I have a feeling that a lot people who have read the last two posts are wondering, "So why the heck did you buy this big expensive house that you can't afford?" Fair question.
And the answer is, we could afford it at the time. John's salary had doubled over the course of just a few years. We were blessed with consistent bonuses from his job at Capital One, with which we paid for private school and our annual vacation to Vermont. We put our house on the market the summer before Mitchell was born (six years ago) and then took it off when I started having contractions before every showing (two months early!) because of the physical exertion required to get my toddler and my preschooler out the door and leave the house perfect for every showing. The following spring, we tried again. This time, we sold the house in six weeks and began the building process on the new house.
After we moved into the new house, Charlotte was born (nine months later, only 21 months younger than Mitchell) and then we had a 1st grader, a preschooler, a toddler and an infant. The first year with Charlotte was pretty easy. She was a great baby ... very easy-going and a great sleeper. As Jack was entering 2nd grade and Holly Grace was entering Kindergarten, Charlotte was just coming into "toddlerhood" and Mitchell was a full-on, tantrum-throwing preschooler. That fall, John had the opportunity to propose to his boss that they offer him a "package" and he would leave Capital One. He had been dreaming of leaving and being self-employed for a while and was able to "sell" Capital One on laying him off. He got a great package (almost a year of severance) and we were excited for him to pursue his dream of owning his own business and being his own boss.
In hindsight, again, we can see God's hand in our situation. I really benefited from having John at home and from his help with the kids. Especially when I needed to go somewhere/pick someone up/take someone to an activity during the afternoon. It was such a blessing to be able to leave Charlotte (and sometimes Mitchell) napping at home under John's care rather than waking them up to take them with me. The kids LOVED having Daddy at home and, for the most part, did really well understanding that if Daddy was in his office, he was working, and it was important to not disturb him. I would not trade the time we had him at home for anything.
Long story short (yes, I know, too late), the business did not work out and it became clear that John was going to need to get a [real] job [with benefits]. A job (at GMAC) came along, but the year and a half off, without significant income from the business, had definitely taken it's toll on our savings. The new job paid less than the job at Capital One and the bonus structure was pretty pitiful compared to what he made before. Don't get me wrong, we were thankful for the job, and certainly the benefits.
And that basically puts us back to last summer, where we had the conversation regarding school for the 2010-2011 school year.