Thursday, May 3, 2012

Random Updates

I'm just way to lazy to post any photos at the moment, but I still wanted to sit down for a minute and post a few little updates on our family, something I haven't really done in too long.  We'll go from youngest to oldest, shall we?


Lucas has changed so much!!  Although he's still a baby, it amazes me how quickly he left that infant stage behind.  Soon enough he'll be a toddler and I'm simultaneously loving and loathing watching him grow up.  It breaks my heart to watch him leave each stage behind.  Although it's so fun to watch him learn new things.  

Right now he has graduated from scooting and army crawling to real crawling.  He pulls himself to stand on anything he can.  He has seven adorable teeth and uses them to chew just about any table foods he can get his hands on.  He also loves to bite.  Little stinker.  Lucas is now sleeping through the night, which makes a world of difference to me, and is a great napper too.  He is still my bald child.  The other two were born with plenty of hair.  Lucas, however, is still light and thin.  But handsome, nonetheless!

Although he wants no one but Mama when he is tired or hurt or hungry or upset for any reason, he is a real Daddy's boy.  When Jason is working they play peek-a-boo on the computer and Lucas loves to smile and jabber at his dad through the screen.  When Daddy is home, Lucas crawls after him every time he leaves the room.  Jason loves it.

He also adores his big brother and sister.  Payson is his other little Mommy.  She loves to hep with him and hold him and make him happy when he's sad.  She usually gets him out of the crib when he wakes up and loves to help with his baths, feeding, and anything else, which I appreciate!  Jack is still waiting for Lucas to grow up and be his wrestling buddy, I think.  Half of the time he loves having a baby brother around and the other half of the time he is annoyed.  :)  Although Jack is getting better at helping with Lucas and can make him laugh like no one else can.  They are a riot!

We absolutely love having this little guy in our family!  He is such a source of joy!


Jack is our little spitfire.  He either has us wanting to rip our hair out or he has us in stitches.  My mom calls him my "payback".  And she's right.  He has so much of my personality.  Which can be very hard.  But I also know that as he grows up it will be a wonderful strength to him, especially within the church and as a missionary.

He says the funniest stuff all the time.  He's also super smart.  He's already reading (at 4 years old) and answers Payson's homework for her half of the time.  He also has such a great memory!  Which is great when he learns stuff at church or in family home evening.  But not so great when he remembers things that I'd rather forget!

Jack is finishing up his second year of preschool this month and can't wait to start kindergarten in the fall!  We are already planning his 5th birthday party this summer and he is torn between Phineas and Ferb or Star Wars theme.  :)


Payson is about to finish up 1st grade, which she has loved and excelled in.  Her teacher is struggling to challenge her enough with reading, so we work on that more at home.  She really does well in every subject, but I really enjoy how much she reads.  Every once in a while we'll read a fun chapter book together, which has been so fun.  Reading books together is one of my favorite memories with my mom growing up.  I love recreating that with my own kids.

Like I said earlier, Payson is a fantastic helper.  I'm looking forward to having her home all day during the summer months.  She is so fun and good and just makes me smile all the time.  She is growing up way too fast for me.  She's lost 6 teeth (plus had a couple pulled) and her smile is just so different from my baby girl.  In a good way.  It's so bittersweet to watch her mature.

Her next birthday is baptism and she is constantly reminding me to prepare her with family home evenings.  She wants to be ready!  :)  I love her sweet little testimony.  Is it too early for me to start planning that big day for her?


We'll do the two of us together, since half of our stuff is the same anyway.  :)

I'm not doing much of anything new.  Just the mothering thing, which I love (most of the time).  I'm working on getting back to eating healthy and working out, since I've pretty much done nothing the last  few months.  Not good!  But I'm taking baby steps to get back to it.  Hopefully when I stop breastfeeding I'll be able to really hit it hard.  I'm getting tired of feeling so sluggish and BIG.

Jason's doing great.  He's enjoying his job and is doing really well at work.  He picked up golfing as a hobby last year with some guys at work and loves it.  He goes every chance he can get.

DEBT  :)

Our biggest update is the process we've made with our finances.  We've been working on our plan to be debt free for 4 months now.  It's been an amazing process!  We have been following Dave Ramsey's baby steps and it's made a huge difference in the way we think about money.

We started the year with a significant amount of debt (including TWELVE accounts/creditors), zero savings, and living paycheck to paycheck.  Now, after just four months of hard work and discipline we have a small chunk in savings, we live off of last month's income, and we have whittled our debt down from those 12 accounts to just THREE!  That's about half of our debt, since we've been paying them off smallest to largest.  Half way done in just 4 months!!

I don't think I can accurately describe what a big deal this has been for us.  We've learned so much about budgeting and making better financial choices.  We've alleviated incredible amounts of stress!  I don't worry about how we're going to pay for anything.  I don't stress about whether or not to answer the phone, because I KNOW it's not someone calling about a collection account.  Our goals are clear and our plan is workable.  I have no doubt that we'll reach our goal of becoming 100% debt free by the end of the year  and it feels amazing!

This has really been a family effort.  The kids have learned along with us and are making sacrifices as well.  They were so used to grabbing treats when we'd run to the grocery store, eating out way too often, and buying random toys just for fun.  We've talked a lot about why we want to change those habits and that it's so important for our family to not have debt and be able to save for things that we really want.  The kids have been great about keeping the whining for things to a minimum and have even learned about handling their own money.  They pay tithing, then they save some and keep the rest to spend on what they want.  

It's been fun watching their personalities learn about money.  Payson is definitely a saver.  She has a hard time buying things, even when she reeeeally wants them.  Jack however, gets frustrated that he can't just buy everything right now!  :)  But he's learning and I know we're setting a MUCH better example for them when it comes to money.

We knew that if we were going to work this hard to reach our goal, we needed a good reward at the end of the journey.  And it needed to be a reward for the whole family.  I've already started planning our Debt Free trip for next year.  :)  We picked Disneyland, since we haven't been since 2009.  I'm so anxious to get through this year and actually book the trip!  It's been hard to not say, "Let's just postpone the debt thing by a month or two and take the trip NOW, and pay off debt later."  Because we could.  But we know it will feel a MILLION times better to pay for that trip in cash knowing that the money we spend belongs to US and isn't owed to ANYONE!

For some reason, we are blessed enough to work towards our goal while still enjoying some extras in life.  However we've definitely found a new way to enjoy those extras.  We hardly do anything at full price anymore.  We see most movies later at the discount theaters and never pay for the overpriced movie treats.  We search deal sites (like groupon, social living, and deal dragon) to find great coupons.  We budgeted to buy the Utah County Pass of All Passes for our family when they were on sale so that we would have no excuses to spend money this summer.  We're spending more time out doors doing free things as a family.  We even use groupon and such for our date nights.  It's been great!  We are still living and enjoying doing things as much as we want.  We just keep it within our budget.

And don't think that once we're debt free we'll start blowing our money like we did in the past!  There are too many goals set after this.  Next we'll work on building up our savings.  That little chunk has some growing to do!  Then we'll be saving up for a house, which has been one of my personal biggest motivators.  I want my own home.  I want to decorate it and make it mine.  I want to watch my kids play in our backyard.  I want to feel the permanence of owning, rather than renting and wondering when we'll move.  But I want all those things the RIGHT way.  With zero debt, savings for all the things that come up with homeownership, a large down payment, and a home we can afford.  I want to do this the right way at the right time, not because there are great loans available or the rates are at their lowest.  Those dreams have motivated me to make it the right time as fast as possible.

We have financial goals set for the rest of our lives.  Retirement, college funds, wedding funds, mission funds, vacations, philanthropy, etc.  We're no longer flying by the seat of our pants and focusing on those last few pennies in our checking account.  Instead we get to focus on enjoying our lives and making better choices.  It's awesome.

And now that I've written a novel, I'll leave you with the hope that one day I will post pictures again.  :)  Maybe you'll get lucky and the next update will be full of photos.


Megan said...

Thanks for the update! Good to hear how your fam is doing. And...I'm sorry...when did your children grow up to be practically adults?! I'm so confused...
We're also trying to be debt-free by the end of the year. Dang student loans. :( It can be hard, but feels so much better at the end of the day than just spending, spending, spending. Good for you guys! And good luck on the rest of the debt!!

Liz said...

I love how this post is formatted like the old family newsletters use to be. It makes me feel nostalgic. And you are thisclose to getting me to finally look into this Dave Ramsey guy, only I'm still a little bit to lazy.

vaneblu said...

Great update :D!