Happy New Year!

The sun is setting on the infamous 2020.

It seems that many of us have been waiting to say goodbye to 2020. But there’s something in me that wants to hold on to 2020 somehow. At least parts of it.

I’ve loved having my family home with me more. Online and Hybrid school for all 3 of the kids and Jared working from home has given us the greatest gift…TIME.

It took some adjusting on everyone’s part (maybe more on mine than anyone else’s since I’ve been used to being home alone during the day for so many years) but it has been a sweet gift as I’ve gotten to know my kids a little more, been able to have heart-to-heart conversations about their future plans, friendships, their struggles, and things that are on their minds at moment’s notice. My children and I have always had great relationships. They’ve always shared things with Jared and I even when things were “normal”. But it has felt different this year… I guess, how could it not? These are very different times we are living through.

This year has called me to be ready as a mother to offer more of myself, more of my experience, more of my faith, more of my patience, and more grace for myself and my family. It’s been an honor and it has stretched me more than ever before. And I have loved it!

This year has been a year of attaining goals that have felt out of reach for decades. One of which is that we are debt free! In December of 2019 I found The Budget Mom and her Community Facebook Page. She is transparent with her real income and expenses and shows you step by step how to set up a budget, sinking funds, debt payoff, and keeping a zero based budget (which doesn’t mean you have zero left at the end of your paycheck, it just means you tell every dollar you receive where to go). In February we paid off all our consumer credit card debt which was over $13k. Through 2020 we’ve saved $10k for a new air conditioner we know will need replacing very soon.

Now we are working on saving for a newer vehicle for me. The van is almost 20 years old and she’s given us a good run. We just don’t know how much longer she’ll continue to plug along.

We’ve set up sinking funds for our yearly subscriptions, vacations, school expenses, club volleyball, car repairs, medical expenses, pool/house repairs, and holidays/birthdays including Christmas. It has been such a blessing to be able to feel in control of our finances instead of panicking when some expense or repair comes up and we are scrambling to figure out how to pay for it and ultimately it ends up on the credit card and we are further in debt. This system works!

What I love about it is that she helps you to see that what she lays out is the framework. It’s ok to do things a little different than she does. She gives you the tools and you can use them however they fit best for you and your situation. And you don’t have to buy any of the things she’s selling. She has lots of free pintables to start you off and personally I’ve made my own excel sheets based off of her examples. Computers doing math are better than me doing it manually on paper. LOL! I highly recommend you check her out!

A personal goal I reached this year is I’ve lost over 24 lbs! Crazy right!?! I saw the numbers going down on the scale but it wasn’t until I saw myself in these pictures side-by-side that I had changed so much!

Everyone talks about the Quarantine 15 (the 15 lbs everyone has gained since being stuck at home this year). I had gained my 15 plus more even before COVID. LOL!

The 1st pic was Dec of last year (not even my highest weight which I hit in Jan.) The 2nd pic is me on my birthday (I thought that was a great gift to myself!! <3). It’s taken a year to lose it. It wasn’t fast, clearly. No magic potions or eliminating food groups. Just good ol fashioned exercise, moderation, and consistency. I have a small group of friends that have banded together over text to support one another in our health journey. Everyone is doing something different but we check in every day and encourage each other. It has been a HUGE help and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them cheering me on. Now to keep going through the new year! 😉

I also want to mention that it’s not lost on me how blessed we have been this year. This pandemic has hit families HARD! Many have lost their jobs, homes, their health, and loved ones. I feel extremely grateful that we haven’t suffered in those ways.

Ok…now on to our New Year’s Eve celebration. It was actually very mellow and quiet.

Maybe we were even a little bored. Hahaha!!!!!

We were trying to take a picture while linking arms and taking a drink..it was comical! Haha!

It was just Jared and me and Alayna. She invited her BFF Morgan to come celebrate too.

Eli was at Ashley’s house this year which was a little strange. They all usually come to our house for NYE.

Walker was at work most of the night but he got home to ring in the new year with us. I sadly don’t have a pic of him. Bummer…

We watched the traditional count down, toasted to the new year, and now here we are in 2021!

I’ve been pondering what intentions I want to set for this year but I haven’t solidified anything yet. I still need to pray over it more.

Happy New Year to all of you!

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