Friday, April 22, 2016

An amazing vacation

Even though I left during an extremely crazy time at work, and came back to a wild ride again, it was absolutely what I needed to have a long weekend away. The boys had a mountain biking adventure with my dad, and I spent time with my sister and BFF. We went on runs, walks, played rummy, drank wine, and hit up the outlet malls for some shopping. The weather was gorgeous (with the exception of Thursday).

Here are a few pictures of the fun!

Sam, my oldest, clearing some serious logs in the forest. :-)


Girls, on a walk at the beach (sister to the left, BFF to the right):



And, finally, the view from the brewery where we stopped for lunch in Pacific City. Absolutely stunning!



Feeling so lucky for all of the amazing support I have in my life. Life can be challenging, and busy, and crazy, and make you want to throw your hands in the air, or lay down and pull the covers up over your head & not come out. But, having people to share your experiences with makes all of the difference. 

I find that, after a trip like this, I'm a better wife & mom, and more relaxed at work. What more could you want? :-)

And, on to the weekend! I need to get my personal life sorted out, as I'm heading to London on Sunday. 

How do you recharge yourself? If you haven't, schedule some "you" time for the weekend. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Vacation - today!

I am so, so ready for a vacation. Work has been very challenging (more so than even the normal amount), and I've had a heck of a time recovering from my jet lag this go round. I'm still tired, and I flew back last Friday!

I was originally supposed to head out on vacation last Saturday, and while I surely could have used the time, it wouldn't have worked out with some work staffing challenges that needed to be addressed. But, I was able to preserve the end bit of my vacation, so the boys & I are flying to Portland. My dad will pick up the boys, and they will be having "Nana & Papa time". My sister is picking me up, and we are off to spend some girl time on the Oregon coast. My other best friend is also joining us. So, so, so very excited for the break.

We plan to get in a lot of exercise (walking, running, yoga, etc), drink wine, and chat! Normally when we are together, we have all of our kids (six, in total) & there is rarely time for any conversation - just lots of kiddo interruptions.

In other news, M & the boys were rear ended on the freeway yesterday on their way to camp. I'm so happy no one was injured. The car was pretty banged up, but that's (relatively) easy to fix. The traffic is horrendous here, so I'm not terribly surprised. Sam has some abrasions on his shoulders from the seat belt, but other than that and being a bit shaken up, all is well. Super grateful.

And with that, I'm off to wrap up, finish my packing & get ready for all of the fun ahead. Can't wait!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Yearly budget check in

With the year more than 1/4 over (27.4%, to be precise :-)), I'm checking in on our yearly spending categories & determining where we're over, under, and on track.

To determine if we're over or under, I assess how far we are throughout the year (in this case, just over a quarter) & then measure what percentage of the yearly budget we've spent so far. In some cases, it's okay if we are tracking over, as I tend to prepay for our yearly travel all at once. In other cases, it really means that we're spending too much & we need to keep an eye on our spending.

Categories where we're trending ahead (a bad thing):

  • Boys activities - we've spent $1533 of a projected yearly spend of $1500. So, yes, all of it plus a little bit. Yikes. I obviously didn't do a good job of creating this budget category, because there spending has remained relatively stable. 
  • Personal - I've spent 44% of our yearly budget. Which, may be okay as the majority of the spend was my 40th birthday massage. As long as I keep my other expenses (hair cuts, etc) in check, we could be okay.
  • Taxes - well, I always put a $5,000 placeholder in the budget. It must be a mental block, because then I go ahead & save 40K, but creating a line item that big just doesn't work for me. I know, so rational, right? I promise to correct next year. Anyway, we've spent all of our tax money, plus about $25K more. So, there you have it. 
  • Travel - We're at 82% spent, but I've booked all of our flights for the year. The rest of the budget should work, if we stick to our plans. 
  • Boys (misc) - this category is the placeholder for all random kid expenses. We're at 70% of our spending, mostly because we just had the school auction & spent close to $500 on kid expenses. This is mostly planned. 


Categories where we're trending behind (a good thing):

  • Auto - We've spent under $100 for the year, and are at under 10% of our budget.
  • Charitable contributions - under, but we do most of our donating in September for the kids school, and then finish out the year in December with our main contributions.
  • Christmas - We've spent 2% of our budget, as we used frequent flier miles to cover the airfare, but had to pay $44 in taxes.
  • Clothing - we've spent under 2% of our budget, so doing great!
  • Gifts - We've spent 15% of our budget, but have some events coming up (M's birthday & Father's Day). Need to decide what we're doing for those two events.
  • Health - I've spent under 2% of our health budget. I want to register for a couple of runs, so that will add up quickly. 

And, areas where we are right on track - our "House" category. This includes paper products, small household items, etc. We're at 27%, so exactly on with our spending. 

In total, we've spend 60% of our yearly budget (minusing out taxes), so we need to keep a close eye on our spending for the remainder of the year. Another check in will be coming at the half way mark!

What about you? Do you track your yearly spending? How are you doing so far? 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Setting some goals for April!

I'm back from Seoul & Tokyo, and feeling *very* tired today! I've already been to one very rainy soccer game this morning, & I'm secretly thrilled that the other two were rained out. ;-) I made soup for lunch & I'm trying to drum up enough motivation to work out today. Fingers crossed!

In fun news, M & I have our first date night in about 6 months - tonight!! Woohoo! I may be tired this evening, but I'm so excited to have time with M. Alone! :-)

Finances:

  • Stick to our budget
  • Save $1,500
  • Meet with another local realtor.

Family:
  • Have a date night with M
  • Decide if M & I are going on a mini vacation. If so, book.


Fitness:
  • Lose 4 pounds (trying to be realistic, as I'll be on vacation for a few days)
  • Eat 5 servings of fruits & vegetables 
  • Complete 7 stretching workouts (yoga or pilates)
  • Complete 6 strength workouts
  • Complete 800 minutes of cardio
  • Average 1450 calories/day
  • Run 7 times.

Work/Career:
  • Maximum of one late night/week
  • Work from home at least three Fridays this month
  • Have work conversation on what it will take for me to potentially stay. (Need to clear this up in my own mind first).

Personal/Creative:
  • Read four books
  • Color in my adult coloring book
  • Get together with a friend

Let's do this April thing! What's on your goal list for the month?

Monday, April 4, 2016

March budget results - were we under or over?

I break our spending out into two separate categories - yearly expenses (travel, house, car repairs, etc) & monthly expenses. I look at our yearly expenses regularly, and do a quarterly check in soon!

As for our March spending, how did we do? If you eliminate all of the summer camps that I paid for & booked this month, we came with in $25 of our March budget. (We were under by $25). Pretty amazing! I need to start including summer camps in our yearly budget, because it doesn't really make sense to cover it as part of the monthly childcare expense for March. But, that will require rejiggering all of my trackers, so I've noted it for 2017. ;-)

Areas where we were over:

  • Childcare, by $6477. To clarify, we were actually over by around $200 (after minusing out the summer camps), and we had to unexpectedly book a spring break camp. We were supposed to be on vacation at the beach, instead, I have to go to Asia, and needed childcare.
  • Entertainment, by $10. Library fines made up our entire $35 spending in this category. NOT money well spent, but we've come up with some systems to reduce this to zero. 
  • Alcohol, over by $445. Holy smokes! But, in reality, Costco had my absolute favorite "special" wine on sale, so we bought a case. We'll use it for the next year or so. And, M & I have been on zero dates in months, and have been enjoying a nice bottle of wine on weekends while the boys are playing in the yard. As a rough approximation of a date night. ;-) 


And, areas where we were under:

  • Dining out, by $45. Especially exciting as it was Nick's birthday this month and we had an unplanned dinner out last Friday night.
  • Gas, by $102. Just less driving & spending in this area. 
  • Groceries, by $36. !!! Hurrah!!! Hurrah!!! So exciting!
  • Toiletries, by $10. Bought nothing.
  • Utilities, by $304. Winter months are more expensive - we're entering the months where our utilities are substantially reduced. 
And, that's it! Feeling pretty good about March generally. We did book all of our travel for the year, and our summer camps, so plenty of money left our accounts this month, but it was all planned for.

How about you? How did you do on your monthly spending in March?

Friday, April 1, 2016

March goals recap - how did I do?

Every month I set challenging goals for myself (some months, more challenging that others ;-)), and then measure my progress against the goals. March was a rough month! A sea of red out there. ;-) Well, more opportunities and challenges to tackle in April, I suppose.

Finances:

  • Stick to our budget
  • Pay our taxes. Awaiting final total from the accountant. - We know how much we owe, but were waiting for a last form & the final review with the accountant. 
  • Save $1,500 - Definitely not this month. We booked all of our travel, summer camps, etc. 
  • Explore nearby communities (at least two) as we continue to think about buying a house. - We did this for one community, but got too busy to do the second. It will move to our April goals.
  • Meet with a realtor. - We did this.
  • Update my 40 week plan. (A full post is needed here). - I've done some initial thinking on this, but we need to sort out our housing plan (which is a long process) before we reset goals. 
  • Deal with boys 529s. I've received the refund/cash out & have limited time to move to a new plan without tax penalty. - yes, done!!! All of the money was moved over to the new investment account.

Family:
  • Have a date night with M - No. Our sitter is never available these days. But, I found & interviewed a new sitter & have her booked for an evening in April. Progress!
  • Lock down the dates for the rest of the year (vacations, time off, etc). This includes our family Hawaii trip, and a potential long weekend with M. - We are done, minus the potential for a long weekend in October. Hawaii is booked!
  • Book rental car for April trip. - Ended up booking & then canceling, as I changed the dates & can now ride with my sister.
  • Book all summer camps. - Yes!
  • Book summer flights. - Yes!


Fitness:
  • Lose 4 pounds (trying to be realistic, as I'll be on vacation for a few days) - I lost .1 of a pound, so huge progress. ;-) 
  • Eat 5 servings of fruits & vegetables per day. - My average for March was 3.5/day. Not awesome, but trending in the right direction. I definitely eat better when I make this happen, and am fuller & eat less overall. Just need to be consistent. 
  • Complete 7 stretching workouts (yoga or pilates) - well, the good news is that I did one stretching workout, which was an improvement over my zero in February. But, still.
  • Complete 6 strength workouts - Yes! 7 strength workouts.
  • Complete 800 minutes of cardio - I completed 635 in March. 
  • Average 1450 calories/day - I was at 1530/day. So, not crazy high, but combined with not enough workouts. . . Also, it's pretty clear that my goal will need to drop now that I'm the big 40. ;-) 
  • Run 5 times. Start working on 5K build up -  including kicking off Couch to 5K. - Yes, five times exactly. It's painful to start over, but worth it!

Work/Career:
  • Maximum of one late night/week - Yes. 
  • Work from home at least three Fridays this month - Not even once. Had a great February, but my team was in town in March, performance reviews, and some other challenges to deal with.
  • Have work conversation on what it will take for me to potentially stay. (Need to clear this up in my own mind first). - No, and my goal should have been to clear on my own on this topic, before I have an actual conversation.

Personal/Creative:
  • Read four books - Oh, yes. I probably read 6. 
  • Color in my adult coloring book - Nope.
  • Get together with a friend - Nope.

And, that's it for me. I hope you had a much more successful March than I did. ;-) Share your progress!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Weekly spending recap, 3/21-3/27

It was a much more under control spending week, although there were a few outliers. I decided to shorten my spring break trip, as I'd be flying in from Seoul the night before. Hitting the beach with two kids & no one else to help with that kind of jet lag didn't seem like a good idea. I also was able to add a couple of days in Tokyo at the end of the trip, which will hopefully eliminating another standalone trip to APAC later in the year. It did mean that I had to book the boys in spring break camp, and pay for the change fees for our flights. (I get to change for free, as I have status on the airline). I won't have to rent a car for the trip, so that will save some. Also, I'm saving three vacation days, and won't be spending any vacation money Saturday-Wednesday. I'll still be having my girls trip with my sister & BFF, and flying the boys to see my parents. I could have skipped that part (as I already have childcare with the camp), but everyone was super excited, and I didn't want the boys to have another boring spring break. . .

Monday - no spend day
Tuesday -
  • $478 - spring break camp for the boys
  • $259 - change my spring break tickets

Wednesday - no spend day
Thursday - no spend day
Friday - super late soccer practices, so we went out $38.84 at Sweet Tomatoes
Saturday -

  • $5.50 - windshield wiper
  • $22.14 - new glasses for the kitchen
  • $10.74 - Trader Joes, stocking up on edamame
  • $130.80 - groceries at Costco
  • $51.78 - wine at Costco
Sunday - $70, one hour of swimming lessons for both boys

Total spend = $1066.80, most of which was for the spring break adjustments. And, that's it! How about your? How was your week? We avoided going to breakfast on Sunday, or buying anything special for breakfast, but did splash out & buy a nice wine & filet mignon for dinner.