Being {Financially} Different

It’s not easy to be different. We learn that in the awkward middle school and high school years. Most people don’t have a goal of standing out because they are different. As an adult, I never really thought about being different or fitting in. I guess that means I’m fortunate to have found people who I had connections with – in college, in my career, and as a parent.

Seven years ago, we decided to be different and took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course. We learned that it’s ok to be weird with your finances and we wanted to be different. We made decisions about our future and our financial goals. We’ve been faced with a few tough decisions over the years, where peer pressure felt pretty strong. Admittedly, it’s a struggle in the beginning with wants over needs versus long-term goals. Our long-term goals have us living a future life that we get really excited about. It can be really hard to pass up a fun opportunity now for a future that you can’t quite touch. But, after some time to really think about it we both come to the same conclusion…most temporary things aren’t worth the financial setbacks when we think about our long-time goals. Sticking to a budget and our financial “morales” of not spending cash that we don’t have will always be the right thing for our family. If we really “need” it, we can save up for it.

One of the things I’m most proud of is our focus. We haven’t gotten distracted by exciting new things. We may not always create a monthly budget and we may have months we spend more than we realize, but our focus doesn’t change. We have multiple savings accounts with automatic monthly transfers to ensure we continue to fund our dreams. From 401K to college for the boys to car fund to holidays/gifts and even a basement fund. {Another thing I’m REALLY proud of. Paying outright to finish our basement. The majority of it has been done by my husband, but the things he has hired out came from our basement fund!} We both have wants and it can be a bummer when we “can’t” buy them, but after a few days of wanting you realize that you don’t actually need it. We have a house full of stuff that I’m constantly putting away, sorting, organizing, and cleaning. We aren’t deprived of anything.

The latest fashion or car isn’t something we needYes, we have our wants for a giant SUV vehicle. We’ve wanted it for more than five years {and maybe I’ve wanted it for most of my life}, but we don’t need it. Right now, a minivan {also not in my original life plan} works perfectly for our family. One of my children has spent the past year crashing his door into my van every time he gets in or out of Bryan’s car. Both of our vehicles are used and we’ve had them for more than 5 years. If they were new, we’d both be sick about it. But instead, it’s part of living with small, reckless children. And also proof of why one of our vehicles doesn’t have doors they can open…We’ll get our dream vehicle one day, when everyone in our house can appreciate and respect the vehicle. But also after we’ve saved for the vehicle. Because those are the things that are important to us. Living a life that’s a little different and maybe not as fun now so we can truly live a life we deserve later.

You won’t always find yourself surrounded by people who share the same opinions. The beauty of life is that everyone gets to make their own decisions and live the life they want. I do hope you are surrounded by people who respect you and your “weird” life choices. You can swap out “finances” with anything – type of school, health beliefs, fitness, food, clothing, anything. It’s important to surround yourself with people who are supportive of your dreams and lifestyle – no matter how weird they are.

Do you have any lifestyle preferences that make you different from your friends? Or do you surround yourself with like-minded people? 

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A birthday surprise

My birthday was over a week ago, but I’m just now finding time to sit down with my blog. Maybe I should have wished for a little better time management or priorities at night, then I’d have some more time to write. But I didn’t and I don’t. Some day…

I kind of feel like a birthday snob this year. I traveled (for work) leading up to my birthday and had multiple birthday desserts! If you’re eating out anyway, this is the way to go – free meals with special desserts!

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My birthday was on a Friday and I’m in love with that kind of birthday. I used to love any kind of weekend birthday, but this year I found that a Friday one is even better. I took vacation and didn’t have to care for anyone else. ALL DAY. It was the best! I did kind of overbook myself, but it was all in the name of pampering so it was still a great day. I went back to sleep after the boys left, had lunch with my husband (ended up being free because the waitress was slow getting our drinks), got a hair cut, had a chiropractor adjustment, got my free birthday Starbucks (that I’ve gotten a few times), and got a mani/pedi with a friend.

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Then said friend took me out of town for dinner. I thought we were meeting up with another friend. It turns out we were meeting up with many friends! We walked into one of my favorite restaurants, around the corner we went, and 10 beautiful faces smiled and said, “SURPRISE!” I’ve never had a surprise party and it was great! I was completely surprised and felt so special. As special as any birthday girl should! 🙂

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Dinner was delicious and the company was great. I randomly see all these girls, but it’s not very often that we’re all together for something. It made me feel extra special that they all came out! The weather was supposed to get bad that night so we didn’t stick around for drinks after dinner, but that’s ok. After all, 31 isn’t exactly 21. 😉

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For a year that I thought was just going to be another day, it turned out to be an unexpectedly wonderful day! I’m so thankful to have such wonderful friends in my life. Ones that make my day extra special. As a perpetual activity planner, it was pretty cool to have someone plan a surprise for me!

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YOU have the power to love or hurt someone

Do you ever feel like you’re alone on a deserted island? Yah, me either. Except, really I do sometimes. The brain is an interesting thing. A person can appear to be completely surrounded by people, but inside they feel completely alone in the world. I haven’t quite figured out what sparks these feelings, but I do know they aren’t fun to experience. This is going to sound hypocritical but here it is. I have a social life, but I don’t have a social life. Clear as mud, right? What I mean is, I have friends. I have friends who I hang out with … sometimes. That’s where the no social life part comes from. We’re pretty busy between home and work. There isn’t much extra time to have a social life. Even though there isn’t much time, I do have some friends that mean a lot to me.

Back to that deserted island phenomenon. Every once in a while something happens in one of my friendships and it makes me reel backwards and wonder why I put myself out there. Vulnerability is a scary thing. I’m usually pretty guarded, but sometimes things sneak past me. It’s usually when I least expect it and really sends my brain spinning. I’m kind of stubborn (maybe I should delete kind of) so I dwell on things and probably turn them into the worst case. Either way, it sucks to get hurt. When that happens, I always feel sorry for myself and sulk for a little bit. Then I pick myself back up and vow to not let it happen again. Instead, I’ll focus on my husband and my boys. Who needs friends anyway? Well, this girl does. I can pretend that I don’t, but I do. So I fake it until I’ve moved on and forgotten about it. It’s an ok formula. I don’t think I can eliminate the feeling sad part, so there’s not much to change about this process.

Suck as it may, there are also times where friends rally around you. Either as a team or individually. If you’re really lucky, that happens right after you’ve felt your heart smashed. It’s always a good reminder of why it’s worth it to put yourself out there. It’s a reminder that a special friendship can be worth the struggle to stay connected. Having someone do something nice for me always reminds me that it’s not all about me. I wish I always thought like this, but I’m human and I tend to forget. It may be all about me in my head, but on the outside no one else knows what is going on. They deserve to be special, too. They deserve to have their hearts protected and not hurt.

So, be nice to people. Think about other people’s feelings before you do or say something. Remember that you can easily hurt someone with a word or an action. I hope that I’m not a hypocrite and I hope that I haven’t been too focused on myself to not think about others. Those special people in my life really mean a lot to me and I hope that I don’t ever make them feel less than wonderful.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t me who got kissed by Donnie Wahlberg

I grew up in the 80s and 90s, which doesn’t feel like it was that long ago. Although the calendar tells me otherwise. When I look around, the world is much different from what it was back then. For example, had I looked on Twitter before the concert, I would have known what to expect. In this case, the element of surprise was very much worth it! When they announced that Boys II Men and 98 degrees would be playing too, I couldn’t believe it. It was my childhood on steroids!

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The concert blew my mind. Our seats were way too high up and the Target Center in Minneapolis only had two monitors for the whole place (that’s ridiculous), but it was still amazing! I could sum it up as dance moves from the 90s mixed with a lot of sex appeal. I saw more pelvic thrusting in those four hours, well, than maybe my whole life combined. It was a lot of thrusting! There was also a lot of men taking their shirts off. You can only imagine how an auditorium full of women react when jackets come off or shirts get ripped off. There was a lot of screaming! I may or may not have kind of lost my voice that night. And one lucky fan was kissed by Donnie Wahlberg. I can only wish it had been me, but he wasn’t going to climb all the way up to the top to find me! I have never seen anything like that in my life. This poor woman was soooo close to him as he leaned down to sing to her. She kept mouthing, “come on” as the crowd went wild (wishing it was them) and he kept getting closer to her face. Then, he DID IT! I hope her friends got that on camera!

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Speaking of friends, I had a blast with mine! It’s been a while since I planned something, but I took it on headfirst. I also informed them that I would be the photographer for the weekend. I’m happy they went a long with it! I don’t feel like any of us take enough pictures and I got a lot of good ones this weekend. (New mission!)

I’m having a hard time finding adequate words to express how much I enjoyed the concert. It was a mix of nostalgic childhood memories combined with a grown up world. It is up there as one of the best nights of my life! That may have a little to do with my current situation at home, but mostly to do with the bands that shaped my childhood. As an adult, I could buy tickets and go to concerts. It’s just not something that I do. That makes this concert that much more special. It was a really fun night out with good friends and a concert that slammed me in the face as music that I was so passionate about growing up. I couldn’t have picked a better activity for my first night away from Quinten!

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State Champions…or Not

 

Bowling Babes!

This past weekend Two weeks ago, I went with a group of girls to state bowling. I know what you’re thinking, they have state bowling? Or maybe even, people bowl in leagues? Yes, yes they do. You see, I’m involved in a Friday night “drinking” league. I say that with parenthesis because last year I was pregnant so I didn’t drink and this year we have three other pregnant women (33% of our league!). But, it’s a chance for girls night out…every Friday…from August to April. It’s a long season and we’re all ready for it to end by the time March rolls around, but it’s a good winter activity. It’s a good way for all of us to see each other during the cold, snowy months when no one wants to leave the house. Any maybe it helps elevate some of the winter blues.

State bowling is a good chance to get away for the weekend! As luck would have it, state bowling ended up being the weekend after an out-of-town bachelorette party. So, I spent two weekends in a row away from Maximus. In fact, the first two nights away from Maximus since he was born. It wasn’t as hard as I thought, the anticipation was worse than the time away. I think that’s because I run myself into the ground on a weekly basis, so a little time to enjoy life is needed. But, it still bums me out that I spend the weekend away when I could be spending it with Maximus.

The benefit, as I see it, of state bowling is that your average is the previous year’s average. Hopefully, a person gets better each year. That means that last year my average was 113 but this year it’s been hanging around 119. So, with a lower average from last year, I get a higher handicap. {That means I get more points added to my score at the end of the game.} I did pretty well this that weekend, only going below my average three times. {Out of nine games.} The fun part about state, besides the girls weekend, is that you bowl three different categories. We bowled team with five players and we bowled doubles and then singles. You always bowl on the same lane as your whole team, even if you are bowling singles. So, you spend a lot of quality time with your team! We had a few minor setbacks during doubles and singles because our ball return broke. I think it should have taken us about 3.5 hours to bowl six games and instead it took FIVE! We were all ready to be as far away from that alley as possible!

It was a long weekend of bowling, but it was a fun getaway with the girls. I don’t expect to win any medals, but I do expect to talk about the memories for years to come. Sometimes you just need to get away, even if it is for state bowling.

Note: We had a lot of fun with this picture {and didn’t plan to separate the stripes} and used our own balls as props. Not pictured: a ball that joined us halfway through the trip. 

What’s in a word?

Why do we let other people’s words affect us? Why do we let their feelings affect us? Even if words aren’t intended for us, we let them bother us. We let other people’s difficult words creep into our thoughts. We let other people’s issues create negative thoughts.

Words, when used properly, can be so uplifting. They can change our attitude from negative to positive. They can turn a bad day into a good day. Or worse, turn a good day into a bad day. Why is that? Why do we let other’s affect our attitude and ruin our day?

Society has said it’s ok to put everything on others. We put so much weight, thought, and acceptance in what other’s think. We let them dictate our days and in turn, life. We let them decide if we are worthy of a clothing style, job, and even friendship. We long for approval from others. If we do something good at work, we want praise. If we do something nice for a friend, we want recognition. If we do something around the house, we want our spouse to thank us. If we change our hair style, we want people to compliment us. We rely on others to tell us that we look beautiful, are smart, and fit in.

Instead of being our own person, we want to be like others. We look up to others and try to mimic them. And at the end of the day, we want them to notice us. We want them to compliment us. Sometimes we even take on their mentality. We think what they think and be who they are. We are no longer our own person. We are someone waiting for the acceptance and carrying around the opinions of someone else.

Are you your own person? Do you let someone else dictate your life? Do you like who you are or are you searching for someone else to help you find the way?

I try not to let other people’s opinions affect me. I admit that sometimes I want my husband to verbally appreciate the work I do around the house. I do enjoy it when he notices that I’ve gotten my hair cut. Sometimes my vanity shows its ugly face and I look for acceptance from others. I don’t let this vanity rule my life. I am comfortable in my shoes and am the person I want to be. That person is ever-growing, but she’s headed in the right direction. I pride myself in being a level-headed person. I am someone who tries to set a good example for others. Regardless of how old we are, I’m a believer that everyone needs someone to set a good example. I try to be positive and treat others the way I want to be treated. I want to be the rational one. I don’t want my words to dictate a person’s being. I don’t want to be the one to bring them down. Words can be so hurtful and harsh. I don’t want my words to make a person feel less than they are. I don’t want my words to create pain. I want to be the positive light. I want to provide sunshine on a cloudy day.

Words can carry a lot of meanings. The 500 words on this page can be taken multiple ways. You can read them the way I thought them or you can read them the way your brain works. Either way is correct. Everyone sees things differently and that’s ok. In fact, it’s a good thing that we don’t all think alike. If we all thought alike, where would this world be?

Weekend recap

Did you have a good Memorial day weekend? We did! We spent our long weekend grilling out, watching HGTV, doing some house projects, and spending time with friends.

Wrigley got a couple walks out of the weekend. Some at night when the temperatures were much cooler and the sun was going down. Others in the middle of the hot day. He didn’t seem to like the pregnant pace but it was a lot better for him in the heat. He wasn’t very good at the break we took in the shade either. He seemed ready to continue on instead of appreciating the cool stop. Much like children, parent’s know best so he was forced to wait it out until I said we could continue. Why were we out walking in the middle of the heat? Because I had strict rules to “find something to do” that was outside of the house. Bryan was painting the kitchen so Wrigley and I spent a lot of time outside. We pulled up a chair and enjoyed the shade of the backyard. I think Wrigley was surprised to find the pleasant change from the hot deck that he likes to perch on. We also spent a little bit of time reading in the sunshine. When all else fails, a pregnant woman and dog can always find a comfy spot to take a nap!

I spent some time doing some organizing in the guest bedroom so I can move things in from the office. It was a lot of work and I’m not done yet, but I got a good workout moving things down the stairs. As I complained this morning, Bryan laughed at me because I had sore leg muscles from “exercising.” I’ve still got more work ahead of me, but I’ve got ten weeks before I need the office cleaned out!

With nice weather comes grilling out! We both enjoy the benefits of having a grill and cooking up delicious food in a matter of minutes. After hearing that we had a bunch of friends around for the weekend, we decided to have the first official summer grill out. We had about 15 people come over and enjoyed a beautiful summer night. It was great to spend time with friends and the beautiful weather made it perfect. A storm rolling in helped cool down the temperatures so we were able to enjoy the outside.

After all the work around the house this weekend, we both enjoyed a day of rest. Bryan’s came in the form of golfing and mine came in the form of a Netflix movie. To our delight, tonight we realized that Monday is already over! Not only did we get a long weekend, but we get a short work week too! And that folks, is seeing the glass half full from both angles.

I hope you had a great Memorial day weekend. We enjoyed the first holiday of the summer but are amazed that June is already here. I think someone might be pushing fast forward on our summer and anyone living in the midwest will tell you that’s not a good thing. We want to enjoy our warm weather because the cold weather seems to linger! So, instead of complaining that we’ve already had our air on more days than we’ve had the windows open, I’ll kick back and enjoy the warm temperatures.