Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mini Vaca!

I'll be taking a mini vaca for a few days from the blog and in real life. My last day at my old job was Tuesday and we're in Mississippi visiting my sister and baby Hadley. I start my new job this coming Tuesday so this is a nice little break. Hope everyone has a great Easter!

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

This Past Weekend We...

Got a pedicure in an Eastery color. OPI's "You're Such a Budapest"
Played outside even though it was freezing! 
Learned what bubbles are...
And love them! 
Let Molly play with bubbles, too. She wanted to attack them as you can tell. 
Went to Home Goods and found this pillow on clearance. I absolutely LOVE it and want to use it for inspiration for our office when we eventually redo it.
There's something about the deep teal color that intrigues me. Hope you all had a great weekend despite the cold and snow! We had flurries in the ATL yesterday. 
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Monday, March 25, 2013

Baby Step- Number 5!

I finished the taxes this weekend finally. We were looking forward to doing them since we were pretty sure we wouldn't owe anything (like last year).  We tried the whole taking enough deductions on our paychecks to owe as close to nothing as we could, but it didn't work and we paid a lot last year. This year we went back to our old claiming 0 just to ensure we'd get some back and not owe (I know Dave Ramsey will be mad). I also didn't work half the year and had some unemployment so I was a little nervous. We got a little money back that we had been planning on using for basement finishing savings, but of course life happens and we're just not quite there. I thought I'd write it all down to hold us accountable for getting back on track.
As you may or may not recall back in 2011 we shouted from the roof tops that we were debt freeeeee! Back then we were on step 2 of Dave Ramsey's 7 baby steps.  Fast forward to now and we are just about finished with step 5. Let's recap the steps.

1. Baby Emergency fund of $1,000
2. Debt snowball, pay all debts (minus house) off
3. 3-6 month expenses saved for emergency fund
4. 15% of income in Roth IRA's and pre-tax retirement
5. College funding for children
6. Pay off home early
7. Build wealth and give

We were able to save up money to be able to get out of our last house and into our new one. Unfortunately, we did dip into our big emergency fund to do so (still leaving a little cushion), but we have been trying to build that up since we moved. With new house upkeep and expenses it's been a slower process than we'd like. We were very glad to have had the money available to make such a great move for our family house wise, but it's time to get back on track.  Last year we used money we had saved to open up Roth IRAs for both of us and set up automatic withdraws each week for both of us to fully fund ours from now on. It's a lot that comes out monthly, but it will be worth it.

When Max was born we knew we wanted to open a Coverdell ESA (Education Savings Account) but with me without a job and no extra money coming in we kept pushing it off. They let you put $2,000 a year into an account. I opened the account last month, but only put an initial small deposit in there. Fortunately, like an IRA they let you pay towards last years until April 15. First step with our refund will be to fully fund his 2012 ESA and replenish our emergency fund. After that, it's no more major purchases (ahem new washer and dryer) and full on savings mode.

If you have any questions about money, Dave Ramsey, budgets, college savings (ESA vs 529's) just comment/email me and we can do a Q & A session.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Letters: Max Thinks He's a Doggie

Dear Weekend, These are the things that MUST be done this weekend: Taxes, pedicures, learn how to use our new embroidery machine, cleaning, David's emissions, grocery shopping, church stuff and of course playing with our Buddy. Good thing it's not warm this weekend because most of my activities are indoor. Dear Max, I'm so glad you're rash is just about gone.  Dear Work, Only 3 more working days left at this job! Wohoo. I am ready for the next chapter.  Dear Next Wednesday, Let's get here soon so we can go visit my sister and family for a long weekend! We have a fun trip to a well known fabric warehouse planned so we are excited for that, too! Dear Bloglovin, I have been resisting using you, but my google reader button is gone so I was forced.  It took me a minute to figure out how, but I have to say I am converted. The app is also fantastic for reading on the phone. Make sure you import your blogs from google reader, it's very simple.
Have I mentioned that Max really thinks he's a dog.  He watches us put the collar and leash on Molly so he found this piece of ribbon and brings it to us until we wrap it around him and "take him for a walk." He then proceeds to go to the back door so we can "let him out" like we do for the dog. It really is quite hilarious. Photobucket
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Few House Projects

We have been very lucky that we've really had no major things to do to the house to make it livable. There is even silver hinges/door knobs.  So for right now while we save up money, we can live as is.  David has completed a few projects that were bothering him.
I wish I had a before picture, but with a little one running around I am not the documenter that I used to be.  Let's use the picture above for an example.  This is what we envisioned our pampas grass looked like that was covering the electrical box in between our house and our neighbors.  We love our neighbors and we already talked to them about removing them. 
It was not an easy task. David had to hook up the truck with chain connected around the base of the plant and pull it out in sections.
Here is half way through. 
All gone!  I realize it is an eye sore to see those, but it really was so overgrown that it opens up our yards now and leaves good vibes! We plan to plant some nicer bushes this spring that we all pick out. 
Next on his to-do list was to pressure wash the soffits, trim/arches on the house.  He has a buddy who works at this equipment rental place and he got a great deal on this cherry picker so we couldn't pass it up.  It was definitely more safe than the alternative. I am thinking of renting this again for Christmas and have all the neighbors go in on it. You saw the elaborate light display the houses do in our neighborhood.
Up he went with all his tools.  We got a quote for repainting all this and the siding and they wanted something to the tune of $2-3,000 so I'm very glad that this cheaper option worked great in cleaning the house for now.
We also had the yard sprayed to control the weed situation so we are ready for spring.  We just need to decide what we'd like to do with the existing plants and garden areas.
Moving on inside to a small change in the kitchen sink area.  We got a new faucet for a great deal at Costco.  We had the standard builders grade one in place before.
We like how this one can be pulled out and really rinse the whole sink area. 
This wasn't a necessity, but it is a nice touch. 
While taking photos of the kitchen area, I realize that the window area is very plain... much like most all our windows. My sister says we live in a fish bowl because none of the downstairs windows have curtains/blinds.  Surprisingly it doesn't bother me right now.  I will work on that at some point. So much to do! Pin It

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Breastfeeding Diaries: My Story!

Today I am over at Julie's blog, Girl in the Red Shoes sharing my experience for her breastfeeding series. If you're a new mom, mom-to-be, or just love blogs then head on over to catch up.
If you traveled over from her blog, welcome!! Glad to have you.  Here is the link to those milk cookies I talked about. 

Quick update on Max.  His fever went away yesterday, but this morning, he woke up with spots all over!! I took him in to the doctor just in case and she said it's caused by the high temperature and the viral infection. It doesn't itch or anything so I think he's in the clear! 
It's kind of hard to see, but all the red bumps are close to his neck/shoulder area. 
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Weekend Recap: Sick Edition

I missed Monday on the blog, as I will explain in a minute. I'll start with a weekend recap in chronological order. 
Saturday morning we got our green on and headed over to Lanier High School. They were having a Taste of Lanier where local restaurants donated samples of food and all the kids on the athletic teams sold tickets for $10.  They had about 40 restaurants in there and the food portions were so generous. We could barely sample 10 places before we were full.  Don't worry, we kept going but we took some to go since we were rushed to get to the next event. 
We headed to the Suwanee beer fest Saturday afternoon on one of the best days we've had all year weather wise.  It was a perfect 70 degree day with breezy wind.  I under estimated the power of 70 degrees on skin that hasn't seen the sun in months... I got burned pretty bad (didn't even think about sunscreen).  Matt and Kerry joined us along with a bunch of David's guy friends.
Matt and David with their staches.  They said there were about 5,000 people there so we had David put his hat on so we could find the group easily. It worked pretty well. 
Matt, David, David, Darrin, David and Eric (we sure have a lot of Davids in the group).  
We had a cook out when we got back and mom said Max woke up extremely warm from his afternoon nap.
We took his temp and it was around 101.  We gave him Tylenol and I checked his temp every couple hours that night and it was steady at 100.6. 
Sunday was pretty rough, his eyes were very saggy and he was exhausted looking.  The Tylenol was no longer working so we called the doctor who instructed us to use some Motrin, but to be careful not to give it too often (6-8 hours instead of 4-6 with Tylenol). 
He slept with us on Sunday night and was up every hour or two just crying or wanting to be held.  He was just radiating heat and was so hot to the touch.  I stayed home with him yesterday and as long as he had the Motrin in him the temperature stayed down and he would eat, drink and play.
We definitely enjoyed our cuddle time with our buddy. He never falls asleep anywhere but his crib. 
Sweet boy.
Look at his poor little eyes. 
He was trying to show a smile.  He is much better today, he slept all night in his crib without a peep.  We gave him hopefully his last Motrin this morning so we're hoping he gets all better soon. 
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Letters: St. Patrick's Day Weekend

Dear Weather, Please warm up fast! Having my car parked outside the garage this morning made for a very chilly start (yes, I realize I live in Atlanta and things could be much worse).  I can not WAIT for 60-70 degree weekend weather!! Dear Husband, You are so kind without even thinking about it. Check out what I posted on my Brother's blog FB page.  While you're there, like his page! Dear Michelle, I am excited about our purchase I might make today. We are going in on an embroidery machine together. We are tired of our kids not having the cute seasonal outfits and I can't wait to get started.  I'll be sure to post back if we get one.  Dear Mom, Thanks for watching Max Saturday for a bit while David and I head to the Suwanee Beer Fest with friends.  I am not a beer drinker so I volunteered to be the DD.  I hear they have food so I'm there and the weather should be beautiful! Dear Max, you got up once the past 2 nights, but you are so darn cute that I don't mind. Love you buddy.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! This pic is from 3 years ago I think.  
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: My Boys

Look how cute my boys looks while strolling the neighborhood. I took this photo from my closet window.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Well, It Finally Happened!

One of my goals of 2013 was to find a new job that was more in-line with my long term career goals.  I am a dedicated worker and want to make a difference in what I do for a company and I just didn't feel like I could do that at my current job.  I am so thankful to have had this job (thanks to a former co-worker), but it was a contract job that was up in January.  They renewed my contract, but never told me for how long or if it was ever going to be permanent.  If I wanted to take a day off I had to do it unpaid, never earning future days.  Thankfully we use Davids health insurance so that wasn't a big deal, but it's nice to be offered those.  I also had to fill out a time sheet and have it signed every week... not used to that (although they were very flexible with me).  

I have been looking for a new job aggressively since December/January, but honestly I have been looking for "the" job since May/June of last year.  I have done the unemployment thing, the waiting for weeks on end to see if I'll get a call back, the numerous rounds of interviews only to find out that "we've went with someone whose skills were more in line with the position," and not hearing back at all.  It can definitely take a toll on your confidence and your ego.  Although I have been a little picky as to location for the job (I didn't want to commute more than 30 mins) and the line of work. I probably applied to 2-3 jobs per week, every week that fit my criteria since I had a job I felt I could be a little more stringent. 
Well, my hard work and dedication has paid off! I finally heard the magic words, "We'd love for you to join our team as the marketing manager. You were the front runner and my top pick!"  As of April 2nd I will be a marketing manager for a real estate company's Atlanta offices. They have 8 offices and I will be in charge of implementing corporate marketing practices, training Realtors on marketing services we offer, helping Realtors one-on-one come up with tailored marketing plans to grow their business and much more.  There are over 100 plus agents that I will be working with.  I am looking forward to a new challenge and really making this position in to my own.  I am so thankful for my supportive family and husband who told me time and time again that I was good enough and I would find "the" job soon. 

Fun facts
- I have always loved houses/real estate and look every day at the market in my area, even before and after we sold and bought our current house. 
- I interviewed and did get offered a job as a real estate assistant back in August/September, but he offered me less than what I was getting paid at unemployment so I had to politely decline. 
- This new job and my other long term job I found via craigslist (don't worry I verified the listing on their corporate website).  
-It took my 5 months to find a job once I was laid off, and another 5 to find this one (which is the average time in this economy according to my HR friend). 
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Monday, March 11, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up: Sick Edition

Of course the nicest weekend we've had all year and David and I were sick.  We didn't let it ruin our weekend, we just pushed on through. We're still getting over this throat, stuffy, head cold and hoping mom and Max don't get it.
As some of you saw on instagram (jens871) David rented a cherry picker to reach the tall archs on the house to clean and pressure wash them.  A tall ladder might have worked, but he would have been climbing on the roof and it would not have been a pretty sight.  I hope to show you some pictures soon of some little improvements that have made a huge difference in the appearance of the house. He also wanted to try to cut down a tree in the backyard that was iffy looking, but unfortunately he could not reach it from where he had to put the cherry picker.  While he was working Mom and I had Max out in the culdesac.  He just wanted to walk around and go see the big kids.  I'm so glad we have such a kid-friendly family neighborhood.
We also took him to the neighborhood playground and he enjoyed swinging and climbing up steps to get to the slide.  I went down with him most times, but he went a few times by himself with Gigi holding his hands.  He had a great time.  We look forward to many more warm, nice weekends. 
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Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Letters- TGIF!

This is the first time I've done Friday letters, but I enjoy reading them all so I thought I'd give it a try. I am linking up with The Sweet Season.

Dear Friday, Thanks for finally getting here, it's seemed like a long week to me!  Dear Spring?, Are you here to stay? I really hope so because I could get used to temperatures in the upper 60's this weekend!  Dear Husband, Please be careful this weekend with your rented cherry picker.  I know you want to clean the trim, decks, exterior of the house, and take down a tree? which we appreciate, but we'd like you to still be alive after it's completed. Dear phone, Thanks for ringing with great news yesterday. Dear Max, Thanks for sleeping in till 6:30AM this morning. I am hoping with the time change this weekend that you sleep even longer or at least in to the 6AM hour on a regular basis. You are such a sweet boy. You have learned how to high-five and want to do it all the time now. We can't wait to play outside with you this weekend.  Dear Mom, Thanks for taking such good care of my buddy (and Kinsley) during the day. Dear taxes, I hope to finish you this weekend and I'd love for that refund to go up a bit, our basement fund savings account would really like that. Dear Weekend, Go by really slow.
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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Baby Necessities 9-12 Months

Since Max is past his first birthday I thought it was time for 9-12 month baby necessities.  Of course these are only my opinion on what's worked best for us and things that Max has really enjoyed these past few months. In case you have littler ones be sure to check out 0-3 month necessities and 3-9 month necessities.
Activity Play Station- I did research on some toys for Max in this age range and I found that a lot of people recommended something like this.  My brother and Marla got Max this for Christmas and he LOVES it.  It did not disappoint. He enjoys pulling himself up on it, pressing all the buttons, dancing to the music and maneuvering around all the sides to check everything out. This is a must buy in my opinion and the price really isn't bad (you should also check consignments for this one).
Sippy Cups- Max has a variety of sippy cups that he uses every day.  One for smoothies (with a straw), one for almond/coconut milk (with a straw) and a water sippy.  I have been wanting to try the lola cup, but it keeps saying out of stock.  I do not have a magic sippy cup that will help your child magically drink from, but my best advice would just be to get a variety of kinds and offer them early on.  I think Max was drinking from a sippy at 8-9 months and using the straw by 10 months.  He just loved water and didn't care what he was using to get it out of.
Disposable table placemats- Whenever we go out to eat now we are ensured a messy table.  Max only eats if you let him feed himself with his fingers.  This requires us to put food down on the table (if we used a plate he would pick it up and fling it around).  This clear place mat has been great.  You peel the plastic to reveal the sticky part and stick it to the table.  It comes off very easily, too.  We've thought about putting one down on the floor because frankly half of Max's food ends up down there from him "feeding the dog" or saying he's done, but this would require a tarp size one.
Big Legos/Mega Blocks- Max is a stacker  He has been stacking dog cans for a few months now.  He has gotten as high as 4-5 cans, which is quite impressive in my opinion.  He is also pretty good at putting lego pieces together.  He has these mega blocks which are just big legos and are fantastic for him to play with.  They aren't choking hazards since they are so big and he is interested in all the colors and shapes.
Puzzles- These wooden puzzles are great for coordination and fine motor skill development.  They even have ones that have fuzzy animals so your baby can touch and feel as well.  Max likes to just stick them in his mouth usually and picks 1 shape (circle) to bang around, but he does get that one to go back in it's proper area.
Shoes- We've been trying to get Max to wear shoes for a little bit, but he just doesn't love them.  He's a tippy toe walker most times so we're trying to flatten him out.  He wants to walk/play outside, but he must keep his shoes on.  He's been rotating between his new Toms and we had a gymboree pair.  I just got him some cheap ones at walmart and of course he is really liking them (always the cheapies, which I shouldn't complain about). I would start around 11 months (or whenever your little one starts standing/walking) to get them used to having something heavier on their feet. I've heard good things about stride rite, but we tried some on and they just didn't seem like anything special.
Tooth brush- Our pediatrician recommends that we try and brush Max's teeth basically from the time they are fully in. We really don't use tooth paste (fluoride free) but we're trying to get him interested.  He likes to mimic me but he usually ends up brushing his tongue.
Ball popper toys- Max has really been loving these ball popper toys he has received for his birthday.  He loves putting the balls back in where they go and watching them come out.  His favorite is a hand-me-down toy from one of David's former co-workers.  It has a spot to insert the balls and then they go around a track while playing music. He's able to stand up and watch them go down. It's similar to the one I pictured.
Car wagon- This is also a must on my list.  Since the spring is coming and the weather will hopefully warm up soon, one of these is fun.  We've been using it in the house for a few months and have taken it on-road a few times.  Max loves to get in and hold the steering wheel. He would let you push him around for hours on end and just sit there.  It also has a fun beverage holder for adults that is essential for neighborhood evening strolls with a reeb (spelled backwards).
Pull Along Frog- Max has an obsession with pulling things on a rope, string, dog leash, child harness, whatever.  Don't ask about the harness, no we don't use one for Max (although...) but he found one somewhere in our house and won't put it down.  He wants us to throw it and pull it back in a fast motion.  He then will just walk around like he is pulling something.  If you try and take it away he gets very upset.  He got his fun froggie string toy at Christmas from my sister's sister-in-law and he loves dragging it around.
Bath toys- We put Max in the real bath tub around 9-10 months and he loves to just play in there.  Mom has gotten him some cool toys and he loves the strainer type ones where he can pick up water and it comes out little holes like a strainer.

That's all that I can think of from the top of my head.  If you have any other suggestions leave me a comment! Pin It
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