Thursday, July 11, 2019

UK Chautauqua

I interrupt my year plus break from blogging to reflect on our week at the UK Chautauqua. (Yes, I have practiced spelling the word and read up on the term chautauqua.)

Around 2014, I was reading about minimalism, and John started reading a blog called Mr. Money Mustache. Over the years, we started reading more blogs and books related to FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) and listening to some personal finance podcasts. I read and heard about this interesting week-long gathering in another country. (The photos from Greece were gorgeous!) I have been wanting to travel more. After some delay from pursuing a teaching credential and having a second child, we made time for this adventure.

John and I were both interested in the attending an FI Chautauqua, and the week in the UK fit our schedules. I was still debating some of the logistics while John pushed the submit button to order our tickets before they sold out. This is part of why we make a good team! (We are celebrating 15 years of marriage this month.)
To keep this post from getting too long, I will mention that this trip involved leaving our kids with family for 10 days, and that this was my first trip to Europe.

The line up of speakers for this event was a big draw for us:

Jim Collins from JL Collins NH and author of The Simple Path to Wealth

Carl from 1500 Days

Jillian from Montana Money Adventures

Kristy and Bryce from Millennial Revolution and authors of Quit Like a Millionaire

Alan from Pop Up Business School

Brandon from Mad Fientist

My mom asked me what I was most looking forward to before our trip. I tried to articulate that it was the mix of the speakers (because I had some background knowledge of their FI journeys) and the attendees. The attendees (capped at about 30) add so much to the event. We came together from the US, UK, Canada, Denmark, France, and Romania. The event draws some world travels, which just feeds my interest in more travel. The design of this event maximizes your interaction and developing friendship with the participants and presenters. It was magical. The people were the highlight of my trip.

Most of the week was spent at Ettington Park where I ate too many desserts. The sticky toffee pudding did not disappoint, and they served plenty of vegetarian options. We did see some of Gerrards Cross Cross (with yummy curry and naan), Oxford (with an awesome tour guide), and Stratford-Upon-Avon (with a play at the Royal Shakespeare Company). Overall, having a quiet home base for the week was ideal for me. I liked having time to get to know the people and process the presentations and meetings.

We watched the new documentary Playing with FIRE with some of the people featured in the film. It is playing in lots of theatres this summer and will eventually be available from a streaming service.

As a couple, we got to have two of the 1:1 meetings during the week. At one meeting, we got the best homework to "take more vacations." We plan to follow this advice to explore more of the US and abroad. Weeks later, I am still reflecting on this experience. I am motivated to continue building a happy and healthy life. I am thinking outside-the-box and formulating some long-term goals, including attending another FI Chautauqua. For an event that seems to be about money, I am really taking away more lessons about life.

Below I will link the blogs from other attendees:
Escaping Silicon Valley
Forging Finance
Kerry Ann
Eisabeth's Chautauqua Guest Post

Friday, March 30, 2018

8 Months and Crawling

CJ is 8 months old and started crawling a week after the 7 month mark. She is getting faster and exploring around our house. She is more interested in pulling up than in sitting. We are baby-proofing as needed around the house, and her crib has been dropped to its lowest setting. Two more teeth are coming in the top, for a current total of 6 teeth.

She does have some stranger/separation anxiety since she spends the most time with me. Alex started full-time daycare at 12 weeks old, so I don't remember him going through this stage. At that time, we were fortunate to have a spot at a quality daycare on campus with consistent, caring teachers. Now I am fortunate to have this time at home with my kids.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Six Months

"The days are long, but the years are short." -Gretchen Rubin

Yep, that can describe parenthood. CJ is six months old today. Some of the days are long, but it feel like the time is flying by us. She is smiling, babbling, eating (peas, carrots, applesauce, and rice cereal), rolling over, playing, and teething (with 2 teeth visible). We continue to enjoy life as a family of 4.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanks for Everything

I really like the large sentiment "Thanks for Everything" from the All Things Thanks stamp set. It was a great sentiment for our Thanksgiving hosts and for the current TGIF Challenge.

My card came together while my daughter was napping. I used a mix of current and retired Stampin'Up! products.

Inks: Real Red, Tangerine Tango (retired), Crushed Curry, Pear Pizzazz, and Versa Mark
Card stock: Whisper White and Pear Pizzazz
Stamps: All Things Thanks & For all Things (retired)
Accessories: Linen Thread, Stitched Shapes Dies, and White Embossing Powder
Designer Series Paper: Coffee Break

After this, I will be back to making Christmas cards. Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Older Stamp Sets

On day 3 of the Merry Making class at Online Card Classes, we were inspired to use our non-holiday stamps for holiday cards. I had almost gotten rid of my retired Flowering Flourishes stamp set from Stampin' Up! in our recent move, but it makes a festive background for holiday cards when heat embossed.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Holiday Backgrounds

I am really enjoying the Merry Making class from Online Card Classes. The first day covered holiday backgrounds, and I had fun playing with some older supplies that I had not used in a while. These cards ended up focusing on embossing. The heat tool was one of my first purchases from Stamping' Up! in 2008, but I had not been heat embossing on my recent cards. I did lots of heat embossing on the first card and am happy with the results using a variety of supplies that I already own. For the second card, I used one of my older embossing folders and colored the poinsettias with a red Copic marker.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Two Months

It has been over 2 months since Carolyn joined our family. At her two month check up, she weighed 12 pounds and 2 ounces and was 23 inches long. CJ is smiling more, which we all love. This month, she met her Uncle "Shrek" and visited San Francisco. Most of our days are quiet and spent around our house and neighborhood. We are happy with our current rental house and can easily walk to the school, library, and a Friday farmers' market. She likes playing with the toy bar on her Pack 'n Play and sitting in the "monkey" seat. She sleeps through most of her brother's soccer games.