Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Find North

Last weekend, I left Robert at home with four children, three soccer games, two coolers, and one parent's helper so I could have the experience of seeing Dave Ramsey LIVE in Long Beach. It was worth every second of planning. It took planning with my friend Heather, both her family and mine, to support us, and let us go-and it was worth every second. I have found a dear friend in Heather. You see, we can talk about everything under the sun- finances, relationships, parenthood, and womanhood. We hold each other accountable, tell each other our screwups, and offer support to each other. Between her and a couple of other women (one who reads this blog locally) they have offered support, kind words, and still will tell me like they see it. That's friendship ♥ Worth everything to me. The 3 hour 45 min car ride each way was filled with conversation-I don't think the radio was ever turned on and any silence that was there was comfortable silence. It was beyond awesome. I gained a new appreciation for my husband, new appreciation for myself, and respect for others going to this event. This event did not change me or become the catalyst for a major uprising. What it did was provide inspiration, reinvigorate me, and gave me an opportunity to do something for myself and my family. I ♥'d it-so much that I found myself thinking how I was at peace. So weird. Than again, it's normal to be broke. Weird to have (financial) peace. Here are some of my pictures from that day's event. I had captions with them, I'll try to go back and remember what I intended to write down. At the same, some pictures just don't need an explanation.

Dave Ramsey entering the Long Beach Arena-pure adrenaline rush when he entered the room.

How punctuation changes everything. Next time I feel like being a stay at home parent is not worth it, I need to rethink my statement.
Credit cards are not worth all the trouble they create for us. Cash and debit are it. Cutting up credit cards was the best decision we have made in this journey.

I indulged-I bought a book. Two actually (the other one was Gazelles, Baby Steps, and 37 other Things That Dave Ramsey Taught Me About Debt). Both signed by Jon Acoff.
I met Jon too. Down to earth, friendly, well spoken. I follow him on Twitter now too, I find myself encouraged and inspired by his words.
I love this clip of Dave Ramsey speaking about getting Gazelle intense about our money. Inspiring, encouraging, light a fire underneath you, give you shivers.He was so passionate, energetic, the crowd was going nuts.

Racel Ramsey Cruze (his daughter) spoke about FPU Junior, something we're incorporating into life at home.

Loans for school? We'll have funds for our four children to further their education, college or training.
What a common sense concept. Simple. We're not living like the Jones' because we're not the Jones'. When I hear someone went on a trip, bought a big/small shiny object, dined out-I have to admit, I wonder. Did they pay with cash? Its in me (and no I don't actually ask people that-its rude, in my opinion). I do think it though-and enjoy paying for stuff we consume, wear, go to, in cash. It has a nicer feel to it, when a bill doesn't follow you home.

Our marriage, family life, friendship is influenced by how we spend money. I'm looking forward to a debt-free vacation to Vegas next year with my husband to celebrate his big birthday. I love our weekends with our children, activities we do with them, both near and far from home. Hanging out with friends is awesome, in all our backyards, local parks, and wherever a two for one coupon is accepted (and we do all the groupons we can handle too). Life is amazing because we work at it to be-we have this one opportunity to give it our all, so we do.Budget-I'm gladly taking bets on if Rebecca is going to say this word or "coupon" when she learns how to talk.
Inspirational moment. I had goosebumps on my arms. This is what its about-showing each other the money-not being blindsided, rejected, depressed. Those days have happened, emergencies will arise. I always pray for good days, but along with that the wisdom and endurance to get through the tough ones too. Life is far from perfect, but it is what it is, and for that I am grateful.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dave Ramsey Book Signing

I strive to do fun things with my children. New adventures are around every corner, its a matter of perception. One appeared to me last week, and I thought it would be awesome to take the four children on my own to a book signing. Hmmm, it was no easy feat. 3+ hours in a line for a 2 minute face to face interaction. Worth.every.second. The boys were exposed to something new, I bought a book (eek, full price!), and met Dave Ramsey face to face. Upon telling him that I would be in LA tomorrow for his Total Money Makeover event, he was surprised I was traveling all that way. So excited to tell him, so excited to hear him talk back to me. It was a once in a lifetime moment, and I did it with my children. Robert smiled when I came home, and he said, "I knew you'd take on the challenge. How was it?" I told him AWESOME! He was proud of me, and so was I. I did it!
A smidgen of the crowd waiting to see Dave Ramsey
The boys with their snack waiting to meet Dave Ramsey.
Love my kids-they make me smile everyday!
Love Rebecca's arms-she's like "Hey, you're showing off my diaper!"

Waiting in the line, where we stood for 2 hours.
Still waiting!
Matthew helped keep Rebecca chill while we waited.
Our first glimse of Dave Ramsey!
(Thanks to Crystal for taking these pictures for me!) We got to meet Dave Ramsey :)
He is so down to earth, amazing to see the face of the voice I hear literally almost every day from 11am-1pm on the radio, or on podcasts. I can't wait to dive into his book, More Than Enough. This was one for the memory bank. Good times :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Family time

I'm not one to talk just to talk, but this weekend, my husband was amazing. Saturday was a long day, in part because of the CCPOA union meeting, and soccer x2. Despite this, my husband woke us up at 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning, when it was still pitch black out, so we could go see hot air balloons take off at a local event. We bought donuts on the way there, tempting the boys with them to get up early and without much fussing. Well worth it, and my heart was happy. Happy to spend quality family time together, making memories, continuing traditions. Last year I was pregnant with Rebecca, and had thought how wonderful it would be to share this with our baby this year. She was mesmerized by the balloons, even waving as one of them took off-melted my heart ♥ Here are some pictures of that beautiful day.
All my boys

Time for donuts!
A special treat, having donuts while balloons take off
Mommy and kids
Little R sleeping when we first got there
Rebecca and Daddy

Robert with both our eldest and youngest children
Jennifer and kids

Matthew, my big boy
Love Elijah and his smile
Rebecca mesmerized by a balloon in front of her.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bits and Pieces

Life has been going at a fast rate. Its hard sometimes to keep above the fray, I've wondered how much would subside if I unschooled/homeschooled, and wonder still if that would make a difference. The decision thus far is to take each day/week as it comes, reevaluate based on progress/comfort/what's taking place.

We had a meeting with Matthew's teacher on Friday. There are concerns about his learning. Actually, about his eye sight. Not about his vision per se, but more about his perception. It makes sense, actually is logical given what I've personally observed at home. I'm up for taking him to the opthomologist (sp?) that his teacher recommended/worked with in town for umpteen years. Normally I'd be a bit wary, but maybe its my gut-no it is my gut, that's telling me to go with this. I want him to be confident-there's no worry of his being smart, catching on, just a different way of physically completing tasks that has his teacher concerned before the work gets more difficult. I'm up for that.

Today I took all four children to soccer alone, all morning long, while Robert went to his union meeting. This was a huge test, in part because next week is my day trip with Heather. I'm a bit apprehensive, but at the same time, I know my husband is capable. The kids were easy. It was cake. Mind you, I had the 2 mile walk home (I'll call it a perk since it was a success ;) ) We ran into a school friend, who invited us over for a play date. An hour and a half later, we started the walk home. We made a stop at the library. The boys read books, and I enjoyed the break. We made it home and watched Rainbow Brite while Matthew played with a neighbor. It was doable. I managed. I was on my own, car-less, from 8am to 2:45pm, and it was fine. Next week will be a longer day, but Robert will have the car, and a teenager to help him at the soccer field. He should manage.

Now I site, way past my normal hour. Kids are asleep, Robert is too. Laundry is waiting to be folded, new loads already going in both the dryer and washer. The dish machine is loaded, clean dishes put away. My glass of wine is beckoning. Life is amazing. This is what its about. I am beyond lucky to have my husband and four kids. Counting my blessings tonight and always.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


My friend Jennifer at The Path Less Taken shares the same wavelength as me, sometimes more than I realize. She wrote this post about schedules and I found myself nodding along with it. Quite frequently I might add. See, I've been having the same problem. Lately I've felt like I'm spinning my wheels. Everyone gets where they need to be, but the time I've had to myself has slowly whittled away to something almost non-existent. I'm to the point where I'm hoping for a hot shower at 9pm after everyone is in bed so I can wash away the heat of the day and all the stress of getting everything done literally off my back. That's it, a hot shower.

Something has to give. But what? The quick fix of making a schedule, limiting activities, using the crock pot-I do it to some degree; but I need to step it up a notch. I need to take the pressure, as Robert says, to be different from my mom (yes it comes back to that too). I need to find a balance, whatever that might be, for where I am now. Its not the same balance as it was 3 months, 6 months, or even 9 months ago as I prepared for the birth of our fourth child.

I'm working tirelessly to finish one project after another, watching how much I bite off, wanting to see my work completed. Its been getting there-some days are better than others. I've tried stepping it down a notch since a couple of weeks ago-its worked to some degree. Annoyances like car accidents and broken appliances still happen (two incidents that I would like to one day blog about) but life has moved at such an amazing fast pace, that I don't have all the hours in the day to do everything it is I want to do, including blog (which is a great stress reliever and way to journal life with my family).

So for now, I'm not abandoning this blog. Reading Jen's post has given me food for thought. I will mull it over tonight, after we come back from supper at Heather's church (another activity I've been wanting to journal about). I will pray on it. I'll see where this road leads me, what journey awaits.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Biting off more than I can handle

It’s Plank Pullin’ time! The one day a week that we strongly resolve to ignore the multitude of specks and sawdust around us and pull one bona fide plank from our own eye. Matthew 7:3-5 style.
For weeks now I've been contemplating whether or not to home school, or un-school my children. I've sat around, prayed, chewed on it, have thought it to death. Why, oh why, would I want to do this to myself-and to them. Today, it hit me.


We are always on the go, more or less, throughout our week. When the boys were younger, our days were filled with storytime, playtime, playgroups, and other fun activities. Those activities melded well with whatever it was I was doing- whether it was graduate school, focusing on motherhood, substitute teaching, or being a mystery shopper. I felt fairly capable of handling it all.

Yet today, literally and figuratively, I ran out of gas. I had plans this morning to do what needed to get done with my monthly shops, so I wouldn't have to worry about a shortened work/school week next week. I had a dentist appointment for myself (which in itself is not a huge deal, but keeping the appointment is actually something I had to force myself to do). We had two soccer practices in the evening, both at the same time, but on different fields. I was responsible for shuttling kids around from drop off this morning to pick up this afternoon, back and forth to soccer practice, and making breakfast, lunch, and dinner times six. I'm exhausted just reading it, and yet I lived it today. Then it happened.

On the way home to my dental appointment this afternoon, I ran out of gas. Thankfully, I had just pulled off the freeway onto the street I go to take home. Thankfully, the person I had set up to watch Rebecca was already waiting outside my home, and able to ferry over a gas can to me. Thankfully, the person who had the dental appointment after me showed up early, and the dentist's office switched our appointments. Thankfully, it all worked out. Was it stressful? In someways yes, but honestly, I was not bothered by it as much as I could have been-I have mellowed out in age, having the amount of responsibility I have, and seeing the big picture. Recently hearing about women facing terminal illnesses, both their own and their loved ones, puts annoyances like what happened to me in perspective.

Yet, here's my plank. I still bite off more than I can handle. I am reluctant to say no-to anything. I'm still standing after everything that happened today-and I will get up tomorrow with my plate completely full. Will it change? Perhaps. Robert wants me to enjoy life-the fruits of my labor, the boys, Rebecca. Not work so much, so hard, do so many projects, spread myself too thin.

I see life as a journey though, and want to soak up everything that I can from it. I only get to live once, I might as well sleep when I'm dead. Yes I said dead; but I'm not going anywhere yet, I hope. In that spirit, I will enjoy what I have in front of me, my full plate, soak up all the experiences that face me. I will thank my lucky stars to have friends who see me for me, show up with a gas can to fill me up (both literally and figuratively) and look to be the same friend to others.