Next stop China

Next stop China
Next Stop China!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Adoption, Debt, and Ethan's Birthday!

Even while in Ethiopia meeting the boys, we knew we wanted to adopt again.  We would have been out of debt last year probably if it hadn't been for the many, numerous repairs we had to do to the house.  Ok, that being said, Aaron wants to get completely out of debt before we turn in our adoption paperwork and get on the waiting list. 
It just seemed impossible that we would get out of debt anytime soon. No matter how hard we try, and it is going down. By the end of this month we will have paid down $4200 since August, but so much to go. 
Without going into it too much, we have decided to get our paperwork done ASAP and get on the waiting list. I really, really need to have it done by Jan 14, because the notary at our doctor's office notary expires then. That would mean having to go back to the doctor to get this filled out again, which is ALWAYS a big ta-do.  I am hoping to have it done by the first week of December.  I have almost all of the papers filled out and ready to go down to the bank to be notarized.  We are waiting for our 3 referrals to be done and I told them that I would like them by Thanksgiving.  Nothing in our dossier can be dated after our cover page is notarized. Once everything is perfect, and I mean perfect, we will send our notarized cover page to the capital to be state certified.  Then we can get our stuff sent in to the agency.  The prediction of a referral of a baby girl is approx. 9-10 months. Of course, that could speed up or slow down. Plus, that will give us 9-10 months of paying off more debt.  And fundraising and applying for grants. 
We had a grand total of $38,000 of receipts for our adoption fees for the boys (100% worth it)  Plus I would guess 2000-4000 in stuff we did not get receipts for. 
Now with Ethiopia, we should only have to make 1 longer trip, which should shave about $8000 off those fees.  And if we only get one child this time (haven't 100% decided yet) that would shave another $8000, which brings my estimate down to $22,000..  Wow, I hope that's right.  Anyway, before you freak out about the fees....
#1 These children have a soul.  Souls are worth it.  Most people here spend more on a stupid, non-eternal vehicle than they are willing to spend to help a soul.
#2 Should people like social workers who do your home study, agency workers who match you with a child, help you with your paperwork, pick you up in country, etc, airlines who get you across the world and back, etc.  Should all these people do this for free because adoption is a good thing?  They deserve to be paid too.
#3 If you were to birth a baby here in the US, I can about bet that your hospital bill before insurance would probably match an adoption.  So adoption is kind of like having a child without health insurance. 
On a different note ...
Today is Ethan's 3rd birthday.  He is excited.  We are having a party for both he and Seth tonight.  Yes, I am that Mom that takes shortcuts  and cheapcuts when having parties. I will admit it. So, in order to make it easier for me around the holidays, we are combining the parties.  Seth's birthday is on 12/23 and Ethan's is 11/22.  So, Aaron's parents and my mom are coming over for supper and cake tonight and presents.  That's it. 
I went to 3 stores last week looking for some kind of toppers to put on cupcakes.  Thomas the Tank Engine for Ethan and Spiderman for Seth> Could not find anything, so I finally looked in 4 different places in Walmart.  Finally went to the cake section and asked the lady where to buy them. She asked how many I wanted. I said 5-10 each. She sold me 12 cupcake toppers of Thomas and 12 of Spiderman for .88c a dozen. So I bought some cheap cakes and white icing.  And the girls have spent all morning decorating cupcakes. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Debt Paydown

Well, since we started our budgeting and paying off debt, we have paid off approx. $3300.  Since August.  Not as much as I would like, but better than adding to debt, which seemed like we were doing before starting our debt snowball.
I hope to pay even more each month. When we started, on top of our debt, we also had went into the hole in July pretty badly.  I was cancelled 5 days in a row, AND we had to pay out around $1400 for home study and USCIS.  So, it took at least a month to recover from that, then start paying down debt.  Finally, in the next few months, IF we don't have unexpected bills, I can really start putting most of my paychecks toward debt.
For instance, I went to the dentist last week.  And found out I had two small cavities and needed a cap on a tooth.   Thankfully, I was able to pay cash for it today, but that's  $400 I couldn't pay to debt like I had hoped to. 
I was cancelled from work yesterday, but should be able to work tomorrow and Friday, unless the census goes down again.
3 days working a week, plus homeschooling is hard and I know that Dave Ramsey would probably tell me to get a 2nd job, and I am tempted, especially when I get cancelled a lot, but I really don't think I could do it. Thankfully, we are making good time with our school days!  I am hoping to get to at least Day 90 by the end of the year!  And if we happened to get done early, I could maybe work a 2nd PRN job for a while. However, usually census is lower in summer and I get cancelled even more. We'll see with holidays taking up some of our school days.
We went camping last weekend with our Sunday school class.
We had a great time.  It was cold,...Lows in the high 30s.  High of around 61 on Sunday.  I had budgeted for the camping trip.  I am tempted to not do anything fun until the debt is gone, however, with 5 kids, it isn't really fair to them to completely take away good times, so I choose to do the cheapest possible.  Camping is pretty cheap!  I did have to buy some more sleeping bags.  We had sleeping bags for all 7 of us that are supposed to keep you warm down to 30 degrees.  And they work. I was not cold at all once I got into the sleeping bag at night.  Now getting out of the sleeping bag in the morning when you could see your breath was a different story....
However, the girls slept in a tent directly across from ours.  We put a boy on each side of us and whenever we woke up through the night (which you do a lot while camping) Aaron or I would reach over and make sure the boys were warm, they stayed warm and slept good too.  It was a great weekend.  I love being outdoors. So that was our cheap family vacation this year. Our class talked of doing it again in the spring, so our next cheap vacation should be even cheaper, since we have all of the equipment needed, and all we should have to pay for next time is the campsite and food.

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's not rocket science, but do libraries figure their fines...

I will back up a month or two.  We started going to a larger library about 3 months ago. If you homeschool, you really need a good library... At least we do and we depend upon it heavily.  We nearly go past this larger library every Monday on the way to our Co-op, so we take a slight detour on the way home and stop by.  
Back in the first week of October, we went to the library.  I knew that I had not brought all of our books back that we had checked out our last trip.  So as we were checking out, I asked the librarian to renew all of our books.  She said "your books aren't due until October 21, do you still want me to renew them?" 
I told her "no" because I knew we would be back before that date and didn't worry about it.   Fast forward to Oct. 15th, 8 days later,(because they were closed for a holiday the 14th.)  I go to check out and the librarian tells me I owe $8 in fees.  I am dumbfounded about how in the world I could have racked up those fees when just the week before I was told I didn't have any books due until the 21st.  So I paid and then asked to talk to the manager/main librarian etc. 
I told her that I specifically remember the conversation of the week before and how I didn't have any books due until the 21st blah blah blah. I went over the whole thing of how I tried to renew, but was told I didn't need too (come to find out, I had about 6-8 books that were due ON the day the librarian told me I didn't need to renew).  I could tell that the librarian thought I was just a lying loser instead of someone with a legitimate complaint.
She did refund my money, but pretty much acted like I was an idiot and indicated that from now on the money would not be refunded because I should renew online.  I left feeling dirty and lowdown when I wasn't the one who made the mistake!
Ok, so at that point, according to them, all my books were renewed, I didn't have anything due until 3 weeks from that day, which would be tomorrow! 
This morning, I was a good little library patron and looked up my stuff online to renew all of my books, MYSELF, like I was told to do, thinking that all of my stuff was due tomorrow.  Well, there in front of my were 8 books due on the 28th that the library web site would NOT let me renew. So I go in there today and come to find out, I had books due last week, that they told me, AGAIN, they had renewed and would not be due for 3 weeks instead of 2 weeks.
So, I paid my >$10 fine and I am really mad because I know that I can't be so stupid that I can't figure out these library fee schedule. It seems so simple when I read it, but apparently is so complex, that I can't seem to figure it out.
One other reason for going to this library.  I had crazy high fees at the other library closer to us.  Could not figure out how they were going up so high when I had been renewing and paying small fees.  I have not been back since, but back in the summer or before I paid such a high fee I don't want to say it on here.   I couldn't get a straight answer where it came from etc.  I supposedly renewed everything for another 3 weeks.... Then I sent the girls in alone less than 3 weeks later and my fee was now 30$ . I haven't been back. I don't trust them. How in the world can I not have books due, yet somehow rack up 30$ of fees.????? 
See, apparently this complex math just flies over my head.  Is it just the county I live in??