whew! We just arrived home from nearly a week away, and it was lovely to sleep in our own beds again. The above title sums up the past few days pretty well, but I know you’ll want the full story! As you can guess, the COD family went to a water park on our recent trip. I also got to experience the joys of the emergency room at the local hospital (always fun to be sick when on vacation, right?). Mr. COD finished off the list with his on-campus interview for a university teaching position. 

Last weekend was the women’s Christian conference I attended with a friend. Our whole family stayed with their family, so Mr. COD and his buddy hung out with all four kids for the day while my friend and I relaxed and refreshed our spirits at the conference with 2,500 other women. Great speakers and music, plus it was my first full day away from my boys since July. Yeah. My friend asked me if I was having a hard time being away, but I had to admit, NO! It was so freeing to be myself for like nine hours, without anyone needing anything from me. 

Our kids had a ton of fun with our friends’ kids and their new puppy. Hanging out in the evenings was great, and it was overall a terrific weekend with old friends (Mr. COD has known the two of them since college, and they are awesome people.) 

En route back home on Sunday morning, I knew Mr. COD was getting anxious about his upcoming interview. He’d planned to drive on his own on Monday, interview Tuesday, and drive back late Tuesday night. But we got the idea that having me and the boys along could help him decide whether to accept the job, should he receive an offer. He’d been concerned that the kids would distract him too much, and he needed to focus, quietly, to nail the interview. 

Thankfully, he changed his mind and decided we should all come along. We made it a little adventure and decided to stay in a cool hotel Sunday night on our way north. So we got home, hurriedly ate lunch, packed again, and took off that afternoon. 

Mr. COD found us the perfect hotel! We got a great deal, $100 for a jacuzzi suite. Not necessary, but with small children it is nice to have separate rooms to help all sleep better. Plus, there was a small water park area for little kids. My kids are still too young for the huge water slides at most water parks, but this was just right. We didn’t have to hold them every second, as we would have had to in a regular pool. Shallow water and small slides and fountains thrilled them to no end!  

Swimwear is a bit big on mini COD😀

So, after an hour of water-tastic fun, we returned to the suite to cram the four of us into a jacuzzi tub! My stomach was starting to bother me a little, but I didn’t think much of it. 

It wasn’t until after we’d all pulled on our jammies and settled down for TV and a snack that my stomach started hurting in earnest. Mini COD climbed onto my lap and squished my belly and it hurt like hell, so much that I cried out and pushed him off me. Mr. COD shot me a look of concern and said, “Are you sure you don’t have appendicitis?” 

NOOOOO! I panicked and wished for the pain to instantly evaporate so I could laugh off his question. Alas, the sharp pain continued as waves of nausea swept over me. Mr. COD was googling symptoms and broke it to me that it sounded like I really might have an appendix issue. 

I did not actually throw up (don’t you love all the gory details?), but my rosy-pink complexion after swimming and jacuzzi time had given way to a colorless face. I was now experiencing chills as well, and the abdominal pain hadn’t gone away. 

So at about 9:30 pm, I managed to pull on shoes and a jacket while we loaded the boys (still pajama-clad) into the van yet again. Thank goodness for Google maps, which guided us to the hospital emergency room in an unfamiliar town. One kid was asleep before we arrived, so I went inside alone and Mr. COD drove them back to the hotel. 

Let me tell you, I turn into a great big baby anytime I’m sick. Throw in the possibility of surgery, and I’m a basket case. All I can imagine are worst-case scenarios, and I imagine us on the news the next day. “Vacation in the Dells turns into nightmare as wife clings to life.” So were the thoughts in my head as I kissed Mr. COD goodbye in the car and glanced back at my precious children. 

I had some time to pray and think and watch Golden Girls reruns while I waited for various tests and results. (Why is it that Golden Girls is always on in hospitals? Betty White is rather comforting, I suppose.) No cell service within the hospital contributed to my sense of isolation. I answered the same questions four or five times, had my first ever CT scan (scary but cool), and they eventually found that my appendix was fine. Yay! It turned out I only had “periumbilical abdominal pain”, a souvenir from childbirth. Right by my navel, it simply flared up into massive pain for a brief time that night. Doc said it wasn’t cause for concern and I was free to go.

Statistically, I realize that an appendectomy is a very common surgery, and rarely a huge deal, but with any surgery there’s always risk. So my fears definitely took over as I worried over my diagnosis, whether I’d be okay, who would watch the boys so Mr. COD could be with me as I recovered, and whether he would have to miss his big interview. A bit of guilt entered my mind as I recalled my relief in being away from the kids on Saturday. Now all I longed for was to hold my little guys again.

Of course, I know that Mr. COD would never place a job interview over me or my health, but I still didn’t want to mess up his plans. And the friend who went to the conference with me on Saturday would have watched the kids for us (we asked her right away when we thought my condition was serious). 

I was so looking forward to snuggling with my babies once I got back! I hated having to call my husband at 2 am, especially since he had only returned to our hotel around midnight and the boys would be asleep. But he got them back in the car and drove back to pick me up. I waited in the lobby, half-asleep on a couch, half-listening to a Mike and Molly episode. 

How ironic that the one time we spring for a suite and have such comfortable beds, we end up only sleeping in them for about four hours! Oh well. No surgery and no more abdominal pain? Nothing but thankful! 

The remainder of our trip was positive. The kids handled the car ride fairly well (God bless the in-vehicle DVD player). The scenery was pretty and the university put us up in a comfortable waterfront hotel for two nights. While Mr COD was in his daylong interview on campus, I took the boys out to play in the dusting of snow by our hotel. After the mild winter we’ve had, the bracingly cold wind was especially hard to endure!

We watched a bunch of PBS Kids and then I drove around a bit. I took the kids to Aldi for a few picnic supplies for the return trip, then meandered through neighborhoods to get a sense of the place. The main reason we went along was so I could see the city and area in person, to determine whether I could visualize us living there. Otherwise, if he got the job offer, we’d have to go back in a few weeks so I could see the town before he would accept the job. 

My verdict so far: yes. I can see us living there. It’s definitely colder than the southern states I’d started to dream of, but the lake is gorgeous. The area has an aquarium, zoo, and children’s museum; those all are pluses for us these days! Plus, there’s an Aldi, haha😉. It has a couple of Acts 29 network churches, which is sort of like a denomination. Our current church is part of that network and we absolutely love it. 

It’ll be a few weeks before Mr. COD gets an answer, and he still has interviews lined up at other schools this spring. However, I can say that he really liked what he learned in his meetings with various faculty and the dean. He can see saying yes easily if they offer him the job. 

Now…we just wait. I’m trying not to think too much about the monumental task of packing and moving. The idea of leaving the area where I’ve lived for nearly fifteen years makes my heart sad, for sure. We’ll see what happens. Lots of things are up in the air right now, but we’re okay with whatever happens. A medical scare has a way of improving one’s perspective, right? We’re so grateful for our health and our family. Stay tuned for updates!

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Frugality Report: February

By on February 28, 2017

Awesome frugality or not, February has been a good time for us. I’m doing more freelance writing, Mr. COD is busy interviewing, we enjoyed a frugal birthday for our two-year-old, and our weather here in IL has been freaking INCREDIBLE. 

Here are some of our frugal highlights for this month!

  • No Valentine’s Day gifts or dinner out. In typical COD fashion, we kept it low-key. I baked my heart cookies the weekend beforehand, which we enjoyed for several days (and had plenty extra to take to church). I did get a kick out of seeing the multitude of guys purchasing flowers, balloons, and candy the night before!
  • I finally went to a children’s resale shop that is literally two blocks from our house. I happened to end up there on a sale day when all clothing was $1! Wahoo! That sale scored us a bunch of stuff for Junior COD, which was great since we’re starting to run out of hand-me-downs as he grows bigger. I found two sets of swim trunks and rash guards, several shirts, a pair of pants, and some really nice sneakers for him, all for $13.50. Only the shoes were “full” price, which was $4. Much better than $15-20 or more, which is not uncommon for kids’ shoes. 
  • I refreshed my pasta-making skills a couple of times, and my technique is improving!
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  • Last week I also took on (for the first time) Mrs. Picky Pincher’s homemade tortilla recipe, which was a big win! It’s a super-duper easy recipe to follow. If you want to check out her new e-book, that’s where I found this recipe (plus a ton more recipes and a detailed four-week meal plan): 
  • Slash Your Grocery Bills In 28 Days: Eat like royalty on a shoestring budget

    Tasty tortillas!

  • Mini COD’s birthday festivities were fun, but also mellow, as we’d hoped! On the actual birthday, we grilled out for lunch on our deck (never thought we’d do that for a February birthday in the Midwest). I made his cake from a boxed mix because I had one in the pantry and just wasn’t in the mood to make it from scratch. His PJ Masks figures became the cake toppers instead of getting wrapped up, and they’re perfect little toys for him. We didn’t have a party, just the four of us at home, a few presents, and cake, and it was just right. Since we’re both homebodies and slightly lazy when it comes to celebrating, and he’s too little to care, it was perfect for us! 

    that’s about as fancy as my decorating gets!

  • A trip to the children’s museum was a big hit one Saturday. It does have an admission fee, but since we squeaked in there before Mini’s second birthday, he got in for free! Woohoo!
  • The nicest weekend weather led us to Madison and the Henry Vilas Zoo, which is totally free! We met Mr. COD’s sister and her family for the day and the boys were ecstatic to hang with their cousins and aunt and uncle. It was so gorgeous out that we ate a lovely picnic by the lake as well. Super frugal fun!  

    not sure what exhibit this was…

  • Our Madison picnic view…an icy lake on a 65° day!


    the view of the zoo from the adjacent park

 

Frugality Fails:

  • Groceries got waaaay out of hand this month, which is a bummer after we kicked some grocery budget butt during Uber Frugal January. We got lazy and got back into old habits like going to the market four days in a row. That’s what happens when we don’t plan meals and shopping! Over $500 in the shortest month of the year = dang it!
  • Along the same lines, we ate out quite a bit. Honestly, though, we’re not sorry. We found an awesome new sitter the boys love, and dating your spouse is important! Once those kiddos are grown up, it’ll be just Mr. COD and me again, so we gotta stay connected. 
  • Too many gifts for Mini COD! We gave him two resale shop board games, which were cheap, but he’s still not ready to play them. He liked the other toys we ended up buying, but a week later, they’re already largely forgotten. Plus (and this is the worst part), Junior COD was definitely watching, so he’s been sharing his birthday wish list for the past week. Whoops. We may have set too high a precedent for him that will make it harder to stay frugal and limited when he turns 4. Plus, that’s not for another three months…sigh…

How about you guys? Any big frugal wins or flops this month? Hey, at least if we failed, it can’t be as big a gaffe as that one on Oscar night…


Valentine’s Day and Risks

By on February 14, 2017

The COD team hopes that you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Of course, if you’ve been reading this blog, you already know we subscribe to the goal of simple and meaningful for all of our holidays, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. You’re probably wondering why the word “risks” is in the title. Read on to find out!

A SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY 

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Grief and resolution: on the loss of a neighbor

By on December 11, 2016

One week ago, we learned of the loss. While plowing snow off the neighbors’ sidewalk that day, Char came to inform Mr. COD of his passing. Jim was the first neighbor we ever met when purchasing our house seven years ago. It seems so sudden, so hard to believe he’s really gone.  (more…)


On A Mission To Move

By on November 16, 2016

We like to talk dreams around here. On the too-rare occasions Mr. COD and I find more than ten seconds of peace and quiet, our conversations generally turn to the potential of our future. When we’re enjoying a frugal drink on our deck after the boys are asleep, that’s a time for vision casting.  Road trips are chances to talk at length about our hopes and dreams. What our next steps may be. 

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Dandelion wishing

Dreams are fun, there’s no doubt about it. It’s exciting to imagine a life outside of what has been normal in the past. We’re pretty darn happy right now, and with good reason. But no matter how great things are in the present, there are plenty of goals we want to accomplish in the future. 

Last March, when I gave my notice at work, conversations between Mr. COD and I often turned to possibilities. Perhaps taking a leap in one area of our lives opened up our minds to other potential leaps. I had never really considered changing the status quo: teaching high school was all I would do for practically forever. Now, almost without warning, I was soon to be unemployed. Staying home full-time with my kids would be a reality. Suddenly, our minds opened up to other possibilities! Different careers I might be able to pursue one day. Ways I planned to teach my kids while I’m at home. Potential locations where we might live. Side hustles that could enable us to travel more. It was exhilarating.

At work, my colleague and I would chat over lunch duty about our latest ideas. It was fun bouncing ideas off each other, sharing our “someday” dreams, even though many were far-fetched. It provided some entertainment, as we stared at lunching students staring at their phones, to dream of future plans. (Incidentally, this is the same friend who, during the course of several conversations about her time as a stay-at-home mom, helped to convince me to take the leap and quit my job! Thanks, Brenda!) 

Moving Away

Mr. COD has been itching to move back to his home state of Wisconsin…well, pretty much as long as he’s been in Illinois. Fortunately for him, living in this strange land led him to meeting and marrying me, so it’s worked out well! But when we married, we agreed we’d likely head north eventually. It’s become a long-running joke with us, the “in 2-3 years” plan to relocate. Will this finally be THE year? 

One of our early ideas was to move to Dubai and teach. The pay for American teachers is supposed to be rather lucrative there, including extras to cover your housing, potentially saving us a huge chunk of change in just a couple of years. It could boost our retirement savings in a BIG way if we did that once I was done with the stay-at-home mom gig.

Dubai came…and went…pretty fast from our conversations. For the reasons you’d expect: too far from home, too hot, too “extreme” a change. (Relax, Mom, at least we’re staying in the U.S. for the foreseeable future!)

Next up: we toyed with moving to someplace foreign, yet not quite so far away as the Middle East, such as Panama or Ecuador. Teaching would also be an option there, and cost of living would likely be low, again allowing us to save like crazy. Plus, what an awesome experience for us and the kids… learning a different language, participating in a new culture. Good stuff. It’s a dream we have harbored for years: making another country our home. (It may seem ironic to say that in light of recent political events and the crash of Canada’s immigration website, but our expat dream wasn’t brought on by the election.)

Every time we visit our families, we’re again torn about the idea of moving farther away from them. Proximity to them is important to us, especially so our kids will have strong relationships with them. Despite our long-held dreams of living in another country for a few years, we’ve decided to remain stateside for the time being. Yes, moving overseas has a certain exotic appeal, but not at the expense of family and friends. We value our relationships with parents and siblings and nieces and nephews, and moving so far away would obviously hinder those from growing. 

Here’s where we are now…

  • Mr. COD is teaching a course as an adjunct professor at the university where he earned his doctorate. This is confirming for him that he really does want to teach at the college level, and those are the positions for which he’ll apply throughout this school year.
  • He’s enjoying the teaching gig so much that he’s willing to move to a state other than Wisconsin. We hope to “end up” on his home turf eventually, but we’re okay with a temporary move elsewhere if it opens up a teaching opportunity for him. Two years in North Carolina… Montana…Georgia…???… may be a fun adventure as well!
  • As I said, our relationships with family mean a lot to us, so we hope they’ll come visit us, wherever we go next year! Our kids are cute, so we assume that’ll help outweigh the added hassle of traveling farther. Skype and FaceTime might be handy tools to help us remain close no matter how far apart we may be.

Where do you want to go? Any big moves on your horizons?


Birthdays, Change, and the Meaning of Life

By on September 19, 2016

I recently celebrated the 36th of my birthdays. The realization that I’m now one year older makes me think a lot about where I am in life. That’s a pretty natural response to birthdays, I think.

We all have goals, right? Especially around our birthdays, we entertain high expectations. It’s not just about having an elaborate birthday party or people treating us better than usual. We want to accomplish x, y, and z by the time we reach certain birthdays. Who here recalls Phoebe Buffay’s 31st birthday celebration on Friends? She thinks she’s turning 30, but when visiting her estranged twin Ursula to wish her a happy birthday, she learns that they’re actually (gasp!) 31.

Such a revelation would make anyone question their life path. Phoebe laments, “I haven’t done any of the things I wanted to do by the time I turned 31.” Of course there’s humor in that concept (most of us make to-do lists for more common milestone ages such as 21 or 40). Phoebe wanting to meet a Portuguese person or have the perfect kiss by age 31 seems rather random, but aren’t all of our age goals kind of arbitrary? How do we determine that we want to be married before age 30, or own a house before 40, or become company president by age 45?

There’s an emotional weight involved in reaching a certain age. We attach meaning to every age, and our perception of each age changes as we approach it. One of my students woefully told me last spring that since she had just turned 16, her life would just go downhill from there. Boy, did I feel old when I heard that!

Remember when age 18 seemed like the promised land? Or when you assumed age 25 would be the age you’d instantly have it all together? I know that as I approach and then pass up certain years of age, my views of that age are always different from what I’d expected. I certainly thought that by age 36, I’d be much wiser than I feel right now.

Birthdays, like New Year’s Eve, prompt a lot of introspection, at least for me. Around my birthday, I ponder some of the bigger questions of existence. Why am I here? Am I fulfilling my potential? Where am I failing? Where am I now, compared to this time last year?

Sometimes the birthday pensiveness is dangerous. Nothing like a little pressure from yourself to do better than the year before. I turned on Flipboard this A.M. and came across a Forbes article on entrepreneurs under age 18. Yep, these kids are all less than half my age and have already started successful businesses. Thank you, Flipboard, for making me feel like I’ve done nothing with my life!

I’m kidding, mostly. Bravo for those kid entrepreneurs and the ways they’re changing the world. I have to stay away from the comparison game. I may not be an innovator, but it’s not as if I’ve been sitting around playing video games in my parents’ basement since high school. My life’s had plenty of positive changes since then.

Reasons To Be Proud/Grateful

I taught high school for fourteen years, which gave me a lot of really awesome experiences in the classroom. Introducing teens to another language and culture is not exactly the worst way to earn a living. It’s what I’ll probably return to once my kids are a little older.

I’ve traveled to England, France, Germany, Spain, Haiti, and Costa Rica. Seeing such gorgeous parts of the world and meeting fascinating people has been a blessing.

I’ve run three marathons. (The most recent was in 2008, which seems a lifetime ago. Today, I feel like a 10K may be as far as I’ll ever run again!)

I’ve met and married an incredibly patient, generous, loving guy. We’re learning and growing as we raise two healthy, energetic little boys.

Now that I’m away from the classroom, my own kids keep me busy. We are adjusting to the mundane sweetness of spending every day together. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfectly grace-filled. Here are a few shots of us on my birthday.

Exploring a local forest preserve

Watching geese head south



Pet store! These two love animals!

 

Goals Yet to Achieve

Birthdays can also provide positive pressure. Give us the extra motivation we might need to kick-start our goal achievement. Of course, I have plenty of hopes and dreams for the coming years! This is a good thing; if you stop dreaming, what’s the point of living?

The ultimate and ongoing goal is always growing closer to God. Faith must grow through daily walking with the Lord, studying the Bible, prayer, and service. Honoring God with everything I am and everything I do is of utmost priority.

Writing a book has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. I have begun many book-writing projects that I have yet to complete. So that’s number one in things I will accomplish eventually. Published or not.

Other goals are primarily for fun (and still important!):

  • Learning to speak Spanish.
  • Learning to play the guitar.
  • Visiting many of our national parks.

Some goals are mainly financially oriented:

  • Running my own business.
  • Paying off our home early.
  • Assisting our kids, nieces, and nephews with higher-education expenses.
  • Retire or partially retire by late forties/early fifties.
  • Give with outrageous generosity.

Unlike Phoebe, I haven’t put an arbitrary deadline on most of my goals just yet. For some of them, I know I’ll have to become more focused in order to make them happen (like the book-writing). And no matter what, I want to be flexible and recognize that we’re always growing and changing, so goals are bound to evolve too!

Life is a precious gift. My hope is that each one of you reading this is able to pursue the passions that fulfill you. For today, what’s the primary purpose in my life? They’re right here.

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What’s on your list? What do you hope to accomplish in the next year, 5 years, 10 years, and beyond?


Shopping Time Is Gone (How Kids Save You Money)

By on September 14, 2016

There’s no shopping time when you’re a parent. You do the bare minimum to get your groceries and necessities, but that’s it. Hence, having kids is not nearly as expensive as people may lead you to believe! Rejoice! Don’t listen to the lies!

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