This is Three

Ugh!  Is it spring yet!? The calendar says yes, but if I look outside, I’m reminded it’s not all butterflies and green grass just yet…

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I picked the right year to move up from Boston – they got slammed with snowstorms and sooo much snow this winter, but man is it really dragging on up here.  We still have snow on the ground, it even snowed this morning.  There are brief glimpses of spring though… birds chirping in the morning, muddy rutted dirt roads, and with spring comes celebrating Avery’s halfway thru his third year.

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(Ice skating at the town common)

I still catch myself calling him a toddler sometimes, and other times I wonder what happened in the blink of an eye – when you’re a parent, time seems to drag on during those tantrums and fits of fussiness and crying, but when they start doing circles around you, you wonder when that happened and actually wish they were tiny again and you could cradle them in your arms.  He’s not a baby, or a toddler, he’s a kid.  He’s in (pre)school, he has friends (real ones, not just the kids of his Mom’s friends), and he’s growing into his own person.

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(homemade donuts – Avery approves!)

Oh how I wish I could just swaddle him up and rock him to sleep again, but man is this a fun age.  You’d think by now we’d run out of ‘firsts’ but now that he’s older, he can and wants to do new things… he loves baking cookies with me, or prepping a salad for dinner.  We even trust him bringing plates (one at a time!) to the dining room to set the table for dinner.  He’s such a big boy!

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(Celebrating Grampy & Uncle Todd’s Birthdays-Avery picked out the pink cupcakes)

Dinner is still one of our favorite times as a family.  I remember back when most the pictures I took of him were of him in his highchair, because otherwise he was crawling around and I couldn’t get a shot that wasn’t blurry!  Now Avery sits in his own chair, and complains about the food on his plate.  We ‘Talk about our days’ as Avery calls it, every night at dinner.  I can’t even ask him how his day was at school because he says its not dinner time yet.  At the table, Avery goes around asking about our days.

 “How’s your Day, Mimi?”

“Mimi had a good day at school.  Guess what I did today?”

“More MATH?!”

Avery always asks with a big smile and silly face.  For a while, every night Avery would tell us he had gone to Parc Safari that day (We went last September).  He’s still working on the concepts of ‘today’ ‘tomorrow’, etc. but man is it cute to hear him ramble on….

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(Weekend fun shopping with Grampy, making cheerio necklaces and cookies!)

And does he ever ramble!  Avery talks and talks and talks.  It’s pretty hard to get a word in these days, especially if he’s throwing a fit.  Yes, life with a three year old is not all fun and games.  When he was a baby, it was all about eat, sleep, diaper changes – just keeping him alive and growing was the goal!  Then he became a toddler and it was about colors, and numbers, and making sure he’s talking and walking.

Now that he’s growing into a little boy, a kid, it’s about parenting, teaching him right from wrong and guiding him to become a little gentleman.  So, when he refuses to take off his boots himself and flops on the floor like a runner after a marathon, or when he chucks a dinosaur at me while I’m driving down the highway during a 4-hour car ride, or when he refuses to eat corn off the cobb, because corn on the cobb is delious, but off the cobb it becomes enemy number one, well, that’s when parenting kicks in.

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(Baths are still one of Avery’s favorite parts of the day)

Avery is Avery.  He wants what he wants, when he wants it.  He knows what he likes and wants and doesn’t like and doesn’t want, and man does he vocalize it.  He tries to negotiate…

“Avery you have five more minutes of the movie, then it’s bedtime”,

“10 more minutes?!”,

“No, Avery 5.”

“Three?”

“OK Three” :)

I didn’t say he was good at it.

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(We love making new train tracks – Avery’s favorite train is Percy)

Oh and when he doesn’t get his way, he puts his foot down, or throws something, haha.  He is stubborn and defiant, and at times has quite a temper.  And although he tells me he loves me many times a day, oh so many times he’s glared at me and told me “I no like you” or, “you made me cry, Mommy!”, and man does he know how to tug on those heart strings.  I hate seeing him upset and especially cry, but teaching him lessons is part of parenting, and I know it’ll be worth it in the long run.

Like when he’s giving me a hard time putting his winter clothes on to go home from school and he kicks me and gives me a disgusted look.  Well, then he loses his jelly bean treat (We stop and get Mike and Ikes at the hardware store nextdoor most days, if he has a good day).  And man does he throw a fit, and the tears, oh the tears, and wailing – the whole sha-bang.  But if there is one thing I’ve gained over the past three and a half years, for some many reasons other than just being a parent, is patience, and staying calm and collected.  I hooked Avery into his carseat, tears streaming down his face, and sat with him for a few minutes talking about jelly beans being a reward, and how kicking was not nice, and he knew he did something wrong and he looked so dissapointed in himself – he knew the conversation was coming to a close and said sorry before I asked him to, and know what he did?  He pulled my head in and asked to give me a kiss.  Parenting is hard work, but soooo worth moments like that, that give me clarify that I’m raising a fine little man!

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(Avery loves trying to play board games like Scrabble and Yahtzee with MiMi and I)

And now, onto the fun stuff!  Avery has always been go go go!  He’s always been on the move and wants to try everything.  We’ve been ice skating, snow shoeing, sledding, and have kept busy inside this winter, all in hopes of curing our cabin fever.  The latest fun activities Avery has been thrilled with… a box, some sticks, and a ball of yarn.

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So, we visit my grandparents every Monday, and there was a ball of yarn on the coffee table, for Gram’s cat, Missy.  Avery took it upon himself to make this yarn into a game, and proceeded to tie all the furniture up and before we knew it, the living room had become a giant cat’s cradle!  So, we gave Avery a ball of yarn at home and he sure keeps busy!

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Grampy had some scrap wood, so he made a set of sticks for Avery that he stacks and makes houses with, so much fun!

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Grampy came home with this gem (little kid or big box?) and Avery has since made it home, and shared it with friends.

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I’m not surprised that his two favorite things right now are not actual toys and were free – he used to love playing in cupboards with tupperware.  But he still does love his toys… trains and cars mostly.  He does like to color and do art projects.  Our latest project is making a piniata for Easter!

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Avery kept asking when he could smash it, haha.  We are having family over for the holiday and he’s been told, and tells others when he shows off the piniata, that he can ‘smash it’ when his friends come over.

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Avery is becoming his own person.  He has likes and dislikes (strawberries, yum.  green beans, oh no!). He has an opinion about everything, and he is such a sponge.  He doesn’t forget anything, and the questions have started – Yesterday he asked me “Why is it raining Mommy?’  Now how far do I go with that for a toddler?  Just tell him it’s coming from the sky or explain precipitation and weather…. oh man I have to brush up on my 3rd grade science and weather unit from 1995!

We get to do so many fun things together tho that expands his knowledge of the world around him.  Just last week, he and Grampy planted flowers and veggies and he is sooo proud that they are growing now and waters them.

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At three and a half, Avery is amazing.  He always surprises me, makes me laugh, smile, and yes, at times I feel like throwing my hands in the air and giving up, but that only lasts a few seconds – every parent needs a time out for themselves for moments like those (Like when he’s called “Mom, Mommy, Mooooom, Momma!” so many times!

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(Riding back from Boston, MiMi’s driving, and Avery sound asleep – so sweet when they are sleeping!)

My favorite thing I want to remember about him being three right now is saying good night and I love you.  After his bath and pjs are on and teeth are brushed, he tells everyone good night.  Avery says ‘I love you’ and Mimi started telling him ‘I love you more’ back, and then it became ‘ten more’, and ‘100 more.  Now when Avery goes to bed, we wait in anticipation to hear what his response would be.  It’s always so darn cute and the other night my Mom and I were laughing so hard that I had to write it down, so here are a couple from the past few days

“Good Night, Avery.  I love you”….

“I love you one hundred miles ago!”

“I love you one hundred and a half!”

Now I’m off to Friday Night Pizza and a Movie, and I’m sure I’ll have much more to share in the coming months from my growing little wonder :)

<3 Meghan

FINISHED!!!

Eh, you know, just another typical Tuesday…

NAVIENT (previously Sallie Mae)

student loans paid off navient

VSAC
student loans paid off vsac

Yep, read um and weap (heck, I practically cried)…

 All of my student loans are PAID OFF!

That’s right, $42,000 in 30 months.  Finally Finished! And six months ahead of my goal date too!

I know, I know, I just posted two weeks ago about being on the home stretch and my plan to pay off my loans by the end of this month.  I blew my plan from my last update out of the water and knocked them off in a couple weeks, thanks to diligently putting $500 a week towards loans the past 3 weeks, and a nice big bonus check (bigger than expected).  Yay!

So, let’s take one last look at the numbers…

30 Month Progress

  • Starting Debt: $41,868.53 (Nov  ’12)
  • Debt Today: $0
  • Total Debt Paid Off: $41,868.53

And my pretty graph is finally finished and man, does it look good to see that blue line hit the bottom!

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Blue: remaining student loan debt Red: goal

I am putting my giant spreadsheet to rest…

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Crazy to think I paid off so much debt, in so little time!  Well, it seems like a short time now that it’s over.  In the midst of it, there were times I felt like I was treading water, or like I was barely making a dent some months.  But as they say, good things come to those who wait work their butts off!  Months of working 6 days a week, nights of working 4 hours after Avery was asleep, coupon cutting, DIY’ing, and watching every penny I spent – all paid off!

It was sooo worth it, too.  Because now I get to start on my next financial project…. saving for a house!  This challenge won’t be as long, because Uncle John and I talked about buying his place this coming fall, so maybe 6 months?  I’ll share soon.

So, all my loans were officially paid off on Friday, so before I buckled down again, we had a fun weekend celebrating….

Friday Night, Avery and I went to my cousin Joseph’s Irish Heritage Celebration to raise money for their 6th grade class trip to Montreal this spring (I’m chaperoning!).  I made festive cookies for the bake sale; IMG_5598

Sugar cookies with green food coloring, dipped in chocolate with green sprinkles!IMG_5599

We arrived a little early and played in the car.  Avery was very excited!IMG_5601

Avery had dinner I packed him in the car, so when we got there, he bought one of the cookies I brought.IMG_5602

Nana and Papa were there, so we sat with them and Aunt Sheri joined us.  I bought two tickets for this awesome raffle they are having.  For $20 each, we entered into the drawing for a trip for two to Ireland!

There was live music and irish dancers, and Avery had fun clapping after every song and sitting with Joseph in the front row.IMG_5605

Papa and I had some yummy stew and potato soup while Avery had a hot dog, and we finished off the night with cupcakes!IMG_5608

On Saturday, I treated Avery, Mimi, and Grampy to GoKart Racing, Bumper Cars, and Video games at this new place near us.  We goofed off in the car…IMG_5610IMG_5611IMG_5612

Avery rode with Grampy in the go karts, and Avery was big enough to drive the bumper cars by himself!  He thought the spinning around was the best!  We played air hockey, and racing video games, and walked out with a bag of popcorn.IMG_5615

Avery walked in and out saying ‘This is awesome’  ‘This is cool!’  So I think it was a success!

That night, Steve and I celebrated with homemade fried pickles, a bottle of champagne and a bottle of wine… our second two bottle night ever, haha.IMG_5617

And now it’s time to buckle down again and SAVE!

Oh, and happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Avery wore EVERYTHING Green today and Mom and I are wearing our shamrock earrings :)

<3 Meghan

Sun and Fun

I love Vermont, and how we get to experience all 5 seasons (for you flatlanders, the 5th is mud season), but man, this winter has been tough!  It’s been below freezing for two months straight, which means we can’t go outside for too long and add in the fact that I work from home, so I rarely get out – well it has caused some serious cabin fever.  It’s March, a week away from the first day of spring and this is what it looks like outside…

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So you can imagine how thrilled we were when we left that snowy wonderland behind us for the warm west coast! So on a wintery wednesday, I spent the morning packing a bag with short sleeve shirts, capris, and sunglasses (later dubbed ‘Averyators’, thanks to Robin).

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So that afternoon, we spent our first hour (of many for this vaca) in an airport headed for warmer climates…

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Since we flew out of VT, it’s a small airport and we had to transfer, so two flights, and a couple zzz’s later…

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(we flew over Vegas on our way… a little foreshadowing…)IMG_5396

We were in the sunny OC!

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Avery stayed back with MiMi and Grampy while Steve and I (who have been planning this for mooooonths and talking about it since the summer, before we were dating) visited our friends from high school, Robin and Nate.  Now let’s preface this big reunion vacation with a little backstory…

Robin, Steve, and I went to elementary school together.  Robin and I were the bestest of friends – my family practically adopted her.  She went camping with us when we vacationed.  Her pet rabbit lived with my rabbit at my house.  She ‘taught’ me how to ski. She called my Dad ‘Chef Boyardee.” Good times.  (Oh and maybe this is a good time to mention Steve and I went to before/after school daycare together where he sneakily stole my first kiss!!! But he broke up with me on the school bus – a bunch of times, so needless to say, that didn’t last long)

When Robin went to a different high school than Steve and I, we kept in touch, but then I met Nate (he had gone to a elem school in another town)… why or how Nate and I became close friends is beyond me.  But when Robin transfered to our highschool, I introduced her to Nate.  They fell in love, and after graduation, moved to California.  So essentially, I lost both of my best friends.  We all lost touch over the years.

Fast forward ten years, Robin and Nate (finally) got married last summer – in Vermont.  So to my surprise, Steve was there too.  We hit it off and started Friday Night Wine Nights together – so all summer we caught up (and tried some good and bad wines), and what do you know, we eventually fell for each other(Awe).  It was only fitting that Robin and Nate repaid the favor I did them 10 years ago :-P

Soooo ever since their wedding, we had been playing around with the idea to visit them.  And so, we did.  We booked the flights and flew out there with no agenda… no plans whatsoever.

We stayed with Robin and Nate’s in their adorable house…

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We met their two pets, who Avery was more interested to see when I face timed with him than me.  Abby:

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And Kunta.

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We had four fun-filled days with them.  Some of the highlights…

Fried Pickles!  After hours and hours on planes and in airports, Nate and Robin picked us up late Wednesday night and we went to dinner and introduced them to our fave app.

Drag Racing Nate’s New Car! After meanduring around a mall for the afternoon, the men endulged in some racing fun.

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We look so happy in this pic… at this point we didn’t know we’d be stuck in the car for 6 hours days later.

Nate and Steve found this place with a drag strip where you can race your own cars.  They signed their life away and Robin and I watched from the stands as they tried to beat other cars.

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Laguna Beach!

We rode down to the beach in Nate’s fancy smancy Camero.IMG_5405

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We walked around and checked out a few stores (I got and sent two post cards to Avery and my Grandma), then walked the sandy beach.IMG_5406

We sooo lucked out with weather.  It was litterally 90 degrees warmer than in was in VT.  70s in Cali and -20 to -30 in VT.IMG_5413

To say we were happy was an understatement.

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We were in loooove.IMG_5416IMG_5419

We picked some seashells for Avery (he loved them and brought them to school to show off)

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The water was cold, but bearable.  I mean, common, we spent hours at the beach in February!!

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Awe.  Aren’t the newlyweds too cute! (Nate was actually trying to push her in…)IMG_5426

We loved it so much, we thought we would just stay and buy this fixer upper…

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We washed up and had some drinks and food right on the beach.IMG_5439IMG_5445

When we got back to their place, we were raring to go out to the Lakers game that night….IMG_5447

Lakers Game!

Before heading to the game, we visited my second cousin Kellee and her two kiddos and two dogs.  She’s the daughter-in law of my Uncle John, the one I’m buying the house from.  It was so nice to finally meet her in person!  Then it was off to fight traffic on the way to  LA.

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Robin and Nate had got us all tickets to the game that night, and not just any tickets…IMG_5458

Yep, we were THAT close.IMG_5460

mandatory ‘We’re Sitting THIS Close” photo to prove it.IMG_5461

We had drinks and prezels and smoozed with Denzel and Mark Walberg. (no, really, they were there!)

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And we even made it on the big screen!!!  I was waving and smiling and Steve was like what?

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The game was very close and exciting.  I’ve been to Celtics games, and even sat in box seats thanks to my company, but these seats… amazing!!!IMG_5466

Oh and on our long ride into LA for the game, we decided, hey, we don’t have plans for the weekend, so let’s go to Vegas.  And…. we did.

Vegas!

6am the next morning, we were on the road headed to Sin City!IMG_5468

Steve had never been, the rest of us had, so we were on a mission to show Steve what Vegas was all about.  The ride was just over 4 hours… lots of nothing to look at on the way….

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A random pitstop along the way…

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We arrived, and stayed at the Aria, one of the new hotels.  I wanted to stay at Treasure Island, but they had been booked – can’t blame them, we booked a hotel the day before going!

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So smansy, we walked into the hotel room and the window curtain opened up and music turned on… we weren’t in Kansas Vermont anymore!IMG_5483

We went exploring on the strip, and our first stop was the M&M store!

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I got Avery these M&Ms, personalized with his name (he was thrilled when I brought them home)

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“Oh hey, we’re in Vegas” selfie with New York New York behind us.IMG_5480

After lots of exploring, we sat down for some food on the strip.IMG_5482

After some napping and slot machine fun (not! we lost $11 and called it a night), we headed off to Fremont Street.IMG_5488

So many lights… and so many people!

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Nate and Steve did the Zip Line…

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Then it was back to the strip to visit the Bellagio fountains and atrium.IMG_5493IMG_5494

And then we did what any kid-free couple does late at night while in Vegas…. we grabbed some food, a six-pack, and headed back to our hotel room.IMG_5505

I think my fave part of the trip, other than all the laughing between all four of us all vaca, was relaxing in bed the next morning… ahh sleeping in is sooooo nice.

Before we headed out, we endulged in some more candy and chocolate….IMG_5506IMG_5507

Then began our 24 hour journey home.  We drove back to the OC, which took forever!  We were tired and sick of sitting before we even got to the airport.  Demonstration… Left, on the way TO Vegas.  Right, on the way BACK from Vegas.IMG_5511

Other than oodles of traffic, we saw a fun road sign.  IMG_5512

And it didn’t rain allll vacation, until we got in that car to drive back.  Good timing.

Our flight back to Newark was delayed a little bit, then 4 hours later in Newark (now morning on the east coast), we had a 6 hour layover thanks to a delayed plane.IMG_5514

When we were on the final plane ride home, we were a bit excited… and tired!IMG_5515

We finally got into VT 24 hours after we had left Vegas.  We only had a few hours of sleep while on the planes (I cannot sleep on planes) and it took us the next week to catch up on sleep I think.  I was excited to see Avery when we got in though.  MiMi had kept him home from preschool so he could meet us at the airport – he ran up to me and told me about the planes he was watching and he wouldn’t let me go.  Such a fun vacation, but we will be VERY happy if we don’t see an airport for a while… good thing our next visit with Robin and Nate will be here in Vermont after we buy the new house this fall!

<3 Meghan

The Home Stretch

Not only am I refreshed, back from a week vacation on the other side of the states where there was no snow and lots of sun (pictures and recap coming soon!), but I am also especially chipper today because I am…….. wait for it……… less than $5,000 away from paying off my student loans.  Can you say, “Happy Tuesday?!”

28 Month Progress

  • Starting Debt: $41,868.53 (Nov  ’12)
  • Debt Today: $4,976.94
  • Total Debt Paid Off: $36,891.59

Yeah, that looks more like it.  Last month was a total flop because my snail mail payments took forever to process, so it all rolled over into this month – and a good month it was!!!

February Review

  • Starting Balance: $10,347.06
  • End Balance:  $4,976.94
  • Payments Made: $5,390.35
  • Interest Paid: $18.71
  • Principle Paid: $5,371.64

I chopped my debt in half this past month by paying off two loans and taking a chunk out of the next one on my list, which catches me up to my plan set out months ago to get these paid off in May.  How’d I get all the $ this past month?  Well, like I said, those two payments to pay off loans were caught up in the mail, then my usual $1800 a month, plus a few hundred more because we had overtime offered at work and I snagged it up, working late (8pm-12am) after Avery was in bed a couple nights a week for two weeks.  Sooo paid off!

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However, we have a little change in plans (It’s a good one, so no worries!).  Correction, a BIG CHANGE: My bonus from work (yearly bonus based on company/personal performance) from last year is coming this month and is almost double what I anticipated (because we did awesome this past year), so I updated my plan to a weekly schedule:

Loan Pay Off Plan

  • January February: Pay Off Loan C 
  • February: Pay Off Loan B
  • March: Pay Off Loan A ($2403)
    • -$500 3/3 (from usual paycheck)
    • -$500 3/11 (from usual paycheck)
    • -$1403 3/18 (from work bonus)
    • PAID OFF BY 3/20
  • April March: Pay Off Loan 1-04 ($1470)
    • -$1470 3/18 (from work bonus)
    • PAID OFF BY 3/20
  • May March: Pay off Loan 1-03 ($1103)
    • -$900 3/18 (from work bonus)
    • -$203 3/25 (from usual paycheck)
    • PAID OFF BY 3/27

Yep, if all goes as planned (since I’m making the payments online and no snail mail anymore to slow it down), I’ll have paid off my student loans completely by the end of this month.  Months earlier than anticipated from my target date of my 30th birthday, set out over 2 years ago.  So as pretty as this chart has been looking… that blue line will hit the bottom in a matter of weeks!

CaptureRed = goal, Blue = loans remaining to be paid

So, since I’m soooo close to being DONE, I’ll be documenting my last couple weeks very closely, so expect a long report in a month… and if it wasn’t so cold out, I’d have a bon fire to burn all my student loan papers.  Either way, I’m sure there will be lots of celebrating going on… JUST ONE MONTH TO GO!!!

Then it’s on to my next adventure… saving $ for our very own House!!!  Since I’m smashing this goal, maybe I’ll set my new goal to be in our new house by my 30th birthday??? ;)  I can dream….

<3 Meghan

Check out my About Meghan page for more posts on finances and paying off my student loans.

This post brought to you by jet lag from a fantastic vacation – I couldn’t fall asleep last night, so I wrote this up… more pics to come soon!

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Can You Feel the Love

Can you feel the love (tonight)?  Avery’s been watching Lion King way too much if I’m quoting songs from it for blog posts!  Can’t lie, I have fun singing along to all the movie’s songs, cuz knowing all the words after not seeing it for 20 years is pretty awesome.  Hakuna matata!

We sure felt the love this weekend for Valentines Day.  As with any holiday, we prepped goodies during the week beforehand.  Avery played with scissors, glue, glitter, stamps and markers to make homemade valentine cards for Aunt Sarah, Grampy, and Great Grandma and Grandpa.  For Mimi, Avery painted noodles and made her a necklace!
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Avery’s school had a Valentines party on Friday, so I scoured Pinterest for ideas.  I really wanted a Valentine that didn’t have candy (because I knew there would be lots of candy, which kids love, but I’m sure they won’t need more of after a candy filled party!) so I found one with cars – perfect for my car loving kiddo. The example online had a cheap little dollar store car, so I splurged and got real hot wheel cars that the kiddos would actually keep and use for a long time.  I used the paint program on my computer and printed the simple cards.IMG_5200

Some cutting and taping, and a few minutes later, I had this!IMG_5201

And a lot of more minutes later I had all these!IMG_5202

Avery was soooo excited when he saw them.  And when we brought them to school, I put them in a bag and he demanded to carry it and stopped and showed everyone his valentines as we walked to his classroom.  As kids came in, he kept asking if they wanted to see his Valentines.  It was adorable.  I had to put them away for the party later otherwise he would have handed them out right then and there!

That night, Avery came home with a goodie bag of all the Valentines from school.  He dumped it out on the floor and spread them out to show us.IMG_5242

He also took Mimi’s out from school and checked those out too.  He was most excited about the lolli pops – still one of his favorite candies.

Saturday morning, we opened Valentines gifts.  Avery got a box of chocolates and a fun card from MiMi and Grampy with a Lightning McQueen bracelet.IMG_5247

Grampy also got him a bunch more finger lights (Avery got a set of these for Xmass and loved them!) so we had fun turning off the lights and playing with these yesterday!IMG_5259

And then Avery opened his gift from me while Grampy opened his gift from Mimi…

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We had a theme….

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And of coarse the shot is blurry!  Grampy got blades for his razor, and Avery got a shaving kit!

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Avery got a car like his friends at school, candy for his Pez, and some jelly beans of coarse :)  Mimi got a massager from Grampy and we tested it out!

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Avery got me a card that said ‘I love you’ and two new books for story time at night.  Then we were off for a fun filled morning at ECHO!  It’s been freeezzing here, so since we haven’t been able to go outside, we had some fun at the aquarium inside.

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We saw turtles, fish, star fish and frogs!

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Avery had fun in the games exhibit too.IMG_5266

That night we had a yummy family dinner together and before bath, Avery and Grampy shaved together…IMG_5268IMG_5270IMG_5271IMG_5272

I made a batch of heart cookies for Steve and he brought me the most beautiful bouquet!

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Happy Valentines!

<3 Meghan

May or Bust!

Okay, January was a total let down.  I underestimated the powers of VSAC and made absolutely NO progress last month in the race to pay off these student loans. Dissapointed?  Yeah, me too.  I’ll explain.  First, the lame numbers…

27 Month Progress

  • Starting Debt: $41,868.53 (Nov  ’12)
  • Debt Today: $10,347.06
  • Total Debt Paid Off: $31,521.47

If you look back to last month’s numbers, you’ll see I barely made a dent.

January Review

  • Starting Balance: $10,408.41
  • End Balance:  $10,347.06
  • Payments Made: $90.35
  • Interest Paid: $29.15
  • Principle Paid: $61.20

I know… seriously sad, sad, sad numbers.  And it looks even worse when put on the graph…

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Red = goal, Blue = loans remaining to be paid

Of the past 2-1/2 years, this is my worst month to date.  Not good timing, seeing as I’m only 5 months away from my goal date!  So why did I fall off the wagon?  Well, this month, the goal was to pay off the next loan on my list, a mere $1800 one too.  Well, this is the first of the VSAC loans I’ve paid off, and it isn’t setup the same as Sallie Mae (now Navient) online.  When I paid off other loans with Sallie Mae (all those pretty crossed off ones), I could pay them online (I make all my payments for everything online) thru their website and it asks you which loan you’d like the extra payment to go towards.  Easy peasy.

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VSAC on the other hand, just allows you to pick an amount to pay, and they dispurse it among the loans.  So, I wrote up a letter and a check, explaining which loan I’d like the $ to go towards. Being conscious about what $ I had in the bank, I didn’t send the check until later in the month, guaranteeing the $ would be in there within a day or two, when the letter would probably arrive at VSAC.  And I only made the minimum payments on loans in January, thinking I was using all my money to pay off this loan.  Hence, the itty bitty numbers this month, boo! Three weeks later (today), the payment finally cleared on their website.

In the meantime, I filed my taxes.  I was hoping for at least $3k, and getting the refund by March, and that’s how I planned to pay off the big $4k loan I have coming up on the list.  Luckily for me, my federal refund came quickly(the biggest of the three – yes, three.  Since I worked in Mass & VT this year, I had to file with both states… we won’t get into that mess tho!).  So, even before that first check cleared, I sent another $2k check to pay off the ‘February loan.’ So, technically, I’m not behind at all.  Just held up a little bit.  Oh and since I sent that check a week ago, it sure as heck better clear before March!

Loan Pay Off Plan

  • January February: Pay Off Loan C (payment cleared today!)
  • February: Pay Off Loan B (payment sent last week)
  • March: Pay Off Loan A (Work Bonus & State Tax returns & usual $1800/mo)
  • April: Pay Off Loan 1-04 (usual $1800/mo)
  • May: Pay off Loan 1-03 (usual $1800/mo)

So, although January was a dud, it’s only mid February and I’ve already sent out the check for paying off the loans for this month, which catches me up to my goal of paying off one loan a month til May.  Now, I just save up until I have the whopping $4k for March’s big loan pay off. I can usually save up to $1800 a month, plus I have my work bonus and state tax returns coming to me, so shouldn’t be a problem at all!

I’m way to optimistic for such a lame report.. :-P I bet if I keep $ tight, I might get those two last pesky ones paid off before the end of May!  I am soooo ready for these loans to be gone, so I can start hoarding money away for a down payment… house, here we come!!  Hopefully in 7-8 months, I’ll be blogging from my very own office!!!  It’s sooo close now that i’m getting antsy to pay these off so you can imagine how frustrating this past month was for me, urgh!

I’ll be back in 2-3 weeks with a MUCH better update, and hopefully better reviews of VSAC’s payment processing… geesh!

<3 Meghan

Check out my About Meghan page for more posts on finances and paying off my student loans.

P.S. This blog post, on a Sunday, was brought to you by stickers, scissors, and markers – Avery kept quite occupied while I typed this up.  Oh and we had to resort to the iPad for the last portion because Avery tried working on Mommy’s computer while she went potty, so he had to use his computer for a little while too.  Now we’re off to go shoot Nerf guns at SOLO cups… woohoo!

Snow and Skates

Everyone enjoying the calm after the storm?  We got a whopping 10 inches yesterday, on top of the 4-5 we already had from the storm last week.  Oh and to top it off, it’s -18 today.  Burr!!

We’ve had serious cabin fever lately, so every chance we get, we get out of the house and do fun wintry stuff like playing in the snow yesterday…
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Avery and Mimi went out after lunch, and I went out with Avery after I finished work.Capture1

We shoveled a path around the house (for the dogs) to the sledding hill in the back.IMG_5158

Avery had gotten a white wash earlier when he went sledding with Mimi, so this time, we tried sledding backwards so he didn’t get any snow in the face!

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Avery shoveled the front porch, twice.IMG_5146

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Can you spot the yeti snowman in the background of all these pics?  We built him probably a month ago and he’s still standing strong, just looks a little oversnowed…IMG_5154

After Avery’s fun filled day with Mimi and two trips outside in the snow, he was one tired kiddo.  We had tacos for dinner, at 5pm, Avery’s favorite, and he was so quiet, took a few bites, and laid down on the bench and closed his eyes.  He was wiped out!
…and in other wintry adventures… we went Ice Skating!

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Our town puts up an ice skating rink in the town common every year (which means its free!), and I got some used skates for Avery a while ago, and being a frugal single mom, I got him a secondhand pair (for $6 – he’s gonna outgrow them in a year or two anyways)… but I got some crap for getting him white skates (they only had a black pair, and they were a size too big)…

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It’s been a super cold winter, so we kept waiting for a warm day to go, and it never came, so we went on a warmish, but windy day weeks ago.  Steve and I took Avery – we held his hands and did two loops around the rink and then he was sooo done with it.  It was way too cold.

So last weekend, it was finally warm out, so Grampy and I took Avery for round two.

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We started with milk crates.  The ice was pretty cut up, so it wasn’t too smooth to push the crates, but with a little help, we did a couple laps around.

Then Avery tried walking around – he didn’t want to hold our hands and just went off on his own.

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He was so confident and proud of himself and full of smiles…. oh and a such a trooper.  He fell a bunch, but got up every time!

And it wasn’t long before Avery saw the hockey players and asked for his hockey stick (He got hockey sticks from Michael Eyes and Aiden for his Birthday and we have been to two of his cousins hockey games this winter).  I didn’t bring it – it didn’t cross my mind he’d be needing it this soon!  So we used some broom ball sticks…

Next time, we’re bringing his hockey stick!

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We were at the rink for over an hour, and Avery did NOT want to leave, but he was tired and so ready to go, so we played with the crates a lil bit.IMG_5033IMG_5035

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And our adventure ended with a full on tantrum with me carrying Avery to the car because he did NOT want to leave!  We’ll be back out on the ice soon!

Now all we need is some wet snow, sticky snow, so we can build Great Grandma a snow man!

<3 Meghan