Thursday, January 26, 2012

money matters.

As many of you have already seen on Facebook, I chopped off my hair. Like, all of it. This is the shortest it's ever been--I can't even put it in a ponytail!!! It's different, which is always nice. It doesn't take an hour to wash, comb through, and dry anymore, which is the nicest thing ever. Buuut...I'm still getting used to it. It's definitely shorter than I wanted, and I'm still trying to figure out how to style it. So in the meantime, I'm kind of self-conscious about it. I'm hoping that will pass soon though, because I really want to really like it! I'm hoping that my impending purchase of a new straightener later today at Walmart (which by the way, just opened up in Moscow yesterday!) will help me feel better about it.

On the track of purchasing things, I've decided we need to seriously revamp our spending habits. So far in January we've spent $353 on groceries. That's crazy for two people! I don't even know how it happened. I've just started planning out meals and shopping trips, but I think I need to do a better job on those even. I want to start really doing a good job building our savings this semester! Our family finance class this morning got me thinking about all these adulty money things we need to get serious about.

I also purchased us a private insurance plan this morning. We've been looking for one, and we got in touch with an agent from Grace yesterday so he really helped me feel more comfortable making those kind of decisions. So we're on the track to becoming all adult! Ha. All this financial stuff is a little scary. But I'm really doing my research on how to save money in various ways the best I can. I found that if I pay our utilities bill with our credit card (then pay that off right away) we get 5% back! That's my victory for today.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

juice fast fail.

This past Friday morning, I was feeling bloated and fat and icky. So I curled up next to Sterling and started being all pathetic and whiny and such. I said we should go on a juice&produce fast (which by the way, I think are dumb and unhealthy). He, wanting to lose weight, excitedly agreed. We agreed to go for a 3 day fast.

This is the story of our Fast Day. 

So to Winco we go ASAP, and start throwing every fruit and veggie we could find into our cart. We get home and start planning out what to eat and begin munching on blueberries and kiwis and tomato juice. We were ecstatic about our new diet.

Sterling goes to work. I sit home and eat more blueberries and search the internet for recipes I can make for dinner using cabbage and broccoli and all the other newly acquired veggies in my fridge. I get excited over these roasted broccoli and asian cabbage slaw recipes I find.

I start getting pretty dang ravenous. Those blueberries just don't cut it for lunch. I search the kitchen for something that appeals to my growling tummy. Nothing looks good. I don't want no stinkin' cucumber slices! I resort to dipping celery stalks into applesauce. Still not cutting it. Getting a little grouchy now.

I decide to get working on my slaw, thinking I can snack on that deliciousness while waiting for The Husband to get home. I make it. It's decent. I eat a few forkfuls non-excitedly.

Sterling comes home, and I confess to eating a handful of almonds out of desperation. Then I instantly start whining to him about my extreme hunger and how I just cannot survive this fast.

......and then we had baked potatoes with chili and cornbread with honey for dinner.

The Stoddard's successfully completed a 6 hour fast. Do we have some unbelievable willpower or what??

dirty politics.

As some of you know, Sterling is the president of a club at UI called Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). He has been for 2 years now. I'm the secretary this year. We both really enjoy the club, probably mostly because we've become a close-knit group of friends with the majority of the members. We hold the occasional event, but we're not one of those groups that are protesting in campus every week or constantly actively trying to change the world or anything. It's basically just a group of like-minded people who get together to grow their knowledge on libertarianism (and the like) and hopefully enlighten others.

There was a Youth Leadership School in Moscow this weekend put on by the Leadership Institute . A higher-up in the national YAL told us our club would get $250 if we all went. Alright, deal. 8am-8pm yesterday, 8:30am-3pm today, sitting in a room, listening to lectures and such. It was incredibly informative and I learned a ton.

The most important thing I learned was that I never want to be involved in politics, besides having my own personal views and educating myself.

Politics are a dirty, dirty thing. You cannot work in politics if you have (and want to keep) morals. Everything is so dang sneaky. The primary goal in everything is to make your opponent look bad, in any possible way you can.

It's disgusting.

We were pretty much brainwashed with tactics of how to be sneaky and how to destroy the opposing campaigns. Phrases like "If it's a good idea, STEAL IT" were repeated (with an almost cult-ish vibe) constantly.

I'm incredibly ecstatic that it's over.

Yes, the Leadership Institute will teach you an insane amount of information. I learned very much. They know what they're talking about. I, however, am not so hip on learning how to be a spineless, sneaky, dirty politician.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

winter wonderland.

Moscow is in the middle of a blizzard. The University closed school today. A snow day in college? Yes please.

It's been snowing for a couple of days straight. It won't stop. But as much as I hate snow, I don't actually mind it too much this time. I mean, it's cold and I slip a lot and all our mail gets wet, but it kind of transformed Moscow into a cute, snowy little town. And our Xterra is a total beast in the snow, so it's pretty fun driving around town in it. And with no school or work, we're just holed up in our apartment, baking cookies and muffins and crepes. We might have a few extra inches of insulation on our tummies by the time this blizzard clears up. Oh, and the gym is closed too. Oh, darn.

Here are a couple of pictures from yesterday. It hasn't stopped snowing since, so you can imagine how much snow there is now. A ton. These pictures really don't do the snow justice, at all.

There is like a 4 ft snow bank in the middle of all the roads around town. It's almost as tall as me! :)

This is our apartment building. We're upstairs there :)

Oh, did I mention that we decided to wait until today to go do our laundry? We've been putting it off for a week, and we couldn't wait any longer. So, The Stoddard's ventured out in the blizzard down to the laundromat and filled 5 (five!!!) machines with our clothes. I can't wait til we have our own washer & dryer.
It's looking like tomorrow will be a snow day as well. I'd kind of like to make money, so I hope the storm clears up someday soon though. But until then, we will continue baking (I've got some bread rising as we speak), eating, and watching movies. My Sister's Keeper is up next tonight. I'm excited for it. Sterling rented Bladerunner, but I refused to watch it. I had a Sci-Fi English class my senior year of high school (apparently that's weird, I hear) and the crazy lunatic of a teacher made us read that book and watch the movie and write crazy essays about it, so I'm still pretty scarred from the experience. 

So here's to an unexpected 4 day weekend. I guess this snow stuff isn't so bad after all.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

pumpin' iron. or, you know, walking on the treadmill.

The Stoddard's are getting fit. For real, this time. At least, I think (hope) so.

We went to the gym two days in a row. That's a good start, right? And our apartment isn't stocked with as much junk food as before. Last night, I actually witnessed Sterling going to the kitchen to get popcorn, but come back with just an orange. That's progress. To be honest though, I'm usually the one who gets us eating badly. I have some fierce cravings, and I'm just not good at denying myself sweets. But as long as we keep working out, I'm not too worried about the food part. All I want is to tone up a bit and get my blood pressure under control a bit more. There will be no deprivation of chocolate, thankyouverymuch!

PS: do other men get real grouchy before going to the gym? Seems like the moment I decide we should go to the gym, Sterling stops talking to me. So now there are three basic things that make him grouchy: being hungry, being tired, and going to the gym. So complex, right? :)

On another note, today is mine and Sterling's 'official' anniversary of when we started dating (aka made it 'Facebook Official'). Look where we are now, kiddos. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

back into the rush.

School started yesterday. I'm not incredibly happy about it. It does look like my semester shouldn't be too hard, though. Statistics is the only class I'm real worried about. It's going to suck. Sterling and I are taking a Family & Personal Finance Management class together. It's an intense class with a ton of work. I'm not looking forward to it. Sterling doesn't think it should be too bad though. Guess we will see. At least we can help each other.

I'm working 5 days a week now instead of 3, which is kind of exhausting and annoying, but my bank account will like it. The kids I nanny are pretty dang difficult lately. Seven is not a good age. Sterling started his new job at the potato culture lab on campus, and he likes it. Con Agra called him for an interview in Washington, but then he told them he won't be available until May, so they said to call them back when it's closer to that time. It's good to know that people are actually paying attention to his applications though, and that they think he looks good. It gives us some hope for a few months down the road. And I wouldn't really want to live in WA anyway.

Sterling downloaded an Ebay app on his phone the other day. I'm not really sure why. But now I'm kind of obsessed with it. I'm trying to buy complete series of our favorite shows on DVD for super cheap. It's kind of dangerous.

Speaking of dangerous, is my husband when we have a bit of a cushy bank account. "Let's buy a gun!" "We're going to Bali this summer!" "I can go through a 12 pack of pop a day!". Seriously. We're going to be broke by February if we go at this rate. I wanted to get cable, but I cannot fathom paying $50 a month. The cheaper packages don't have the channels we want, and I'm telling myself we shouldn't get it just for the sake of having TV.

You know, I really want a house and cable and internet and nice couches and a bed that isn't a couple mattresses on the floors. I'm over this whole college-living thing. 5 months from today he graduates!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

......oh, pinterest....

I can't stop looking at it. It's ridiculous.

Sterling and I have a whole new game plan for our finances this semester. Paying off our credit card entirely this week, opening a savings account (I know, we probably should've already had one) and actually using it, planning out our dinners 2 weeks at a time, etc. And we're putting it all into action ASAP.

So my current project is planning our meals and making a giant grocery list (we also are cutting waaaay back on our shopping trips and hopefully just doing it every other week). I really need to start cooking more than the same few meals, and this has made me do that. So, this is where Pinterest comes in. I've been looking through the food section for a good two hours. There are amazing things on there. And now I can't stop. How am I ever supposed to get anything done when such a wonderful website exists?

It kind of forces me to cut Sterling a little slack with his Reddit addiction. Actually, he has a lot of addictions like that. The latest is video games. He found his old Playstation 2 while we were at his parents house, so he brought it home with us and is on it 24/7. I have to admit though, I actually like it. See, I like just hanging out at home together, but with no internet or cable, The Husband gets pretty bored there and always wants to go to campus or something. But now he has entertainment, so now I can lounge around home, enjoying Sterlings (somewhat distracted) company. It's a pretty nice set-up.

.....Aaaand I'm already desperately wanting to go back to Pinterest. This is horrible. But a really good kind of horrible.

Friday, January 6, 2012

back to 'Scow we go!

Yesterday was my birthday. We're still in Grace, because our car had issues so we had to wait for it to be fixed at the dealership in Soda Springs where it's under warranty. I spent a good amount of time being mopey and pissy about it. I wanted to be back in Moscow, I wanted to do something fun with friends on my birthday, I was tired of spending everyday just hanging out at my in-laws house (though I do love them, don't get me wrong). So I wasn't the most pleasant person the past couple of days.

But we went to Logan yesterday, I shopped and Sterling didn't complain once about it, we went to the movies (New Year's Eve is a surprisingly good movie!), and we went out to dinner. It was nice and fun and I have nothing to complain about. And, come to find out, four of our friends aren't even back in Moscow yet either, so the 'birthday in Moscow' plan would've failed anyway.

And did I mention that our car saved us $470 by deciding to break down in Grace, rather than Moscow or anywhere else? Lucky, yes, very lucky. Sterling told me that about a million times while I was busy being a giant poo, but I was too busy being pouty to care much.

So, once again, I continue to learn that I need to just be happy with things the way they happen and not overreact quite so much. And maybe be a tad less self-absorbed at times. Everything works out for the best.

Our car is now fixed and returned to us, so we will embark on our trip home tomorrow morning. I'm kinda sick of being in a car so much, so I'm not really looking forward to another 10 hour drive. Plus, we're coming back to Grace at the end of the month to say goodbye to Sterling's sister when she leaves for her mission. But I'm looking forward to being back in Moscow finally! It's been 2 and a half weeks. Wow. And I'm pretty excited about the birthday cards I have waiting in my mailbox there :)

Here's a birthday picture of us on the drive to Logan (PS: I have a really nice sister-in-law who let us borrow her car :). Sterling's gum was about falling out of his mouth in every picture I tried taking, so I'm pretty happy we got this one. He was looking pretty foxy last night, I'll have you know.

Monday, January 2, 2012

So long, 2011.

I feel like I should do a post about 2011, but I have no clue how to even write about it. It was probably the craziest, most stressful, most random, and absolutely the best year of my life to date.

I left California for good and moved out on my own for the first time after applying to the University of Idaho on a whim because I met Sterling in Moscow the fall before and spent probably close to every hour of the previous four months talking to him in some form.

Wait, four months and I moved to a different state for this guy? When I was 17, I got homesick while I was a summer camp counselor in Tahoe for a week. I was never big on leaving my comfort zone. So how did I manage to just pick up and move my entire life all of a sudden like that? Without ever even thinking twice about it and never regretting it even a teeny bit?

No clue. I don't know what I was thinking. But something made me do it. I don't remember being scared even, really. I guess that all just proves that it really was the right thing to do.

So thank you, 2011, for giving me, um, for a lack of a better word...balls. Thank you for getting me out of my comfort zone, for getting me out of the trashy black hole that is Placerville, thank you for making me come to the wonderful state of Idaho, thank you for my lovely, wonderful husband, and thank you for teaching me oh so very very much.

2012, you've got a lot of work to do.