Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our Story - Year Seven

Years one through six had been chock full of changes!  We had moved six times.  We had two babies.  Brian changed jobs 4 times.  I changed jobs 5 times.   

Year Seven started out much quieter.

Brian was working hard and the practice was growing slowly but steadily.  We were barely making ends meet (thanks to a little help from Brian's parents) but at least the ends seemed to be meeting.  Now it was time to hunker down.  We had read Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover and had paid off my student loans and we got rid of the Expedition for a used Chrysler Concorde.  We had our Debt Snowball written down but, quite frankly, it looked more like an avalanche.  Still does at times.  But we knew we had to tighten our belts and this was a good year for it. We weren't concerned with buying a house or a new vehicle.  We were perfectly content to be living in our little house across the street from Brian's new office and the Concorde had more than enough room for the four of us.  And there wasn't time or money for a vacation so, other than a cheap weekend getaway to Tybee Island courtesy of my sister-in-laws parents' condo, we stayed home.

 Look at sweet fat Parker!  I could nibble on those thighs!
Except...those thighs are so skinny now.

Brian's practice was brand-spankin' new and he was being very generous with how much he was charging and who he was charging.  We didn't want to be turning any one away and every patient was important.  After many months of struggle, both outwardly (our pocketbook) and inwardly (our hearts), we had to figure out where he was going to draw the line and how much could be "given away".  It was difficult for us since we had quite a number of our friends and acquaintances coming in to see Brian.  The rent for our office space alone was nearly double the rent of our house and, obviously, there are many more expenses associated with running an office.  Not an easy decision to make.

During the day, I was staying at home with the boys at this time but I decided to start working part-time at church doing child-care in the preschool department, just so we wouldn't have to worry about having grocery money.   And I needed to feel like we had a little "wiggle room".

One of the places we weren't thinking quite straight, however, was in regards to how many children we wanted.  We had always wanted four children and in the spring we thought it would be a good time to start trying to have baby #3.  We tried for a few months unsuccessfully.  Over those few months, though, we decided that now was not the time to be adding any more hungry mouths to the equation and so we put the thought aside and agreed to wait until we were more stable financially.

And so now I was pregnant...again.   So much for a quiet year.

That fall another surprise was revealed.  Only this one was not pleasant.  It was shocking and painful, for me somewhat, but especially for my sweet mom.  Hers is not my story to tell but it definitely shaped what our next few years looked like.

Pregnant and hopeful and concerned we celebrated our seventh anniversary.

What did we learn during our seventh year?:
  • Owning your own business is TOUGH! - It has its rewards, for sure, but business ownership comes with a hefty price tag.
  • Accept generosity... - ...in the form of a free stay in a condo on the beach in beautiful Tybee Island.  It may be your only chance for a vacation.
  • Being in debt SUCKS! - We aren't debt-free yet but if you're looking for a good plan for getting out of debt then we highly recommend Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover (and no, Dave has no clue who I am and I'm not being paid to say that).
  • There are good surprises and there are bad surprises - And the results of what happens after surprises are revealed depends heavily on your response.
Brian has a great song choice to represent this year.