Friday, June 27, 2014

And then he graduated...

It has taken me a couple of weeks to really come to terms with this event.  I no longer have babies living at home.  I have two adults, both of whom have graduated High School and are out in the world making a living and preparing for/attending college.

If you had asked me a year ago if I had thought the year would end this way, I wouldn't have been so sure.  Mikey went through a really rough time in his Junior year and after just one marking period at Copper Hills we ended up withdrawing him from his High School and letting him attempt electronic High School at home.  That didn't work out so well, and by the end of the school year he had some decisions to make.  Three options:  One, get his GED and be done.  Two, enroll in Valley High which would help him get things completed a lot quicker/more easily so he could graduate on time or maybe even early, or three, go back to Copper Hills and plow through a TON of work and POSSIBLY graduate on time, IF he would motivate himself to complete almost two complete years of school simultaneously in that year.

I was actually really shocked that he picked the most difficult option... to go back to Copper Hills... but I respected that it was his decision and both Mike Sr and I decided we would just full on support him and encourage him the best we could.

How grateful I am for his amazing counselor and a handful of incredible teachers who went out of their way to work with him and make the year a success.  I still get very emotional thinking and talking about this experience.  Mike not only completed his entire senior year of full classes, but he did a TON of make up packets/classes to earn the credits from his Junior year simultaneously.  It literally came down to the last few days before graduation for us to get confirmation that he had been successful, and I very much almost died from anxiety the last couple of months, but he did it.  HE DID IT!!!!! 

Congratulations Mikey.  I knew you could do this and I am so proud of you.  You have shown that you can put your mind to anything you want and be successful... now run with it son.



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Money Money Money...

I get on these kicks on Pinterest.  I feel like 90% of the time I am looking at recipes, (because what can I say... I love to cook and I love to eat), but lately I have been drawn to websites and articles about marriage and family.  It was in these wanderings a few weeks ago that I came across a slew of articles about budgeting and financial peace.  Apparently lots of couples fight about money.  I can honestly say that Mike and I have never fought about money in our marriage, but that is probably mostly because up to a few years ago, we really never had much to fight over.  Mike was an ac/heating technician and did apartment maintenance and I taught piano and was an avid budgeter/bargain shopper.  Then he decided to go back to school at the age of about 32 and change his career so we became a student family and since our kids were in school I went back to work to support us.  So ya, not much money floating around during all those years but we never lacked any of the necessities of life and were quite happy. :)

We have talked many times since then about how interesting it is that the more money you make, the more money you "need" to spend.  Whereas technically we should be saving a TON of money now that we have two incomes and make much more than we did back then, we aren't as good of savers as we should be. We do dumb stuff like eat out more or buy stuff that we don't really need...  pay outrageous prices for too many television channels... pay more for electric because we aren't as careful at turning things off...  The list could go on.

Last year we decided to list our house so I started going through things and found myself absolutely appalled at how much STUFF we had collected.  Stuff that I had bought and never used or stuff that just sat there looking pretty or stuff that we had ten of... it really opened my eyes.  I decided I wanted to simplify our home and I started giving the stuff away.  I even set up a facebook page for our neighborhood where we could list things available for free and the first person to comment could come and get it.  It was a brilliant way to get things out of the house that I had no use for that maybe someone else could use.  I also, (being so embarrassed at how much stuff we had held on to), took bags and bags and boxes and boxes of stuff to DI.  It changed my feelings towards my home.  My home suddenly didn't feel quite as small and we had room to play as we got rid of the clutter.  (This is a work in process people, so don't judge me when you come over and we still have too much junk laying around... It improves daily.) We didn't end up moving, and I ended up actually more in love with my home than I had ever been before. 

Well as I was perusing these articles a few weeks ago I came across a quote that I absolutely LOVED that opened my eyes even further.  When I find quotes like that I have to share because I think just maybe it can turn on a light bulb for another person too and this quote in particular could perhaps help put a stop to some of those money arguments in families that seem way too prevalent.

Dave Ramsey, in his book The Total Money Makeover said "We spend money we don't have to buy things we don't need to impress people we don't like."

What a thought changing reminder for me!  How often do we purchase stuff to keep up with the Jones'?  How often do we live way out of our means because we want to impress people?  How many of us go in to debt to have a ton of stuff we don't really need or even ever use?  It just sits about and clutters up our home!

I hear all the time, (a phrase I have used many times myself), "Look at this, I got it for $X which saved me $X", or "I saved X percent on this!"  But in reality, if we are spending, we are never saving.  "I'm saving 50% on this item" is perhaps a way we justify spending money on something we may well want, but regardless, spending is never saving.  We are still spending 50% on that item. 

Another quote that I love that a friend of mine shared on that neighborhood page:  "Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." -William Morris, 19th century architect.  I think this sums up my ultimate goal when it comes to my home and I hope that remembering it will help me avoid spending as much on frivolous things.  After all, it's amazing what we put in our "need" category when there is extra money around isn't it?

So am I the only person who needs to learn this lesson?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.