Sunday Night Chit-Chat: Edition, Wedding Weekend

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This weekend I had the privilege of shooting a beautiful, rustic, country wedding.  I had an absolute blast!  Here is just one photo of the many that I took.  If you want to see more photos from the wedding, you can check out my business Facebook page.  I am in love with the way the photos turned out.  There is always a nervousness and worry that it isn’t going to turn out the way I want.  Luckily, these were just as perfect coming out of the camera as they were in real life.

I am also super excited that Carla is back with Sunday Night Chit-Chat.  I have been missing these Sunday night question sessions.  Feel free to play along in the comments, or you can link your blog up here or at Carla’s blog.

What…

Are you watching? We are getting caught up on Homeland.  I am only halfway watching it, so I am not completely sure what is going on at this point.

Are you reading? The Late, Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow.  I actually found this book shoved under my bed about a week ago.  I think I got it from my sister and then forgot about it.  So far it is pretty good, but I haven’t read much of it in the past couple days.

Are you looking forward to next week? Our baby is turning 2 on Thursday!  I can’t believe it!  Unfortunately I have parent-teacher conferences on Wednesday evening and all day Thursday, so there won’t be much celebrating going on.  On Saturday, though, we have her “party” planned (with just family coming in town).  It is going to be practically free!  I love low-key parties!

Was your best moment over the last week?  Well, I loved photographing the wedding yesterday.  I also enjoyed a coffee date with some dear friends on Friday morning.  Then there is always the snuggling with Miss C.  Oh and we all slept in until 9:00 this morning!  So, basically it was a pretty awesome week!

Is your #1 goal for this week? Get the house thoroughly cleaned for the birthday party.  We don’t have school on Friday, so I hope to spend the day running last minute party errands and getting the house cleaned (easier said than done, especially with a 2 year old “helping”.)

Was your best/worst financial decision over the past week? Best? Paying off the car!  Yay!  Worst?  Probably eating out today for lunch.  I am sure I could have scrounged around the house and made something for the three of us, but I just didn’t feel up to it.  We did just do quesadillas for dinner, so it was easy and cheap.

Is on the top of your wish list? Well, I rented most of the camera equipment that I used this past weekend, so I would say I am really wanting a Speedlite and a 24-70mm lens.  I know that they are not in our future financial plan at this point, so I will just rent them again when I need them.  They are not necessary for my business at this point.

And with that, I am off to grab a little something to eat and then do some lesson planning and other miscellaneous school work.  I hope you had a great weekend and have a great upcoming week!

Mid-Month Check-in

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Our car is paid off!  It felt good to submit that payment online and cancel the bill payment reminders that I get each month from our bank.  It is odd that it feels as though there is a weight lifted off our backs.  Even though we won’t really see the difference in our month to month lives until December (the money is already earmarked for November), it is nice to know there is a bit more wiggle room than normal.

Now for an update on my goals for this month:

Finances
Pay off car loanDONE!  Woo-hoo!
Put $150 into emergency savings- Not yet, but should happen next week
Continue using cash only- Been doing ok with this, but could probably do better.
Keep up with checkbook at least weekly- Unfortunately no.  No excuses besides just not wanting to do anything in the evenings.

Marriage
One date “night” this month (will probably actually happen during the day)- Not yet.  Don’t know if it’s going to happen, but we will try and find some time.

Family
Go to parents house at least twice a month for dinner- Done!  I am going tomorrow as well.
Go to the pumpkin patch as a family- Not yet, but I think we may go this coming weekend.

Health
Physical Activity
Start Couch to 5K program- I have done the first two days.  I am supposed to do the third day tomorrow.  I may have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get it done.
Start a yoga program in the mornings- Not yet, but I really need to.

Food/Drink
Drink 4 cups of water a day- No, I am terrible at this.
Buy coffee only once a week (until my gift certificate runs out, then none)- I have been doing this pretty well.  I think one week I ended up getting coffee twice a week.
Eat a fruit at every lunch- No.  Honestly I never think about eating or packing fruit in my lunch.

Career
Teaching
Stay on top of planning each week- Nope.  I have been doing ok, but need to work better at this.
Get files for each child prepped-  Done!  And I have the paperwork all filed away.
Prep for parent-teacher conferences- Tomorrow is a work day at school today, so I plan to spend my time doing that.
Spend less than 2 hours on the weekend working on school work- I think I have been doing a pretty good job at keeping my work at home time to a minimum.
Photography
Photograph wedding and edit photos within a month- Wedding is this coming weekend.
Get Cadence 2 year photos done- Did them today.  We may try to get some more done this coming weekend as well.

Recreation
Blog at least 5 times a week- Not quite
Read a book for fun- I started on a book and have been trying to read a little each night.

Home
Continue to keep the kitchen clean each night- We have been doing ok with this.  I need to clean off the table and counter, as it has become a catchall for a lot of junk.
One load of laundry a night- Big Fat No
Thoroughly clean house before Miss C’s birthday party- I still have a couple weeks until this needs to happen.

I guess you could say I am doing ok.  Still need to work on a few of the things here, but overall I think this month has been going well.  It has been super busy and it will continue to be busy, so it will take a lot of focus to reach my goals.

How are your goals going?

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Updates

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This guy is making it very hard to get any work done this evening.  He is very needy!  He is also making sure that I do not get cold… he is one toasty dog!

Tomorrow is a big day!  Tomorrow I put in the LAST payment on our car loan!  Woo-hoo!  I am so excited!  I can’t even tell you how much this will ease our worry about if something happens or comes up.  It gives us about $500 worth of wiggle room each month now!  In November, that money will go to new tires and alignment on the car, but after that, we will use it for savings!  I plan to put about $450 into savings and then double up on our lowest student loan.  These big steps make living frugally so worth it!  Hopefully by doubling up on the student loan, it will go down very quickly!  I love seeing those numbers dwindle!

Another exciting update is that my laptop shipped today!  I wasn’t expecting it until the end of the month, but it looks like it will be here sooner rather than later!  I am shooting a wedding on Saturday, and I was really hoping it would be here in time to do editing on it for that.  I don’t know if it will be here in time to start the editing (and do the sneak peek photos), but it will be here in time to get it all finished!  I am super excited about it!  It should speed up my editing process immensely!

I haven’t been doing that great with my October goals.  I hope to do a middle of the month check-in tomorrow, but I am not going to guarantee anything.  I find that even though I have a lot on my to-do list each night, once Miss C gets put in bed, I don’t want to do anything.  I have started reading a new book before bed.  I really want to break the habit of staring at my phone reading articles and whatnot right before bed.  I think that is a big part of why I get in bed, but then can’t fall asleep right away.  I know that the light is not conducive for falling asleep.

We did manage to save a bit of money today.  Hubs’ work offers free flu shots to employees and employee families.  We went in this afternoon and got our flu shots.  (Miss C can’t get a flu shot from the wellness clinic there until she is 4.)  Being a teacher, getting the flu shot is a big deal for me.  I never go without one.  Hubs used to never get one, but once we had the little one, he didn’t want to risk bringing it home and giving it to her.  Because we got our flu shots, we did enjoy a dinner out.  It was nice to have a dinner together, as we don’t have them during the week.  The dinner was budgeted, so no extra money was spent.

Well, I am going to try and get a couple more things done before I turn in for the night.

How are your October goals going?

Busy Weekend

This weekend started my string of busy weekends.  I do not have a free weekend until November 8th/9th.  This is assuming that I do not get another photo session scheduled for that weekend.  I honestly can’t believe it is half way through October.  I keep feeling like there should be another week in here somewhere, but there isn’t.

At work we are coming up to the end of the first quarter.  This coming Friday we don’t have students, but we have a lot to do for the end of the quarter.  I still don’t feel like I am caught up or can get organized at school, so I am not feeling ready for the end of the quarter.

This weekend I did get a lot of fun time with friends, so that is awesome!  I started Saturday morning with a very dear friend.  We did some antique shopping, garage sale-ing, and other miscellaneous errands.  Here is a photo of some of the goods I ended up with:

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I got the child’s rocking chair for $10, the stool for $4, and the boots for $6.  I think that for $20, I walked away with quite a few good deals!  I also got a few other things while we were out, but these were by far, the best deals I got!  Miss C likes the chair, but I think her favorite is actually the stool.  She will put things on the stool and push it around the living room.

Saturday evening we had family photos at my parents’ house.  My sister’s sister-in-law is a fantastic photographer.  We often trade sessions and help each other out.  She got some amazing shots!  I honestly just hope to be half the photographer she is!

Apparently the photos wore out the little munchkin.  She slept in until 9:30 this morning!  That hasn’t happened since… well, ever!  She is usually up at 7:00 every morning.  I had actually scheduled a breakfast date for the two of us at 8:30 this morning.  When I left at 8:00, she was still asleep, so it was just a breakfast date with my friend and me.

The rest of the day today has been pretty laid back.  Once Miss C woke up from her nap, we moved all of her toys into her room.  They had been in our living room, which was driving me crazy!  Even when we cleaned the living room, it still seemed so messy and cluttered.  I couldn’t deal with it anymore.  Now we can see our fireplace hearth, the carpet, and have two clean shelves on the book case.  It is amazing!  The sad part was that I moved the rocker out of C’s room.  It kind of means she has grown up.  We never really used it for her, but the fact that there was a rocker, made the room feel so much more like a nursery.  Now it is actually a toddler/little girl’s room with all of the toys.

This evening while Hubs gave Miss C her bath, I made my first ever apple crisp.  My parents have a few apple trees, so they gave me some baking apples, and my mom gave me her recipe.  I have never actually made one before, but it turned out great!

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It is definitely not fancy at all, and I would have loved some vanilla ice cream with it, but it was still delicious just on its own.  It will definitely become a more regular dessert around here, as it is liked by everyone.

Well, I hope to get to bed soon.  I am going to have to do some prep work for my crock pot meal before I leave for work.  I like to leave for work between 6:15 and 6:30.  It is going to be an early morning!

How was your weekend?

What should the title of this post be?

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I honestly don’t even know what to write about this evening.  My brain is pretty much fried right now.  I brought home quite a few things to work on from school, but I just can’t get any motivation to do anything.  There isn’t anything that desperately needs to get done for tomorrow.  I also have a few things here at home that I could work on, but I think I may go to bed early.

Today I started my Couch to 5K program.  To put it gently… it kicked my rear!  I hope I can walk in the morning.  I am going to have to figure out a different route.  I ended up doing the running parts up hill.  I really thought I was going to collapse at the end.  I actually cut the last bit of running short, as I physically could not make it.  Tomorrow is an off day.  I will try to do some yoga/pilates, but I don’t know if my body is going to be able to handle it.  I just keep trying to tell myself that if it doesn’t kill me, it will make me stronger.

Ok, I have been sitting here staring at the screen and watching Chopped for the past 20 minutes.  Nothing else worthwhile is coming to my brain.  Hopefully I will be back tomorrow with something more interesting for you to read.

Hope you had a happy hump day!

October Goals… Finally

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Tonight is the first night of evening shifts for Hubs.  I came home from picking up the munchkin and found this awesome message from Hubs, Miss C, and the pups.

I have honestly been worried and stressing about being alone in the evenings.  We have had such a routine figured out for the past few months, and I just wasn’t sure how the witching hour was going to go by myself and while I was making dinner.

Tonight went very well, though.  I got dinner made while Miss C kept herself busy building Legos and pushing around her grocery cart.  I don’t think the dogs are too happy that she has free reign.  Usually Hubs holds her while I am cooking and they all keep me company in the kitchen.  Unfortunately the dogs were on the run quite a bit, as a toddler with a grocery cart can be a little intimidating.

In the end, everything went very well.  I even was able to get the kitchen cleaned while she kept busy.  We ended our evening with our regular routine of picking up toys, putting on jammies, and snuggling up with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  The only thing missing was giving daddy a hug and kiss good-night.  Instead she had to settle with giving the dogs both gentle pets good-night.

Now for my October goals.  I went back and looked at how I structured my resolutions originally.  I wanted to keep it similar to that, as it allows me to work on separate areas of my life.  My main focus is not to change myself, but to get into better habits.

Finances
Pay off car loan
Put $150 into emergency savings
Continue using cash only
Keep up with checkbook at least weekly

Marriage
One date “night” this month (will probably actually happen during the day)

Family
Go to parents house at least twice a month for dinner
Go to the pumpkin patch as a family

Health
Physical Activity
Start Couch to 5K program
Start a yoga program in the mornings
Food/Drink
Drink 4 cups of water a day
Buy coffee only once a week (until my gift certificate runs out, then none)
Eat a fruit at every lunch

Career
Teaching
Stay on top of planning each week
Get files for each child prepped
Prep for parent-teacher conferences
Spend less than 2 hours on the weekend working on school work
Photography
Photograph wedding and edit photos within a month
Get Cadence 2 year photos done

Recreation
Blog at least 5 times a week
Read a book for fun

Home
Continue to keep the kitchen clean each night
One load of laundry a night
Thoroughly clean house before Miss C’s birthday party

I think those are enough goals to keep me busy for the month.  I know some of them will happen even if I didn’t make them a goal, but I like to set some goals that I know I will accomplish.  I realize that I won’t meet every goal that I set.  I hope that I will be back weekly with updates on how these goals are going.

Wish me luck!

Sleepy Sunday Evening…

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I know that I said I would come back with a list of goals, but I am barely able to keep my eyes open right now.  I know there is no way I could create a list of goals for October in the sleepy state I am in currently.

Since I last posted, I have gotten quite a few things done:

*3 loads of laundry (washed and dried… I folded 2 loads.  The 3rd is still in the dryer finishing up)
*Had our friend over to cut Miss C’s hair
*Made a yummy, homemade dinner of Philly cheesesteaks
*Helped clean the kitchen (tag-teamed with the Hubs)
*Helped give Miss C a bath (tag-teamed with the Hubs)
*Finished lesson planning for the week
*Graded some math papers
*Cleaned out my school bag
*Got bills ready to be paid tomorrow
*Made my schedule for the week
*Spent some time snuggled up with my family on the couch

Needless to say, I was relatively busy (and productive) and haven’t had a chance to really think about worthwhile goals.  I know I could have thrown some together, but I want to actually be able to focus on these goals and have a decent chance of reaching them.  I do have some time built into my schedule tomorrow evening to get some blogging done, so I hope I will have them prepared by then.  If not, then you are stuck with a boring riveting menu plan post. :)

What are your goals for the month of October?

And So It Begins…

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October has been in full swing for almost a week, and it has already been a busy one.  October is almost always the busiest month of the year for me.  A few things that don’t change and make it a busy month: parent-teacher conferences, the end of the first quarter of school, Miss C’s birthday and party, and Halloween.  Things that do change, but still seem to keep October busy: photography schedule, Hubs’ work schedule.  October tends to be my busiest month for photography: it’s beautiful outside, all the leaves are changing, and people want to get holiday photos done.

This is also the time that Hubs changes shifts for work.  Starting tomorrow he will be working evenings: 1:00-9:00 pm each day.  This means I am on my own every evening during the work week.  I am beyond thrilled that he will be off on the weekends, so we get lots of family time (between all of the photography sessions).  I know we will get a routine figured out, but it is going to be rough.  Trying to prep and cook dinner with a toddler underfoot is going to be quite a challenge.

This current weekend was my only free weekend for the month.  Next weekend we are having our family photos done.  The weekend after (10-18) I am shooting a wedding.  The week after that is going to be exhausting: I have parent-teacher conferences two days of the week, I am doing Miss C’s 2 year photos, we are having Miss C’s birthday party, and I am shooting a family session.  Finally the last Friday of the month is Halloween.  (Can I just say how happy I am that Halloween is on a Friday?!?)

Needless to say, I am already tired just looking at my planner.  My mantra this school year has been “One Day at a Time.”  I try not to focus on anything later in the week or think about how busy everything is going to be.  I just want to focus on getting through the current day.  This has helped me from getting too overwhelmed and stressed out.

Honestly I haven’t even thought about goals for the month.   I know Carla is having a budget challenge, and I would like to figure out some goals for us so we can keep our budget down for the month.  Hopefully I will be back later this evening or tomorrow with some goals.

Do you have a busy month coming up?

Predicting the Future

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On Monday I got onto our online banking website so I could balance the checkbook and make sure everything was how it was supposed to be.  As soon as I logged in, a page came up that informed us that the bank was concerned about our ATM cards possibly being compromised due to the Home Depot security breach.  We have shopped at Home Depot in the past, but it has been a few months.

I had been on our online banking site on Saturday and this had not shown up, so I am wondering if using our card to buy my new computer was part of what spurred their concern.  Anyways, the page said that they were mailing us new debit/ATM cards, and that we needed to shred the old ones as soon as we received our new ones.  Well, the new ones showed up in the mail today and they have an expiration year of 2018.  This got me thinking about what our lives will be like in 4 years.  Here are some ideas:

*Miss C will be almost 6!  She will be in kindergarten, which is hard to believe.

*Hopefully Miss C will have at least one (human) sibling.  This is somewhat in our control, but not completely.  (Our last pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, so we are not oblivious to the fact that family planning always goes according to plan.)

*Hopefully we will be out of debt!  Our goal is to be out of debt (except the mortgage) by the time Miss C gets in school.

*I will have a new car!  I am super excited about this one!

*If we are being completely honest here, I think there is a good chance that Bandit may not be with us anymore.  Just typing that sentence made me tear up.  I told Ben that I will have to take off work the day Bandit dies… possibly even longer than that.  He was our first baby, and he is old already.

*If we are out of debt, I think my job situation will change.  I will continue to work, and I plan to still work in a school setting, but just with a lower stress level.  Possibly as a substitute teacher or a paraeducator.  I would be fine with either of those situations.

*Hopefully we will have made some updates on our house.  We plan to get kitchen cabinets done (hopefully by spring), and we would like to get some other projects done around the house sooner rather than later.

*Hopefully we will have at least 3 months worth of savings set aside in case something major does happen.

Most of those are things we don’t know.  The future is a scary thing to think about sometimes.  I tried to keep it light, but there were not so happy thoughts that entered my mind…

What if something happened to Hubs?
What if something happened to Miss C?
What if there was a natural disaster that affected our housing situation?
What if we totaled a car?
What if something happened to me?
What if one of us weren’t able to work?

Now, I hate “what if” questions.  In fact, most of the students in my class know not to ask them because I just tell them that we will figure it out when/if we get there.  I like being prepared, but I don’t want to dwell on the possibility of something bad happening.

We are on the right track to having everything in order, and I think we are ahead of quite a few people out there, but we still have a ways to go.  Hopefully my first list of possibilities is the one that plays out (except I would prefer if Bandit lived forever), but you never know.

Are you prepared if something unfortunate happened in your life?

Lazy, Lazy Weekend

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I have been so lazy this weekend, and honestly it has been lovely.  I do not typically describe myself as a lazy person, so my utter lack of motivation to do nothing and not even worry about it is completely unlike me.

The laziness started after a completely horrible day at work on Friday.  As much as I appreciate my principal, I spent way too much time with her on Friday trying to do some problem-solving.  (I was not in trouble, nor is anything with my job in jeopardy… I just was unable to handle some situations on my own and needed her help, support, and advice.)  Once the day was done, I got in my car to leave and promptly burst into tears because of the stress of it all.  I do see myself as a very emotional person, but not at work and not in public situations.  This was not my first time driving home from work in tears, but it has been a long time since it last happened.

Once I got home, I was fried!  I did get some amazing Miss C snuggles and Hubs was super supportive (not to mention he wins the Husband of the Year award.  I came home to a vacuumed house, clean kitchen, and laundry going.  After the day I had, I couldn’t have asked for more.)  We took it easy Friday night and just spent time together as a family.  We had leftovers for dinner, so no cooking for me.  After a rough day, being at home was exactly what I needed to soothe my soul.

Yesterday I got a lot of errands done, but I don’t feel like I did anything really worthwhile around the house. We got groceries early in the morning, then ran a couple of errands before lunch time.  I managed to go to Target without buying anything! (Besides a coffee for me and a snack for munchkin… which was the real reason we went.)  And don’t worry… the coffee and snack came out of my MAD money.  After Target we went to Kohl’s, then stopped at a pet store so Miss C could enjoy some animals.  She even got to pet a ferret! I think it was the highlight of her day!

Once we got home, it was a quick lunch and then down for a nap.  During nap time, I bought a computer (!), balanced our checkbook, and had a little party because we were under budget for the week.  I was able to put some extra money in our savings (which is reflected in the updated sidebar).  By the time I was done with the budget, choosing a computer, and not hyperventilating over spending a large chunk of money all at one time, Miss C was done napping.

We got up, got her changed, then ran to a friend’s house to take care of their dog while they were away for the day.  We finished our busy day with a wonderful, and much needed ice cream date with a very dear friend.  It was another moment that was good for the soul this weekend.  By the time we finished up, picked up some files from a teacher friend, and got home, it was time to start dinner!

Basically, nothing really substantial got done yesterday!  Last weekend I was so busy trying to make sure everything got cleaned and done, and this weekend has been the complete opposite of that!

Today has been a repeat of laziness.  Miss C and I haven’t left the house at all today, and we have just been playing, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and singing Disney songs.  It has been great!  We do have a birthday party for my nephew this afternoon, and then the fam is eating dinner together.  That will at least get us out and about for a bit.  My laziness is going to come back and bite me around 7:00 though.  Once the munchkin is in bed, I will be doing lesson planning until bed time.  It will be a long evening, but the rest has been much appreciated.

When was the last time you just sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed a day off?