Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Budget Meetings

LOOK! The tile is done!  And for the record, all appliances are back in place and working order!  I'd love to say we are cooking dinner tonight to celebrate, alas we are going to Chick Fil A to support my friend Whitney!

With a wonderful tiled floor and working kitchen also comes a very exhausted hubby!
Poor guy!  He worked so hard this week!

Yesterday he got a much needed break while we attended our prenatal appointment.  Appointments are so quick: a quick check in with the nurse, a chat with the midwife, and in our case, another ultrasound to finally find out if he was really a he or a she!
Yup! We finally know!  We left the appointment with two envelopes in our hand.  One for the balloons and one for the cake later in the week.  We had a box filled with pink or blue balloons and...
...well, we're not telling yet!  Sorry!

It can't be internet official until after our reveal party on Friday!

No, what I really wanted to talk about today has nothing to do with tile floors or gender reveals actually!  This topic is a little less fun.
This somehow became our afternoon.  I know you may think we are crazy but there is not a single credit card in our house...again.  Four years ago we attended Financial Peace University.  I truly believe it set our marriage on the right foot.  We began a budget, monthly "budget meetings," and had a plan for paying off debt.  We cut up all our credit cards and in 4 years have paid off over $25,000 of debt. 

Two months ago we found ourselves debt free except our house and one small student loan payment.  We were excited to move into mission work and being debt free made that so possible.  And then this summer happened.  Extended vacations, home improvements, and the need for maternity clothes.  Combine that with "too good to be true" credit card offers and now we find ourselves nearly $2,000 in credit card debt! 

HOW DID WE GET HERE?!  Certainly we have our excuses: new tires, mold in the bathroom, etc.  However, if those credit cards didn't land themselves in our top kitchen drawer, I promise we would have never spent that $2,000.  We would have found a different way. 

So this morning's budget meeting was a little more stressful than our usual monthly routine.  We had some decisions to make.  Does the cash back make it worth it?  Are we responsible enough to keep the card and not continue to spend?  How are we going to pay this off while also saving for a new baby and pay for all the medical bills and new maternity insurance coverage?  Oh yeah, and birthing classes, and Live School, and-and-and-and-and! 

Clearly you see the decision we made.  It is too tempting at this point in our lives to use the cards for purchases.  Some of them seem very necessary at the time, yet with all the baby stuff coming up, I know we will quickly get carried away.  Especially now that we can start buying gender specific items.  So we cut up the cards and we set to work applying all of our extra money toward paying off the debt we've incurred. 

Already I feel a sense of relief and a weight off my shoulders.  I know we made the right decision.  Of course I am being very detailed here about personal issues and that might seem taboo.  However, I share this for the accountability.  And now I have 2 questions for you...

Boy or Girl?  What's your guess!?

And how do you handle credit cards?  Do you use them?  Are you responsible?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

3 Things Thursday

1. I believe baby and belly experienced a growth spurt last night.  I slept for a solid 13 hours last night (whoa!) and today I can barely see my toes below my belly!

2. Our tile project is ongoing today...I think we're getting close!

3.  Today is our 6 year dating anniversary.  Well, I believe it is anyway, Alex seems to think it lands on July 27th.  This year he conceded to let me win the argument (I think it's because I'm pregnant).  So we celebrated with a breakfast date and he bought us tickets to Cirque Du Solei in Raleigh next month!

That's all for this Thursday.  Something about all the sleep last night has left me a little weary today!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


"The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice. What kind of inner voice will you give to your children?"

This quote came across my friend's facebook page yesterday.  More and more this pregnancy and impending baby feels real and of course my thoughts wander to what it will be like to be a mom.  For the first time throughout the past 5 months I feel myself really, really excited about the prospect.  

Of course hanging out with this sweet girl always helps!
Babysitting Baby Elise
When I see commercials on TV with moms or hang out with my mom friends I begin to get excited about the future, the small experiences that come with being a mom.  I know you moms out there will chuckle and scoff, but a commercial involving a mom at the grocery store with her kids made me smile and excited.  I realize the reality of that scenario is not so glamorous!

But of course I am scared out of my wits.  While so excited, so fearful!  There are so many things I could do to "mess up this baby."  I think about my anger or my temper and I know that I really want to be emotionally stable and strong as a mom.  I think about how I want my child to be raised and what values I want to instill as most important: God, love, kindness.  And then I realize those values need to be most important in my life if I want to be a living example to my child.  Motherhood is so much to take on.  I know that I will make mistakes, but I really don't want to!

What values are most important to you?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Good (early) morning!

Just when I decide to no longer take the guilt I feel for sleeping in, I wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 6:00am today!  Seriously, just yesterday I decided to let up and not beat myself up for sleeping until 8:30 or 9.  It's summer...and in a few short months I will pretty much be awake 24 hours a day.  So I decided to relax, enjoy the rest of my summer, and just sleep-in!  And then there was today!
So good morning friends!  Make it a great day!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Everything is different now

Downstairs the tile work rages on while I sit in my home office attempting to concentrate on this grant application.  Clearly I am distracted, meaning you get a post, and my brain gets a 10 minute break.

As we watched the finale to the Bachelorette last night (Team Jef--all the way!) my best friend Jill pondered about our home improvement projects and what that means for our missionary future.  Good question Jill, isn't everyone else wondering the same thing?
It has been such a difficult journey, choosing to take on a new lifestyle, then being handed a completely different one that set us entirely off track.  In the beginning I was a firm believer that even with children we were on the path God laid out before us, and we were ready to move into a new role in our lives.  But five months later everything is different now

What began as a fun and exciting journey quickly became difficult and tiresome.  I felt a huge pressure that weighed on me every time our plans were brought up.  Alex and I began to disagree over everything.  I never wanted to spend any time on our training or research.  It was all too hard.

On top of the building pressure, I was still feeling so ill and tired all the time.  I didn't have energy to get through a day, let alone think about our future.  Finally Alex and I talked it through (which sounded more like me crying to him about how unhappy I was) and we came to a bit of a conclusion.  I say "bit" because it is really the anti-conclusion conclusion.  We took a step back from our training with Christian Associates and backed out of our current cohort.  For right now we have decided to embrace the present and believe in where God has put us right at this very moment.

We have no plans, we have no direction.  We don't know where this is heading.  In 3 or 6 months we may be right where we left off with CA, or we might be on another path entirely.  The only thing I know for certain is that in that time we will welcome our first child and I can convince myself all day long that nothing will change...but let's be honest.  Everything is different now.

So the home improvement really was 80% a necessity (thanks to a growing mold issue) and 20% "well if we are going to do it, we might as well do it the way I want it!"  So today I will have new tile (25 cents a square foot at the restore) and a sense of of joy in where I am, right now.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


This is the current state of my living room and dining room.  Which can only mean one thing...the kitchen is outta commission!  I think this may put a wrench in my cooking streak.  It will be microwave everything until our project is complete.
It begins with paint, but will likely end with white cabinets and we know it will end with all new tile.  This could be a while folks! 

While I helped with all the pretty taping, I am exempt from painting duties due to my "condition."  Honestly though, it probably wouldn't hurt to paint since we splurged on the no VOC from Sherwin Williams. 

Here are our color choices:

Tame Teal for the 1/2 bathroom
And Sea Salt for the Kitchen
We will also be using Sea Salt for the dining room when we eventually get there (of course after the fridge is back in its proper place!)

So call it nesting, or call it what you will, but there are definitely some home improvement projects happening.  This is a very big deal considering 6 months ago we sold off nearly all of our earthly possessions, and also we have been living in this house for almost 4 years and have never, ever painted a single room!  (Oh, except my chalkboard wall)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fit Pregnancy

I am officially 23 weeks now, well over the half-way mark.  This week I have made the leap into health and wellness (something I should have done 23 weeks ago!)!  With no more nausea and increased energy I have made my triumphant return to the kitchen.  Now with 3 dinners cooked under my belt, I finally feel normal, almost entirely human again! 
Mama Pea's Thai Zucchini Impasta Salad (yummo!)

I have made a healthy eating commitment and have almost entirely cut out sugar, and for no particular reason- gluten.  And the difference is, I feel great!  It's amazing how the high-fat, high-sugar, processed junk hardly seems appetizing once I am satisfied with fresh veggies and delicious fruits!

Now, I'm still eating a bit of dairy.  Mainly Greek yogurt.  Simply for the protein, and not because I don't believe there are plenty of plant protein sources out there, but for me, most are still quite unappealing.  Greek yogurt, and sometimes eggs, does the trick for me.  I'm not sure if I will continue to eat meat on occasion as I have done several times throughout this pregnancy.  For me, this pregnancy was all about finding a balance and not being so harsh on myself when it comes to food. 

Exercising also seems to be high on my radar as of late.  For about the last month I have been able to incorporate work outs back into my life.  Swimming still ranks as my #1 favorite, but I have also taken to the treadmill.  I can now manage to run 2 minutes at a time.  To my former marathon self, that seems very defeating.  But to this new pregnant body it is quite a triumph!  It is hard and occasionally it causes pressure on lower abdomen so I have to slow to a walk.  However, I have been enjoying my walk/runs so much that I decided to download a Couch to 5k app and see how I do.  I'm not even attempting to train for a 5k, I would just like a program to follow right now. 

And of course, a Fit Pregnancy does not just include eating well and exercising.  Pregnancy is as much a mental game as it is a physical one.  I suppose that is why so many relate pregnancy and childbirth to running a marathon.  So far, I still think I would take pregnancy over another marathon any day! 

In addition to my new physical routines, I am plunging into a deep and serious commitment to read my Bible daily and pray.  I have grossly fallen out of this routine and my faith feels like it is dangling by threads.  I know that making this daily commitment will be the difference between a mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy 2nd and 3rd trimesters, and even more so postpartum!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cutest Baby Ever

One of our highlights of Missouri was hanging out with this little dude and celebrating his 1st Birthday!
We missed his party by a day but got to spend some quality time with him and his parents!  It was a quick little trip through Missouri but it was so nice to be there! 

I also got to ring in Stephanie's 30th birthday with her!  Of course I will miss her party as well.  But I rarely get to be around for Steph's birthdays so I was excited to be there for this very important one! 

Another highlight was sharing time with my pregnant sister (yup, pregnant sisters!!!).  You will notice there are no photos of me and my sisters...we slummed around the house all day (except for one outing to watch Magic Mike which I highly do NOT recommend!)  So instead of photos, all I have are memories, and that is just fine with me.

We are home alas and it feels so good.  Unpacked, and laundry is going, and I realized how much I really do miss my own office.  It isn't so easy to work from the road, and everything I need is within arm's reach right here.  Loving this day of organization and cleaning!  Tomorrow I will start the big projects!

Tonight we have an open invite to all our friends to pop-in on us.  It would be too hard to get around to everyone, so instead, just swing by the house if you get a chance...there will be cold beverages and good company!  We missed everyone so much! 

And here is one last treasure from our trip.  My silly husband insisted we take advantage of the photo booth at the mall...
Such a great trip! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Illinois Time

Has it been another 10 days yet?  No?  Well good!  We have had such a busy few days, and in fact, I took a total break from my computer for 3 whole days!  It felt so good.  What have we been up to?  Well celebrating this beautiful girl's 18th birthday and High School Graduation!
That's our niece Emily and she is wonderful!  One of the most beautiful and Godly women I know! We were so blessed to spend two whole days with the Schumacher's preparing for the party and celebrating!
That's Chrissy and Karina, two of Alex's sisters, and two wonderful people.  Honestly, it is such a joy to spend time with them!  They have graciously agreed to stay with us after the baby comes to help out!

We spent all day in the kitchen on Friday preparing, mixing up these delicious salads!
Karina also had Portillo's Italian Beef sandwiches and a Chicago Dog stand for the over 100 guests!
I have definitely enjoyed some Portillo's Italian Beef this week!  Shhh...don't tell! But for dinner at the party I just took a sample of all the delicious salads!

This is our other beautiful niece with her mom.  Jessi also had a big week!  She got her driver's license!  Somehow the nephews escaped most photos...but we did manage to grab a wonderful family photo.
All of Alex's family was there including his Grandma and Dad.  They left pretty early to get the Grandma's home, and they left in style!
That would be my favorite picture from the week, however we came across some photo albums and found this!
Little Alex!  Our children are going to be stinkin' cute!

We had such a nice time in Illinois, and sadly it is time to move on.  This morning we were up at 6am and on the road.  Finally we have reached the tail end of our trip and crossed the Mississippi into Missouri.
Time for one last adventure!  
See you back in North Carolina!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Documenting the fun!

As much as I love to blog, it has been so difficult to keep up lately!  Each day I pre-write a post in my head, and then I never get around to typing it out.  There are so many things that I have "told" you, but have never actually written down for you!  I do this to Alex quite a bit in real life too.  It usually goes something like this:

"Did I tell you that I wanted coffee, or did I just say that in my head? Because I am wondering why you keep passing all the Starbucks!"

"Yup, Tanya, that was in your head!"

I'm serious...not just things like that, but all the time, I think I've had a conversation and then realize I've never actually said it out loud.

Well, for you, I know I haven't said it out loud, because I know I haven't been on here in weeks!  So let's recap...

If you remember, we left off when Baby didn't want to tell us if it's a boy or girl (bummer), so we jumped on the road a day early for our road trip.  After a quick stop half-way, we made it to Milwaukee in time for an iced coffee and snacks with our friend Matt. 
We then spent 3 glorious days over the 4th of July holiday in Milwaukee!  Now we are nestled in at my Father-In-Law's for the week, spending most evenings out to dinner with friends and family.  Here are some of our top moments of the week(s).

1.  Virgin cocktails (for me)!
At Eric and Haley's we made Bloody Mary's spiked with beer.  Yes, weird, but so good.  I just had a very spicy virgin one here, but I've also since made one with NA beer, and it is not so bad! 

2.  4th of July BBQ and fireworks with all of our Milwaukee friends!
With Shannon and Brian and their two beautiful children, and Eric and Haley, we had a blast! 

3.  Our Milwaukee outing, biking along the lakefront and catching some live music at Summerfest.
Sure it was 105* degrees that day! But by the water it was much cooler, and on bikes the breeze was wonderful!
We caught part of the Death Cab concert and the Avett Brothers.  I have to say, the Avett Brothers put on a pretty awesome show! We stuck it out at Summerfest until I was just too hot!

4.  Catching up with work in different "offices"
 Throughout all our travels, I have managed to log some pretty good hours for work.  It is fun to work in new locations.  First at Eric and Haley's study, then at Camp in my old office and now from the library at my FIL's.

5.  Our day on the water at Camp.
The sailboat regatta is one of my favorite sites on Lake Beulah and we were lucky to catch one this weekend.  We stayed Friday night and all day Saturday at YMCA Camp Edwards (where Alex and I met).  The weather started off steamy and scorching, but by midday on Saturday the humidity lifted and we enjoyed canoeing on the U.S.S. Alex K., and boating and tubing with our old boss Jody.  Of course I wasn't allowed to go tubing, but Alex had quite the time!

We have had so much fun eating out, catching up with family and friends, playing cards, exercising and taking long walks...but I'm running out of photos to share! 

It is wild to think about all of our adventures so far, and know that we have so much more to anticipate...including our niece's graduation and 18th birthday party and a trip to Missouri for my sister's birthday!  Hopefully I won't wait another 10 days to document all the fun!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Change of plans...

Not my personal choice, but I'm already learning what it means to sacrifice because of your child...even when they are still in the womb!

Today was supposed to be a big day.  We had our 20 week ultrasound this morning, a fun photo shoot planned, and a party with all our friends this evening.  Unfortunately all but the ultrasound was cancelled due to my very stubborn and uncooperative child.  It seems he/she decided it wasn't quite time to let us know the gender just yet. 

So instead of finding out boy or girl today and hosting a gender reveal for our friends, we hit the road for our trip to Milwaukee/Chicago/St. Louis a day early.  We put a good 6 hours in on the road and now we are stopped at a very fine Holiday Inn, eating Subway and watching the Bachelorette.  Yup, a pretty good day in all, just not what we expected!
Since we don't get to find out just yet, for fun we did a little research.  According the Mayan predictions we are having a baby girl...yet according to the Chinese Calendar however it is a boy.  Only time will tell!