Category Archives: Awesome’ness

Oh ya, my bad…

Oh kind productivity, I’ve missed you.

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My wonderful friend Sara pointed something out a few posts back that I forgot to share. I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve been getting a bit lax about that lately. Going from having the summer off to capturing births again has got my website updates a bit more spaced.

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You know we have been a one-car family for most our marriage. Up until Stephen got a work vehicle when he worked with Bayer, we were riding in the same vehicle pretty much everywhere we went. It was a huge and lovely change having a 2nd vehicle, especially a truck we didn’t have to pay for.

So we went from 1 paid off car, to having a paid off car and company vehicle. Not having car payments was one of the reasons I was able to stay home when we had children. The small things really add up each month.

We love not having that debt, especially me and my don’t-owe-people-money brain. Having student loans is another toughie for me. I think we are still paying for my 1 semester at FSU, and that’s after 8 years of payments. Eesh. So not having car payments with 2 vehicles was not only awesome, but a necessity for us.

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We talked off and on about getting a van for a few years. Stephen knew I wanted one one day, so we started saving. I know he loooooves it when I monitor every single teeny tiny purchase from our account. It’s one of those things he has learned to accept about me, or at least I think so. That’s why love is a choice folks, you choose to love everything about your mate – everything, and my Mr.  is super kind to me and my money micro-managing self.

 

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We saved for a while and would occasionally check online to see if there were any great deals out there. It surprised me how hard it was to find minivans, at all, and at a great price was even rarer. Apparently people don’t let go of them very easily. Which makes sense to me now. People keep them til they fall apart, kind of like the matrix we sold, only it didn’t fall apart as much as have a fun visit to the shop ending with a years worth of car payments as the bill. I’m putting it all out there for you guys. After all, that was part of our decision process.

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After lots of searching, making lists of dealers and individual sales to check out, we visited a few places and got ourselves a new vehicle! Well, not new-new, but new to us. The best kind in my opinion ;)

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Somehow it’s already been two months, because it was back in August we made the jump and got a mini-van. We sold my car, which I’ve had for over 8 years, and made the beautiful leap to a roomy mom-mobile. You guys – all the room. The spacious spaciousness is so amazing. When we go places we can now fit my sister, my niece Addison (in a spare carseat we keep in the back row), my mom AND still have 1 spare seat, 2 really if you count the one in the middle that the girls use as a stepping stool.

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It took a bit of getting used too, and I still don’t know the buttons, but we are really enjoying the new Ringl-mobile. I even got a sticker for my back window this week. It’s similar to our old one in that if you understand what the sticker means then kudos, you are an awesome person. If you don’t get it… well, then you will just stare at it confused and think we are weird, which is also true. Embracing your inner weirdness is a beautiful part of life. Especially when you do it boldly and without regret ;)

Funny enough, the car search story doesn’t end there.

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The week after we got the van Stephen got a job offer.

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His job with Bayer was great and he was doing really well. I’m talking “win a free all-paid vacation to a private island” well. He was in the top 10 of the company. Not 10%, but top 10 people! I don’t unbiased’ly brag on my husband much on here, so you’ll have to just bear with me during this part of the story.

Stephen was doing awesome in the company, our insurance was wonderful (which is unheard of these days), he had a free company vehicle, he and his boss got along amazingly, and there were several end of year bonuses to look forward too. When he first got the job offer I didn’t think much of it. The Bayer job in itself was unexpected and an answer to some heavy prayers. Stephen needed change at that time for a few heavy reasons and the Lord provided. So this job offer really caught us off guard. It was actually from the company he used to work with, and while we loved him being nearby at a local job, there really wasn’t any topping the current job and incentives he was in line for.

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Then stuff got weird. Like, Jesus is pointing things out in a way you can’t ignore, weird. Stephens schedule was somehow getting busier, which I didn’t know was possible. I never really talked about his job much except with close-close friends and family, but his hours and the traveling was HARD. His trips up north for training weren’t too bad because we knew what to expect, but the frequent overnight trips, or being gone until we were all in bed, that part was hard to get used to. I think it took me 7-8 months to adjust. Thankfully I’m a pretty laid back person. I don’t run on schedules, so that made it easier for my personality type. Of course, that’s not including the girls adjustment period. The weekends were often “office work” days, which were nice because he got paid, but not nice in that he was working during the weekends. He was doing what was required of the job – hence the wonderful incentives and bonuses; Bayer knows it’s a time consuming job so they compensate you the best ways they can.

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However, you can’t buy weekends, you can’t pay for missed family gatherings and date nights. There is no getting over being exhausted and missing worship, discipleship and church opportunities. Really, just time in general. You can’t rewind, and if you know me I’m not one that cares much about monetary things in this world. Getting new stuff is nice, sure, this job is what made us able to save and buy the mini-van I was just raving about, but when it comes to the short time we have in this world, that van doesn’t mean a thing to us. We would rather drive my old hatchback together, shuffling and car pooling, than miss out on the life the Lord has given us.

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I guess after all of that it shouldn’t be a super huge surprise when I share that we prayed about that unexpected job offer. We prayed, we made pro-con lists, we talked and then we prayed some more. And despite everything we thought and expected, Stephen accepted the offer and is now working in the IT world again. The job came with a few adjusting changes for us, but in the 6 weeks he has been back it’s been amazing. I can see a huge difference in the girls and their bonding with him. We’ve gone on a few dates, which has been awesome. Most have been date nights in, but a date night is a date night folks, and this wife was missing them.

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With this job change came a huge contender on the pro/con list of ours – no more company vehicle. We just spent our car-fund on a van, and now we need a vehicle for Stephen too. Being a 1-car family wouldn’t work for us anymore. Not with me doing birth photography and the weird schedule that involves. We had 3 weeks to search and find something before the new job started. We wanted to pay cash, no loans involved or car payments.

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While things didn’t go exactly like I budgeted and hoped we did find Stephen a car. We went in with a number and left spending exactly that, not a penny more. Of course it took about 45 minutes of back and forth with the dealer, but that was more than worth it.

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So we went from a 1-car family, to 1 car and 1 company vehicle, to then a van and company truck and ending up with 1 Honda van and 1 Honda accord. From zero hondas to two. I can already see the kids learning to drive in them, mostly because that’s how long we’re going to have them ;)

New job, new cars; I think we are filled up and don’t plan on any new changes soon.

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Life on Sundays

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Do you have a day of the week that stresses you out more than most? It can fluctuate, since most of our schedules do that these days. For a while now that has been Sundays for me. Stephen leaves before the girls and I, and for a huge chunk of our lives we only had 1 car, so me getting there was always changing and adding car-time. That lead to less getting-ready time and with 2 toddlers and a closet that morphs my clothes to fit weird only on Sunday mornings, it was far from my ideal start to a day. Thankfully I’ve found the 2 pair of pants that consistently semi-fit and just slowly swap out shirts. Can’t help but be thankful for a church full of people that enjoy wearing jeans as much as I do ;)

Moving closer to the church last Spring definitely helped with saving us time, as well as getting a 2nd vehicle back when Stephen worked with Bayer. He used to be the associate pastor and youth leader, then that changed and Stephen became the worship leader. He leads us in praise on some Wednesdays, and then both services on Sunday.

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He has been asking me to help with music on Sunday evenings for a few months. Months upon months, really. The girls usually go to bed at 7pm, so going to the 6pm service seemed like far more work than my brain could handle, especially since Sunday mornings are a bit nutty around our house. Well, I finally caved and started helping him a few months ago, and, surprisingly, I really like it. It isn’t consistent, but it’s been a really special time to me. Getting to practice and worship our Savior together, it’s such an amazing and new way to love our God together. And thankfully, after a few trials, we have figured out a little bit of a groove.

 

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I love singing with Stephen. For the past 8 or 9 years it’s always been behind closed doors, in a vehicle, or me harmonizing softly while he plays a guitar. Into a microphone was 100% away from my comfort zone. I decided I’d try it out one Sunday evening (most because attendance is much lower) and quickly discovered that worshiping with him in front of our church family, a lot of very dear friends and fellow believers, wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it’d be. Still not my scene, per say, but it’s worth the mild discomfort if it means getting to praise the Lord along side him.

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The girls had to adjust also. Sarah sits or stands in the pew pretty easy, either with a friend or by herself. Elanor took a few weeks to get used to it. The first 2 times she came on the stage and sat in my lap, which I loved. It probably didn’t help that she took a 5:30pm nap just before church, and woke up in a pew instead of her car seat where she fell asleep. Now she sits with Sarah and waits for me to join them after we’re done. It’s usually just a 4 song set, so it doesn’t take long.

 

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I have a few photos that sweet friends from church snapped and sent to me. I’m so thankful for our church family. The Lord knew over 5 years ago that I would sit on a stage and sing with my husband with our little girl in my lap, and I couldn’t imagine a better life.

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Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!

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These three goofs are just the best.

A Quick Trip

Last weekend Stephen and I took a fun trip to Orlando with our friends Brandon and Nicole.

We have talked about going somewhere together since our last adventure to Houston in March of 2014, for our friend JD’s wedding. We randomly decided in July that if we did go somewhere it should be to Orlando to visit what I’m just going to call the amazing World of Harry Potter. Well, that is just what we did.

Stephen turns 30 in a few days, so we used his birthday as a reason for the trip. Not that we really need a reason, but it felt more justified this way for my budgeting brain.

We left on Thursday and got back Sunday afternoon.

Visiting Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade were just awesome. It made me wanna re-read the books and watch all the movies. 

We stayed at a Universal hotel, so we took the shuttle to the parks each day, and also got 1-hour early admittance. The line wait was less than 25 minutes the whole time, except the Hogwarts castle ride. It seemed like everyone was in the HP areas so riding The Mummy and Jurassic Park rides was so quick. A definite nice break from the humidity and heat.

In the afternoon we grabbed the shuttle back to the hotel for a nap then got up for dinner and back to the park at night. It was so relaxing. In the evenings we would play cards down in a quieter spot in the hotel, in true McKenzie-Ringl spirit.

Thanks again to my parents for sending me pictures of the girls during their stay at Papaw and Nanas house. They had a blast swimming, going to the train store and eating loads of chocolate ice cream with marshmallows for 3 days :)

Here are a few photos of our adventures.

   
    
    
    
    
    
   
It was a wonderful trip and I’m already looking forward to our next one :)

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Elanor has definitely added naps back into her schedule. I am 100% on board with this addition, and I love when we find her sleeping in different spaces, other than in her bed. On this day my friend Kelly, who now lives in Houston with her hubby and sweet daughter, came over to hangout while they were in town visiting family. A definite bonus to living close to the same area you graduated high school – people return to visit family, and we are already here happily awaiting their trips.

The girls were laughing up a storm when we went to find them. They were all 3 bouncing around on our bed singing “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”. It was as cute as it sounds, actually more adorable. I love seeing my children play with some of my dearest friends kiddos, especially friends that go back as far as Kel and I do. It only could have been topped if our other HS gal, Melissa, and her little man could have joined us. Next time!

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My parents pool finished getting installed this past July. I know they agree with me that this addition was the best decision ever! I don’t even live there and I love knowing that it’s there waiting for us to play. In the midst of this crazy hot summer too. This was the first time we got to swim in it and my niece Graycie was there to join in on the fun! I love watching my parents play with the girls, and those smiles speak their own joy with one another.

 

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http://www.thehandmadehome.net/2015/06/simple-outdoor-candles/My sister planned a night to take the girls so Stephen and I could go out for dinner. It was a fun evening and before leaving I told Stephen we needed a picture together because, well, it had been forever since we had one that wasn’t from the back of our phone. He  of course was being goofy and made me laugh. He always knows how :)

Aaaaand, I’m including a portrait version so you can see that he is tickling me and nothing more, due to the funny hand placement in the picture above. Now if you weren’t thinking anything about it you are, so oops and your welcome ;)

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152 | Little Girls

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Elanor: age 2

Because there’s nothing quite like a little girl wearing her moms shoes.

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One of the girls favorite things in the world.

Go Fish

 This past week I searched the store for a card game to play with Sarah. I couldn’t find any in the store and decided I’d let Amazon deliver it to me soon. We found Go Fish in my brothers game closet and Sarah caught on just as I’d hoped she would. She beat me both times that we played yesterday.