Monday, August 13, 2018

Our Family Day

One of the cool parts about being an adoptive family is celebrating family day or Gotcha Day. It just so happens in our family, that all of these adoption milestones take place in the same in our family and also just some exciting memories in general as a family so we like to get out and enjoy some family time during this week each year. 

Lots of shades in this car, on our way to the beach! All the kids love days spent playing on the beach!

A stop at the cheese factory on the way, we heard it gets quite crazy now (and it was by the time we left) so we hit it early! 

Basically ice cream for breakfast, but who's to judge - it's family day!

We tried a new beach this year and loved it! The sand was awesome and there was hardly anybody there the whole day. We packed a big bag full of food and stayed for over 6 hours playing together until the food was almost gone and the sun was out long enough to fry us! 

It was truly the perfect type of day with our family, we loved all the time together just playing and being together. I sure do love all these little people and am so blessed to have each and every one of them in my life. 

A couple days later we celebrated Malachi's joining of our family with some Ethiopian food, whenever we have Ethiopian we wonder why we only make it once a year. So maybe it needs to happen more often because it is yummy! I love the pride Malachi has for his country and we certainly adore him and his birth country too! 

Monday, August 6, 2018

1st Day of School

We are a little bit behind schedule this year, but still ahead of the schools so that's good! Today is our first official day of school, even though we've kind of been going here and there the last few weeks. This year included some big changes with the way we are approaching school and after a few weeks of testing out video school, I can already see the change is going to be awesome for us. It has removed a lot of the stress off my plate trying to bounce back and forth with all of them and trying to make sure they know everything. Now I just make sure they complete every assignment and step in and offer help when they have a question. They are loving it too and I can see that they are grasping concepts better. This was never something I pictured us doing when we began our homeschool journey but I can see the value in it and I am glad we decided to give it a try. I hope the rest of the year continues to go as well as the beginning has. 

You will also see that LB is not pictured even though she's going to be a full fledged preschooler this year. The reason for that is because we are really trying something new for her and sending her to a school this year, so her first day of school picture will be coming in about another month. Our goal is to always seek out what we feel is best for each of our kids and I really feel like we have adapted and made the changes we need to this year to see each of our children succeed!

So here we go! Homeschooling 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade and 1 starting her journey off in preschool!  Look how big all these kids are looking this year!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

TMM Update!

Today is a very exciting day for us! I've spoke on here for years about our Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover journey that we have been on for about 9 1/2 years now. Slow and steady wins the race right?  I remember when we first heard of the plan and it sounded so simple, it really is a simple plan. But the execution of this simple, common sense plan is harder than it sounds.  We've never followed the plan perfectly but we have followed it as the basic framework for most of the decisions we make financially.  Before we had children, we worked hard to became a debt free family! What exactly does that mean? It means that besides our mortgage (mortgage doesn't count because it isn't a sinking debt, most of the time you won't find yourself underwater on your mortgage) we had paid off student loans and car and never really found ourselves in any other forms of debt. This gave me the opportunity to be a stay at home mom which aligned with how we wanted to live our lives. This greatly reduced the speed in which we could do the other steps, especially as our family grew to add 4 children and pay off adoption debts. But little by little we have kept at it. We've taken a bit of the slower path to get here but I want to encourage you that it is probably possible for people to do this plan even faster than we've done it because we added children and were a one income family this whole time.

But there is this one thing we intentionally and knowingly did against our Total Money Makeover, we bought Peter a new car without paying cash. I know, gasp in horror fellow Dave Ramsey followers!!! The intention and plan was always to pay this car off as quick as we could and we have done just that. Well, this is where our exciting moment comes in! Today, we made our last payment on Peter's car, paid it off a whopping 31 months early and we can officially scream that WE ARE DEBT FREE!!!!  (again)

I look at Total Money Makeover as a 3 fold plan.  Phase 1 (step 2) is dealing with your past financial decisions. Getting out of that darn pesky debt hole you got yourself into. Phase 2 (Step 1 and 3, but mostly 3) is about dealing with the here and now, staying out of debt and getting a 3-6 months savings account so you can deal with emergencies as they come up instead of needing to go into debt again.  Phase 3 (Steps 4, 5, and 6) have to do with looking beyond your past and your current state and building towards your future. Investing 15% to retirement, planning for kids going to college, and paying off your mortgage. The final step or phase is yours to decide. You get to do whatever you want when you reach this step - I've seen people invest in rentals, increase retirement savings even more, have lots of fun, and give to others in unreal ways! 

Since we went a bit backwards with the car debt, we now get to jump right over step 3 that we already completed and jump right into steps 4-6 which because we've followed the framework all along, we've got a jump start on too. They are still going to take a long time to complete as we work to prepare our future, but most importantly I am working hard to remind myself to find balance in this stage of life. I don't need to feel the stress anymore, we can learn to enjoy life (paying cash!) a bit more and not feel guilty about it. Peter and I are so goal driven that it is hard to just stop and smell the roses. I am a work in progress, our financial state is a work in progress. But I am here to tell you that Total Money Makeover does work! It isn't really fun, it takes hard work and sacrifice, lots of teamwork, but it does bring freedom to your family. It has taken us 9 1/2 years so far, it will take us at least another 9 1/2 years to reach the coveted last stage - to live and give like nobody else! If you haven't checked the program out, we obviously highly recommend it