Money, Mother’s Day, and More!

I can’t lie, I am getting sooo excited for buying this house!  Probably because I drive by it twice a day and mostly because I got to visit and take measurements last weekend!
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Yep, I spent a couple hours one night with a tape measure and my laptop drawing out the first floor.  This way I can play around with furniture layouts before we even move in – so exciting!

On the financial side of things, I’m one month into saving for the down payment, and things are looking good…

April Goal Thermometer

I have saved 31% of my goal, and there are still 5 months to go! (I did start off with a nice chunk on day one of saving, so don’t expect another 31% jump next month!)  Just keeping expenses to a minimum, and saving every bit I have leftover every week seems to be working.  That plus I FINALLY got my VT tax return back.  It took weeks and it was complicated because I had to file in VT and Mass, since I lived there part of last year – but thankfully it’s all sorted out, I got my $ back, AND I don’t have to do it again next year! (Why?! Because I’m a Vermonter, and as much as my manager wants me to move back to Mass, I’m staying put!)

So, what’s been happening on the homefront?  I have a little catching up to do… two weekends ago, we had a busy shopping day, getting our weekly fix of groceries – Costco, then Hannafords.  I know, who choses to take their kid shopping with them – usually they have to.  But not me, I for one LOVE to get out of the house, since I work at home all week, and the weekends are my time with Avery so, he comes along and he has so much fun.

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He was a big helper, going around finding things on our list.  And he LOVES to put items on the belt when we check out.
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And if he behaves well and helps out, he gets doggy bones.  Yeah, the woman in line in front of us gave us a pretty odd look when he asked if he could have his doggy bones now.  Doggy bones are a candy in the little quarter machines when you leave the store.  They are one of his favorites, so it’s a nice treat and incentive for a hard morning’s work of shopping.

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And as if that wasn’t enough work for a three year old… he helped me clean all three vehicles that afternoon.IMG_6266

We found out last summer how much Avery loved playing with the hose, so when I asked him if he wanted to help wash the cars, he jumped with joy, litterally!  And man was it a feat cleaning the vehicles – mine hadn’t gotten a thourough clean since last fall.  I did a quick vaccum a month or so ago, but finally it’s really clean.  All those stale cheerios and missing toys are no more.  I even found my missing set of car keys!  I had sucked up a dinosaur with the shop vac on accident, opened the cover and there was the little orange guy, and also my spare key!  I didn’t even know it was in there. Whew – good catch!

So, when we’re not outside soaking up the rays (it was in the 70s and 80s here for almost 2 weeks straight), I’m inside baking up something new.  I started in the winter when I made blueberry muffins for Steve, and since then, I make a batch of something once a week.  This past week was cupcakes.IMG_6327

I sent those four to my gram and gramps.  The rest Dad and Steve got.  And thanks to my Nana, I have a bunch of new (new to me, they are from really old cooking books) recipes to try out.

Ok, now we’re caught up to last weekend.  On Friday night, Steve and I had a picnic dinner on the tailgate of his truck on the lake.
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The view was much better than our mediocre chinese food.  And Saturday morning it was nice and windy so, we flew kites…IMG_6359

That little green spec is Avery.  He’s flying our forever old send in your kool aid points kite.   He did pretty well, running to get it up, letting the line out, until he let go a few times and got it caught in a tree.IMG_6360

Steve was kind enough to climb the tree and get it down – all for the price of looking like he had a fight with a very mad cat 🙂
For Mother’s Day,  Avery made me a card and a gift at school and one at home.IMG_6378

Yeah, whatever you do, don’t tell this kid a secret.  We hid flowers for Mimi at Uncle Johns (I bought them on Tuesday, so we wouldn’t have a limited selection come the weekend when everyone was out buying flowers), but apparently Avery spilled the beans.  No biggie, we get hanging flower baskets for Mom every year, so she knew they were coming.

We spent the morning and early afternoon with Nana and Papa on their screened-in porch.  Avery had fun with the men, throwing rocks in the water and walking around outside.  He even sat on the porch with Papa for a while.IMG_6379

We shared some pictures and videos of Avery and he showed his math skills on the ipad.  Oh and we had a yummy lunch – I wasn’t hungry for dinner 6 hours later.IMG_6380

Then we were off to Gram and Gramps where Avery and MiMi got caught in the rain outside!  We played Go Fish with Grandma and saw some family too.IMG_6381

Oh, what are some other random misc things going on?  Oh, Mimi and Grampy celebrated their 30th Wedding Anniversary.  I made them a treat on the day, but they went out and celebrated with friends the weekend before.  IMG_6312This just means it’s getting closer to my 30th birthday… eeek!

Oh, and with all this nice weather, I put away winter clothes and got out summer clothes (yay for dresses and skirts again!!)  But that also meant going thru Avery’s clothes and putting away things he has outgrown.  I filled a box.IMG_6286

Thankfully, at his last birthday and the holidays, he was gifted lots of bigger clothes, perfect for this summer.  Oh and Mimi bought a few new outfits for him too – shorts and t-shirts perfect for playing outside in.IMG_6287

We got a little rain this week, but the weather is finally staying warm and we’re playing outside every day.  Avery scored a free blow up beach ball at the Pharmacy yesterday when we bought new sunscreen for him at school, and the nice lady gave it to him for free.  Score!  It’s perfect to kick around the front yard.  Little guy is all tuckered out and in bed now… I will soon be in there too.  I forgot how much the sun makes me tired, oh that and running 🙂

❤ Meghan

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.

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

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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…

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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.

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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…
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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…

DreamHouse

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