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Friday, April 25, 2014

I'll Give You $20

I’ve had a lot of questions about the Emergency Fund post a couple of weeks ago.  If you haven’t read it (and don’t want to click the link) essentially in 2012 the Team Davis became DEBT FREE! And nearly exactly a year later we finished our EMERGENCY FUND.  I wish I could give you a how-to guide on how we did it, but it’s different for everyone.  Really the best advice I can offer is to take Financial Peace University (click there to find classes in your area).
Now, the classes usually cost money.  Some churches waive the fee (they cover it for you).  Some churches waive the fee if you finish the course.  Some churches don’t waive it at all.  But the combination of thinking how do I help my friends do this too AND how can they do it without spending any money got me thinking…
So I have an idea (and a shameless plug).  I work for Evangelical Christian Credit Union (WHICH I LOVE) and they are doing this referral program right now.  Essentially if you put your emergency fund with them you get $20 (and so do I), BUT the classes usually run about $40.  And honestly my goal is to get you to take this class and experience the JOY and FREEDOM that come with no debt and having that emergency fund “cushion” sitting there.  So I will give you my $20 bonus as well.
What’s that really mean? It means you’ll get $40 just for letting your emergency fund sit at the bank and earn a pretty good rate.  What do you need to do?
1.       Click Here to go to ECCU’s referral page to see the details of the offer (Must be $1000 opening deposit for an On Purpose Savings account and must be open for 90 days)

2.       Click Here to apply for membership and open your account (Click the big Apply Online button) – You’ll need $1005 to open the account.  $1000 for the account to get the Bonus and $5 for membership fee.

3.       While filling out your application online you will be asked for a Referral ID.  Use ID 17447 VERY IMPORTANT.  If you miss that step you will not get the $20
Let me know you opened the account so I know who to give my $20 when it comes to me.  So ECCU will give you $20 and I’ll give you $20.  So there it is - $40 NO EXCUSES! Go take this Financial Peace University course and seriously work on your financial freedom.
Some important things to note about the account at ECCU:
·         You can open it with less money, but you (and I) will not get the referral , but you’ll still earn a good rate

·         Your money here helps ECCU help churches and missionaries around the world! So even if you’ve already began to save and/or get out of debt and/or you’ve taken this course STILL SIGN UP!  I’ll still give you my portion of the $20 so you’ll just get $40 for something fun (or to save)

·         You NEVER have to walk into a branch/bank (Online Banking and Free Bank Transfers to/from any bank in the US)

·         The more you save the more you earn in interest (the higher your balance the higher percentage rate you’ll get)
So there’s my plea and offer to you.  Obviously nothing is in it for me since I’m giving you my portion of the referral bonus so really I just want to help YOU!  Take the free money!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I'm 29!


I have been alive for 29 years.  Well nearly 29 years.  I’m pretty sure I was born in the evening sometime.

And really I’ve been alive for 29 years and about 9 months (give or take).  We should celebrate birthdays at conception “Happy Day Your Mom and Dad Got It On”… I guess that doesn’t work… but I may begin torturing my kids in that way once they hit puberty ::insert evil smile::

So to celebrate my 29th year of life I will tell you 29 facts about me.  Some of you know them all…some of you know some of them…some of you know none of them… 

1.       When I experience true road rage I yell at the evil car “You Butt Wipe”…I know… I’m horrible

2.       The more kids you have the less you can control your bladder.  I don’t just walk around peeing on myself, but if I don’t “brace” myself before a sneeze or cough I will pee a little… this has happened in the last week

3.       IF Drew Barrymore, Sylvester Stallone, Drew Carrey, Louis Anderson, Gilbert Gottfried, Salma Hayek, and Sofia Vergara got in a boat and disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle…I’d be ok with that

4.       I bit my nails (both fingers and toes) until my freshman year of high school when a girl looked at my feet and told me I was not allowed to wear sandals without painted nails – so I stopped biting and started painting

5.       I cut (or bite) off the chocolate from all the sides and bottom of a snickers before I eat it.  Because chocolate is gross

6.       I think Kraft Mac N Cheese is the best – if Mac N Cheese is made with real cheese its gross

7.       I have an addiction to nachos – again…if it is made with real cheese though it is gross

8.       I have a bald spot on the shin of each of my legs (always been there)… it probably means I have some kind of rare disease that will kill me abruptly one day… but it also means I never have to worry about shaving that spot

9.       Since I’ve only been wearing pants or dresses with boots my legs are currently only shaved from mid-thigh to mid-shin… it has been that way for about a month

10.   Sometimes I cough so hard I gag… that can’t be normal

11.   I have 2 toe nails that grow in a funny direction (so does Eli..poor kid got it from me)

12.   I haven’t ridden a bike in 18 years… I may not remember how

13.   Most all breakfast foods are gross… I’d prefer to eat dinner 3 meals a day

14.   If I cook chicken I can’t eat it…if you cook chicken I can eat it…if chicken is on a bone I won’t eat it

15.   I like the flavor of most all fruits, but will not eat most of them because of their horrible texture (blueberries, raspberry, cranberry, banana, kiwi, peaches, and Apricots are out)

16.   I may have eaten so many baby carrots in one sitting I pooped orange…this may have happened more than once

17.   When I was younger I would take an entire head of iceberg lettuce and just eat it like a giant apple

18.   I am so not-flexible I cannot sit with my legs straight in front of me so my body is at a 90 degree angle without feeling the muscle pull/stretch in just my left leg

19.   I’m an obsessive budgeter and saver and would rather take any cash I get as gifts and put it into a savings account than buy something I want (if I NEED it than its fine)

20.   I do however love splurging on things for my friends and family and when I decide to get something “big” I want it now…not tomorrow…let’s go shopping today!

21.   I can’t get rid of clothes…I have many a shirt in my closet I haven’t worn in years (because it doesn’t fit or because it has a hole that “I’ll fix someday”, or that is just hideous) and I can’t throw it out.  Unlike my husband though…I don’t wear those shirts in public

22.   I got picked on A LOT in school…I was white (when 80% were Hispanic), I was smart (when other kids barely showed up to class), and I was quiet and awkward

23.   I like the tingly feeling of a foot/hand that fell asleep

24.   If I’m playing a video game with “collections” or “achievements” I must have every single one

25.   I nearly always have a bruise on my knee or leg that I don’t know the source of.  I assume it’s Justin kicking me in my sleep.

26.   I rarely ever throw away gum…I usually always swallow it

27.   If I’m watching a tv show that has a main character that has something “off” about their face…it is very difficult to watch.  Like Dick Butkis in “The Neighbors” or Alice and the Red Queen from “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland”

28.   Vomit makes me Vomit.  So it may be true that recently while driving home Jordan began puking in the back seat of the car and I had my head out the window (in the rain) gagging and praying I could make it home before I lost all my stomach contents.

29.   I’m a super nerd who enjoys long days of creating excel workbooks with crazy formulas and SQL queries…if you don’t know what both of those are your life is incomplete

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Must Remember


In 5th grade we had to pick a poet to write about.  My first “memorable” research paper.  It was after read the book Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary where a boy writes his favorite author over and over again.  So the goal was to write a letter to our poet and then based on our research write ourselves a reply.

I picked Shel Silverstein.

I loved his odd poems (I still do).

I memorized one of his poems (well I memorized a lot of them) called I Must Remember:

“I must remember . . .
Turkey on Thanksgiving,
Pudding on Christmas,
Eggs on Easter,
Chicken on Sunday,
Fish on Friday,
Leftovers, Monday,
But ah, me—I’m such a dunce.
I went and ate them all at once.”

And so today when I met with the Intended Parent’s (IP) translator and he asked me a HUGE question I thought to myself… “I must remember”

He asked me (unofficially) if I would carry another baby for my IP.  After this little girl is born they want to try again (they still have frozen embryos and going in for another Egg Retrieval soon).

He said they love me, and love my family, and love working with me.  And they would love for me to do it again.

My gut reaction, YES! I would love to continue this journey with them as they grow their family and get the chance to continue to reflect Jesus to them in such a unique way.  The longer I’m in their lives the more impact (theoretically) I would have, right?

But then I thought…what would I change about this process.  I already have my list of pregnancy woes…but what did I not know then that I know now that I want in my contract.

So here it is (again just a list for myself):

Required

·         PGD/PGS testing must be completed (genetic testing that shows results of chromosomal disorders)

·         Since PGD/PGS testing is complete the parents will rely on the results and not request any additional post transfer testing (no testing while I’m pregnant)

·         Termination cannot be requested after the 1st Trimester (Surrogacy contracts must allow for the parents to request an abortion by law.  But my contract can say that I will refuse to abort like it does now and pay all the fees)

Nice To Haves

·         Use Dr. L for the fertility Doctor (He and his staff are awesome and it’s close to work)

·         If twin pregnancy provide lost income for days missed from work for being sick/nauseous

·         Starting at 20 weeks an increased reimbursement for housecleaning (scrubbing tubs is HARD to do with a belly in the way)

·         If Doctor’s appointments can’t be scheduled (due to Doctor availability and not my fault) so that I am missing only 2hours of work than anything over 2 hours will be paid for

What To Keep (what’s there already I want again)

·         Normal Pregnancy restrictions (no caffeine/seafood/alcohol)

·         No invasive procedure without dual doctor request (my OB and Fertility Doctor think necessary – this includes an amnio)

·         I will not be asked to do a “Reduction” (removing 1+ babies to reduce the number of babies – ie there are 2 and they only want to keep 1)

 

I’m sure there is more, but that’s all I can think of for now.  This is more just a list for myself.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Only Reason For Birthdays is Food

In 3 days I will be 29 years old or “almost 30” which is much easier to remember than my actual age.  Honestly, I have to think of how old Justin is and then subtract to remember my age. 

One of my favorite parts of birthday week/month for me is all the free food!  I love food.
·         I get emails from all the bazillion of restaurants I’ve signed up for offering a free appetizer, or free shake, or free dessert, or free meal.  Amazing.

·         I get taken to lunch by friends

·         I get taken to dinner by family

·         I get baked things and brought food

AMAZING!
The saddest part about this time is all the delicious offers I cannot partake in since I have baby growing.  That “no seafood” rule is cramping my food eating experience.
So as I look at this delicious offer from Joe’s Crab Shack I just get sad (because Crab is one of my new favorite things in life – “new” because I hated it until like 5 years ago until Neya helped show me the light.  Thank you Neya.  My life was incomplete for 24 years.  This is a really long parenthesis note).
No crab for me.  Sad…sad…day.
But at least this week I will be enjoying Greek Food, GBurger OR Pieology (yet to be decided), Steak, and Stuffed Shell Manicotti.   All of which are also delicious.
And now for some odd reason I am craving artichoke (yet again) and some grilled hibachi zucchini – neither of which are related to any of the above reference food.
Mmmmm food.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Moment To Reflect On The Hard Stuff

I have had several conversations in the last few months that a year ago I wouldn’t have imagined.  I realize as the due date approaches ever so slowly that I’ll have a choice to make in a few months.

Will you do it again?
I have time (we have time – Justin will obviously be part of this conversation) to make that choice.  But none-the-less it’s still waiting for me.
Going into this Justin and I hoped to do it 2-3 times so we could save up to put a down-payment on a house. Along the way there have been some “struggles” that I am glad have been captured in this blog (well mostly). 
So it will come down to the question… was it worth it?
I’m not answering that question now – there is no way I can anticipate what the next few months will be like, but I wanted to make sure I reminded myself of the “struggles” so I can make an informed decision later.
So what do I NOT want to forget?

·         Painful, throbbing injections on occasion


·         Cramping and Bleeding when losing one of the babies


·         Headaches, backaches, leg cramps, tiredness, heartburn – the normal stuff

·         Missed work (not fair to my co-workers)
My assumption is my last 18 weeks and 2 days “ish” will be much easier than what has passed.  And despite all of this I do have an overwhelming excitement brewing.  I seriously cannot describe this anticipation of seeing this man and woman become a mommy and daddy as they get to see and hold their baby for the first time.  I get to be part of that.  HOW AMAZING IS THAT!?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Baby Step 3 (A) - CHECK


Despite the small wiggle room we’ve had lately because of the surrogacy Justin and I have still been budgeting tight and spending like we were when we started this process of getting out of debt 8 years ago.
That means we still don’t eat out a lot, we buy stuff on sale, we don’t buy nice shiny new things, we don’t buy ANYTHING with credit that is not paid in full each month.
This means we eat cheap meals at home, we don’t see all the new movies, we deal with minor broken things in our lives that we can live without (even if maybe we don’t want to).
What does this mean? It means that we have now finished baby step #3 in Dave Ramsey’s process!!!  We now have a full funded emergency fund!
It means that about 8 years ago we made our first emergency fund and scraped to get $1,000 in it.  It means that in April 2013 (almost exactly a year ago today) we paid off our final loan and became debt free!  It means that as of today we have 6 months of vital living expenses in our emergency fund.
Now “Vital Living Expenses” means that if we need to dip into this fund for an emergency we WILL stop all the un-essential things like cable, extra driving, any eating out at all, etc.  Or as Dave Ramsey calls it…we will stop spending on anything that is not one of the 4 walls (house, food, utilities, and insurance).
So what’s next? The invisible step 3 B.  The place where we start saving then buying a house.  This will be the LONGEST step I think to complete.  Dave’s rule is to put enough down on a house that your mortgage payment is only 25% of your income.  And since we live in CA and our income is still pretty stinking low (but still factoring in that our income should go up a little each year until we buy a house) we’re looking at needing at least $200,000+ down payment…. So we have a quite a way to go.
 
In the meantime though we will continue to live life on a tight budget and throw every extra penny into our now existing “Home Fund”.   So if we tell you we can’t go to that movie with you or that we can’t go to dinner at that restaurant with you just realize this is why.  That we are making those not fun choices now so our future is so much better.
And we’d be happy to have you over for dinner instead anytime!
For more info I highly suggest Dave Ramsey’s Financial PeaceUniversity – a lot of churches offer the program for a low cost or free so find one and GO! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Little Mango


The wee one is the size of a mango! She’s almost reached the not “little” phase in my mind.  I feel her moving and squirming constantly and I’m peeing about 500 times a day.  Awesome.

I met with the OB today and everything looks good.  I’m anemic, but as far as “normal” for me I’m actually doing really well.  So just tired, very, very tired.

I’ve also gained a total of 9 pounds (WOOT)!  I might just break my record this pregnancy.  Previously the most I gained was 20 pounds and the doctor says I’ll be gaining about a pound a week from here on out (unlikely) but if I can a 2-3 pounds a month I’ll break my record at least. 

I’d like to point out I’ve actually gained 14 pounds, but I lost 5 during the first trimester from being so sick so I had to get that 5 back before I started counting how much I actually gained.

I’m glad all the big testing is done (just glucose next month) and now it’s time to just count down the days until her mommy and daddy get to hold her.  I’m SO excited for that day.  I’m SO excited to be part of that day for them.

And with that…there’s really nothing fun or interesting to report so here’s a couple of pictures and you can no go about your day.