Thursday, July 30, 2009


This is Nathan writing you all to say.... WERE DEBT FREEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!
I canceled the credit card today. Student loan is payed off. Medical bills paid off (so we own the kids now ;-). We have a new peace in our lives that is indescribable.

Let me say this to all you young folks trying so desperately to buy your first house... if you don't have the following you are STUPID to think you can afford a house (I am not going to mince words because I believe this is what you need to save your own butt when hard times come. If you think hard times won't come and you have it all figured out then go do your thing but don't say I didn't warn you. So here is the list...

1. No debt. This includes student loans, credit cards, medical bills, car payments, boat payments, vet payments, plastic surgery payments... NO DEBT.

2. 4-6 months living expenses in a liquid account that will not be used for anything except an EMERGENCY.

3. 10-20% down payment. This is crucial. I know some of you will say "the banks will loan 100%" true but if you suddenly have to sell your house and the market is down you will be stuck paying the difference to get out from under the house. Also a down payment shows the lender you are serious about your decision to buy and helps expedite the closing process. Less risk for lender equals a better chance of a loan.

4. Your mortgage payment should be less than 25% of your take home pay. Some may see this as not important but in reality it is easier to ride out storms with a manageable mortgage. If too much of your rescources are tied up in your house payment life is going to suck hard.

5. Don't get conned into the "now is the best time to buy." Sure the government will give you 8000 dollars if you are a first time buyer but if the housing market drops in the mean time have you really gained? If you can't afford the payments in the first place (see 1-4 above), then you can't afford the house evn if the government was giving 10,000 dollars it wouldn't matter because you can't afford the house now. Save up and save your life.

Folks, there are bennefits to renting. If the roof needs relaced at 8-10k you don't need to worry about it. If the $2,000 hot water heater goes out the landlord covers it. I could keep going but I think you get my drift.

Lindy and I had plenty of equity in our house we sold. We chose to give it up in favor of being debt free. There is a peace to beautifull for words that has come from that descision. So in a way we now have a fresh start. We now have a way to save for a house and retirement and the kids college funds. We are living like no one else so that someday we can live like know one else. That quote comes from the Dave Ramsey Show. Dave Ramsey didn't get us out of debt though our choices and grown up descisions have helped us to be debt free. Now our future sudenly looks very bright and wide open.

Thank you for reading and may God bless you all,
Nathan Labunski

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Anticipation Is KILLING Me!

Tomorrow we receive our check for the sale of our house! Which also means that tomorrow, we:

  • Pay of Nathan's student loan and kick Sallie Mae to the curb!
  • Pay off our final credit card, cancel it, and figure out a creative way to destroy it!
  • Pay off the last of the medical bills from when when I was on bedrest and the boys were born!
  • Pay the final bills from our Baker utilities!
  • Become 100% debt free!
Not that I'm excited or anything.

Nathan and I just got done cooking up a TON of baby food for the boys. Nathan's sister, Kate, has an amazing garden and she has lovingly donated huge zuchinni's and several yellow squash, which are now cooling (filling) in our largest pyrex bowl. We also made a small amount of green beans, chopped up some blueberries, and made a large amount of tomato chicken pasta...glop, for lack of a better word.

The boys also went on their first adventure with teething biscuits, which Nathan's mom bought them. Man oh man, did they love those biscuits! Asher gobbled his entire biscuit down, even managing to chew up some decent sized chunks that he bit off, while Levi got about half way through his and then donated the rest to the dog. He's generous like that. It was fun to watch the boys feed themselves like that, although I do have to say that the clean up left something to be desired...drying, slobbery biscuit isn't exactly fun to try to get off of a baby's face and hands. Ah well, they liked it! Here's a couple of pictures.



Asher is also getting SOOOOOO close to going from laying on his side to sitting up all on his own. He's just one hand scootch away from pushing himself upright. This picture was taken a few days ago, and he got even closer than this just last night.

Levi, on the other hand, is choosing to explore his career options; right now he is taking a closer look at dentistry, and he regularly practices on Mommy, Daddy, and sometimes even his brother.

Wrestling has also become a regular occurrence in the Labunski household. If they're already starting at 10 months old, how much trouble am I in?

Asher on top, Levi being pinned.

It won't be boring, I can tell you that much!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Few Highlights

Today's Mentionables (not to be confused with Unmentionables):

  • Levi is cutting a tooth. Really truly this time; there's a small hole in his gums that a tip of white tooth is poking though. But, in true Labunski fashion, he is cutting his upper left tooth rather than a bottom tooth like most other babies do. We like to swim against the stream, we do...yeah.
  • We went out to dinner at Golden Valley Brewery tonight, where it was Tip A Cop night. The local city officers and county deputies help wait tables to raise money for the Yamhill County Special Olympics, which just rocks in my book. Well, one of our city officers came up to the table to tell us about the fundraiser, made a goofy face at Levi, and waved...and Levi promptly waved back. Full extended arm, up and down, smiling at the officer, waved. First intentional wave recorded. Loved it. And of course it had to be at one of the officers...that just makes sense. Right?
  • I think I've failed to mention that the boys say Da-Da and Ma-Ma on a regular basis now. Actually, Ma-Ma sounds more like Mom-Mom-Mom-Mom. Plus they frequently look at the dog and say DA! We're pretty sure they're trying to say dog, because the dog-focused "da" sounds more like "daah", while the da-da version sounds more like the da in Dad.
  • My first day of work was great! I'm totally excited to get through all of my training and get back into the groove of being a true dispatcher, so I'm going to be busting my butt non-stop to make sure that happens as soon as possible.
  • I'm tired, so I'm going to bed. Yes, I'm aware that it's not even 8 pm, but I slept horribly last night and I will be getting up at 5:45 am again tomorrow morning...after a month of having no true wake-up time, 5:34 am arrives VERY early.

The Finish Line

AKA: The Starting Line

Yesterday we closed on the sale of our Baker house. The documents were signed, faxed, and mailed. Exactly one month after we were suppose to close, the deal is completed and we no longer own vacant property on the other side of the state. It's a bittersweet feeling, and part of me is starting to feel small twinges of homesickness, but our future awaits! all we have to do is await the arrival of the moolah!

Along the same thread of new beginnings, I leave in about 7 minutes to drive to my first day at my brand new job. Nervous? You better believe it. Excited? Oh man, yes!

And on that note, I leave you.

Have a great day!

Monday, July 20, 2009

This Day Was Bananas...

B. A. N. A. N. A. S.

This day was bananas. B. A. N. A. N. A. S.

Name that tv show.

Actually, the day wasn't too bad, but we were disappointed in that we didn't get to sign the documents for the sale of the house. Hopefully it will happen tomorrow or Wednesday. Other than that it was a very nice, relaxing day. Both Nathan and I got naps, which I think were very well deserved after four days of sick babies. The boys slept really well last night, for the first time since they started getting sick which meant that we slept pretty well.

While Nathan was taking his nap, I introduced the boys to whole banana for the first time. They didn't do much eating, which wasn't surprising as they had just finished quite a bit of cereal. Asher did feed himself a couple of bites and they both managed to get banana all over themselves. Observe. Asher is in the top photo and Levi is in the bottom photo.

Too much fun.

Later this evening, we both wanted to get out of the house and remembered that there is a Coldstone here in Mac...mmm, Coldstone. While we were there, the boys had their first sorbet. Strawberry banana mango, to be exact. They loved it! Granted, they were on a little bit of a sugar high afterwards, but it was a great way to beat the heat for a while.

Every day, the boys grow bigger, more intelligent, and more amazing. I can't believe that they're going to be 10 months old tomorrow...seriously, it's been ten months since they were born?! Pretty amazing. I have to keep reminding myself that they are actually only 8 months old, because they look like anything but preemies. I sometimes forget how lucky we are that they were born healthy and have no complications, because it would have ended very differently.

Speaking of which, please be praying for our friends Ashley and Brian. They live in Kodiak, AK (not exactly a booming metropolis) and Ashley is about 24 weeks pregnant with identical twin boys. Ashley emailed me not long after they found out they were having twins to ask for advice, pointers, etc. As a result of our experience, I strongly encouraged her to see a perinatalogist. After seeing a specialist, they found out that the boys have twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, where one twin takes nutrients from the other. So far, it isn't severe enough to warrant surgery, and they're keeping a close eye on it, but they definitely need as many prayers as they can get. They only have another month to go before the babies will have good odds of surviving out of the womb.

A New Beginning

My sister in law posted this video on Facebook and when I watched it, tears instantly came to my eyes. Please watch it, it's very short, and then I'll explain.

We're suppose to close on the sale of our house today. I know that I've been mostly focusing on the desire to be done with the sale and our need for the money that will result from the sale. What I haven't focused on, and what really should be the focus, is what the sale of this house is enabling us to do.

Every day on the news we see headlines shouting about the current "economic crisis"'s enough to make me want to quit watching the news. Oh wait, I already hated watching the news. But I digress. Thing is, this economic crisis can be chalked up to one thing and one thing alone: our country has been spending money it doesn't have for years. Unfortunately, that travels all the way down the line to me. And to you.

There's a belief out there that is embraced by millions and it's slowly killing us, financially. The belief is that debt is ok. Debt is normal. Debt can even be a good thing. I subscribed wholeheartedly to that belief for years. But here's the thing, and I'm not pulling any punches here: that belief is a lie.

I'll break it down a little bit. Between our equity loan, our student loans, our credit card, and our medical bills, Nathan and I were paying out $1000/month...TO THE PAST! This wasn't money we were paying towards today or tomorrow, we were still paying for yesterday, for things we did or bought years ago. That's $12,000/year that we weren't able to put towards our future, or the future of our sons. Each month, approximately $300 of that simply went towards interest on that debt...that's $3600 each year spent only on that wasn't even going towards paying off yesterday, but instead is paying the bank for the pleasure of taking our money.

Another myth believed widely is that we NEED credit cards. Don't even get me started on that one, because it's bogus. If you believe you NEED that credit card (or multiple credit cards) that is monopolizing the space in your wallet, you're lying to yourself and buying in to the crap that the credit card companies have been feeding us for years.

I could go into several more of the numerous myths that our society buys into, but I'll save those for later posts. Right now is a celebration of where we stand today and where we will stand in just a few days from now.

Today we still claim over $80,000 in debt. That is a sum that makes me cringe and puts my teeth on edge. Before we found out we needed to move and sell our house, we were on track (through sacrifice and tightening the financial belt) to pay of that debt in five years. FIVE YEARS! In our fast-paced, "I want it now" society, that seems like a lifetime, but not compared to the track we were on which would have seen us paying it off about the same time the boys go to college.

While losing my job and having to move brought a lot of frustration and anger with it, we've come to realize that it was a huge blessing in disguise. With the sale of our house, in just three to four days we will be paying off 100% of our debt. That is where the tears came from. This has been a long hard few years, and yet ALL of it has been bringing us to this point. And now we're here, standing on the brink of a brand new life. That may seem overly dramatic, but if you really think about it, it's not. It really IS the start of a brand new life, a life free of the bonds of debt.

That $1000/month that we were sending to the bank to pay off our past? That can now go towards our future, towards a home that we don't owe any money on and a retirement that will be amazing. The huge savings we're going to keep instead of immediately dropping into a house we can't afford? We will suddenly become our own credit card, one without interest, where we can make our money work for us instead of for the bank; one to be used wisely, for sure, yet one that gives us the freedom to control our money instead of our money controlling us.

With our nation's economy the way it is, and with no up-swing in sight (despite what the news tries to tell you), I'm proud of the fact that our boys will never have to see Mommy and Daddy fret over how to pay for the past. I'm proud that we will be leading by example, refusing to pay for anything unless it's with cash. I'm proud that we will be teaching them that debt doesn't have to be the norm, that debt isn't "good". I pray that this will help them be smart and successful in their futures.

Our sign says:


Friday, July 17, 2009

Wait...Is That....?


Just possibly...

Don't want to get my hopes up, but....


I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel!

We got word from our realtor this morning that the loan documents (for the buyers of our house) were being drawn up today and if all goes well, we should be closing on Monday!!!!

I'm trying not to get too excited, because we've had WAY too many setbacks already, but this is the first time we've heard the words "the documents are being drawn up". So please be praying that nothing else pops up and that we actually have documents to sign on Monday. Because if we do, that means we should get our check by (hopefully) Wednesday, at which point we can pay off ALL of our debt and leave our old life behind us. No more paying for yesterday!!!

I loved our home in Baker, especially after we put so much work into remodeling it. But honestly, I'm just ready to be done with it. This has been such a roller coaster ride and I'm ready for it to be over...and I suppose all those feelings are physically represented by still owning this house. I'll never forget how blessed we were by the gift that Marla gave us, and how that blessing will continue to effect the rest of our lives; I guess I'm just not one for having the goodbye period lasting so long.

On the work front, I went for a ride along today with a deputy who is also a part time dispatcher, which was a lot of fun. We drove ALL OVER THE PLACE...well, all over the place while being confined to northern Yamhill County. I'm looking forward to doing a couple more ride along's, not to mention getting started in dispatch (I think I've said that before). I miss the work, I miss having work to go to, and yes, I miss the adrenaline.

On the twin front, things aren't quite as...smooth? We've stopped waffling over whether the boys have a cold or are teething, and have come to the conclusion that they mostly have a cold with possible teething thrown in there. Both have low grade fevers; we have an ear thermometer and when I measured Levi's temp, it was three degrees higher in his left ear than in his right ear. He's also been very sensitive about his left ear, crying whenever you touch it. So we got the boys into the Urgent Care Center this afternoon and found out that they BOTH have ear infections in their left ears. Really? Seriously boys, just because you're twins doesn't mean that you have to do everything EXACTLY the same, at EXACTLY the same time. Now they're on antibiotics, which will hopefully kick this cold/ear infection crap in the butt so they can go back to being healthy and happy babies...and so we can all go back to sleeping at night.

Speaking of sleep, both of the boys are asleep in their swings in the living room. We have an air mattress set up in the office so that whoever is on baby duty can crash on that to be near them, while the other one can get some sleep upstairs. Tonight is my turn on baby duty. I guess this is preparing me to be back on shift work, but honestly people, I'm not going onto graveyard for a while. Anyway, the whole point to this paragraph was to say that I am now going to deposit myself onto that air mattress and try to get some zzz's myself...and hopefully kick this sore throat I've felt coming on for the past 24 hours. Night!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


No really, I apologize. It has been WEEKS since my last post, and I have no excuse except laziness...and boys being sick/teething...and moving into a new house...and getting ready to start a new job...oh...and laziness.

Being out of work for a month has not done anything to help my motivation. I'm SO ready to get started! The good news is that my start date is on the 23rd, and I'll be working my first couple of months on day shift, 0700-1700, Thurs-Sun. Unfortunately, that means I will have NO weekends off for the next few months, but hey, I have a husband who doesn't work so coordinating days off really isn't an issue! Plus I luuuuuv me some 10 hour shifts. So here's to getting started in...hey, whaddaya know, exactly one week!

As I mentioned, the boys are teething. Or they have a cold. Not sure which. No fevers, runny noses, drooling like crazy, cranky, chewing like mad, and really tender swollen gums. Not to mention some really sleepless nights. Yet we haven't seen any teeth poking through. So I don't know. To all you mothers out there, how long does it usually take a tooth to appear once the really intense teething symptoms crop up?

Oh. And the sale of our house in Baker hasn't closed yet. We're ticked. It was suppose to close on June 22nd, almost a month ago, but the lender that the buyers are going through are dragging their feet like crazy. They're constantly finding tiny little things to nitpick, effectively delaying the process...things like asking the assessor to further describe the street noise. WHAT?!?! SERIOUSLY?!?! The deadline for closing on the house has already been bumped back twice now (once to the end of June, and then again to July 15th) and is now being bumped back yet again, to the 27th. We thought we were really close to getting papers drawn up yesterday, but now the lender needs more pay stubs, bank statements, and rent bills from the buyers...because it's a new month, don'tcha know. Did I mention that we have no income yet?! And depending on the pay schedule at my new job, it could be anywhere from three to five weeks before I get paid.

We're sweating a little bit here, and that has nothing to do with the 90 degree temperatures that have been gracing McMinnville of late.

Ok, I need a blast of cuteness to lower my blood pressure again.

Levi holding his own ba-ba.

Asher (top) and Levi (bottom) hanging out in their new "wrestling ring".

Asher fell asleep while hanging out on the couch with Daddy.

Asher sitting up all by himself...he managed to do this for a good 5 minutes or so.

Asher (left) and Levi (right) enjoying a private concert from Uncle Eliot on 4th of July.

As usual, I feel better now.

By the way, if you know anyone on the market for a 2005 Dodge Durango, we're looking to sell ours in order to downgrade to a smaller (less ridiculous) vehicle.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Week of Firsts


That is a sigh of relief, not to be confused with a shriek of horror.

I love our new home. Seriously. I will take pictures of the rooms eventually, but right now I can't really find our camera and flash cord, and it's a pain in the butt to get photos off of our iPhones.

Yeah...we got iPhones. Kind of ridiculous, but they weren't any more or less expensive than other phones to choose from and they are A-MA-ZING! Did you know that we can now do internet ANYWHERE that we have service?! It just blows my mind. We originally signed up with T-Mobile before we moved here, but as soon as we got into our house, we discovered that our phones only had one bar in our house and only two bars outside of it. Lame. So we cancelled our service with them (within the 14 day "Buyer's Remorse" period, and went with AT&T. Anyway, enough about that.

We have sucessfully unpacked and organized every room in the house except for the office, which is tomorrow's project. Nathan is working on the garage as I type this, and it's starting to finally come together. I love love love our house and I'll be completely happy staying here for a few years. I also love our neighborhood. We've met several of our neighbors, and all of them are incredibly friendly, and most of them are young families. There's a great pathway through the neighborhood to a local park (which has the most phenominal play structures, btw) that we have been walking every night. The boys can't get enough stroller rides. Last night we walked to the park and the boys got to swing in the baby swings for the first time. Too adorable, and they had a great time.


Asher in the swing.

Levi having fun in the swing.

Asher on the cool lady bug bouncer.

Asher & Daddy going down the slide. Who looks more afraid?

Oh, and did I mention that we only live 45 miles from Lincoln City? Yeah, we went to Mo's for dinner on Tuesday night. The boys enjoyed oatmeal with applesauce while Nathan and I enjoyed fish and chips, mmmm.

Levi enjoying his gourmet Oatmeal & Applesauce with Daddy.

Asher & Mommy at Mo's...oh yeah, my hair is really short now.

Our view from our table at Mo's.

We also took a brief (emphasis on the word brief) jaunt onto the beach, but it was only 57 degrees out and windy so I don't think the boys really appreciated their first beach experience.

Umm, BRRR?!

This afternoon, we are planning on going to the Farmer's Market that is downtown, to get some fresh fruits and veggies for the boys (and us), after which Nathan is heading up to his dad's for some guy time, to watch some baseball, and to make a Costco run as we are woefully low on baby wipes. Meanwhile, I will hang out with the boys and enjoy some baby-mommy time.

As for 4th of July weekend? We have no idea. So stay tuned.

And now for one last blast of cuteness.

Levi left, Asher right. The boys love their new room, which is at least two times as big as their old one.