Saturday, September 20, 2014

Happy Saturday

Things have been a bit of a whirlwind, with crazy times at my job, plus the start of fall soccer for two kids. Phew! Last Sunday we managed to get out to Half Moon Bay (my first time) & it was gorgeous! So happy that we made time to explore a bit.

We also finally managed to grow mini (Persian) cucumbers! We had to replant twice, but have success! This is Nick's favorite food, so he's delighted. ;-)

In other news, financial & otherwise:

  • We received our refund from the IRS (our tax miscalculation based on not using the correct deduction for our rental expenses) arrived - $2700. :-)
  • We are saving in earnest for the final part of our Hawaii trip (mostly the hotel - flights are paid for, we'll be cooking in the hotel for the majority of the meals, and aren't planning to do too many activities). 
  • My first grant of stock will vest next week! I'm very excited for this milestone, but we won't be selling until next year for tax purposes. 
  • I may be getting a bonus at work, which would be fantastic! I've heard rumors, but nothing is confirmed yet. *If* the bonus comes through, we'll use the money to fund our 2015 yearly expenses fund. I'm trying to get ahead of our irregular expenses (traveling, kids soccer, etc) which throw off our monthly expenses. We have a few big trips coming up, so would be great to get these saved for & use our salaries to cover day-to-day expenses.
  • I haven't been spending much time on my own health & fitness, with our insane schedule, and we're leaving for Hawaii in 8 weeks. Time to get serious about the workouts & cleaning up my eating! 
I think that's about it. I have the normal list of errands today, and Nick had a friend sleepover last night, so my house is very loud with three little boys. :-) 

Hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

401K rollover - finally!

One of the tasks that's been on my to do list for, *ahem*, quite some time now is rolling over my 401K. There are advantages to having all of the money grouped together (from a fee perspective), and it's also much easier for me to have one broker to deal with.

After lots of phone calls, paperwork, and research, I received a check yesterday for $349K. Woohoo! It's now on its way to my new brokerage firm, and I should have a fully merged 401K in no time. Also, I was a little caught off guard by the value - I typically look at our retirement savings in a spreadsheet where all assets are combined, and the money doesn't feel very "real". Receiving a check for $349,000 definitely made it feel more "real". I've worked pretty hard over the past 15 years, and aside from the other ways we've invested and spent our money, I'm proud of my focus on saving for retirement. M has his own sizable retirement portfolio (slightly larger than mine, as he's older), but what a nice feeling to open up that check! :-) I didn't get to enjoy it for long, but it was great to have a visual measure of progress.

What else is on the agenda for today?

  • Sam has his first soccer game, and then a play date/movie with a friend. 
  • I'm making pizza dough for our dinner tonight
  • I need to plan the menu for the week
  • 3 mile run
  • Yoga (optimistically)
  • I offered to bring snacks to Sam's soccer game, so need to get that all prepped
  • Bake bread
  • Clean the fridge
  • Deal with all of the tomatoes that are about to go bad - my ongoing challenge of the summer ;-)
  • Library to return books
  • Costco for our weekly supplies

That's a pretty full day. What about you? What's on your Saturday "to do" list? 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September Goal Setting

I love the return of fall, back to school, and new schedules!

September is always a month of organizing & planning for us. Here's what I hope to accomplish.

  1. Fitness-related:
    1. Lose 2 pounds - bringing my weight to 143. We're going to Hawaii in November, & I want to be feeling great!
    2. Track my calories every day in MyFitnessPal
    3. Complete 1000 minutes of cardio
    4. Complete 8 strength workouts
    5. Complete 6 stretch workouts. This is critical. I'm really sore after spending all day at the office
    6. Start/complete all half marathon training plan runs for the month.
  2. Finance-related:
    1. Finish reworking our budget to take into account yearly categories (vs solely focusing on monthly numbers)
    2. Stick to our budget!
    3. File all paperwork.
    4. Rework childcare budget for 2015, with nanny & summer camps finalized.
    5. Finalize 2015 travel budget, schedule, price out trips, etc.
  3. Personal
    1. Complete Tokyo with as minimal impact to my family as possible.
    2. Plan one social event with friends.
    3. At least one date night with M.
    4. Continue to rework my work schedule to better accommodate evening meetings (consolidate them all into one evening to minimize disruption to my life).
    5. Use or freeze all fresh produce from the garden.
    6. Read 5 books.
    7. Every Sunday, review week ahead and do the following (this is critical to "during the work week" sanity!)
      1. Menu plan
      2. Organize pickup/drop off schedule
      3. Coordinate after hours meeting
      4. Consolidate meetings, etc. 
      5. Organize any carpools
That should do it! This is a month that's back to "normal". No personal travel plans until November, but I do have my work trip to Tokyo. I'm hoping to be able to get my $110 passport processing fee back. We shall see.

What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish for September? 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Menu plan Monday

We're making a concerted effort towards expanding our youngest son's eating choices. He likes a variety of food (he'll eat almost any fruit or vegetable), but he still doesn't like food mixed together (think of a casserole - pasta, meat, sauce, cheese). That's a no go for him, which makes menu planning very difficult. As a result, our meals have gotten pretty drab. We used to spend time making separate meals, and requiring everyone to have bites of the more "adult" meal, but I gave that up after I started my new job. Although I won't make separate meals, I will save him plain pasta on the side, but require him to try new things again.

I've slacked off on my parenting responsibilities, and need to get back to it! :-)

Everyone got to choose an item for the menu this week. Here goes!

Monday - M is making kebabs & Persian rice, as we all have the day off.
Tuesday - Tacos (one of the only meals that "everyone" eats!). I'll prep the meat on Monday
Wednesday - Leftover kebabs & rice
Thursday - Leftover tacos
Friday - Homemade pizza
Saturday - M will barbecue burgers + corn
Sunday - TBD

How about you? Do you have picky kids at home? What's your plan for getting them to eat? If Nick tries things he really doesn't want, he'll make it a huge deal, and then vomit at the table. It's very . . . unpleasant. Fingers crossed that we have enough patience to work with him as he outgrows his fear of branching out.

August goals - how did I do?

The month is over, and it was a mixed bag, in terms of progress against goals. I had my highest cardio & mileage month of the year (in fact, in a couple of years). I finished 103 miles (walking & running) in August. Woohoo!

  1. Fitness-related:
    1. Lose 1 pound - nope. I've gained a pound. :-( 
    2. Track my calories every day in MyFitnessPal - Yes!
    3. Complete 1000 minutes of cardio - Oh yes! I had 1,340. Lots of training for my relay.
    4. Complete 8 strength workouts - No. :-( Only 2 strength workouts, and I can tell! I've lost muscle tone.
    5. Complete 6 stretch workouts - 2 stretch workouts. I need to make this a focus, because my back is in misery with my lack of yoga. 
    6. Run/finish my relay event - Yes, and it was awesome!!
  2. Finance-related:
    1. Finish reworking our budget to take into account yearly categories (vs solely focusing on monthly numbers) - I'm 90% of the way there, but have changed my approach a few times. Want to keep iterating on this in September. 
    2. Stick to our budget! - I booked our holiday trip + paid for the boys soccer. See above, I wasn't doing a very good job of tracking yearly expenses for our monthly budget, which I need to change.
    3. Stick to vacation budget on family trip to the Oregon coast. - Yes!
    4. Sell 2 bikes on Craigslist, and put the money in the boys activity fund (help offset their expensive soccer club). - Sold the last one yesterday, so snuck in just under the wire. ;-) 
    5. File all paperwork. - Ack. No.
    6. Rework childcare budget for 2015, with nanny & summer camps finalized. - I started this, but it's not done. 
    7. Finalize Hawaii trip details. - Mostly done. 
    8. Start looking at plans for the holidays (flights, time off, etc) - Done. 
  3. Personal
    1. Get all back to school details sorted out, including nanny schedule + soccer schedule. - Done
    2. Get sorted business trip sorted out, including passport & early entry program. - Done
    3. Plan one social event with friends. - Done - August was a very social month.
    4. At least one date night with M. - Done! Had a great dinner out this weekend.
    5. Continue to rework my work schedule to better accommodate evening meetings (consolidate them all into one evening to minimize disruption to my life). - Well, I've made progress, but new meetings crop up all of the time, so it's a work in progress. 
    6. Use or freeze all fresh produce from the garden. - I did well until we started traveling. I have a boatload of tomatoes in the fridge, and had to throw out a handful. 
    7. Read 5 books. - Yes! All of the flights helped with this. :-) 
That's how I did in August - it's a busy month, full of travels & fun, and less about "getting things done". What about you? How did you do on your goals? 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A fun end to summer

We've had a great few weeks, but I'm exhausted, and spending the long weekend recovering! I was out of town two weekends in a row, and weekends are critical for my planning, organizing, etc. But, we had an amazing time.

We met my parents at the beach house (Oregon coast) for a week of family time, then flew back, got the boys started at school, and I flew back to Portland last Thursday for Hood to Coast (the largest relay in the world!) My family did the walking portion, and we had everyone from my 12 year old nephew to my mom, sister, best friend, etc. It was AWESOME. We had a fabulous time, and everyone is already signing up for next year.

Here are some of my favorite pictures! In the 4th picture, you can see my amazing flip flops. ;-) My shoes broke during the race (I always wear flip flops between my actual running legs, to avoid wearing sweaty sneakers for two days solid) & the only store in the Oregon mountains was a Wal-Mart. The shoes are two sizes two large, hot pink, & glorious. They cost $4. ;-) The little guy in the pictures is my amazing 12 year old nephew, who did an awesome job on his relay legs. He rocked! The sweaty picture with my sister is after our 10 miler. I'm not sure why she's so tan & I'm so white - I live in California, after all!

Now we're back to reality! And, the last few weeks reminded us that we really need to plan our 2015 trips, from a budget, time off, and calendar perspective. I spent about 5 hours on it, and I'm very close to a plan for 2015. I'm just waiting for my sister to confirm dates for our 2015 family trip. We'll celebrate our 10th anniversary next October, and I think we're going to go back to the Grand Wailea (where we got married) to celebrate. SO excited. :-)

We spent yesterday running errands (plus a date night!), have a barbecue to attend today, and we're going to Nick's "welcome to second grade" party tomorrow. In between all of that, I need to get our week planned (soccer, carpools, late meeting nights), meals planned & prepped, etc. 

I have lemon bread in the oven (bringing it to the barbecue) & it smells amazing. 

Hope you are all having a great weekend!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday, again!

I love Sundays. I always create my to do list for the day while drinking my coffee. :-)

We have a lot of fun ahead in the next few weeks - can't wait! Tomorrow is a busy work day (8 am to 10 pm), and then on Tuesday, the boys & I fly to Portland. My sister will pick us up at the airport with my nephews, and we'll head straight to the beach & our vacation house. I'm looking forward to spending time with the family - relaxing, riding bikes, walking on the beach, & playing games! We fly back on Sunday, just in time to start school on Monday. :-)

I'm flying back to Portland on Thursday, for my relay event - Portland to Coast. I can't wait! We've been training & planning & it should be super fun. My fan consists of: my mom, my mom's best friend, my best friend, my twelve year old nephew, and my Uncle. My sister is the captain of our second van, and she's with a family friend, my two cousins, and my aunt. My sister has done this relay before, & I've done the more extended/running version, but everyone else is a novice. Should be awesome!

And, on to today! I need to use all of the tomatoes before we leave town, and . . . there are a lot!

I already made an awesome breakfast - Spicy Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce . I've never made poached eggs before, but these were amazing. The sauce was incredible!

Here's what else I need to do today:

  1. Wash all sheets/make beds. 
  2. Make tomato soup for the freezer. 
  3. Make roasted garlic tomato freezer jam.
  4. If I *still* have more tomatoes left over, I'll make more of the tomato sauce from the poached egg recipe & freeze. 
  5. Walk 8 miles, as training for my relay. The pace time is pretty fast, considering all of the hills - 13 minute miles.
  6. Power yoga. My back has been killing me, & I really need to stretch. 
  7. Return a couple of things to the mall.
  8. Plan schedule for Monday
  9. Finish cleaning fridge & freezer, to prepare for our vacation.
  10. If time permits, get a pedicure

What about you? How are you spending the last few weeks of summer? What are you up to today?