Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Claire's 9 month update!

This month has gotten away from me! I could go on and on about how I wanted to accomplish so many things for the month but didn't get to any of them. I will skip all of that though and talk about my cute baby because she is 9 months old now! She turned 9 months old on Sunday May 22. We had dinner at my Mom's house that day, because we go to a families house for dinner every other Sunday, and it was a lot of fun spending the day with family.

7 lbs 8 oz
19 inches long

Two Week Appointment:
8 lbs 8 oz 75%
20 inches long 75%

Two Month Appointment:
12 lbs 4 oz 75%
 21 inches long 75%

Four Month Appointment:
  16lbs 5oz  75%
25 inches long 75%

Six Month Appointment 
19 lbs 75%
27.5 inches long 95%

Nine Month Appointment
20lbs 3 oz 75%
28.5 inches long 75%

All the same things from her six month update found here.
Walks with support
Can pull her self up onto furniture
Pull's herself up into a standing position
Has enough hair to put into pigtails on the top
Has two teeth on the bottom, another one coming in on the bottom and another coming in up top
Belly laughs at her dad a lot 
Claps her hands
Squeals when she is excited and happy 
Hates vegetables (I am trying here!)
Loves apples, oatmeal cereal, pasta, cheerios, pears, and mangos
Car rides are her favorite still
Wears 6-9 month clothing, however mostly 9 months now.
 Sleeps 7 pm to 7 am
Takes one two hour nap during the day now
Still army crawl's to get around

She is growing so much and it's so fun watching. I love spending my days with her. Even though I can get overwhelmed at the amount of responsibility I have now, her little face makes it all worth it. I have major separation anxiety from her now though. If I am gone from her for more than two hours I start to panic a little. On that note, I am still having panic attacks about once a week at this point. I am trying to find what triggers them and help get through them on my own but I don't know if I can do that much longer. They have gotten worse as time goes on so I may need to seek further help. I am taking medication for them so hopefully there is some improvement. 
I know that's a lot to share to the internet but hey it's life and I want everyone to know I'm not perfect. 
Life is beautiful. It's been so fun being a mom and I look forward to all the adventures we get to have everyday. 
We love you Claire Rachel! Thanks for choosing us to be your mom and dad. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Let's Talk: Budget 101

Adulting is hard! Especially when it comes to financial responsibility. They don't teach you this stuff in high school which they totally should. I mean it's important to know how to apply for a loan, what makes up a credit score, and how to budget. Through trial and error Zack and I have finally figured out a budget that works for us.

Tip #1: Read Dave Ramsey. We love his program and it helped us get out of debt and make the mindset to stay out of debt so we don't accrue new debt over time. I love the baby steps program. The book Total Money Makeover is the one that I started off with and it really gives you some insight into your finances. The jest of it all is you want to control your money, not the other way around.
Tip #2: Grab a notebook and make a list of all your monthly expenses. This includes all bills, vacations that will come up in the month, food and gas. Make sure your four walls are covered: housing, transportation, food, and clothing. After that add in all other expenses. Here is our list of May monthly expenses:
-Electricity Bill
-Questar Gas
-Comcast (internet only no cable to save money)
-Student Loan Payment (blah if you can get through school without going into debt do it!)
-Zack's Credit Card (we just pay it off monthly so we don't have to worry about new debt)
-Zack Gas
-Caitlin Gas
-Car Insurance
-Camping trip to goblin valley
-Zack's Birthday
-Zack personal money
-Caitlin personal money

Tip #3: After you make your list (make sure and include everything) write out the amount of each expense next to that category that you'll spend during the month. For example for food I budget $400.00 for the entire month. For Zack Gas I budget $120.00 and for my Gas I budget $40.00.

Tip #4: Next you will decide which bills you will need to pay during each pay period you have. Zack get's paid weekly so I split everything up weekly. The first week is Rent, Tithing, Questar Gas, and Zack Gas, Food. The second week is: Rent, Student Loan Payment, Zack Gas, Food, Tithing, Netflix/hulu. The third week is: Food, Zack gas, tithing, zack's birthday (this month only), camping trip to goblin valley. Fourth week is, Food, Zack Gas, Caitlin gas, tithing, Zack Personal, Caitlin personal, verizon, comcast, electricity, car insurance, and Zack cc. I think that is everything.
If you noticed I split rent up into two weeks, this makes it easier on finances and our landlord always deposits our rent check the second week of the month. During the first week I just set that money aside so it doesn't get spent and then we have it when rent is due.

Tip #5: Once you have your budget set and all the expenses that are coming out of that pay period anything extra goes to savings or other expenses that will come up later like car registration. We usually save $400.00 for car registration expenses every year. We save $500.00 for Christmas. This year we are saving $3000.00 for the end of the year because we might be going to disney world. So basically any extra after all these expenses are taken care of you can split up into these different categories that you might have. These categories are called sinking funds and they are an entire blog post discussion on it's own that I will be doing later.

I hope that made sense without showing you all of our numbers. I don't know I just feel weird putting out there how much we make and spend in each category but perhaps this will give you an idea of how you can set up a budget. This is what has worked for us and it may not work for you but I find a budget to be completely necessary otherwise I'll just consider all of the money personal money which isn't good.

Anyway thanks for reading

Monday, May 2, 2016

Books I Read This Month: April

Yay! Another book list post! I am doing really good with my goal of reading three books a month so far. I have only missed one month but I still read two books then so I feel like it's a lot more than I have read before. I was going to write a pretty lengthy response to this post on the blog today but I'll save that for later. It's a heavy topic and I have to be in the right spirit and mind to respond to something like that, otherwise it will be too emotional.
So I read a series in April I absolutely loved starting with this book:
Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working on a master's degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it's to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed . . .
As crown prince of Lilaria, Alex D'Lynsal has had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures in the press have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She's stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone's front-page news. While Sam tries to navigate her new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders.
(synopsis from Amazon)

Good: It's basically Princess Diaries but College version. I loved it. I love Sam. She had a personality that I could relate to. A hard working woman, focused on her Master's degree, helping her father out who is sick and of course a little shocked about how her life is turning out. Alex was your typical prince, he seemed a lot like Prince William to me. Anyway I liked this book, the sweet romance between the two started out as he's a prince and way out of my league to oh now he's available and interested. The book was incredibly predictable but I still enjoyed it. The characters were unique and it was a short read (I finished it in an hour).

Not so Good: There is one sex scene in the book. And I mean sex scene. After I realized it was going into a lot of detail about it I skipped ahead a few pages and didn't miss anything. Really the book could have done without that, which is why I don't often understand why authors put those scenes into books. The book was very cliche, like I said before, you knew exactly what was going to happen and the plot didn't deviate at all from that story line. There were no twists at all which made it a little boring.  If this isn't your type of genre go ahead and skip it, you aren't missing much I promise.

I went ahead and finished the last two books of the series which the second one is about the prince's sister and the third one is about the prince's brother.

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it's never too late for second chances.
It's been a year since it happened--when Paige Hancock's first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her--the perfect way to convince everyone she's back to normal. Next: Join a club--simple, it's high school after all. But when Ryan's sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?
(synopsis from Amazon)

Good: I love young adult fiction, and even better young adult romance. Paige was a person I could relate to a lot. Always organized, has her planner all laid out, picks her outfits out for school the night before (yes I used to do this), and doesn't really do much to branch out from her small group of friends. I like that she finally decided to do something different then what she is used to and joins a school club that is completely nerdy and out of her comfort zone. This one decision changed the rest of the year for her and led her to find a new romance. I didn't have a high school boyfriend and I am kind of glad cause let's be honest Zack is way better than anyone I could have met in high school. But I felt that her high school romance was probably really typical of those who did have boyfriends.

Less Good: The book moved a little slowly for me. It took me a week to read this one, when generally I can knock out something like this in a day and a half. It just took a while to get into it. It was spot on to how relationships form though and the author did a good job of building up character's and making you like them or not like them. The whole swimming thing. I understand that her previous boyfriend died in a swimming accident but I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that it affected her so much. I mean they dated for two months, she wasn't even present at the time of the accident and yet she had all this anxiety about swimming since then. It seemed weird to me but I just can't relate to that. No one has ever died that has been close to me, so I can't relate to those feelings at all. I'm not saying it's bad to have those feelings cause everyone knows I have anxiety about a lot of things but it just seemed weird to me given all the circumstances of her that relationship. Maybe one of you can read the book and explain it to me better?
We didn't get to know her sister very much. It seemed like they weren't close at all and she was her one and only sister. Even though my sister is 2 years younger then me we are still pretty close and I look up to her a lot, even in high school. It seemed like Paige could care less that she was there and wasn't very aware of her. Paige was pretty self absorbed but that's a high school kid for you.

Would I recommend it yes and I gave the book 3.5 stars.

So for May I have a lot on my list:
Breakfast at Tiffany's- I love the movie and figured I should finally read the book.
The Crown- the final book in the selection series comes out this week. I can't wait.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are - I bought this book based on some recommendations, maybe it will help with my anxiety, we will see.
The Siren- I picked up the hard copy of this book one week shopping at Walmart and with a lot of camping trips/vacation trips I am probably going to knock this one off my list.

What are you reading in May?