Next stop China

Next stop China
Next Stop China!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Pictures, Changing Co-ops

Thought I would add some updated pictures since it has been SOOO long since I have added pictures of the kids.  Pictures on in birth order. 
Natalie and Hannah are at camp this week.  Madelyn chose not to go, so we have enjoyed spending alone time together this week. Something that does not happen much. Of course the boys are here, but they nap and go to bed early, so that leaves time for Madelyn and me.  She wanted to go shopping for clothes yesterday. I had to remind her that clothes were not budgeted and for a long time, we will only be buying necessities.   She is ok with that. 
We got up early and dropped the boys off at Mom's house so that Madelyn and I could go pay for our car tags today.  Last day to do it.  Madelyn kept asking me while we waited in line.  "why couldn't you just pay it at the first of the month?'"  I kept answering "because I put it off" she would ask again like I didn't understand her question and I would answer again like she didn't understand my answer.  Finally I told her I just now got the money. 
Today my plans are to sort through our filing cabinet and get rid of things we don't need, and make a few new folders.  BORING! I also plan to do my exercise.  Of course, like usual, I have not lost any weight, however, I can really tell how much stronger I am.  Mom kindly offered to let me leave the boys at her house until lunch.  It has been nice and quiet here.
She just spent 10 days in TN at my brother's house watching his kids while he and his wife went on vacation, and the boys have really missed her.  Ethan asked me almost every morning "is Grandma here?"  Mom came home Sunday and then rode with me to take the girls to camp.  All the kids went and Aaron got a quiet afternoon in the house. It was cute because I think Ethan said "I love Grandma" at least 20 times on the way there and back. 
The kids go to a homeschool co op here. We have been going to the same one since we moved to AL in 2007.  It is a good one and I don't have anything bad to say about it. It is huge with over 180 families that meet each week for different classes. I have not taught the last two years since we got the boys. Truthfully, between homeschooling and work, I really, really don't have the patience and time for it. I am already overwhelmed sometimes.  I am not complaining, I agree with their policy that if you are a teacher, then you get to sign your kids up first for their co op classes.  Well, since I don't teach, by the time I sign up, many of the classes the kids wanted to take are full.  This year being the worst.  I don't know what classes my kids made it in this year, but I know that 5 of them were full before our sign up time.  And the kids will be disappointed.  And I have been considering changing co ops at some point anyway.  And I think this will be the year to do it.  No sense in driving 35 min. each Friday to attend classes that they don't want to go to without any of their friends. Their friends can spend the night once a month and they will see them more then than the 5min. between classes and 15 min. at the end of co op before we leave.  I have found a co op that is just starting this year.  A friend I went to college with told me about it. It is the same distance away and it is affiliated with the same religion we are. You only have to commit to teaching a class every other week.  I just think it is a good time to leave. 
Aaron just asked me on the phone if I have signed up yet (deadline is tomorrow)  I told him no, even though I have made the decision, I have SUCH a hard time leaving one thing and moving on to something new.  Even if I don't like where we are, even if I am excited about the new thing, just saying the words and telling the people we are leaving is so stressful for me.  Aaron readily agreed that I did have a problem with that.  HA!  He knows me so well.  I have not told the other girls yet since they are at camp. I dread that too, but I also feel good about this change.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Change in Plans

Before we adopted the boys, we became debt free, other than our house.  Now, the debt free lasted about a week because that was what we were waiting for to send in our dossier.  It was very hard to wait until we had no debt, but I am glad we did.
We moved into this house about 15 months ago and oh the repairs we have had to do.
*Cleaned out septic tank
*Replaced collapsed sewage lines to septic tank.
*Replaced plumbing for downstairs clear to septic tank (because it was leaking into the garage)
*Replaced upstairs AC when it died
*Replaced section of ceiling in boys room, when leaking AC caused it to collapse (day after we  moved  in)
*Replaced dead microwave with cheapest one we could find
*Replaced fridge that died the day after we moved in (went to look at refrigerators at Lowes with the kids when we came home, Hannah telling me the boys ceiling was in the floor...not a good day)
*Had to buy a lawn mower for new yard (our 15 yr. old one died)
*Bought a new bed because our mattresses were so old that Aaron and I could barely move every morning, our backs hurt so bad.
*Still have not replaced our dishwasher that stopped working about 4 months ago
*And one of the biggest expenses a few weeks ago, had to spend many, many thousands to replace the AC downstairs. 
* $1,600 to our social worker and USCIS for our new adoption.

Needless to say, we still owe on a few adoption loans, have to pay for the AC, have to pay off the rest of our van, plus some credit card debt.  UGH!  I am too ashamed to say what our total owed is.

Truthfully, I was a little irritated that Aaron was wanting to wait again for us to be debt free.  Well, he said other than the house and car.  So pretty much we will get our fingerprints for USCIS this week, but plan on sitting on our home study and adoption paperwork for a LONG time, or perhaps a SHORT time if some miracle happens.

I have always felt the burden of paying off the debt myself, since, most of the time, the amount of hours I work, is how much we can pay to debt.  So I had to schedule time to work around everything else I do and truthfully, it was overwhelming, depressing, and stressful.  It seemed impossible to pay off debt when after a few month of paying it down, an expense would come that would shoot it right back up to where it was and now with our new AC, almost increase our debt by 1/3.

However, Aaron is working on the budget with me. We are setting goals of how much to spend on certain things.  It is a challenge to try to spend the least amount as possible.  It is a challenge to only buy what you need, not what you want.  But since we are working on it together and I don't feel like it is all up to me (who was failing miserably), I am actually excited about getting rid of this awful debt. I am excited to think about how much money it will free up each month. I am excited to think that when we do adopt again, I won't have to work all the time.

Perhaps Aaron will get to go on a detail.  When he goes he is normally gone for 16 days. We miss him, but it is a blessing because he usually brings home 4-5 x his normal pay with all the over