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To All a Good Night

Posted on Jan 8, 2014 | 0 comments

Christmas isn’t about the gifts, it’s about the people giving them. Knowing that this holiday season could be the last we spend at home with family for a while, we made a particularly strong effort this year to try to get to as many events as we could. Although we weren’t able to get everywhere, we did have a great Christmas with both sides of our family.

This is the first year Carter has had a full understanding of Christmas and man was it fun!

Opening the First Present

Excited Carter

I think he likes it!

Little Snorkel Boy

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Snorkeler at our house, Train Conductor at Grandma’s: major score with the little boy!

Cookie Decorating

 

Christmas cookies

 

This year we also had the opportunity to celebrate New Year’s with some new friends of ours, Daler and Marta. They moved to the US only a few years ago from Tajikistan, but they feel like family after only knowing them for a few months. They were able to join us for Thanksgiving and Christmas at the Penning house and then put on a fabulous party for New Year’s in Tajik style!

Dinner at Daler and Marta\'s

These were just the appetizers!

Party getting started

 

Stephanie at the table

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Marta

 

We hope you had a great holiday with family and friends. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

 

 

Start Your Engines

Posted on Jan 2, 2014 | 0 comments

Toy cars on the coffee table

Cars, trucks, and motorcycles. What more could a little boy want?

The new year has begun and we are hitting the ground running. We’ve made some huge progress towards our cruising goals in only a few days and the realization has finally sunk in. Things just got serious, folks. All of a sudden Dan and I have become somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of work that must be done in a relatively short time.

Let’s back up a bit. A few weeks ago, we were working on our financial plans trying to figure out what exactly still needed to be done before we could attain our preferred amount of savings (i.e. $10,000 kitty; $3,000 per house rental reserves; and $40-50,000 in total boat purchase/refit allowance.) Our goal was to purchase at least 1 more rental house so our total could be 5 houses producing around $1,500 a month in total profit. To do that, we would either need to buy a 5th house out of our current boat savings (boo!) or sell our owner occupied house for enough to pay for 2 house down payments (yay!) 

We decided to talk to the realtor who sold our last house as well as showing our house to a coworker of Dan’s who said she might be interested. The realtor quoted us a very healthy number that would far outweigh the cost of purchasing 2 additional houses, but it turns out that listing it wasn’t even necessary. Dan’s coworker loved our house so much that she made an offer one day after seeing it and our tentative scheduled closing date is February 3rd! Talk about a quick sale from thinking about selling to sold in a week! The only downside is now we have to get another house purchased ASAP or we might be out on the street in a month. Packing and house shopping is on the menu for sure!

In addition to working out our housing issues we also decided now would be a good time to start actively searching for our boat. We want to have plenty of time to find the best boat for us for the right price. I’ll go into more detail on that search in another post coming soon, but the important thing is there has been a major shift in mindset occurring in our plans. We are no longer looking at boats as prototypes or theoretical options, now every boat we look at has the potential to be the one. Serious scrutiny of each boat and the options available takes a lot of time and effort to get right, but it’s crucial that we make good choices in the beginning to allow ourselves to stay on track for cruising this year.

That’s right, I said it: WE’RE CRUISING THIS YEAR! Happy 2014!

 

Frozen

Posted on Dec 24, 2013 | 0 comments

Frozen BerriesFrozen Berries 2Christmas Tree IceFrozen GrassWaiting for SummerIMGP0377

Not “Frozen” like the movie, more frozen like tundra. After the last few years of relatively mild winters in the Midwest, it seems like this winter is bearing down with no mercy. Snow, ice, and bitter cold remind us daily of the warmth we are looking forward to when “winter” is no longer a swear word in our family. Last week Dan came up with a particularly good analogy. As we snuggled together with Carter in our bed he said, “Winter is like space:  it might be nice to look at, but it is  not suitable for human habitation.” I wholeheartedly agree.

On the plus side, we were able to take some slight advantage of the recent ice storm to try out our new Pentax K50. We’ll be talking a lot more about this camera in the future, but for now I’ll just say that we are very impressed with the image quality. I think with some practice we could get (and have already gotten) some really fabulous shots with this camera.