Sunday, December 16, 2012

If I Leave Too Soon...

While I have switched gears and made my blog about our FPU journey, I did want to share something personal that I recently wrote.

Friday was a tough day for all of us. The Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy hit home with everyone due to the young children targeted. Because I work in a school and honestly, because I grew up in the same metro-area as Columbine, situations like this are never far from my mind. I'm constantly playing out in my head how best to lock-down my libraries, etc.

The truth is, if the moment ever comes who knows what will happen. And that, has been on my heart today. So I wrote a letter to my children in case I don't come home one day.

Forgive the length. When you're writing as if you are no longer on this earth there are a lot of things to say.


To my children:

I pray that if you are reading this it’s because I have handed it to you myself, but if I haven’t I can only assume I’m no longer here to do so. There have been more and more tragic situations in the news and while I have no reservations about leaving this earth myself, I do lament the thought of leaving my children without a mother.

Please know that whatever circumstances led to my leaving you, that I love you with all of my heart. You are my beautiful babies and I stand amazed at you every single day.

Nathan (or Nate as you demand to be called these days … you’re 3 as I write this), you made me a mommy. From the moment you were born I’ve been in awe of the creation of life. For you to not exist on this earth and then suddenly be there, well I’m still dumbfounded by it today.

There have been moments that I have failed as a mommy to you. Moments when I yelled at you, or spanked you when I shouldn’t have. Moments when I myself have had a temper tantrum worthy of a 3 year old (Word of advice, the terrible two’s are a myth. Three is when kids break lose. Just a tip for when you have kids) and afterword wonder why God let me be your mommy.

I pray that you don’t remember those times, or if you do, that they are overshadowed by the good. The times when we played superheroes or cuddled up and read books and watched movies together. The times of hugs and kisses. The times I comforted your boo-boos.

My son, at the moment you are still new. Still innocent to the horrors of the world and I hope you stay that way as long as possible. One day that will end, you will grow to be a young man and I pray that you are a Godly man. One made after His own heart. Not perfect – remember not to beat yourself up if you are not. But strive to be kind hearted, loving. A good husband and father to your wife as well as a good son and brother to your Dad and sister.  Love them and remember that family never abandons each other. (Yikes! You just pow-pow’d me! )

Now to my beautiful daughter. Madelyn Claire. Wow. My love you are only three months old and are peacefully napping next to me. In three short months you have shown me that not only was I NOT meant to have only boys, but I would have never been whole without a boy and a girl. You have my heart little one, in a way I never thought a little girl could. You are a part of me. I can’t wait to share my love of theatre, horses, and all things girl with you. If you hate all things girl…well more power to you and we’ll just play superhero with your brother. 

One day I will mess up with you just as I have with Nathan. I will have yelled too much, lost my temper and just flat-out screwed up. I wish you the same that I wish for Nathan. I pray you remember the wonderful times. While I don’t know what those will entail I know they’ll be amazing.

Now I just relish in the fleeting moments of your babyhood. Your squishy little newborn self. Your smiles and someday soon your sweet giggles. I’m so excited to see who you become, what your personality will be like. Although it scares the crud out of me I hope to see the day we have our first fight as mom and daughter because that means we’re alive and together. You will, as your brother will, lose your sweet baby innocence one day and become a woman. You will be beautiful. Strong, independent, loving and a woman of God. You are Madelyn Claire S-----------.

To you both, know that I don’t expect either of you to be perfect angels. I do pray though that you follow Jesus the best you can and love Him and others with all your heart. Also, know that I am so sorry I’m not here. I’m sorry if I miss the important times in your lives. Know that it breaks my heart to even think of not being at a first day of school, a graduation, wedding or birth of a grandchild. But know that I am waiting for you in Heaven and am looking forward to seeing you again one day. Don’t rush though!

If I have other children and fail to update this letter know that although I do not yet know you, everything I have said to your brother and sister apply to you as well. God has given parents an amazing gift of love in children. Our capacity to love swells with each child to a point that I never could have imagined. You are loved, you are amazing. I can’t wait to know you.

With all my love,


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Keeping Ourselves Accountable

I already need to apologize to those few of you who read this. If you follow me on Facebook, which I'm betting all of you do since I think my readership comes solely from my Facebook links, you'll have already read some of this information. However, it applies to our financial journey so it needs to find its way onto this blog as well.

Last Thursday was our last FPU class. I have to admit it was a little sad to finish it up. I highly enjoyed talking with the people in our class and since not all of them go to our church I'm not sure that I'll ever get that pleasure again.

Our leaders, Don and Lindy, asked if anyone was willing to co-teach the next class with them. When they asked the first time, Caleb and I both had an inner "hmmm" moment but didn't act upon it. Last Thursday though, we did.

We are now set to co-teach a 9 week FPU course starting in late January. No, we aren't very far into our journey ourselves, but we are hoping to keep on the right track. We also feel that not only will this help others, but it will hold us accountable, reminding us of Dave's Baby Steps and what it is we need to be doing.

It is a pretty big commitment because although this first class will be co-taught with our leaders, it also means we are committing to teaching a class on our own next year. As in, BY OURSELVES. Gulp. Yet I feel a peace about this. One that I rarely feel about things like this because I need to admit something to you:

I'm a homebody. Caleb and most of my friends could easily tell you this. I really don't enjoy doing things outside of the house very often. At least not things I've committed too because there is always some night where all I want to do is cozy up with my kids in my pjs and do absolutely nothing. I won't be able to that when teaching an FPU class. Unless of course I'm sick or one of the kiddos is sick, we'll have to be at every meeting. Since, you know, we're leading it.

I'm praying that God will use FPU and this experience as teachers to keep us in the mindset we need to be in. Changing your financial future is all about behavior and we've been in the right place before, just to fall back to the credit cheetah.

And since I am finding that having a blog with a particular focus is easier to keep up with, hopefully I'll have plenty to say about our journey as new FPU Coordinators. Hope you'll stick around to read about it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Big Purchases

Sometimes I feel like every financial decision we make is a poor one. I could go on an on about our credit mistakes (which I touched on last post), our car purchase, my grad. school loans & of course, our house.

I have never talked to Dave Ramsey personally, but I have a feeling if I relayed our financial choices to him he would hit us with the "Gibb's Slap" (NCIS reference to those of you non-tv watchers).

I'm pretty sure I knew our car was a bad idea but we went on with it anyway and while our car is still reliable and our payment is certainly not the worst in the world, it is not something we can easily afford and I will jump for joy the day the dang thing is paid off.

When I was going to Grad. School I lived in la-la land. I knew we'd have to pay the loans back but I needed to get my degree. I would worry about that later. I failed to remember that librarians are not paid the best ... especially if you look at the education you have to have to become one.

I think we suffer from not knowing when the best time to "leap" into a big purchase is. We did everything Dave says NOT to do when it came to our house. We aren't exactly "house poor" but we're definitely close. Our credit cards and car loan are really what eat up our monthly income and it wouldn't be much cheaper to rent so when I consider that, I feel less mad at myself for our house purchase but we probably should have waited.

I'm praying that in the future when it comes to large purchases and decisions we really mediate on what the right thing to do it. What is God guiding us to? Should we really be making this decision today or do we need to go sleep on it?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Our Credit Mistakes

There are two defining moments in our financial past that I wish I could "do-over". They both involve our credit cards (or "cheetahs" as Dave Ramsey calls them) and despite knowing what a bad idea it all was, I still managed to get us in a mess.

The first moment was when we signed up for our first real credit card. I had a store card that I didn't use very often and while I occasionally carried a balance, it wouldn't be for long. However when I convinced myself and Caleb that we needed the actual bank card for building our credit and of course, emergencies, I started us on a path of debt that is killing our monthly budget.

The second moment took place in July of 2008...I had been working for the bank for about a year and in that year we had attacked the debt on the aforementioned credit card. We had the stupid thing down to a $300 balance and were so close to paying it off. But for some reason something in me hit a snag that July. My "gazelle" behavior suddenly stopped and I let the cheetah catch up.

It all started innocently enough, we bought a wedding gift for a friend of ours when we were short on cash, then I found out I was pregnant. We didn't have a huge food budget and I told myself that I needed to buy a bunch of healthy food ... so I dropped $200 in one shopping trip using the card. From there it just spiraled out of control.

Looking back I could just shoot myself. When I dwell on it, it's almost maddening because I KNEW credit cards were bad. I had read and listened to enough of Dave Ramsey even at that point, that I knew his thoughts on the darn things. Yet I still let us get sucked in. I still managed to get us into 11k in credit card debt on two different credit cards.

My goal in this blog is to create not only accountability for my family and myself but also to keep my head in the game. If I get distracted I know I wont keep up the behavior we need to conquer this. Stay tuned, my next post will be about or mortgage and how we managed to do everything Dave Ramsey says not to do.

Eh, hindsight is 20/20 I guess.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Living like no one else... one day we can LIVE like no one else.

Some of you might know that I'm quoting Dave Ramsey here. His mantra throughout his classes is that you have to live minimal so one day you have the money to live they way we'd all like to. It's not about greed though, quite the opposite, it's about having the money to be able to give freely and how if Christians managed their money the way God wants us too, this world would be a different place. We could all afford to give in a way we can now only dream of.

Caleb and I have been taking Financial Peace University for the last couple months, we are actually down to our last two weeks. Currently we are on Baby Step #2 which is paying off all of our debt. He gives you a list of baby steps to help build your financial future. I'm praying that we can really stick to this and I'm hoping I'll be able to use this blog as a way to document our journey from where we currently are (lots of debt and living paycheck to paycheck) to a place of financial peace.

With two young children I'm really hoping that we can gain this peace quickly. Unfortunately Caleb is in between jobs right now and our zero-based budget that Dave asks you to do every month is a shear impossibility as long as this is the case. We are are hundreds of dollars short when it comes to our income and necessary expenses (bills, food, gas, etc.) .... I'm praying that the perfect job will come along quickly. I'm trying not to worry about it but it is a little difficult not to when you have bills to pay and no money left in the bank only days after pay day.

So at the moment we're working on trying to live on less ... a lot less. If anyone reads this blog and has tips for doing so, please comment! I'm trying anything and everything at this point and even after Caleb finds work I plan on "living like no one else" just as Dave suggests so we can quickly get Baby Step #2 taken care off (at least as far as credit cards and our car loan go....sadly our student loans will be years down the road) and start building a safety net for our little family.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Madelyn Claire
September 19th, 2012
7lbs, 11oz.
20 inches long

Well, she's here! My sweet girl was born last Wednesday morning after I went into spontaneous labor early that morning. I was set to be induced on Friday the 21st (my due date) because I was so incredibly anxious and had been walking around 4cm dilated for the last two weeks. Not a good reason to be induced but my mom was also leaving town on Sunday and I didn't want her trip to be baby-less. I'm sooo thankful I went into labor on my own though because I was able to see exactly how my body handled labor and what it could do. 

Here is Madelyn's birth story:

It all started around 37 weeks. I went in for my appointment and found out that I was already 3cm dilated and highly effaced. I didn't want to get my hopes up since I know it really doesn't mean much but I would be lying if I said it didn't make me a bit anxious. Suddenly I was analyzing every twinge in the hopes that it might be labor. This got even worse the next week when I found out I was 4cm and my doctor declared that I would probably not make it to my next appointment. 

I started going insane with anxiety over everything. I even had my first episode of false labor when I had contractions that were about 10 mins apart for a few hours one night. They were painless though and never got any stronger. The following week (right before 39 weeks) I had him sweep my membranes. I was hoping this would get things going for me. Instead, it just threw me into a major false labor that I ended up heading to L&;D for just to have it stop as soon as I got there. I had called my in-laws down from their home 2hrs away and everything. My mom even changed her flight from Sunday to the following day. Once we knew it was false I still had  my mom come out early though because I figured it would help me relax regarding the whole issue of what to do with Nathan. Add that and my induction which I scheduled the day after my trip to L&D and it really did make me a less anxious. 

Then Tuesday came. I started having the same type of contractions I'd had in all of my false labor so I did my best to ignore it and I refused to let myself get excited. From early on in my pregnancy I had a thought that Sept. 19th might be the day but again, I didn't want to let myself get excited so I just kept ignoring it. They were not painful but kept up into the evening when I started to get a very light back pain. Again, nothing different than what I'd already had. 

Around 3am I woke up from the back pain. It wasn't killer, but definitely uncomfortable because I couldn't sleep through it. I got up at one point to walk around to see if it would stop. My frontal contractions only came while I was standing but they were still painless so I grabbed a piece of cheese and some water before heading back to bed. There I tossed and turned until about 5:30am when I finally drifted off. 

At 6:20ish I woke up with a start because I needed to get ready for work and had slept through my alarm.  I was also immediately disappointed because I realized I had slept which must have meant the back pain had disappeared. Then I stood up. 

Suddenly I had my first frontal contraction that I could actually feel some sort of pain behind it. And they kept coming, less than 5 mins apart as I started to get ready. After just a few minutes I realized this might actually be it so I woke up Caleb and took a quick shower. I could hardly focus as I gathered my last minute items and texted everyone on my list. 

Around 7am I woke my mom and Nathan up and we continued to get ready as my contractions got stronger. About 7:20ish I knew it was time to go since my contractions had gone from slightly painful to something I either needed to walk through or lean into. Caleb and I left and we got upstairs to L&D and checked in at 7:41. At this point I was really unsure I was going to be able to do it med-free which had been my hope since about 33 weeks. 

I wanted to be checked dilation-wise before I said yay or nay to the epi. I knew if I was still at a 5 or so I wouldn't be able to do it. Well, low and behold I was already at NINE! Before checking me the nurse even said "Let's check you just to make sure you aren't an 8 or something crazy already". Ha!

Luckily my doctor was already at the hospital because Wednesday mornings are the days he has scheduled c-sections. During one of my contractions Madelyn's heartbeat suddenly slowed. The nurse made me flip sides and even gave me oxygen. I was worried but knew that worst case I'd have to go in for an emergency c-section. I remember thinking how they'd do that since I didn't have an epi and I realized they'd have to just knock me out cold and what a bummer that would be but at least she'd be contractions didn't allow me to dwell too heavily on that but I remember it crossing my mind.

The things I thought I would focus on during my contractions back when I was planning did not really come to fruition. I did keep one hand on my cross necklace but instead of thinking of all the verses I'd looked at, I did what I've done in other times of great need and gone to the Lord's Prayer. It's always something I do instinctively and it must be because I've had it memorized for years. The peaks in my contractions were very short too so once I figured that out I was able to get a better handle on those last few contractions that took me from a 9 to a full 10cm. In fact when I got into that "zone" that they described in all of the Natural Birth books, I actually felt my skin humming. It was weird but I was just staring straight ahead and could feel my face and hands hum.

All of this was happening after Madelyn's heartbeat came back up but my nurses wanted her out ASAP just in case. So my doctor was soon there and as soon as he broke my water my body started to push. I couldn't control it at all in the midst of the contraction. Once that stopped I was able to keep from pushing until they were fully ready.

On the next contraction I pushed a total of 3 times. Twice for her head and once for her shoulders and she was out. I remember it feeling like I was running a marathon when I pushed Nathan out (took 30 mins) but this was the easiest thing in the world.

They immediately put her on my chest but had to take her quickly to do the APGAR scores and clean her up. Even though she was crying a little bit they quickly determined they needed to help her breath and within a few minutes they knew they needed to take her to the NICU. I did get to hold her for few minutes before they did and as many of you know she had to stay in the NICU for a week due to a high white blood cell count. Her breathing was normal by 1pm the day she was born.

As for me, I did have some excess bleeding and had to be put on pitocin to stop that, especially since I didn't get to nurse right away. But it stopped quickly after the pit was administered and although I had to have a heplock as a precaution for the rest of the day, I felt great.

So I was able to have my med-free birth but I am still shocked by how ridiculously quick it all was. I'd hoped it would be quicker since Nathan's induction was under 10 hours but I never expected to be one of those few women who don't feel their contractions until transition. I always tried to tell myself that the fear of getting to the hospital in time was silly since you usually have a few hours or more. Riiight. If we ever have a 3rd, I'm going to be much more concerned about how far away we drive in those last few weeks!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Tomorrow is September! I can't believe how fast this pregnancy has flown by. Seems like just a couple months ago I was finding out we were expecting again. Amazing.

Today I'm officially term, 37 weeks. With Nathan I knew he wouldn't come early and in fact I was induced at 40 weeks. This time around I have a feeling she'll be early. Not sure how early, but definitely early. At my most recent doctor's appointment this past Wednesday I found out that I'm already 3cm and highly effaced. Because she's a second baby my doctor said she could come at any time.

I'm a little shocked to think she might come this early since I wasn't thinking 37 weeks, but I guess you never know! Of course I could still walk around for the next couple weeks with no change, but 3cm is when the time comes I only have 7 more to go!

To give perspective, I was only 2.5 cm with Nathan when I went into the hospital the morning I was induced at 40 weeks. So that's a pretty big difference especially for this early.

We'll see folks, stay tuned for our little September baby! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Museum Fun

Caleb happened to have the day off today so we went out for one last family hurrah before I start work again next week.

We took Nathan to the Oklahoma Science Museum (formerly known as the Omniplex). It was the obvious choice for three reasons:

1. We'd never been there before.
2. Kids under 4 are free
3. It was 103 out today.

So we finally got ourselves out of the house around eleven and decided to stop by Chic-fil-a for lunch and let Nathan play. We usually go through the drive-thru and the poor kid never gets to play on the playground so we thought it'd be nice to actually let him do it this time.

After that we headed to the museum which apparently was redone in the last few years. It felt to us that the new version was modeled off of our favorite Chicago museum: The Museum of Science and Industry. While it wasn't nearly as big, it had very similar exhibits and was set up a lot like it.

Of course I forgot to bring my camera so I have no pictures to share with you, but for kicks and giggles I'll throw in a few pictures from when we went to the Museum of Science in Industry this past March. Oh my I miss Chicago!


I picked pictures of exhibits that they had at the Oklahoma Science Museum too ... so basically, I didn't need to take pics! :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

New name, new year, new baby...

It's been a while as I always say. Over a year since my last update and a lot has changed.

We are now expecting our second little one in 7 short weeks! Madelyn Claire is due at the end of September and this time around I'm planning a med-free birth. I had a great experience with Nathan (you can read about that here) but really feel the need to try it this way now. 

Speaking of Nathan, my sweet, amazing little man is turning THREE in a few short weeks! Where on earth did the time go? He is even getting ready to start school for the first time (preschool/MDO program) and while it's only two days a week for a couple hours, it's still a big deal. I'm very excited for him and it will give Caleb a tiny bit of a break during the day when he has both kiddos. 

I am still working in the school library. I ended up in a different district than I originally thought I'd be but I know this is where God intended and I have a great commute & actually work at the school Nathan and Madelyn will attend when we reach that point. For Nathan it'll be this time next year! 

I am getting ready to start school again for the fall. A little over a week of freedom left, we have had a great summer even though it flew by. Right after school got out we headed out to Georgia and Colorado for some family time with my side and then have spent the rest of the time around OKC. Potty training has been a big thing we've worked on this summer and we have also tried to get out and do some things once or twice a week so we're not totally stuck in the house. We worked on Madelyn's room and got a lot of organization done in that regard as well as had a huge garage sale to get rid of some of our boy clothes and what-not. 

I'm hoping I'll be able to keep myself in the mode of updating. I'm working a part-time job as well as my school job however and it requires a lot of the little free time I have after school and family life. We'll see. I make no promises :P