Tuesday, September 23, 2008

corey's little secret

I have a small confession to make ... even though I disagree with Barack Obama's views on many issues I had high hopes he would deliver on his "Campaign for Change" promises. I was really looking forward to a Presidential Campaign that didn't deliberately micharacterize the other campaign, distort the truth, and could actually say something good about the other candidate when credit was due. Unfortunately, today I have realized it just isn't so. To be fair I had hoped McCain's campaign would play better too but didn't really have as much hope as I did for Obama's campaign. Politics as usual are alive and well and it is disheartening.

Is it just impossible for a leader to say something like "You know, I was wrong on the surge and I learned ..." or to say "Economic issues aren't my strong point which is why I plan to make sure I assemble a ver talented team of people who understand the issues. While I don't understand all the of the detailed complexities of the economy, here are my guiding principles for my economic approach ..."

I missed almost all of the presidential campaign ads because Miriam and I were in Romania for the last elections (we did vote via absentee ballot). I am not inundated with the political banter now because we don't watch TV and miss alot of the repeat ads. I do check the campaigns' websites and try to do a modest level of checking on facts.

I am just really disappointed because even though I disagree with Obama on lots of stuff, I was hoping to be able to give him a lot of respect for running an honorable campaign. Unfortunately I just don't see it happening. It is disillusioning and disheartening.

Kind of like the Financial Disclosures that finance article writers must disclose about what stocks they own I think it is appropriate that I disclose my political stance. I am a registered republican who voted Bush in 2000 (the first presidential election I could participate in) and Bush in 2004. I plan on voting McCain Palin in 2008.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We're Debt Free!

... except for the house (don't worry, we're working on it).

Miriam and I paid off our 2005 Toyota Sienna mini van tonight. Miriam and I took a 13 week course called Financial Peace University taught by Dave Ramsey. It really changed our lives. It was and IS a big deal. I have been relatively quiet on this blog about the impact of this stuff but no longer friends.
I could type A LOT about how much the principles taught in this class (it is not difficult stuff) changed our lives but the results are pretty obvious. We bought our mini van used in August of 2007 borrowing $22,000 to help pay for it. In February we owed $19,000. We started FPU (Financial Peace University) in late February and today in late September we owe $0 .... ZERO! That is $19,000 paid off in 7 months.
When we first started I had a goal of getting the van paid off by march of 2009 with a stretch goal of october 2008. We hit it one month early. We tracked our progress and kept our focus by attaching a "Van Debt Is DUMB" countdown sheet to a main door in our house (see picture above). Many times I would walk by that sign and get MAD about our debt and get pumped to pay it off. Debt is dumb!
We had to make some sacrifices and we will have to continue to make some sacrifices but one of the mantras of the class is "Live like no one else now, so you can live like no else later".
Last thing ... these principles, FPU, and the things Dave Ramsey teaches aren't about getting rich. It is about living within one's means, budgeting, working as a team, and making smart financial decisions so that we can give like no one else! I highly recommend this stuff for anyone ... rich, poor, or anyone in between.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

a girl and her mom and dad

I just thought I would post these pictures of me with my parents.
I sure do love them both very much!
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Scott Hanselman's Computer Zen - Baby Sign Language 2.0

Scott Hanselman's Computer Zen - Baby Sign Language 2.0
Here is an interesting article on teaching a baby sign language and a foreign language. This is something that I have wanted to do but just haven't yet. We have taught Abby and Luke some sign language but not to the degree that I would like. Now is the perfect time for them to learn a foreign language as well but I just haven't got the ball rolling yet.

Anyway interesting stuff (for me at least).

Thursday, September 04, 2008

the kids

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

taking care of baby

Abby is turning out to be quite the "mommy" and in general does a great job of taking care of baby doll crandall.
And yes ... she is SO stinkin cute!!

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the new playset

So here is our new play set. I don't have the slide or rock wall up but everything else is up. This was a neighbor's play set who was moving. I made an offer and got a great deal. I will have to put up a bar for Abby to do her gymnastics tricks on.
So now we have a great kids play area, a newly redecorated kitchen, indoor office/kids play area, and a nicer arrangement for guests in the basement ... so come on out and visit!
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Monday, September 01, 2008

A great day

Saturday at 7AM, we had a garage sale. I didn't have a whole lot, but the stuff that I did have took up quite a bit of room. I am trying to get rid of clutter and stuff we don't use or need. Even though we only made $36 it was a super great day because ...
- I got to get up early (6:10AM) which I like to do.
- I got to witness my neighbor's fiasco with a racoon on her back porch (I did offer to help).
- I got to clean and organize the garage.
- Miriam got to sleep in.
- I got to spend some quality time with the kids.
- I taught Lukey Boy about the air compressor and shop vac.
- I got to help a neighbor.
- I purchased a really nice (and big) outdoor playset for a really, really good deal. More on this in a different post.
- We got rid of stuff!
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Happy 27th Birthday Miriam part 2

The outdoor decorations Abby also helped me with.

I know, I know ... why didn't I pursue a career in art.

the birthday girl
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Happy 27th Birthday Miriam part 1

The decorations indoors for Miriam's 27th Birthday!! Abby and I did this while Miriam was at work and so whe was able to come home to this.

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Hello Nastia!

And so it begins ... Abby has been taking gymnastics and now has a leotard. Abby is quite the monkey and is a pretty strong little girl. She loves to do flips on our "low" closet bar. She can walk across the balance beam all by herself without a problem.
And in case you didn't know (Nastia Liukin was the all around womens gold medalist in gymnastics at the Beijing 2008 olypmics)

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Outdoor Play Area

What do most couples do at 10:30 on a friday night?
ummm .... rework the outdoor wood chipped play area?
Well, somehow I convinced Miriam to help me complete that project. As you can see below, she wasn't quite as excited about it as I was. The play area was nasty weedy and just needed a rework. So on July 18th, it got its extreme makeover.

Yes, Miriam loves me for this sort of thing. See my sweet 1500 watt work light in the background. That thing ROCKS! It can light up my whole back yard on full power (which my neighbors love, I'm sure). It is great because when the kids go to bed ... it's worky work time (uninterrupted work time).

I had to to quite a bit of begging to get this little smile out of Miriam for the picture.

The finished play area. Without Miriam I wouldn't have been able to finish it, thanks bud!

And see how the hard work pays off. Abby loves her play area. And yes, she has a rain coat, frayed jean shorts, and knee high rain boots on.

And as of yesterday the play area got another "minor" rework. I'll post some pics and the story soon.
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