Monthly Archives: March 2012

Friday’s Food for Thought: Finances

Hubs and I are currently working to get our finances figured out. We’re young and don’t have a lot but it’s important to us to be good stewards of what we’ve been given.

Up until this point, we’ve been taking a pretty simple approach to handling our money:

Spend as little as possible. Save as much as possible.

It’s been working pretty well so far for us.

We’ve paid off some debt and are working to build up our down payment fund. We’re couponing when possible and are excited about the possibility of buying a house this year.

It’s hard to manage our budget completely because my three jobs don’t give me a set income. We’re blessed that Hubs has a secure job though, with a set amount we can count on every two weeks.

Now that we’re getting more into the mindset of buying a house, we’ve been working on creating a more set budget. We’ve had some advice and some good conversations, but we’re still trying to figure this all out.

Right now, we’re experimenting with a new software, Mvelopes, to help us manage our money.

We don’t have secrets, but we’ve talked about how to handle our “fun money” purchases. And while, we’re working on the budget, the rest we still need to work on. A lot.

I guess we have the last one down, though, the talking part, and I’d love to talk about it with you, too!

What do you think? How do you manage your finances? Have you had any major financial issues? Any great discoveries? Tell me what works for you and what we should be thinking about!

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Thanks, coach!

It’s warm outside again, which means soccer nights have started back up.

Tonight was the first game (and by game, I mean a pick-up game of whoever shows up) of the year and I was excited all day.

(Not so excited that I skipped my long run today. I did 7 miles!)

But when we got there, I got a little nervous. I’m such a newbie to soccer. I’ve only been playing for a few months, since we got married really, and I’m not very good.

Ok, I’m pretty bad.

But I could be worse.

And I’m getting better!

Slowly, but still…

I was afraid that all the improvements I made during the Fall would be long gone now.

I’d love to say that I’m always appreciative when Hubs has soccer tips and advice to share. That I always listen and try my hardest to do what he says. That I’m thankful he notices when I do something I could have done better…

But it’s not always like that.

Sometimes my pride gets in the way and I think he’s out of line to tell me something I could do better when I’ve only been playing for a few months and he’s played for years and years.

Sometimes my feelings get hurt because I want him to just notice that I tried to do something well, not notice why my intentions didn’t work and try to help me learn why.

Sometimes I’m just embarrassed.

But usually, most of the time, I’m truly thankful for his interest and advice.

It wasn’t an easy journey to this place though.

I’m a prideful being. I’ve had success in my life in many different areas and it’s hard for me to admit when I’m really terrible at something.

Plus, I’m competitive. I don’t like to be the worst at something. Especially when Hubs is so good!

It’s not that I think I will get better on my own, or that I don’t want to get better. It’s that I need to admit that I need help.

It’s hard to say we need help. And even though a spouse is someone especially close, it doesn’t make it any easier to accept our short-comings. In fact, I think it makes it harder. We never want to admit to being faulted, wrong, or needy to the one person who most inspires us to be better, stronger, and more appealing. At least that’s how it is for me.

know that he wants me to have a good time, and he knows I’ll have a better time if I’m having some good moments mixed in with all my not so good ones.

know that he has tips that will help me, and that if I listen to him, I’ll get better.

know that he doesn’t ever mean to upset me with anything he says.

And with practice, and a humble heart, I’ve learned to accept these truths, no matter how grumpy I get when I miss a ball or pass to the other team or fail in my attempt to “cradle it like an egg.”

So I’m thankful for his help.

Really, I am.

And I look forward to those few “Good ball, honey!” moments throughout the night.

Here’s to a summer of soccer!

What about you? What struggles do you have with being humble? How do you overcome it?

Categories: Love Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Resolution Update: Saving money

Yesterday, I didn’t get a chance to blog.

I was busy.

I got home from work, ran, took a walk with Hubs, made dinner, and then we went and played our first volleyball game in the rec league we signed up for with friends.

This is what my knee looks like after the game...worth it? Probably, because the volleyball bug has bitten me again.

We lost pretty badly but had fun, then wasted some time eating half-price appetizers and talking at Applebee’s.

Hubs and I live about 40 minutes away so we had a long drive home and it was a late night by the time we showered, packed our lunches, and got ready for the day.

Sometimes I feel like a little kid when I eat my lunch at work with my little baggy of pretzels and my wonder bread peanut butter sandwich, applesauce, and fresh veggies. Too cool for school? Not this girl.

Tonight, I’m also posting late.

It’s been so nice outside that my schedule is all out of whack.

Not that I’m complaining.

It’s fabulous outside!

This is what I saw when I dumped out my afternoon snack at work yesterday. The nice weather has gotten to me.

But none of that is what I wanted to say.

So…

Anyway…

Remember back in January when Hubs and I resolved? Well, one of them was to take advantage of opportunities to save money, track our results, and just do a better job overall of being good stewards of the money we’ve been given.

Tonight, during our weekly grocery run, we did some price matching and used a few coupons, as usual.

But this time, we saved close to fifteen percent of our total receipt.

Woot woot!

(That’s the nerdy, computer-talk way of showing how excited I am…)

Not because we have an extra $17.68 in our pockets.

(Although that’s super exciting…)

And not because we’re following through with a resolution.

(Although I’m proud of that, too.)

But because we have developed a routine of working together on this. We decide what we need and want, make the list, go through the ads, go through the coupons, and weave our way through the store. Then we load up the car, carry it all up the stairs, usually in one trip by lugging as many bags as we can in each hand, and put everything away.

Do either of us enjoy these tasks? Not really. Would we rather not worry about the coupons or sale prices? For sure! Will Hubs get made fun of for helping me with the grocery shopping? Maybe.

(Sorry Hubs.)

But for now, we’re going to settle into the last few minutes of our night, clean up all the clean, folded laundry scattered throughout the living room, and head to bed.

But first, we’re going to spend some time looking at house listings.

Because we’re still trying to do that as well.

Ever feel like there’s not enough time in the day to do everything you want to do after the things you have to do?

Of course you do, that’s life.

So, what’s your advice for making time for the “wants” with all the “needs”?

 

 

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Wanna take a long walk?

This afternoon I sent Hubs and email that said something like this:

What are you thinking for dinner? Wanna take a long walk tonight?

His response:

Sure. I don’t have anything in mind for dinner.

So I set to work thawing some meat for dinner and got ready to do a quick run before he got home from work so I’d be all ready for our walk.

I’ve finished a run by taking a walk with Hubs after twice now. I think I’ll make it a habit whenever possible.

So I ran a quick 2 miles and met him back at our apartment. We started out walking normally, but as we got going, we eventually got up to about 4 miles an hour. Hubs started to complain a little bit.

“You didn’t warn me this was going to be a vigorous walk.”

“Well, I never said it was going to be a leisurely walk, either.”

The conversation went on from there and we ended up covering about three miles. He didn’t mind too much, I don’t think. Though we were both pretty hungry and thirsty by the end of it. After all, it was about 70 degrees today!

But the ground covered, the miles per hour, and how hungry we were. What matters is the time we spent together.

Even though Hubs says he doesn’t like to go on walks the way I do, I think he understands why they’re important to me, and thus, to us.

We’ve had a lot of serious talks and made a lot of big decisions walking around the neighborhood near our apartment.

Topics include:

How to manage our finances and create a budget.

Where we want to live.

What are our must haves for a house.

Whether we should renew our lease.

What our plan is for buying new cars to replace the old ones we currently drive.

How often to visit our parents and how to divide our time up while we’re there.

Who are real friends are and what they mean to us.

How our family has impacted the way to live and relate to each other.

What our future goals are.

When to start trying to have kids.

How to better control our portions at meals.

What foods we want to eat more of, less of, or try cooking in the future.

How we want to raise our kids and handle parenting issues.

“The bedroom”

How much we can afford to spend each month.

How we can communicate better with each other.

What things make us feel the most connected.

What extra expenses we are willing to splurge on with our “fun money.”

What we’re worried about, excited about or happy about.

I know it might seem silly that we don’t have these discussions as well inside, but there’s just something special, at least for me, about being outside that makes me feel as though my mind works better. Maybe because there’s no ceiling to hold in my imagination or dreams. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but it might not matter, because I’ll probably continue to think that way.

I won’t say it’s made all the difference in our marriage (which is now in it’s 8th month! My how time flies!) but it’s certainly brought us farther along and closer together in this journey together.

What about you? What little habits or traditions make a difference in your relationship? Where’s your favorite place to just be yourself with each other? Or suggestions for topics we should cover on our next walk?

P.S. Sorry there was no “Friday’s Food for Thought last week. I’ll make it up to you, ok?

Categories: Everyday Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Free Redbox rental date!

Last night we got a free movie rental from Red Box because I found a code online.

So we had a date night.

Sort of.

Because I had work to do on my computer.

But we snacked on vegetables and had a beer. And we had a good time.

P.S. The contents of this blog post are totally and completely lamer because I was trying to watch the movie.

P.P.S. I tried to post this last night but clearly failed, so you’re getting it this morning…

Consider this your reminder to return the free red box rentals you enjoyed yesterday…if you in fact had one. More of you might have had them if I’d succeeded in posting this because I had a link to the page for you to go get your own free movies. Dangit!

Categories: Friday's Food for Thought | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Clutter, clutter everywhere… a housewife confession

Ok, so it’s no episode of hoarders over here, but it is pretty messy.

The dining room table is covered with clutter.

The coffee table is covered with clutter.

The love seat has clutter, the floor has clutter, the bathroom counter and bedroom floor have clutter.

It’s enough to make me real grumpy and a lot overwhelmed.

I really dislike having all this stuff sitting around making the house look messy. It makes my mind feel messy.

But when I get home from work and have other work to do, the stuff around here kind of piles up.

True, we work on it when we can, and when we feel like it, and we almost always have the kitchen nicely clean, but I can’t help but feel like I can’t really focus on the tasks I have to do when I’m thinking about how messy the house is. I hate having to clean up before I have space to start a project.

Maybe this is something I’ll get used to as we get more settled into marriage. I’m sure we’ll get grooves and rhythms and patterns of how we use our home and how we manage the everyday messes that occur. I certainly managed to function all through high school and college at my parents’ house when the floor in my room would get completely covered with clothes, books, and who knows what all else.

It’s not that I’m naturally one of those people that cleans all the time or has to put things away as soon as I use them.

I’m not like that at all. My mom will certainly vouch for that!

I’m in a hurry. I’m busy. I have things to do and people to see. I have jobs 1, 2, and 3 to balance.

But I also really hate to be surrounded by clutter. That’s why I keep my bookshelves as free from knick-knacks as possible and hesitate to set things on my counters. I like things neat.

I feel more at peace when I’m surrounded by a space that’s organized…

…even though I seldom take the time to organize as I go…

so I end up with a big pile of organizing to do all at once.

And then I get huffy and salty.

And Hubs gets annoyed that I’m huffy for no real reason.

After all, the house was messy yesterday, why am I suddenly freaking out over it?

It’s an endless cycle.

I have a feeling this is something that won’t go away unless we work on it. Life won’t slow down enough for us to always have a perfect house, and that’s fine. It’s perfectly fine. I don’t need a clean house all the time. I want our home to look loved and used and lived in. I just don’t want to have to move a giant pile of mail and half-folded-laundry every time I want to use the table for something.

Ideas?

Solutions?

I had an idea last night that Hubs and I should try to focus on cleaning at least one little area of the house each night before we go to bed. The table, the coffee table, the bathroom counter, the sides of the bed where we both end up with a pile of worn laundry….you get the idea.

That way, we’ll go to bed feeling like we accomplished something specific and tangible, and things won’t get so overwhelming for me to freak out over and get huffy and stomp around cleaning while Hubs sits on the couch looking at me with a confused look on my face.

See what I mean?

What about you? What keeps your house from getting clutter-crazy? How do you handle it when it feels overwhelmingly messy? Is this something that affects your marriage at all? Does it cause fights? I’d love some tips and tricks!

 

Categories: Everyday Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

What Hubs thinks…

Tonight I asked Hubs what was an issue in our marriage. I wasn’t trying to start a fight, I just needed something to blog about tonight.

Here’s the things he listed, in order of how they occur throughout the day.

1. “You waking me up before my alarm.”

2. “There’s hair on the bathroom floor. It’s everywhere, seriously.”

3. “You always put my coat away. I just want it left out!”

4. “The sheets are always messed up before bed.”

5. “You always want to stay up and talk when it’s bedtime.”

Ok, those are all fair complaints, but since we’re trying to learn and figure out all this marriage stuff, we didn’t just leave it at that. We both had to talk it out, at least a little bit.

Here’s my side of the matter:

1. When I took this internship and set my hours, he suggested I go to work at 7:30 to avoid bad traffic. I know he did this because he loves me and wants me to get to work safely without me having to freak out on the way there every day. He offered to get up and cook me breakfast. I declined because I know he was just trying to be nice and that he didn’t really want to get up that early. He would have, but he didn’t really want to. I am sorry that he has to wake up with my alarm, but there’s not much I can do about it. And the reason I go and wake him up a few minutes before his alarm goes off? I know he’s already hit snooze twice and that it’s time for him to get up. Plus, I’m tired of being up by myself and want him to get up and say goodbye to me. I understand why he doesn’t get up before then since I’m in the bathroom, but still, it’s a part of our morning routine that I don’t see changing too much in the future.

2. The hair is a problem. I understand it’s icky and awful. But because it’s icky and awful, I don’t like to clean it. I do clean it, just not every day, because that would be crazy and take way way way too much time. I’m sorry, but unless a chop it all off, it’s a part of living with a girl he’ll have to get used to.

3. I put the coat away because we have a coat closet. We’ll figure out a system eventually…maybe.

4. Let’s go back to number 1. Who’s the last one out of bed? He is. I understand that a freshly made bed is better, but we’ll have to work out a plan for whose responsibility that is. That will be a discussion for another day. He says I don’t always get up first. It’s true that I don’t, but I usually do, so I don’t see how that helps that much…

5. I want to stay up and talk because it’s a time of the day I’ve looked forward to spending with him for the past six years. It’s important and special and my favorite time of the day. In my opinion, he doesn’t mind as much as he says he does. I know he’s sleepy. I’m sleepy too, but to me, it’s worth it.

And where the conversation ended?

If these are the biggest issues in our marriage, I’d say we’re doing pretty well so far. It’s a learning experience, sure, hence the ease at which he came up with this list and how quickly I formulated my responses. The big picture is that we know these are little things and we treat them as such.

Do we need to discuss some of these things more? Probably. We should think about making the bed more regularly, and vacuuming the hair off the bathroom floor.

And I’ll eventually learn that I don’t have to talk to Hubs at the end of the night for fifteen to thirty minutes in order to savor the moment and the fact that we’ve made it this far together in life and love. It’s been a long time since I wasn’t even allowed to go on “car dates!”

Categories: Love Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time for us

Spending time together is a huge priority for Wyatt and I. We are happiest when we’re just being with each other, no matter what we’re actually doing.

Hubs was gone to New York City all last week. It was not fun.

Of course, we made it through just fine.

(Even though Hubs forgot the “phone routine” we used to do each night before bed. The first night, we were both waiting up for each other, getting tired, instead of just calling it a night and calling each other.

It turned out okay, though, because he’s home now.

I had to work Saturday, Sunday, and today and tonight. I’m ready for a break, ready for time for us to just be…us.

But, in the meantime, here’s a little list of things I missed about having Hubs gone.

1. The bed was cold. He’s like a personal heater I can cuddle with. I’m like an ice cube that makes him go crazy when I put his feet on his thighs.

2. I didn’t have anyone to talk to at night. When my parents came up to visit me on Wednesday, I chatted like a crazy person.

3. My toothbrush looked lonely.

Silly? Sure. But true!

4. Meals were boring and full of leftovers. I like to cook for him more than I like to cook for myself.

5. No one was around to get up and turn off the light or get me some water or check to make sure the door is locked if I forgot. Getting out of bed is not my favorite thing to do…

6. We missed “our shows” because of the time change and other varied reasons.

7. No one was there to hold my hand or let me lay my head on their shoulder while I watched TV. Plus, I like seeing his face when I talk to him. He has the best smile of anyone I know. He smiles with his whole face.

8. I had to fill up the Brita filter myself. It’s a small task he does for me every week.

9. I had to unload the dishwasher. It’s another one of his “chores” that he does because he knows I don’t like to.

10. We had to pray over the phone instead of in person. Again, I missed having him there to hold my hand.

All jokes aside, the extra chores were nothing compared to not having him here with me.

When we were going through pre-marital counseling, our good friend and mentor told us we would be surprised by how much time we needed to spend together. I can’t believe how how right that is! Even though we enjoy doing our own things, I think we’re both happiest when whatever we’re doing involves the other.

It makes me wonder when or if this will change. I know my parents have never spent 4 nights apart since they’ve been married. I asked her when she came up to visit me.

However, my in-laws travel for work a lot more often and have spent many more nights apart.

Both are strong marriages. It’s just a different dynamic. I guess it’s true that it’s all what you’re used to.

I’m not sure how Hubs and I will be in our marriage 20 years from now, or if we’ll ever get used to being apart, after we get used to being together!

But I think we deserve a little vacation if we get through this crazy spring!

Categories: Love Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Food for Thought: Absence makes the heart grow fonder…

…or forgetful.

(Name that movie…)

 

Well, I can tell you now that Hubs has been gone all week for business. It was awful.

Ok, it wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t fun.

It helped that my mom came up and visited. But still…

I picked him up at the airport and his first request was to take a shower. So we came home and he took a shower while I made meatloaf and macaroni and cheese.

Now we’re hanging out on the couch, all happy.

 

What do you think? Does absence make the heart grow fonder? Or forgetful?

Categories: Friday's Food for Thought | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Thursday thoughts…

Today’s the first day of March.

Tomorrow is Friday, and for several reasons, I’ve never looked forward to a Friday more.

March means that Spring is coming up soon!

March also means that soccer season is starting soon!

I can’t believe Hubs and I have been married for almost 8 months! I know everyone said it won’t go by quickly, but I had no idea how fast it would seem!

When I type, my right pinky finger often locks up. Hmm…

I love the smell and feel of freshly washed, hot-out-of-the-dryer sheets. Oh my!

I did nothing to celebrate leap year. I’m kind of bummed out about that.

Papa Murphy’s gourmet vegetarian pizza with their white sauce and added olives is amazing. Just saying.

I wish I’d eaten less pizza because I’m in the mood for cheesecake. However, I don’t have any cheesecake so I guess it’s okay I ate so much pizza.

Sometimes crafts just don’t work out the way I want them to. I wish I know ahead of time because I dislike wasting my time.

Whoever invented decaf beverages should go on my list of blessings and happy things. I know I gave up caffeine but I’m happy I can still have tea every now and then. I can also have decaf coffee but it’s not the same, so I don’t.

I’m excited for tomorrow.

If you have comments on any of those things, I’d love to hear it!

Categories: Everyday Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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