Running…What’s that?

Hours after I posted about my last race of 2014, my friend, Michele, registered us for Burlington’s FirstRun on New Year’s Day.


Although it was the start of one long cold winter, I kept up with my runs.


The FirstRun was COLD! But it was better than the freezing rain during the Glow Run last fall, so no complaints from us happy runners…


There was a big turn out (Lots of other crazy Vermont runners out there I guess!), and the course was pretty flat, with some great views of Lake Champlain.Capture8

And yes, we sported our pink tutus!  There were some creative costumes and we had some cheering fans (thanks family!) along the way.

And after that, I was done.  Litterally.  I lost the run bug and didn’t run for MONTHS.  Yes, months.  It sure didn’t help that it was below freezing for January and February and we didn’t see the 50s and 60s until April – plus I realize I HATE running on the treadmill, especially my parents one… it is missing a few nuts or bolts or something and makes a whiney sound – can’t stand it.  Excuses excuses, I know.

I finally got my butt in gear when my jeans were getting way too snug and jumped back into it 3 weeks ago.


My body was starting to look and feel like it did post-Avery, and that was not gonna fly.  Plus, once I started running, man did it feel good.  Don’t get me wrong, I do not enjoy running… it’s hard.  I have tiny little legs and run so very slow, but if I push myself thru a run, the ‘runners high’ feeling I get when I finish and cool down… man, it’s worth it. And the biggest plus, it keeps me in shape.

So, last week was my first real full week of running – I ran 14 miles (that’s the week total, not all 14 in one day!), and took one day off for free weights.  I’m trying to stick to 2-2 1/2 miles every day (because I can fit that, stretching, and a quick shower between finishing work and picking Avery up) and a long run on a weekend day (3-4 miles) – it so helps that Avery needs some cartoons to wake up to, and Mimi and Grampy can be there with him while I get that run in first thing in the morning.

In the past week I’ve felt my body coming back.  It’s nowhere near where it was 1 1/2 years ago when I was running 3 miles a day and doing a long run (6 miles) on the weekend, but I’ll get there soon enough 🙂  It really does take almost a month of working out and eating right to start seeing results.  It’s worth it tho – got out the summer clothes this past weekend and like that some of them fit!

I think the key this time around is sticking to it.  I have the blog to fess up to, but it helps a lot to flood everyone Instagram with lots of pictures of my feet…

Oh and I’ve decided I’m not a big fan of races.  They were great motivators, but when I’m trying to save $, dishing out 30-40 bucks for a race once a month when I can just run outside anytime really isn’t worth it for me.  Right now I’m not focused on speed, just getting my butt out and doing the work and sticking with it is the goal right now.  Plus, races are for fast runners.  I am not fast (part of getting old is accepting the things you are NOT good at – oh, I sound so wise!).  I do like distance runs though.  The 4 miles I did two weekends ago (which was by accident because I took a new route and when I came home and mapped it, I was like Oops!, that was 4 miles, not 3!) felt great… at least the last mile did.  I think I ran my fastest that last mile.

So, if I don’t have races to motivate me, what’s gonna keep me in gear?  Well, my friend told me about this site called DietBet, where you bet $ and if you reach your goal weight, you win $.  What better motivator when saving for a house than money?!  It’s a 6 month long DietBet, and I barely made this past weekend’s Round 1 goal, but that’s because I know I’ll keep slowly losing, instead of crash dieting.  Doing the whole eat healthy and workout thing… should work best in the long run, right?

I ran 2 1/2 miles today in a nice 62 degree afternoon.  Much less muggy than yesterdays 82 degrees.  Tomorrow will be another couple miles… and the roads are finally runnable.  First it was super muddy (thanks New England Mud Season), and then they graded the roads, which is great because it covers up all the pot holes but it leaves golf ball sized ‘gravel’ in the road which means I have to really watch it or I could twist my ankle – Oh the joys of living on a dirt road…

Well, I fess up, I will be for sure running one race this summer.  I helped organize it last year, so I’ll be doing it again this year – the Milton Freedom 5K.  IMG_6204

Would love to have some friends and family running/walking it with me (or volunteer to help out!)  Let me know if you’re intrested…
  ❤ Meghan


Dreams and Dollars

This month started a new chapter – Since I finished paying off my student loans last month (Yay!), the next step to buying a house is saving for a down payment.

Houses, don’t come cheap, well in VT they are much cheaper than in Boston, but they are still cost a pretty penny.  Luckily, my Uncle is looking to sell, so we can cut out needing a realtor (usually costs 6% of purchase price), so we are getting quite a deal. Plus, being down the road (8 houses away) from my parents will convenient!

So, before I go into all the boring $ details… here’s what all this hard work the past couple years (and the next 6 months) is going towards…


This is adorable little cape is what we’ll soon call home.  Little is an understatement.  It’s 2,960 square feet (that’s almost 5 times the size of our old apartment in Boston), 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, + FROG (finished room over garage) Room, oh and a wood stove!!! … and the basement is a finished 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment, with it’s own laundry in addition to the laundry on the second floor.  Yeah. CRAZY! Crazy to think this could be ours!!!

It does give some serious motivation – so back to business…

The goal is to save as much $ as possible before this fall (Sept/Oct-ish) when Uncle John will be ready to move into his new apartment and sell the house, plus it’ll be nice for all of us to get moved before the cold weather comes.  The bigger the down payment, the smaller the mortgage – so more money saved is best.  This gives me 6 months to pinch pennies and come up with as much $ as I can – seeing as I’ve been pinching pennies for almost 3 years now, I know the drill.

So essentially all the $ I put towards loans every month in the past, is now going into savings.  Simple plan, right?  Well, no plan is complete without an excel spreadsheet!!! (So organized it’s annoying, right?)

Spreadsheet Saving for House

Thankfully, this one is much less complex than the one for paying off my student loans – I made a budget, listed my income, my expenses, and the difference is what I should be saving every month.  I divided that number by 4 or 5 (the number of pay days that month) and that’s how much $ I should be able to put into savings every week. ‘Should Be’ is the key in that statement, because we’re almost thru April and I’m already finding I have more unexpected expenses than planned, thus I haven’t saved as much as hoped.  I’ll have to up my ‘misc spending’ category next month.

Anyways, I’ll spare you the detailed, yet boring, excel sheet and keep track with this:

Savings Thermometer Goal

As of April 1st,  I had $1800 saved.  The goal is $10,000.  Why that number?  Because I know it’s attainable, and I’ll probably be able to save a little more than that (hence the higher numbers on the spreadsheet), but unexpected things come up, so aiming for $10K won’t kill me, but will def. make me work hard for it. Plus, it’ll mean about 7-8% down on the house, which will give us a manageable mortgage (you should see the spreadsheet for those numbers… on second thought, maybe not… then you’ll really think I’m crazy)

I’ll be back soon with a May 1st update, since this one is so very late.  Crazy to think May is almost here and we’ve already been back in VT for a year.  Even crazier… we’ll be HOME soon.  Been such a long long road… this is the home stretch.

❤ Meghan

Surprises and Easter!

We started April off with a bunch of surprises – and not just any surprises… ones that had been in the works for MONTHS!

On just a typical Wednesday afternoon, Avery and I went out and instead of heading to a friend’s house (Kate, I used you as a cover!), we went to the airport to pick up MiMi’s birthday present.

Months ago, Grampy and I were talking about what to do for MiMi’s big 50th birthday and we decided on a dinner of close friends.  While we were running names, Mina’s name came up (she worked with MiMi as a teacher here in VT, had a baby last summer (Charlie), and moved back to Reno, Nevada), and we knew Mom would love to have her here, so I wung it and asked Mina if she would like to come (and Charlie too), and they accepted our invitation!!!

So, sneakily, Avery and I picked them up from the airport, and brought them home to surprise MiMi!  We had been planning for months, and the weekend before, I got to buy baby food and diapers for Charlie’s stay!

Avery was very excited for our friends coming!  We picked up a couple things for Charlie’s Easter basket, and a few ‘baby’ animals for Avery and headed to the airport to watch the plane come in.IMG_5810

Avery took this picture! (see the BUSY airport behind me and the tiny animals?)IMG_5817

Burlington Airport is very small and not busy at all.  We only saw two big planes come in during an hour wait.  Avery had fun watching a small plane do touch and gos tho from the observation tower.IMG_5819

They arrived and we headed home! MiMi was so very happy when we arrived – there were tears 🙂IMG_5841
Mina and Charlie stayed with us for a week.  We converted half the finished basement into a room for them – and thanks to hoarding all of Avery’s baby stuff, we had everything they needed!

Charlie is 9 months, so he was sitting up, putting everything in his mouth – such a sweet age!

I had the pleasure of making Charlie and Mina breakfast and lunch a couple days – he was so cute eating finger foods like hot dogs, scrambled eggs, and mac n cheese.IMG_5824

Oh and I got to fold his tiny baby clothes!!! So so so cute!IMG_5830

On Friday, Avery got a surprise – his 3 (second) cousins came over to play!  My cousins had a death in the family and asked me to watch their kiddos for the afternoon.  Avery had fun playing outside with them and later having pizza and a movie (our Friday night tradition).IMG_5838

We got snow Friday night, so Saturday we played outside with Charlie – it was his first real experience with snow!IMG_5843

Avery and Grampy had snowball fights and Charlie took a sled ride.IMG_5851

Saturday morning I took Avery to the town common for the Easter Egg Hunt – we met our friends Joayn and her son Caleb there.  After they gathered all the eggs and got bags of goodies, we went to their grandparents house so the boys could play and we had coffee and chatted – so fun.

Then it was back to surprise plotting because I had to pick up more supplies at the store (I got most of them the weekend before) for MiMi’s surprise party that night!

Mina made an excuse to get Mom out of the house with them, and then the party planning began!  Grampy made four different yummy meats,  Sarah and Jonathan and their friends Kelly and Amanda came with decorations and gifts and desert.  I made appetizers (I tried to keep it healthy with fruit and veggies and dips) and Charlie approved…


The guests came with a dish each (thank you everyone!!!).  When MiMi got back home, we had a house full of people, and food!  MiMi was surprised and we all had a great time celebrating her big milestone with her.


Avery helped her open presents… some socks, gift cards, lottery tickets, and lots of wine!IMG_5979
Sunday we celebrated Easter, and it was Charlie’s first!  Avery got a basket from the Easter Bunny filled with goodies.


He got new underwear (The Easter Bunny must have known his current ones were getting tight!), chocolate eggs with characters inside, a ball set, and eggs that grow animals!IMG_5858

Avery was very excited about the chocolate eggs – he bit one and got the toy from inside and didn’t want the rest of the chocolate.  These eggs were months in the making – Avery always watches these youtube videos of eggs with tiny characters inside, but they don’t make them in the US, so we found them in China and had them shipped here a month ahead of time.  It was worth it, because so far Avery has opened two eggs, both cars from the Disney movie ‘Cars’ were inside and he loves playing with them.


Charlie got shaker eggs and a bunny rabbit!  And two packages arrived with Easter books for the boys!IMG_5866

He seemed to enjoy them, just not the bunny ears – they barely lasted long enough to take this picture!


MiMi and Grampy made a big Easter Linner (Lunch+Dinner, served early afternoon) and we got all dressed up for our family and friends to arrive.IMG_5880

I was so proud of Avery, he kept his tie on even though he complained ‘its hurting me!’… it was a clip on, and the shirt collar was big on his neck, so dramatic!

The kids at the kids table…


And the big adults table…IMG_5882IMG_5883

The kiddos had a fun egg hunt downstairs…IMG_5888

And Avery worked very hard the two weeks before Easter making the Egg Piniata…


He kept asking every time we put a layer on if he could smash it… well he finally got his chance to!


Charlie even took a few swings – and after two rounds, there was candy everywhere!

The surprises ended when on MiMi’s actual birthday, Grampy gave her two handmade aderondak chairs with their names engraved.  I was sitting in them this afternoon actually… oh see all the snow is finally gone!!!

Now that all the surprises are out, I’m back to the blog.  So much sneaking around took lots of time and effort!  Next up… the plan for saving for our house!!!  It’s already in the works, just gotta bring everyone up to speed and get back on my monthly updates for it 🙂

Oh and a big thanks for everyones congrats on paying off my loans – so exciting and glad to share it with everyone!

❤ Meghan

This is Three

Ugh!  Is it spring yet!? The calendar says yes, but if I look outside, I’m reminded it’s not all butterflies and green grass just yet…


I picked the right year to move up from Boston – they got slammed with snowstorms and sooo much snow this winter, but man is it really dragging on up here.  We still have snow on the ground, it even snowed this morning.  There are brief glimpses of spring though… birds chirping in the morning, muddy rutted dirt roads, and with spring comes celebrating Avery’s halfway thru his third year.


(Ice skating at the town common)

I still catch myself calling him a toddler sometimes, and other times I wonder what happened in the blink of an eye – when you’re a parent, time seems to drag on during those tantrums and fits of fussiness and crying, but when they start doing circles around you, you wonder when that happened and actually wish they were tiny again and you could cradle them in your arms.  He’s not a baby, or a toddler, he’s a kid.  He’s in (pre)school, he has friends (real ones, not just the kids of his Mom’s friends), and he’s growing into his own person.


(homemade donuts – Avery approves!)

Oh how I wish I could just swaddle him up and rock him to sleep again, but man is this a fun age.  You’d think by now we’d run out of ‘firsts’ but now that he’s older, he can and wants to do new things… he loves baking cookies with me, or prepping a salad for dinner.  We even trust him bringing plates (one at a time!) to the dining room to set the table for dinner.  He’s such a big boy!


(Celebrating Grampy & Uncle Todd’s Birthdays-Avery picked out the pink cupcakes)

Dinner is still one of our favorite times as a family.  I remember back when most the pictures I took of him were of him in his highchair, because otherwise he was crawling around and I couldn’t get a shot that wasn’t blurry!  Now Avery sits in his own chair, and complains about the food on his plate.  We ‘Talk about our days’ as Avery calls it, every night at dinner.  I can’t even ask him how his day was at school because he says its not dinner time yet.  At the table, Avery goes around asking about our days.

 “How’s your Day, Mimi?”

“Mimi had a good day at school.  Guess what I did today?”

“More MATH?!”

Avery always asks with a big smile and silly face.  For a while, every night Avery would tell us he had gone to Parc Safari that day (We went last September).  He’s still working on the concepts of ‘today’ ‘tomorrow’, etc. but man is it cute to hear him ramble on….


(Weekend fun shopping with Grampy, making cheerio necklaces and cookies!)

And does he ever ramble!  Avery talks and talks and talks.  It’s pretty hard to get a word in these days, especially if he’s throwing a fit.  Yes, life with a three year old is not all fun and games.  When he was a baby, it was all about eat, sleep, diaper changes – just keeping him alive and growing was the goal!  Then he became a toddler and it was about colors, and numbers, and making sure he’s talking and walking.

Now that he’s growing into a little boy, a kid, it’s about parenting, teaching him right from wrong and guiding him to become a little gentleman.  So, when he refuses to take off his boots himself and flops on the floor like a runner after a marathon, or when he chucks a dinosaur at me while I’m driving down the highway during a 4-hour car ride, or when he refuses to eat corn off the cobb, because corn on the cobb is delious, but off the cobb it becomes enemy number one, well, that’s when parenting kicks in.


(Baths are still one of Avery’s favorite parts of the day)

Avery is Avery.  He wants what he wants, when he wants it.  He knows what he likes and wants and doesn’t like and doesn’t want, and man does he vocalize it.  He tries to negotiate…

“Avery you have five more minutes of the movie, then it’s bedtime”,

“10 more minutes?!”,

“No, Avery 5.”


“OK Three” 🙂

I didn’t say he was good at it.


(We love making new train tracks – Avery’s favorite train is Percy)

Oh and when he doesn’t get his way, he puts his foot down, or throws something, haha.  He is stubborn and defiant, and at times has quite a temper.  And although he tells me he loves me many times a day, oh so many times he’s glared at me and told me “I no like you” or, “you made me cry, Mommy!”, and man does he know how to tug on those heart strings.  I hate seeing him upset and especially cry, but teaching him lessons is part of parenting, and I know it’ll be worth it in the long run.

Like when he’s giving me a hard time putting his winter clothes on to go home from school and he kicks me and gives me a disgusted look.  Well, then he loses his jelly bean treat (We stop and get Mike and Ikes at the hardware store nextdoor most days, if he has a good day).  And man does he throw a fit, and the tears, oh the tears, and wailing – the whole sha-bang.  But if there is one thing I’ve gained over the past three and a half years, for some many reasons other than just being a parent, is patience, and staying calm and collected.  I hooked Avery into his carseat, tears streaming down his face, and sat with him for a few minutes talking about jelly beans being a reward, and how kicking was not nice, and he knew he did something wrong and he looked so dissapointed in himself – he knew the conversation was coming to a close and said sorry before I asked him to, and know what he did?  He pulled my head in and asked to give me a kiss.  Parenting is hard work, but soooo worth moments like that, that give me clarify that I’m raising a fine little man!


(Avery loves trying to play board games like Scrabble and Yahtzee with MiMi and I)

And now, onto the fun stuff!  Avery has always been go go go!  He’s always been on the move and wants to try everything.  We’ve been ice skating, snow shoeing, sledding, and have kept busy inside this winter, all in hopes of curing our cabin fever.  The latest fun activities Avery has been thrilled with… a box, some sticks, and a ball of yarn.


So, we visit my grandparents every Monday, and there was a ball of yarn on the coffee table, for Gram’s cat, Missy.  Avery took it upon himself to make this yarn into a game, and proceeded to tie all the furniture up and before we knew it, the living room had become a giant cat’s cradle!  So, we gave Avery a ball of yarn at home and he sure keeps busy!


Grampy had some scrap wood, so he made a set of sticks for Avery that he stacks and makes houses with, so much fun!


Grampy came home with this gem (little kid or big box?) and Avery has since made it home, and shared it with friends.


I’m not surprised that his two favorite things right now are not actual toys and were free – he used to love playing in cupboards with tupperware.  But he still does love his toys… trains and cars mostly.  He does like to color and do art projects.  Our latest project is making a piniata for Easter!


Avery kept asking when he could smash it, haha.  We are having family over for the holiday and he’s been told, and tells others when he shows off the piniata, that he can ‘smash it’ when his friends come over.


Avery is becoming his own person.  He has likes and dislikes (strawberries, yum.  green beans, oh no!). He has an opinion about everything, and he is such a sponge.  He doesn’t forget anything, and the questions have started – Yesterday he asked me “Why is it raining Mommy?’  Now how far do I go with that for a toddler?  Just tell him it’s coming from the sky or explain precipitation and weather…. oh man I have to brush up on my 3rd grade science and weather unit from 1995!

We get to do so many fun things together tho that expands his knowledge of the world around him.  Just last week, he and Grampy planted flowers and veggies and he is sooo proud that they are growing now and waters them.


At three and a half, Avery is amazing.  He always surprises me, makes me laugh, smile, and yes, at times I feel like throwing my hands in the air and giving up, but that only lasts a few seconds – every parent needs a time out for themselves for moments like those (Like when he’s called “Mom, Mommy, Mooooom, Momma!” so many times!


(Riding back from Boston, MiMi’s driving, and Avery sound asleep – so sweet when they are sleeping!)

My favorite thing I want to remember about him being three right now is saying good night and I love you.  After his bath and pjs are on and teeth are brushed, he tells everyone good night.  Avery says ‘I love you’ and Mimi started telling him ‘I love you more’ back, and then it became ‘ten more’, and ‘100 more.  Now when Avery goes to bed, we wait in anticipation to hear what his response would be.  It’s always so darn cute and the other night my Mom and I were laughing so hard that I had to write it down, so here are a couple from the past few days

“Good Night, Avery.  I love you”….

“I love you one hundred miles ago!”

“I love you one hundred and a half!”

Now I’m off to Friday Night Pizza and a Movie, and I’m sure I’ll have much more to share in the coming months from my growing little wonder 🙂

❤ Meghan


Eh, you know, just another typical Tuesday…

NAVIENT (previously Sallie Mae)

student loans paid off navient

student loans paid off vsac

Yep, read um and weap (heck, I practically cried)…

 All of my student loans are PAID OFF!

That’s right, $42,000 in 30 months.  Finally Finished! And six months ahead of my goal date too!

I know, I know, I just posted two weeks ago about being on the home stretch and my plan to pay off my loans by the end of this month.  I blew my plan from my last update out of the water and knocked them off in a couple weeks, thanks to diligently putting $500 a week towards loans the past 3 weeks, and a nice big bonus check (bigger than expected).  Yay!

So, let’s take one last look at the numbers…

30 Month Progress

  • Starting Debt: $41,868.53 (Nov  ’12)
  • Debt Today: $0
  • Total Debt Paid Off: $41,868.53

And my pretty graph is finally finished and man, does it look good to see that blue line hit the bottom!


Blue: remaining student loan debt Red: goal

I am putting my giant spreadsheet to rest…


Crazy to think I paid off so much debt, in so little time!  Well, it seems like a short time now that it’s over.  In the midst of it, there were times I felt like I was treading water, or like I was barely making a dent some months.  But as they say, good things come to those who wait work their butts off!  Months of working 6 days a week, nights of working 4 hours after Avery was asleep, coupon cutting, DIY’ing, and watching every penny I spent – all paid off!

It was sooo worth it, too.  Because now I get to start on my next financial project…. saving for a house!  This challenge won’t be as long, because Uncle John and I talked about buying his place this coming fall, so maybe 6 months?  I’ll share soon.

So, all my loans were officially paid off on Friday, so before I buckled down again, we had a fun weekend celebrating….

Friday Night, Avery and I went to my cousin Joseph’s Irish Heritage Celebration to raise money for their 6th grade class trip to Montreal this spring (I’m chaperoning!).  I made festive cookies for the bake sale; IMG_5598

Sugar cookies with green food coloring, dipped in chocolate with green sprinkles!IMG_5599

We arrived a little early and played in the car.  Avery was very excited!IMG_5601

Avery had dinner I packed him in the car, so when we got there, he bought one of the cookies I brought.IMG_5602

Nana and Papa were there, so we sat with them and Aunt Sheri joined us.  I bought two tickets for this awesome raffle they are having.  For $20 each, we entered into the drawing for a trip for two to Ireland!

There was live music and irish dancers, and Avery had fun clapping after every song and sitting with Joseph in the front row.IMG_5605

Papa and I had some yummy stew and potato soup while Avery had a hot dog, and we finished off the night with cupcakes!IMG_5608

On Saturday, I treated Avery, Mimi, and Grampy to GoKart Racing, Bumper Cars, and Video games at this new place near us.  We goofed off in the car…IMG_5610IMG_5611IMG_5612

Avery rode with Grampy in the go karts, and Avery was big enough to drive the bumper cars by himself!  He thought the spinning around was the best!  We played air hockey, and racing video games, and walked out with a bag of popcorn.IMG_5615

Avery walked in and out saying ‘This is awesome’  ‘This is cool!’  So I think it was a success!

That night, Steve and I celebrated with homemade fried pickles, a bottle of champagne and a bottle of wine… our second two bottle night ever, haha.IMG_5617

And now it’s time to buckle down again and SAVE!

Oh, and happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Avery wore EVERYTHING Green today and Mom and I are wearing our shamrock earrings 🙂

❤ Meghan

Sun and Fun

I love Vermont, and how we get to experience all 5 seasons (for you flatlanders, the 5th is mud season), but man, this winter has been tough!  It’s been below freezing for two months straight, which means we can’t go outside for too long and add in the fact that I work from home, so I rarely get out – well it has caused some serious cabin fever.  It’s March, a week away from the first day of spring and this is what it looks like outside…


So you can imagine how thrilled we were when we left that snowy wonderland behind us for the warm west coast! So on a wintery wednesday, I spent the morning packing a bag with short sleeve shirts, capris, and sunglasses (later dubbed ‘Averyators’, thanks to Robin).


So that afternoon, we spent our first hour (of many for this vaca) in an airport headed for warmer climates…


Since we flew out of VT, it’s a small airport and we had to transfer, so two flights, and a couple zzz’s later…


(we flew over Vegas on our way… a little foreshadowing…)IMG_5396

We were in the sunny OC!


Avery stayed back with MiMi and Grampy while Steve and I (who have been planning this for mooooonths and talking about it since the summer, before we were dating) visited our friends from high school, Robin and Nate.  Now let’s preface this big reunion vacation with a little backstory…

Robin, Steve, and I went to elementary school together.  Robin and I were the bestest of friends – my family practically adopted her.  She went camping with us when we vacationed.  Her pet rabbit lived with my rabbit at my house.  She ‘taught’ me how to ski. She called my Dad ‘Chef Boyardee.” Good times.  (Oh and maybe this is a good time to mention Steve and I went to before/after school daycare together where he sneakily stole my first kiss!!! But he broke up with me on the school bus – a bunch of times, so needless to say, that didn’t last long)

When Robin went to a different high school than Steve and I, we kept in touch, but then I met Nate (he had gone to a elem school in another town)… why or how Nate and I became close friends is beyond me.  But when Robin transfered to our highschool, I introduced her to Nate.  They fell in love, and after graduation, moved to California.  So essentially, I lost both of my best friends.  We all lost touch over the years.

Fast forward ten years, Robin and Nate (finally) got married last summer – in Vermont.  So to my surprise, Steve was there too.  We hit it off and started Friday Night Wine Nights together – so all summer we caught up (and tried some good and bad wines), and what do you know, we eventually fell for each other(Awe).  It was only fitting that Robin and Nate repaid the favor I did them 10 years ago 😛

Soooo ever since their wedding, we had been playing around with the idea to visit them.  And so, we did.  We booked the flights and flew out there with no agenda… no plans whatsoever.

We stayed with Robin and Nate’s in their adorable house…



We met their two pets, who Avery was more interested to see when I face timed with him than me.  Abby:


And Kunta.


We had four fun-filled days with them.  Some of the highlights…

Fried Pickles!  After hours and hours on planes and in airports, Nate and Robin picked us up late Wednesday night and we went to dinner and introduced them to our fave app.

Drag Racing Nate’s New Car! After meanduring around a mall for the afternoon, the men endulged in some racing fun.


We look so happy in this pic… at this point we didn’t know we’d be stuck in the car for 6 hours days later.

Nate and Steve found this place with a drag strip where you can race your own cars.  They signed their life away and Robin and I watched from the stands as they tried to beat other cars.



Laguna Beach!

We rode down to the beach in Nate’s fancy smancy Camero.IMG_5405


We walked around and checked out a few stores (I got and sent two post cards to Avery and my Grandma), then walked the sandy beach.IMG_5406

We sooo lucked out with weather.  It was litterally 90 degrees warmer than in was in VT.  70s in Cali and -20 to -30 in VT.IMG_5413

To say we were happy was an understatement.


We were in loooove.IMG_5416IMG_5419

We picked some seashells for Avery (he loved them and brought them to school to show off)


The water was cold, but bearable.  I mean, common, we spent hours at the beach in February!!


Awe.  Aren’t the newlyweds too cute! (Nate was actually trying to push her in…)IMG_5426

We loved it so much, we thought we would just stay and buy this fixer upper…




We washed up and had some drinks and food right on the beach.IMG_5439IMG_5445

When we got back to their place, we were raring to go out to the Lakers game that night….IMG_5447

Lakers Game!

Before heading to the game, we visited my second cousin Kellee and her two kiddos and two dogs.  She’s the daughter-in law of my Uncle John, the one I’m buying the house from.  It was so nice to finally meet her in person!  Then it was off to fight traffic on the way to  LA.


Robin and Nate had got us all tickets to the game that night, and not just any tickets…IMG_5458

Yep, we were THAT close.IMG_5460

mandatory ‘We’re Sitting THIS Close” photo to prove it.IMG_5461

We had drinks and prezels and smoozed with Denzel and Mark Walberg. (no, really, they were there!)


And we even made it on the big screen!!!  I was waving and smiling and Steve was like what?


The game was very close and exciting.  I’ve been to Celtics games, and even sat in box seats thanks to my company, but these seats… amazing!!!IMG_5466

Oh and on our long ride into LA for the game, we decided, hey, we don’t have plans for the weekend, so let’s go to Vegas.  And…. we did.


6am the next morning, we were on the road headed to Sin City!IMG_5468

Steve had never been, the rest of us had, so we were on a mission to show Steve what Vegas was all about.  The ride was just over 4 hours… lots of nothing to look at on the way….


A random pitstop along the way…


We arrived, and stayed at the Aria, one of the new hotels.  I wanted to stay at Treasure Island, but they had been booked – can’t blame them, we booked a hotel the day before going!


So smansy, we walked into the hotel room and the window curtain opened up and music turned on… we weren’t in Kansas Vermont anymore!IMG_5483

We went exploring on the strip, and our first stop was the M&M store!


I got Avery these M&Ms, personalized with his name (he was thrilled when I brought them home)


“Oh hey, we’re in Vegas” selfie with New York New York behind us.IMG_5480

After lots of exploring, we sat down for some food on the strip.IMG_5482

After some napping and slot machine fun (not! we lost $11 and called it a night), we headed off to Fremont Street.IMG_5488

So many lights… and so many people!



Nate and Steve did the Zip Line…


Then it was back to the strip to visit the Bellagio fountains and atrium.IMG_5493IMG_5494

And then we did what any kid-free couple does late at night while in Vegas…. we grabbed some food, a six-pack, and headed back to our hotel room.IMG_5505

I think my fave part of the trip, other than all the laughing between all four of us all vaca, was relaxing in bed the next morning… ahh sleeping in is sooooo nice.

Before we headed out, we endulged in some more candy and chocolate….IMG_5506IMG_5507

Then began our 24 hour journey home.  We drove back to the OC, which took forever!  We were tired and sick of sitting before we even got to the airport.  Demonstration… Left, on the way TO Vegas.  Right, on the way BACK from Vegas.IMG_5511

Other than oodles of traffic, we saw a fun road sign.  IMG_5512

And it didn’t rain allll vacation, until we got in that car to drive back.  Good timing.

Our flight back to Newark was delayed a little bit, then 4 hours later in Newark (now morning on the east coast), we had a 6 hour layover thanks to a delayed plane.IMG_5514

When we were on the final plane ride home, we were a bit excited… and tired!IMG_5515

We finally got into VT 24 hours after we had left Vegas.  We only had a few hours of sleep while on the planes (I cannot sleep on planes) and it took us the next week to catch up on sleep I think.  I was excited to see Avery when we got in though.  MiMi had kept him home from preschool so he could meet us at the airport – he ran up to me and told me about the planes he was watching and he wouldn’t let me go.  Such a fun vacation, but we will be VERY happy if we don’t see an airport for a while… good thing our next visit with Robin and Nate will be here in Vermont after we buy the new house this fall!

❤ Meghan

The Home Stretch

Not only am I refreshed, back from a week vacation on the other side of the states where there was no snow and lots of sun (pictures and recap coming soon!), but I am also especially chipper today because I am…….. wait for it……… less than $5,000 away from paying off my student loans.  Can you say, “Happy Tuesday?!”

28 Month Progress

  • Starting Debt: $41,868.53 (Nov  ’12)
  • Debt Today: $4,976.94
  • Total Debt Paid Off: $36,891.59

Yeah, that looks more like it.  Last month was a total flop because my snail mail payments took forever to process, so it all rolled over into this month – and a good month it was!!!

February Review

  • Starting Balance: $10,347.06
  • End Balance:  $4,976.94
  • Payments Made: $5,390.35
  • Interest Paid: $18.71
  • Principle Paid: $5,371.64

I chopped my debt in half this past month by paying off two loans and taking a chunk out of the next one on my list, which catches me up to my plan set out months ago to get these paid off in May.  How’d I get all the $ this past month?  Well, like I said, those two payments to pay off loans were caught up in the mail, then my usual $1800 a month, plus a few hundred more because we had overtime offered at work and I snagged it up, working late (8pm-12am) after Avery was in bed a couple nights a week for two weeks.  Sooo paid off!


However, we have a little change in plans (It’s a good one, so no worries!).  Correction, a BIG CHANGE: My bonus from work (yearly bonus based on company/personal performance) from last year is coming this month and is almost double what I anticipated (because we did awesome this past year), so I updated my plan to a weekly schedule:

Loan Pay Off Plan

  • January February: Pay Off Loan C 
  • February: Pay Off Loan B
  • March: Pay Off Loan A ($2403)
    • -$500 3/3 (from usual paycheck)
    • -$500 3/11 (from usual paycheck)
    • -$1403 3/18 (from work bonus)
    • PAID OFF BY 3/20
  • April March: Pay Off Loan 1-04 ($1470)
    • -$1470 3/18 (from work bonus)
    • PAID OFF BY 3/20
  • May March: Pay off Loan 1-03 ($1103)
    • -$900 3/18 (from work bonus)
    • -$203 3/25 (from usual paycheck)
    • PAID OFF BY 3/27

Yep, if all goes as planned (since I’m making the payments online and no snail mail anymore to slow it down), I’ll have paid off my student loans completely by the end of this month.  Months earlier than anticipated from my target date of my 30th birthday, set out over 2 years ago.  So as pretty as this chart has been looking… that blue line will hit the bottom in a matter of weeks!

CaptureRed = goal, Blue = loans remaining to be paid

So, since I’m soooo close to being DONE, I’ll be documenting my last couple weeks very closely, so expect a long report in a month… and if it wasn’t so cold out, I’d have a bon fire to burn all my student loan papers.  Either way, I’m sure there will be lots of celebrating going on… JUST ONE MONTH TO GO!!!

Then it’s on to my next adventure… saving $ for our very own House!!!  Since I’m smashing this goal, maybe I’ll set my new goal to be in our new house by my 30th birthday??? 😉  I can dream….

❤ Meghan

Check out my About Meghan page for more posts on finances and paying off my student loans.

This post brought to you by jet lag from a fantastic vacation – I couldn’t fall asleep last night, so I wrote this up… more pics to come soon!