Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Lounging at the Beach!

As soon as we arrived at the beach in Florida, Tater did not hesitate to start his relaxation!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Titans:Flow Chart

Yesterday I got a new project. I had to create a flow chart (simple enough) in a program called Smart Draw. Well the program is genious and a little bit intemidating. After playing around for a little while I was ready to conquor my assignment....or at least I thought so!

The picture below shows you a flow chart that one of title workers created. The damn thing was so huge I couldn't get it all in one shot so the bottom foot got cut off. Trust me though it's there!

I started the flow chart yesterday after lunch and I am just now half way with drawing lines, arrows, and putting in the deeds, sales etc. Lots of information that you need not worry about and I can't understand lol. Still learning!

I had a huge smile on my face yesterday while doing the assignment because this is new and a big challenge. I still have a huge smile on my face today and really wanted to show you one of the things that I am doing at my new job.

Happy Tuesday!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Gazelle Speed: Debt Down!

The Randolph's have done it again peeps! We have paid off another debt. Hot damn!

I was so excited to write the check to pay off one of our many loans. It wasn't a lot but $220 is a pretty big deal in our household. We have one more asset to add to our list.

Since we still don't have a clear idea of what my full checks will be for the new job so I am not quite sure how the Debt Snowball will look. We are still fighting one of our doctors offices because they want to charge us for 2k when they did not properly file with our insurance some of the procedures they did during Matthew's surgery. I really hope that it comes out in our favor but of course the doctor's office is dragging their feet.

I don't believe that I have given you the link directly to the man himself. The man behind the idea of a debt free life, Dave Ramsey. Please make sure to give his site a look and you may get some ideas to make your life/budget a little easier.

Do you remember me telling you about the Baby Steps. I have attached the link for the Baby Steps. We are still on number two but we are staying strong with our budget and paying off our debt. I have had people tell me, "You don't need Dave Ramsey to pay off debt!" I politely retort with, "Well For the past 7 years Mr. Randolph and I have tried to relieve the debt but have failed. WE need Dave Ramsey!" I am not ashamed to say that he is the one that got us on track. We are on track and have a plan, a mission, a way of life. Why would you try and be negative about that? I know why.....because you are seeing that I am showing results!

It's not for everyone, but if you just need a little shove in the right direction then take a gander.

Here a debt free story I pulled off of the site!
Soldier: Married W/ 2 Kids 3 years to freedom

Original story submitted by CW2 Hensley on August 17, 2011

I am a US Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2) Blackhawk pilot. I have a wife and two children ages 3 and 1. My wife is a stay-home mom, so I am the sole bread winner. I make about $70,000 per year including benefits.

In the spring of 2009 I was beginning a year long Afghanistan combat tour. At the time I had a net worth of negative $30,000. My debt was in car payments and student loans. Fortunately, I had no credit card debt. I also had a mortgage with very little equity in the house.

Another soldier gave me a copy of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. I watched all of the videos over the course of a week and took copious notes.

I aggressively paid off the debt, established a $3000 emergency fund, and maxed out Roth IRAs for both my wife and myself. I sold my Jeep that was paid off, refinanced the house for 15 years, and began paying an extra $700 per month on the mortgage.

It helped that in 2009 and in 2011 I was deployed, so my salary was tax free and I wasn't buying gas, food, or other living expenses for myself. Of course, I still support my wife and children.

Now 2.5 years later I am half way through another year long tour in Afghanistan, but my finances have changed. I now have no debt, except the mortgage balance, and I now have a retirement portfolio worth $40,000! That is a $70,000 swing in net worth in under three years on a soldier's salary!

The house will be paid off in less than 7 years, and at the current portfolio growth rate, I WILL BE A MILLIONAIRE BEFORE MY THREE YEAR OLD GOES TO COLLEGE!

Thank you Dave. The future looks very bright.


Flash Back Friday: Hubby

I went through my Wal-Mart photo account online and kept coming across this goofy little picture.

Matthew and I were still living in our crappy apartment. CRAPPY! LOL. We still have those curtains in our room. Thank you Dollar General!

I hope this picture makes you smile and giggle. I love you sweetheart!

January 2006

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Cheese and Oucecream!

On our Florida Vacation trip we treated ourselves to some oucecream!


Appreciation, I has it!

I have always been the type to profusely say thank you, send appreciation, and thinking of you cards. It always gives me great joy to write to someone and reiterate how I feel about them or just simply how much I miss them. Since all of the drama of switching jobs I have lost my way on that and feels the need to let those special people in my life know exactly how I feel about them and how much they mean to me!

My family first and foremost I owe so much to just for support and all the financial assistance you have given our family. Since I consider my friends a part of my family you fall into the same category. I don't thrive unless you are ALL in my life.

I know that I mistakes and I know sometimes I let some relationships slack but for the ones that mean the most to me I can guarantee that there is not a day that goes by where you are not on my mind. I pray for each of you every night along with sending virtual hugs and kisses all the time.

I do appreciate you, love you, respect you, and you will always have a special place in my family.


Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day Jitters

Today marks the first day of my new career. I believe my body and mind were completely unready for the new venture. I say that because I woke up 10 times if I woke up once. Ugh. I am so exhausted.

Mr Randolph and I will hopefully be able to figure out just how our schedules will work during this week. While at Prudential, he dropped Tater off to day-care, and I handled the pick up. He dropped him off this morning and since I am a little further down the road I am concerned at how long it may take me to get to him for pick up. I have to consider that I am a really busy part of town and trying to leave the office at prime time, 5 pm. I have to have him picked up by 5:15-5:30.

I am excited that I do actually have a lunch HOUR and can actually get a little blogging done. So relaxing! This morning wasn't rough but we will see how it works out when I throw my morning gym routine in the mix. I got out of bed at 6 am got showered, while Mr Randolph woke Tater and then jumped in after. After daddy was done it was Tater's turn. I was not up for getting him clean after our 7 hour trip home yesterday (details later).

I got the boys out of the house and finished getting ready. I wasn't sure what to wear to work since it is so casual. I did wear my best pair of jeans but I, compared to the rest of the office, worked a little to hard on my image. Hmph!

Besides all that I am not bothered by having to be at work an hour earlier than what I was used to for Pru. I started this morning waiting around to find out exactly what I was going to be doing and who would be teaching me. I still don't know what exactly I will be doing and neither do they! I did not have a computer or desk or anything ready for me this morning. Saying that, I am not the type of person that learns through visuals. I HAVE to be able to do it myself, step by step. Hopefully when I get back from lunch I will have my desk and puter ready.

I assume the rest of the day will be spent like the first half. My brain is half fried by all of the information and steps. Thank God I take great notes and dummy steps. Gotta do what you gotta do. I know I will excel though.

Alright I will wrap it up with my shiny new job look. Have a happy Monday!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Last day…

It is my last day at Prudential. I have given this company 4 years of my life and devotion. Well we see how well that worked out, right? I am trying to not be bitter but the fact of the matter is, I lost my job and they could care less. It’s just business!

I don’t understand that phrase. I have always been that person that tends to take everything personal and everything to heart. When I got this job I just knew that I was going to climb the corporate ladder and be in the big leagues one day. I had even started studying for my insurance licenses. There were no plans for me to start selling insurance; I just wanted to better myself by becoming more familiar with the products we sold. Gold star for me right?! Wrong! Thankfully I did not spend any money on these tests because they were expensive.

My coworkers in the Metairie Office found out they were no longer being considered for the remote (at home) positions. Along with that our Senior Operations associate lost her job to an outside applicant; which I thought was a complete stab in the back! Now the last two, Operations Specialist, have to fight over one position that they are keeping. I believe they both know how this is going to turn out. One of the girls has been with Prudential for almost 11 years and the other just made 3 years. If you look at it from a business point of view you should know that they will more than likely choose the associate that does not make a lot of bank.

This past week has been extremely slow and mind numbing. My manager came to the office on Tuesday to spend some time with me and go over some of the tasks that I handle. She treated me to lunch and we had a sad farewell hug. She is not handling losing all her employees too well. I guess I wouldn’t either! Yesterday the Recruiting Manager came in and we had a day of me breaking down all the fun spreadsheets and job duties that will be his. He was not at all happy and pretty much refuses to do a few of the tasks. I laugh, not my problem!

The Manager, Financial Services in my office is also not enjoying my last week in the office. I could compare him to a 3 year old with all the hissy fits/tantrums he has been throwing lately. He is quite adorable and I will really miss hanging out.

I have already taken all my pictures and other personal items home. I did not want my last day to be dramatic and me be in tears because I am packing on my last day. NO WAY! I have been preparing myself for this day for a while and I don’t regret the distance I have put between my current position and my heart.

I am strong again and in control. I have a plan! So now I wait until 5 o’clock and walk out these doors with my head held high.

Good bye Pru!

PS the agents in my office are not at all happy that I am getting laid off and this is their way to protest! I love it! The sign will be put out in the front lobby when no agents are available.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cooties and more news

Hey Tater!

I hope that you are doing well today and having fun hanging out with your Nana. You were so excited to see her this morning I could barely get a word or kiss in edgewise.

While you were at school yesterday Mrs Cheryl called and told me that your nose has been running like a faucet and you’re coughing. She also noticed that your ears seemed sensitive. I kind of freaked because we are going to Florida next week and I did not want to take any chances of this thing getting worse. So I hurried and called Nana to the rescue. Mommy and Daddy are so glad that we can depend on her to be there for you. Nana came and saved you from school and took you to your afternoon appointment with the pediatrician. I told you that mommy was not taking ANY chances. You have a bad track record with ear infections.

I love your pediatrician and the fact that he looked at Nana and said….”Ummm , Clayton has a cold?!” Well duh! He prescribed your usual J-Max and sent you on your way.

While you were in the office you got a quick check-up with your height and weight.

​Height​​ 100 cm ​​ 90-95 percentile

​Weight​​ 38 lbs. ​​95 percentile

I guess you are just a big, growing boy! I love it! You are having some growing pains unfortunately and that really breaks daddy and mommy’s heart. I rub you down like a crazy person after a warm bath and you still cry, crocodile tears, telling me “Mommy is burnz!” I normally give you a half a dose of Motrin so take the edge off enough so you can sleep.

Anyways, you will be hanging out with your Nana for the rest of the week so you don’t contaminate the other kids at school and you will be able to rest with Nana. She is a great doctor and makes sure to pump you up with vitamins, water, and all the food you can eat. Nana has the magic touch!

Oh I have great news to tell you! You Uncle Kris and Auntie Mishy got engaged yesterday!!!! Auntie Mishy was swept off her feet by a sweet proposal on Facebook. Since she is highly addicted to the social network is was most fitting. Daddy and I are so happy that “pet rock” finally made it on Auntie Mishy’s finger. They really deserve each other and are a perfect fit.

I know you don’t understand right now, at 2 years old, but when you are older you will learn what love is all about and your Auntie and Uncle will be happy to tell their love story of how they persevered and became one anothers soul mate.

Congrats to the future O’Neals!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Weekend Recap!

I was such a busy little girl this weekend!

Tater and I got out of school/work early so we needed to visit Nana. She needed us to bring her some mushrooms to cook for our beach trip next week. All Tater could say was Papaw...going see papaw!? I felt bad having to tell him no.

Well we stopped at a little mom and pop shop in town to pick up the mushrooms and Tater decided he needed some groceries. He shopped around until he found just what he needed. DONUTS! Chocolate covered donuts. I don't want you to think that he came and asked me for the donuts and I went and got them down for him. Oh No! He went up to the end-cap got this large box of donuts and proceeded to throw them on the conveyor belt. Tater looked at the beaming cashier and said "buy'em!" Yep!

Before I knew it there were 3 cashiers at our counter gooing an gahing over the Tater. He could have cared less because they were holding up the process of him getting his DONUTS! Such a man!

After our visit with Nana I headed home to start cleaning house because Tater has a little summer cold. Yay! He sounds so pitiful and I really hate giving him medicine.

Saturday was also spent disinfecting the house and then a little grocery shopping and hanging out with the crazy Smith women. I know you remember me telling you that my mother and sister-in-law have wheels on their ass and I tried my hardest to keep up with them. Since Tater was not feeling well and it was nap time I left him at home with Mr Randolph and took off with the ladies for a little break.

I ended up getting another little beach dress that was on sale and my mom and sister bought me my first pair of nice extremely expensive jeans. We went to buckle and I tried on about 15 pairs before choosing the perfect one. Way too much trouble if you ask me! It was so nice spending time with them and my sweet niece and nephew. I love them so much!

Sunday was yet another cleaning day, but it was spent at my friend Mishy's! She has a new gorgeous house and well its HUGE! Sammy, Mishy, and I started at the top of the house and cleaned every nook and cranny. I don't  envy her and her new big house. She is so happy and I can't help but be happy that she finally has something of her own with her future hubby.

After cleaning her house I went home and finished mine up. Mr Randolph went and met his mom for a much needed visit. He had a blast!

Now it's Monday and I have started my count down to beach time! 6 days!


Friday, August 5, 2011

Two Weeks Notice!

Dear Prudential,

Please accept this as formal notice of my resignation from the position of Operations & Controls Specialist at Prudential, effective two weeks from today. My last working day will be August 19, 2011.

After much consideration I have decided to accept another job offer. I feel it is time for a new challenge and this is a good opportunity to further my career goals.

Working for this company has been a wonderful experience. I feel privileged to have been part of such a professional team and will miss all my colleagues.

I appreciate both the professional and personal growth opportunities that have been provided to me during my time with the company. I would like to thank you in particular for all your advice and support. I hope that we will stay in touch as I begin this new chapter in my career.

I wish you and the Southern Financial Associates continued success in the future.


Kayla Randolph

Friday Fancies!

With all the debt being paid off, gazelle style, Mr Randolph and I have thought to much about the things that we would like to have. I think this process keeps us focused on our goal. I am sure as we get closer to debt free we will know more of what we would like to start saving for like a house and Mr's sports car.

At this moment in time the only thing that I still fancy would be a new set of pots and pans. Not the Wal-Mart knock-offs because I have those and they did not last. I take that back...they lasted 7 years. Not bad! I prefer the Rachel Ray set but I have my eyes on some really awesome stuff that I would need two full time jobs to pay for. Yikes!

We all know that the Tater needs for nothing....thanks to all that surrounds him! My child is so completely rotten its ridiculous. You would think he would be a terror with how much he gets his way and all the goodies he scrapes in, not the case. Tater always says Thank you, Please, followed by a big hug and kiss. I guess what I am trying to say is that my little guy is grateful and recognizes when people do nice things for him and he always sends them a little something to say thanks! I am hoping that this is molding him to be a respectable young man.

Mr Randolph is yet again in desperate need of clothes again. I swear the man wears out his clothes so fast. He is also losing weight and will soon be unable to wear some of the items in his closet. The only bad part about buying his clothes is that you have to take out a loan because they are so expensive. Have you ever checked out the Big and Tall section in the mall or store? Well I dare you to take a gander and compare a regular XL shirt to a XXXL Tall. They make you pay for all the extra material!

I am all set up for now and only needing/wanting a few items. I would love a few more swim suits and new pjs would be great.

Well enough about what we want what are some of the items on your wish list? Have you made a wish list?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Swinging in the wind!

It has finally happened!

Tater has been potty training for a while now and it feels like such a great accomplishment. It was not quick nor easy and down right nerve racking. I wish there was a potty training camp for babies! Great idea huh?

Well I went to visit my sis today and my nephew is also potty training. He is much younger than Tater but still catching on fast with the process. If only we could get him to pull his undies down before he potties! It's hilarious he says, "potty" and then he goes. At least he has the warning part down right!

We were enjoying some outside time while the boys ran around like crazy wind up toys. Monkey came and stood by us announced a warning and then potties. Hmm! Tater watched him like wuh? I could see the gears turning in his head and immediately asked him if he needed to potty. "yep!"

I jerked his clothes off like it was a talent and waited to see if he would potty.

My mom told me that when I was being potty trained there was no way that I was going any where that did not have a toilet of some fashion. Strange since I have no inhibitions now.

Well Tater looked at me like are you for real mommy. After about 30 seconds we were celebrating his potty accomplishment! OUTSIDE.....standing up! Score for all men around!

I was a proud mommy even though my mom gave me fair warning that I have just created a little monster. Now he asks to go potty in the grass. Uh oh!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Second Interview

I had my second interview today at HPS OIl and Gas. I was so nervous, that goes without saying. This interview was different though, because I was full of confidence and on a mission.

The mission was to see if they could offer what I needed for my family. I felt great mostly because I knew exactly which questions to ask and the amount I needed. Mr Randolph and I did brainstorming last night and I wrote down all my questions and finalized the numbers I needed to meet my salary.

Thankfully I got to speak with the founder of the company again. He is a very friendly person that wants quality people to work for his company. I made sure he knew that I was the person he needed.

When it came time to crunch the numbers for my salary I felt myself getting weak. I am not good with asking people for something that I want. I had to make myself realize that this wasn't about me anymore, it's about my family and their needs.

I told Boss that I needed to make sure that my severance would be covered. It would have been a deal breaker if he couldn't not give me the equivalent of what Pru was going to give me in my exit plan. Well he wanted to offer me a couple more dollars than what I am currently making and then give me a check to cover the balance of my severance. I was like wuh?!?! You want to cut me a check to come and work for you....are you serious?!?

Well that would have been a great option but I decided that I would just figure in my severance into my salary and take more hourly. It ends up being an incredible raise for me and not just a one time payment. I truly feel this would be best. I will also be getting several merit bonuses throughout the year and this is still a shocker for me!

Prudential still hasn't gotten back with me about the remote position and I am caught in a dilemma. Do I wait to hear back from Pru and risk losing the opportunity of a lifetime?

At HPS I would be a Land Tech. I would be helping in the leasing process of land. Researching titles, data entry, and working directly with land men. I really feel that this career offers a lot more of a learning and growing opportunity than what Pru can give me. I feel things have gotten to easy at Pru for me because I have become lax and doing my work without having to think about it. This is a good thing unless you are like me and need a constant challenge.

I love to be depended on and I love deadlines. Weird?!? Yes!

I have made a decision but I will make everything official on Friday.

Now I am left thinking about all the great people I work for and with everyday. I have made great friends I know a few I will lose touch with, just comes with the territory. On the other hand, I have made connections with some that there is no way I will let go by the wayside.

I have and incredible boss that has been a huge component in my success. I owe so much to him and his absolute confidence he has had in me since I found out about the lay-off. He was never worried about me ever landing a new job.

I will keep you posted throughout the week!

Wordless Wednesday: Sneaky Monkey!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

3 months to 3 years

Dear Clayton,

It’s been quite a while since I have written to you and when I noticed the date today I felt I needed to give you a little update on your life.

You are 2 years and 9 months old today. Amazing! I can’t believe that you will be 3 years old in THREE months. I get shivers just thinking about it. Tater you are such a good baby with a wide range moods and tempers.

I love the fact that you are a momma’s boy and I make sure to cuddle with you every day. I do have to fight for your attention, now that Uncle Richey, Uncle Joey, and some of our other friends stay in the house you would much rather rough house and spend time with them. I understand that it’s a boy thing but I do find myself getting jealous.

You are quite the entertainer. Tater you are so strong and have such a great imagination. I am not sure where you heard about them but your new thing is Hero’s! You want to be a hero so bad and every day. I love seeing you throw your hands behind your back or cover your face like you are wearing your mask. I guess you have to keep your identity hidden. Then you take off around the house rescuing the imaginary damsels in distress. You also love to pretend to be a lion, tiger, and of course T-REX! P.S. You think that every dinosaur is a T-Rex. Did I tell you that you are adorable ;-)!?

I have tried to get you to stop growing but when you start talking to me at warp speed with sentences that only a mommy could understand, I sit back and realize that you are becoming a big boy. You will always be my baby boy but I love each stage that we are going through. I could do without the daily tantrums which you are allowed. Daddy and I are doing so much better with how we handle your trying times. You know just the right buttons to push!

Anyways, you love school and I love watching you through the door before I pick you up in the afternoon. Mommy is the overachiever of the classroom and makes sure to send books and cd’s for class at least 3 times a week.

Potty training is going well. You are still not 100% but you have made leaps and bounds. If you get to excited or distracted because of a game then you have an accident. I am not sure what happen the other day but when Daddy did not pick you up you pottied on his foot? I think daddy is still a little upset about that one lol! I need to hurry and switch you to a loose boxer because the tighty-whiteys are just too tight around your belly and you can’t seem to pull them down without a little assistance. I want to get you some little boxers.

You are growing like a weed and eating like a grown man. Daddy and I have watched you eat 2 ½ peanut butter and jellies and a huge glass of milk without issue. It’s quite amazing how much you can eat and then still chirp for a snack 30 minutes later. I think it is all going to your size 9 feet. Speaking of sizes you are now in a 4T shirt and shorts. You can still fit in a 3t but your little gut pokes out and you have little rings around your belly when I take off your shorts in the afternoon.

At night time you insist on having something to sleep with and it really is odd what you choose. Instead of a soft stuffed animal you would rather sleep with 3-12 metal hot wheels cars or several of your hard plastic dinosaurs, or your Kung Fu Panda DVD. I am not sure how you sleep well with all that poking you but you do. Since I mentioned Kung Fu Panda, you might as well know this is your favorite cartoon right now. I swear you watch it 20 times a week….no exaggeration. The one thing Daddy and I had to change was your cartoon regimen. When we got a tv in your room we didn’t realize that you would get addicted. WRONG! Lesson learned there and now you have about 30 minutes of TV time before bed. Its enough!

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you what a little fish you have become in the water. You are not scared to jump off the ledge or anything. Scares the hell out of me but I can’t seem to stop you from learning new things and conquering your fears. Clayton you are not a fan of lil’ bugs or any little animals. You and Sadie have a new found hatred for each other and that may have been helped by mommy.

I could go on and on about you and all the things you are doing and saying now. I just want you to know that mommy and daddy love you so much and thank God each day that he blessed us with such a beautiful baby boy. Now if only I could talk daddy into gearing up for a little brother. I know you want a little brother just as much and I am sure daddy would be happy for another little runt. Soon!

A few of my favorite things!

Since I have a little down time at work I wanted to make a list of my favorite things. There are so many and I may shock you with the things that I like and how they are different from the things you like.

1. Boiling hot showers!
2. I love Lucy reruns
3. Working out
4. The smell of fresh bread baking
5. The way that peanut butter melts into fresh burnt toast fascinates me!
6. 3 Musketeers candy bar
7. Laying by the pool on a scorching hot day with a good book
8. The way Tater looks at Hubby and I when he wants to get on the bed
9. Watching the Tater become a seasoned gymnast while he jumps on the bed.
10. Taters face and fussing while he eats his pudding
11. Mr. Randolph’s warm cuddles during the night
12. The fact that I never have to worry about reaching or climbing for something in the house. I just call for the hubby.
13. I love getting on the scale and seeing numbers in the 130’s
14. My oversized lime green jogging pants that I stole from my sister
15. Sundays when I make several meals for the week
16. I love to grocery shop more than clothes shopping (psycho)
18. Painting
19. Seeing the first look on Randolph’s face when I have rearranged the house
20. Reading
21. Budgeting/Cash Envelopes/Excel Spreadsheets
22. Control-----duh!
23. Cleaning my house…..when I want to!
24. Plastic Bags---so versatile
25. Squatters
26. Window shopping which sends my husband to the moon. He is an impulse buyer.
27. Getting dressed up…also when I FEEL like it!
28. Home renovation
29. Running- melts all my worries away
30. My friends & Family most of all!
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