Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Blind Date and an Anniversary

On Thursday evening, D and I went on a date, with 4 other people. All good friends, but 2 of them were on a blind date. My good friend N (hi N!) was the female in the blind date scenario and we had arranged for her to meet up with another guy friend named D (seriously, he and D have the same name and it is NOT a common name). We had a great time though and it was very relaxed and not at all awkward as it could have been. We went and had a nice meal at a schmanzy Italian restaurant and then back to my friend LaLa's house to play some cards. It was a good way for N and D to get to know each other and they are scheduled to go out together tonight, alone. I hope they have a grand time.

Now, prior to this initial date, N confided in me that she was not all that excited and that I just did not understand what it was like. N was previously married, to a complete &%*, he said some things that I just can't get past and I am so very glad that she kicked him to the curb, she is an amazing friend and any guy would be lucky to have this hot little number. So, I hope tonight goes well N - D is a good guy and I hope it works out!

I am spoiled with my D, he is the most amazing guy I have ever met and I was lucky enough to find him in high school, I was a freshman and he was a junior. In all honesty, at that age you can't imagine what could honestly become of a high school romance and given that my own mom was never married, I did not have a good picture of what a happy marriage could be like. The last 19 years of my life (7 years dating and almost 12 years of marriage) have been as close to perfect (romance wise) as one could imagine.

Our relationship began on December 26, 1987 when we went to a movie and ate at Taco Bell. Our carriage for this adventure was his mostly floorless VW Bug that he adored. I knew from the beginning that I was not in it for the money;). I was actually too young to go out on this "date" but we were supposed to be going out with another couple and they were not able to go, so I kind of just went and explained later....since my mom adores him, it all worked out.

We married on January 1, 1995 and the rest is, well, history.

D and I have been through some challenging times, including infertility, difficult adoptions, jobs we hated that made us unhappy in general and the typical daily issues that crop up. I honestly can't complain though, because I have had the best partner in this journey. There were blessings behind each struggle, blessings far beyond my imagination. AND, the good times are so much more in number than the struggles.

I thank God for you D, you are my best friend, my lover and the father of our children - you are truly my everything.

Thanks for the last 19 years - I look forward to the rest:)

Life is This doubt!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Financial Countdown

Well, in addition to the weight loss (updates continuing - all honesty baby...) countdown to June 5, 2007, I also want to start my debt reduction countdown.

There are so many inspirational bloggers out there who continue to motivate me, and I will use them as my resources, but these are my plans:

1. Utilize MyEnvelopes to it's fullest, I have already paid for a full year and am already behind in keeping it organized.

2. Write all debts down on a white board and keep track of them. I also want to keep an excel spreadsheet of all the debts and the finance charges I incur each month - and watch them SHRINK!

3. Write a budget for D and I - and stick to it!

4. SELL some of the things we do not need, including a multitude of Longaberger baskets and a kayak and sailboat. Put all this money toward debt reduction.

5. BE AGGRESSIVE about this, eating out far less for lunch at work, using crockpot, planning menus

6. Use all extra money towards debt reduction, including tax return and company bonus

7. Start saving for 2008 trip to Cambodia, GOAL: take Doodle and Meesta and NOT charge it to a credit card (without paying it off that month); this will be at least $7,000.00 for plane tickets alone (unless we get a good deal and go the right time of year, then it will be cheaper)

8. Create a detailed plan to determine how long it will officially take to get out of debt, I have generously given myself 6 years, which will be the amount of time until my husband is "officially" a Navy Chaplain and we take off, hopefully much faster.

9. As soon as debt reduction is complete, aggressively fund college funds for the kids, I can't rationally see the sense of paying more in interest on debt than I would be earning in college funds. College is very important to us, and we will do whatever it takes to send our kids to school, neither of our parents had ANY money to send us to school and we both have Bachelors and Master's degrees, with D working on another as we speak.

10. Try to keep this all in perspective and remember to enjoy life, vacations are allowed, just plan for them (one reason why it just might take so long to become debt free). We want to show our kids the world.

Okay, beginning January 11th (once we return from our little trip - I know, I know, not exactly planned for....), the plan will be implemented and I am truly so EXCITED. We got a taste of this and it felt good, the holidays got me out of the habit and spending too much again, just ask Am Ex...but I am ready!

January 11th, here I come!


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

When You Were Our Age

What a Merry Christmas we had, the only thing missing being our girls in Cambodia. They had a nice Christmas though and we exchanged emails. They have yet to receive our package though and I am totally bummed out that my well-planned and expensive package has not yet been received AND they are moving in the next week or so. I would appreciate any prayers that the box get there before they move, please, dear baby Jesus :) (think Talledega nights).

Our kids enjoyed their gifts and we all had a nice relaxing time, including a nap had by all - my kind of day. We used to run here, there and everywhere, but after doing that the first Christmas the twins were home, we put our feet down and said NO MORE. We are staying home and enjoying this time with our kids, we will come by another day. The families have been great and the only compromise is that we go to D's mom on Christmas evening, spending Christmas Eve evening with my mom. We see the rest other times and it is good.

Meesta has developed this obsession about if we did this, that, went here, there or whatever "when you were our age". It is very interesting as he begins to show interest in our lives, our likes and interests and is very curious as to how we were when we were children. I absolutely love seeing things through their eyes.

Well, I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas. I know we did.

Life is indeed This Good...


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Simply Beautiful and Heartbreaking

Well, Tuesday was the funeral for the 5-year-old little boy. It was sad, so very very sad, and yet beautiful.

The ceremony itself was tear-provoking, as would be expected, but it was also nice. There were lots of stories of this little guy and they were nice to hear. The beautiful part came when it is was the open time for family and friends to speak. The dad of this little guy was the first to get up and speak. His first choked words were to his wife, and I have goosebumps thinking about the raw beauty and love he displayed for her. He thanked her for sharing their son with him for the last 5 years, he thanked her for the wonderful way that she parented and loved their children, and he told her he could not go through this without her. If there had been a dry eye, there was not after that. He then went on to address their other 2 children and told them how much their son who passed away had loved and idolized them. Truly beautiful. I am still in awe of his ability to do this, even though he was frequently choked up, it was a wonderful tribute to his son and demonstrated his love for his wife and their children.

I am going to do my best to send notes of encouragement in 2007, once the holiday fervor has died down, to them both. I know I would need that.

This situation has given me new patience with my own children. Life is short, and I need to remember just how wonderful and easy I have it. My children are wonderful little people and I am so proud to be their mom. They are a beautiful reflection of the love my husband and I have for each other and for them.

God Bless All,

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Glass Castle - Book Review

A new feature here at This Good... a book review!

I have been wanting to read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls since a coworker told me about it. Well, I patiently waited (so difficult for me) to receive it from the library (hence, an effort to be more frugal) and then read it in just a few hours.

This is a true story told by Ms. Walls and it is captivating in my opinion. It spoke to me about the internal will to not only survive, but thrive, that truly exists in at least some people, despite a lack of parenting. Note, I said parenting, not even good parenting.

Jeannette and her 3 siblings all survived a total lack of parenting, with a lazy mom who had a seemingly hopeless ambition to be "free" and an artist and an intelligent father who was a total alcoholic. The children in this family were forced to care for themselves, find their own food, find ways to take care of their own personal hygiene, pay bills, you name it. When I consider how different the lives of my children are, I wonder how on earth Jeannette and her siblings ever made it. The sheer lack of safe living conditions was disturbing, let alone lack of food.

Jeannette survives though and is very resourceful and is such a hard worker, you can't help but wonder how she would be had it not been for the necessity for her to display these attributes, given that her parents did not. She makes it, moving to New York City before her senior year in high school, following her older sister. She thrives and ends up graduating from college from a prestigious school. Her parents, despite her offers, chose to live a homeless lifestyle, it suited their needs and wants.

Kudos to Jeannette for surviving what she did and coming out on the other end successful.

I would HIGHLY recommend this book.


Busy Time of Year

First, curse you blogger or office desktop downstairs, not sure who to be mad at. I have tried multiple times now to post this weekend, but it has all been from my desktop downstairs and all attempts have been futile, when I hit publish, nothing happens...grrr.

We have had a little boy in our church and Doodle and Meesta's Sunday school class die very unexpectedly and it has just been a total alteration in plans and mindset for that matter. Life is so very short and I must try to remember that I need to enjoy my little beans as much as humanely possible because nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. So incredibly sad.

I only have 2 working days left this year and that is wonderful! I have been keeping up with the NFP work and it is nice to be caught up! Lots of wonderful people are donating in honor of others and that is so heart-warming.

My kids are getting more and more excited about the upcoming holiday, they are fun to watch.

Weight loss took a bit of a diversion yesterday evening at D's office Christmas party. I got right back on today though. I had squeezed myself into a size 10 skirt to take Doodle to the Nutcracker yesterday before the party and while it did prevent me from eating TOOOO much, I still managed to eat a plate plus a bit more... I am truly staying with the program though and doing my best to see it as a new way of life, not an event...

D is struggling to finish all his finals and final papers, he is stressed and this is difficult for me especially to endure. I want to help him and can't but I am doing all the other things like Christmas cards, presents, etc. so hopefully that is relieving any undue stress.

I believe that catches up the latest events. Only 2 more days...Monday and Friday - leaving me Tues, Wed, and Thursday to wrap, do final shopping, and continue to keep the NFP paperwork caught up!

Life is this good...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Butt Races and Random Bits

Heard while I was coming down the stairs "come one, we are having a butt race!" Wow, living with young ones is never boring. They have a knack for saying the most unusual things.

Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but my husband, you know, the good looking one - yes, him, he has this unique talent that has excelled out of practice and is urged on by my utter disgust at this talent. What is this ever so unique skill? Could it earn us extra money? Could it alone get us out of debt, send our kids to college? Well, um, no. He has developed the uncanny ability to take ANYTHING that is said, and truly I mean anything, and somehow turn it into a sexual reference. I am forever rolling my eyes at him and doing the deep sigh thing that shows true exasperation, but it only fuels his fire. You can tell by this alone that he was not an only child and did everything in his power to irritate his 3 sisters. Am I alone? Is this uncommon? I am guessing not, but would love some reinforcement here.

On to paid employment, there are times where I truly feel like I am plopped right in the middle of a Dilbert comic. I would love to further elaborate, but not worth the risk;)...I read Dooce afterall:) I truly wonder how many layers of process and decision-making could be stripped down to create utmost efficiency and financial well-being. I compare this to the running of our not-for-profit which operates on a volunteer-only basis. We have managed to raise over $300,000 since June 2003 - I know the difference is personal passion and everyone can't work for free...but I feel like I could seriously minimize the "layers" and work would still be completed...oh well. Another day, another dollar.

I have been eating well still, will exercise once the kidlets go to bed. D just went for a run in our local little park. He only has until Thursday morning to get to his goal weight and he is still about 5 pounds away. He did inform me though that if he does not meet the weight, they will then do a body fat calculation and he might slide in that way. Only time will tell.

The next 2 weeks are going to be WAY busy for him, so I need to strap on my extra patience and remember that this too shall pass. The kids pretty much won't see him from bedtime tonight until Thursday evening. Sucks.

Okay, all for now.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

New Scale and Aftermath of the GREAT FLOOD of 2006

Well, the old scale is done, finished, finito, no more...we have gone to one that provides values to the .2 level and I am so excited! I have continued to eat healthy, not as much exercise with the tapes, but lots of walking and activity, but don't take my word for it, talk to the pedometer...over 10,000 steps each day!

This summer we had a bit of flood here at our little casa, in an effort to multi-task, even while sleeping, I started the washing machine before bed and well, things did not go so well. Somehow the water connection in the back came undone and so the machine continued to wash all night. All OVER OUR FLOOR, and then dripped down in the basement and onto the family room carpet, under the fridge, dryer, and on and on. Yeah. Good times.

Well, we thought that everything was fine and cleaned up, well so much for thinking. We went to decorate our tree on Saturday and went to pull our pre-lit baby (no guilt - we used to go and cut it down) out of its nice, secure plastic tote and well, let's just say it was sloshy...from months ago. Ewww.

We made a trip to my most-hated Mega-Store and purchased a new one, one with tiny little multi-colored lights. The kids chose it and then proceeded to decorate the lower 1/3rd of that baby until its fake little limbs were drooping.

We also lost some ornaments and other things and that was a bummer, but oh well, not much we can do about it now.

Tomorrow is back to work and back to the grind. I only have 6 more days to work though before I am off for the holidays, although those 6 days will be interspered over the next 10 working days.

All for now!


Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Christmas Rush

Well, Christmas Day will be here before we know it, and while I am desperately trying to keep the complete commercialization of this Holy day from from altering my kids knowledge of what this is about...there are still presents to purchase, a house to decorate, cookies to make, and a plethora of other things...

I am trying to get a box off to our older girls in Cambodia and that has been a challenge to say the least. I had a major guilt session and decided that I needed to go and get something for ALL the children who live with them, given that they will have a sizeable loot from us and the majority of the other kids there don't have "parents" like our girls do. So, off to the D*llar store and whalllla!, I have something for everyone. Tonight I must get everything organized, labelled, fun!

Weight loss and working out are still on the forefront of my mind - back up a pound, but I am sure it is just water adjustments because I have still been eating well and have exercised 3 days in a row. Did ya read that??? - 3 DAYS IN A ROW. This is in and of itself a record.

Okay, just touching base for the day.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Gazelle Intense

I have been reading some Dave Ramsey stuff ( since I began my journey to becoming debt free (giving myself 6 years...) and he frequently talks about success coming once you get "gazelle-intense". Well, I am now gazelle intense about weight loss.

I ate very well and healthy all day yesterday, am doing well so far today, and have been taking vitamins and I HAVE BEEN EXERCISING. This is indeed the key. I don't really enjoy exercising, so if I am doing it, I am not going to then turn around and screw it up with bad food. Last night the whole family got involved and we all did the Biggest Loser sculpting workout - rather funny to see a 2-year-old exercising, but also heart-warming to see a 2-year-old exercising. I know we are imprinting a healthy lifestyle on her and I am glad.

As you will see from the ticker on the side, the pounds are coming off - 3.5 already since Monday! Now, I do know that I am losing the low hanging fruit (so to speak), and that it will get much more challenging...but it is motivating indeed!

More later, lots going on at my paid employment and tons to do before Christmas!


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Great Weight Loss Adventure

I say I am going to lose weight, I do some, then I fall off the wagon for a multitude of different reasons. Sometimes it is out of laziness/exhaustion/lack of time = drive through meals, sometimes it is out of wanting to do what everyone else is doing = eating out/eating wrong, and sometimes it is just because I CRAVE BAD FOOD. I guess this makes me a food addict of sorts and I KNOW it is emotional. Stress = Eat.

Well, 2 things have worked to kickstart my weight loss and I am determined to get it gone this time. I am officially (whoooo serious, right?), yes officially, declaring that I will be at 150 pounds by June 5th. This means a weight loss of exactly 40 pounds from this morning. This means a little less than 2 pounds a week and I will meet my goal. Come on, this is achievable (self motivation...)!

So, what are my 2 motivators and what is my punishment?

Motivator 1: D, my handsome better half, has his physical for the Navy chaplaincy on Dec. 14th - and he just found out about it yesterday. Yesterday morning he was exactly 14 pounds over the weight he should be, so he is on massive attempt to lose weight (in the middle of his final papers and exams for his 4 classes + work + demanding wife + demanding-yet adorable- kids). I know he can do this, but I thought if I was full-force on board with him, he would do much better. So, I shopped like crazy last night and $220 later, came out of the grocery with a plethera of fabulous, healthy, whole food. This is obviously a short-term thing, but I am hoping it is my jumpstart to a healthier way of life.

Motivator 2: D, aforementioned handsome husband, and I are going to take a little trip in early January. Why you ask? V. simple, we miss each other a lot, and we will be celebrating our 12th anniversary on Jan. 1. It is our little treat to ourselves, even though it goes against my paying off debt plan. I think that our relationship and some quality time ALONE together is critical and he agrees, so I would like to look a bit better in a swim suit, which will be required for our destination;).

Besides the above, the obvious desire to look better, feel better, be healthier, and wear ALL THE STINKING CLOTHES hanging in my closet.

Punishment: It was really hard to think of a punishment, being fat is punishment enough, but obviously that has not motivated I thought of something finally. IF I do not meet this, I will post a picture of myself in swim suit to this blog - yes, it is more punishment for those who view it than deserved (poor souls), but I must pick something that would absolutely horrify me. That would do it.

So, watch the progress on the side and root for me will ya?


Monday, December 04, 2006

A Unique Perspective on Adoption

This article provides a unique perspective of what a child likely experiences through the adoption process. While I know that it is obviously earth-shattering for an adopted child to be adopted, especially ones adopted internationally, this still gives me a new look at what they might feel like.

Doodle and Meesta, having been adopted together as twins, likely had a bit of an easier time, because they had each other. I cannot fathom being dropped into a new culture, new air, new water, new food, new people - wow. They were troopers though and we had remarkably few issues with them, again, I think it was in large part because they had each other, a built in partner in crime, someone who understands. They are extremely close to this day.

Now Shenzi, she has been more of a challenge. She has bonded very well with me - almost overly so, at the expense of her dad. She chooses me all the time, every time. When I leave the house though without her, leaving her with D, she does not cry and she is okay. She has bonded very well with her sitter though and has never cried when being left in her care.

I don't think that this transition though should hinder a child from being adopted. A child in an orphanage, without parents to care for them (documented ethically!), should be adopted. I think it is just important that we as adoptive parents understand what might be going through their minds emotionally and cognitively and be aware of the pressures of the physical changes as well.

Just found this interesting, would love your thoughts?


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gone, but not forgotten...

Hi Internet!

I have truly missed you, really I have. I will do my best over the next few posts to update you on the past month, but suffice it to say, things have been busy and overwhelming.

A mini-recap:
*Doodle has been diagnosed with epilepsy/seizure disorder (meant EEG, multiple doctor appointments, and now meds 2x daily)

*My work has been v. busy, bit promo meeting I had to prepare for and present myself at (crazy, I know) - but went well, should get promoted next year when it is "that time" but management says yes...good, means more $ and is a validation of my hard work

*D is crazy busy with seminary and work, trying to juggle it all is a challenge for him, and for me.

*The NFP has kept me busy, selling our cottage goods at multiple events over the last 2 months, but selling lots, which is good!

I am now trying to keep up with the NFP paperwork, not an easy task. I am attempting to get Christmas shopping underway - which includes shipping a box to our girls in Cambodia.

Well, that is all for now. I have been trying to keep up with reading my fav blogs, but am even having trouble staying up with them!

I promise to purge my thoughts more soon.