Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm getting my frugal on!

The last 5 weeks our church has been going through a financial series based on a book by Barry Cameron, called "The ABC's of Financial Freedom". I REALLY don't enjoy talking about money, especially when it comes to our budget. As a matter of fact, I confessed quite freely to my small group, that I get a real nice buzz when I drop a load of cash while shopping. Don't judge me.

Now don't get the idea that I dwindle away our electric bill on a cute sweater from Charlotte Russe - instead Jason and I agreed on an allotted allowance for each of us, apart from our expenses, that is play money. Each paycheck, I get a chunk to set aside and do with as I please, whether it be going out to a movie and dinner with the girls, or saving it all up for one big spending spree at the outlets. I do think ahead to what I need to save for in the upcoming weeks and do try to save a little left over to roll into the months ahead.

This last Sunday, Barry Cameron came and spoke at our church and shared a very intriguing message on how he and his family became completely debt free in a matter of three years. Whoa. Is that even possible? Most everyone I know, whether its from my parents generation or my generation, honestly don't define "getting out of debt" as paying off their mortgage.

Well I've been thinking about what Barry had to say A LOT since his message on Sunday. And I was so inspired to think that this could actually be something attainable and to what lengths would I be willing to go to, to see Jason and I in a place of financial freedom from debt? Let me just give you an idea of some of the practical things that Barry Cameron did with his family during that 3 year period of time!

1. No eating out (pack lunches to work & school)

2. No buying of new clothes (FOR THREE WHOLE YEARS! - yeah I freaked at this one)

3. No watering the grass (They're lawn turned to dirt!)

4. Turning the light off as you leave the room

5. Turning the water off as you brush your teeth

6. No going to the theater

7. No TV or cable - got it disconnected.

There were TONS more, that I can't remember off the top of my head, but they were pretty intense decisions. Barry said his family hated him, but after those three years and paying off three cars and their mortgage, they have lived debt free ever since and they celebrated by enjoying a cash-paid trip as a family to Disney World.

So I've been thinking. While Jason and I have the time and resources, could we work our butts off now, saving as much as we can and pay off the car and house as much as we can before we get to the point of having a family and adding more expenses? And to what degree would I be willing to live without for this cause? How extreme could we get? These are things our small group are all discussing together. I'm making some mental notes for sure. I'm considering canceling my Netflix subscription, stop going to Starbucks and only make coffee at home, limiting mine & Jason's meals out to once a month, having a garage sale with my small group friends - where the cash goes towards a payment! Hmmm....what would you do? How far would you go?

Friday, March 27, 2009

9 Week Puppy Roundup

The puppies will be 10 weeks old tomorrow and throughout this week Jason and I were able to catch some cute pictures of them around the house and in the yard. Some of you might find this completely boring, but how can you not just melt when you see these cute squishy faces??Jeep's the alpha-male, but Seven likes to pretend he is.
Grrr....Seven, show me what you got!
Play time is the chance for us to wear them out as much as possible so they're more mellow when we bring them back in the house. During the day, it's Jason's time with the boys.
Jeep is so sweet, look at those adorable droopy eyes.
I'm sure you can guess who's idea this was. You know they didn't climb up there on their own.
Boy do they love the dirt and grass.
One afternoon Seven climbed underneath the shed and found these rabbit legs. He drug those nasty things around the yard with his head held so high!
This is how it typically works with Jeep & Seven's play time. Jeep will be sitting there, minding his own business and happen to find a cool stick.
Seven will think that his stick is way cooler than the three million other sticks in the backyard and try to take it from him.
And this is how it will usually end....
And that would be Jason's leftover banana peel they're munching on.
So after they've played, eaten and pottied - its nap time y'all!
Here's Jeep already falling asleep on the back porch. He's ready for his afternoon nap.
And Seven is ready for his nap too. Come on dad, take me back inside already.
Kati - these pictures are for you! Recognize the collars you got Jason for Christmas?!! I think they're just a tad too big still :-)
I could kiss on these boys all day - well as long as they're not covered in mud and grime.Do you think Banks and the boys will ever be friends? I don't know. Last night they cornered her under the desk begging for her to play with them and she made a growl I've never heard her make before. It was like the rumble of a car engine! Jeep found the bed I bought for Banks that she never used and I dragged it out for him to check out. I'm guessing they like the bed quite a bit :-) I did not position them this way, they crawled in like that not even 5 minutes after I set it on the floor.
Looks like we'll be investing in some dog beds in the near future. We put the pet bed in the kitchen as Jason and I were making dinner last night and they were both passed out cold. Looks like I need to get a bigger bed for them soon.
Too stinkin cute.
It's been two days since we've had any accidents in the house, thank the Lord! They're learning so fast and have gotten down the commands of "get in your crate", "sit", "down", "go outside", "go potty" and "go to your bowl". They're such smart dogs and they're growing on us more every day.

Monday, March 23, 2009

As only a sister can...

I didn't get a chance to fill everyone in on my trip out to Seattle a couple weeks back. It was quick, but really fun and I'm glad I got to see some friends, kiss some new babies and have lots of time with the family. My dad and I attended a full day of basketball games out at the Tacoma Dome to see the 4A State High School Basketball Tournament, just like old times.

Then that Saturday, my parents had planned for us girls to take some pictures together outside. I haven't seen the final results yet, but the candid shots that my mom and cousins took are great, and I had to share those with y'all.
We got all dressed up and headed down to Swamp Creek not too far from my parents house. The weather was typical Seattle weather, grey and drizzly. So why fight it right? That's the theme we went with and I know in some of the professional pics it was actually hailing!
Trying to find the perfect spot amongst all the mud and dog poo.
Of course it wouldn't be us, if we weren't cracking jokes and messing around the entire time.I wish I could remember what we thought was so funny. It might have had something to do with Kris commenting to "make love to the camera!"
These two are out of control when they're together.
Now it was time to get serious and our photographer started making weird noises to make us smile. Sorry dude, not working.
I love this shot of us.
Ahhhh...to be together again as sisters. There truly is nothing like it. I miss them so much.
Kris commented that this is how we look when the paparazzi just won't leave us alone. Yup, true dat. It's rough being famous.
Back at the parents house, and just some more messin around. My sisters are more than just a pretty face, they're very intelligent as well. Their future husbands have no idea how lucky they will be!They're just so stinkin cute and so smart!
This is Kris', I'm-in-trouble look.
I love you and miss you both!!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A dose of what's to come...

So we picked up the boys on Sunday and drove them the 2 1/2 hours from Chattanooga back to Nashville and oh my word was it quite the adventure! Here's Jason holding them for the first time as their owner. He was so excited and so proud! I sat in the back of the 4Runner with them for the first part of the drive, and then we found a small rest stop for a place to take the puppies potty.
Here's Jason giving them their first walk! You'll notice that the collars we bought them were too big for their necks, so we had to fasten them around their bellies! They're just too stinkin cute. After the rest stop, we headed to Petco to grab a few doggie snacks and Jason rode in the back with them for the rest of the way home. Here's where it gets exciting. Jeep crawls behind Jason's back and he turns to see what he's up to and sees Jeep starting to poop! Jason's yelling "Jeep's pooping - pull over!" As soon as the smell hits the air, Jason turns around to catch Seven peeing on the blanket in the crate! Then I hear, "Pull over, Seven's peeing!!" I'm laughing so hard until the smell of both hits my nose and then we're both rolling down all the windows to keep from gagging!! I pull over on the shoulder of the highway, throw open the backdoor, and take napkins to clean up the poop. Jason leans over to grab Seven and as he does so, I start hysterically laughing cause Jason somehow managed to sit in Jeep's poop and has a huge poop stain on his butt. Jason's all "what?" I can barely tell him what he did. So then we get Jeep & Seven outside and finishing their business on the side of the highway, as I'm trying to clean off Jason's butt. Hilarious. As soon as we got everything cleaned up and all back in the car, Jeep and Seven passed out.When we got back in town, we headed over to our friends Dana & Julie's house so that our small group friends could see the puppies. Here's Seven below passed out cold as Ida is holding him.

Seriously, I had no idea just how much work these two little furballs of joy would be!

Thank God, they're so stinkin cute, because I swear what's only been a few days feels like weeks. All these boys do is pee, eat, pee again, poop, play and sleep, and all in that order - three times a day. I think I have spent more time in our backyard the last three days than the whole last year combined.
The first entire day we had them was on Monday, and boy was that an adventure. Jason called me at work, completely frazzled and said it was all he could do to keep up and he swears he must have cleaned up 15 accidents in the house that day (*go ahead, its ok to cringe*) I got home and Jason had already left for work and the house smelled of Febreeze and Folex. The dining room furniture was moved aside, the living room rug rolled up and in the kitchen, the dining room rug with wet spots drying, treats, leashes, rags and toys around the house and muddy footprints down the hallway. At this point, I don't even care that my house is a disaster, because I take one look at these adorable faces and I melt.
We really do feel like new parents. We sit there and watch them sleep, we're constantly cleaning up after them, feeding them all the time, playing and entertaining them, listening to them cry in the morning and taking them outside in the middle of the night. I told Jason, at least when we have kids, we don't have to get completely dressed and head outside to change a baby's diaper. I'd much rather stick a diaper on the puppies!
But they are learning and we're having fewer and fewer accidents in the house. We've got them on a feeding schedule of 9:30, 2pm and 7pm. Jason has them during the days, and myself during the evenings. I wouldn't be so worn out if I wasn't also fighting a horrible cold right now. Yesterday, it was all I could do to climb out of bed to feed them and take them outside to go potty.
Little Seven gave us a run for our money yesterday afternoon. I was outside with him and Jason was getting ready to head to small group when in the blink of an eye Seven slipped under our fence into the neighbors yard! I freaked out! I screamed for Jason to come out and help me and we frantically searched everywhere for him. It doesn't help that he's so little and solid black. As we ran next door in the neighbors yard, Seven slipped back under the fence into our yard looking for me as I was calling for him. He came running to me in the driveway and about gave us both a heart attack. I seriously don't think I've EVER seen Jason that panicked.
We study them constantly and love discovering their little personalities. Jeep is like the awkward kid in class. He falls over constantly and rolls down the stairs out back. He tries to be tough, but Seven can take him every time.
Seven is our little rascal and sharp as a tack. He's the one that's really going to give us a run for our money. He's sneaky, quick and a total cuddler. He loves to crawl into our laps and fall asleep, whereas Jeep likes to go off alone and sleep. Jeep is definitely the big brother to Seven. They both are picking up on the potty training and are even learning the command to sit.
They had their first vet appointment today and fell asleep on the examination table waiting for the vet to come in. The vet said he'd never seen puppies asleep during a visit. He said they were absolutely perfect and we did an awesome job picking them out. Jason was beaming like the proud papa he is!
And as for Banks, well she is trying to adjust as much as she can. Yesterday, she sat about 5 feet from their crate and watched them intently as they wrestled. She's completely fascinated with them, but not yet brave enough to get near them. She'll sit in the window of the guest room and watch them play. Seven tries so hard to get her to like him and play with him. She doesn't like change a whole lot, so this has been very challenging for her, but she's acclimating slowly.

So there ya go, a little update on our life the last couple days. They completely consume all our time and energy, so really they're all we think about :-)