Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sixth Anniversary: Persistence is What Pays Off

It is hard to believe that a whole other year has passed. We are now the parents of three boys, a home owner for a year, owners of our crazy brood of animals (the cats, and Beatrice). It doesn't feel like this much of time has lapsed, but like we all have come to become very aware of: the busier you get, the  quicker life becomes. 

Our sixth wedding anniversary was celebrated with a new life entering into the world! Fox Edward Russ has arrived! His birth was healing for what had happened to our previous baby, even though a full closure have not quite happened yet. Our grief needed some more time in our lives to be processed, and accepted in order for a complete closure to occur, and we had not quite reached to that place yet. Nonetheless, with the healing that came with our rainbow baby, we have grown more appreciative, loving, and grateful for the lives that have touched us. 

The grief was also compounded by a passing of a wonderful friend who had long battled Breast Cancer. Never before have I been so personally impacted by someone with cancer until Brittany entered into our lives. 

Her illness, especially in her last few months, has made me realize that life is so fragile. I've always been a believer that what you put into the world will be returned double folded into your life. I've always tried to be a good person, to tell people I love them, and not to take life for granted. However, with Brittany's illness, it has made me realize how short life really is. Stu and I have not taken a real honeymoon after our wedding, and now I have realized that why should we wait until the perfect timing to do this? One day, life will pass us by, and we will still not have taken that trip together. I'm quite determined to start putting this in a plan before it is too late. Please do make sure you don't put things off until they are too late. If you have something to say, then say it. If you have always wanted to do something, then start planning for it! If you want a change, then start the change within yourself. Don't wait. 

While this might strike to some of you as bragging, I want to take my time to say this; I promise that this is not coming from the place of bragging, or by attempting to put others into a position to feel uncomfortable. I am writing about this, because it is a huge accomplishment for us, and I want to inspire others to achieve this accomplishment of their own! 

We have diligently stuck with our Dave Ramsey plan for budgeting for about a year. It has not been an easy feat, however, we stuck with our weekly budget meeting to discuss our spending, our debt buster, and where we were in term of money. We managed to pay off all of Stu's student loans, as well as several smaller debts! We  also crunched a huge number out of our van payments! In totality of how much we paid off was over 22 thousand dollars! Imagine that, all within a year, we have managed to pay off $22,500 worth of debt. What an accomplishment! 

We grew quite excited by the possibly that we will be able to pay off our van by next spring. It meant the only outstanding debt left we have will be our house! It was not always easy to stick with the budget, especially with so many wants in the world, and making some sacrifices to tackle on the debts we had. Fortunately, we never really had an issue when it came to talking about money, and being on the same page to complete our agenda. We persisted, persisted, and persisted along with communicating, and having a weekly budget meetings to stay on top of the spending we did for each month. And guess what? It. Paid. Off. It lifted a such heavy burden off our shoulders, and we were finally free from the shackles of worries. 

We are now aware how to spend wisely, be more comfortable with buying things, and knowing where our money is going to. For the first time since we have gotten married, we have saved a good amount of money for Christmas, and let me tell you; it is a great feeling to not have to stress about trying to come up with this or that to afford Christmas gifts (not that we never were able to in the past--it was just MORE stressful). We are also comfortable with the idea of being able to provide for our family for any crises that may come up down the road. 

The things we have been talking about, been wanting to do, and our hopes to see to be done can finally come to a fruition. We are planning on fixing up our backyard, to add raised boxed garden, put in a shed and a chicken coop for 4 hens for the near future! On top of this, it is also possible that we can start saving up for our honeymoon that we have wanted to take for so long. 

If we could do this, then YOU CAN DO THIS. I won't lie; it does take a lot of patience, sweat, and hard work as well as clear communication when it comes to spending, and saving. You will probably hit a wall, and start to slip back into old habits, especially when so much has been paid off. Don't. You have come this far!! 

Our boys have been doing really great. Forrest is quickly approaching his 5th birthday. Oh be still my heart. It is hard to believe that he will be 5! He will be enrolling in the same elementary school this fall into a LEADS program, which is a charter program designed for students to ask questions, and learn according to their pace, curiosity, and willingness to explore topics that are being discussed in the class. I predict a lot of dinosaur-related topics to be discussed this upcoming fall!

Frank is on the verge of being potty trained, and has expressed a great interest in taking action in attempting to poop on the toilet! I believe it is from watching Forrest doing his business, and wanting to mimic him. He has been working extremely hard with his speech therapist, Kim, in learning how to expand his vocabulary, and language development through early intervention program. He has testing boundaries by disliking the word, NO, and seeing what he can get away with!

With Fox joining our family, the older two boys have been adjusting beautifully to being a family of five. Forrest, and Franklin both love helping  out with Fox, and being big brothers. Bea, and the cats have also adjusted well to a life with three kids in the house! In time, I am sure Bea will find out what is the pay off (more food on the floor to clean up after)! With some normal adjustment bumps that the boys have with this new change, they have been doing extremely well, and we could not be any happier.

We have recently welcomed a new addition into our family, our niece Izzy this past December, and she has been a great joy to visit. I love seeing pictures of her, and seeing what is new with her. Izzy is such a sweet baby, and our boys are quite smitten by her. It is quite funny that Izzy is being mentioned, because for our 6th anniversary letter; it is penned by Izzy's own mother, Alex!

Don't worry, Alex, we have not opened this letter prior this year, and what a great message: with persistence, you will find happiness and joy. I can asset to this, especially with the majority of our debts paid off, a humbled lesson I've learned from the passing of Brittany, our boys' amazing strides in growth, the arrival of our new baby and our niece, Izabelle, surrounding ourselves in the love of our family, friends, and appreciating life.

I am looking forward to what our 6th year of marriage will bring to our lives.