A License to Spend

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For the first 5 years of our marriage I was basically opposed to being on a budget.  We tried the budget thing during the first year and I completely freaked out.  As in like downward spiral, ticket on the crazy train kind of freak out.  It was like if I went one dollar over in a category I felt like a complete failure.  We tried the cash system for awhile, we attempted to use quicken, and then we used excel for the longest time, but didn’t really use it very well.  Everything we tried was way too cumbersome for us to keep up with and I didn’t exactly like carrying that kind of cash around with me everywhere.  Then we found You Need a Budget.  Some of our friends recommended it, Andrew checked it out, and then we decided together that it seemed like it could actually work.

We are 8 or 9 months into it and it is working great for us and it’s been extremely freeing.  Instead of feeling like we are trapped in the parameters of a budget it feels much more like a license to spend.  It has also been pretty awesome for student loan repayment also.  For the first time in our marriage I actually know what loans we have, how much they are each month, and before we have this sweet little baby in October we are paying off the largest monthly payment loan so that while I’m not working for a couple months we aren’t feeling as stretched.

The greatest thing that has happened is Andrew and I don’t fight about money anymore.  When we used to sit down and try to talk about money it was always a couple hour discussion, would always get ugly, and then one or both of us would feel frustrated the rest of the night.  We DREADED these talks and scheduling them was nearly impossible because we both hated them.  When we first started using YNAB we would both sit down at the end of the month, input our income from the previous month, and then fund each of our categories together.  Now we are at the point where Andrew does all of this and then just has me look it over and give the OK.

I will warn you it’s a LITTLE pricey.  It’s $60, but it’s a one time payment.  They have a free 34 day trial, but I don’t know if that would give you a fantastic feel, it took us about 3 months to really get in the groove of things.  We actually procrastinated and didn’t buy it until Black Friday or Cyber Monday and it was 50% off.  The best thing about this is that it has an iphone app so as soon as I buy something I enter it when I get in the car, it’s also nice because when I’m at a store and I really want to buy something I first look up if I have enough money left in my spending budget.

People say money is one of the top things married couples fight about, for us that was definitely true.  Now to just tackle the other 9 things we fight about regularly….just kidding, kind of.

To My 2 Year Old Ellery Wynn

To My Surprisingly Tall Ellery Wynn,

We went to the doctor this week and found out that you are 35 inches tall which puts you in the 90th percentile, that blew my mind because you don’t exactly have giants for parents.  You wear a size 7 shoe so I shouldn’t have been all that surprised that you are on the tall side.  When people ask me if I can believe you are two already, my response tends to be, yes.  I can believe it.  It’s been a really fun two years.  You have grown up a lot.  When I watch videos from even 6 months ago you are almost unrecognizable.  You talk in sentences a lot which I didn’t expect until you were three.  You know all your colors, shapes, letters and numbers, can almost count to 20, and have started recognizing certain sight words.  You walk up and down the stairs completely unassisted.  You play really well alone, but have just started asking for me to play with you.  You love to read and I could snuggle you all day and read through a stack of books.  You have finally started to enjoy the cuddle…took almost two years, but you will ask us to snuggle you and we are loving that.  You are still a dancing machine and will dance anywhere there is music.  We have continued to be lucky that you are really not picky when it comes to eating, you pretty much will eat whatever we put in front of you, but I would say your favorite food is mandarin oranges and you request them almost daily.  You love to sing and we love listening to it, especially when you sing with the radio in the car.  Whenever we sit down for lunch you ask for “tunes,” uncle Bryan would be proud.  You seriously have the best bed head I’ve ever seen, I love to see every morning how wild it is when I go to get you out of your crib.  We had a stent where you threw tantrums like it was your job and you cried every time we put you to bed, luckily that didn’t last too long and by your second birthday you were back to your sweet self.  I’m hoping you just went through the terrible twos a little early, we’ll see.  It has become increasingly difficult to get a good picture of you because instead of smiling you just say, “smile say cheese” and then say cheese quickly while not looking at the camera.  It is funny and frustrating all at the same time.  Your genuine smile is SO sweet and I love when I occasionally capture it.  If someone had told me I’d love being a mom this much two years ago I honestly would not have believed them.  Most days motherhood is better than I expected.  You are such a joy, my sweet girl, and as much as I thought I loved you the first time I ever laid eyes on you, I love you so much more now.  I am so glad you are mine to love.

Love you forever,

Mama

Another gorgeous picture taken by Shaywills Photography in Austin, TX

Another gorgeous picture taken by Shaywills Photography in Austin, TX

Shellac Crack

13 days ago I went and got a Shellac Manicure.  I had a leftover gift card from last mother’s day and decided to treat myself to one of these before we went to Rhode Island and celebrated my brother-in-law getting married.  I did the flowers for the wedding and knew that this would be my only chance at having nice nails by the time I was finished doing the flowers.  I had heard nothing but good things about it so I decided to test it out.  When I was there the manicurist told me that her clients call this the crack manicure because it’s addictive.  I thought, “well we’ll see about that.”  I actually agree with this now after almost 2 weeks of having this manicure it still looks almost perfect.  I will say that playing the piano within the first couple days did crack my thumb nail (which always happens to my thumb polish), but it didn’t chip it, you can just see cracks.  My mother in law said that she heard it can give you melanoma from the UV light.  I looked it up and dermatologists are worried about it.  They recommend getting it for special occasions only and honestly for $35 (plus tip) a pop I can’t imagine going every other week to get this done.  I highly recommend getting one of these for trips because you are pretty much guaranteed to have beautiful nails the whole time.  I did file them down after a week because I can’t stand to have long nails right now and they file down just fine.  The downside is you can’t really get it off yourself without a lot of work, but I plan to just let them grow out and paint over them when the outgrowth gets too much.  Below are a couple pictures I took last night (12 days in).  The color looks totally different because the lighting was horrible (the color I chose was called Nude Knickers), but you can see how well they are holding up.

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