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Monday, December 19, 2016

Our Dave Ramsey update

*Just like the first post I did about Dave Ramsey, this topic is a super weird one to "discuss" - I mean, personal finances isn't exactly polite to chat about, ya know? But truly, this whole Dave thing has been such a large piece of our lives, it's weird NOT to record it up in here. So I'm just going to get up and over feeling weird about it and will begin writing! After all, if there are humans who read this who have never heard of this dang process, then maybe this will help them out. Ya never know!
Well gosh be-darn, it's been over TWO YEARS since my last update, which came around the ONE YEAR anniversary of our first date with the Rams. PEOPLE. I am sick of Dave. He can go kick rocks. I'm so sick of him, but I love him - ya know? Without him, we'd still be stewing around in a wasteland of dumbness. So all in all, to keep it straight, we've been hanging out with the Rams for THREE WHOLE YEARS NOW - THREE! Not three weeks, not three months, THREE YEARS. (Which I'm kind of proud of, kind of sickened by baha! But for real, I'm proud of us for sticking with him for so long.)

Okay so quick recap:

1. That first post outlined a successful year undoing a large chunk of weirdo decisions made in the past. It was so cool! What a blast that was.

2. Then, since that post, things kept changing - we moved from Lake Forest to Ladera Ranch where our rent changed slightly. Car decisions were made (one of which wasn't the best - damn lease) which changed payment situations. We moved to Corona where our new mortgage was drastically different from renting. Rates dropped, so mortgage payment changed again. Car decisions were made... better than leases though, but of course payments changed (we know the Rams encourages buying cars in cash instead of financing, but hey sista we NEEDED cars right away, payments were our only option). What else, what else - I know there were more. These facts weren't necessarily a bad thing, just a bunch of shifting around. I was proud of us though, even though these changes definitely meant constantly switching up the "Dave Ramsey'ing" of our lives. At least with each of these changes, we had our heads screwed on straight as opposed to the early-20's version of ourselves. So that fact right there meant Dave had continued to earn his spot as the third member to the ol' Cisneros marriage bahaha! But with all of these changes, nothing really changed from that first year of working our butts off to get things under control. In fact, with the cars, it actually got a tad bit more intense. Tons of people told us to not be so hard on ourselves - after all, we were mainly focusing on car debt and student loans, two things that at least weren't the scum of the earth, like credit card payments (little did they know that we were working those too! Bahahaha it's all so horrid!). What they meant by trying to convince us to not be so hard on ourselves was at least cars were a necessity, not some luxury, and at least student loans were a "nobler" type of debt. Nice thoughts, but Dave's influence was too deep to "be cool" with even those payments.

3. Then a few months ago (September, to be exact!), big mama over here wanted to try her hand at bill-paying. We got to a point where I realized that all of the shifting had stopped for the foreseeable future - we both have reliable cars, mortgage payment is constant obviously, those type things - and as mentioned, I had never EVER done this before in my adult life, so I thought it would be prudent of me to give it a shot. Well tally-ho I ain't ever going back to not paying the bills! I looooooooove it. And that's where I shall pick up this post!...
Clearly we are still in the "debt snowball" area, just like gooooood ollllllllll' 2013. That's okay though, honestly. Before I was paying the beels, I felt desperately lame about how we were STILL in that arena. But now that I know what's up and am fully comfortable with how strict I am with the way we choose to spend, I'm actually quite thankful. Between Chad and I, I'm definitely the one who cares more about this whole "endeavor" than he does, so I just do my thing and KNOW that we are getting somewhere, unlike my total blindness to things beforehand.

I can't wait for September of 2017 to see how my "methods" have "performed." As more and more of my friends and acquaintances get to know Dave and his strict freakin' ways, my biggest piece of advice to them is to have the person who a) CARES MORE and b) IS MORE ORGANIZED to be the one "in charge." It will be an awesome day when we graduate to Baby Step #3, but in the meantime I feel calm about the process. This is part of our journey and I'm truly thankful to be doing it with Chad, the most fun guy on the planet, even if that meant that for a good 2 years we kind of just.... sat there. At least during those stagnant years we weren't going deeper into pointless debt (if you don't count the cars), meaning our habits had changed dramatically - truly the most important part of the whole "process." So it was all good in the hood!
So this post compared to the last post, I would say, is a kind of coming of age story in which I graduated from a manic human desperate to rid myself of the disgustingness that was a few weirdo decisions (LET'S TAKE OUT ALL THE STUDENT LOANS! AREN'T THESE GOVERNMENT DOLLARS FUN?!?!?! - naivete is a weird thing), into a butterfly of calmness. A few ways this calmness has been achieved... (if you're someone who's starting off with Dave and want some tips from an ol' Baby Step #2 veteran)...:

1. Utilizing the Rams' envelope concept really helped me realize that we could totally live a great life while STILL paying things off. Before using envelopes to save for things we wanted to do in life, I felt super sad about how we wouldn't go on a cool vacation with the kids for many years because we were down in the depths (Dave would say to shuttle every single dollar toward the payments, not toward something frivolous like vacations, which is great of course, but we have a family here! We want to do cool stuff with them and show them awesome things!). Using his envelope idea we've saved for a super awesome vacation coming up here in a couple of months, have had a completely stress free Christmas shopping experience these last few years, have planned great birthday outings for each of the older kids, and have had a super awesome "date night" life - all sans guilt! These cool envelopes coincided with payment pay offs - they're compartmentalized now. It's great!

2. This one is more mental than anything else, but I just had to STOP with the GUILT. The beating myself up? It needed to stop. Once I stopped stressing over the state of affairs, all went better. Our financial talks became way less tense and everything just flowed better. Yes it's not a great feeling to take a look at your finances and be like "WAY TO GO, YA EFFING IDIOT," but you are certainly not alone. It's tough to ease up on yourself, but dollars and cents are not worthy of my mental capacity to the extent I was letting it all get to me. Feeling fortunate for the dollars and cents available to make it all better? Now that is a great way to think!

Okay this post is getting SUPER long...
All of this "calmness" has not come without a fight or two (or a million tense conversations...) between Chadly and I, but again, it's part of our journey! It truly makes ya stronger, chap. So all in all, envelopes have done us well and we are calmer humans than when we started this whole thing. Peace of mind is what it's all about, and even with disturbing, constant payments, that can be achieved as long as you stick to your guns.

Again, I can't wait until next year's Dave Ramsey update post! I won't go 2 years in between again. It's going to be awesome. AWESOME!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

In which I outline my extensive thoughts on children's soccer

Why are my humans the most perfect bunch in the entire universe? They are the bomb!

Okay, what to say, what to say. Grace is sleeping, Kota is entrenched in Peppa Pig and I did a bunch of cleaning yesterday... there's nothing for me to do right now! Therefore the only acceptable action to take is to create my favorite type of post ever: one with no real point! They're the best when looking back.

Hmmmmm. Welp, Kota has informed Chad and I vigorously that she WILL do soccer again so that way she can get the snacks and run through the tunnel at the end of the game. THESE ARE THE ONLY REASONS SHE WANTS TO PLAY SOCCER AGAIN. Running after the ball? Nah. Scoring? Who cares! No, she's very honest about her intentions. Every fiber in my body wants to say no to this request because I do not understand why Chad and I will have to be subjected to sitting outdoors on a hot, dumb field when there's no passion behind her soccer-playing, but I don't think that's a good idea. I mean, if she wants to be on a team, who am I to get in the way? Yes, the team camaraderie isn't exactly her motivation, but what if she starts to love soccer and then plays for the rest of her life? That could happen! Merr. I'm still sad about the lack of desire to return to dance though... wahhhhh!!!!! But that's okay...

Speaking of soccer, Chad and I are thrilled that Carter doesn't want to go back to it hahaha! We are evil parents. He was good at it, scored tons of goals and everything, but his little heart lies with hockey (THANK GOODNESS). There were a few weirdo parents on his team - I'm pretty sure one of them thought Chad and I were teen parents or something, she was so mean and condescending to us! She even yelled at Carter for something harmless. Several times I wanted to ask her why the HELL her husband hadn't volunteered to coach like MY husband had if she was such a bitter human being and wanted everything done just so. I even ranted about the benefits of having children in your 20's so that way we COULD volunteer to coach soccer without the threat of a heart attack, UNLIKE THEM! Bahahaha okay this post is turning into a very weird one. But anyhoo... - that was just one of the factors which ultimately rubbed salt in the wound that was us hauling our lives to the soccer fields weekly. It was so sweet the way he told us he didn't want to play again though! He said, "Dad, I don't want to play soccer anymore, I want to play hockey. But don't worry, I'll finish out my season." My heart! Proud of him for understanding the bigger picture and why we even do sports in the first place: to learn life lessons like perseverance. Go Carter!

But anyway, I feel bad for being such a poop about soccer. Truly it's nothing against the sport! I would have the same reaction to hockey if neither kid was very passionate about it but yet we would have to make our way there every week. So all in all, if they LOVED soccer or any other sport, of course I would get into it.
 ^^^Kota at one of Carter's games bahahaha.
^^^Them plus Grace makes my heart sing!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A day of firsts by an almost 29 year old

So when I was very pregnant toward the end of September, I had a full day of firsts. Both kids were at school, freeing me up to slay life in the jugular. Now these firsts are not that dang impressive, hence their noteworthiness. Most of them were so basic that I had to text my best friends just to let them know that I, Nicole Christine Cisneros, an almost-29-year-old, accomplished these things. It was quite the day!
So first of all, I paid a round of bills for the first time in my ENTIRE LIFE! Me! For the FIRST TIME EVER! Never had I ever paid bills before September of 2016. In college, my parents generously floated my over-spending boat and then I got married at 21! Chad paid all of our bills after that. The only thing I did banking related was to contributed 20% of my part time pay toward our savings, which came to an end once I had Carter bahahaha! So from 21 to 28, the whole of my "adult life," I skipped the part where one does this very basic, grown woman task - and guess what? I FREAKING LOVED IT. It was so dang fun to me! In my pure joy, I texted Liz and Whitney to tell them how amazing bill paying was to which they responded that I was a freak and if I could pay their bills with such enthusiasm I was welcome to it. So that was the first of the firsts!

THEN, oh then, I fearlessly BACKED MY VOLVO INTO THE GARAGE IN REVERSE. I know, it's a fete worth bounds of jealousy. I just whipped that bad bitch into the neighbor's drive way across the street, threw her into reverse, then floated backwards into the depths of our garage. Next, a picture was taken of my car and sent to Liz and Whitney to keep them updated on my epic day. They were super interested, let me assure you...
Next, mama over here scrubbed the tile on all fours. I remember my parents would sometimes do this to the tile in our kitchen, and I've thought about that several times, wondering why the heck they would put themselves through that sort of torture. But that day I was on fire! So while 9 months pregnant, I deep cleaned my floors for the first time in my LIFE! Not just while we've owned our home here in Corona, but in my LIFE. I've been a home keepin' woman since 21 and never had I ever truly taken care of my floors beyond a quick swiffer. I felt pretty dang proud of it!
What was next, what was next? I don't know, but I know there was something else on this list of firsts. It will probably hit me in the middle of the night when I'm feeding Grace or something. Anyhoo! Betta get to those kids' homework now! I have A HAIR APPOINTMENT IN 2 HOURS! I'M SO BEYOND HAPPY I'M GOING TO ATTACK THEIR HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS WITH VIGOR THANKS TO THE ENERGY THIS APPOINTMENT HAS GIVEN ME! Alooooooooooooooooooone time, here I come!


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Life with 3 bebes

I thought the jump from 2 to 3 bambinos was going to be hell - I've been told this practically my whole life. Everyone I've ever chatted to about families and children during my 28 years of being has reported that 2 is VERY doable, awesome, amazing, fabulous, wonderful and legit - 3 however... May as well go check yourself into the state asylum while you're ahead. The biggest source of this was my own madre! That's not to say she would have done anything differently - in fact once she even said she totally would have done 4!... had 3 not been such a wild roller coaster of puke-worthiness haha! - but she definitely conveyed to me several times how hard juggling tres bebes can be. The whole topic was perpetuated by Chad's former 2-children-nothing-more-nothing-less mantra for the first 6 years of our marriage. Everyone kept telling me to count my blessings because we had 2 great kids, a boy and a girl, both of which were very manageable, awesome and well behaved. Once we decided to go for 3 due to my extreme wishes to have more than 2 kids, there was a tiny part of me that was worried that IF little ol' me lost my mind because it was all so dang hard, THEN EVERYONE WOULD POINT AND LAUGH AND BE LIKE HAHA WE TOLD YOU SO, YA DAMN FOO!

So you could imagine my surprise when we brought baby girl home and we... are... all... still... AFLOAT! Not only have we stayed afloat, but we are actually THRIVING! What is happening over here? Even at my own baby shower, I remember joking about how I was so happy to have such great friends who I could totally call when I inevitably would bawl my eyes out due to how hard the whole 3-kid-thing was going to be! I truly thought it was going to be insane and I would just have to bear through it because this whole thing was my idea (obviously was Chad's too - he had to give the go-ahead after all! I guess he's kind of important in the whole procreating realm baha!). But hey! We are LOVING it. I know everyone says this, but she fits into our family perfectly. She's calm. She actually LIKES daddy! She doesn't get freaked out when Kota goes over the top with her scary screams. She let's Carter hold her for long periods of time. I mean. It doesn't get any better!

In fact right now she's just lying on our bed fast asleep. She's the coolest! She also makes me feel like Carter and Kota are my actual friends. Like they are humans who I get to hang out with. People to converse with, ya know? We get to talk to Carter about hockey, Pokemon cards and how much he likes his teacher. Kota gets to regal us with her dramatic TK playground stories. She can tell me if she wants to wear this leotard to gymnastics or that one. Grace reminds me how gosh dang INNOCENT children come! I wouldn't recognize that pure innocence though without Carter and Kota to compare it to! The dynamic has been great and we're only 6 weeks in! 

I know it's going to get harder eventually. One day Grace will become mobile and I'll be like woah, I thought the 3 kid thing was easy here in the Cisneros home - guess not. But for right now I'm sure as heck am going to appreciate the grace (see what I did there?) God has showered down upon us with making this whole transition easy, especially with all of my preconceived notions going into family-of-5 life. It's awesome! Very thankful!

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