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Dave Ramsey talks about “nerds” vs. “free spirits” when it comes to money management/budgeting.

While I definitely wouldn’t say that Jeff is a “free spirit”, he’s also not the “nerd” that I am.

Last Friday, I made an extra payment on our mortgage.

In the amount of $95.99.

Why?  Just to see the balance be $9,999.99.  Under $10K!  And as a bonus, it’s all 9s!

 

Nerd.

Dear Mom of One

Dear Mom of One,

Have another child.  You should.  Cause kids are awesome!

While I can’t really tell you what to do with your womb, I do want to encourage you that it gets easier. This second kid thing is sooo completely different from the first kid thing.

With the first kid, every single thing was new.  Brand spankin’ new.  Never faced before.

The amount of responsibility that came on you all of a sudden was overwhelming.  If your child needed something, it was up to you (and your spouse) to provide it.  For now and for many, many years to come.

The amount of things you had to acquire in some way was all on you.  The pressure (even if it was just pressure you put on yourself) to get the right items seemed so high.  The stroller that fits your lifestyle best. The crib that goes best in your rooms.  Would the breast bump work for you?  What kinds of bottles and diapers are best for your baby?  Debating on how many onesies and sleepers will you need?  How do you install a carseat again!?  Are you a baby swing family?  How about bouncy seats?

Everything your child went through was new to you.  You had never had sole responsibility for a newborn - including “little” things like caring for umbilical cord stumps, clipping fingernails, clearing away boogers, giving baths.  Caring for a baby was new too – how to comfort him to sleep, knowing when baby is tired or just tired of being on his tummy, helping baby learn how to sit, how to roll over, how to crawl and eventually how to walk.  Figuring out if he really is sick or just teething.  Figuring out if you like have a routine or if you’re just a “whatever whenever” kind of parent.  Trying to decide the best way (and when) to start baby on solids and cow’s milk.  Trying to decide when to move him from a crib to a “bigger boy” bed.

These are all decisions that I’ve faced and my oldest will be 2 tomorrow.  (I can’t imagine all the things I’ll face in the next 20 years.)  But I’m hear to tell you: the second time is much easier.  Sure, every child is different and you’ll likely face different scenarios.  But guess what?  You don’t have to start from scratch!  You’ve already made lots of decisions the first time around.  You’ll probably do the same thing next time!  You don’t have to, of course.  Because you’ve learned some things.  And your family is different now.

But, dear mom of 1, please don’t think that having your second child will be just as hard and overwhelming as the first.  At least, it hasn’t been for me.  You’ve already set a great foundation.  So have another one!

Love,

Mother of Two

Why This Church?

I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t like my church.  I’ve felt this for a couple of years now, so I don’t think the feeling is going away any time soon.

But the problem is that I don’t know WHY I don’t like this church.

  • It has wonderful ministries – inner city ministries, hospitals for women and children in Africa, helping sex trafficking victims, teaching pastors in China and Mali.  Divorce care ministries, single moms, addiction recovery, counselors on staff, food pantries.  I think the ministry arm of my church does seriously wonderful things.
  • It has very nice people.  I don’t think I’ve met a mean person yet.  We’re in a small group and it’s full of rockstar people!
  • It has good theology.  There hasn’t been much preached from the pulpit that I disagree with. And nothing that I strongly disagree with.
  • It has a great library of all kinds of books.

It has upbeat worship.  But it isn’t really my style.  I feel like I’m at a concert instead of at a worship service.  Some people totally love that and get excited by it.  Not me, I guess.  It didn’t bother me at first, but it does now.

It has good teaching, but at the same time, I don’t really feel like I know the Bible any better because of my 4 years attending there.

I know a church isn’t supposed to be my only way of worshiping and learning about God – and it isn’t. But it’s also a major part.  I mean, if I go there  every single week and feel that I’d rather be in the nursery instead of in service, that’s a problem.

But is that enough reason to leave a church?  My husband likes it.  And since I can’t articulate very well why I don’t like it, it makes it hard to find another church – what would we look for?

Sigh…

 

I got a toddler.  Smack dab in the middle of the “Terrible Twos”.  I got a rambunctious one.  Tenacious is what someone called him.  He’s just not always tenacious about obeying me.  But I digress…

I’ve been reading lots of parenting/mothering/childrearing books and blogs lately as I’m struggling with how to do this phase of parenting.  Some good stuff.  Some not so good stuff.

But there’s been 2 comments that have really struck me hard.  They are:

Someday, you’ll long for these days.

There are lots of women out there that would love to have a little toddler running around, creating messes.  Not because they don’t have children of their own, but because they do.  But their children are older, well past this age.  And they fondly remember back to the coolness that little ones are.  Where they’re discovering new things.  Where they all of a sudden seem to know their numbers out of the blue.  Where there are hugs and “I wuv yous”.  Where mom and dad are just the coolest people around (except for maybe Grammy when she has fruit snacks.)

Now maybe those moms aren’t remembering the potty accidents and the temper tantrums and the tears and the pain that is carseats.  But that’s okay – it’s enough of a reminder to me to enjoy the good moments (of which there are lots) because someday I’ll want these days back again.

And…

These days are simple.

Well, they can be anyway.  But this thought was shared by a writer (Owlhaven here) who also has older children and has come to realize that parenting teens is the hardest phase of parenting.  She writes:

It was so easy when they were tiny. So easy to just scoop a sleeping child up after a long day and bring them into the rocking chair for a late-night snuggle.  Their soft selves would cradle into me not even wondering, not even skipping a breath.  They’d just settle in, where I could breathe into their hair and rock and rock, soothing both our souls, with me luxuriating in the deep down certainty that even thru the heavy weight of sleep they could feel my love.  That their dreams were sweet because they were in my arms.

I could really relate to that!  If you look at it that way, this is an easier phase.  There’s nothing that a nap and some animal crackers can’t fix.  There isn’t any drama with friends who suddenly don’t want to play.  No being left off the soccer team.  No fears about bullies or lockers not opening.  No fears about driving or college.  No fears about finding a spouse.

With my kids, I control where they go.  I can usually hug and kiss the hurts away.  A good night’s sleep clears away all of the problems – it’s the best “reset” button ever.

So, even though it can only take 2.6 seconds for my kid’s attitude to change, these are great and simple days!

Finn

There are so many fantastic bloggers out there.    I’ve ran across several articles and authors lately that have really encouraged me.

  • Encouraged me as they’ve helped me realize that I don’t have to do it all.
  • Encouraged me as they’ve given me helpful information on how to structure my life.
  • Encouraged me as they’ve pointed me to some great reading - fiction and non-fiction.
  • Encouraged me as they’ve reminded me about truth about God and other people.

I wish I could be like those writers.  Because I read so many other things (facebook, blog posts, news articles, whatnot) that hurts my heart.  And I wish I could encourage people.

  • I wish I could encourage those couples struggling with infertility.  It’s a hurt that I’ve feared, but haven’t walked through.  And I recognize that any comfort coming from me, a woman with 2 young kids close in age, would more likely sting than soothe.
  • I wish I could encourage that working mom who is afraid that she should be a stay-at-home mom.  But I struggle through that decision myself, so I’d likely just ramble on incoherently.
  • I wish I could encourage the person struggling with debt and income issues.  But I recognize that I haven’t walked that road.  Even the times where I had lower income than I’m used to – it was still a good income.  So I think any encouragement from me would sound too preachy or high-and-mighty.  Not what I would intend, but that’s probably the end result.

I wish I could write the post that could heal hurts, but I’m afraid I just don’t have it in me.  I start a post, then realize that I sound dumb.  Or simple.  Not encouraging, just noise.  So I’ll refrain.  But for those that are hurting, my heart hurts with you.  I just don’t have an elegant way to tell you that.

Anyone want to read a post on why I like the TV show “The Voice”?  Yeah, probably not.  But I do like that show quite a bit!

 

 

“On Hold”

I feel like my life is “on hold”.  Like, if I was a TV program, someone hit the Pause button.  Maybe it’s because there aren’t any big new changes in my life right now.

Stephen is 5 months old and we’ve definitely settled into a family-of-4 groove.

We’re slowly coming out of winter here, so we’ve been staying home quite a few months as there just isn’t much to do outside in Nebraska when it’s cold. (At least not much that I want to do.)

There are some changes at work — lots of people switching teams amongst our group and I’ll be getting a new manager soon, but it hasn’t been radical or unnerving. To me, anyway.

Financially, we have a big goal to get our mortgage paid off this year, but there isn’t too much I can do to make that happen faster.  Our income is what it is.  We don’t want to take any extraordinary measures to increase it like getting a second job.  Our spending levels are about as low as we’re comfortable with.  Just got to wait for each month to come and make the payment.

We’re also holding off on making any big remodeling changes to the house.  We painted the whole interior when we moved in and put new carpet in the bedrooms.  So there’s a nice, blank slate that I’m itching to put some personality on.  But we’ll wait until the house is paid off and the savings account built up a little more.  Plus, I don’t have a clear idea of what I want to do in the different spaces.

 

So I feel like life is on hold.  I haven’t been in this position in a while.  In the last 6 years, I’ve had 3 different jobs; met, dated and married my husband; moved 4 times; and had 2 kids.

Nothing to do but to keep marching on. I feel great about where I’m at, but I have a sense of “shouldn’t I be doing something?” feeling.  Answer: Nope, I shouldn’t.

It’s just a slow and steady phase of life.

March2014

I have quite a few Facebook friends who have had big moments in the last week or so.  It’s made me take a trip down memory lane.

Engagements

A gal (that I didn’t even know was dating someone!) just got engaged last week and posted pictures that were taken right after the engagement.  It reminded me of when Jeff proposed.  Here’s the story if you want to read it.  It was a great surprise to me. We had been dating for almost a year and I thought he’d propose – but a few months later than he actually did.  He didn’t do anything over-the-top or make a huge production out of it (thankfully!), but it was just a nice memory that I have.

I’m excited for this newly engaged couple and the good times that they’ll have in the coming months planning their wedding.

The night we got engaged!

Getting Married

Another facebook friend just got married.  Which, of course, brings up good memories for me of our wedding day and how fun that was.  (It was also kind of a blur — man, so many things that happened just in 1 day!)  I remember the early days of adjusting to living with a new person.  It’s kind of like having a roommate, but kind of not like it.

First Kiss!

Pregnancy

Many, many facebook friends have announced pregnancies lately.  I have one friend in particular who hasn’t announced a pregnancy, but is pinning baby things to pinterest.  Maybe there’s a baby on the way.  Maybe there isn’t.  She might just be getting prepared.  It’s been fun to see her pin lots of advice to first time moms.  Things that 3 years ago, I would’ve DEVOURED.

I remember back to my first pregnancy and how thirsty I was for information.  I just couldn’t get enough.  I wondered about this.  I wondered about that.  I pictured how I would handle certain situations.  I tried to picture what it would be like to physically give birth.  I tried to picture what it would be like to have a newborn.

Some things came to pass.  Some things didn’t.  I don’t regret all the research that I did, even though I didn’t need 1/2 of it!  But I remember the excitement of being pregnant for the first time.  It’s was such an unique time in my life.  So special!

Phinehas Jeffrey!

Stephen David!

 

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