Friday, August 31, 2012


Ways I've been re-evaluating our money and budget choices:

1. I've been looking into credit unions and comparing money market rates. And then my sweet husband remembered ING! I checked out their rates and was shocked. The highest interest rates I had been able to find for a money market at other banks and credit unions was the interest rate on the checking account at ING. Can you imagine the great rate on their savings accounts? Definitely worth looking at. Make Money

2. I bought a stupid life insurance policy a few years ago. Life insurance is not stupid. The policy I picked was. I have an appointment set up with my State Farm agent Thursday to get a new policy that will be cheaper and make more sense. Save Money

3. We became officially debt-free yesterday (YAY!!!!!) but I still feel like we aren't since we have a million payments each month. We could cut down on some of these by paying our insurance premiums every 6-months instead of every month, and save a little on service fees. This won't save much money, but it will make me feel like we're keeping our money instead of giving it out every month. Save Money

4. We were trying to cut down on our food bill by not buying grass-fed beef and free range chicken. It saved money on the grocery bill, but we were used to that yummy grass-fed and we would end up going out to eat to avoid eating the cheap meat we bought. So I'm going back to my yummy expensive meat. It's still cheaper than going out to eat all the time. Quality of Life

5. Nathan's car is really old, so we're saving up to buy him a new one. That way when this one dies, we're not stuck with a car payment, higher insurance than we want, and paying interest. Also, he's planning on driving this car until it dies, so we get all the use we can out of the new transmission we bought a little over a year ago. Save Money

6. I found a website where I can buy Abigail's organic lactose-free formula for only about $1 more than Similac if you buy 12 at a time. Even shipping is free if you buy that much! And we are comparing it to Kroger prices. If you compare it to Babies R Us prices, the organic is way cheaper. Save Money

These are the ideas I've had so far. How do you make the budget stretch?

Friday, August 24, 2012

New Life Goal ... Maybe

Before I started at HCC, I was trying to go back to school to become an auditor. I did a lot of research and even started teaching myself accounting from a textbook, but when I crunched the numbers it just didn't seem reasonable. However, our money situation has changed some, so the numbers are crunching much more nicely now. Result? My first accounting class starts Monday!

This little project of mine (understate much?) will still take a few years to complete. Assuming I make it through two semesters of basic accounting and still enjoy it, I'll need to become a licensed CPA and maybe earn a degree in accounting. I'm so excited about taking classes though. Unwrapping my textbook, checking my schedule, buying school supplies, doing homework. I might even pack myself a cute lunch! Ugh, I'm a nerd. But who knows, maybe I've found what I always wanted to be.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


This week has been pretty darn stressful. Make me want to go to sleep for a month stressful. One positive I guess is that it gives me a chance to evaluate how I handle stress and if I'm turning to God in those moments. So far, I think I'm doing better than normal. I'm still not on my knees as much as I should be, but I am freaking out far less than is par. I'm learning that some things are God's problem, not mine. I can support, I can love, I can pray, but I cannot always fix. And I should not always fix. So what am I doing instead? Hugging my warm, snuggly baby instead. That's my new solution to every problem.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pucker Up!

I've been making my own kombucha tea, which has been going well except that it is getting more and more sour with every batch. Now I take very small sips and swear I'm throwing it all out and starting over. We'll see how this weekend goes though.

Abigail is almost five months now and in that window where you look at introducing food. I know many people used to give babies rice cereal at one or two months old, but the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends waiting until babies are six months old. We have a family history of allergies, so hopefully waiting longer to introduce solids will help Abigail avoid that mess. According to the Weston Price Foundation, the babies don't have the enzymes necessary to digest carbs until they are about one. Ya. Think about that one!

Having said all that, I had some left-over cucumber from my lunch, so I thought I'd let Abigail taste it (not swallow it though) and see what she thought. That girl can pucker! I ate it after she made it clear that she was not a fan, and realized it tasted funny. Apparently, when cucumber sits on cheese (like it did in my lunch), it absorbs the flavor. Americans will eat goofy things, but I don't think cheese-flavored cucumber will be the next big thing. And there are your pucker stories for the day. Anyone have their own pucker story they want to share?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Drive To Do

You know how some people never seems to transition from college to real life? When you hear about these people, you think of partiers, and people that sleep too late. People that feel like the world should hand them everything they need and want. I am not that kind of person. But I do feel stuck in the college mode of planning your future and changing/educating yourself so that you can make it somewhere different than you are now. I feel stuck in the mode of "not there yet."

In some ways, it's exciting. There are so many things you can do! I love to plan. I love school. I love to learn new things. But it is also exhausting!  I feel like I never settle, am never fully happy with right now. And frankly, my life is right near close to perfect, so I should be fully happy with now. I have a wonderful husband, the perfect baby, an amazing family, a great job, and a safe home. What more can you ask for? An off-switch for my ambition and my planning. Or at least a way to press pause for a minute.

The ever elusive state of contentment. Maybe I should learn more about Paul. If anyone knew contentment, it was Paul. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

She Drew the Line

We are not breast-feeding anymore. For those of you who don't know, we were not able to breast-feed well. I say "we" because it makes me feel like it's not my fault, but the problem was with my body we believe. From my reading and the observations of my midwife and pediatrician, we think I don't have enough mammary glands. You see, breasts are made up of fat and mammary glands. Apparently mine are mostly fat, which is why I like to be about 10 pounds heavier than the charts say is "healthy." Believe me, that last ten pounds does not come off my hips! But it was bad news for my little one and all my dreams of months of free food for her. I took all the herbs I could find, drank lots and lots of water, nursed every two hours for a few days, pumped, and did anything else that was suggested, but never could get more than two ounces at a feeding. And I couldn't even get that much if I nursed every two hours. Apparently production takes time.

Abigail got half breast-milk, half formula for a few months, and then mostly formula with nursing and pumping when we could after I started work full time. She did really well with this, and I felt good about giving her what I could. Plus, nothing beats the cuddle time and the fact that Mommy (and her magical boobies) can make tears stop instantly! Until about two weeks ago. That is when nursing brought on the tears instead of stopping them. My little one was done. I guess she got tired of working so hard for so little when there was a fabulous bottle of formula just waiting for her. I tried to feed her the bottle first, then nurse, but that still wouldn't cut it for her. I cried and tried again later, but she still wouldn't have it. So I cried and tried again later again. Still no good. After a few days of making her cry because she didn't want to nurse and making myself cry because she didn't want to nurse, I realized that one of us should be the adult and call it quits. And I realized that was probably going to have to be me.

It breaks my heart to not be able to nurse her. I know people say "Don't feel guilty" and "You have to do what is  best for your family" but I don't think this is best for mine. It's just the only option we have. And I don't feel guilty, most of the time, but I do feel sad that I'm missing out on this precious gift. Not to mention how formula goes against all of my nutritional beliefs I have ever had! But you have to do what you have to do.

I did find a site called Human Milk for Human Babies that helps moms with extra milk connect with moms that don't have enough. I'm looking into it, as any breast milk is better than none. And I know that when I'm pregnant with Number 2 we are going to see a lactation consultant to see what we can do to increase my milk potential for him. For now though, Abigail and I need to find a new something special that's just between us. Every mommy and daughter needs that, right?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Life Choices

Thursday night the hubby and I went to see Cirque du Soliel (thanks for baby-sitting, Grandma!). It was amazing, to say the least. We saw Kooza which is a "back to our circus roots" show. It had tight-rope walking, people being catapulted into the air on stilts, women with hoops, and a lot of flips! Watching their flips and spins and balancing made me wonder how they decided to pursue this career instead of another. Especially with the Olympics going on right now. How did that conversation go: "Honey, you could go far! Maybe even go to the Olympics!" "No thanks, Mom. I'd rather join the circus." Because they were that good. I'm not sure what reactions their moms had, but I for one am glad they joined the circus. And it gives me hope that even though I've made some decisions that may not seem like the best to those around me (or even to myself sometimes) that God will see me through and turn my life into something beautiful too.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Getting To Know You

Well, this post will be in more of a hurry than I like, but I got caught up in other things, so there you have it.

I am a micro-manager at heart. Not just at heart, but also at my mouth and my actions, which is where it generally gets me in trouble. I am working on this though! My MiMi once told me that the best advice she could give me in the workforce is to teach my people well, then let them have a chance to show me what they learned. This is good advice for relationships too, although slightly modified. My mantra these days has been "Give them a chance to be an adult." The other, more convicting mantra is "You are not God and the world will not fall apart if you do not make sure this is perfect." (Yes, I am snarky to myself)

I've been practicing saying these things to myself and letting others move along in life without the benefit of my wisdom (Especially if they don't ask for it, or especially want it.) at work and at home. It's hard. I was talking to Nathan about it last night though, and he mentioned that he had noticed my efforts and was trying to meet me halfway when I was turning purple from keeping my mouth shut. And I was so touched! Lord knows, he is one of the people who knows more than most how hard I have to try! And I love that after knowing each other for seven years we are still working on loving each other more and helping each other be better! I know we haven't been together long in the grand scheme of things, but it's nice to remember that we haven't given up on each other yet.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Root for the Little Guy

I really like to shop on the internet. Something about that one-click purchasing power really makes me happy. I help out at a local health food store though, and they have really brought to my attention the idea of buying locally. I didn't realize so much of our economy was based on small business owners. Me and my internet shopping self figured that between WalMart, Target, and Amazon, small businesses must make up only a small sliver of the pie. I'm wrong sometimes.

It's fun working for a small business though. There is much less micro-managing, since everything doesn't have to be replicated on a grand scale. Much less bending backwards to accommodate someone that really should have been fired months ago, but wasn't because they might sue. The business can grow and change as needed. And it's fun to shop locally because you matter. Trust me, I worked retail long enough to know that you don't matter there. They will smile and nod and act like you matter when you throw a hissy-fit at the counter, but you don't. There is a long line behind you, metaphorically if not literally. But small businesses don't have the luxury of state or nationwide audiences. They can set their principles, then do what is in their power to help you, the valued customer, while remaining true to those principles.

Why did this come up? I saw an article or ad (can't remember which) talking about joining a local credit union instead of a national bank. I'm not sure if I'm going to do it yet or not. I still haven't given up the dream of moving and it's much less hassle if you're part of a national bank. But it got me thinking. I do a lot of spending through the chains that would probably be better spent on locals, and I think I'll work on that. Any thoughts?

Monday, August 6, 2012

What I do, I do not want to do

I think I know what Paul was referring to when he lamented that he could not do what he wanted to do, but did all the time that which he did not want to do. Oreos. Paul was referring to Oreos.

Okay, maybe I'm off by a bit, but I would totally understand if that was it! I have a list of negative symptoms a mile long when I eat gluten, but I still eat the gluten. This battle in my head and tummy has been going on for about 3 years now and I still haven't won. I am winning some of the battles (no pizza for a month!), but I get tired of caring. To make it more frustrating, the better I have been complying, the more pronounced the effects when I don't. Here are my latest results:

Cheated and Ate:                                                          Resulted In:
Pizza                                                                             Anxiety attack, depression
Oreos                                                                            Serious mental fog. Serious.
Beer                                                                              My one beer felt like three
Flour tortillas                                                               Weakness in left hand

It goes on, but you get the point. Moral of the story? If Paul can complain a little, so can I.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mario Andretti, I Give You My Keys

When you have a baby, big things change. Things like sleeping when you're tired and eating when you're hungry. Things like your health insurance premiums and how much stuff you carry with you every time you leave the house. But little things have changed too. Like how fast I drive. Don't get me wrong, I still don't understand people that go under the speed limit, but I used to be the person passing everyone, and now I'm the person being passed. Oddly enough, it's not just when Abigail is in the car. And it doesn't always feel safer either! Going the speed limit and having the headlights of a huge pick-up boring into your rear-view window does not feel safe. Of course, at that point my stubbornness kicks in, but that's a different story altogether. This story is about me slowing down, and how it almost seems offensive to drive so fast. Maybe my inner rhythm is coming off the breakneck speed it's been on for so long. I've had much fewer problems with anxiety since getting pregnant and adopting a paleo diet, so that may be a big part of it. Maybe it's left overs from everything slowing down when I was on maternity leave (I barely left the house for 6 weeks, and loved it). And maybe it's the subconscious knowledge that another person's life is dependent on mine. I hope this "slowness," this absence of an ever-present need to go faster and get more down continues though.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Little Bitty Baby Dreams

When Abigail was a few days old, I came out of my sleep deprived fog long enough to really enjoy watching her sleep. It is so fun to watch the mysteries of REM sleep play out on her face. Her eyes would dart around under the eyelids, and those eyebrows! She has the most expressive eyebrows I have ever seen! It's even more fun to watch her now that she's smiling a lot, because she will smile at things in her sleep too. Nate and I like to speculate what she's dreaming about. Especially in those first few weeks when she was asleep so much. Was she dreaming about her family she was slowly getting to know? About being born? About her days of doing acrobatic tricks in the womb? No telling what goes on in her pretty little head.

Anyway, last night we think she had a bad dream. We have absolutely no evidence of this of course. But here is her normal schedule: go to sleep between 7:30 and 9pm, sleep until 5:30 or 6am. (I told you she is an awesome baby!) Last night she went to bed at 8, but then woke up screaming and crying at 8:45! She wasn't hungry, wet, or poopy, just UPSET! It took a while to calm her down and get her back to sleep, but she finally fell back asleep about an hour later. And being the scientific parents we are, we have officially concluded from the evidence presented that she must have had a nightmare. My poor baby! My guess on what the nightmare was about? Having to try on even one more hat and have her picture taken again! It's a rough life being a baby.