My 31st Year, My 31 Wishes

31 Cake

As I celebrated my 31st birthday yesterday, I wanted to share my 31 wishes for my upcoming year. This is the fourth year I have laid out my wishes and for the first time, I have decided not to look back at my wishes for last year but look forward to this next year.

I have decided that I cannot live in the past anymore. I need to live in the present and enjoy what is in front of me. So here is my 31 wishes for this next year.

Family
Family is the number one thing in my life. I have been blessed with an amazing wife who takes care of the everyday things in our household and two amazing children. 

  1. Be present when I am with my wife and kids. Leave work at work and remain unplugged from technology for the first hour I am home.
  2. Continue monthly date night with my wife.
  3. Make dinner once a week.
  4. Take a weekend vacation with my wife.
  5. Take a weekend family staycation.
  6. Set up “father-son” and “father-daughter” play dates at least twice a month.
  7. Read to my kids every night.
  8. Learn to say no to “extra” obligations and continue making family a priority.
  9. Make time for PFG boy and PFG girl to continue to build relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
  10. Plan trips to visit extended family who I haven’t seen in years.

Spirituality/Faith
2014 marked my return professionally to the Jewish community but in a role where I could still personally enjoy my spirituality and build traditions with my family.

  1. Continue going to weekly Shabbat services.
  2. Participate in weekly Tot-Shabbat services.
  3. Continue unplugging from social media, email and internet on Shabbat.
  4. Hold one Shabbat dinner a month at our house for just for our family or with guests.
  5. Find a learning partner/group to continue to learn and ask questions about Judaism.

Professional

  1. Participate in 5 networking events.
  2. Attend two professional conferences.
  3. Connect with two nonprofit professionals a month for coffee.
  4. Find a mentor and meet with them on a monthly basis.
  5. Stay connected and participate on a regular basis with nonprofit and development associations.

Volunteer/Philanthropy
Philanthropy has been a major aspect of my life for the last few years and I have worked to make philanthropy a part of our entire family. In my 31st year, I want to pass on and help PFG boy develop an understanding and passion for giving back.

  1. Give 2% of income to charity.
  2. Volunteer once a month (could be with same organization or different organizations.)
  3. Participate in three volunteer activities with PFG boy.
  4. Establish charity (tzedekah) fund for PFG boy so he can learn how to give his own money.
  5. Determine whether to continue with current board commitment or make a change to a new organization.

Personal
Each year, I set out some personal goals that I want to meet either for myself or for my family. I believe each of these help me become a more well-rounded individual.

  1. Work out three times a week.
  2. Reconnect with five friends from high school or college.
  3. Pay down $4,000 in debt.
  4. Build a personal board of directors which includes: a spiritual advisor, a financial advisor, a life advisor and a health advisor.
  5. Take 15 minutes for myself every day.
  6. Have fun & live each day with intent!

As always, thank you for your love and support in my professional and personal endeavors.  These wishes could not come true without your ongoing support.

As with last year, I would like to challenge you to come up with your own wishes.  What things have you always wanted to do but have been too afraid to do?  Set out wishes that you believe you can meet and share them with us.

Happy 1st Birthday, PFG Girl!

1st birthdayDear PFG Girl,
Today is your first birthday! It is amazing to think that a year ago, Mommy and Daddy weren’t expecting to see you. Unlike your brother, you were excited to enter this world and you came two weeks early. Surrounded by your many aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins, you entered this world and had everyone’s love from day one… especially your big brother’s!

Maybe one day he will grow tired of you but he loves you more than anything in the world. We will see if this continues as you grow older and try to hang out with him and his friends!

Your birth marked an interesting time in our lives, Mommy decided to start her own business out of the house to stay at home with you and your brother. Daddy was still enjoying his job at the Community College and PFG boy was just about to start preschool at a new school (little did we know you were going to arrive two days before school started). A little less than a month after you were born, we had a major flood in our basement and we are still dealing with some of the aftereffects. We are just grateful that you were so young that you won’t remember the chaos.

PFG girl, you are the happiest and most easy going baby one-year old we have ever met. You go with the flow of our crazy and ever-changing lives. You love the attention from all of your cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents. You love to laugh and play and listen to the drums at services.

You just started pulling yourself up and you are finally getting your top front tooth… don’t most babies get a canine tooth first? You just started rolling a ball back to Mommy and me. You love Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck and the way you hold your sippy cup reminds us of your brother. (Wait isn’t the cup supposed to be held against your face to soothe you? The liquid inside is just a bonus!)

There isn’t a food that we have introduced to you that you don’t like and you love to feed yourself. You love to giggle with your brother and when you both get going, the whole house becomes full of laughter.

We are so excited to watch you continue to grow and learn. From taking your first steps to speaking your first words, we know this next year will be full of growth and memories.

We love you so much and are so glad we are your parents!

Love,
Mommy and Daddy

 

 

Slow Down. Enjoy Life.

A Memorial Service
On Monday, I attended the memorial service for a 22-year-old family friend.  This young woman impacted the lives of hundreds and the church where the memorial was held was packed with people wearing her favorite color which was red.

This young woman never had an easy life.  When she was born, the doctors told her parents that she would never walk or have much brain function.  At five years old, she proved them wrong when said her first words.  She used to walk my elementary school with a walker and then over time, she learned to walk on her own.

A House of Mourning
And then last night, I made a shiva call (the seven days of mourning after the funeral of a loved one) for a friend’s father.  This was a man whom I had never personally met but had impacted the lives of many in my community.  He was an educator, a mediator, and a friend.  He was someone who loved learning and sharing his knowledge with the community around him.

As I sat at this house and listened to the stories about him, I truly gained a deep understanding of what this man stood for.  He was a visionary and a trusted friend.  He was a “rabbi” for people who didn’t have one.  He was a supportive husband and an excellent father and he was a risk taker.  At one point in his life, he gave up his profession to go to rabbinical school.  He picked up his family and took a leap of faith.  Little did I know this wasn’t the only leap he took.

Bird Calls and Skydiving
Both of these individuals whose lives we were celebrating learned how to “fly” during their life times.  One learned how to use her charm, passion, and love to enter the lives of those around her.  The other was always looking for new ways to learn, educate, and have fun.

One used to make bird calls twice a day using it as a way to communicate with those she loved.  She didn’t care that these bird calls were “different.”  She didn’t care about the “differences” that existed and as her uncle said “she didn’t view people by the color of their skin.”  She didn’t think of herself as different and lived her life to the fullest.  These simple bird calls made the people around her smile and the walls that might have been put up were easily broken down by this daily communication.

One jumped from a plane on his 60th birthday.  His happiness and excitement from this experience showed a child-like happiness when there isn’t a care in the world.  He lived in the moment and took every opportunity and challenge head on.  To watch the video of his jump at the shiva (a rare occasion and the first time the rabbi who was there has ever watched a video after a memorial service) showed his passion for life.

In both memorials, I truly learned that it is okay to slow down and enjoy life.  Both of these individuals’ lives were short in years but both of them showed me that I need to slow down and enjoy what is going on around me.  Whether it be a daily tradition of five minutes to do something out of the norm or a ten minute gliding back to earth, I need to learn to appreciate what is around me.

May the lives of these two great individuals be remembered.  May their memories remind us to slow down and enjoy life.

 

 

 

Financial Friday: The Power of the Sun

We love to live in Colorado.  The mountains.  The outdoors.  Being close to our family.  And the sunshine.  300 plus days of sunshine!

Okay, maybe not 300 days but in actuality in Denver about 70% of the days have sun putting it in the top ten cities in the United States for sunshine.

So as a frugal family and a family that worries about the environment, we wondered how we could get the sun to do more work for us.  For years, we had heard about putting solar panels on our roof to provide electricity to our house.  I remember watching news stories about how the cost of the solar panels was in the tens of thousands and that you had to have large batteries to store all of the extra electricity.  This didn’t include all of the water needed to make sure the system remained cool.

Yes, this was the way of the past when many people wanting to install solar did it themselves.  But could the PFG family really get solar without breaking the bank.  We knew we didn’t want to purchase the panels ourselves because the cost and maintenance would be out the roof.  We also didn’t want to have to put up a lot of money to install them on our roof.

Then I read a post on a friend’s wall about a company where you paid for the power of the solar not the panels.  We reached out to her and were connected to SolarCity and to a representative who met with Mrs. PFG and I to talk about the benefits and costs of working with them on installing solar on our house.

The entire initial meeting put many things at ease for us.  We would never have to do any maintenance on the panels, the installation would be done over a couple of days, SolarCity would contact our current electric company to transfer over the service, they would be in charge of all of the city and energy inspections, and the cost of the service would be locked in every year with a minimal increase every year (compared to an ever changing increase from our current energy company).

The best part of it was that there were no up front costs and right off the bat we would have the potential to save money every month over what we were currently paying.  From our initial meeting to the time that the solar panels got installed was a good three month process but a lot of this had to do with the winter, inspections, and design of our system.

Additionally, we had an issue when the system was first installed and within two business days, they had someone out to fix the problem.

The Numbers
Now for the numbers.  starting today, we are going to share with you every month how much energy our system is providing.  For us, our system is providing a lot of energy that goes back to our energy company (not SolarCity) and gets banked as credit for us against what we use.  For any energy we produce that isn’t used, that amount rolls over to the next month.  So for example during the summer when there is more sunlight than energy we use, we will be banking that energy for when in the winter there is less sunlight.

Below is the yearly graph so far of what we have produced since our system was turned on in April.  Moving forward we will share this at the end of each month.

Solar City - May 9

In a little over a month, our system has provided 1,062 kilowatt hours of energy.  Last month alone we banked over 270 kilowatt hours for our reserves.  Knowing that we are helping the environment and saving some extra money has made this whole experience even better!

If you are interested in learning more about how you can install solar panels, help the environment, and save some money, please let us know and we will tell you more!

Book Review: The Circle

The CircleWhen we first started Pure Family Gold, we had some people ask us why we would want to share all of our personal stories and financial trials and tribulations with everyone.  Some thought we were putting too much information online while others loved that we were being transparent and telling the “reality.”

One reader felt that we needed to be careful and suggested that I read “The Circle” by Dave Eggers which talks about the dangers of social media.  Seeing as we are trying to be frugal, I decided to try and check out the book from our local library and unfortunately it took over a month to get the book… and only the Kindle version.

However, once I downloaded the book, I couldn’t put it down.  This wonderfully written book introduces you to the life of a young woman who begins working a new job for the new “it” company.  This company has its own campus, sports fields, dormitory, child care center, cafes and more.  Throughout the book, the reader is introduced to new technologies and programs that are designed and introduced within days of the idea being formulated.

While the Circle is a fictional company, there are many parallels to the current technology and social media boom happening in the United States.  The Circle buys ideas and their creators to bring them into the Circle and expand their “stronghold” on the average Circle user.  This fictional company encourages utilizing the services at all times and one of the companies biggest slogans is “secrets are lies and privacy is theft.”

For me, this fictional book really puts my own social media use into question.  Am I relying on the newest technologies and social media too much?  To what extent are companies and individuals relying on these services too much? Are we telling too much about our lives by advertising everything on our blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and more?

Or is the new way of life?  Are jobs going to not hire individuals if they do not use social media to interact with customers and clients?  Will you be able to apply for a job without uploading your LinkedIn profile?  Are you going to lose friends for not interacting with them within the minute you receive their message on Facebook?

While this book struck some fear for me and made me do a double take on what I post, I believe that there has to be a happy middle ground.  Do people need to know every little detail about the PFG family online?  No.  Should we post all of our pictures or activities on social media? No.  Should we continue to share information that might be useful to other young families and allows for conversations to form.  Yes, but we will do it in a thoughtful way.  We will not post articles just because we want to but articles that have true value to our readers.

The Circle, while fictional, really does an amazing job of portraying what the future could look like if people do not protect their privacy, use all social media, and become too connected.  I would highly encourage people to read this book… but read it with caution.  Some of the situations are way too far over the top and unrealistic.

In addition to the Circle, there has been a viral video that has also made me look at how connected I am and how I need to begin unplugging more.  For those that don’t know, I have unplugged from email, Facebook, and Twitter for over the last year on Friday night to Saturday night.  But this viral video by Gary Turk has shown me the importance of unplugging from our phones and “Look Up.”

I will begin doing this by turning off my work email on my phone and Ipad, leaving my phone in its charger during dinners, leaving my phone in the car during meetings, and I will continue to evaluate how to continue being present with those I am interacting with.

What ways would you “Look Up” and do you believe that our society is becoming too connected?

Our 3 Week Hiatus

Sometimes life gets in the way.  Actually life is sometimes life and priorities have to change.

When I set out to start Pure Family Gold, I wanted to give everyone a glimpse into the weekly lives of our family.  I wanted to share the happiness, sadness, and struggles of our family as we navigate through life and finances.  But I didn’t plan for what happened over the last three weeks.

An Annual Event
For the last 8 years, I have worked in many different capacities for nonprofit organizations.  I have enjoyed being a part of some amazing organizations really changing the community and have grown both as an individual and professionally.  For the first time in my career, I played a major role in our annual fundraising event this year.  For two weeks, my daily work activities revolved around RSVPs, seating charts, slideshows, and communication with all guests.

This was the first time that I had the opportunity to work on a wide range of activities regarding an annual fundraiser and I loved every moment of it.  However, the week of the event also became the hardest I have worked at my current position and this meant sacrificing time with my family and writing.

A Family Trip
The PFG Family traveled for a week this year in the middle of April.  We went down to Orlando, Florida for a holiday and to spend some time with Mrs. PFG’s extended family.  This week of sun and paradise (and crazy rain) was a nice break from our day-to-day activities.  PFG boy had so much fun racing down the hotel’s water slide, walking around Downtown Disney, and chasing after his many cousins.  PFG girl enjoyed playing in the water and crawling after her toys.

A Vacation from Our Vacation
While the time away from our jobs and home was much needed, as is the case most times, we came home and needed a vacation from our vacation.  PFG boy, PFG girl, and I all came down with a spring cold last week which still hasn’t gone away.  And the rest of the week seemed to disappear before our eyes.

Every once in a while, a hiatus from our day-to-day grind is necessary.  But it is also nice to get back to the things that you love.  Look for more parenting stories, personal finances, and letters to our kids as we get back into the swing of things here at Pure Family Gold.

It’s the Little Things

…that we take for granted.

A week ago, I broke a toe on my left foot.  It was the first bone that I have ever broken and hopefully the only bone I ever break.

However, while I have been hobbling around for the last week and a half, I had an awakening.  I have taken it for granted that I have ten functional toes that allow me to balance the rest of my body on them.

Photo Credit: ezioman via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: ezioman via Compfight cc

These ten little digits have taken me around the world, helped me walk down the aisle for my wedding, supported me during the birth of my two beautiful children, and allowed me to do my daily activities without much problems.  But I have taken this for granted.

Actually, I have taken many “little things” for granted.  I have taken my overall health for granted.  I have taken owning a home and a car for granted.  I have taken the fact that I have a job for granted.  I have taken my relationships with Mrs. PFG and with PFG boy and PFG girl for granted.  I have taken my parents for granted and I have taken my siblings for granted.

While waiting at the doctor’s office to have my foot checked out last week, I looked around and saw people who had much different ailments than me.  My injury was just a toe and I needed to be thankful for that.  I needed to be thankful that I have never broken another bone in my body and I needed to be thankful that I had the health insurance to protect me.  I needed to start showing gratitude for everything I have.

Ironically, the last month has been a whole month of gratitude for me and breaking my toe just reinforced the need for me to show gratitude.  I have been reading a wonderful book called The Magic by Rhonda Bryne (who is also the author of The Secret.)  This book has 28 activities of gratitude where you have to consciously think about everything that you are grateful for.  There are days where I have to show gratitude for the relationships around me, for my health, for the money I have for the things I need, and for the daily activities in my life.

This book and the activities have made me slow down and think about everything around me.  I cannot look past these “little things” anymore.  I need to be aware and thankful for my health; both the good things and the bad things.  I need to be thankful for the relationships I currently have, the ones I may have hurt along the way, and the future relationships I am working to build.

I need to be thankful that I am able to pay all of my bills and afford the necessities around me.  If I cannot currently pay for something, I need to be thankful that I will have the opportunity to buy those things at a later date.

Most of all, I just need to slow down and live my life with gratitude that I am alive and can explore each day as a new day.

To all of my readers, friends and family:

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

For being there during the tough times and celebrating the good times.  For pushing me to be better and for supporting the Pure Family Gold family through all of our adventures.

Why Our Caring is All Backwards

Last night, Mrs. PFG, PFG boy, PFG girl and I went to our friends’ house to celebrate their new addition of a baby boy and to bring them dinner so they wouldn’t have to cook.  Just like our friends and family did for us, this family has had home cooked meals brought to them over the last three weeks and it has been a huge help to them.

But as we were driving home last night, I began to wonder about the whole idea of providing meals to other families.  In our society, we have been taught that we should provide meals to families when there is a birth, illness, or death because it is the “right thing to do.”  Having been on the receiving end, these meals have been greatly appreciated and our friends and family did it because of their love for us.

However, shouldn’t we be kind and caring all of the time?  Why should it take a celebration, an illness or tragedy for the community to rally around each other?  Does the fact that we brought our friends dinner last night preclude us from doing it again in a couple of months?  Or is the gesture only “valid” in the first month of a new child’s life?

What about for a friend who is mourning the loss of a loved one?  Wouldn’t they like a meal in a few months?  It isn’t like the mourning process ends after the service.

Yes, you can have your friends over for dinner and it would still show a sense of caring but sometimes (especially when you have kids) it is nice to have a nice home cooked meal brought to your house.

As we begin our own spring cleaning at home, I hope that the Pure Family Gold family will also “spring clean” our perspective on how we care for those that we love.  Rather than waiting for a celebration or tragedy, we will proactively reach out to our friends and family and offer them meals.

As my brother-in-law always says, “you are always welcome at our house for dinner because we always have to eat.”  Our friends and family always have to eat dinner so we offer to bring them dinner.

What do you think about the tradition of bringing a meal to your friends?  What other ways can you show them you care throughout the year? 

If There’s A Will, There’s A…

Photo Credit: SalFalko via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: SalFalko via Compfight cc

Piece of mind.

Three and a half years later and Mrs. PFG and I finally signed our wills.

We had set out to do them when PFG boy was a couple of months old.  We even had a draft sent to us in late 2010… which was just gaining dust in our storage unit.  For some reason we just pushed it to the back of our minds.  As we look back now, we think there are many reasons we didn’t sign it or why other young adults don’t have wills.

We’re Young
As teenagers and young adults we think we are invincible.  That we are going to live forever and nothing bad is going to happen to us.  So why would we need a will?

In thinking back, these were some of the thoughts that crossed my mind:

  • “Nothing will happen to us because I am healthy and go to the doctor on a regular basis.”
  • “Accidents happen, but they won’t happen to me.”
  • “I am too young to worry about dying.”

But we aren’t invincible.  Accidents do happen to people our own age.  Illnesses do not discriminate based on your age.  What brought this even closer for me was hearing about a young man who had five kids who died from a brain tumor that he was diagnosed with three months before he died.  This 35 year old was an athlete who took care of his health but still was stricken by an incurable disease.

We Don’t Have Any Large Assets
Initially, when we set out to do our will after PFG boy was born, we laughed at the idea of setting up a will because “we didn’t have anything to leave him.”  Why would we need to set up a will that said where our possessions went when we didn’t have anything of value.  As young adults, this is a common misconception.  A will doesn’t just lay out who gets what but it also lays out how your children will be cared for and who can make decisions for your estate.

As a young parent with two kids, I needed to make sure that my children were going to be raised by people who would raise them the way Mrs. PFG and I would.  So yes, we do not have a lot of “property” or “possessions” in our will right now but our most valuable assets are our kids and we wanted to make sure they were covered.

We Don’t Want to Start Fights
One of the biggest decisions we had to make was where PFG boy and PFG girl would go if both Mrs. PFG and I died.  We talked about the different possibilities for who would be good guardians but we also wanted to be careful because we didn’t want to upset other people.  Would our relatives understand if we picked someone else?  Would they be offended if they weren’t in charge of our estate?

At the end of the day, when we decided to become parents, it was our responsibility to discuss potential guardians and by signing our wills, we are protecting our children and estate to ensure they have what they need.

We Don’t Want to Make Tough Decisions
In addition to a will, many times you will also sign documents that state how long you want to be kept alive by machines and via feeding tubes.  As young adults these are not topics that we wanted to think about.

Why would we want to think about death?  Why would we want to make a decision now when that might change if the situation really happened?

But looking back at what we signed, why would we want to leave these decisions to our family members, the doctors, or in some cases the “laws” of the state.  In recent news, there was a fight between a hospital and a man whose woman who was on life support with their unborn child.  The hospital wanted to keep the woman on life support (even though she was declared brain dead) until the birth of the child.

By signing these documents, we have taken the steps to ensure that none of our loved ones have to be put into a similar situation.  Were they easy decisions?  No.  Did we really know what we were signing initially? No, but with the help of our attorney, he laid out the scenarios and what the majority of his clients choose to do.  This made us feel more comfortable with our decisions.

Piece of Mind
As two young parents, knowing that we finally signed our wills allows us to know that our children are protected.  We also don’t have to worry about “in case of” scenarios regarding potential surgeries or accidents.  We now are protected by these documents and have made decisions that are greatly impacted by our lives.  It is also good for us to know that while this document is permanent if anything was to happen to us, that we can update the documents at any time.  What is written in there today could be changed as we grow older and obtain more possessions.

If you are young parents, we would greatly recommend signing a will for the piece of mind that your kids will be protected.  Additionally, even if you are a single or married young adult, you should look at having a will.  This document can help protect your estate and help alleviate some of the tough decisions your loved ones might have to make.

Do you have a will?  How was the process of getting one written and signed?  What might be holding you back?

 

 

Our Love, Hate Relationship

LoveHateWe have owned our home for four years and we love it.

No, wait, we hate it right now.  More on that in a while.  

Well, actually there are times where we have loved it and hated it.

Why We Love It
We have an amazing house on a quarter acre in a great location (just a few minutes from two major highways) with an amazing amount of space.  Our home has two and a half baths and five bedrooms.  A finished basement and an additional 200 square feet of storage.  When we bought the house, the kitchen, bathrooms and floors had been remodeled.

It is the home where we have grown our family from two to four.  It is the home where we welcomed our son to the Jewish community by having 120 people attend his Bris and his first three birthday parties.  It is the place where my brother and sister rented a room from us (yeah, extra income) and is our first stand-alone home.

We have made it our own by painting some of the rooms, redoing the front yard, making my wife her own hair salon and having a large space for all of our kid’s toys. (Including a great roller coaster.  Thanks, mom and dad!)

Flooding, Flipping, Frozen Pipes
In the four years we have owned the house, we have experienced two floods in our basement with the first one occurring within months of us living there.  The second one took place this last September when we received 15 inches of rain in three days.  With the help of a carpet cleaner, there was 2500 gallons of water that was sucked out of the basement.  Oh, and PFG girl was only four weeks old at the time.  

The second flood really turned our lives upside down.  My sister who had been living with us moved out (goodbye, extra income) and everything that was in our basement became a permanent fixture in our main living area.  All of that on top of having two young children, made us hate our home again… but it wasn’t the first time.

Yes, it is nice to come into a home that has been flipped but you also take the risk of the work being done only halfway.  Some of the issues have been minor (a dishwasher not fastened to the counter top) while others have been more severe (who washes out there grout container in a bathtub?)  When others do the work, you can’t control the quality.

And then there was the frozen pipe… last week.  We love the fact that our house is a ranch-style house that has a lot of character but the building standards when the house was built were not the same as they are now.  So when the temperature changes, issues arise.  Last week, we experienced our first frozen pipe. 

It was amazing that only one pipe in the whole house froze after we had a high of -1 and 1 two days in a row.  Luckily for us, we caught it early and didn’t have to deal with a busted pipe.  If this happens to you, leave the tap in the on position and try to heat up the pipe.  You can do this with a hair dryer or a heater pointed under the sink.  It will take a while but will save you money in the long run.

And the Fence
Since we moved into our house, we knew that at some point we were going to need to replace our fence.    It was falling into our neighbors yards, had holes for our dog to explore, and was rotting in other areas.  Lucky for us, we have four neighbors we share the fence with so it should have been easy to replace.  Okay, maybe not.  

After the flood of 2013, we found out that our back fence was built on top of a retaining wall and the two neighbors in the back had their own fence in addition to ours.  We had to rebuild the retaining wall and the neighbors had no desire to chip in for one fence. 

Our other two neighbors also had no intent to chip in to fix the fence so we were left with the entire bill.  In the end, this was a headache but allowed us to get the nice clean side of the fence.

In the End We Love It
People always talk about the “joys” of home ownership and they are not wrong.  It takes a lot of time and money but it is ours.  It is the place where we have a roof over our head, a place for our kids to grow and play, and a place to store all of our “stuff.”  Yes, we have experienced the inconveniences of flooding, neighbors, and poor construction but in the big scope of things, these are all minor compared to the happiness this home has brought to us.

What do you love or hate about your home?