Measuring Financial Success

When I was in high school I used to think that I was financially successful if I was able to pay my very few bills (gas and car insurance) and then have money left over to shop.  The percentage of expendable income I had in high school was insanely high.  I wish I had the calculation, but I worked sometimes 5 nights a week and only maybe $75 a month was spoken for.  I went shopping rather frequently and enjoyed buying whatever I wanted.  Fast forward to 5 or 6 years later.  Marriage…it’s not super cheap.  You suddenly have to pay for your living expenses as one family unit.  No more $200-$400 a month rent because you are splitting your payments between 2 to 12 people ( yes I lived with 12 people).  Then you buy a house, oh boy, if there is one thing that sucks your money (besides children) it’s home ownership.  I am SO thankful for our house and I know it’s a wise investment, but my word those things are expensive!  I’ve realized my financial success measuring stick has changed considerably in the last few years.  Now I measure success as living below your means and being able to pay your bills and sticking to a budget.  I would MUCH rather have no debt than stuff!  I understand some debt isn’t avoidable and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t have debt.  However, we are on a rather fast track to paying it off in the next couple years and that feels so good.  Maybe someday we’ll have the vacation house, boat, nice cars, etc., etc., but for now I’m just happy when there is money in the bank when the month is over!  That’s financial success at this stage in our life!  How about you, what does your measuring stick look like?

Sir Lennox The Dreamholder

That was his official registered name, but we called him Lenny, Lenster, Lenny Oh Oh, Leonard, Len, and other variations of that.  Lenny and I weren’t the best of friends early on.  He cried A LOT and was super annoying, he chewed my shoes, peed on the floor and was a complete attention hog.  But then about a year into his life I really started to love him.  He was your shadow, you were never lonely when he was there because he wouldn’t leave you alone.  He had a fantastic personality and absolutely loved people.  He was very sensitive apparently because he never stopped crying, but we all got used to it.  He liked car rides and taking walks, but mostly he liked to snuggle and was a 70 pound lap dog.  My parents treated him like a child and catered to him more than most people cater to their pets, but he really was a part of our family and we loved him so much.  I wish I had the picture on my computer of him from my wedding day.  My parents house was buzzing with people and the photographer stopped by to snap a couple pictures.  I got down on the floor with Lenny and there is a picture where he turns and looks at the photographer as if to say, excuse me, I’m having a moment with the bride.  Lennox had to be put down last Wednesday, he got cancer and it progressed rather quickly.  My parents are learning to live without a shadow and we are all thankful for the time that we got to spend with him.  I hope there are dogs in heaven and I hope that Lennox greets us at the gates!

 

Roach, I mean Beetle

Apparently due to the drought in Texas right now people are experiencing a surge of beetles in their homes.  We are no exception.  We’ve lately been finding large black beetle bugs in our bathroom and bedroom and let me just say the scene that takes place from the moment I scream ROACH until it is killed is quite entertaining.  I’m a relatively dramatic person.  Last night I was picking up the house and standing in my bedroom doorway when I saw a big black bug scurrying across the floor.  I of course start screaming terrified of this harmless bug and Andrew comes rushing in like my knight in shining armor to rescue me.  He grabs the raid (our current killing tool of choice) and begins the hunt for the bug that has now crawled under our bed.  I store my paint clothes under my bed, not really sure why, I guess they are already so dirty that I store them in a dirty place.  So Andrew picks up my clothes shakes them out and out jumps the beetle.  It scurries over to our drapes and Andrew proceeds to douse the drapes in Raid to kill this bug.  I have no clue what’s going on because I am too terrified to get close enough to watch the action, but when all is said and done Andrew says, ” do you think I ruined the curtains by spraying them with Raid?”  I’m thinking who in their right mind sprays fabric with Raid, but I was so thankful that he got rid of the bug that I didn’t even care all that much.  I put our raid drench dry clean only drapes in the washing machine and when I checked them this morning they looked perfect.  So Andrew spray away….I hate roaches, I mean beetles.

Lucky Her

That’s always been my mentality.  I look at girls and think, lucky her, she’s naturally thin.  Oh how I wish I was petite.  Man to have her hair.  And the list goes on and on.  Then it struck me this week.  For the first time ever I realized it’s totally my choice what size I am.  I am the only person who can control what I eat, when I exercise, etc.  I always assumed that you were either meant to be thin, or meant to not be.  I know I’m not really that big, so I don’t want you to think I have a totally warped self image, but I did get a little out of control with my eating and I have finally started to reign it in again.  I also looked into some people’s diets that I deem thin and honestly if I ate what they ate and worked out as much as them I’d be their size too!  The other thing I realized is most likely people look at me and think lucky her.  It’s a vicious cycle for women (and men too) that we look at other people and think their lives are so much better than ours.  For me it’s people’s size, their wardrobe, their home decor, and their hair and make-up.  Yeah I’m that superficial sometimes.  For men I think it’s more other people’s jobs, their cars, and maybe their house. I’m working on changing it from Lucky Her to Lucky ME!

Eating a Dry Sandwich

I NEVER eat ANYTHING dry.  I am a condiment lover!!! However when we started this lose it thing I realized that about one hundred calories could be cut out of my diet each day if I forwent the condiments.  The other night we went out to dinner and I ordered a club sandwich, no bacon.  I bit into it before putting any sort of mayo or mustard on it and it was ACTUALLY good!  The tomato was so juicy that I didn’t even need any mayo, but for the first time in my life I actually tried something before adding extra calories to it, what a novel idea!  Here are some of the tricks I have found in the past few weeks that have helped us cut some of the calories out, I thought this might be helpful to our other friends who are losing it with us!

Bread: I found an OROWHEAT (AKA BROWNBERRY) bread that is 90 calories per slice.  It’s the 100% whole wheat version and it’s honestly not bad at all.  I’ve cut down to only eating a one slice sandwhich which also cut down on the turkey and the miracle whip (yes I am still going to use it sometimes) this switch to half a sandwhich saves me 175 calories at lunch!

Chocolate:  I went up and down the candy aisle Monday night looking for something I could fill our candy jar with and I stumbled upon aerated chocolate.  Hershey’s kisses now have an aerated version (meaning they pump air into it) that are only 18 calories per kiss!  Haha ok I just looked up regular kisses and they only have 22, but hey I’ll save any calories I can and you can’t really tell the difference.

Special K bars: Chocolate Pretzel snack bars are only 90 calories and they are tasty!  I also bought a chocolate drizzle which I am sure is good too, just haven’t opened the box yet.

Fruit:  You can eat A LOT of strawberries for 100 calories, I usually only eat about 50 calories worth and I cut them up and put one packet of splenda on them…this is the only time I use splenda so I count that as not too bad!  They are just too tart otherwise.  Cantaloupe here is so fresh and juicy these days and you get quite a bit for the calories.  I also am loving Pineapple and they are cheap down here so I get one every week!

Yogurt:  Yoplait Light is 100 calories and I’ve tried every flavor they have.  The only one I thought was gross was the peach, it had bizarre chunks in it!  My favorites are the Strawberry and Key Lime Pie.

Weight Watchers Cheese sticks: 50 calories and very tasty, also they are so convenient!

So there you have a short list of the things that are keeping us alive as we navigate the waters of eating half of what we typically eat.  I’m still just around 6 pounds down, but I’m hoping this week I’ll lose a couple more.

Oh Hello Again Blog World

I don’t know what happened, it’s like I totally forgot this existed.  However this is so not true.  I think about blogging all the time but all I really think about lately is food and no one wants to hear me talk about food and dieting ALL THE TIME, so I’ve refrained from blogging.  Every once and a while I do a life update post, some of you may like this, some of you may hate this and some of you probably just don’t read it and that’s fine too.  For all our friends and family that are curious about what we’ve been up to here is an update!

1.  Dieting is going great.  Still hungry a lot, but the pounds are falling off and we’re learning a lot and exercising a lot more than usual so that we can eat!

2.  This past weekend was SUPER productive and also fun.  Friday I went to IKEA with a friend and got a few things for our weekend projects.  Saturday we made a list, went to Home Depot and finished the following items: nightstands (pictures to come), Entryway walls painted finally, Mirror re-done, picture collage hung in hallway and some of the floor got steam cleaned.

3.  We were invited to a friend’s birthday party and it was at their house in the neighborhood I would like to live in someday.  We need to be able to afford a nearly $1 Million mortgage, but besides that small detail this neighborhood is perfect.  It has a mix of crazy modern houses with Craftsman Bungalows and it’s at most 10 minutes from downtown…probably more like 5.

4.  Friday night we saved up our calories and indulged on Mangieri’s pizza with Bryan and Amanda to celebrate the end of his weight loss competition.  DELICIOUS!

5.  Sunday night family dinner we had a special guest and she was absolutely delightful!

6.  Andrew has recently gotten a few unexpected bonuses which means he is about to be the proud owner of a new grill thanks to all his birthday money and the recent extra income.  I am so excited to be able to hand off a couple dinners a week to him!  I will not be touching the grill probably ever.

7.  Andrew knows how to humor his wife and he took me to the mall I like on Saturday where I scored a pair of LOFT pants for $3, an outfit post will be up soon over HERE.

8.  I have been having some BIZARRE dreams…my most vivid one that I might post about later involved Andrew, Alejandro, Andy Thomas, Kevin, my mom and me and it involved Andrew singing…yeah weird

9.  Speaking of singing I’ve been leading worship at our church and have been having the best time doing it!  I get to lead again on the 17th.  I’m so thankful to the people who stretched me while we lived in CU

10.  While the 4th of July cookout we went to was nice it made us really miss our friends and the familiarity of home.  I particularly missed the fireworks and Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets.  Mom sent me video of the festivities, but it just isn’t the same.

This week and weekend we are going to be insanely busy, but then I think I’ll be able to post some finished pictures of our house…ok you know me, it’ll never been finished, but it’ll be finished enough to take pictures!