Happy Summer friends! The hubs was out of town the entire month of June for work so the kids and I did our best to make this month as uneventful as possible...didn't work lol. Ryder had a solid 10 days of a fever and around that 8 day mark(after a previous trip to Urgent Care), we headed to his pediatrician. They ran a slew of tests and decided to send him on to the ER for further testing...ie: a spinal tap. He handled it like a champ while I sat quietly in the corner with tears streaming down my face. I was so scared. Turns out after the tap, a chest X-ray, and blood work he was diagnosed with viral meningitis. He felt horrible. Even with that crazy diagnosis, I was still grateful. There were so many things running through my head and test results after test results came back empty, I was relieved to finally have a reason. We have no idea how he got it, or where it came from, but were so grateful that's all it was. I kept thinking what if. I sat and prayed for all the parents who didn't get that relief. I can't imagine.
He's good as new now and we're back to limiting electronic use and keeping them busy ;). The boys are currently upstairs priming a bedroom so we can begin moving everyone's rooms. A new season approaches. Kailyn will soon leave for college, Ella will officially start Kindergarten, and the boys will go on to the next grade. I was talking to my mom yesterday when I asked her what age she considered to be middle aged. 40. Holy crap, I'm 3 years away. How did that happen so fast? Yes, yes, people say how it goes by so fast, but until now...I haven't really realized it. I've been reading Rachel Hollis's new book Girl, wash your face and I'm just enthralled. I mean, I've read all kinds of self help and enlightenment books(it's my jam), but reading her words has put a new spin on MY next chapter of life. It's gotten me to think what do I want?
I've spent the last 6 years not only building my business, but raising my children. ALL of my time has gone to both of those two things. Balance. It's been a rough, tear filled, joy induced adventure. What's next? Rachel says to write down those dreams. REALLY write them down. She goes on to say these words that stuck like glue to my soul "I am successful because I refused to take no for an answer. I am successful because I have never once believed my dreams were someone else's to manage."
Think about those words for a second. What if every time you heard the answer "no" it gave you the drive to not only find out why, but push further? No one is in charge of where your dreams take you. Want to write a book? DO IT. Want to start a new business? Figure out HOW. You are the only one stopping you from doing what YOU want to do.
That brought me to my dreams. What did I want? Let me stop here and say I'm not talking about having a healthy, thriving, humble family. I'm hoping that is everyone's dream. I'm talking about the dreams you hide deep down inside. The dreams you fear if you said out loud that they may get laughed at. The dreams for your life that you have felt so unattainable.
Here are mine:
1) I want out of debt. It's no secret that I originally started this blog to keep myself accountable. I love to show people how we manage our finances, even if we fail.
2) I want my work to be published.
3) I want to write a book.
Those are my top 3. There are so many more, but I needed a starting point so I knew which way to begin.
What are your dreams? What is stopping you?
Well, that's it folks. I no longer have a child that is in daycare/preschool. She was the last one. Here comes the truth bomb...I am so damn excited. She's ready. She's been ready. I've been ready. We're both ready. It's time. Now, save your hate mail for someone else because that doesn't mean I'm going to miss her tiny little self. I KNOW I will. But, but, but, she needs this. She needs to be around kids her own age for longer than a few hours a week.
Another but, BUT I will miss it just being her and I. I will miss our secret lunch dates that we don't tell anyone about. I will miss our "nap" times(aka: me giving her my phone and me snoring away). I will miss her bolt of excitement every time I walked through that church to pick her up from MMO(mother's morning out). I will miss her teachers. The same ones who have probably never seen me showered. I will miss our errand runs together. I will miss our time of just her.
This life is so bittersweet. I had one graduate from high school and one from preschool this month. It's been a wild ride this year already. I hope I'm always her favorite. I hope she always sleeps with her "elephant." I hope her hair still smells of maple syrup years from now. I hope she realizes how much I freakin adore her.
Off to the next adventure my little nugget.
It's been so very long since I've really sat down to write. Like 2 months long. Ahhhhh, this season of life....
For those of you who don't know me personally, my oldest daughter graduated high school a few weeks ago. I've known for awhile now that I wanted to do something extraordinary for her. Something that would fill her love tank up and let her feel how proud I am of her. This kid. She is just amazing. I'd go on and on, but I'll keep that part simple and just tell you she is the absolute best. She really is.
I've had this epic surprised planned for some time now, and around Easter, I couldn't hold it in any longer. I was taking her to Ireland. We were to leave the day she had her 2nd graduation(she graduated with not only her high school diploma, but her Associates in Science as well). I'm gonna go over a few questions I know I would want to know:
1) Did we use a travel agent?
Absolutely!!!!! We used a local travel agent and I can't say enough great things about her. Travel Center of Hickory (Dina). I made an appointment with her, told her what I wanted, and I came in and had a few choices that she found for us. SOOOOO easy.
2) How did you afford it? Was it expensive?
Well, it wasn't cheap, but the great thing about using a travel agent was that I put a deposit down and then when I had any extra cash, I'd head over there to her and put it towards the balance of our trip. Doing things this way took a lot of pressure off of me to pay everything all at once.
3) Did you backpack it or go with a group?
This was going to be my first time out of the country by "myself" (aka: without my husband) and with my daughter so I was a little nervous to just 'go with the flow,' therefore we went with a group/coach/tour thingy. I was nervous about not knowing these people, but I can't say enough about how amazing it was. These people were hilarious, kind, and just as excited to be there as you were.
4) What tour group did you use?
Globus. I can't stress this enough...THEY WERE AMAZING. There was not one tiny glitch in the entire trip. We stayed in the nicest hotels, were given the best food(yep, a lot of our food was included with the package), and the tour guide was AMAZEBALLS. This women knew everything about the country she grew up in.
5) Is there anything you wish would have been different?
Honestly, the only thing I probably would change next time is not have picked the fastest moving trip. What I mean is that you can choose a trip that is leisurely, fast fast, etc. We did the extra fast lol. We were in a different area probably 6 different times and that meant changing hotels that often as well. I probably would do just a slightly slower pace next time ;). But, moving that fast meant we got to see ALOT and I mean ALOT.
6) What was your favorite place you saw?
As much as I loved every single place we saw, my heart struck a beat with Kerry. I've never seen anything more beautiful. I can't even describe it.
I hope you enjoy seeing Ireland through my eyes.
It's been a month you guys. Just that season of forgetfulness, too many tasks on my "to do" list, and not enough structure for myself. A few weeks ago I had a mini meltdown. I knew I needed to refuel myself and so I left the house. Left to go have some dinner with some church ladies, but before went to my most favorite spot to go have me time, the book store. I had an hour 1/2 of blissful time by myself. I grabbed a stack of books I've been wanting to look at in person, sat on one of their comfy chairs, and flipped through beautiful literature until I decided what I wanted to buy. Yep, I bought something for myself. A book stuck out to me while I was there. I find comfort in other women's stories of how they made it through. It's my thang. I've already finished that book and packaged it up to be given as a gift to another mom who I know needs to hear the words the author spoke. She talked about "safe sisters." I had never heard that term before, but it made perfect sense to me. In fact, so much that I texted those 3 people the moment I read the words. Safe sisters are other women who you can tell anything to. Who you can pour out your most open self. The ones you can tell how much you're struggling, the difficult conversations with your husband, or your relentless schedule that you can't grasp. He knew I was going to need that book.
After leaving the book store and head to dinner, I sat in the car in tears. I had gotten the day wrong on dinner. Yep, like a big blubbering mess, I sat in the parking lot crying those "whoa is me" tears. Ridiculous right? Or is it. I needed those women that night. I needed that adult conversation and I felt like a weight sat on my heart. The night wasn't a complete loss. I texted my husband what had happened and asked him to send my oldest to the restaurant to have dinner with me. It turned out to be a really nice evening. We ate entirely way too much, had desert, and took our time. Maybe that's what was supposed to happen. I can't control everything, even when I want to. Things are going to happen, and I have to just give it to HIM. Moments like that night have happened more times than I can count these last few weeks, and thinking now I believe it's God's way of looking at me straight in my face and saying " I am here. Even when the world feels like it's against you, I am here."
Sometimes you have to be knocked down and put on your knees in order for you to see straight.
I went to a church women's meeting last night, but before I did I went to the wrong church. I kid you not. I got back into my car and even though I knew it had already started and I was going to be late...I still went. I drove and said in a whisper "not today Satan." I'm so glad I did. I'm so glad I didn't let him ruin what an amazing time of fellowship with these women it was. They are all on the same walk...the walk to get closer to HIM.
I've started my own little War Room area. It's in a corner of the bedroom and my goal is to fill that side with so many prayers that he gets tired of hearing from me lol. The thing I learned from that book, was not only about the absolute need of safe sisters, but the need to have time with HIM. Time to tell him all that is on my heart...no matter how small or trivial it may feel. He wants to know. So that's what I'm working on, talking to HIM. It's still a weird concept for me, but I know it will get easier with time.
It's been a really good month here. The husband's pay checks are finally squared away and are plan is slowly moving forward! Yay for budgeting!!! lol. This month we had to budget in quite a few things that I didn't anticipate or plan accordingly for:
1. Jackson's birthday. I mean, it comes every single year so I should have thought ahead for sure. That's where those sinking funds people talk about come in handy ;)
2. My online computer back up system annual fee.
3. Kailyn's graduation fees(cap & gown etc.)
4. Car inspection x 2 and vehicle taxes x 3
5. Kids school extras(a Valentines Party event)
We have decided up up our grocery budget by $100/month. It's just too tight for us. That puts our grocery cash envelope to $150 each week and it gives me a little more wiggle room. I do make the kids' lunches every day so I'm hoping this helps. We have now replenished our emergency fund and I can breath a sigh of relief. It really does make a big difference in my anxiety to have that in savings.
The most exciting thing this month has been the availability to put a total of $1827.02 extra(not including minimums) towards debt. We now own our Verizon phones out right you guys! I know that must sound kind of pathetic, but it's a big deal to us. That payoff alone saved us almost $70/month on our budget. That $70 will now be snowballed into the next debt we are tackling. All those amounts really really add up. We are only $352.18 from paying off our next debt!!!! That will be another $65.91 added to the snowball at that point. That's how all this works.
We actually get a tax return back this year! Holy crap! So, where are we putting it? I will pay the balance off of the epic trip I'm keeping a secret for now. That trip will then have been COMPLETELY CASH FLOWED. Nothing will have been put on any debt/credit/IOU and that is a big deal my friends. The remainder left will go towards my business insurance for the year. That will be a good day and a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
I'm hoping March is just as good <3