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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year all! 2011 has been an awesome year for my family and I hope that 2012 is even better. We have had so many things happen this year that we are SO thankful for and some that we wish had not happened (don't we all have those days).

One thing that I am SO thankful for from 2011 is the weight loss my husband and I both experienced. The picture on the left was taken in June 2009 and the picture on the right was taken in Sept. 2011
My husband and I also accomplished an awesome goal in 2011, we participated in our first 5K! We did it in 47 minutes, but it was really like 42 minutes because when we passed the start clock at the beginning it was already on 5 minutes. 

 Another very important and exciting part of 2011 was a trip to California that my husband and I took. My husband was able to reconnect with his daughter (my step-daughter) after not seeing her for 11 years and we got to meet our granddaughters in person for the very first time. It has been such an awesome year and we are so thankful to have her in our lives again. Gary and I had an awesome trip. It was our first big trip together and our first trip without our kids and it was our first cross country trip. Lots of firsts! Below are a few pictures from our trip - The first one is the first morning we got to meet our precious grandbabies

Getting ready to go down into a gold mine

All of us at Yosemite!

2011 was a great year for our 23 year old daughter Ashley as well, this year we were so proud of her as she began her teaching career and as she and her boyfriend bought their first house together!

This is a picture of her classroom 
(yes that's me sitting in the background - I made the 2 hour drive south to help her set up her classroom) 

 This is her house all done up for Christmas

My oldest son Bobby had a great year as well, he passed the Criminal Justice Basic Abilities Test which is the entrance exam to the police academy. He is now on the waiting list and is hoping to enter into the academy in earl 2012. I am so proud of him and absolutely terrified at the same time. He will follow in the footsteps of his uncle (my brother) and his 2 cousins (my brother's sons) who are all law enforcement officers.

Our "baby" is 18 year old Garrett and, while 2011 has been a pretty good year for Garrett, he ended the year with a bang, literally. He was in a go-cart accident shortly after Thanksgiving and he injured both of his ankles (which required him to use compression boots and crutches),his left foot, his right knee, right leg, and had minor cuts, bumps, and bruises on his head. He lost control of the go-cart and hit the side of a parked truck. It was very scary but he is doing much better now. He still has to wear the compression boot for his left ankle/foot for a couple more weeks but considering the impact he took I am so thankful that he was not more seriously injured.

All in all 2011 has been an amazing year. My husband and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary, wished a Happy 27th, 23rd, 21st, and 18th birthdays to our kids. Our own relationship has grown stronger and stronger and, as the kids get older and it becomes just the 2 of us, we are rediscovering each other and falling in love all over again.  I am looking forward to 2012 and all that will bring. I pray that God continues to bless our family and protect us as we move along the path that He has set us upon.

Happy New Year to everyone and I pray that you are all blessed in 2012!
Happy New year from Cindy and Gary 
(Gotta love Florida in the winter)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Being at home is tough

The last 2 weeks of being at home has been rough on me. When I am at home I get bored and then I want to either eat or shop. Being a teacher I have 2 weeks off during the holidays and that makes it even more difficult because everyone is posting on Facebook and Twitter all about the sales they are finding and the treats they are baking. It is frustrating because I want to do what everyone else is doing but I can't, which in turn makes me want to do it more. I keep thinking about what Dave Ramsey says in his book "If you live like no one else now, you can live like no one else later"

This morning was a tough one, I woke up and checked my email (like always) and right there was a 70% off email for the Coach outlet ugghhhh all I could think about was how Gary had just gotten paid and how we have a little in savings so I could go and get a really cute purse. I kept hearing my mantra in the back of my head "the best way to avoid temptation is not to go out looking for it" so I threw away the coupon I had printed out and set myself to the fact that I have a nice purse and I don't need another one. I felt good about it.

I get so frustrated when it comes to money though, even when I am being good I feel like I can never get ahead. I get paid every two weeks and that is the paycheck we use to pay most of our bills so I don't expect there to be a lot left out of that one. My husband gets paid weekly and I feel like that one goes just as fast! I can not figure out how to cut our grocery bill and still eat healthy. My youngest son, who is 18 years old and a big guy, will eat whatever we have in the house so if I don't have healthy food and snacks in the house he will eat junk all day and he already has high blood pressure issues. I have been shopping at Aldi which has helped cut our grocery bill quite a bit but they don't have everything we need so I still have to go to Winn Dixie or Publix. Part of Dave Ramsey's plan that we are following is to save up $1000 as quickly as possible and I just don't see how I can do that when there is still so much going out each month. I have created a budget and I work hard to stick with the budget but with things like groceries or gas if we have to go over budget then we have to, we can't go without those things. I think I need to really look at our monthly and weekly spending and see where we can cut back. I'm sure if I look hard enough I can find some places to make some changes. I have to turn everything over to God and allow Him to have control of our finances. My mother used to say "Give it to God and don't be an Indian giver" I need to follow that advice now.

Avoiding Temptation

Hello all, my name is Cindy and I already have a teacher blog which is a lot of fun. So I decided to start a new blog. I have decided that this year, instead of new year's resolutions, that get forgotten about by February, I would choose a word that I want to emulate in my life and my choices this year. The word I chose was DILIGENCE. I want to be diligent in meeting my goals for 2012. Since I am the type of person who needs to write things out and see them in print to work through things I decided to create a 2nd blog where I can blog about my successes and setbacks as I go through 2012 and work to be diligent in meeting my goals.

This blog will be used, like the title states, to avoid temptation, celebrate successes, and work through setbacks (I'm a realist I know there will be set backs - Murphy's law exists). I have been working hard to improve several areas of my life. Recently my main focus has been on weight and finances.

My husband, Gary, and I began Weight Watchers in March of 2011 and we have been very successful. I have lost a total of 30 pounds I went from a size 14 to a size 4/6! Gary has lost almost 80 pounds and went from a size 42 to a size 34/36! I am so proud of him and myself but now comes the hard part - maintaining my current weight and the weight loss along with supporting Gary as he continues to lose his last 15-20 pounds to reach his goal weight.

The other area that I have been really focusing on is our finances. I have been starting with Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. This book outlines "baby steps" to get out of debt which entails paying off and cancelling credit cards which is just fine with me. We are working on Baby Step 1 and 2 at the same time. Baby Step 1 is getting $1000 into savings and Baby Step #2 is called the Debt Snowball. So using this method we have paid off 5 of our little cards. The hardest thing for me is I am a purse, clothes, and shoe junky so it is SOOO hard for me to not go shopping. I need to figure out the best way to avoid that temptation. The worst are purses, and I get emails for sales at the Coach outlet. They are a BIG temptation!

I am hoping this blog will help keep me accountable and give me a place to whine when I need to whine and a place to celebrate the little things and the big things. I don't know if anyone will want to follow this blog but if you do I appreciate your support!