Where did Jack go? I don't see where...

That's what Kent used to say when we played peekaboo. Well, daddy, not Jack, but you get the picture.

Sorry for the disappearing act mom. Oh, is someone else still out there? I apologize to you too. Here's a quick summary recap of what I've been neglecting to write about the past couple of months:

  • In September we found out that Beta is another boy, Dean Isaac. Kent's been getting ready to be a big brother and we think he'll take to it pretty well.
  • In October my fantasy baseball team won the league for the third straight year, and the fourth time in the last five. Someone introduced an amendment to the rules last year limiting the keepers for teams that win back to back (or back to back to back). Fortunately for me it did not pass. Fortunately for my league, I'll be very busy and sleep deprived this spring when we're drafting, so it'll probably be a down year.
  • In early November I took Exam C. Results will finally be available at the end of this week. I felt good about parts of the test at the time, but I wasn't sure I'd done well enough overall to pass. As the results date has gotten closer I've only gotten more pessimistic, and I won't be surprised if I have to take it again in April.
  • We traveled to Atlanta for Thanksgiving, and Kent and his cousin Emerson started a band. Next Thanksgiving they'll have another member for the group. I think in about 10 years we'll have a one-hit-wonder boy band. Stay tuned.
  • For Christmas we traveled to Ocean City and Baltimore in Maryland, where Kent got to see his cousins on the other side of the family—Nicholas, Travis, and seven-day-old Blythe, the first girl of her generation.

Right after we got back from Maryland we had a labor scare and went to the hospital. Everything was ok and they sent us home, but now we're in full out baby-preparedness mode. The infant car seat is in the trunk, and our hospital bag is packed. This past weekend we rearranged our bedroom so that we could set up the co-sleeper that my sister lent us. We also took the first real steps to getting the crib/toddler bed out of Kent's room and the daybed that was Erica's into his room so he can have a big boy bed and Dean can have a crib when he's ready for one. Thanks to Erica's mom we're setting up a new bed in the guest room so that we'll still have someplace for visitors to sleep, which is good since my mom and Erica's mom both plan to come down for several days after Dean is born. There are still a few things to do, but if Dean surprises us we're pretty much ready.

Finally, I wanted to follow up on last year's post, wherein I actually made two resolutions and even shared them with the world. I wanted to track our personal finances for a year, and I wanted to get out of credit card debt. The bad news is, like most resolutions, I didn't manage to do either. The good news is, I made progress and think we'll fulfill both this year.

Last year I tracked our finances for about two months before giving up. But, more recently Erica and I have been talking about trying to actually budget instead of using the loose "make sure you set aside enough to pay the bills and spend the rest however you want" method we've been using since I worked at the bookstore. So I've gotten the personal finance software set up again, and in the meantime several improvements have been made that should make it easier to keep up with. Having Erica actively involved will also help immensely.

As far as credit card debt goes, we did a good job of going after it until sometime this summer when we had a hiccup in our finances, and ever since then we've been kind of coasting. We've still been working away at it, but with less intensity. However, it's down to the point that our anticipated tax refund should pretty much cover the rest of it, so hopefully by the end of February we can bid it a very fond farewell.


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Sick again

So January is looking like a real winner. This is the second weekend so far that I've spent time throwing up. The good news is this time I'm not running a 100 degree temperature and I've been able to be up and around some to help out. The bad news is, we've all got it this time. Fun times.

As a corollary, I haven't had time to put much data into my personal finance software all month. I still plan to get going on that goal but it looks like I'll be doing a monthly update instead of weekly like I had planned... So it goes.


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New Year, New Pie

In the awesome news department, I found out today that I passed the actuarial exam that I took back in November. That means I only have one preliminary exam left to go, Exam C, which is, well, awesome. However, if you pay close attention you might notice that Exam C is the biggest wedge on the Handy Pie Chart. The study guide I'm using weighs in at 1,250 pages (there is one study guide that is approximately 4,700 pages but I do have a wife and kid so I'm not going near it). So on Monday (while I'm at jury duty) I'll see if I can get the folks at work to order my study guide so that I can get working on it. May 14th is coming quick. After May 14th I will start working on all of the Module wedges on the left side of the pie. Best case scenario has me finishing sometime early to mid next year, but there's still a long way to go, so who knows. Here's the current edition of the Handy Pie Chart—no more updates for a while:

As far as the New Year, I'm not one for resolutions, but I do have two goals for this coming year. First, I'm going to try to keep track of our personal finances for the entire year. I've tried a few times and run out of steam after a month or two, but I think it will help with my second goal, which is getting rid of the rest of our credit card debt. I keep thinking it'll be gone in a year or two and it's still hanging around. I've reached the point where I'm tired of dealing with it and hopefully I'm financially aware and focused enough to make it go away. For good. I'll revisit this post in a year to see how I did.

Wishing a happy year to you and yours,


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