Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter and Mother's Day

We had a wonderful weekend with Adam's parents for Easter. We decided our first married Easter together that we would spend it together in Fayetteville. Since we go home for Christmas, we wanted to be at our church for Easter. This year we invited our parents to spend it with us.  My parents were unable to leave town, so Adam's parents joined us. We had a great weekend! 

Our church had 5 services and Adam and I worked the one on Saturday night. When we got home I "cooked" dinner.... rotisserie chicken, green beans, and spinach and strawberry salad.  Since we never use our dining room... I pretended to be fancy.  Of course I had to take pictures since this is probably a once per year set up!

 Adam and his dad.
 My beautiful MIL.
 Did I mention we used our china??? Yep, the first time in 2.5 years! We're fancy I tell ya!

On Sunday, we attended a wonderful Easter service at our church. After we served in the children's ministry, we ate lunch at Ella's on the U of A campus. It was wonderful!  It was a place that MIL and I had been dying to try and it did not disappoint!
 Adam and his dad at lunch.
 The best in-laws ever!
 Group pic!
 Husband and I in our Easter get- up.
Adam and his parents.

We love our parents very much and we get so excited when they come to visit! We were so glad that Adam's parents came to spend Easter with us and hope that my parents can come next year! I love tradition... us spending Easter in our home is one I would like to hold on to!

Mother's Day Weekend was next and for that we made the trek home. We love going home.  It is where our families are and for that it will always be a special place. This Mother's Day was a significant one since it was my mother's first Mother's Day without her mother. My sweet Nana passed away just a few weeks earlier. Despite the obvious sadness, we spend some great time with our families. I think I treasured this year more than any other and it was also very hard to leave my mother on Sunday.  I love her very much and hope to be just like her to my own children.

Speaking of children... mom is ready to have some grand babies! This is my sweet cousin, Avery.  I love spending time with her and the cuties in the next pictures when I go "home."

We have 20,000,000 sparklers left over from my wedding. (That's another story!) We break them out on every major holiday and any other time that warrants.  I don't think we will ever get rid of them all!  Kate was very afraid of the sparklers at first, but finally she lit 2! She would hold them very far away.  She is also wearing what she likes to call a "Saturday Suit."  You may call it a romper.  This sweet girl cracks me up. I love her so much!

Me and my boys.
 Lee and his cutie patootie gf, Stephanie.
 Adam and his mom on Mother's Day.
 My brother, Uncle Ted, and daddy
 My mom and her MIL, my Meme on Mother's Day
 My mom and her babies!  (The one on the right is her favorite.)
My family on Mother's Day.
I am so blessed to have my mother and that I have the relationship with her that I do!  I also have a wonderful MIL that treats me like one of her own.  I was so glad that on Mother's Day our parent's "shared us" and we all went to lunch together.  We had a great weekend and we hope our mom's know how much we love and appreciate them!

Debt Free Friday!

Since this blog is mainly for record of mine and Adam's life together... I must document this monumental day!  Well... the day was officially 2 weeks ago, on my birthday April 15 when we officially became DEBT FREE (except for our home!)

Adam and I were fortunate enough when we got married to be debt free.  No school loans, paid for cars, no credit card debt etc. Shortly after we were married, we had to buy a car, Adam decided to go back to school,we got a credit card (BAD IDEA) and we moved to Fayetteville and bought a home.  None of that is terrible... but it did put us in debt.  It also didn't help that we had no idea what we were doing with our money. We made a decent living and actually managed to save some money- but not enough. We also never really talked about WHO would be the main money person and as a result just made some poor money choices.

There's the icky truth... I can tell it because we are FREE! It started when we moved to Fayetteville a year and a half ago and found a church that was teaching Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace University."  It was life changing for us. Dave is a real estate guru that has been in debt and learned to dig himself out. He has devoted his life to helping people get out of debt and build wealth. The course met one night a week for 13 weeks.  Before we "graduated" from FPU we paid off the car we had bought that we planned on paying off over the next 5 years. Man, let me tell you how good that felt!  I cannot imagine ever having a car payment again! That was just the momentum we needed to really get going. 

Fast forward a year later, we have paid off $30,000 worth of debt and are now DEBT FREE except for out home. The majority of that was grad school loans we took out for Adam to go back to school.  Today's norm is to take out all the money that you need and spend a lifetime paying it off and wasting thousands of dollars on interest.  Dave taught us about this terrible myth and how we were only cheating ourselves.  It definitely took some sacrifice... we did not go on some vacations we had wanted to, held off on furnishing our new home like we wanted, and significantly reduced our eating out, shopping, and gifting funds.  We did our best to dump every ounce of extra income into paying off our debt. 

Dave's motto is "Live like no one else, so later you can LIVE like no one else." This basically means that if you go against the "norm" of today's society and don't just run out and buy what you want- only buy what you save for and have CASH... that later, you can truly enjoy the fruits of your labor.  I can honestly say that this was hard, but not near as hard as I thought.  Once we made a budget and re-evaluating our goals, we really got into it.  It became like a game to us almost to pay off the debt as quick as possible so that we could do some fun things with our money.

I highly recommend Dave Ramsey's program.  It doesn't matter what stage of life you are in or how much debt you have. Even if you are in far more debt than we were or have none at all, the wealth- building information is something everyone can benefit from.
"We're Debt Free!!!!!!!"

Monday, April 25, 2011

Birthday Part II

The day of my birthday I actually went out of town so husband treated me to breakfast of my choice. Now, you might think that we would have gone to IHOP, Cracker Barrel, or a wonderful local place we have called Common Grounds.... but instead I opted for McDonalds. A greasy, fattening, sausage and biscuit and hash brown was exactly what my birthday brain wanted!

By the way, you know me... I was not ready in time to actually GO to the restaurant. Of course my sweet hubs was so he went and we ate together while I finished getting ready. :)
Adam  then took me to his new office that is being renovated. They will move into the new building in May-ish.  On this particular day, the new robotic system they installed in the warehouse was being "activated."  Adam and I and several of the other employees of Acumen went to watch the robots in action before work started on Friday. It was so cool!  This day was especially exciting for Adam. He was the team member selected to attend meetings in Boston earlier this year to design the robotic system for the warehouse. He has worked very hard in getting this system implemented!
 I'm so proud of this man! He works very hard at his job and loves what he does.
 Adam and his robot.
Neil, Adam, Dalton
I left Fayetteville and saw some customers in NWA before heading to my parents house in Benton. For my birthday my mom and I attended Living Proof Live... a women's conference by Beth Moore, my favorite Christian Women's Minister and author.  It was an unforgettable weekend! This was the greatest birthday gift and a special memory that I will share with my mom. It was great getting to worship with her and hear Beth Moore speak since we are both such big fans!
mom & I

My childhood BFF, Brittany also attended the conference. It was great to be home and in the midst of wonderful women and friends from my home church.

After lunch, several of us went to my all-time favorite eatery, Dizzy's Grill in Little Rock. It was devine!
Jessica, me, mom, Mrs. Candy, Brit, Stephanie

Beth talked about "Fulfilling Your Ministry." It really spoke to my heart.  The Bible tells us that we are all called to glorify God in this life. THAT is our purpose here! Each of us has a ministry. For Beth- its reaching out to thousands of women and preaching the Bible in a way that specifically pertains to women.  For me- I'm not 100% sure... but I do feel like I am one step closer to figuring it out.  Once I do- I plan to pour my time and energy into that ONE thing.  ONE thing is something Beth also talked about. She believes it is not necessary that we involve ourselves in every little thing that needs a volunteer.  She encourages that you find the ONE thing that God has called you to... ONE ministry and pour your life into it. For me that is very difficult since I am used to being involved in 100,456 things in high school/college. Sometimes I still think that is necessary in my adult life. For now I will continue to involve myself in the things I am committed to currently. But hopefully soon God will speak to me about a specific "ministry" for me to fulfill.

I also want to commit to more Bible scripture memorization. Beth amazes me with her knowledge of the Bible and her memory of Scripture. I have a few ideas on how I plan to do this that I will share later.

I went to church with my family on Sunday in Benton, and afterwards went out to eat with my sweet cousin and her family. She has 3 precious children that I adore. To me they are like nieces and nephew more than cousin because there mother and I have always been so close. Plus... they are just stinkin' cute!

Dad, me, mom, and Avery
 sweet Avery and I!
My cousin Tiffany and I
Dad is so ready for us to have kids since his great nephew and nieces are getting so big! He loves them like they are his own!

After my birthday week came to a close, I hopped on a plane to South Florida. I worked there for a whole week.  While it is beautiful there, I miss my husband and doggy while I am gone! Hopefully next time he can join me!  The one benefit to working is the yummy food I eat while I am there. Of course I managed to take no pictures of the beautiful beaches or gators that lie on the roadside, but I took a picture of the delicious Sushi I ate one night! Doesn't it look fun?!

In addition to seeing Beth Moore for my birthday, I got some new TOMS, glass drink pitchers, and a Kindle! I sure am blessed... not because of the gifts, but because of the wonderful people in my life!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Party Time!

Adam and I both have birthdays in April... just a week apart. We celebrated for 2 weeks! It started with a 3-way birthday dinner with Adam, myself, and our friend Dalton who also had a birthday the same week. We went to Shoguns with several of our friends and had the best time!!

 My BFF Amber! She is doing a clinical in Tulsa right now and I have been so blessed to spend so much time with her lately!
 Even P-Payne came to celebrate! I love this boy!
 My main squeeze.
Some of my favorite ladies!  After dinner we played games at our house. We seriously have the best friends in the world.

Adam's birthday was on Saturday and he woke up to a big breakfast and lots of presents!

His favorite present... I think he ate the whole bag in a day.

Gus wanted to know why he didn't get any thing.

After breakfast, we went to pick up Ally and Dalton and headed to the driving range. I only hit a few balls... I mean like less than 10. I was SO. SORE. the next day. I am so pathetic. The weather was beautiful and we had a great time with our friends. Adam wanted Charlies Chicken for his bday lunch and of course no birthday is complete without a trip to Sams! Happy Birthday Adam!

The next week it was my turn! My sweet husband out did himself. We went to dinner on Monday night because our week was packed and I was going out of town on my bday. At dinner I wanted to order desert but Adam wouldn't let me... "Um excuse me... its my BIRTHDAY!" He told me we would go later and get some but he didn't want to get it there. Whatev. We went home and much to my surprise our friends were there with birthday cake, magic candles, and flowers! I was so surprised and it was so very sweet and thoughtful. I'll also have to share with you my birthday presents... I am extremely excited about them!!

Adam, Dalton, and Jillian

Sallie and Ally
Adam and Jillian, isn't she a doll?!
 The Girls
Ally, Tiffany, Renee, Sallie, Sarah, Me, Jennifer
 The boys
Ryan, Josh, Rich, Adam, Dalton, Neil
 Love these girls and babies!
Jen, Ally, Tiffany, Max and Kobe
Adam, I love you so much! I love sharing a birthday with you!

I'll have to share the REST of my birthday in another post... TBC!