Friday, September 4, 2015

New Car Old Car

So we bought a 'new' to us car. It's a 1999 Subaru Legacy wagon.

It only has 53,xxx miles on it. Not bad for being that old.

Kicking the tires of the 'new' car. 

My Toyota Camry I got in college now has 170,xxx miles on it. It's not that I couldn't drive it until it dies- because I could- it's the fact that I don't want to be stuck somewhere with 2 kids when it does decide to die. The check engine light is on- because it needs a new air filter or something.

How many people my age (mid-thirties) can honestly say they have the same car they had when they were in college? (23) not even my hubby can say that. But I can. I remember where I was when my parents called- it was just before Christmas of 2001(?)- and of course they pulled the commercial on me: honey, we bought you a CD player. Gee, that's great. Did we mention it comes with the car? Oh! Sweet!

When I first started my Camry in the parking lot of the dealership in St. Paul, Minnesota I didn't think it was running- it was so quiet compared to my old-ER one.  The old one was a 1993 Toyota Camry- and the car was loud- the muffler was loud- it was a stick shift. The new car was a 1998 Toyota Camry LE and had a 3 disc CD player in the dash. It only had 60,xxx miles on it. 
It's been a good car over the years. It followed our dating lives, into marriage, took us on our honeymoon (Arkansas), brought home both children from the hospital. It's taken us to Kentucky a few times, once for a mission trip. It's been to Chicago a few times as well- for college- followed Roy's old Ford LTD back to Iowa when we were done with college. It's taken us to Missouri on short trips and all the way past St. Louis. It's been left in St. Louis while we went on our cruise. It's taken Us up to see my brother in Minnesota. It's put up with a dirty little boy leaving stuff in it all the time- and a messy mommy. 
It's carried countless groceries, baby stuff, clothes to goodwill, a few camping trips, trips to the beach, trips to work and back, dropping kids off at daycare providers house, daycare centers, etc. 
It's been hit and banged up a few times - mind you- it doesn't look great, but it still has over 30k miles left in it- or more!   Banged the side of the car on a set of wooden steps up to my apartment. Dented the bumper numerous times. Car accident when I slammed into the side of a truck one day- replaced the front bumper for that one. Don't ask how that happened- it isn't a good memory. 
It's always been a good car, even if I haven't always been good to it. I will miss it.

What it has that the new car doesn't have: 2 power cigarette lighters (for charging phones, etc). 
Cup holders next to the parking brake. 
3 disc CD player- will miss this very much! 
The name: Toyota 
Not having a Toyota in my family will be weird. I've always had a Toyota ever since I was about CJs age (7). My parents bought an old Toyota Tercell when I was little. Then it was a Camry, then two, then my brother had an Avalon, then my mom had a Carolla, then I had this Camry, my dad now has a Toyota Truck, and my mom has a newer Carolla than her first one. Toyota's a good brand. 
My thinking on this Subaru car is that if I need to be uncomfortable for a few years, while I get out of debt- then so be it! Although having a moon roof isn't exactly low on the comfort zone- the seats aren't as comfy, and the controls are a little different. I'm getting used to them, slowly. 
So, my car is for sale. It would make any college or high school student happy. It made me happy when I was in college! 
Here's the stats on it: 1998 Toyota Camry
More Photos:

Friday, July 24, 2015

"You matter to me."

"You matter to me." 

The good news was I was offered an interview. I was excited, I was nervous, and I was not used to crowds in the large city downtown area. I can handle crowds- but I do much better  when hubby is with me to guide me through. (Because he's tall and a good driver). 
I guess I've become- or always have been a girl that's never in the center of things. I grew up in a bedroom community of the Twin Cities. Close enough to enjoy the entertainment and fun, but far enough where I didn't have to deal with people all the time.
The interview went well, I thought. The tour was amazing of this organization and the collaboration that happens there everyday. Every corner I turned I saw rows and rows of Macs- I thought I had died and gone to heaven (sorry all you Mac haters- I learned my design skills on a Mac and since then I've always had one). The  skills test was brain draining. I felt like mush. To top it off on the way up there the 'check engine' light came on in the dashboard of my car. Called hubby. What's that mean? 'Uh, it means 'check the engine'? How's your fluid levels?' 
Okay. I can't check it now, going to my interview. Fast forward to after the interview and skills test-  I got out of downtown and got to a gas station- checked the levels of oil, and other fluids- yes, I know where to look- fluids looked okay- within normal ranges, anyway. 
Called hubby again. 
He said go to an AutoZone. 

Siri - 'Nearest AutoZone' 

Back the other direction. Okay. I can do this. I think I can. I totally felt inept to handle my first 'big girl' job. The job that not only pays you money, but benefits as well. 
AutoZone guy plugged the computer into my car and said its an 'oxygen sensor'. Good to know. My car has one of those? (Two, actually) But, safe to drive back home? Yes. Okay. 
Did I mention the borrowed from the library Harry Potter CD got stuck in my car CD player on the way there as well? (It's still In there. I'm waiting for hubby to have time to get it out.) 
Oh, what a day! 
I was emotionally drained and tired and I needed and wanted to get home to my kids. 
Fast forward a week. I get a phone call from the company I interviewed at. They wanted to offer me the job. Oh- did I say I found out it was a night shift position in the interview? My jaw was on the floor. They start all their employees out like that. 
If they had just found me 10 years ago. I would have done it. 
Someone asked me what was the pay they were offering you? I said I didn't ask. I didn't want to live with the guilt of not having that extra income. Being debt free in a few years wouldn't be worth it if my daughter didn't know who I am when I walk in the door late at night. I did that before when my son was about the same age. 
As I was telling someone this story, my son (age 7) was listening and said: "Mom, you matter to me."

I feel like I'm always yelling at him or 'bossing' him around as he puts it. Just trying to be your parent, kid, trying to teach you responsibility. At least a little bit. Trying to teach you to listen to your mother, and a little respect along the way. 
I matter to him. I'm the one responsible for dropping him off at school and picking him up each day. I'm the one who gets him signed up for activities like: 4-H Clover Kids and our local children's theater program. 
I'm the one who tells him to stop picking on his sister, to leave her alone, put her down, stop bugging her! 1,000 times a day. 
I matter to him. 

If I wasn't there to do those things, Who would? Is that fair to that person, who might be busy with their own job and their own life? 
What would happen to my little girl if I had to sleep all day so I could work at night? Daycare. She would only see me a few hours a day. Is that fair to her? Is that fair to my mother's heart?
Have I made the right choice? Yes, I believe I have. Family over career. I've done this many times. 
But what's important in life? Fame? recognition? Money? Being financial stable? 
Or family? Friends? A community that knows who you are? Showing God love to others. Being in the place God put you, for such a time as this. 

“And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?”
‭‭Esther‬ ‭4:14b‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Friday, July 17, 2015


Back Story: 
I was internally bleeding. 
What was I supposed to do? Not go to the ER? So my kids wouldn't have a mom to take care of them?

I thought I was covered. Two missed payments stops your insurance. There were 3, due to timing of other bills we had obligations to as well. 

Nobody in the Health Care Industry gets it. 
My husband is working 50-80 hours a week and I'm on unemployment and we are still eligible for public assistance! My kids have health care through the state. Crazy that we don't make enough to be on our own two feet. 
I have a $6k hospital bill I can't pay. At least the hospital is willing to work with us, and we are applying for payment plan options. 
Jesus can come anytime now, and wipe away all my debt. That would be amazing. 
I need peace about this. That this bill will - eventually - get paid. 

There was a small window. Found by a customer service agent named Joy. 
I didn't think it could be done. 
Insurance is a frustrating and tricky thing. Big businesses are not always ready to look out for the little guy. 

We were staring at a $6,000 hospital bill. There seemed to be no way out. 

The phone call came from Joy one morning. She left a voicemail- saying that she thinks she can get our insurance re-instated. I called her back after my daughter and I had finished breakfast. Not believing the truth. She simply told me was all we had to do was pay the premium for July and we would be reinstated. 
Understand up until this point that my husband had called the insurance company, I had our insurance agent (from whom we bought the policy from) call the company as well and he called me back with bad news. I was thinking we were going to have to self-insure the rest of the year. We couldn't re-enroll until January. He said there wasn't a gray area- or they couldn't find one. 
I even called Title 19 and asked if my procedure would be covered (since it is a form of birth control). Called the hospital and tried to have them run it through. No luck. It was worth a try, anyway. 
Obviously we can't miss another payment (which we won't) or we really won't have insurance for the rest of the calendar year. 
But, thanks to Joy. Hubby made the payment online tonight - and my surgery that I had in May is now covered. She truly delivered a miracle to us. 
I never expected it to happen, sometimes big businesses can act like small businesses and care about the little people- especially when they have great people working for them! 
Not sure what my hospital bill will be now, but it'll be much more manageable. 
I called and asked hubby if he wanted to pay $500 (rounded amount we pay each month for the 2 of us) or $6,000. He said - uh- yeah $500. We can do that!


I have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb.

 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:18-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The slate has been wiped clean. 
Almost $6,000 clean. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Written after one week recovery. This all happened before / on / around May 14th - so it's almost been a month. 

As my sister in law put it tonight: you've had quite the interesting month. 
Yes, I have. 
Let's step back to the end of April, though. Due to funding reasons I'm let go from the job I held for 2 years. I'm sad, obviously, because I care about downtown revitalization and improving my community. 
I made contact with people that led me to my next position, at a local quick print shop. 
Unbeknownst to me at the time I was pregnant. This didn't turn out so well. I had been feeling bloated, constipated - I know TMI- things were just not working right inside my body and I knew something was wrong, but couldn't figure it out exactly. All I knew was that I was in a lot of pain, and it wasn't going away. I called the nurse one morning- while I was at work. Something happened later that made me call the same nurse again later that morning. She probably saved my life. 
She told me she needed me to go to the ER- she wanted to see labs on me  right away. This was a little bit alarming, but I knew I could trust this nurse. I quickly left work and started to drive to the ER- 45 min. Away. 
I called my husband (using the hands free device he got me for Christmas) and he told me not to drive there. So I drove to where my mother in law works, after a quick call to the babysitter- and she drove me to the ER. 
We arrived at about 11:30am - and they start testing and probing and asking questions. The doctor comes in and says - 'You're pregnant, and let's hope this stomach issues you are having aren't related to being pregnant.' Yikes. Scary. But all very real. 
The beauty about having a smart phone with you is that you have a wealth of information at your fingertips. It's also a curse. I looked up Ectopic pregnancy. Not good. 
The nurse gets some blood from me and starts an IV (since I missed lunch)- at least to keep me hydrated. Within a few hours I am set up in a nice ER room watching Little House on the Prairie episodes. They whisk  me off with an ultrasound technician, who does her job as nicely as possible- and I'm lying on the table crying, because I want to see my kids again. Stupid smartphone and your wealth of information. Another technician comes in and they get what they need- but if she had been within reach I would have punched her- I was already in pain, and she was not helping- and yes, I actually thought about punching her in the face. I can take a lot of pain- obviously, because I lived with this painful 'bloating' situation for about a week- which turned out to be internal bleeding. 
They took me back to my room and told me I would have surgery to remove my right Fallopian tube at 3:30 that afternoon. Basically because the baby had settled in my Fallopian tube rather than my uterus- it exploded. The doctor thought I was about 6 weeks along. Ectopic pregnancies are not to be messed around with and are usually 'discovered' before 8 weeks. 
Back to Little House on the Prairie- it just happened to be the one where Mr. Edwards got mauled by a bear. Oh good. I feel much better now.

I guess that just leaves me to go off to surgery- by 3:00pm or so- they get me prepped and I make a few phone calls- hoping and praying they aren't my last. Hubby wasn't going to get there in time for my surgery- but at least his mom was there with me.  
I hate that surgery room- it's so cold. I remembered that from almost a year ago. I joked with one of the nurses- she asked 'what'd we do to you? Or maybe- 'what service did we provide?' I reminded her. Then I was out. They put me completely under, unlike the birth of my baby. I woke up in the recovery room. I had told the doctors I wanted both Fallopian tubes removed. Even though he said I could still get pregnant with only one. Nope. I have my boy and I have a baby girl and I'm good. I said that- and I'm still saying that because honestly I know that my life was on the line with this last pregnancy. I don't want that anymore. My two kids need me. If I hadn't called the nurse, or if I hadn't listened to her sound advice about going to the ER- I may not be here. My two kids would be without their mom.

After recovery they moved me to a hospital room. They said I could leave later that night. And, yes, if you have a choice to sleep in a hospital bed or sleep in your own bed- take it! Your own bed, that is. With my children sleeping nearby and my husband next to me- I took the pain pills my mother in law ran to get me - before the pharmacy closed- and then she drove me home. I walked into my house around 11pm. Exhausted, cut up, but alive. 
It was surgery- yes- but lathroscopic - so I have 3 small incisions. One on my left side, one by by belly button and one lower than that. The right Fallopian tube had burst. I even have pictures of inside my body. Thanks doc! Although I'll spare you the details of the pictures, because I can't decipher them myself. 
Sunday after church was a little scary, because by then I had started bleeding and didn't know if that was normal or not- plus the information sheet that they gave me said to go back to the ER if I had any of these symptoms- and that was one of them. Blood test came back normal- I guess I was just pushing my recovery to fast. 
Sunday night I got a text that said my services were no longer needed where I was working. Ok. 
Since then I have been driving the day after my surgery, lifting my almost 20lbs. Baby- I'm thankful she's not much heavier- because they put a 20lb. Lifting Weight limit on me for 2 weeks. 
I have basically resumed normal activities- and even mowed the back yard this afternoon. 
My parents came for a few days to help me out. Dad always needs a project to work on- and they needed to give me something for my birthday. Ta-da!

Wood floors underneath ugly, brown 80s matted carpeting. Beautiful!

Only two more rooms to go. The furniture can be moved in on Saturday. Mom and I drove up to see the doctor for a follow up appointment- and basically he asked 'why are you here?' Ha. Okay then. I was told by my regular provider to follow up with you. Keep in mind this doctor doesn't have the best bed side manner. Oh well- he did his job correctly. That's a good thing. 

Earlier in the day baby girl was being fussy and I couldn't answer my phone- it was an employer looking for an interview. I told them I was still interested- it's a job very similar to what I was doing at the job I lost in April.

God is Good. 
All the time. 

All the time.
God is good. 

That's my story. 
I've had: 1 vaginal birth (my son)
1 miscarriage at 5 weeks
1 breech birth requiring a C-section (my daughter)
1 ectopic pregnancy 

It's hard to believe I've actually been pregnant 4 times. 

I know I will see my 2 babies in heaven. Someday. Right now my babies (both big and small) need me. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Florida 2015

This trip was different. Not only was my husband able to take the week off for vacation- we also traveled with our 9/10 month old. I say that because while we were down there she turned 10 months old.

Let me tell you- the BabyWearing trip down there was so much easier than the non- Baby wearing trip back. Due to my forgetting the Ergo at my parents house. Or mom shutting the light out and it was completely dark as I was leaving the room. 

We improvised on the plane- using my sweatshirt to zip her up in, once she was finally asleep.  You never want to be THOSE people on the plane with the screaming baby.

BabyWearing through Des Moines was so easy- I could walk down to get a coffee with both kids while hubby watched the bags. Could not have done it without him.

After we arrived- we realized the van mom and dad had picked up did not have air conditioning- so they had to go exchange it for one that did. Have you ever been in a vehicle in Florida that didn't have air? In 80 degree temperatures. So while they exchanged it for a van that did- my son and I went to the pool- while hubby stayed with the baby at the house. I knew that was the first thing my son wanted to do. 

We went to Busch Gardens on Tuesday in Florida. It was fun, and it was a big place and again- I can't tell you how many times we were thankful for leaving the stroller in the vehicle. The gondolas that can take you across the park don't allow strollers onboard.

Other people had to leave their strollers there and eventually walk back to get them- or not go on the ride at all.

Stroller city outside of one of the shows we went to. Unfortunately I couldn't keep track of the number of strollers at the park that I saw - but I could count 
the number of baby wearing people on one hand. 

If you are familiar with Baby Wearing - it's easy to do it - 
I've seen toddlers who like their 'uppy' time all the way down to newborns.
Baby Wearing honestly saved my vacation. 

Baby wears her hat while hubby wears her. 

Extra bonding time for grandma! 

There weren't that many rides that we did go on- due to the fact that our son (age 7) isn't really into roller coasters (yet). Plus he wasn't tall enough for the big ones. 
He went on a kiddie roller coaster and that was enough for him. He also went on an up and down ride that we thought he might like, but look at his face in this video. Yikes!

Day 3 (Wednesday) was filled with pool time, bike riding (while BabyWearing- but not recommended, due to the risks) around the community.

Later that same day.... 

Sleepy dust in the Ergo, I left one side of the flap off here because it was hot that day in Florida - by the end of our walk around a swamp (there was a boardwalk) I was having trouble breathing and needed a cool down - 
I choose ice cream, of course! 

Day 4 - Thursday was the day my dad and hubby got to go on a deep sea fishing expo with my parents Church. Mom and I went shopping for a few books and a toy for baby- she loved it!

More pool time, of course.

She's so close to walking! 

Day 5- Friday was filled with a day at the beach- and of course a stop at Heavenly Biscuits on Fort Myers Beach. We went to the beach for about 2 hours- hubby and I got burned by the sun. I guess what fun is Florida if you don't get a little sun? Baby girl clearly loved the beach and sand so much she decided to taste the sand. Yum.

We checked out the popular beach spot. 
But we found a little place of our own - away from the crowds. 

Just bumming on the beach.

One little boy even got buried in the sand! 

Feet in the sand - again. :) 

Grandma and baby just hanging out in the shade. 

My son and hubby got busy with a little creation of their own! 

Saturday was filled with relaxing and a mom - daughter date complete with  pedicures- maybe in a few years baby girl can join us-  a stop at Starbucks, and Wal-Mart. I realized our vacation was quickly coming to an end and we didn't make it to the beach for sunset photos. Dad went and picked up his boat. Swimming with the whole family, because we couldn't go out on the boat.

This was my Saturday, in 4 photos.

Can't forget the cheesy date selfie. Is that a phrase? 'Date Selfie'

Sunday was filled with church in the morning, lunch at Ruby Tuesdays - love their cheddar bites. Now I can say I've been to a Ruby Tuesday's. Yes, I have pinned the recipe for their cheddar bites on Pinterest already. Everyone took naps- well, half of us. The rest of them learned to play shuffleboard. Then we went to Love Boat for ice cream and headed to the beach for sunset photos.

Love Boat Ice Cream (yes, it's a real place) and they even have dairy-free sorbet flavors
(for people like me)! 

Ice Cream in cups, or cones. I like mine in waffle cones.

Mom likes chocolate on top of chocolate. 

My son. He's pretty darn cute - and growing up fast! 

A good shot. 

Love this girl and her smile! 

My mom, the award-winning author

Sunset photo, by the hubby! 

Baby waving 'bye-bye' to the ocean.  This will need to be framed.

Father and daughter. This will also need to be framed. 

My dad holding a seashell with a crab still inside. I love this photo.

Laundry was done and we packed to leave the next day- early.
Left the house the next day at 6:30am for a 9:30am flight.

Stopped by Chick-fil-A for breakfast. The last meal in Florida. 

Back to reality. 

And I'm waiting for the package from mom and dad that has my Ergo in it! Just because I left my Ergo in Florida, does not mean my baby wearing days are over. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

8 & 9 month

The time has flown by! Wasn't she just born?
At 8 months old she was crawling- now at 9 months old she's everywhere- into everything. And cruising. Pulling herself up and moving from furniture to furniture. She'll do a few seconds of standing by herself, but then she sits down. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
We had about 10 days in January when we had a 7 year old and a 7 month old. 
That was neat. From Jan. 10 - Jan. 20th.

She's smaller than most of her peers, and that's okay. Hubby says she's just perfect. 
As long as she's healthy- does she need to be chunky? Nope.
She likes to be active. Constantly moving, getting into stuff. Super active at 9pm- but even when I was pregnant with her that's when she was kicking hard or having the hiccups! We go to bed around 9:30pm, and she'll come with us then because I know she's had other naps throughout the day.
She's been better about sleeping through the night! Yay! 
Once at 5:30am or even 6am is way better than 3:30 in the morning!

It's not my imagination- this girl has grown! She's moved up to 6 month clothing! It seems like she was in her 3-6 month clothes FOREVER! more cute clothes! Yates said ! I don't think we are ready to move up one more step,yet. But like I was telling another mom friend of mine- every clothing manufacturer is different- some run small, some run huge! I wish they could figure out a standard way of measuring- this is 2015- you'd think they would be able to do that by now! Even women's clothing is all over the map. Why do men get it so easy? 34 waist, 36 height. Easy. But how would you measure a baby like that??
Every baby is different.
She's babbling now: first word was definitely "daddy" second word was "kitty". It's never "mommy" I know it'll come.

I give her 2 months- and she'll be walking. 
I can picture her and her brother running circles around the inside of our house chasing each other. 
My brother and I did that when we were young. 
She'll be walking before her 1st birthday.

What she thought of me taking her photo for 8 months old. 

Growing up way to fast. I forgot how quickly the first year goes by. My sons prayer at every family dinner: 
thank you for the food, thank you for Caroline, I just love her so much.
Sweet boy, I will need to record that and play it back to you when you are fighting with your sister. 
There will be fights. I'm positive, because I'm a mom.

Tell me what you really think, baby girl. 

Taking photos of her and I together

Things she likes/loves: daddy, kitty, mommy, brother, baby food bananas,baby food peas, bottle, puffs, pacifier (that might be hard to break her of), getting into stuff that's not hers!
Things she dislikes: holding still for diaper changes, going into her car seat- although once she's in it, she's usually fine- as long as she's moving! Baby food pears, any mixed foods together, baby food meats (have you smelled that stuff?ugh). Being in her playpen (confinement).

Cruising along furniture, with Save Ottuwma's weekly Post close by. 

Baby wearing at the Soup Cook-Off at my child's school. 

Things she's going to experience in the next month: first airplane ride, first time in the ocean, first time in Florida, first time swimming in a pool- she's been swimming before, but she was really little this summer and wasn't sure of what to do- she really likes splashing in the bathtub, so it should be fun for her now!

9 months? How can this girl be 9 months old already?!? 

We will leave Iowa with a 9 month old and come back with a 10 month old! 
Crazy how in just a few months I'll be planning her 1 year old birthday party!