Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Prayers Please

Ryan Michael Hawn passed away this morning. Please join us, and lift his family up in prayer right now. These next few weeks will be a very hard time for them. Thanks.

I also wanted to add something from Jenn:

"when Ryan passed, he was cradled in our arms and just before his last breathe, a smile crept across his face, eyes closed, as if he saw the face of God himself. A moment I will never forget, the peace God knew Ryan needed was granted him."

Friday, July 24, 2009

WE'RE DEBT FREEEEEEEE!!!!!!

In the last 2.5 years, (on a single income) we have worked to pay off close to $34,000.00 in debt. Friends, we have reached our goal!!! Praise God! No more credit cards, no more car payments, no more student loans! (the bulk of our debt) We have surprised ourselves in how far we've come. We are so thankful God gave us the opportunity, encouragement, and the know-how to dig ourselves out of debt.

A friend of mine (Emily T.) introduced us to Dave Ramsey a few years ago. I looked on his website, and bought his book that same day. I read it cover-to-cover that night, and Mike read it the next week. We were excited, and had a sense of peace because we finally had a PLAN! We finally knew what to do, and we agreed on how to do it. Since we started this over 2.5 years ago, we have not had a single argument about money. We were going to get ourselves out of debt, we were in it for the long haul.

Our families have been so supportive to us the last few years. They are our cheerleaders, and respect what we are doing, even if we have to turn down their invitations to do fun ($) things. Thank you guys for always understanding. We still plan to live like no one else, so later we can live like no one else. However, we now have room for some occasional splurges in fun!

Mike and I have not a single vacation on our own since our honeymoon, 4.5 years ago. This weekend, we are taking a weekend trip with friends to celebrate our achievement! Natalie is coming with us, and we have some fun things in store for her as well.

What next for us? We will build our emergency fund (which won't take long, now that half our bills are gone!) and then save for retirement and college for Natalie (and any other children we hope to have) Seriously. I'm 26, Mike is 28 and we'll be saving for retirement. How cool is that?!

Mike is still trying to convince me that we should call in to The Dave Ramsey show and scream "we're debt freeeee!!!" (That's what a lot of people do--we're not crazy I promise) LOL I'm not convinced yet, but I definitely want to write and thank him for sharing his knowledge with us. God has blessed our lives through Dave's willingness to help others. I genuinely appreciate that.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gymnastics

Natalie had her first gymnastics class last night. Oh my goodness it was fun to watch! She is now in the age bracket that doesn't need Monnie or Daddy to help. She's growing up! She did very well, and it was fun to watch her grow more and more confident just within that hour. It was also neat to see it again through her eyes, I loved gymnastics when I was a little girl.

These pictures aren't that great, I had my old camera and I was behind a glass wall with my flash off. You get the idea though...

Using imagination:


Flying:


Getting ready to (not) tumble:


Tumbling on the air-trak:


Jumping (with tongue out) on the air-trak:


After her class, we stopped for her FIRST ice cream cone! She has not liked ice cream until just a couple weeks ago. She was happy with her treat:


Polishing it off (with some help from Monnie):


The best part about last night was that she fell sound asleep right away, and I didn't hear a peep from her all night! Gymnastics wears a girl out!

Bathtime smiles





Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Do you see

what doesn't belong?? Look closely:


Natalie came running to tell me that Cole was taking a bath. Not quite, but considering he will hide under our furniture to avoid a bath, I was surprised to find him there. I could only get this one picture before he jumped out.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Stay Tuned

Mike and I will have a very exciting announcement on Friday!!!

You'll just have to wait! :)

10 things about Sarah and Mike

All about Sarah:
1. I am a night owl. It takes a lot of discipline for me to go to bed before midnight.

2. I wash my hands many times each day. Probably between 10-20 times a day. I wonder if this is obsessive, but then again, I don't think so. Everyone should wash their hands before they eat, after they use the bathroom, after they cough or use a tissue, before and after preparing food, etc. It adds up. I have Natalie do the same, and we always wash hands after being in a public place. I really believe this is why we have very little illness in our home (knock on wood)

3. I love sleeping on my side with my knuckles tucked under my chin...although it leaves my wrists in a 90 degree angle and my hands fall asleep all the time!

4. I don't know what to do about Cole's allergies. Even with oral medication, they are still bad some days. He has to wear a cone around his neck anytime he isn't supervised or he will scratch his face until he bleeds. It's sad. We can do allergy shots, but the total costs will be in the thousands. Should you really spend thousands on a dog??

5. Natalie drinks out of a normal cup every day now. However, she still manages to form a latch on it. I have not nursed her in over 2 years, and she's managed to form a breastfeeding latch onto everything since then. Bottles, sippy cups, and now regular cups.
(don't mind the mess--this was s'more night as you'll read about below)


6. I have never had a broken bone, sprained anything, no emergency room visits, and no unexpected stitches. I was never teased at school as a kid, nor have I ever had a "broken heart" over a boy.

7. I love reading books! I also research anything and everything before I make a decision, or buy anything.

8. Amazon.com is my shopping weakness.

9. I still play piano almost daily. I took lessons for almost 8 years and stopped when I went to college. I would come home from college on weekends and play for hours. I missed not having a piano to play everyday. After Mike and I got married and moved here, I paid extra to have the truck stop at my parents house and haul the piano to our new house. I still enjoying playing, and have for 16 years.

10. I currently have a bachelor of science degree in psychology, and a minor in sociology. I plan to go back and get my masters in family counseling when all of our children are in grade school. That is my plan. We'll see what happens!


All about Mike:
1. Mike does not shave daily. It's more of an every 3-4 day project. Even if he did shave daily, it wouldn't look like it. He has a thick beard that grows quickly...I compare him lovingly to a yettie. :)

2. He is a very conservative person. Financially, spiritually, politically, etc.

3. Nothing gets him fired up like politics. He could rant for days about the b.s. (ahem, bologna sandwich) that goes on.

4. He has the nicest speaking voice I have ever heard. (when he's not ranting) I love listening to him talk. He also sings very well. He has a rich sound and is always on pitch. However he has no desire to make anything of it. It bugs me...he's wasting talent!

5. Mike is a very hard worker and is great at his job. More importantly, he enjoys his job! He also appreciates that I stay home with Natalie.

6. He is never afraid to argue with me. Some men cower when their wives get mad, and although neither Mike or I like confrontation, (nor do we fight much) he isn't afraid to disagree with me. We both fight fair, and neither one of us is going anywhere.

7. Mike does NOT like public displays of affection. I can remember when we were dating, I tried to hold his hand in a store, and he pulled away. He explained he didn't like any kind of PDA. A few minutes later I spotted an older couple holding hands, and I asked him, "does that offend you?" When he said no, I said, "then hold my hand, Mike!" He agreed and we've been holding hands in public ever since. Not a very romantic story, but I love it anyway. Like I said, Mike is very conservative.

8. Mike has 2 degrees and many pilot licenses. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in aviation management, and a Masters degree in aviation safety. For pilot licenses: he has a private, instrument, commercial, and instructor license. There might be one I'm missing...I can't remember! He used to take me flying when we were in college and I enjoyed every minute of it. Although he loves his job, he misses flying and would love to do it again. Either as a profession or recreation.

9. He is very good about getting Natalie to eat. We have to encourage every calorie that goes into her. If we aren't at home or the grandparents are around, forget it! She would rather play.

10. Mike has lived in so many places as a kid. Georgia, Japan, Hawaii, California, Virginia, and Missouri. Am I missing any places? He has the greatest childhood stories too.

Where We're At:

I wasn't planning on discussing much more about what we're doing right now regarding our losses. However, I have had a few emails the past month and a couple phone calls asking what the "game plan" is. Or why we lost the most recent baby. First of all, I just wanted to say thank you for caring enough to ask. A couple of you apologized if you came off nosy, and I don't feel that way about you at all. I have discussed it on here, so you were just following up. :)

These rest of this entry deals with girly reproductive stuff. Avoid if squeamish or too manly to read:

The last miscarriage could be considered a chemical pregnancy. Conception occurred, but the baby could not implant or if baby did implant, it didn't stick. Bottom line: my progesterone levels are too low to support a baby. The plan was to test everyday for ovulation and start progesterone as SOON as I ovulated so the baby could implant and be supported. Well guess what? I never got a positive ovulation result. This was very frustrating.

So I was put on additional vitamins (more folic acid, B6, and B12--and on a lighter note my hair and nails look great!) We were told not to conceive again until I have had 3 cycles. So that's where we are right now. In the mean time, I have started taking progesterone supplements (my own request to my specialist) to try and restore my body's own levels, as well as help alleviate some of the horrible side effects of having low progesterone. (Ladies, think of the worst PMS you've ever had x10, then extend it for 14 days...every month) This progesterone supplementation has helped me tremendously!! I feel so much better (normal again) and even my anxiety has been non-existent most days. It makes me sad that I've been through all these awful days.

I have also started charting my cycle with my waking temperature so when we start trying again, if the other test doesn't turn positive for ovulation, I'll catch it this way. Are you tired of reading all this yet? Trust me, I would understand. I know way more about all this than I ever cared to.

We are still very optimistic about having more children, although we know that it is all in God's timing. It's the little things that drag me down. I have had four comments in the past 2 weeks from complete strangers, telling me that Natalie needs a sibling, or asking when I'm going to have another. I don't know what to say to these comments. I have fumbled for words, or stayed quiet, and people just repeat themselves. I would love to be honest, but I don't want to make them feel bad, no matter how much their words hurt me. B/c it's not intentional. But then, what is their intention by saying those things? Really? Why does someone say that? So if anyone has a nice way to answer this, without inviting more questions, I'm welcome to suggestions.

The heartache drags on and on with these comments. It's not even the losses that cause the heartache anymore, it's the intense longing for something you can't have right now. There's always the reminders that bring you down too. I have had many friends get pregnant and have babies in the time frame since all this has started. I am genuinely happy for them. Truly, I am. They deserve all the happiness you get from having children. Then I go home and sob because I want it too and grieve all over again for our losses. There are women all over the world who feel this way. Please be careful with your words.

So that is where we are at, physically as well as emotionally.

Hi

I have been in a blog-funk the last few weeks! Every now and then, I have a complete lack of desire to type out what's going on in our lives. Funk over! Let's go!

These are matching pieces that Natalie got from Nani and Pop last Christmas. Natalie really enjoys them, (and is even big into matching her clothes now) She loves to be quizzed, and asked all kind of questions so she can tell us all she knows. This kiddo is going to love school!


She is also very silly. I have to admit, I tried doing this after she went to bed that night (don't tell her) and I couldn't keep the bowl on my nose! Mike looked quite confused when he walked into the room. LOL


Notice the jewelry? She has a special place for it when she's not wearing it, and she puts it on almost every morning. That's all her. I have neither encouraged it or discouraged it. Although it stays here when we leave the house.




Watching cartoons on the sofa while I clean house.

Have you noticed she is in pajamas in every single picture so far?? Should I feel bad about that? :) I promise I DO get this little girl dressed every day, although sometimes it's late in the morning before that happens.

Nani and Pop came to visit last week before their vacation. I had them pose together, and although Natalie's smile still looks a little angry at times, I think it turned out great!!


THIS was fun to watch! Mike and I pulled out our old Nintendo 64 the other night (b/c it's still my favorite) and while Nani and Pop were here, Natalie wanted Nani to play with her. So we had two novices trying to work the controls there. HA! Mike finally sat down to help.

By-the-way, Mike and I have Mario cart and Mario tennis tournaments against each other on quiet nights. Mike hates to lose, even on video games. That's quite a comical sight as well. :)

Another fun activity we did this weekend: we introduced Natalie to s'mores. We just did the microwave kind which aren't nearly as good but we were excited for her!


She really enjoyed making them:


Watching the marshmallows get big in the microwave:


However, she did NOT like eating them. She just wanted the chocolate. Go figure! We gave her a plain marshmallow to see if she'd like that better. Nope. Oh well. Maybe next summer we'll try again!


Also, I think I have finally fixed the blog to where you can click on pictures and they'll enlarge to a much bigger size. (before it wasn't much of a difference) Try it and let me know.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Our Fourth

I have been looking forward to this weekend for a long time. In recent years, the 4th of July has not been a fun day for me (or Mike) I think the last time we celebrated was SIX years ago. The last few years I have been here alone, Mike at work, and Natalie sleeping upstairs. Not much fun, but I knew we'd celebrate again someday!

Knowing that it fell on Mike's day off this year, I was excited. VERY excited. Natalie has never seen fireworks, except the illegal ones fired around our neighborhood. We decided to go see the fireworks downtown on the 3rd, since rain was in the forecast for the 4th. I don't think I've ever had this much fun celebrating Independence Day!

First of all, the weather was perfect. It was a little humid, but it was overcast, breezy, and the temps were in the 70's. My memories of previous celebrations were ones that you couldn't breathe when you stepped outside b/c of the high heat and thick humidity. So this was an unusual, lovely evening. We parked far away, and walked to the arch. We got there almost 2 hours early, but Natalie was well entertained with the music, helicopters landing nearby, and her dinosaur happy meal toy. Not to mention, her daddy bought her a glow necklace. He's pretty awesome.

The three of us:


Our view looking up:


Natalie and Daddy having fun:


Our concert was by counting crows. I have to say, I like some of their songs, but now that I've seen them in person, they are strange. After the first 5 seconds of playing, I was afraid they would forget this was a FAMILY event. Mike and I just looked at each other with our eyebrows in inching toward our hairline. I'll leave it at that:


Relaxing and waiting for the fireworks to start:


My absolute favorite part of the evening was an unexpected one. It had sprinkled on and off for some time while we were there. Mike went to walk around to look at the vendors, and while Natalie and I were sitting there, it started to rain. I pulled out our umbrella, and Mike came back to find Natalie and I laying down, giggling under the umbrella. He joined us and the three of us played with the happy meal dinosaur, having the stupid plastic thing jump through the "hoop" of her glow necklace for 20 minutes. It got more and more hysterical, and all three of us were laughing. (I wanted to get a picture of that moment so badly, but it was difficult enough keeping my big camera out of the rain) To be honest, I could have cared less if the fireworks were canceled, because it was those little moments that made the night so special. Out of thousands of people around us, we felt like it was just us. When Natalie looks back on her childhood, I hope her memories are filled with those kinds of moments.

Right on time, the rain stopped completely and we got a show!




This is Natalie watching her first fireworks show (she has one hand on each of us):


She did really well, and only got nervous toward the end when they were ALL going off. We had a great walk back to the car, and zipped on home. It was a fantastic evening!!