Saturday, December 29, 2012
I decided it was time for a little blog update!
She is a chocolate golden doodle. (no, not a labradoodle-- a golden doodle). We really wanted a chocolate one and they are hard to come by. But we found a breeder in Wisconsin and she miraculously had 2 chocolate puppies in her liter, so we bit the bullet.
Lacey loves her so much and is really good with her, Miles gets her riled up constantly. She bites everything, but other than that we have no complaints. Pretty good on the housebreaking front, only a rare accident, and probably less than a handful since we brought her home. However, taking her on walks when it's 10 degrees out and dark leaves something to be desired.
Which brings me to a brief interlude on that fact that I utterly despise winter. I hate the cold, I hate the snow, and I hate the things that go along with that. I'm constantly thinking of where I'd move. Problem is, most places that are decent in the winter, are overwhelmingly hot in the summer. I seriously need to become a Snowbird. Otherwise, I can hear the west coast calling my name again in 5-10 years. I adored Seattle- even if it had it's little quirks :)
Here are some pictures of the kids. Proof that they exist and are doing well. Lacey turned 5 in October. Miles will be 4 in about 6 weeks (although the fact that he is just as tall as his sister, and will bigger feet, size 11.5, I wouldn't say anyone treats him like a 3 year old...). Time goes fast. Each age is my favorite and I hope I can say this at least until they are teenagers.
Mike got me a Garmin for Christmas. I don't know if I've posted it on here much, but I started back into running (well, if you ignore the past week and a half when I haven't done anything). My long runs are up to 7 miles. No races on the calendar, I just want to get through February and then I'll think about racing again. To stay motivated I keep buying new work out clothes. Target's C9 by Champion brand has come a long way, it's fabulous. You know why it's good? Because all those designers at Target know Lululemon like the back of their hand. They are just trying to deliver. Since I'm getting the motherload of gift cards in a couple of weeks ($1000 to Target!!!), I'll probably buy the entire line. That will hopefully keep me motivated through February. The gym in my building at work helps too. Otherwise, workouts don't happen. I know this. I've been a mom long enough.
I have nothing else to chat about I guess. I am heading to the store to buy a North Face vest (most likely). Maybe I'll watch some more HOD reruns. If you haven't watched that show, DO IT!
Happy New Year!
Thursday, September 27, 2012
1) Get that exam scheduled a.s.a.p. My test date was August 6th, this was 13 months from the day I took my first exam. I figured the "6th" had served me well before, and it would serve me well again :).
2) Line up care for my kids, so that they'd be able to be away the week before this last exam. It's not fair to anyone when they have to be around me the week before this test. Plus, the 3 exams I had passed, they had all been away for the week before. The 2 that i had failed, they had been home. Trend? I think so.
3) Study- no brainer right? But I had to decide if I wanted to watch all 50 hours of lectures again. I didn't want to, oh how I didn't want to, but I did anyway.
4) Run! I started running again- 3-4 days a week, but it really clears my mind and I needed something else besides working and studying to fill my days. This was probably the best choice I made in the exam process.
So anyway, I got down to studying. I started June 5th and my exam was Aug 6th, so like I mentioned I gave up my entire summer. Honestly, by this time I was just always in a study mode. It had been over a year, and while it wasn't easy, and was certainly not fun, it was what it was, and I just was in such a groove you couldn't get me to change. Maybe some of that last test motivation was kicking in after all.
This time I did buy Ninja notes from Another 71. I highly recommend them. I read 20 pages of notes every single night before going to bed, over and over and over. I probably read the packet 20 times at least (I had it in my ibooks so it was super handy).
The weekend before the test, I studying 17 hours. It was tiring. My exam was monday morning so Sunday I made sure to only study until noon, giving my head a rest for the remainder of the day. Monday I woke up, and went to Starbucks for coffee/oatmeal and then headed to the test.
The excellent thing about this test is that it was hard. And it stayed HARD. It was 4 hours of 'drain your brain', but that's what I was ready to do. The SIMS were challenging, but I felt like I knew where to go with all of them. Almost forgot to do one of them, I thought it was finished because I had done a very small portion of it, but then when i clicked on it, with 6 minutes left, I realized it wasn't done. EEK, Thankfully, I was able to finish it super quick!
Honestly I walked out knowing i passed. Or at least I had the feeling of "if I didn't pass, I have no idea what the AICPA wants from me, because I did well."
I was just so happy that now was a waiting game and nothing was on the horizon to study.
The next day I went to work and got put on a new project. A big project. My boss later told me he almost told me about it the week before my exam, but didn't want to overwhelm me. That seriously may have saved me.
I found out sitting in traffic on August 21st. Mike was driving and i was checking forums at another 71. I saw that people with NTS's that were higher than mine were getting their scores. I was soooo nervous, but figured it's now or never. So I got on NASBA's website and checked. I PASSED. and the sweet cherry on top was that it was the highest score I had gotten on any exam. I almost threw my phone. I was so excited!
So that was it. No more intense studying. Just an ethics exam (take home- i'm almost finished with it) and an application (also in progress). Send it all in, give them $50 and that should be it.
AND then I got a promotion at work, and a big pay bump, so as one of my co-workers put it "you've had a really good month."
Yes. I have, and I earned it!
Monday, September 10, 2012
Friday, September 7, 2012
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012
That's what BEC stands for and in my mind it includes a little bit of everything else. Lots of Cost Accounting, IT, Finance, Formulas, you name it. Book size wise it's by far the smallest of the books, which makes it fabulously less intimidating, but rest assured this one can get you like no other.
The ugly thing about this exam is that I started studying for it right after I started my new job, and I took the exam right after we moved into our new house, so while there was a lot of studying going on, there was also a lot of learning, paperwork, packing, moving, and the like. My mind was not excited about BEC.
In fact, the original test date was the middle of August, and 3 weeks before that date, I had to push it out to October 1st, because I just wasn't ready (No testing in September). Of course then September was filled with moving and all the little nuances that go along with that...man oh man, it was stressful. I didn't get nearly the studying in that I wanted to the final 2 weeks before my test, but I probably put in about 120 hours and 1500 multiple choice questions.
Yeager does a really good job with BEC. She explains cost accounting really well, which is nice since it seems that most people don't have a solid understanding of Cost Accounting. Are there no good cost accounting teachers out there?? I think the lectures are only 17 hours total (a far cry from FAR...we'll get to that).
I took this exam on a Saturday morning, my kids were with my parents again (surprise, surprise), but thats mostly because we closed on our house the prior monday, so it was easier to move without a 2 and 3 year old. I don't remember much about the exam, i didn't think it went great, but i didn't feel horrible either, I can absolutely never tell if the exam is getting harder, which probably means it's staying the same? One of the written communications I knew nothing about, so that kind of scared me, but I think they grade a lot on memo structure, so I focused on that. The thing is that my parents were meeting me at the new house and the next day mike was running his marathon, so really I didn't have time to dwell on the test. I was just happy it was over and I could take my 2 week scheduled break!
Thinking back, it was at this point in my 'exam journey' that i really did start to get a little worn out. Laughable now, considering how intense i got during the next 9 months, but i really thought i was tough, and i thought i was intense. I wasn't terrible though because amidst all the craziness that was my life at that moment I managed to pass. Someone was on my side.
Halfway done! Little did I know, it was about to get tough.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Yep, it's me. I am alive. It's been a while...
Just wanted to say that there's the chance I'll post again in this century because
I'll probably be posting about that throughout the next few weeks, not because anyone really cares, but i do not want to forget the pain, agony, stress, dedication, and determination I went through to pass this darn thing. It was by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and you'll get to relive each exam with me, as I document it out.
Once I write it out, I'll block it out of my mind forever.
(and no, I'm not licensed yet. Take home ethics exam, probably within the next couple of weeks, and then submit application to the State Board. Good times).
Saturday, January 14, 2012
When I was pregnant with Miles, my due date was February 20th. As I got closer to the date of his impending arrival, I remember thinking…okay little baby, come any day you want, but please don’t come on Friday the 13th. I’m not superstitious, but was still hoping for pretty much any other day (except Valentine’s Day).
Of course I had him on the 13th.
And it turned out to be a very lucky day for us!
Lucky Example #1: We pulled into the hospital parking lot at 12:30, and I was holding my baby by 3:30.
Lucky Example #2: I left the hospital just 24 hours later and I was back in pre-pregnancy pants.
Lucky Example #3: On Sunday the 15th (less than 48 hours after Miles arrived), Mike went to work for 13 hours. Yes. I was at home with both kids for 13 hours with no help less than 2 days later. It went fine.
Lucky Example #4: No pain whatsoever with recovery. I was able to be up and chasing after Lacey nearly immediately after we got home. Probably the only thing that made example #3 possible. (I credit this to the large amounts of EPO I took in the weeks leading up to his birth...)
So Friday the 13th is a very lucky day for us!
And just to bring everything back down to reality, Miles had really bad reflux and he was up 4 times anight for the first 7 months. Not so lucky in the sleep department!
Monday, January 9, 2012
a. Section 1231 gain of $42,000, and ordinary income of $7,500.
b. Section 1231 gain of $44,000 and ordinary income of $6,000
c. Ordinary income of $50,000
d. Section 1231 gain of $50,000
The CPA Exam is known as "the most difficult professional designation." My understanding is that it is actually similar to taking the BAR exam, except you have to essentially take it 4 times. There are 4 sections to the CPA exam, which they recommend studying around 12 weeks, or 150, hours for each section. That's a lot of studying.
What makes it so difficult isn't sitting down to actually study the material. If you get to the point where you are actually eligible to take the exam, you know you like accounting enough to stomach the studying part. The most difficult part of the CPA exam is the sheer volume of information you are required to know.
Currently I am studying for Regulation. This is comprised of Business Law, Individual Taxation, Corporate and Partnership Taxation, and Gift and Estate Tax. Those 4 subject, are actually 3 separate classes at the college level. So I have 12 weeks, to nail down 3 classes worth of information, doing this on my own without the help of a teacher in a classroom, and no study guides, no knowledge of what are the most important things to study, and no clue on how the exam is graded. It's almost laughable because you need a 75 to pass. Not a 75%...a 75. An arbitrary number, and they don't tell you how they get to that number. Almost 25% of the MCQ's are pre-test, meaning they aren't even graded, just seeing how people do. One of the simulations is tossed, but who knows which one. You need to average about 60 seconds per multiple choice question, and when you're figuring out Like-Kind Exchanges that's a major challenge.
So I get nervous for these exams. I'm gutted. My test is next week, and I am spending almost 4 HOURS every night in the books. Just to get that elusive "75"
Are you overwhelmed yet? WAIT. Let me give you the answer to the above question:
Answer: (b) The requirement is to determine the proper treatment of the $50,000 gain on the sale of the building, which is Sec. 1250 property. Sec 1250 recaptures gain as ordinary income to the extent of "excess" depreciation (i.e. depreciation deducted in excess of straight-line). The total gain, less any recapture is Sec 1231 gain. Since straight-line depreciation was used, there is no recapture under Sec 1250. However, Sec 291 requires that the amount of ordinary income on the disposition of Sec 1250 by Corporations be increased by 20% of the additional amount that would have been ordinary income if the property had instead been Sec 1245 property. If the building had been Sec 1245 property, the amount of recapture would have been $30,000 ($200,000-170,000). Thus, the Sec 291 ordinary income is $30,000 x 20% = $6000. The remaining $44,000 is Sec. 1231 gain.
Got that? We are on the same page now right? Good.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Each week at work we have a "poll" of sorts on our Intra-Company website. This week the question was "What do you want to Accomplish in the coming year?" they listed about 10 choices and a whopping 27% listed "get better control of my finances" as their item of choice for 2012.
Well, so do I! (except I put "eating healthy" as my answer)
As you may know, we follow Dave Ramsey's budget forms, but the paper forms month after month were killing me (let's face it, I still haven't unpacked my printer since we moved). So I took the liberty of taking his main forms and putting them in Excel. Now it's all calculated out for me, no more pencils and calculators!!
I've emailed the Excel file to a few co-workers and family members (with Rave reviews), and thought I would offer to email them to any of you guys as well. They are SUPER helpful, and there is no better time than the beginning of the year, so if you want to check them out tell me in the comments and I will email them to you!
Sunday, January 1, 2012
1) Pay off Debt
Do you remember once upon a time, long ago, Mike and I were on this "get out of debt" kick? Actually, it wasn't a kick and we've been budgeting since then (hello? house). However, we did do things a little backwards, and now we have to get rid of my student loans. Our goal for 2012 is to pay off $20,000 of student loan debt. It's a pretty lofty goal, and you may hear a lot of debt posts this year, so bear with me.
2) Become a CPA
I have 2 exams to pass (should be studying right now actually...). Then an ethics test, finish the work requirements, and apply for the official license. I'm so ready for this.
3) Get a promotion
I'm actually already in line for an "in-role promotion," but if that doesn't happen, Target typically moves people every 18 months, so I am hoping by next Nov/Dec I'll be moving around somewhere.
4) Learn to sew
Someone is going to have to gift me a sewing machine (see #1 above), but I really want to learn how to do some very basic sewing. I have plans to recover a couple of chairs, and to sew some Roman Shades for our bedroom, and Miles' bedroom (we have heat vents below the windows, so curtains aren't a great option).
5) Blog more
Okay, this is one of those "unmeasurable" goals, but it's safe to say that I can only go up from the amount of blogging I am doing now. Having a blog is a good way to look back and remember, and I value that, so I'm going to try to do a better job in this department. I also want to add photos to most post (okay maybe A photo...). Here:
6) Learn to use my camera
Great, a have a DSLR, but use it on "auto" all the time, so I'm going to try to change that!
Do you have any goals this year?