Monday, July 30, 2012

The Financial Peace Crusade

You're looking at the girl who once preferred doing 12 loads of baby poop filled laundry to a good hard discussion on finances (cough, cough). I didn't want to talk about it because I didn't want to deal with my addictive shoe and purse hobby (Sigh. It's on paper now, the truth is revealed).

Turns out having a baby really does change everything. Shortly after Jack was born my husband called me to say he signed us up for a Dave Ramsey course. My immediate reaction was fear. And then denial. And then acceptance. And suddenly every Wednesday night we were attending a small group discussion about money.

Best decision we've ever made.

The light bulb went off quickly. I discovered we were doing a lot of things right and a few things wrong. Suddenly opportunity opened up the corner of our marriage that always caused tension. We were talking. About money. And we were excited about it.

Since taking the class we:

1. Refinanced to a 15-year mortgage at 2.85%.  Our monthly payment only went up $100. We're hoping to pay off the house in 7.5 years.

2. Will own both cars by the end of this week.

3. Have 6 months of savings saved up.

4. Paid off most of the medical bills.

5. Will have my lingering student loan paid off by December of this year.

6. Will kick off 2013 debt free.

So ask me if I'd rather talk finances or clean baby poop. Show me the money.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Movie Theaters

Movie theaters. They’re like airplanes. You put your purse under the seat, turn the cell phone off and disappear for 2+ hours. There is something quite refreshing about being out of reach in a cold dark theater with the comfort of your hot butter filled popcorn. Movie theaters have provided a safe haven for escapism during the Great Depression. They get families together on holidays. They’ve been around for a while and they aren’t going anywhere. And one man walks into a movie theater with two loaded guns changes everything about the way we view movie theaters. One man ruins everything.
During the early hours of July 20, a man walked into the midnight showing of Batman in Aurora, Colorado (a Denver suburb) and started shooting. There was no calculation, rhyme or reason. According to eyewitnesses he shot at the ceiling and began to shoot the audience at random. There were women and children. There was a 3-month-old baby. Those people who narrowly escaped death will ever be the same.  
Numbers. They can change everything. Flight numbers changed lives on September 11. And now it comes down to a movie theater number at midnight. It changed everything for 12 people who lost their lives going to the movies.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Sky Tonight

There was a night many many years ago a storm struck and we had to go inside. We watched the trees thrash in the wind and the lightning strike the ground and before we knew it, it was over. The sky turned this incredible shade of orange and purple and it felt like the day was starting all over at 9:30 at night. And so we ran outside without shoes on and we collected worms because that was the cool thing to do when you were 10-years-old and too young to realize collecting worms was for boys.

Tonight is a night like that and although 20 years have passed I still remember what it felt like to run through the puddles scooping up disgusting worms and acting brave. I'm not 10 anymore, but I feel like the next 10 years may be full of worm collecting. I know I'm a "parent" now, but does that give me permission to still be a kid sometimes?

Jack has his entire life ahead of him. He has years of asking what's and why's and how's until he thinks he has it figured out and then realizes he has nothing truly figured out. Man, that's cool. That little boy sleeping in the swing inside has an entire lifetime ahead of him and it's just beginning. I kinda feel like my life just started too.

Perhaps I'll go collect a worm or two.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Life is made up of beginnings and endings. Friendships begin and they end. Jobs begin and they end. School begins and ends. And unfortunately great vacations to tropical destinations begin and they end. The ending is often sad and if you're like me, you need to rapidly move on to the next thing to fill the void.

Parenthood is the exception to that rule. It is the beginning that never really has an ending. And there is something refreshingly beautiful about it. I can't recall a time in life I have been so content with a beginning without an ending. Jack's beginning was difficult. It was full of fear and the unknown and emotional exhaustion, but as I sit in the rocker and watch him drift away as the sun sets in his nursery, those scary moments of him in the NICU seem like a distant dream. 

He is such a happy, content little person which makes me a happy, content mom. Sometimes I question if I'm doing it right. Should I follow a stricter routine? Should I put him to bed at the same time every night? Should I buy the newest book on the market? When I fall into that pattern of doubt, I hold him in my arms and smile because I know what we are doing is right for him. And for us. And it may not work for the woman down the block. And it may not work for my friend's friend's friend of a baby, but it works for us.