2009 in Review and Looking Ahead at 2010

January 2, 2010 at 11:16 PM (Fitness, Gaming, Healthy Living, Home Improvement, Inspirational, Saving Money, Travel, Wedding, Weight Loss)

My what a year!  Ben and I have much to be thankful for this year.  We have been surrounded by awesome friends and family every step of the way.  We became Mr. and Mrs. this year and have loved every second of it.  We are super excited about 2010.

Before looking ahead to 2010, we want to examine some of the goals that we made for 2009 and how we did with them.  You can view the full list of our 2009 goals here.  We’ve included the condensed list below as well:

  1. Continue eating away at our non-mortgage and non-student loan debt.
  2. Continue saving for a Roth IRA for each of us at Vanguard.
  3. Weigh significantly less at the end of 2009 than we do now.
  4. Get married and have a fabulous trip to Alaska!
  5. Stephanie hopes to officially graduate with her Ph.D. by December 2009.
  6. Ben would like to get 1-2 career related certifications this year.
  7. Get a termite treatment, bedroom furniture, and a fence for the house.

Job well done… Well, we officially became credit card debt free in August which was a huge accomplishment that we are super proud of.  Our remaining debt has been reduced to our car loan, mortgage, and student loans.  While we have come far, we still have a long way to go!  We managed to save up $3,000 and opened a Roth IRA for Stephanie at Vanguard.  We have yet to open one for Ben.  We had a beautiful wedding in Alaska that we paid for without going into debt.  You can read about our wedding in detail and view photos here.   We also accomplished some of our house related goals including getting a termite treatment and getting bedroom furniture.

Job yet to be done… We dropped the ball on a few goals.  We do NOT weigh significantly less now than we did last year.  Stephanie has not graduated from school and Ben did not get his certifications.

One of the things that we learned last year while trying to accomplish goals was that we defined them poorly in some instances.  We have decided to follow the SMART goal method this year which involves creating goals that are:

Specific
Measureable
Attainable
Realistic
Timely

Without further ado, here are our 2010 goals.  We’ve included links to a goal tracker for some of the goals below so you can follow along each day/week/month if you’d like.

Goal #1 (Both): Pay off the RAV4 by December 31, 2010.

Now that we are credit card debt free, we will be aggressively paying off the RAV4.  We estimate that if all goes well, we will have the car payed off by November, but our goal is by the end of 2010.  If we are successful, we will have paid off a 5 yr loan in 2.5 years.  Woohoo!  It won’t be easy and will require a lot of focus.

How are we doing?  http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tkQWqvwQUc46ZJPtcPYg-GA&output=html

Goal #2 (Stephanie): Track calories consumed every day from January 1, 2010 until April 1, 2010.

In an effort to eat consciously, Stephanie is going to track her calories consumed every day for 3 months.  Her hope is that if she can track calories daily until April, it will become a habit that she will just continue even after April.  She wants to stay below 2000 calories but the primary goal is to just keep track and eat consciously.  She wants to get rid of the “ignorance is bliss” mentality.

How is she doing?  http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tkQWqvwQUc46ZJPtcPYg-GA&output=html

Goal #3 (Ben): Be a full-time non-smoker by April 28, 2010.

Ben has struggled with smoking off and on for several years.  He wants to “be able to hug and kiss my wife without her making a face because I smell like cigarettes.”  He is already registered for a free quit smoking workshop at the end of January and he hopes to get a prescription for Chantix when he goes for a physical next week.

Goal #4 (Stephanie): Graduate on May 7, 2010!

Stephanie WILL graduate this year.  She is shooting to graduate on May 7, 2010 so mark your calendars (it’s a Friday).  🙂  She’ll know by February / March if the goal is doable.  Worst case, she’ll graduate in August but won’t “go there” without a fight.

Goal #5 (Stephanie): Get a massage by September 2010.

Stephanie has never had a massage mainly due to financial reasons and because she is a little weirded out by the idea.  She hopes to get an upper body massage by September 2010.  Her shoulders and back always feel super tense so she knows that she would really enjoy it.  She has sensitive legs and is really ticklish though so she’ll stick with upper body for now. 🙂

Goal #6 (Both):  Have our yard fenced in by July 30, 2010.

We have been saving money to have our yard fenced in.  We haven’t bothered getting quotes or anything yet because Stephanie is trying to stay focused on school.  But, at some point we have to buckle down and get some quotes and have some consultations.  We want to create some stone beds before the yard is fenced in as well.  So, it’s a multi-step process…and a very expensive one.  It’s something easy to put off so we need a goal date.  Hopefully finances won’t get in the way.

Goal #7 (Both):  Have Stephanie’s mom moved and settled by December 31, 2010.

As some of you know, Stephanie’s mom will be moving to GA.  We have offered to let her move in with us, but we are also exploring other options like her getting her own place.  None of that will take place until after Stephanie graduates but it’s a big deal emotionally, logistically, etc.  After Stephanie is done with school, her attention will be shifting to this hard core.  Of course this goal involves other people besides us so we’ll see how it goes.

Goal #8 (Both): Open an IRA for Ben by December 31, 2010.

As we already mentioned, we recently opened a Roth IRA at Vanguard for Stephanie.  We chose to open one that required a minimum of $3,000 so we had to save up for it all year.  We’ll continue contributing to hers but we also need to get one started for Ben.  So, we need to save up another $3,000.

How are we doing?  http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tkQWqvwQUc46ZJPtcPYg-GA&output=html

Goal #9 (Stephanie): Walk 1 mile per week with Arya.

Exercise….the necessary evil.  Stephanie wants to try and embrace exercising more this year.  Or maybe not even embrace…just do it.  She has purposely kept this goal very manageable so that she doesn’t have any excuse for not meeting the goal.  It will be good for her and for Arya.  She’s hoping that if she starts with one mile per week, she’ll want to get out there and walk more.

How is she doing?  http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tkQWqvwQUc46ZJPtcPYg-GA&output=html

Goal #10 (Ben): I want to have my MCITP Windows Server 2008 Admin Certification completed by November 1, 2010.

It’s always important to further your education.  IT moves too darn fast.

Goal #11 (Ben): I want to have my board game submitted to an agent and under review by August 1, 2010.

Ben has been working been on a Eurostyle board game since July 2009 and he has had a ton of fun doing so.  But the real test will be to see if he can get it published.  He’s very excited!

Goal #12 (Ben): By April 1, 2010 I would like to talk to an admissions counselor at a local university about what it would take to finish my bachelor’s degree.

Ben was very close to finishing his bachelor’s degree (18 credits away!) in Computer Science several years ago and not a day goes by where he doesn’t regret its incompletion.

Well, that is what we have up our sleeve this year.  What’s in store for you??

– Stephanie and Ben

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Rollin Rollin Rollin

September 8, 2009 at 6:16 PM (Family, Friends, Gaming, Home Improvement, Relationships)

Hello everyone!  Although you may find it hard to believe, we have NOT fallen off the face of the earth (thank goodness!).  We are alive and well.  A variety of things are keeping us super busy.  We’ll be posting more regularly soon.  In the meantime, I leave you a list of things that we’ve been up to in no particular order.

  1. Dissertationing — I’ve been working on my dissertation a lot.  I recently sent my advisor a draft of my Study 1 results.  I can’t start data collection for Study 2 until the Study 1 results have been approved.  My advisor lived in Germany for a year and just recently moved back to the U.S.  Needless to say, he’s understandably swamped.  So I’m patiently waiting to hear from him.  For a few weeks I was very hopeful that I would graduate in December but I have now accepted that May is more likely.  My goal is to defend in January or February so I’ll be officially “done” by then and will officially receive my Ph.D.  in May.
  2. Board Gaming — Ben is working to create his own board game that he is very excited about.  He has been working really hard to get a prototype together to test with some of our gamer friends.  Also, since our last post, Troy, Jason, and Ben (a different Ben) came for a visit.  Ben enjoyed a gaming filled weekend.
  3. Home Ownershiping — We have been working on a few home projects whenever we get the chance.  Ben did a lot of shoveling this weekend.  He leveled out the mounds in the yard that were left from having several trees removed.  We are prepping the yard to have it re-seeded soon.  I’ve worked on a couple of photo projects recently which I may share on the blog soon.  We are also anticipating having our yard fenced in sometime in the January to February time frame (woohoo!).
  4. Family / Friend Supporting — We’ve been loudly observing from the sidelines as some of our friends accomplish amazing things.  Congrats to Kenna for completing her first 10K recently!  Congrats to Jenna and Gary for completing another international triathlon!  And congrats to Jenna for recently defending her thesis!  Congrats to Donna for recently starting law school!  Congrats to Robert and Effie for going back to school!  Those are just a few of the awesome accomplishments by just a few of our awesome friends and family members.  We are proud to have such amazing, inspirational people in our lives.
  5. Working — Does this really need an explanation?  LOL

As you can see, we’ve been busy.  Those are just a few of the things that have been happening in our lives.  What’s happening in yours?

– Stephanie

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Random Thoughts of the Day

August 19, 2009 at 7:29 PM (Friends, Gaming, Nature)

  1. I have an amazing husband.  I truly feel like the luckiest woman in the world.
  2. Ice Road Truckers is a great show.  Ben and I just received Season 1 on Netflix and it’s awesome.  Amazingly, it’s actually produced by The History Channel and is a really informative show.  I’ve always been fascinated by extremists (e.g. ultramarathoners) and extreme environments in general.
  3. I’ve been super busy at work, but I love my job and the people that I work with.
  4. I hope to have a super productive dissertation weekend while Ben hangs out with two friends that are coming into town.  We’re really looking forward to their visit and Ben is especially looking forward to a gaming frenzy on Saturday night.
  5. Super expensive cars and their associated super expensive car loans are overrated.

What’s on your mind?

Stephanie

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Weekend Happenings

July 12, 2009 at 8:22 PM (Career, Friends, Gaming, Wedding)

This weekend was unique in the sense that I only left the house once. Most of my time was spent reading about statistics and analyzing dissertation data. Ben went to Jen and Jesse’s last night for a night of gaming while I cranked away. Admittedly, it was nice being home all weekend with a clear goal in mind. When I wasn’t working on my dissertation, I knocked out a couple of little projects like ordering a couple of poster-sized wedding prints and a little bit of housework. How was your weekend?

– Stephanie

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Parties, Windshield, Father’s Day, and Other Happenings

June 24, 2009 at 5:32 PM (Family, Food, Friends, Gaming, Holidays, Humor, Simplifying Life)

It’s been a while since we have blogged and that is because we’ve been SUPER busy.  We have been playing catch up and have been on the go ever since we got back from Alaska.  It has been fun though.

I went to NC the weekend of June 12 for our friend Donna’s wedding shower and bachelorette party.  I had a blast.  It was great being able to enjoy some girl time.  I spent the weekend with my mom and girlfriends.  I also got to spend some quality time with my brother and sister-in-law.  The only negative thing about the entire weekend was the fact that a rock hit my windshield on the interstate.  I do NOT have good luck with windshields.  Rocks have hit and cracked 4 windshields of mine in the past.  This one hurt the most since the car doesn’t even have 11K miles on it.

Ben’s  parents (Betty and Richard) and our niece (Jazia) and nephew (Darius) spent 3 nights and 4 days with us over Father’s Day weekend.  They arrived on Saturday and left yesterday (Tuesday).  We enjoyed a low key weekend together full of talking, playing, laughing, cooking, swimming, watching movies, playing games, and relaxing.  We also enjoyed a very frugal 4 days together.  We didn’t eat out at all and only went to get ice cream once.  Yay!

All in all, things have been great.  Our friend, Troy, will be visiting us this weekend.  Ben will get to enjoy a movie and gaming filled weekend and I’ll finally get to spend some tackling the Big D (dissertation)!  Next weekend we’ll be headed to NC for Donna and Daniel’s wedding.  What a great summer so far!

Enjoy the pics below!

– Stephanie

Donna and Kristen

Donna and Kristen

Wedding Shower

Wedding Shower

Donna and Daniel

Donna and Daniel

Bachelorette Party

Bachelorette Party

Bachelorette Party

Bachelorette Party

Condom Blowing Contest (It was hilarious!!)

Condom Blowing Contest (It was hilarious!!)

Donna

Donna

Heather Shakin Her Groove Thang

Heather Shakin Her Groove Thang

Making Homemade Pizza

Making Homemade Pizza

Almost Done With Pizza

Almost Done With Pizza

Heading to the Playground

Heading to the Playground

Beautiful Sky

Beautiful Sky

Betty and Richard

Betty and Richard

Richard

Richard

Father's Day Morning

Father's Day Morning

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!

Peanut Licking Darius

Peanut Licking Darius

Father's Day Breakfast

Father's Day Breakfast

Ben Making Pancakes

Ben Making Pancakes

Jazia Playing with Arya and Ready for Pool Time

Jazia Playing with Arya and Ready for Pool Time

Darius Happy at the Pool

Darius Happy at the Pool

Betty and Richard Konked Out on Father's Day

Betty and Richard Konked Out on Father's Day

On the Deck Waiting for Steaks

Father's Day Dinner -- On the Deck Waiting for Steaks

Ben Grilling Steaks

Ben Grilling Steaks

Father's Day Dinner

Father's Day Dinner

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