Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Little Photoshop Love

I always love the cute artwork you can find on etsy.  Especially the church-y ones that actually look modern and fun.  I have a hard time finding gospel-related decor that doesn't make my house look frumpy.

Here's my first stab at it.  Come on over and see it on my mantle!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mid-Week Brain Dump

  • Oh, man.  I've got so much going on for the next several weeks!  Mostly because I started a scoring project.  I occasionally score standardized tests from home.  It's a great job with fantastic pay, but it sure does suck up a lot of time.  I'm supposed to score at least 25 hours a week.  Plus, my other job gave me a few extra hours for the next month or so.  Let's just say that finding an extra 30 hours with a toddler running around is quite the challenge.  Payday is great, though!!
  • In all of my busy-ness, I did find time to get my hair cut and colored on Monday.  Man, I feel better.  It is ridiculous how much that helps.
  • On Monday night I grabbed two Starbucks and went to chat with a good friend.  It felt so good to just talk with no kids pulling at us (okay, her super-cute baby was around, but that certainly doesn't count).
  • Nic and a friend are finally laying carpet in the kids' room this weekend.  I have been waiting for this project to get finished so that I can get moving on the room.  It has been at a standstill for a few months, and it is driving me crazy!
  • I think we've pretty much decided that the Sunbean is going to preschool in the fall.  She'll be three, and is so ready.  Plus, it's just three hours, three times a week.  We chose a Montessori program, and I love it.  Since she has a late birthday, she'll be able to complete the three-year program, and then start up kindergarten.  It seems so strange to me that she's old enough to be thinking about preschool.
  • We got our Peg Perego double stroller (we went with the Aria Twin 60/40) in the mail, and it is great!  The Sunbean loves it (and loves to watch Sesame Street in it....don't judge), and I love it.  Our carseat should come this week.  We sold the Sunbean's infant seat because we hated it.  We were much better consumers this time around.
  • A friend gave me a coupon for a $20 gift card to Target.  Talk about a great friend!  I used it to get some new hair accessories, some Starbucks (duh), and I still have some left.  That was a good way to start off the week!
  • The Subean is in the 'why' stage.  I might die if I hear 'why?' one more time today.
  • At my doctor's appointment, she did a quick check of the ol' cervix (don't you just love those appointments?) and said, "Wow!  Did you know his head is right on your bladder?"  Yes, doc.  I got that.
  • MacGyver is really into watching these strange documentaries on Netflix.  I guess I should be happy I'm not missing good TV while I'm grading.
  • We're going to Ikea next weekend, and I can't wait to pick up a few things I need.  Why is it that the stuff I want isn't available online?
  • I think it's supposed to break 50 degrees today.  I love me some winter, but I'm ready to ditch the maternity coat.
What's on your mind?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Indiana Weather is Weird

Rain puddles {and no coat} one day, snow the next.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Whole-Grain Goodness

A few years ago, we switched to eating all whole-grains.  You know, like whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, and brown rice.

My only beef was the texture of brown rice.  I like it in restaurants, but I was having a hard time with it at home.  Following the directions on the bag wasn't cutting it.

I found this method, and it's a winner.  It seems a little silly, but it totally works.  We're enjoying soft and fluffy rice again!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Breath of Fresh Air

I loved this write-up of the BYU sex suspension.

We Mormons are different.  But different is good.

Monday, March 21, 2011

30 Week Update

Here I am, with yet another riveting pregnancy post.  Here's my 30-week update.

  • I love the comparison of photos here.  I've gained wayyyy less weight and I'm not retaining water this time around.  Because of that, I feel so much better.  It's crazy how much of a difference that makes.
  • You can't really tell with these photos, but I'm carrying way higher this time.  So much more comfortable.  A kick in the ribs is no treat, but it's better than feeling like your baby is going to fall out at any given moment.
  • As much as I'm feeling better physically, I'm a freaking mess emotionally.  My apologies to those who have to interact with me on a regular basis.  I swear, I'm trying to be normal.
  • I'm feeling so un-ready for this baby to come.  I've been working some extra hours from home, so now I'm just waiting for payday to go on a shopping spree.  I find it strange how much I 'need', considering just three years ago we had a newborn.
  • I've reached the point of pregnancy where I feel like I have no clothes.  I do have clothing, I'm just sick of it.  I don't want to buy more, because I'll only be wearing it for 10 more weeks.  Having said that, I just got a new shirt on Saturday.  I'll be wearing it tomorrow, and probably at least one more day this week.  Don't judge.
  • I'm also to the point of pregnancy where I'm getting some fantastic comments.  I think maybe I'll keep a list and do a separate post.   However, today my favorite 11-year-old looked at me curiously and asked if I was having another baby.  He's just now figuring it out?  I'll go ahead and take that as a compliment.
  • I'm getting so excited to meet this little boy and see what he looks like and acts like.  I'm starting to remember how much fun it is to have a baby!

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Our Pockets are Heavier and Our Step is Lighter

    Today is a happy day over here at our house.  This morning, I'm running the best errand ever.  In just a few hours, we'll be debt-free for the first time in our marriage.

    Okay, except for our mortgage.  I don't really count that.  And except for that dark cloud of student loans, but we've got at least a year to worry about that.  So I'm not letting those rain on my parade today.

    Here's our story, just in case it helps someone out there.  We both brought a tiny bit of credit card debt into our marriage.  Since we were both students for that first year, we just paid the minimum payment (we had consolidated onto one 0% interest card).  We had every intention of paying off the card (less than $1,000) with our first few 'real' paychecks.

    And we totally could have.  But when we moved home and both had 'real' jobs (I was a social worker...that barely consitutes a real paycheck), we bought a house, furniture to fill it, and then financed a car.  Whoops.  We knew the credit card would still be there, and we weren't paying interest, so we just kept putting it off.

    When we moved home, we set up our finances with the local Chase branch.  They went ahead and linked two new credit cards to our account 'just in case' we would overdraw on our account.  Fine, whatever.  We didn't really pay attention, because we weren't going to use them anyway.

    And that wasn't the only thing we didn't pay attention to.  Despite having some fantastic financial role models in our life, we really didn't pay attention to our bank account.  We didn't go crazy or anything, but we didn't watch every penny.  Remember, we had those two credit cards linked to our account 'just in case'.

    Just in case we didn't balance our checkbook.  Just in case we were stupid enough to fall into the bank's trap.  And, of course, we were.  It was amazing how quickly a $25 overdraft here and a $50 overdraft there added up.  In just one year, we took a step back and were somehow thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

    And we never even carried those cards in our wallets.  We never once intentionally used them to make a purchase of any kind.  It was all bank fees.  Totally our fault, because we didn't pay enough attention.

    Thankfully, we finally came to our senses.  I'm not sure what exactly kicked us in the pants, but I'll be eternally grateful that it did.  We look a long, hard look at our finances and realized that we just couldn't do it.  I was only working part-time, and we'd just found out we were pregnant with the Sunbean.

    I heard an ad for a non-profit agency that works with you to overcome debt.  I made an appointment for the next day, and that was the best decision ever.  They helped us negotitate interest rates and monthly payments with the credit card companies.  We also sold the car that we had financed, and paid cash for a older car.

    For the next few years, we scrimped and saved like you wouldn't believe.  We are essentially a one-income household (I only work 5 hours a week), so it got really tricky.  Here's an example:  we fed our family of three for $20 a week.  Can anyone say pasta?  We didn't have a budget for entertainment, and we just didn't spend money.  Unless we came up with some extra money (via my business or odd jobs), we didn't grab lunch on the go, stop by Starbucks (so sad), or go to a movie.  The only thing we paid that wasn't essential for survival was the 10% we tithe to our church.  And we consider that essential for survival, anyway.

    That's why, less than four years later, we're making our final payment.  I wanted to blog (and facebook) about this, just in case our experience can help anyone out there.  I know we aren't alone in falling into this trap, and we want people to know that there is a way out.  We've learned a few things about money.

    We now bank with a non-profit credit union.  We've tried banking with both Wells Fargo and Chase, and didn't find either putting us first.  Duh...they're in it to make money.  We love our credit union, and have found the restricted hours and other random inconveniences are well worth the benefits we recieve.

    We're never, ever financing anything ever again.  Except for a house.  And the last few months of MacGyver's education.  We've learned the hard way that the only way to buy anything is with cold, hard cash.  We have a plan in place to save up for a newer car when we need one.

    Crawling out of this hole was so hard, and I'm not being dramatic when I say there were many tears shed.  Despite that, though, I'm so thankful for this experience.  I'm so thankful that we could learn our tough money lessons while we are young, and before things got ridiculously out of control.  I'm thankful that we paid 100% of our debt back, because that means we're never going back to that place again.

    So if you see either one of us this weekend, we'll have our perma-grin on.  And you can bet we're going out for dinner!

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Lesson Learned

    Want to hear a ridiculous story that, I swear, could only happen to me?  Of course you do.

    I guess this is what you get when you travel across the country at 28 weeks pregnant.  The universe just kind of gangs up on you.

    So, picture this.  A pregnant momma, in all her glory, hangin' on the beach.  Actually, you can picture it:

    Don't you love that the Sunbean is actually taking her afternoon nap?

    We had packed up for a few days and left my grandma's place to stay at the beach.  That night, I started having sharp pain in my nether region.  I figured that if I could get to sleep, I'd be fine.  I got to sleep okay, but I was still having pain the next day.

    By mid-morning, I was having some cramping, which felt like it could be contractions.  Well, crap.  I called my doctor, and she told me to go to the ER.  Talk about a beach vacation.

    I looked up some nearby hospitals, and decided to drive the extra 20 minutes to a larger hospital.  I was afraid that if something really was wrong, they'd end up sending me there anyway.  I just wanted to avoid a $3,000 ambulance transport.  Biiiiiiiiig mistake.

    We get to the big hospital (and I mean big).  I've never seen a hospital so big in my life.  We located the emergency department, and I had my mom drop me off at the door.  The Sunbean was asleep, and I wanted her to sleep as long as possible.  I get up to the door at it is locked.  Yes, locked.  The door to the ER was locked at 10:00am on a Saturday morning.

    I waddled myself to the car, and told mom to drop me at the main entrance.  I get to the desk (those doors happened to be open) and I tell the lady I think I'm having contractions at 28 weeks.  What does this genius do?  She suggests that I get back in my car and drive over to the ER door.  I inform her that it was locked, and she tells me I'm mistaken.  Oh, lordy.  This is shaping up to be a great visit.

    I tell her I'd rather just have directions from inside the hospital.  She then proceeds to tell me that it is a long and complicated walk.  Why she didn't offer to escort me (perhaps via wheelchair?  I was having painful contractions, you know.), I'll never know.  But I make my way over to the ER.  I had to take three separate elevators, but I made it.

    I apparently didn't go to the right desk the first time, because they sent me on another trot across the hospital.  Finally, at desk #3, I burst into tears.  The very sweet receptionist finally gets me a wheelchair and takes me up to labor and delivery herself.  10 points to her for having common sense.

    Finally at L&D, still having contractions, it takes them at least 20 minutes to get my information.  For real.  They finally get me into a room, and I was shocked to find that I was sharing a room.  I know that's not unheard of, but I'm from Hospital City, USA, where they build a new hospital every 2 months.  We don't share rooms around here.

    So I'm finally in a bed, and they're trying to get the monitors hooked up.  At this point, Little Dude is kicking so ferociously that you can actually see my stomach moving from the outside.  A nurse is trying to find his heartbeat via doppler, and is somehow having a hard time.  She starts to tell me that there is something wrong with the baby because he has no heartbeat.  For real, lady?  Not only is there fetal movement, but I can actually see it.  Duh.

    So she skips the doppler, and for her next trick, attempts to hook up the contraction monitor.  Fast forward one hour.  She, and three additional nurses, are still unsuccessful.  I'm not even kidding.  It's like I was their very first OB patient EVER.

    I finally ask them to do one of two things.  Either check my cervix to see if I'm dilated or use an ultrasound to check the length of my cervix.  It frightens me that I appear to have more knowledge of preterm labor than the four of them do.  Combined.

    One nurse decides to check my cervix herself.  Okay, fine.  That's kind of why I came in the first place.  She gets the necessary 'supplies', and I happen to look down.  She's not wearing gloves.  Oh.  em.  gee.  This cannot be happening to me.  I (politely?) ask her to put gloves on before her hand goes inside me.  Her response?  "Oh yeah!".  Oh, yeah.

    Let's just fast-forward a few hours.  I'd been laying in bed, just waiting on my test results.  I finally called for the nurse and asked if I could leave, and they could call me with the results.  They were just testing for an infection, so I wasn't too concerned.

    Her response?  Oh, well, there won't be a doctor around to sign you out for about 4 hours.  Um, no.  I will not sit around with you fools for 4 more hours.  My mom and I pitched a fit, and 30 minutes later I was on my way.

    As I was leaving, an emergency delivery came into the unit - the momma was only 30 weeks.  Let's just say I've been thanking my lucky stars that it wasn't me delivering a preemie with those goons.

    I've since been to my own (fully competent doctor) and things are just fine.  She said having painful contractions during the 3rd trimester is normal, as long as I don't have more than 3 or 4 an hour.  Good to know.

    Lesson learned.  I'll never, ever be traveling while pregnant again.  

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    My Gift to You

    I'm blogging from the couch, because I can't move.  I've just stuffed myself full of Rachael Ray's Pasta e Fagioli.

    I first heard of this recipe from my friend's blog.  Check it out.  She's crafty.

    I listened as all of our mutual friends raved about it, but was pretty skeptical.  We're not big soup eaters over here.  I don't mind soup, but MacGyver is not a fan.  He would let me serve plain, stale toast for dinner, but draws the line at soup.

    I finally decided to give it a shot, and I'm seriously so happy.  MacGyver hasn't tried it yet, but I'm certain he'll at least choke it down.  It's fantastic.

    I was a little concerned because I didn't have many of the herbs, but the flavor was awesome, and it is super filling.

    Here's the recipe, and here's what I did:

    • I used ground beef instead of sausage, because it's what I had in the freezer.
    • I just added pressed garlic with the beef instead of roasting it.
    • I used cabbage instead of fennel, because I had some in the fridge.
    • I used 1 quart of vegetable stock, and then added a little water.  I have no idea how much.
    • I used two fresh bay leaves, but nothing else.
    • I used 2 cans of Great Northern Beans, because, again, it's what I had.
    • I topped it with a ridiculous amount of fresh Parmesan.
    Do yourself a favor and make this.  I'm not kidding.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    We're Baaaaaaack!

    Hello there!

    I really want to blog about our rather eventful trip, but I feel it is my duty to sift through the 400+ pictures and edit them all first.

    Here's a shot to make you all jealous in the meantime.

    Happy Wednesday!  It's goooooooood to be back.

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Today is a Good Day To...

    Go here:

    To see this sunbathing beauty:

    And take our annual 4-generation shot on the beach:

    See you next week!