Archives For Family

By Eric on January 13, 2015 6

Family Playbook 2015

Last week I mentioned we would be spending a day talking and dreaming about what we wanted to accomplish in 2015. And, after the planning, I thought I would share what came out of that meeting for the Williams Family.

I think it went better than expected. Perhaps because I lowered my expectations this year. I’m learning (I’m 30 now!) that dreaming and planning are only the start of it. The doing… the work is where the magic happens. Setting goals is one thing, but achieving them is a whole other beast. So, here we go… It’s on the internet now for all to see. We’ll see how this year shakes out and what actually happens and what changes.

Family Playbook Live



It’s a good reminder… things change. We’re planning the best we can knowing that we may have to adjust, delay, or scratch parts of our plan. It’s still worth it through. Last Wednesday was a much needed day away with my wife to re-connect and breathe inspiration into 2015 for our family.

This was both exciting and disheartening at the same time….

What we liked about 2014

  • I pursued my dreams.
  • Embraced the Lord and direction He was calling us to.
  • We had an amazing week in Okoboji watching Rooney on Papa’s boat, and enjoy Arnold’s Park.
  • Capturing memories via photos, videos, and blog posts. (Kelsey has done an amazing job of this)

What we didn’t like

At times it felt as though we were living separate lives. We’re hoping it was for a season, but in some ways feels like we’re still in the thick of that right now. But, as I’ll note below, we’re working on ways to ensure it doesn’t stay that way in 2015.

2015 Financial Forecast

This being the first year one of us doesn’t have a steady paycheck, it’s a bit difficult to forecast as we have in the years past. (See: 2012, 2013, 2014 Financial Forecasts)

We’re putting some numbers down and leaving others on a “if it happens, it happens” list.

If it Happens, it Happens List

  • Computer: Kelsey has an ancient macbook laptop that we purchased before we moved into our house… so… 8 years ago! It’s been a heck of a machine, but is on it’s last leg.
  • Car: My car is still in the shop, and we’re not sure what the diagnosis is yet. Depending on the cost of the repair, we might have to purchase another vehicle.
  • Basement: While we’d love to finish this off completely, we’ve decided that our best plan would be to minimally finish a few spaces; they playroom, and the spare bedroom. This will give us enough extra space until we can save up for the rest of the space to be finished.

Working Into the Budget For 2015

We’re working a few things into our monthly budget because we know if we don’t they will sneak up on us and we’ll end up in panic mode.

That’s about it for non-monthly budget items for 2015.

Personal Goals

I could have come up with a dozen or so goals for myself, but figured that I would keep it to a few important goals that span the important areas of my life. Focusing on deepening my relationship with God and improving my health from the inside out, pretty much sum it up.

Weekly Sermon Sketchnotes: I received “The Sketchnote Handbook” by Mike Rohde for Christmas and devoured it in few days. I decided to kill two birds with one stone. Improving my sketching and learning comprehension and capturing how God is speaking to me through Sermons.



I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback after the first few weeks, and have really enjoyed the process of creating these. I had no idea they would be helpful to others as well.

ESV Study Bible Plan: I’m reading through the Bible in a year using this plan. I like that I’m reading a mix of the Old Testament and New Testament everyday. Starting out reading through 1 Chronicles though… woah! You can find this on the YouVersion Bible App.

Whole30: We’re going to attempt our first Whole30 program coming in February. I’m super pumped to do this and see what it feels like to eat clean, whole, and sugarless food for a month and see how much better I feel overall.

I’ve just finished reading the book “It Starts With Food,” and it’s really taught me a lot about what eating healthy really means, and has been a great motivator to do a Whole30.

Our eating habits have evolved over the years in a good way, but I’m excited for this cleanse and hopefully a lot of it will stick with us as we move forward. I’m thinking about documenting everything through blog posts, but can’t decide. I’ll definitely do a few posts on the financial side of the program.

Wednesday’s With Husband: Currently, Kelsey has every Wednesday off with our daughter Rooney. She’s made this a “thing” between them and I’ve seen their relationship flourish over the past couple of years. It’s official with it’s own hashtag and everything #wednesdayswithrooney.

So, I’m inserting this into her schedule (she approved by the way). We’re going to do quarterly “Wednesday’s with Husband” where we dedicate a Wednesday to send Rooney to daycare and spend the day with each other. We both think it will do wonders for our marriage!

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What are you working toward in 2015?

How will you accomplish it?



By Eric on January 6, 2015 1

Six days into 2015 and we have yet to create our family playbook for the year. To be honest, the end of the year crept up on us, and we weren’t able to find a day to devote to the cause as we have in the past.

Typically, we take a personal day to ourselves, pick a local coffee shop, and intentionally look at the next 12 months to dream about what we’d like to accomplish, both as a family, and as individuals.

family goals

We use the Family Playbook to devise a plan of attack for the year. The intent is not to bore ourselves to sleep with details, but rather, get back to dreaming about what we want out of this year. Kelsey is much more of a “day-by-day” person, so these kinds of meetings don’t get her too excited.

I entice her by letting her pick the venue (food is the key to her heart). The planning takes a couple hours and this year we’re doing something fun afterward… going to a movie! (more food)

Rooney will be in daycare all day, so we are taking full advantage of our adult-time.


  1. Breakfast and meeting at a new bakery in downtown Des Moines
  2. Movie: The Hobbit
  3. Afternoon snack? Perhaps if we’re not stuffed with popcorn from the movie?

A simple, but ideal day for the two of us. A time to slow down and enjoy each other’s company… just the two of us.

This year is completely different from any other year we’ve created a family playbook in the past. Mainly because my work life has changed dramatically to the point that our budget fluctuates drastically from month to month. Which, in the short-term stinks, but the long-term benefits of running my own business will (hopefully) prove to be more fruitful (God willing).

Regardless, we’ll dream, and plan just the same, and be willing to adjust the plan to our resources as needed. Prioritizing wants and needs will be key (as always).

While there is a financial component to most every goal, this is more than just a yearly budget meeting. We try to make this yearly meeting about being intentional with our lives. By carving time together to strategically think about what we want to accomplish this year, we’re resolving to make the most of 2015.

The past three years have flown by so stinking fast! I can hardly believe that in less than two months, we’ll have a threenager and Kelsey will be entering the third trimester for our little June bug. “Survival” might be the theme for us this year….

What are you hoping to accomplish this year? 
Personal goals? Family goals? Financial goals?

By Eric on December 9, 2014 6

I knew striking out into the world of self-employment would be tough. It’s been tough, but what seems to be troubling me and my family the most over the past few months is the continual stream of cash that is leaving our pockets for things that keep breaking.

In budget terms, these are the things we save for on a monthly basis, but don’t really like spending money on.

Like car repairs and house repairs. Let’s just start there for example…

In the past three months we’ve had a terrible series of unfortunate events that have kept us busy just trying to solve problems and fix broken things. So, many that I’m convinced someone is playing a joke on us.

First was the car…

As I mentioned in “The Price You Pay to Drive,” cars break down. I know this. We save for this. But, it was working so well for so long, I guess I took for granted what “reliable” transportation was.

Fixing the Car

On a Friday evening after work, I went to start the car, and it refused to do so. After some tinkering, and jumping it, I convinced it (prayer) to start and managed to drive it home where it sat for a week while I tried to fix the problem (thanks Google, and Dad for all the assistance). It wouldn’t start at all after I got it home that night.

The total to get the car running was $272.30. But, the problem seemed fixed and the car was restored to working/reliable condition.

Until about a week later and a totally unrelated issue poked it’s head up… Overheating… OK, no big deal, filled the car with coolant ($7.80). I checked a few other things to make sure it wasn’t something more serious, but couldn’t find anything… (we’ll come back to the car later).

Continue Reading…

By Eric on December 2, 2014 12

Let’s get right to it… We’re having another baby! This will be baby #2 in the Williams house, and I couldn’t be more joyful. Despite the nervousness, and anxiousness that comes with the unknowns of pregnancy, birth, newborns, and lack of sleep, I’m really excited.


Kelsey is currently 12 weeks pregnant with a due date of June 11. We’ve officially named the bun in the oven “June Bug” until we know the gender, and decide on a name.

And for the record, I don’t remember thinking of baby names being so cumbersome the first time around. We’re seriously struggling coming up with names either of us like…

We’ve kept the secret for the past 8 weeks from Rooney, but we’ve asked her suspicious questions like: Rooney, what do you think about having a baby brother or sister? “Yeah! A girl brother!!”

But, we did sit down the other night to tell Rooney what was going on and captured it on video.

We then explained why mommy hasn’t been feeling well, and sleeping more than ever. All in all Kelsey is doing great, except for feeling hungry, but not knowing what she is hungry for, which has thrown our food budget for a loop. Note to self… don’t cut the food budget during the first trimester of your wife’s pregnancy.

What baby names are on top of your list these days? boys and girl names…

P.S. Here is the video from when we announced we were pregnant the first time. And Rooney’s arrival.