Thursday, December 22, 2011

A year in review

2011 has been quite the year for us…let’s take a look back!

January

This was a pretty major month as I went back to work, which felt like a kid on their first day of school. The kids also started daycare. Everyone managed, but I wouldn’t say it was my most favorite transition ever. We also got a lot of snow, and I spent a lot of time driving on snowy roads. We welcomed new nephew #1 as well.

February

Our little man turned TWO. Bring it on ‘terrible twos.’ Bring. It. On. Of course he was sick on his birthday with a fever and an ear infection, and of course I had to go to class that day as well….so, let’s just not focus on this birthday okay? I was learning was a 65 hour work week felt like (and for the record, not as bad as you would think). Mike went camping in the BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area) and the temperature got to -30 (NEGATIVE 30) one night. I spent the next 2 days wondering if he froze to death (no cell towers up there). He was fine. Whew.

March

I did 123 individual tax returns in about 2.5 weeks. Thankyouverymuch. Towards the end of the month I didn’t have to work Saturdays, which was a major win. It snowed a lot, which is completely annoying in MARCH. I applied to take the CPA exam, and began the 8 week waiting period to see if they would approve me or not. Mike moved Jamba Juice stores, from an obnoxious mall, to fantastic Whole Foods.

April

On April 1st we made an offer on a house in Burnsville, MN. Short sale, so sit back and wait. On April 15th, I found out that the firm wasn’t hiring until the summer, so no concrete job offer for me. We also found out that Jamba Juice was being franchised, and on April 15th (bad day for us) found out that insurance premiums would skyrocket to $700 PER.PAYCHECK. So now we elected out of insurance.

May

I got approved to take the CPA exams. I applied for a million jobs. I studied. I hated paying for daycare when I wasn’t making any money.

June

Still studying. Interviewed with the State Revenue Department and Target. Mike interviewed with Valley Natural Foods. He got a job offer mid-June. On June 30th, I got an offer from Target. Woohoo.

July

Mike’s brother and his family came up on their way to moving to Perth, Australia. I turned 28. I took CPA exam #1, Mike started his job on July 18th, and I also started my job on July 18th. BUSY MONTH.

August

Mike turned the big 3-0. We celebrated 5 years of being married. We welcomed my brother and sister in law’s new baby (New nephew #2), on August 24th. Remember the short sale house from APRIL? It was getting close.

September

House went through!! We moved out of our current place on the 15th, and stayed at a friend’s townhouse for a week while they were in Hawaii on their honeymoon. We were very displaced. Closed on the 26th!! Yay for home ownership! This was 4 short days before my next CPA exam, and 5 days before Mike’s marathon…

October

I took BEC on October 1st. Mike ran his marathon the next day. Our little girl turned 4!! We spent the entire month painting. Literally. We rounded out the month with trick or treating in our new neighborhood!

November

Kids started a new daycare on November 1st, and it’s going well. Started REG studies, had some hiccups with the software and our computer, that made it a little obnoxious. Enjoyed a non-mall Black Friday (in the past Mike had put in a 14 hour day). Loved that there is no snow.

December

We made it! I want to sit down and do nothing for about 7 weeks, but since that’s not an option, I will just take a deep breath and smile! We have been totally blessed, and I am so grateful for the ups and downs that this year has taught us, and everything that God has brought us through! There were times we felt totally lost, but looking back everything has worked together so well. Oh and we welcomed a new nephew #3 last night as well J

Looking into 2012…

I really hope that I can get these CPA exams behind me once and for all. We are also planning on giving my student loans a big kick in the rear end! Let’s go!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I am dreaming of a Brown Christmas!

Winter is not so bad this year. This is seriously what I thought while driving home the other day in 15 degree weather. But you know what? The roads were dry, the snow is extremely minimal (…”I’m dreaming of a brown Christmas…”), and the sun was out. I’ll take it. Basically, every day that it doesn’t snow shortens our winter by that many days. Last year we got hit with our first snow storm on November 9th. I remember it very distinctly because it was a Saturday and I was going to class (Audit, actually). However that day we were having a speaker from the Minnesota Society of CPA’s come and speak during our class, and she was late, along with a lot of other students. The snow came out of nowhere and when you try to drive in 8 inches of snow that hasn’t been plowed, you need something more than a little front wheel drive car. The snow never melted after that first storm. We got hit with another 8 inches the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and then on December 11th, Minneapolis got absolutely nailed with a 17 in Blizzard. Our Christmas was SO WHITE last year it was ridiculous. The snow didn’t stop then, and we just kept getting hit over and over and over again all through January, all through February, and well into March and even a little in April. Three months of winter, reared its ugly head for 6 entire months last year.

All this to say that we just passed our 1 year 17 inch blizzard anniversary with hardly an inch of snow on the ground and I LOVE it. Actually, the temperature was almost 40 degrees yesterday and the snow has pretty much melted. We’ve already cheated winter by a month, and each day that we can shorten the annoying snowy icy drives is okay in my book. It’s not that I am this bitter person who things winter is absolutely horrifying, but I honestly do not enjoy any winter activities (unless sipping hot chocolate counts as an activity…). Okay, actually I lie, because I like sledding, but really, who does that? I am terrible at ice skating and skiing/snowboarding, no interest in cross country skiing, and running on icy sidewalks sounds about as pleasant as getting a root canal. Plus with the dark setting in at 4:30, there isn’t much I can do after work. At least safely.

So call me bitter, say it’s annoying, do whatever you wish. But I truly am dreaming of a brown Christmas, and even if I don’t get my wish I am still very grateful that we’ve cheated winter this far! And I am very grateful that tomorrow the forecast calls for rain, not snow!

Annie

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mama needs a drink

Or at least a break, because it has been one of those days! Mike has been at work since 6 am this morning and was due home over an hour ago. I actually made one of those desperate phone calls to him...the ones you make when you have a newborn..."Mike, I don't know where you are, but if you don't get home soon, I'm going to lose it on these kids."

They are just little terrors today. Yes, I think it's okay that I say that, because that is reality. Kids are sometimes terrible. I always feel like I'm flip flopping between who is the tough one and who is the "easy" one. Right now, Miles is TWO going on THREE. And if you know anything two is like a "haha, that was easy" joke compared to what a three year old is like. I've already been through it. Now Miles is definitely showing his 3-year old self. It's driving me crazy. Four is so much better so far!

It's definitely one of those days when I have no regrets about my work out of home decision because Lord knows that it keeps me sane if nothing else.

Neither has had a nap. It goes from giggles, to whines, to screams, to crashes, as things break, and to be honest, I am so far past the end of my rope that it isn't even funny. Actually, it is kind of funny, but it's not you know?

Lacey is crying upstairs and Miles just walked up to me crying. I asked him what happened and he said that Lacey pinched him...Why is Lacey crying...Well according to Miles, he hit her. Yep, see what I've been dealing with all day?

Today wasn't ALL bad, we did go out and sled in our backyard, I even took a spin down the hill. It was a lot of fun! We have a built in sledding hill...that's a bonus!

Okay...Mike just called. Hallelujah, he must have seen my 14 missed calls. Hehe. He'll be home soon, let's hope we all make it til then...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

I'm not really sure what to post about. I guess I can start by saying that I am very Thankful. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I have so, so much that I am truly grateful for. I could just go on and on really.

2011 is almost over, which is crazy to think about. I've almost been back to work for an entire year now, I've been slaving over my CPA books for 6 months with over 300 hours of studying put in, and I'm only half way (side note: hardest thing I have done in my life. ever.). I work for Target, which not only is an awesome place to shop, it's an awesome, awesome place to work. The kids are healthy, smart, and strong. They are thriving at daycare. They make me laugh every moment. Mike's job is new and challenging, and making him stretch himself which in my book, is always the point. Our relationship is strong as ever.

We bought a house! A house we love.

And then there are the little things. The everyday things...safety on the roads, jobs that pay the bills, wood burning fireplaces for the winter. Seriously, I feel so blessed.

The best part? None of this was my doing. It's all through Him. And that, that is a feeling I can't get over.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Babies & Kids

When Miles was young, everyone used to tell me "just wait, you are going to miss having a baby so much, you'll be itching for another one by the time he's two!"

WRONG.

Two has come and gone, and THREE (!!) is right around the corner, and with every passing stage I just love being out of the baby stage!

Don't get me wrong, babies are super delicious, and I really loved having them around...for a time, but it's more of a 'been there, done that' attitude. Plus with friends having babies every month, it's not like I can't see one now and then! I had a nephew in August, will have another in a couple of weeks, and another (don't know the gender, guessing nephew) in May.

SEE? Plenty of babies. That doesn't even include friends.

Okay, let's be honest too, the cost of daycare for three children is silly to think about, and since I love, love, love working outside the home, and find a ton of fulfillment in my job, well, we aren't going there!

** Can I add that it's snowing out. Both kids are napping. I have a fresh cup of coffee in my hand. Great afternoon. Now off to study 'Secured Transactions!'

Saturday, November 12, 2011

It's brewing

A new idea, it's forming, and I certainly don't talk about it around here. Not yet anyway.

The "S" word, that little word holds huge weight around here. Our "S" word is Study and my husband has had it up to his ears with "I have to go out and study..."

BUT, I've made it half way through the CPA exams. I certainly still have my work cut out for me, and am not on the downside yet, but I started entertaining the thought of not having anything to do.

What would I do with all my free time??? Answer: anything I wanted.

Which is super awesome except for a few things: Mom's never have free time. Period. So if I am not busy studying, I would be busy with something else. Secondly, if I'm not learning, I am really very bored. Third, and here is my idea brewing, Target pays for your MBA at Carlson School of Management (University of Minnesota). Not reimbursement, not we pay the $5250 max per year, they full out PAY FOR IT. As in, if you can get in, we'll give you money for books and you won't see a bill.

A free MBA.

I kinda want one, something I never thought I would want, but I can see that idea changing...

I have no idea why I can't just settle down.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Still Alive/A Day in the Life/How I do it

Something is terribly wrong when you open your Google reader and find over 100 (gulp) unread posts.

For real? I only follow like 14 blogs? Anyway, here is a post for you, since I am still alive and kickin' it.

I actually started by trying to do a Day in the Life post. You know a nice little chronicle about what I do on a daily basis? I ended up boring myself. I’ll break it down for you in a few sentences:

I wake up at 5:00, leave for work around 6:00; Study for an hour at work; work for 8 hours; study for 2 hours at Starbucks (twice a week); see my kids for 1.5 hours; put them to bed; prep things for the next day; go to bed.

Yawn. Boring. Yes, it sort of sucks, and yes I miss my kids, and yes, I miss sitting and doing nothing.

This whole “work-life balance” idea, the “make it happen” mentality. I swear it doesn’t really exist, but the fact that it doesn’t exist doesn’t stop me from trying to achieve that pot of gold. I get up every day at 5:00 a.m., and on a typical day I move for 16+ hours straight-- kids, studying, work, meetings, commuting, laundry, dinner, cleaning, baths, stories, bedtime…trust me, I feel the pull.

No, I’m not superwoman. I barely feel adequate on most days.

There are always those work to do items that get left to the way side-- floors, clothes, and dishes that, for some reason, fail to clean themselves. Laundry that has been sitting in a laundry basket, waiting to be put away, for weeks... As a list maker, and a Type-A to the core, there are tasks that never get that satisfying check mark in my planner. There is always the guilt that I’m not doing enough, or not being there enough for my kids, husband, family, or friends, when the truth is, I’m doing everything I can.

And you know what, most days I don’t care. That's right. I DON'T CARE.

I give myself permission to just Give it Up.

I like being busy, I love chaos, but at the end of the day, life is still reality. I’m not going to get everything done, and certainly not perfectly. I am going to run out of time, and miss-prioritize. Some days studying gets ahead of the kids, or the kids take precedence over studying. I must give myself permission to quit stressing over the dirty dinner dishes and stop to read my kids a story. I must quit stressing over the next chapter to study, and sit and talk with my husband. I must stop feeling like I am being a bad friend when I say “I can’t come, I have to study.” I can’t do it all, but I can do some of it.

Tomorrow really is another day. Another day to study, answer emails, spend time with people I love. Another day to reign in that ridiculous to-do list. I’ll be the first to admit that some days I am really good at this and some days I fail miserably. Who among us hasn’t gotten up at 4:00 am to get something done or who hasn’t felt like a rotten mother for snapping at our kids, when we are really stressing about something else. But tomorrow gives us another chance. Another opportunity to be the best, wife, mom, friend, colleague, and person that I can be.

That’s how I do it. How do you?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Move: Part 3

Monday (a.k.a. the day we became homeowners).



Monday started bright and early (as does every day). We had cleaning to do, packing to do, errands to run, and Starbucks venues to sit in. We got up early, Mike went on a quick run while I packed and cleaned (what a good wife). We left the townhouse around 7:15, and ventured over to Starbucks where we relaxed over pike’s place and a pumpkin scone (me), and iced espresso and pumpkin bread (mike). By 8:00, my achy and feverish self was strolling into Lowes, to return/exchange some painting supplies and take a quick gander at the fridges. From there we went to Sherwin Williams and picked up over $600 worth of paint (sounds like a mild heart attack, but we budgeted $1000 for everything, so we were happy). By then in was 9:00 and we were off to closing.



I called every single utility necessary on the way over to closing and got water, sewer, garbage, electricity, and gas all set up. (Working Mom tip: triple task everything).



Closing went off without a hitch. Everyone says there’s a million papers to sign, but I thought there were hardly any. It seemed like there were more when we were applying for the loan. The sellers showed up at closing, which I guess is rare for short sales, but it was nice to be able to ask them questions. Everyone ranted and raved about our interest rate, we hung out with our realtor for about a half hour afterwards and we were done!



Officially homeowners.



Went and got our already loaded up truck and drove to the house. We just moved everything into the garage, (thanks for your help). Then the annoying part sets in. We had to return the U-Haul truck by 4:37 pm (yes, that was our technical return time). We also had to pick up Mike’s car that he had left at work the day before, oh, and Comcast was coming from 4-6 pm. After they came we were going to grab something to eat and buy a fridge.



We left our house at 4, hoping and praying Comcast would be late like they usually are. We got gas in the U-Haul and on the way to get Mike’s car I called Comcast. They said the estimated arrival time of the Tech was 4:20…5 minutes from now. I freaked out. It figures the ONE TIME they are on time I want them to be late. So we decided I’d grab the car and run to meet the Comcast guy, and then Mike would deliver the U-Haul and wait for me to pick him up. Problem…when I got to the house there was no Comcast guy, and now when I called they said they didn’t have an ETA. Annoyed I waited around for a while, when I decided to go get Mike. On the way I see a Comcast van a few blocks away and I was on the phone with them. The guy on the phone said I was next up and it would literally be minutes until he was there. So I scurried back home. At 5:30 there still was no tech, so I called again, (at this point I have been waiting 90 minutes, and Mike is stranded at U-Haul), this time the guy on the phone said he left his last location 8 minutes ago. He should be there any minute. As 5:45 approaches with no tech, I am just hoping they’ll be late. They have until 6:00, or I get a $20 credit on my bill.



He showed up at 5:56. I am not kidding.



He was quick though and was out of there by 6:15. I told Mike to pick up Jimmy Johns which was close to where he was, and I’d meet him there. We got our food. It was delish (virtually only had that pumpkin scone up until now).



Now, a refrigerator. We needed something stainless to match the rest of the kitchen (I’m anal like that), and Mike was bound and determined to have glass shelves in the freezer. I wanted an ice/water dispenser. We didn’t want to spend much though. We initially went to the place that were delivering our washer/dryer. Two birds with one stone, but they didn’t have anything in our price range we liked. So we went to an appliance outlet that had rows and rows of fridges. We found a couple of nice ones but found out they couldn’t be delivered until the end of the week (!). So we ran across the street to Best Buy. We found an open item fridge, that met our requirements and was in our price range so we went with that one.



Then we went home and slept. Actually, we went home. I tried to dig out decently unwrinkled clothes for work, we went over the paint colors, and then we went to bed. It was a full day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Move: Part 2

Sunday-



I should first point out that I was sick. Terrible cold, running a fever, and totally and completely congested. I guess I shouldn’t have packed all of my fall/winter clothes!



So, Mike worked Sunday, and my parents were coming to get the kids to take them for the week. Mom and Dad had been at a conference in Milwaukee that ended Saturday, they went part of the way Saturday and then finished the trip to Minneapolis Sunday morning. They ended up arriving at our temporary house around 8:30 am on Sunday, with a Caramel Highrise in hand (Bless you dad). This was much earlier than I expected them to arrive, but it was also super nice. I had so much cleaning and laundry to do that I welcomed the surprise! We hung out and loaded up and then they left with the kids around 9:30. I cleaned for about an hour, when I decided I needed to do some studying. I was picking up Mike from work at 3:00 and we were doing the final walk-through at 3:30, so I decided to head down to Burnsville and study down there. I am not really sure what the point of doing a final walk through was. These people could have scribbled all over the wall and stripped the copper and what were we going to do? Some random bank in CA (okay, I think Wells Fargo/Bank of America) owns the house!



I studied at Panera for a while, but it was packed and I felt guilty because everyone seemed to be glaring at me as they strolled by my table looking for a seat. It was not my fault that there weren’t any other places to sit! Even more so it was not my fault that I was taking up an entire table with my books. That’s just life. Then I went and browsed around Home Goods/TJ Maxx. They had a lot of nice d├ęcor items, but I wasn’t ready to buy anything. They also had Theory suits, which were tempting, but I passed as well.



I went and picked up Mike and we drove over to the house. Mike had also decided that we were going to pick up the U-Haul that evening- by 5:00, so we were in a bit of a hurry. We were waiting and waiting for our realtor to show up, he is rarely late and if he is, he always texts us. We gave him a call, and he had the wrong date on his calendar, seeing that he lives a good 45 minutes away, he wasn’t coming. He gave us the lockbox code and in we went. The house has 4 different levels, so we started in the lower level. I’m walking around, going upstairs, when I walk into the kitchen and there is NO FRIDGE. At this point Mike is going to the bathroom downstairs (seriously?) and realizes the water is turned off. So he turns it on and water starts spraying out of a hose in the kitchen. I’m yelling at him to turn it off, he’s 2 levels below me and completely confused.



So they took the fridge.



Everything else looked okay though.



We called our realtor and asked about the fridge and he was going to give a call to the listing agent. We had to move it up to St. Paul to get the U-Haul. We are both completely shocked that we suddenly have to buy a fridge. We were going through all the stages of grief…anger, denial, avoidance, acceptance…As if buying a house and moving isn’t expensive enough! Our realtor calls us back and says that it was written into the Purchase Agreement that they were keeping the fridge. This was MONTHS ago, and there was always some degree of confusion about appliances with this house, so it was our own fault for not writing that into the PA. Live and learn. Now we are just stressed because we need to find a fridge!



We went and got the U-Haul that night, brought it to our old house and loaded it up. Considering it was just Mike and I, no other help, we did well. We had it loaded up in just over 2 hours. Everything fit perfectly, we could not have put one more thing in the truck! We shut the door and Mike says, I wish we had a lock for this. A light bulb went off, We do! I ran to our car and grabbed a U-Haul lock out of the glove box of our car from WHEN WE MOVED TO SEATTLE. Random right? Mike also had the key to the lock on his key ring. DOUBLE RANDOM. Sometimes I wonder how things like that actually work out. We locked it up and left it in the driveway of the old house. We would come and pick it up after we closed on the house.



We headed home, ready for the big day ahead of us!



Some lessons learned so far.



1) Expect the unexpected. Something will inevitably go wrong. Take a deep breath, adjust, and move forward.

2) There is a reason Dave Ramsey says to have an emergency fund in place when you purchase a house. We have to buy a new fridge. It’s annoying, but other than that, it’s just another bump in the road, not a derailment.

3) Picking out paint colors for an entire house is expensive, and difficult

4) You should not move into a new house 1 week before taking a section of the CPA exam. I don’t have high hopes for this one.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

OCD and such.

Last week we had our monthly team meeting. We always have some sort of ice-breaker when we begin, and this last week it was “Tell us one of your OCD tendencies.” Now, being we are in a room full of accountants this is absolutely hilarious, because we are all very TYPE A (this should really stand for type anal). One of the team members’ wife also works at Target so he pinged her to see what she had to say right before the meeting. So, I thought it would be interesting to see what Mike had to say about my OCD tendencies, since he knows me better than anyone.



So here were my OCD things I shared at the meeting:



1) I only use yellow highlighters, unless absolutely necessary. Mixing highlighter colors on the same page majorly stresses me out.

2) I only write with .5 mm ball point pens (“fine tip”), unless absolutely necessary, meaning I’ve dug through everything and can’t find anything else.

3) Obsessive list maker. These are the current lists sitting on my desk that I’ve made in the last day:

a. Morning Kids Checklist (basically everything I need for daycare)

b. To Do: Work (what I am going to do at work)

c. To Do: House (what I need to do for moving…pick out paint, set up gas/electric etc.)

d. To Do: Closing (what we need to bring to closing)

e. To Do: Study (a day-by-day breakdown of when I will be studying over the next 3 months)

f. To Do: Multiple Choice Questions (breakdown of MCQ categories I need to do before my exam).

g. Grocery List

4) Scheduling. Everything happens within the same few minutes of each other every day (like getting up and getting out the door in the morning, I am obsessive about running on a schedule).



So then that night I went home and decided to ask Mike what he thought my OCD items were. I was pretty excited since I was SURE he’d say at least one of the things listed above. I ask him and he’s thinking about it and you know what he says?



You do too much homework.



How is that OCD? Isn’t that just my life right now?



Ha. Maybe I’m not as annoying as I thought. Or maybe he’s just used to me…

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Move: Part 1

Well, we said a loving goodbye to 4919 Chicago Avenue, our home of 23 months, and begin part one of The Move. (I can't remember if I ever laid out the timeline, but basically we had a renter that needed to move in September 19th, but we can't close until September 26th. I have a friend who is vacationing in Hawaii for 2 weeks so we are cat sitting and enjoying staying at her townhouse)!

Last weekend was filled with chaos as you can imagine. Moving is always tough, you have those things that you need to use until the last minute, but then packing them always takes more space, than you plan for. Lacey peed the bed that night (seriously, it was her second time ever...great timing), so I was doing final loads of laundry in the middle of the night.

The Good:

1) We had the best. landlord. ever. at that place and he gave us our deposit and half of the September rent we paid before we were even out. No waiting time on that!

2) The kids are sharing a bed this week and so far, after 2 nights, it's going great! The first night after about 2 minutes Lacey called me in to the room and asked me "Mom, can you please find another room for Miles, I can't handle his noise." Little does she know, she is the noisy one and he falls fast asleep.

3) We have our own space here at the townhouse. We get up around 5:00 (Mike and I) and I can't imagine disrupting someone that early!

4) Our friends' townhouse has a great TV Cable/Netflix/Movie set up. Not what we are used to at all (we only have TV for movies, no channels), so we are feeling spoiled.

The Not so Good:

1) Didn't get any time at all to study last weekend. Totally not ideal when it comes this close to Exam Day.

2) Our commute is hideous. I leave the house by 6:30 am. Talked my boss into letting me off at 3:30 this week. I am probably commuting 2.5 hours a day (hour in the morning, 1.5 hours at night). Kids are troopers.

3) The cat that we are sitting is scared of the kids. I think she'll warm up to them, but I guess I don't blame her when they RUN up to her!

4)We can't pick out paint colors. We are too indecisive!!! Argh!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Passed Audit

I hate auditing. So happy I passed.

Plus with a pass rate of 43% (less than half) I feel great!

3 more (very hard) exams to go!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vacation Needed

Some days (today for example), I feel like I have been moving for the past 5 years. Not moving, like packing and moving to a new house (Although this is the NINTH time since we've been married, so that too), but moving like go, go, go, go. Never stopping. I need a vacation!! I remember when we got married and our young, naive, selves talked about taking a big vacation somewhere on our 5 year anniversary. Well, then reality sets in and kids join the family, and those big vacation dreams never happened.

Maybe at 10 years...

I mean the last time we stayed at a hotel was (hold your breath...) when Lacey was 4 months old.

I KNOW!

Well, between stress of exams, stress of buying a house, and stress of this general thing called life I have been dreaming of a vacation. Today, let's visit the South Seas...Let's go to Bora Bora.

Do you even know where Bora Bora is? I didn't. I could pretend I was smart and say it was a tropical island...which it obviously is, but I couldn't tell you where. So I had to google map it.

It's South of Hawaii. A tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean between Australia and South America, and like I said, South of Hawaii.

It may take hours to get there, but I still want to go...


Um, hello relaxation. This is amazing. It looks so quiet and peaceful. And beautiful. And Warm. And Fantastic.






A Plunge Pool (an infinity pool ON your bungalow ON the water).

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

little updates on life

Wow- Everyone seems to have kids that are heading off to kindergarten this year. Lacey wants to go SO BAD, especially because "Maya is 5 and she get's to go to school." (Yep, Maya is her best daycare friend).

At this point we've decided not to put Lacey in any sort of preschool. Being an October baby she's missed the cutoff for next year as well, so why do 2 years of preschool? Plus, I am not so sure preschool is going to teach her much she isn't already learning. She's a smart one! I think one of the most important aspects of school is the social part. When I stayed home, I felt like my kids were pretty good socially. A little slow to warm up-- but once they were comfortable no issues. However, going to daycare, being surrounded by bigger, older, louder, kids really threw them off for a while! Here they were having to become friends with an entire new group of people! During circle time at daycare they talk a lot about bullying, because as you can guess the kids can be bullies some days! What I love most is that Joyce sits everyone down, talks about what happened, talks about how that makes people feel, and talks about what you should do if that happens to you in the future. I love that last part. She told me once that she really hopes that when her kids leave and go to school, and someone says "Hey, I don't like your shirt!" That her kids can think back to Joyce's house and what they learned there and remember the best way to respond.

In other news, Miles is a dream child lately, which mostly means that the tide is about to turn, but so far I am ABSOLUTELY loving the less drama that a boy brings. Not to say that Miles doesn't have his moments, he certainly does, but Lacey's "moments" seem to last a lifetime sometimes! I am always forgetting Miles is just 2.5. I wish I could just brag on him for a minute, the kid is a freaking genius (but I'll spare you). The things he tells me and the paragraphs he speaks are freaking hilarious! I love that kid so much, plus he is such a mama's boy, so when I see him after work he just goes CRAZY talking, talking, talking to me. His current favorite thing is SPIDERMAN. He runs around the house 'getting the bad guys'

Lacey is the opposite of a dream child lately. Fighting everything. Getting dressed, brushing hair, going to the bathroom, going to bed, eating, getting in the car. Anytime we are trying to be serious, she starts going crazy and laughing and giggling nonstop. Drives me slightly nuts. I suppose it's part of her exerting her independence, but sometimes it just grates at me. I am finding that with her I really have to "engage" her in things. Like tonight, for example, I had her help me pack the linen closet. Put her in charge of a few small tasks, and she was a dream. I think I need to transition thinking of her as "little" she is certainly getting bigger and wiser and wants more responsibility and more direction. Something for me to remember and us to work on!

Finally, we got the house, inspection was clean! We move in a couple of weeks. Buying a house costs a lot of money. The End.

Friday, August 26, 2011

House...sneak peak

It took 5 very L-O-N-G months but we finally got approval on this sucker today...Hooray!



(sorry, this is the MLS picture from MARCH when we put the offer in...)

OMG---3 car garage---!!!!!-----ATTACHED-----no hiking through the snow to start my car...no brushing snow or scraping ice...no carrying the kids in the dark and cold to the car....LOVE.

Anyway, we are very happy. On the agenda for next week is:
1) Inspection
2) Lock-in Financing (interest rates are so LOW right now)!
3) I have month-end close = 10-12 hour work days for Monday-Wednesday. (boo)!

Geez. We will be busy!!

The house needs PAINT. Desperately. We have decided to try to paint the entire house, including enameling the trim work before moving it. It's certainly the best time to do it. We already have a renter for this place lined up, so the timing might be tricky. Paint it is our goal.

Maybe a few other minor fixes and repairs. Can't wait to show more pics!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

sometimes I get distracted from studying and I dream of owning this...

Toyota Highlander Hybrid

I want one so bad, but since I have no interest in a car payment, I'll keep dreaming.
For a good, long, while.



Okay, back to studying (ugh).

Saturday, August 13, 2011

up for this?

Today is the day I challenge anyone who wants kids, but doesn't yet have them, to come over and watch mine. Don't be surprised if they change your mind!

A typical day starts out really well, gradually leads to more whining and bickering as lunch and naptime comes closer, then it peaks again after naps. All is well until closer to bedtime when things start falling apart again. It's a pretty typical cycle.

You just know it's going to be a rough day when it fall apart 15 minutes after waking up. It takes all my gumption to be "up for it."

I did all I could to keep them happy. Both were short on sleep, so I wasn't completely surprised. I let them play in the bath as long as they wanted, pick out their own clothes, keeping my mouth shut regardless. I let them drag out every pillow and blanket from their beds and jump on it in the living room. Today I even rearranged the furniture in their bedrooms, since it helped keep their little minds occupied.

And now, I will relish (study) in the sweet moment that is naptime.

Ahhh....

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Well-Being snapshot

Going to try to give more complete answers, as opposed to one word phrases.

If I could say one thing to myself 10 years ago: Ten years ago i was graduating from High School. I would definitely tell myself that the best is yet to come. You will face challenges, but you’ll get over them, you will get married and have kids, but don’t try to rush that or focus on when that will happen, and you need to enjoy your time now because life won’t always be so flexible and fun!

My favorite place in the world: Any place when I am looking over a lake, sipping coffee, and eating breakfast on a comfortable summer morning. Doesn’t that sound absolutely divine?!

The lesson I keep learning over and over: We are not in control, God is. When life seems a bit bleak, He is just working out His plan. My job is to trust and be patient, which is SO hard sometimes! However, I do hope that trust and a positive outlook is something I can pass to my kids, and I suppose it will be hard to pass that a long if I never experience it huh?

The movie I watch when I want to laugh: Oh man, I have no idea? Maybe something like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, or Wedding Crashers. I am a fan of Kate Hudson.

The most scared I've ever been: Probably when we were in Washington. Mike came home from work and showed me a letter that said “Due to the recent economy, our company is reorganizing, and your position will no longer be needed….” I was 31 weeks pregnant with Miles at the time. They offered to have Mike to stay on as a “shift manager” but we were taking at least a $1000 pay cut per month. I don’t even know if we could afford rent. So now, refer back to the lesson I keep learning over and over again (above).

No one knows I: Can’t settle down, ever. (okay, my husband knows this and it drives him crazy). I am like a machine, I just don't stop...go, go, go...stay on schedule, no time for that, let's go! I push and push and push, until I get sick (literally), I just always want to have everything figured out right this minute, which most of the time is impossible. I am learning to settle for ‘mostly figured out.’ That’s the best I can do. (kids have helped me settle down a lot).

Unhealthiest thing I've ever passed off as dinner: Oh, good grief. If my husband isn’t home, I eat horrendously. Probably a few marshmallows and some coffee (don’t worry, I feed the kids a meal, why I don’t eat their meal is beyond me).

Personal philosophy: Always be creating goals, and then find a way to make them a reality--No matter what, don't settle, no regrets, don't be lazy. You will get there.

Book that changed my life: This is a terrible answer, but my Intermediate Accounting I textbook. It was when I discovered that Accounting is 1) HARD 2) Confusing and 3) not about math, it's about rules. Changed everything I thought I knew about accounting, so essentially it changed my life I guess.

I unwind by: Browsing the internet, wasting time looking at facebook, pinterest, apartment therapy, blog reading, online shopping etc. Mike has no idea how I can “waste” so much time online!

Proudest moment in my career: landing a busy season internship, and successfully completing it. Mike just told me the other day he has no idea how I did it working that much.

What keeps me up at night; Caffeine. (serious, I’ve made coffee at 5;00 pm against my better judgement). Also movie watching, and browsing the internet. I should probably add “trying to figure life out” I don’t sleep that well, I can’t really shut down easily. Lacey takes after me in this way, she calls me into her room over and over again, to ask a random question or shoot the breeze with me. Mike and Miles on the other hand shut off immediately. In fact once I turn off Miles’ light, I usually lay down in his bed with him. He says “mommy, leave.” To which I reply “not until I get a kiss” So he gives me a kiss and then asks for a hug as well

I define "downtime" as: Downtime is mostly when I am doing absolutely nothing, and there is nothing I should be doing. This happens, never, because you know, I can always study!

Coffee or tea? Coffee. Definitely. Lots and lots of coffee.

Guiltiest pleasure: I would have to say doing/buying something for myself. Kids are expensive, and they are the ones who grow out of everything in their closet every season, so often, they get the new stuff, and I keep the same stuff year after year. Some of my guiltiest pleasures are shopping for ME; finding new, comfortable, work shoes, getting stuff on major sale, a fresh haircut/color, and a venti soy no water chai…If I can go shopping, grab a chai, and then sit down for a cut/color, I would be in heaven. A girl can dream right?

My mom was right about: letting your kids grow up is the hardest part about being a parent. I remember seeing books with titles like “Give Them Wings” when I was in high school. But my parents had it spot on. They are so good about letting Mike and I vent about our problems, but have never offered unsolicited advice. In fact, there have been times I have wished she would just tell me what to do, but she doesn’t. Which turns out for the best, because only we know what is right for us, and only we can navigate and figure it out. Now that I am a parent, seeing them become older and more independent is definitely a hard process, but it’s also rewarding.

My mom was wrong about: not much...

The last time I lost my temper was: Last week at Mall of America. I am not going to lie, having a 2.5 and a 3.5 year old is, as Mike puts it, wicked. It was a rainy morning and we decided to take the kids to annoying MOA to go on a couple of rides. The mall had just opened so we thought it would less busy. We were dead wrong. It was total chaos. Initially the kids were fine, but once we got out of the stroller to go on a ride, getting back in was not an option for them. Screams. Then Lacey pinched her finger in the stroller. More screams. We left with 2 screaming kids, through the parking ramps, where some lady had the audacity to ask us if she could have our parking spot. For realz? Do two harried parents, with 2 screaming toddlers really look like we are in the mood. We had both kind of lost it.

My favorite moment of the day: I love waking up on a semi-chilly morning, after getting enough sleep and everyone else is still sleeping, and drinking those first few sips of coffee.

I wish I had more time for: DIY projects. So many ideas, so little time. oh, and I wish I had time to run.

I'm currently reading: Wiley CPA Exam review: Business Environment and Concepts. It sucks and is dreadfully boring in case you were wondering. I am currently studying derivatives and hedging. Good times.

Home means: It definitely means where I can be myself and just relax!

Friday, August 5, 2011

to Catch Happiness

**I wrote this post a couple of days ago at my lunch break. Though I'd better get it posted!

...

For some reason I have this quote written down in the front cover of my CPA book, it’s by Benjamin Franklin it says “The Constitution only gives people the right to happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”

Hmmm. I must have written it down because it resonates with me, so here I am at my lunch hour thinking about it (basically because the thought of studying right now makes me want to scream). Mike and I are on the cusp of buying our first house. I finally (finally!) have a good job. Mike just started a new job, more in tune with his passions, and the kids are happy at daycare. At the moment life appears stable. It probably looks pretty darn good actualy, rest assured we still have anxiety builders!

Something I am learning is that perfect stability is constantly eluding us. At the moment, the big things are in order, but the little things are constantly surrounding. The fact that I never have a list of go-to sitters (and I could really use one everyday this weekend), which leaves Mike and I juggling our schedules constantly. The fact that our shocks need to be replaced on our car, because I went over a pothole last week. Our daycare is closed for a week in August and guess who has no vacation to take off, so we are juggling what to do with our kids. If we actually end up buying this house and move we need to find a new daycare, that's major stress. Our to-do list, is far longer than our we-did list. It can really go on. Trust me, we do love our life, but some days its hard finding happiness in the day to day things. The broken cars, the messy house, the endless laundry, the grocery shopping...

The biggest and best example I can think of is when we moved to Seattle. We moved there for no good reason, except that we were so over Minneapolis and we wanted a change. That in and of itself is fine. But looking back, we thought that getting out of MN, getting out of the snow and the cold, the in-laws I don’t mesh with, the mundane day to day life would make us happier. In hindsight I see that Mike and I were coming off of getting married, starting back at school, getting pregnant, having a baby, we were just bored. Oh the lessons we learn!

Seattle did not make us happy. It didn’t make us unhappy either. But Seattle was no different than Minneapolis (except more expensive). We still went to work every day, still had complaints about the weather or the traffic or the fact that there weren’t any Super Targets (ha-ha…seriously though, Seattle- what is up with that?). I was still overwhelmed with a baby and being pregnant, we never had a day off without Lacey (my first time away from her was when I was in the hospital having Miles). It was the same. It was good, but it was hard. Let's face it, sometimes life is hard, and un-exciting.

We are approaching our 5 year anniversary in a couple of weeks. The time has really flown, but we have been juggling and figuring out from day one. That’s life. That is how we have adjusted to life. I am starting to learn that there will always be juggling. There will always be to-do lists, and chores, and day-to-day. There will be mountains. However I have learned one thing. Houses, Jobs, cities, conveniences, and things do not make a person happy. We are so often looking to "the next big thing" The house we want to buy, the new car, the new computer, the new furniture, fridge, etc. etc. etc. that we forget to just stop. breath. enjoy. To “catch” happiness, it’s very possible that we need to look at our mundane, day to day lives, and appreciate the exact moment we are in.

Like for example this morning in the car on the way to daycare Lacey was singing “Christmas time is hear, Christmastime is here” to the tune of Deck the Halls. That was pure happiness.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Work-Life Balance...that thing we call "life"

I don’t have any mom-friends in Minneapolis that work full time outside the home. It can be a little lonely, feeling like have a huge portion of my life that is so foreign to so many of my friends. I sometimes feel like I am out on a branch, alone. Of course we are all overwhelmed in one way or another, and trying to walk that fine line between “family time” and “me time," to strike that perfect balance, but it’s hard to not have anyone who can totally relate. Anyway, I’d like to share some of my thoughts on work life balance, keep in mind I am not a writer, so these thoughts may be kind of random. I'm learning how to balance everything as I go!

One thing I learned recently is that people can be "Amazing at 3, Great at 5." This refers to the number of “hats” we are wearing. What this means is that if you try to wear more than 5 hats, you are likely either not going to wear it well, or your other hats won't fit quite as well. I think there is some wiggle room for each individual. For example I wear 4 hats – Wife, mother, employee, and CPA student. Every time I try to take on something else, maybe volunteer my time, or try to get into a new exercise routine, something else suffers a bit. (Of course if any of you are like me, you understand that the roles of Wife and Mother also mean by default you are the household Accountant, Financial Manager, Events and Activities Director, Social Coordinator, and Dietician). I suggest that you take some time to think about what or number is and evaluate whether you are taking on too much. I have found that 4 is all I can realistically wear. I can try to be a dedicated runner, or a very social person, always available to hang out, but I can only do those things at the expense of my other hats.

In all honesty, I would rather be wearing 3 hats, and then the option of changing around that 4th hat, depending on the day, but that's not life at the moment. Which brings be to another takeaway, some of our hats are just momentary. I won't always be studying. After I pass these exams (so like at minimum 9 months from now...), I won't be studying for a LOOONG time. I'll always be a mother, but my kids (sadly) won't always need me like they do now, etc. So enjoy the roles you are in now. They'll always be changing. If you don't think you are wearing enough hats, pick up some more!

The other thing on my mind is getting rid of the guilt. Mom’s LISTEN UP—I’m talking to you here! We all have that guilt! We feel guilty when we have to work late, we feel guilty when we serve mac and cheese or chicken nuggets for the second time that week, or when we drop our kids off at daycare or school with a low grade fever. Yes, I’ve done the last one!

So how can we remove the guilt? I think the answer is different for everyone, but the most important thing is that we all need to be OK with the choices we make. I know that's the answer for me.

I will not be home to take my kids to library story time, but I do read books to them every night. I can't make the birthday parties that are thrown on a random Tuesday, but we can still celebrate birthdays by picking up a special gift for a friend. I can't make 4 course gourmet meals, but I can sneak ground up spinach into their spaghetti sauce. I'm learning to be OK with these things because I firmly believe that my choice to be a working mom makes me a better mom, and as a better mom, I can be a better role model for my daughter and my son. These are choices I have made and I am happy with all of them, while I realize that many of my choices do no resonate with others, my being okay with them, is what is going to give me the confidence to shape my life into what I want it to be.

Are you okay with the decisions you've made? Do you wear them proudly? Are you wearing too many hats?

Friday, July 29, 2011

About a Pet

Yesterday, Lacey, my 3 year old, found 2 small frogs at daycare. I’m sure you have seen this type hopping around, they are probably less than 1 inch in length. Of course she catches them and calls them her friends. She also doesn’t understand how fragile a 1 inch frog is, and she almost immediately kills it, so now she has a limp frog, which is still special to her. This means they have to come home with us. Now, I didn’t pick her up yesterday. Mike did, and I guess she refused to get in the car, until he let her put the dead frogs in her backpack.

When she got home she was SO EXCITED. (I am going to stop right here and tell you that I refuse to think about the fact that she was carrying around dead frogs, and then eating a snack, with her hands, on the way home. Note: keep antibacterial wipes in the car). She couldn’t wait to show me the frogs. I must have thought “tell”, but she indeed meant “show” so when she reached into her backpack clutching the dead frogs, I nearly had a heart attack.

I’m not sure what scared her more, the fact that I was screaming about 2 dead frogs she was clutching, or the fact that I was telling her they were dead. It was very traumatizing for all of us. Lots of raised, freaked out voices, and crying ensued. Finally Mike forced her to release her grip of death on the frogs, and into the trash they went. And I forced her and miles to the bathroom to scrub those little hands, a few times. She was so sad, because these were her special friends and she loved them. She wanted to take care of them.

So that made me think that we should get a pet.

A goldfish- cheap, but she would probably try to carry it around, therefore killing it. And I know I can’t handle another dead creature in her hands. Plus I have visions of fighting over who gets to feed the fish (or secretly feeding the fish when I am out of the room and fish flakes and a spilled fish bowl everywhere).

A hamster/guinea pig- also cheap. I don’t want to clean a cage though, and I certainly don’t want to have an animal that can get lost in my house, not into finding a dead hamster under the couch! Or, for that matter, I am not into an animal that can die if it accidentally gets stepped on. Pretty likely in my house.

A cat- I don’t like cats.

A dog- expensive, but we want one anyway, maybe now? Then I started reading about leaving them alone during the day, the cost, the risk that even the best kid-friendly dogs, may never really be kid friendly, it’s a chance you take. Plus, puppies are a ton of work, but I read if you have kids it’s best to have the dog introduced to them as a puppy. I have visions of chewing and jumping going on. Not sure I am okay with that. Then what size of dog. I want a smaller dog, like 15 pounds. Mike wants a dog he can run with. I want a smaller dog so it can’t knock over the kids as easily, mike thinks the kids would hurt the small dog accidentally. I want a golden doodle, but they are over $1000. I thought about going with a golden retriever, but apparently they shed a lot. Ugh. Dog on hold.

I asked Lacey last night when I was putting her to bed if she wanted a pet to take care of. “Yes!” She said. “ I want a unicorn.” I started to tell her that unicorns can’t be pets, when she interrupted me and said “I want a purple unicorn pillow pet.”

I’m sold.

Friday, July 22, 2011

week one down!

Well, our "Staycation" Miles got pink eye from the Children's Museum. We spent Saturday running him to Target Clinic, and Sunday Mike and I were stressing about Monday. Fail.

Anyway...

First week at Target HG is over! What a relief. It's always nice to have that first week over. To be honest, I didn't do much, except drink a lot of water...let me explain.

Target has it's own culture. Like it's VERY OWN culture. First, they are VERY into well-being. That's where the water comes in. We are all given these 32oz Target water bottles, and shown the water stations. Which are everywhere. Drink up!

The next thing that is interesting is the cafe. All of the campus locations have their own Target Cafe, but this isn't your typical cafe food. First, part of the cafe is like walking through the produce/deli section at Target. All of the Archer Farms products you can think of. The other part is like high end cafeteria food. Labeled in categories such as: Vegetarian; Vegan; Fresh from the Farm: Well Balanced; and Low Carb.

Speaking of things at headquarters. Target also has a bank, clinic, Starbucks, post office, merchandise store, printing place (think kinkos), dry cleaning, and Wells Fargo ATM's at their HQ location. It's literally a city in a building.

Of course all of that is nice and great perks, but you sacrifice not knowing everyone. I've always worked in offices where every face has a name, so this will be a little strange, but overall I will like it!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Staycation...sort of.

At the current moment, Mike and I are both unemployed. Which actually is super cool because it will only last until Monday. Plus, this is the first weekend in over 3 years, that he has off AND he won't be getting calls from Jamba Juice (even when he wasn't working he was ALWAYS getting called). Plus its going to be 95 degrees out, so if he were working, he would be working FOREVER.

We wanted to go somewhere or do something, but we were out of town last weekend, my parents just had the kids for a week, and we don't want to spend much money. So staycation it is!

Today we were going to start by meeting some friends at the lake, but as of right now it's dark and stormy out...hopefully that clears up soon. Then we were going to go to the zoo. The Como Zoo, which is free, but also sort of sad, but yeah, free.

Tomorrow I think we are going to hit up the Children's Museum in St. Paul. I've only been once, when I was a kid, and I distinctly remember it. I LOVED IT. I know the kids will adore it. I also want to hit up Teddy Bear park in Stillwater, so hopefully we can do that too.

Otherwise we are going to be doing the regulars...laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping. Basically getting everything ready for our "first days of work" I hope I can remember to take a photo of us, I mean how many couples start new jobs on the same day??!

I'll maybe surprise you by bringing my camera and posting pictures? Wouldn't that be a shocker!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vanity Sizing

Did you know that today's size 8 is the size of a 14 in the 1970's.

You maybe didn't want to know that. But some of us [me], cannot find clothes to fit. Mike didn't believe me until I tried on a Size 0 work pants from Limited and it was seriously LAUGHABLE. I looked completely ridiculous. My options include nothing outside of high end designer jeans/dress pants that are $220, and while $220 jeans look super cute and I am positive I would like them, I can think of a million other things to spend the money on.

Gap Kids always has jeans...with elastic adjustable waists...eww + embarrassing.

I am actually starting to wonder if shoe designers are also "vanity sizing." I used to wear a 6.5-7, then a 6, and now comfortably a 5.5. It's the strangest thing. Also, Mike, my husband, weighed 155 when we met 6 years ago. At that time he wore a 33"-34" waist. Today? He still weighs in at 155 and is down to a 30" waist.

Anyway...back to my point. Today I was at GAP and they were having amazing sales on jeans. GAP does make Size 00, which is still a bit large, but manageable (please, please, please shrink a bit...what can I say, I have no hips). So I bought 4 pairs of jeans for $35 (okay so wearing 00 has its advantages, like they always have your size). They were originally $70 each, so I was pumped.

Plus I got a pair of city ballet flats for $4.99...originally $40.

$320 of stuff for $39.98. So get yourself down to GAP and get some deals.

On a side note, in Minnesota we seriously wear long-sleeves for 9 months out of the year...all year if you work in an air conditioned office. I am desperately waiting for "fall" stuff to come out so I can buy some new work clothes!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Everything coming together.

I guess I can officially spill the beans. I got a new job! Yep, that's the BIG news. Sorry it isn't more exciting for everyone, but it is VERY exciting for me!

I'll be working for Target Corp.

Let's start at the beginning...

It was nearing the end of March and I was eagerly awaiting the end of busy season, a hefty job offer, and starting the CPA exams. Mike and I also had saved up a good chunk of money for a down payment on a house and we started looking.

Of course we found one. Although it was a short sale. We figured that was okay because we really liked the house and decided we were willing to wait. I am not sure how the short sale process works in each state, but in Minnesota, you and the seller sign a purchase agreement and then it goes to the bank for approval. The seller only signs one PA, so if you aren't the first offer they sign, you're considered a back up offer. We wanted to be first. We signed the PA on April 1st.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. Busy season is over and I am heading into my exit interview. I did not get an offer. No one did. We got the "we aren't sure what our fall staffing needs are in this economy. We will be waiting to present offers at the end of the summer. If you were to be given an offer you would start in January 2012, not this fall." Honestly, I wasn't completely depressed about it. I mean working 65 hours a week for a few months is crappy. But I still wanted the security of knowing I had a job! Plus, we had that signed PA on a house that we really wanted...

On that SAME DAY that I didn't get the offer, Jamba Juice franchised the Minneapolis stores. This was something we knew was coming, but didn't know what the effects would be until it actually happened. My biggest fear was that we wouldn't have health insurance. When we found out they were offering insurance we were thrilled. Until we found out that for an entire family, it was going to be $700 per paycheck. We just about had a heart attack and decided to drop it. We also made to much to qualify for state insurance, so we were stuck.

So I started job-hunting. Have you tried looking for a job as an entry-level professional in this economy? My goodness it's rough! Plus I was/am picky. I turned down a few lower paying jobs, but at the end of the day couldn't find anything I needed. Then, at the beginning of June our realtor called us and said the bank wanted to close on the house June 30. This sucked. We went ahead and got all the paperwork together on our end and just waited for written confirmation from the 2nd and 3rd mortgages. We waited, and waited, and waited some more. We are still waiting. So the June 30th close date never happened.

Also happening during June was interviews! I finally quit applying to so many places and decided to just focus on studying. I was contacted by the MN Department of Revenue as well as Target. I went through the interview process with both. The Revenue job was on hold since a government shut-down was a possibility (and subsequently happened...and is happening). So that left the Target job, which might as well be like interviewing at Microsoft or Google. Every stage of the interview I thought I had failed. But I kept getting pushed through round after round. It was the most stressful 3 weeks of my life! Finally on June 30th they called and gave me an offer! I was/am thrilled. This means 40 hour work weeks, benefits, NO BUSY SEASON, and tons and tons of opportunity. Plus, 10% discount on everything! Oh, and Target pays well! They are matching what I would have been making at the firm! It also means that as we keep waiting for the house, we can keep on saving and building up our savings account in order to have more to work with once we move in.

Also, ironically the day after I accepted the offer I got my student loan statement in the mail. For the first time it hit me. I have a lot of student loans (that I am confident I can pay off in the next 18 months), I don't have the option of working right now. I realized that I gave up the option to stay at home in April of 2009 when I went back to school and took out loans. The Lord knew what he was doing, giving me that offer just before I got that final statement in the mail!

Finally, Mike is leaving Jamba Juice. He also interviewed during June and accepted an offer to manage at a co-op. I'm excited that he'll be working more closely with food, which is his passion, especially natural and organic food.

So, things are finally coming together. It was a rough couple of months for us with all of the unknowns. We were definitely stretched faith-wise. I learned so much about the faithfulness and the goodness of God. He really does have everything ordained for us, and I am learning to trust His timing above mine. He is the reason everything is working out for us. Believe me, I did not get this job on my own!

So, now I will take some time to drink my lemonade. Everything feels like it is clicking for us right now and I am going to drink it up. Because the good times, just like the bad times, come and go. I may as well enjoy them while they are here!

Friday, July 1, 2011

JULY

Remember my post about wanting June to be over?

Well it is, and I have some happy things to report in the next week! Sorry to make people wait, but you'll just have to!

Anyway, on this first day of July there are a few interesting things going on in Minnesota, namely the government shut down. No one can come to an agreement and it's becoming a blame game. Unfortunately now all the State Parks, rest areas, and DMV's are closed. Perfect right before the 4th of July weekend. Also 36,000 people are without jobs, and those same people, plus many more in the state, are also without health care. I heard on the radio this morning that everyone with state funded heathcare will be turned away for treatment unless it is life threatening. It's really sad.

It's also almost 100 degrees out. I swear, here in MN we get the craziest weather extremes! Where else in the country can it be -40 and 6 months later be 100? Not many places. Although this heat sucks and I would DIE without AC, I can't say I totally mind it. I mean, I would much rather deal with 100 degrees than dealing with freezing cold and icy snowy roads!

Mike's brother and his wife and their 3 kids are moving to Australia on Sunday, so they are up here right now. My parents are coming up tomorrow to celebrate my birthday, my birthday is on the 4th, I take my first section of the CPA exam on the 6th, and Mike's little brother is getting married on the 8th. So between finding time to spend with all these people, I am trying desperately to study, and keep my house clean. It is good! BUT CRAZY.

So now I am off to create a spreadsheet to see how quickly I can pay off my student loans. I'll study some more, and then go shopping for a new dress for the wedding next week! Happy Friday!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Foggy Coffee-less brain

1) Wake up and drive to Starbucks to study. Turned on the wrong road. Had to turn around (result of no coffee).

2) Walking in the door of Starbucks, to realize I forgot my wallet at home. Crap. (result of no coffee).

3) Wait, I can use my phone to pay. Score.

4) Pay with my phone. Leave my keys at the counter. (result of no coffee).

5) Finishing my first cup, about to go get a refill. Now I think I can start to actually study.

I am a walking mess unless I get coffee flowing through my veins first thing in the morning!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Get a little uncomfortable....please?

You know, Mike and I get on these kicks. For example, watching adventure documentaries on Netflix...it's a bit strange, but it's like a drug. Can't get enough.

A while back we read "Into Thin Air" the popular book about the 1996 Everest Disaster. So when I saw that there was a documentary about it, made in 2008, we were excited to watch it. It was slightly slow moving, and a little bit too much string music in the background, but the fact that we had read the book and were putting faces and names of the survivors together, it was captivating.

The thing about the 1996 tragedy is that is probably could have been prevented. Of course after watching it, Mike and I were analyzing that fact. Suddenly, I found myself saying:

"Change only happens when you're uncomfortable. If you're never uncomfortable, you'll never change."

It's almost embarrassing that I find myself saying it, but hate living that. So often we complain about the job we have, or the fact that we are out of shape, or want to lose a few pounds. Maybe, someone wishes they had a different educational degree, or had a bigger savings account. But if you step back and look at your life, changing any of those things forces you to be uncomfortable. You have to work at it. You want to get in shape and run a race? Guess what, getting in shape sucks, it will make you uncomfortable. You want to go back to school? Guess what, going back to school, after you've done it once, sucks. You'll question yourself constantly. Finding a new, hopefully better job, will probably be stressful, and make you re-think everything, including you're competencies.

But who says that is bad? Who wants to sit at home and just...sit? Don't you want to be drinking from life? Trying new things? Making the uncomfortable become comfortable?

I do. It might still be painful, but at least its not boring.

I hate boring.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

june randoms

So June has not wrapped up, therefore every area of my life is still in balance. Throw a few other things on top and well...it's fun. In a crazy, stressful, fun sort of way.

Weekly Randoms:

I've got a new hobby, and it's searching Craigslist for free things. I have found a lot of great things, but haven't actually gone to get anything. The other night though Mike and I went "alley cruising" and we found a sweet desk from this old couple that they had on their lawn for free. We have to refinish it, but it will be much better than the little fake-wood, Target number I currently use. I suppose I should just do one project at a time though, as to not be the person who starts everything and never finishes.

I'd say my second new hobby is reading biographies of popular companies. I read "It's Not About the Coffee" (Starbucks), "On Target" (Target Corp), currently have "Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs" (Apple), and that will be followed by "Onward" the new book by Howard Schultz (Starbucks), you've seen it at the register if you've stepped into a Starbucks in the last 3 months.

*and if you haven't been in a Starbucks in the last 3 months....I'm sorry. But I suppose since I am studying all the time, it makes sense that I am there every day.

Miles needs a haircut so, so bad. Lacey is growing up too fast, and acting way to much like a girl, and not like a toddler anymore. We were walking the other day and I said, Hey Lacey look at our shadows. She responds: Mom, we have shadows because the sun is out and it's behind us so it makes the shadow on the sidewalk. Ummm...seriously? Who told her that?

Anyway, life is good. A bit fragile between enjoying the adventure, and stressed out that everything is falling out from under us. Resting in the knowledge that God knows what he's doing and when the floor gets put back under our feet. We'll be in awe of how great everything worked out.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Crazy town June

June has just begun and I seriously can't wait for it to be over. We have so many things happening this month, it's absolute crazy town in our house.

Exciting things none-the-less.

But with change come stress, and lots of it. We are currently turned upside down, but hope to be back to being straightened out and standing the right way in a couple of weeks.

Couple our crazy town life with the fact that Mike's brother and his family are moving to Australia at the end of the month, so they will be visiting one last time, My birthday is July 4th, My first CPA exam (EEK) is July 6th and Mike's other brother is getting married July 8th...we're busy.

"The truth about security, is that there is no such thing as security" I read that quote the other day and couldn't agree more. It seems like as soon as things get comfortable and stable, life throws a curve ball. I'm making some lemonade.

I've been back at running a few times a week and it's helped me tremendously. On the days I don't run I usually do 30-day shred. I feel great.

I got my haircut yesterday. 3-4 Inches of dead ends are gone. Its a bit shorter than what I've been used to, but it looks and feels much better. I'm cool with that.

Until next time...

Friday, May 27, 2011

The best quote I've read in a while.

"When challenges come, we accept them, learn from them, chop and puree those damn lemons into something sweet and likewise, when the good and easy comes, we drink it in gulps knowing that, like hardships, it won't last forever."

From Kelle Hampton's latest blog post over at Enjoying the Small Things.

I love this. It acknowledges my state and perfectly sums up life.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Marathon-2011

Mike ran it in 2:55:58, a personal best.
Good enough for 25th place overall;
23rd Male;
7th in his age group.

You can read his review of it here.

Can I just say I am so proud?

Mike does 100% of his training outdoors and
we had the world's LONGEST, SNOWIEST winter this year.

Plus, I started work in January
(and worked a TON).

He moved to a new store March 1st.

Jamba Juice was also bought out on April 12th.

So needless to say he's had a lot on his plate.

I think he only did one "long run" of about 18 miles.

ONE.

And he still got a PR. Geez.

I'm Proud.

Pics to come.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mama needs a time out.

Our New Family Member (a.k.a. Miss Joyce...our daycare lady), had the unfortunate luck of having a large kidney stone this week. She was getting it surgically removed today. This means that I have been taking a (very unfortunate) break from studying, to play Mom again.

(First of all, can I just say that this break from studying is a major blow. It's costing a few thousand dollars to take these exams and I am having a hard time accepting that studying isn't coming easy this week.)


Whew....I am so out of practice at this mom thing! Between the pushing (Lacey to Miles, and Miles' retaliation), the Mac and Cheese getting dumped on the floor (Miles), the taking of every.single.toy. out of the toy box (Lacey), and the constant hum of whining (both), crying (both), and "maaamaaa!!" (both). I am absolutely exhausted.

As I sip my FOURTH cup of coffee I can't help but think that:

I haven't exercised once.
I've raised my voice too many times.
Hid in my room quite often.
Tried going to Target yesterday and turned right around.
etc...etc...etc.

By the end of the day I.am.beat.
I need to run these kids to exhaustion, but they are doing it to me!

It's amazing how these little rascals can take so much energy!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

My 4th Mother's Day.

Maybe my 5th, but to be honest I don't count the year Lacey was a baby in my tummy. At the very least I didn't take a Dove Bar at church that Sunday back in 2007.

My first Mother's Day I was alone with Lacey. I dressed her in this cute (dorky) striped pants, matching striped hat, and a onsie that said "my heart belongs to mommy." I loved that outfit, I think I kept it. Just couldn't part with it.

We had just moved to Seattle and Mike was only about 2 weeks into his new job and had to work that day. I remember sitting at home in our furniture-less condo, without a car (cause we had crashed it in Montana), and feeling supremely blessed.

Not much has changed. The blessed part that is.

Today I sat here, and thought what a privilege it is to be able to get them dressed in the morning, make them meals, have them sit with me, and play with them. All those things, those mundane everyday things, that sometimes get old, and sometimes drive me a little bit batty. I get to do them.

A little awestruck that Someone believed me capable of raising these 2 peanuts.

Yes, my heart is full. I am feeling supremely blessed.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Looking for a Hobby

I've decided that I need to take up a hobby. Something simple, and enjoyable.

Whenever I am asked what I do for fun I have nothing to give. It usually goes something like "uh, I like to run." or "I have been busy studying..." Pathetic answers I tell you.

Because the truth is that yes, I spend far too much time studying. Now that I am in the middle of studying for the AUD section of the CPA exam I eat, sleep, and breath control risk modules, management assertions, and types of substantive procedures. (Trust me, it's good you have no idea what I am talking about).

And although I like to run, let's be honest. Full-time mom of 2 very dependent kids, and Full-time employee/CPA exam taker leaves zero time to go on a long lazy run. Let's not forget the fact that the weather has been terrible since November and I don't have the luxury of a gym membership (No time to go, even if I did...what, put my kids in daycare all day then throw them in the gym daycare? no), so it's hardly an option running in sub-zero temps.

Anyway, back to the hobby. I think I want to work my way through this book:



Mother's day is coming up, so I might need to plant some seeds in some ears this next week.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Valleys

I am not completely sure how to get this post out, I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately and I just need to attempt at writing down my thoughts.

You know how some times, life can be moving along swimmingly? Things are clicking, you've got direction, security, you're just plain happy. Then a valley hits.

I am so in the middle of a valley right now.

It just feels that a lot of things have gone "wrong" for us in the past couple of weeks, making it hard to celebrate the good. There is good, it has been over-shadowed by gloominess, and loss of direction. I am exhausted, and overwhelmed, and just plain tired.

(really, I am sure my blood pressure is through the roof because I am in a constant state of stress).

We've been in valley's before. God has always directed us through them, sometimes when I look back I think about how "stuck" I thought we were and I smile at how we came out. I thank God every day for where he's brought us, but it's still a faith tester and a faith builder.

Tonight I watched "Girls Night Out." It was some country music special on TV, and since I have nothing else to do on a gloomy, rainy, cold Friday night I watched it. I love country music, so it really was fun for me to watch. Anyway, towards the end of the show Carrie came up onstage, with all her class, and sang How Great Thou Art. It was beautiful and a great reminder that I am not in charge, there is Someone much greater who is.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I stopped into Starbucks, a.k.a. my absolute favorite place to be in the morning with no kids, yesterday morning.

While I was sitting their sipping my Americano and checking email a younger gal walked in and, while I don't normally pay too much attention, let me tell you she was IN SHAPE. Super toned legs.

My first thought was not....Wow isn't she lucky.....no. My first thought was...."Well she obviously doesn't have kids"....no wedding ring on her finger so I am guessing no kids.

And it's not like you can't be in shape and have kids, you can, and many people are, its just that finding the time is a TERRIBLY IMPOSSIBLE GOAL.

I already wake up at 5:15 every morning. What time would I possibly get up to exercise? By the time 8:00 hits and I am getting to work, I've already been up for 3 hours, taking care of other little people.

I'll say it again...kids are awesome, great, fantastic. I wouldn't not have kids for anything. But mom's put themselves second. They just do. No getting around that. Even if you are not a selfish person, you become much less selfish after kids.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My hair = damaged. So I bought this and it cost me $25. I know, I just about died too. It probably has some gold in it for all I know. But so far it's worth it.

Wheatgrass. This stuff is SICK. It literally tastes like you are drinking grass, that you just mowed. But it IS SO FREAKING GOOD FOR YOU. So I've started taking it everyday. Helps that I don't have to pay for it. It's expensive.
IZZE. This is my favorite thing. Ever.