Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'm one of "those" people.

One thing I've learned by being poor is to not judge other people so harshly.

I never realized that I was doing it until now.  I used to look down at others who were using government assistance for food, then buying alcohol and other things.  "Well if you can afford alcohol, why can't you afford food?"

I became one of those government assistance using, alcohol buying people yesterday.

We bought three WIC checks worth of food, and then I bought my best friend a $3 bottle of wine for her birthday.  And the whole time I kept thinking "I'm one of those people..." and kept worrying about what other people were thinking about me.

It reminded me that even though a situation seems open and shut, you don't always know the whole story!

Living on nothing.

So imagine this situation; you have a two and a half year old, and you're due with your second child in three weeks.  It's March.  You work for an hourly wage at a preschool, so after your maternity leave is done you're off for the Summer until the end of August.  Then your husband, who is the main breadwinner for your family, loses his job.  I didn't have to imagine this situation... it happened to me!

After a tear-filled freak out session with my therapist, I accepted what our situation was.  We were just going to have to pull our belts a little tighter for a few weeks until he could find another job.

Well.  Here we are.  It's July; four months that my husband has been out of work.  Three months since I had my daughter and have been off work.  That's three months of zero income.

I guess I can't say zero.  Devin has worked a few odd jobs here and there, bringing in a couple hundred bucks each time.  But it's definitely not enough to cover our monthly expenses, let alone any random purchases, gas for our cars, or food.  Oh yeah, that stuff... who needs to eat, anyway?

So it's been an interesting journey.  I am on a strict spending freeze.  And yes, that includes groceries!  The only grocery item I've bought for the last few weeks is milk and eggs.  Oh, and bulk frozen hamburgers and french fries (that stuff is CHEAP, y'all!).

Before Savannah was born I had made a whole deep-freezer full of frozen crock-pot meals, and that has been our saving grace!!!  But they are almost gone now.

My goal right now is to eat everything we have in the house before I go to the grocery store again (for anything besides milk and eggs.).  We may have some strange meal combinations, but at least we have food!

I've noticed a difference in the way I look at "wants" and "needs."  You really NEED very little to survive.
I always knew that God would provide for our needs, but it's kind of amazing to me the way he blesses us.  We did not buy a single diaper for the first two and a half months of Savannah's life!  All her clothes have been hand-me-downs, and they've all been cute stuff that my picky self can happily get on-board with!
Blake has basically all the clothes he needs as well, all the way up to 5T size.  And seeing as he's still in 18month size even though he's almost three, I'd say those will probably last us awhile!
I was wanting a rocker for Savannah's room.  Well obviously that's not in the budget (ha!) right now.  Devin's Dad found a glider in great condition on the side of the road, with a big "FREE" sign on it!  It's not exactly the style I would have wanted, but it's way better than nothing!!

I'm so thankful to have a God that loves us enough to give us some things that we want in addition to the things we need.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

I never really thought Mother's Day would mean all that much to me.  It kind of seemed the same as Valentine's Day, which I tend to view as just a commercial holiday with not that much real meaning.  Sure, we "celebrate" Valentine's Day...  I'll make Devin a nice dinner, and  he'll get me a cheap boquet of flowers, or a box of chocolates.  But we don't really make that big of a deal out of it.  And I honestly thought Mother's Day would be the same.  Until last year.

Last year, Mother's Day was hard.  Like, really hard.  The past October we had lost our first baby girl.  I had a miscarriage at 13 weeks.  I had never met her, or even gotten to see a sonogram picture of her, but she had already stolen my heart.  Nobody truly acknowledged that I had been a Mom, because our girl had never actually been born.  But she was and always will be my daughter, and she will always be missed.
The day was also bittersweet, because I was pregnant again.  The catch - we hadn't told anybody yet.  It was absolute torture going to Church and watching all these moms celebrating motherhood, while my mind kept running on two tracks.  1-I'm a mom too!  My baby girl may be in Heaven, but I'm still a mom!  2-I'm a mom too!  I have this brand new life inside of me that no one but me, my husband and God knows about.  It was a whole range of emotions that I couldn't truly express to anybody.  Not much fun.

But this year.... oh, this year!  I have my beautiful, happy little boy.  The present I got from Blake and my husband was a picture frame with the photo in one half, and a mold of Blake's hand and footprint in the other half.  But the best gift of all is just watching my son smile, laugh and play.
I still think about my daughter all the time, and there is a note of sadness to how I feel today.  I wonder what she would have been like, and I wish she were here.  But there is so much to be happy about, also!

So.  My view of this day has changed dramatically.
Mother's Day is so much more than trivial little gifts, and Sunday brunches.  It's celebrating the life that you've brought into the world, and also remembering the life that never made it to the world.  I don't need or expect gifts, breakfast in bed, or any of the other things that I always thought this day was about.  I have everything I need here in my arms, and treasured away in my heart.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Internet, Housing and other Randomness.

We don't have internet at our house.  This makes it difficult to blog. . It also just pretty much sucks.  I told Devin that as soon as we get a real house, we are getting internet.  Period.  No question... I don't care how much it costs, I've gone without for too long!  Maybe I'll update my blog more often if I have daily access to the Web.  Or maybe not... but a girl can dream!

It's looking like we may have a house soon, though!  We've been searching high and low, and running our poor realtor ragged.  We've found several houses that we have fallen in love with, then lost on the same day we make an offer.  That really puts a damper on the excitement of house hunting!
BUT, we have another one that we like, and we are going to make an offer tomorrow.  Hopefully nobody beats us to it this time!

I'll post pictures when I have them, and time, and access to the internet... so don't get your hopes up for those anytime soon. :-/
It's a fixer-upper on three acres, just outside the city limits of a small town.  It's 10 minutes away from Devin's parents, 1 minute away from his sister (who watches Blake for us sometimes), and 20 minutes from my parents.  The house really needs a lot of work, but I'm excited to update things to how I want them, and really personalize the space.  Hopefully this offer will go through and we'll get the contract.
We are $45,000 short of being able to pay cash.  Anybody have that to spare for us?  ha.

Wish us luck!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The New Life I Lead...

My life has completely changed since my last blog post.  I became pregnant, we moved out of our house into a trailer on my in-laws property, and I had my baby!  That's a lot of things to happen since April...  Seeing as how the most recent event (baby) is also the most important, I'm going to jump right into an update about that.


Blake Alan
November 16th, 2010 at 12:56am
6 lbs, 14oz
20 inches long

He wasn't due until December 5th (today), but I was struggling with pregnancy induced hypertension (high blood pressure), and had been on bed rest for almost two weeks.   The doctor finally decided that the risks of waiting to have him outweighed the risks of having him a little early.

My labor and delivery was really easy..... if you can call ANY labor and delivery easy.  They wanted to induce me using Pitocin, but I wanted to try just breaking my water first to see what happened.  It worked!  Blake must have been ready to come out, because my body kicked into gear and did it's Momma thing.  They broke my water at around 7pm on Monday, and six hours later my son was brought into the world!  And I did it without any type of pain medication at all! (Yay!  Go me!  It's my greatest accomplishment in life so far.)

The first two weeks of his life were kind of crazy... full of doctors appointments, and even one ER visit.  He had jaundice, so we had to work hard to fix that.  It also brought another set of struggles along with it.  He had a hard time waking up to eat, so breast feeding was nearly impossible.  We ended up supplementing with formula, just to make sure he was actually getting enough nutrients so he could grow and thrive, and also get rid of the jaundice that was causing the problem in the first place!  We had him on phototherapy for a few days, and I think that, along with the supplementation, really helped him get back on track.

He still is struggling to breast feed, but I think he is getting better at it.  We're still plugging away, trying to make it work.  We'll see how that works out in the long run.  I'm fine with either breast feeding, or formula feeding, as long as he is getting the things he needs to grow and develop.

As far as being a Mom.....  it's different than anything I've ever experienced, but it hasn't been too hard to adjust.  I'm exhausted from night time feeding/pumping, but I just love having this baby around!  I wish he would stay this little for longer.  He has already changed so much since three weeks ago, when he was born!

I didn't have many expectations for how life would be after I had a child, but one thing I did know was that it would be constant.  The reality of that, though, is crazy!  Right now he is eating every two hours.  If he breast feeds, that's 30 minutes (15 on each side), then I supplement with formula, since he's not very good at breast feeding yet, so that's probably another 10 minutes.  After he eats, I'll change his diaper and then play with him for a little bit (tummy time, or just cuddling and looking into each others eyes), and then I'll settle him down to sleep for awhile, then go pump for ten minutes.  (fifteen, if he wasn't able to latch on to breast feed.)  By then it's almost time to start the whole process over again!  It's absolutely insane!  I am so thankful for the great support system I have around me, otherwise I would never be able to cope!

I guess that's enough of an update for now.... I'm sure there will be more, as Blake grows, develops and reaches milestones, and as our lives continue to change as we adjust to having a kid of our own.

Three week old Blake, with Grandpa.  :)  
(This was taken today.)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Coming Soon....

Well, I had big plans for this weekend.  I have several projects that I've been hoping to tackle soon, and then post on here for your reading pleasure, and I was super motivated to get at least one of them started this weekend!  Unfortunately, I sustained a back injury at work yesterday and, as my chiropractor is not in the office over the weekend, I am stuck, mostly immobile, in bed.  Very frustrating.

While I hate posting about unfinished (actually, not yet started) projects, I figure I ought to post about something, so I have decided to give you a little preview of what's coming soon.

Project #1
Spice Storage Solutions

Currently I store my spices/baking supplies in a bottom drawer of my kitchen island.

Here's a close up of how messy it's become.

I get made fun of a lot for this by my darling husband... he thinks it's completely impractical to keep this kind of thing in such an inconvenient place, and he's probably right.  It worked really well for me when we first moved into our house and had less supplies to keep down there, but now it's getting hard to find anything when I need it, therefore it's time to find a different solution.

This is what I had in mind.  Only instead of paying $119.88, I'm going to attempt to make it myself for a lot less money.

Please comment and let me know what you think about this idea, suggestions on how to make it work, or whatever!

Project #2
Adventures in Curb Appeal

I'm having trouble uploading pictures for this project, so I'll try to update it later once I've figured out the issue.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April Showers bring... Sunflowers!

Introducing... my first blog-project!

A lovely sunflower cake...

made with...

...adorable Peeps!

It was really easy.  I made a chocolate fudge cake according to the back of the box, let it cool completely, then frosted it with chocolate icing.  Then I just arranged the Peeps around the outside to look like a sunflower!

I can't take all the credit for this idea.  My friend Ellie told me about this a couple of years ago, and I think she got it out of some kind of creative baking recipe book.  I finally got around to trying it, and I LOVE the way it turned out.  So cute!

If you are going to try it also, NOW is the time... I almost didn't find any yellow Peep chicks left at Walmart.  So go buy some Peeps (I would suggest two packages if you want them spaced like mine, three if you want them closer together.) and get started, and then let me know how it went!  :)