Big Roadblock!

So, I was so happy that we were going to end the year with more than $2,000 in our Emergency Fund. Well, scratch that. Life happened. My car needed 4 new struts (shocks) and it cost over $1,600. This was a hard choice to make because my car is only really worth about $3,000. That’s what happens when you have a 10 year old car with 130,000 miles on it. I am hoping to take care of it enough for the next 3 years until we have Hubs’ car paid off. By then we should have enough for a down payment and would be able to take on a new car loan… In theory I would love to pay cash, but I am not sure that will happen. I will also not be getting a new car. It will be a “new to me car.”

One of my followers on this blog is Carla from My 1/2 Dozen Daily, and she has started a No-Spend Challenge for 2012. She has a list of rules, and I am going to attempt this, but tweak it a bit to make it work for us.

The first thing I am going to tweak is the month. My financial months start when I get paid each month. I get paid on January 13th (since the 15th is a Sunday), so my No-Spend Challenge will actually go from January 13th to February 15th. My main goal for January/February is to be able to put $500 into savings.

Here are the rest of my January/February No-Spend rules:

1. No going over in the eating-out category. (I don’t think we have ever accomplished this, but by golly we are going to try our darndest). We will not be able to eat out at all until January 13th (My financial months start when I get paid each month), and after January 13th we will have$45 to last us until February 15th.

2. No dipping into savings. It seems to be that by the time I get paid, we usually have to dip into savings to cover miscellaneous things. I am not allowing us to do that. If we get low by January 13th, then we will just have to do without or deal with it.

3. Log financial updates daily. This can be deposits, expenses, interest, etc. I have gotten better at this, but am definitely not where I want to be at all. This is the chance for me to get better (and I can start this today, and not wait until January 13th).

4. One of my resolutions is 10 No-Spend days a month, so I will be implementing that.

5. For the next two weeks (until my challenge officially begins) I will only purchase necessities. If I choose to buy something that is not a “necessity,” then I will use my spending money from this past month and Christmas. I have some still left and have a feeling that some friends will want to go to eat between meetings on Tuesday.

If anyone is interested in joining in the No-Spend Challenge. Check out Carla’s page here.

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12 + 1 in 2012

12 in 2012 sounds a lot better, but I actually have a baker’s dozen resolutions. (13 for those who haven’t caught on yet.)

And in no particular order… ok, who are we kidding, they are nicely laid out in a very specific order… here they are!

Financial
1. $5,000 in emergency fund by 2013
2. Pay off CC #2 and start snowballing to the smallest student loan
3. Set up ING account
4. Log daily spending (in checkbook and spreadsheet)
5. 10 no-spend days a month
6. Make $1,000 from photography business

Personal/Home
1. Create and use a home binder
2. Complete guest room as a guest room and eventually a nursery
3. Create a cleaning schedule

Health
1. Exercise 3 times a week

Creativity
1. Do 2 things from Pinterest a month
2. Complete monthly layout challenge with my sister

Work
1. Stay ahead of the game and don’t fall behind

I think these are all doable. They are all things I do want to complete, and hopefully will not slack on (like I did this year). I know that things come up and get in the way. I do not live and die by these resolutions, but I do like to make goals and attempt to stick to them.

Are you making resolutions this year? If so, feel free to share!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

… for a resolutionist, that is.

We are closing another chapter in our lives, and opening a new one. 2012 is upon us! It is time for new resolutions and time to check in on old resolutions. I have a feeling I did not do well, as is always the case every year. Some day I will stick to at least 1 of my resolutions. I will break this down into two posts to make it easier to read.

I will start with a look back at 2011 and my grades on my resolutions… Be ready for some big fat Fs.

Health
Work out 3x a week (this can be taking the dog(s) for a walk, yoga DVD, etc.)- F
Drink at least 3 cups of water a day- F: I think… I didn’t really record it.

Financial
Have at least $3000 $2000 in our regular savings account (we are starting out with about $1000)– A! Because Hubs got paid out all of his sick/vacation time at his old job, we have over $2000 in our savings account! I will update the sidebars as soon as possible.
Keep my checkbook balanced– D: I did not do this as a resolution, but I have done a very good job in the last week.
Eat at home 5x a week (This could go in the health category, but we do it more for money reasons. When we eat at Mom and Dad’s on Wednesday nights, I am counting that, since we are not going out and buying our dinner.)– D: We are definitely eating in more, but I do not think it is at a 5x a week average

House
Create and keep up with a chore chart (This will involve my husband as well)– F: Did not do this

Hobbies
Complete the 365 52 365 day photo challenge (This will be featured on this blog and there will be more details to come): D- I did really well when I restarted this project over the summer, but it has trickled off.
Read at least 2 books a month: D- I have not read nearly as many books as I would like.
Blog at least 4 times a week: F- Blogging was great during the summer, but it has taken a bit of a backseat lately.
Finish my wedding scrapbook Finished!- A! I did this one! I need to buy another album to fit all my pages in, but the scrapbooking part is completed!

Spiritual
Go to church on a regular basis– F: Failed big time.
Start and keep up with a prayer journal– F: Never really started this one.

So, I am not looking too good with these resolutions. That’s what is fun about being a resolutionist! Things always start over and there is a fresh start just around the corner.

I hope you did well with your 2011 resolutions! Let me know how you did!

Merry Christmas

A little known fact about me is that I used to write a lot of poetry in high school. I have many poems that I keep on my computer and rarely share with others. Here is one that I wrote while I was a freshman in high school. Enjoy.

The Birth of Christ

An angel came to Mary’s home

And told her the news,

She was to bear the holy child,

The king of all the Jews.

She didn’t know what to believe,

She only wondered how,

Not yet married, and still a virgin,

She didn’t know how this could happen now.

When Joseph heard, he was quite mad,

But then the an angel spoke,

The child was sent by God himself,

And Joseph then awoke.

It was only a dream that he had dreamt,

About the angel that came,

He was to love Mary again,

And she wasn’t the one to blame.

Then one day they had to leave,

And go to Bethlehem,

Mary was still pregnant,

With Jesus, the tiny gem.

Once the two had finally arrived,

There was no room to stay.

All they could find that very night,

Was a barn where they didn’t have to pay.

Mary gave birth that very night,

To a special holy child,

One so tiny and so sweet,

One so meek and mild.

To this day we still celebrate,

The birth of Christ our father,

Because of Him, we can live,

Without a care or bother.

Goals!

What would a blog about a resultionist be without goals for every step of my life?

I just started our winter break and for the next week and a half, I have more time on my hands than I really know what to do with. So, I made a list of goals!!

My overall goal is to do something around the house and for school each day. Some days both things may be accomplished at home, but other days I will need to go in to school to get it done. I know this is my break away from school, but I am determined to get ahead and not feel so unorganized. I want to get as ahead as my coworker, but she is practically a superhero, so I don’t know if that will happen.

Today my plans are to get my oil changed, take some boxes to Goodwill, finish Christmas shopping, run various errands, do some baking, work on moving guest room stuff down to our bedroom, and working on my lesson plan pages for the next semester. Just a small list, but most of it will get done when I go into town.

I will be back tomorrow to let you know how today went and give you my list for tomorrow!

I hope everyone is enjoying the few more days we have until Christmas!

Six Thing Sunday

And I’m back for my six thing Sunday. Every (well, almost every) Sunday I make a list of 6 related things. This week I am going to make a list 6 things that I have learned this past week. It has been hard to find the good, but here it goes.

1. A great nurse can make a bad doctor not seem so bad. At the ER last week we did not have the most pleasant experience with our doctor. I don’t know if he was having a bad day or what, but he was not very nice (not just to us, but also to the nurse). The nurse we had was fantastic! She was very optimistic and kind. She made our experience there much more manageable.

2. Tough times can bring out the best in others. I have truly been amazed at the number of people who have contacted Hubs and me to share their sympathies, thoughts, stories, or just to let us know they care. I am just in awe of how many great friends we are surrounded by.

3. Tough times can draw you close to those you love. This is similar to the last one, but I have truly never felt so close to Hubs. We celebrated this pregnancy together and we have grieved together. He is my rock and my strength for all things good and bad. Without him, I don’t know how I could have made it through this.

4. There is a limit to how much fast food I will eat. I do not like cooking, and we tend to eat out more for convenience sake. I finally got to the point that nothing sounded good except a homemade meal. We finally got groceries today, and I cooked dinner! (I do not consider grilled cheese, mac ‘n cheese, and soup cooking, although we did have those throughout the week.)

5. Some of the saddest parts can be the most cathartic. I did laundry yesterday, and that included washing all of my maternity clothes. I folded them up and put them in a basket with all of the other baby items we had. They are all in the guest room (what will become a baby room) closet. It was a sad process to put them up, but I had to keep in mind that one day I would pull them out again and would be able to wear them. It was a form of closure for me.

6. First graders can be good for the soul. My dear friend brought over a basket of goodies yesterday, and it included some great cards from my first graders. They were just told that I was sick and stuck in bed, so most of their cards were along those lines. A couple told me that elf on the shelf was watching and that I needed to be good. Here was one of my favorites (you may have to read carefully to understand):This definitely made me smile, and I hope it made you smile too. 🙂

The Days, They Fly

Time is a funny thing. Each day seems to tick along so slowly. Especially days filled with squirrely children and cold weather. But then when you take a step back you realize how much time has actually flown by.

Today marks a week since we found out that we would not be able to ever hold our baby in our arms. It seems like just yesterday, though, that Hubs was driving us to the ER to find out what was wrong. I can’t believe that 7 days have passed. 7 days that have been torturous, but also healing. 7 days that have brought out such raw emotions, but also shown me true friends. It doesn’t seem possible that it has been 7 days.

Of those 7 days, today has been the best. Yesterday was full of emotion, but today was different. I got things done today.

My laundry is done (technically the last load is in the washer). I told Hubs yesterday that I was planning to do it today, and he sheepishly told me that he had been wearing dirty undershirts. The love behind that statement was booming. Instead of asking for laundry to be done, he didn’t say a word. He let me grieve for as long as I needed without saying a word. I have to say that I have the best Hubs in the world. I knew this before 7 days ago, but it has truly been shown to me in the past 7 days.

Some good news (since the past few posts have been awfully depressing) is that tonight is Hubs’ last day at work! He got a new job a couple weeks back and starts on Monday! We are so excited! For as long as I have known him, he has wanted to be an animal control officer. He has such a passion for animals, and his time has come. He is the newest animal control officer for a nearby city. I am so proud of him!

Some other good news: The new job that Hubs starts actually includes a raise! And on top of that, my new negotiated agreement goes into effect this month, so I will also be receiving a raise! Yay! More money to help get rid of our debt (and upcoming medical bills)!

So, with two good news items, I am off to finish my last project for this semester. It is a long one, and I am only about half way done. Luckily it is not due until Tuesday, and luckily I did not start it on Monday night.

Today

Today has already been a hard one, and it’s only 8:25 am.

Today was the day that we were supposed to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. Our appointment was supposed to be this morning at 7:30.

Today the dogs woke me up around 6:30, so I took them upstairs and fed them. I managed to make it until 7:25 before going downstairs to Hubs and crying in his arms.

Today was supposed to be such a joyous one. We were going to share the wonderful news with all of our friends. Instead the news was sad and it was shared a few days ago.

Today I was supposed to have the day off to prepare for a small get together with my friends. Instead I am hoping I have enough strength to take a shower and pay some bills.

Today was supposed to be so much more than it has become.

Today I pray to God for his comfort and strength and presence. For without Him, there would be no today at all.

My Story

I am not writing this story to elicit sympathy or pity. I am writing this story so those women who have gone through what I have or who may someday (God forbid) go through what I am going through, do not feel alone in their journey.

The story is a sad one, and one that is hard to write, but I will start from the beginning.

Back in September Hubs and I decided that we wanted to start a family. We have been married about 2.5 years, and it seemed like the perfect thing to do. The process was quick, and in October we found out that we were expecting. We were truly overjoyed with the prospect of having a baby of our own. We found out that the due date was going to be on June 13… our anniversary. It was truly such a happy time for our family.

My pregnancy progressed with no complications or problems. I did not have morning sickness, my cravings were minimal, everything seemed to be doing great. When we found out at 5 weeks that we were expecting, we had shared the news with our immediate family, and then after my next appointment at 9 weeks, we shared with a couple close friends and extended family.

Still things progressed beautifully. My next appointment was going to be this Friday at 13 weeks. We were going to hear the heartbeat, and then share the news with everyone we knew. Unfortunately this is when my story becomes a sad one.

This past Friday afternoon, while I was at school, I noticed some spotting. It was very light and brown, but fear struck me instantly with the possibility of what it could be. My lovely co-worker jumped into action and took my kids and gave me some time to rest. By the time I had called and heard back from the doctor’s office, the spotting had stopped. The nurse and I decided that since it was minimal and not bright red, we would just monitor it and make an appointment for Monday with my regular OB.

I went home that night and told Hubs and my mom what was going on. I was scared, but the spotting seemed to have stopped for the time being.

Saturday morning I woke up, and it was back. I also had a new symptom: I did not feel pregnant. At first I thought I was just getting into my head, but after reading some I found out that this is normal because the pregnancy hormone decreases and can leave you with that feeling. This time the spotting was more, but it still was not bright red. I decided to wake up Hubs and head to the hospital.

We made it into the ER, and luckily no one was waiting so we we got right in and taken to a room. The nurses drew some blood, and the doctor finally came in. He did an exam, but did not seem very concerned about it. The nurse tried to use a Doppler to find the heartbeat of our baby, but the machine was very staticy, and she was having trouble making out any sounds.

The doctor called the on-call doctor from our regular OB practice, and she wanted to order an ultrasound to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. For the next hour and a half we waited for the ultrasound tech to get to the hospital.

The ultrasound tech took us back to the room and proceeded to conduct the ultrasound. He was very quiet during the entire process. He took many pictures of the baby, as well as both of my ovaries. Once it was done, he wheeled me back to the room, and as I was getting out of the chair, he quietly told me “Good luck to you both.” He was truly sincere, and was one of the kindest gentlemen I had ever met.

Within 5 minutes of being back in the room, the doctor came back and told us that the news was not good. He said that the ultrasound measured the baby at only 9 weeks. At this time I was 12.5 weeks, so the baby was about 3.5 weeks behind. He also said that the ultrasound was unable to pick up a heart beat. He said that this would not be a viable pregnancy. He held my hand and tried to comfort me, but those words are the words that no one wants to ever hear.

After the doctor left the room, Hubs and I held each other and wept. This was by far the hardest thing that we had ever had to deal with together.

We finally left the ER and still had to wait until Monday to see my regular OB. Sunday was excruciating with the waiting. There was nothing I could do to save the baby that was still inside me. Every time I went to the bathroom, I was constantly reminded about what my body was going through.

On Monday I went to see my regular OB, and unfortunately the results had not changed. We had a few options for how to proceed. By this time Hubs and I were getting to the point that in some ways we wanted this all to be over with. We were tired of the waiting and the pain of knowing what was constantly happening to my body. We ultimately made the decision to have a D&C.

We were unable to have the D&C scheduled until Wednesday (today) which meant it would be another excruciating day of waiting. We were blessed with a kind OB doctor who was willing to come in on his day off to get the procedure done, though.

Tuesday was another long day of waiting. My mom, sister, and I did have lunch together, and my parents were more than willing to take the dogs, so they wouldn’t be too hard to handle when I came back from the surgery. We took the dogs to their place, and my mom made a lovely dinner for Hubs and I last night. We tried to get to bed early because this morning was an early morning.

The alarm went off at 4:45, and we both got up to shower. I wasn’t allowed to put on any lotions, make-up, or jewelry, so my shower was just to rinse off and warm up. We left the house at 5:20 this morning to get to the Surgery Center by 6. We arrived at about 5:40 and waited in the car until they opened around 5:55.

I checked in and was almost immediately taken back to pre-op. They had me change into a gown, and the nurse was kind of enough to bring me a warm blanket because I was so cold. She asked a lot of questions and did her best to comfort me. When it was time to put in my IV, she had a bit of trouble finding a good vein. She said my veins were very small, and I wasn’t giving her many options. She was very gentle and tried to make the process as easy as possible.

After being hooked up to the IV, Hubs was able to come back and be with me until it was time to go. We met with my OB and the Anesthesiologist. There was an odd comfort in having my OB there. He was a familiar face and had a calming presence for us.

After meeting all the nurses and everyone involved, I had to say bye to Hubs, and they gave me some relaxing drugs. It was a short ride to the operating room, and by the time I was there I had a drunk feeling already. I remember moving on to the operating table and after that I remember nothing.

I woke up in recovery, and Hubs was back with me. The doctor had talked to him after the procedure, and it sounded like most everything went well. The doctor did have to put in a couple internal sutures because I was bleeding more than expected, but it was nothing to be worried about. Everything was going to be fine.

I eventually came out of my drug induced fog and Hubs, and I were able to come home.

Now that I am home, a lot more healing is to come. Even though we have had a few days since the initial news, our emotional healing will take some time to complete. We have been so humbled by the support and encouragement of those around us: our friends, family, and those we work with. Everyone has rallied around us, and we have been blessed by those who have shown their love and support.

This has truly been the hardest thing we have been through, but I don’t want to hide my story from anyone. If anyone has been or has to go through this experience, I am completely open to talk. I have had many friends offer their ears to listen and shoulders to cry on. I realize that I am now a member of a club that no one would ever want to join, but I find it has made me a stronger woman and has helped Hubs and I grow closer than we have ever been. This experience has also drawn me closer to God than I have ever been.

If you still have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I am a teacher by trade, but more importantly a teacher deep in my heart. I want to ease anyone’s pain who has to go through this, and I want to show others that good can come from such a terrible experience.