So Much To Do Around The House

Have you ever noticed how there are times when things just seem to pile up around the house or all come due at once. Here are just a few things that are looking to be done around the Beagle household:

  • Stain the deck – With the help of my parents, I power washed it, but now I need about 72 hours of rain free time to get it done (48 before and 24 afterward). The Michigan weather has not been cooperative and may not be for a few more days.
  • Fix the sprinker head (part 2) – I noticed a sprinkler head that wasn’t getting a lot of pressure. I dug it out of the ground and noticed that it not very tightly connected. I tightened it and buried it, yet the pressure problem persists. I think there may be a problem with the line, which is a more tedious (and dirty) prospect.
  • Fix the toilet – I noticed last week that the toilet downstairs was running by itself every once in a while. After making sure that it wasn’t leaking onto the floor (which would be bad, since there are wood floors in that bathroom), I started the process to get the insides replaced. By this I mean that I started drying out the tank. I drained it and soaked up water, and now am letting things dry out. I’ve replaced the ‘guts’ of the toilets on numerous occasions, and the part that I’ve hated the most is how much water leaks out when you start taking everything apart. Hopefully I’ve minimized that this time!
  • Finish taping the ductwork – Over the winter, I started taping all the joints in the basement for the ductwork, as there is a lot of air leak when you add together, air that’s not getting to where you want it. I was able to get about 60% of it done, which was the stuff in the unfinished part of the basement. The remainder will be a bit more difficult, though, because it’s above ceiling tiles. I need to bite the bullet and get that finished up now that air conditioning season is upon us.
  • Do some painting – I want to paint the stairway to the basement and do some touch up work around the hallways, where things have gotten scuffed up over the past two years since we moved in.
  • Take stuff to the Salvation Army – There’s a growing pile of stuff in the middle of the garage that I need to donate.
  • Replace the step to the front porch – The step we have is slowly turning to gravel as it’s run it’s course. This isn’t difficult, but I need help to get the new step as well as a car that can handle it (most likely a van or SUV).

Lots going on but all part of the fun of having a house. Good things I enjoy doing things like this and knowing that I’ve helped keep our household in running order.

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Seven Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming A Dad

It’s been just under two weeks since God blessed us with Baby Beagle, and there have been a lot of changes. Here are just a few of the things that I’ve learned since the arrival of our son.

  • How to change a diaper – I actually never had changed a diaper before. Let me just say that you catch on pretty quickly.
  • You need more diapers than you could have ever planned for – Baby pees and poops more than I think we had ever thought possible. I actually went out on my first ‘diaper run’ late last week as we were running low on his size.
  • Hours seem to simply disappear out of the day – I think that once a baby comes, the laws of time change and there are only 21-22 hours per day for parents. It’s the only way that I can explain how every single day since the arrival has seemed to end much more quickly than they did in the past.
  • Don’t plan on getting things done with any sort of efficiency – My wife will love this one. See, before the baby came I had this list of things that I wanted to get done in the week following coming home from the hospital. A lot of different projects for the house, the cars, and my blog were on the list. I figured that the baby needs attention but since it sleeps 20+ hours per day, there will still be plenty of time to get things done, right? Wrong. Somehow there is always something to do, whether it be laundry, dishes, changing towels, planning for bath time, whatever. I got a few things done from my list, but probably 25% of what I had hoped. Still, the week off was amazing and time that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.
  • Sleep schedules change – Gone are the days of sleeping through the night, at least for a while. Feedings and diaper changes are the new order of business. Our son is actually doing very well at sleeping in his crib without fussing, and about going back to sleep once the business is taken care of. Still, I was unprepared for what a drastic change would occur in sleep patterns.
  • Everything changes in an instant – Oh, I knew well in advance that things were going to change once the baby arrived, but nothing could prepare me for how much it does and just like that. Your entire heart opens up, your priorities are completely shifted, and your joy and awe reach heights that you could never have thought possible, all in a heartbeat.
  • Mrs. Beagle is amazing – It’s true that men could never go through the pain of childbirth. My wife is a truly amazing woman for carrying our son, delivering our son, and how she now takes care and loves him in a way that only a mother can.

What a blessing!

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Net Worth Review: June 2009

June was another positive month for our net worth. That’s three months in a row that we’ve seen an increase, which is the first time we’ve seen three consecutive monthly gains since a four month stretch between November 2006 – February 2007!

Property –I use a combination of Zillow and CyberHomes. I make a small adjustment based on what I’m seeing things sell for, and I remove 7.75% for expected selling costs. For the month, the value stabilized, which is a rarity, actually going up a small fraction. I’m not sure how long that will continue, given that Michigan will most likely see further battering with the GM bankruptcy, but we’re not going anywhere, so no big deal here.
Autos – The value of our two cars has held pretty steady the last couple of months as the used car market has heated up. We saw a modest decline, but nothing unexpected.
Investment Accounts – We had a good month, going up slightly above 5%. Still for the last 12 months, our investment account balance is down over 35%. Still, I feel like we’re hopefully in a good re-building mode that can continue the positive strides made.
Cash Accounts – We continued to slightly add to our cash accounts raising another 2.66% for the month.
Retirement Accounts – Our retirement account went up 7.6% for the month. The total value is down roughly 14.5% over the past year. My employer stopped matching, but we’re still contributing 10% of my salary at this time. Unfortunately, we’re not maxing out our retirement, but I still feel like we’re moving in the right direction.
DEBT:
Mortgage – Nothing special, just the monthly payment. Our mortgage is a 30-year loan at 5.875%
Car Loans – We paid off our car 11 months ago and we have no outstanding car loans!
Credit Cards – This is the balance that’s accrued since the last statement. We pay our credit cards off every month. We have a little lower balance than last month but still quite a bit higher than usual (as evidenced by the increase from 12 months ago) simply because of the added costs of our newborn.
Student Loan 1 – This is the loan that had a higher balance and a higher interest rate. After paying the car loan off, we concentrated our debt payment on this loan. We’ve paid 60% of the balance from a year ago, which just thrills me to pieces! We got a decent chunk down this past month as a portion of our federal tax return went to paying it down.
Student Loan 2 – This is the second loan but it is at a very low interest rate. We make the minimum payments on this loan. After Student Loan 1 is paid off, we’ll have to decide whether to snowball the payments toward this loan, or switch to something else (such as the mortgage, investing, or adding even more to our retirement)
Overall, our net worth went up 8.2% for the month, and is down 24.8% from a year ago.
I think it was a good month. I’m still extremely happy with how we’ve transitioned into a single-paycheck household. Our next challenge will be to add the month-to-month costs of a newborn into our budget.
I think we’ve made some great strides and am keeping my fingers crossed that we continue to positive momentum built over the last several months.

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Baby Beagle Has Arrived!!!!

Sorry for the lack of posts but it’s because Baby Beagle has arrived! Baby Beagle was born on Tuesday, May 26th at 10:56pm. He was born happy and healthy! There was a brief period of not eating or keeping food down yesterday (and a trip to the ER by nervous first time parents), but today he is doing great!
No matter how many times people explained what a life-changing event this was to be, there was no way to prepare for the joy and love that filled my heart when he entered this world. He is truly a blessing from God.
I’m taking a bit of time to enjoy these first few days with my wife and son, but will be back to regular blogging before you know it, and will share more details about our new little happy bundle!
Thanks!!!!!
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