Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm in a funk...

I generally try to keep the attitude of the blog light hearted and fun even if I am a bit sarcastic at times. However, today I'm in a funk. A real funk. An I-want-to-lay-here-and-cry funk.

I just can't believe that a man (term used very loosely in this blog post) can not only walk away from his child, not do what he is legally obligated to in his divorce decree and then suddenly stop paying child support as well. Well.. to be honest, he wasn't paying his child support anyway, his company was doing it on his behalf because he couldn't be trusted to do it himself. I figure he either got laid off or quit, but let's face it.. $50 a WEEK really isn't all that much. And if it were me paying the child support, I'd pick up cans on the side of the road if I had to, to make sure that my child was provided for. (Can you really call it providing for your child if you only contribute $50 a week to your child's welfare? I think not, but that is a rant for another day.)

So once again, Brandon will be there to pick up the slack for someone too sorry to be in Lainey's life, too sorry to provide health insurance like he is obligated to do, too sorry to pay half of her out of pocket medical expenses and yes.. too sorry to send $50 a week child support. Lainey is the one of the few blessings that came out of a terrible relationship. Too bad he can't see that.

So in the meantime, I'll be adjusting the budget spreadsheets to account for ZERO child support from Mr. I'm too SORRY to even call and tell you what is going on or even leave you a working phone number to call me.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Eat from the Pantry" Challenge: SHOPPING DAY

We shop as a family. Yes.. all 5 of us go. It hasn't always been that way but right now it is a matter of necessity. I used to shop with the three children on my own and shop for an entire month and then do three weekly trips for milk, bread and produce. So this is "light duty" if you will to have Brandon go with me. In order to make it where Brandon could accompany me I had to make our list for 10 days.

So we packed up, grabbed our envelope and list and headed out.

I think we did GREAT!

We spent $ 44.69.

Remaining January Grocery Budget: $255.31
Remaining Shopping Trips in January: 3


F 1 Collards, Sausage, Rice, Black Eyed Peas, Cornbread, served with Pepper Vinegar
S 2 Pasta Fagoili
S 3 Leftovers
M 4 Ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans
T 5 15 bean soup (use frozen ham bone)
W 6 Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan served with a Garden Salad
T 7 Shake and Bake pork chops, yellow rice, broccoli, sofrito beans
F 8 Chicken Pot pie
S 9 Vegetable Beef Soup
S 10 Leftovers

Our breakfast menu will be the same:

Monday- Baked Oatmeal Squares
Tuesday- Eggs, toast and sometimes sausage or bacon
Wednesday- Cold cereal, milk and apple or banana
Thursday- Cold cereal, milk and apple or banana
Friday- Cold cereal, milk and apple or banana
Saturday- Cold cereal, milk and apple or banana
Sunday- Muffins

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Eat from the Pantry" Challenge: THE RULES and THE PLAN

I've come up with my goals for the January Challenge. A few of my friends are taking part and I've decided to join the bandwagon.

Unfortunately, due to quite a bit of morning sickness, holiday hectic-ness, and a stomach virus, shopping has been bare essentials so I'm not sure how much I really have to use up. LOL

1. Shop only 4 times in the month of January. This will allow us to buy fresh milk, bread and produce at least weekly. I can't store more than about a week's worth at this point of refridgerated items so that is my limit.

2. Spend NO MORE than $300 on our groceries for the month. (This is excluding baby formula, household needs, tolietries, etc since those are separate envelopes in the Bee household for you Dave Ramsey folks.) So I have 4 eaters really.

3. Adhere to our eating out budget. It's $25 because we have some other things to take care of this month. We also have some giftcards from Christmas that I'm NOT including in the $25.

If you want to join the challenge, make your rules and c'mon!


I first went into our pantry, cabinets, freezer and refridgerator to see what we have to work with. I found quite a bit in the side dish department but I had very little for meat.
I made my list, checked it twice, looked at the ads and changed some things around. Tomorrow is shopping day!
I'll report back with what I spent... One thing is for sure, we have to come in under budget because we are using cash! Funny how that works huh?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Battling Fear...

I have to actively battle fear. Deep down I'm a 'fraidy cat and it just seems to be getting worse the older I am. Maybe it is because I am starting to realize just how precious life is and how much I still have left to do here.

Satan has always chosen to attack my thoughts around my parenting, child raising, and my children. He knows that my children are my heart and well... a very vulnerable spot in my heart. The most recent subject he has started to attack is our decision on a repeat csection vs. VBAC (v*ginal birth after c-section.) I desire a VBAC and am a candidate. I birthed DeLainey v*ginally and had a planned c-section for Julianne because she had her cord wrapped around her neck among other issues. I also was seeing one of the most csection happy doctors in the area I lived in. (Word to the wise, check your doctors stats and if they are out of line with the national norm, start asking questions.)

Neither one of my birthing experiences were wonderful, magical or any of the other words I've heard used for childbirth. I had several rude medical professionals cross my path each time. I was stressed, nervous, in pain (yes for both!), and just well, not anything beautiful or magical or anything like that.

Recently I've been doubting if I can do either. Which is well, laughable because the baby has to come out one way or the other right? Yes.. after giving birth twice I still doubt I can do it.

And then I logged into my favorite parenting site ever and read what a dear friend posted. She said that a friend emailed it to her. What a timely message for me!

Praying Scripture for my Unborn Child

"Father, in Jesus’ name, I thank You for my unborn child. I know this child is a gift from You.

I commit this child to You, Father and ask that he will grow and call me blessed.
You have made me a joyful mother of children. I am blessed with a heritage from You as my reward.

My child is created in Your image and it is in You that my child lives and moves and has his being. I ask Your blessing upon him or her.

Your grace is sufficient for me through this pregnancy. Thank you for strengthening my weakness.

I cast all my care and burden of this pregnancy over on You, Lord, for You care for me. I put on the whole armor of God so that I may be able to stand against the tricks and traps of the devil. I recognize that my fight is not with flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers and the rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places. God, help me to stand, above all, taking the shield of faith and being able to quench the attacks of the devil with Your mighty power. Help me to stand in faith during this pregnancy and birth, not giving any room to fear, but possessing power, love and a sound mind.

Perfect Love casts out fear. You are that perfect Love. I am not afraid because I am fixed and trusting upon You, Father. Help me to think on good things.
Heavenly Father, You are my refuge. I trust You during this pregnancy and childbirth. I thank You that You have put angels at watch over me and my unborn child.

Would you please bless us with a liberal amount of Your wisdom for the decisions that are to be made?

And may the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep my heart and mind through Christ Jesus.
I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. When I acknowledge you in all my ways, You will direct my path.

I praise You and thank you, in Jesus’ name, Amen."

Scriptures used: Ps. 127:3; Prov.31:28; Ps. 113:9; Ps. 127:3; Gen 1:26; Acts 17:28a; I Pet.5:7; II Cor.12:9; Eph. 6:11, 12,16; 2 Tim. 1:7; I John 4:18; Phil. 4:8; Ps. 91:2, 11; James1:5,6a; Phil. 4:7; Pro. 3:5,6

Each time the doubt creeps in, I pray this prayer. I've prayed it several times in a row at times. Either way.. repeat csection or VBAC, God already knows the outcome and has it planned.

Thank you Father, for giving me these precious words to hold onto. I pray I stand on the truths that You've sent for us in the Word. Thank you for the awesome blessing of motherhood and yet another baby to raise to know You.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Best (Early) Christmas Gift Ever!

Wednesday morning I was struggling. The night before I had gone on a mad cleaning/nesting spree (which is common for me even when not expecting) and I think I really over did it. In fact, even though Brandon has made me swear to not lift anything heavier than Xander and I kept my word, I was stiff when I woke up and the back of my arms burned. It's a familiar burn for me. I'm so short that when I do things in the closet and have my hands over my head for extended periods of time, the back of my arms burn the next day. On top of burning arms, the back of my legs were stiff and when I thought back, I wondered if maybe I shouldn't have pushed that box across the floor with my legs. *OOPS* Add in not much sleep because Xander had a stomach bug and vomited, multiple linen changes in the nursery, and sciatic pain that makes sleeping on my left hip a bear.. have I mentioned I'm NOT a morning person at all and that Wednesdays are REALLY my Monday's if I follow Brandon's work schedule and yeah.. Wednesday morning wasn't pretty!

But I drug myself down the stairs, made breakfast for the kiddos, fed Xander his bottle and had just settled in for some computer time with my caffeinated beverage of choice these days, the mini can of Pepsi. I was trying to make a game plan for the day but couldn't even form a coherent sentence... when the phone rang. It was Brandon calling from his cell but he was at the office. This is such a rare occurrence (especially in the morning) that I thought something had to be wrong.

I answered.. and I'll keep private what my husband said I sounded like. (It wasn't very flattering that is for sure! ) But I could tell he was excited about something. He asked if I wanted an early Christmas gift and when I said sure, he told me that Xander's decree of adoption finalization was signed the day before. It's official. His adoption is complete and nothing can change it!

I've held strong in my faith that this would happen but after watching faaaar too many Lifetime Movies in well.. my lifetime, that every now and then a little piece of doubt would creep in. And all of that was wiped away with that one little sentence that Brandon called to tell me.

It's official!

I'm thrilled... We are so blessed. Our adoption journey went SO incredibly fast and smooth that it is really hard to believe sometimes. When we started our journey we braced ourselves for trials and some heartache but it couldn't have gone better!

If any of my readers have questions about adoption, please feel free to contact me and ask. I've been asked a lot of questions about our adoption journey (and our infertility journey) so nothing really can catch me off guard anymore. I'm sure I asked some doozies when I started walking this path but I've had great mentors that were patient and understanding and I soaked up all they could share. I truly hope to continue that cycle and give back to other potential adoptive parents in the same fashion. I plan to share the steps that we went through in order to adopt Xander. In the meantime, I'm getting our paperwork straight for adoption #2. Cause you know.. you can't ignore a calling. ;)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Snow, Pizza and Dave Ramsey...

Last Saturday morning we woke up to a thick blanket of snow outside and Brandon suddenly decided that we were going to go out to eat for lunch. *snicker* So he headed outside to dig our van out and the girls climbed into the love seat to peek out the window and give Momma the play by play of Daddy vs. Snow. Even they could see that Daddy wasn't winning and Brandon came in and announced that we weren't going anywhere for lunch. And then he got a pizza craving. So he called around and found out that Papa Johns and Pizza Hut were both delivering. We like Pizza Hut just a touch better and they had a better special so Brandon ordered while the girls were playing outside in the snow.

The girls didn't last long, so they came in and I changed their clothes and settled in for a snowed in day. The pizza man arrived, Brandon tipped him generously and we started making plates. It was Lainey's turn to pray over our meal.. and this is what we heard:

"Dear God... thank you for our food let it nourish our bodies, and protect our baby in mama's belly... oh and please bless the pizza man that came and brought us pizza in the snow. In Jesus' name, Amen."

And then she remarked, "Momma... do you think he is a Dave Ramsey listener too?" Puzzled I said, "Honey, why do you think he listens to Dave?" (Yes.. Dave and I are on a first name basis. LOL) "Well," she said, eating pizza between her thoughts, "Only a true Gazelle would deliver pizza in the snow."

Yes, honey... now that you've explained, perhaps he is a Dave Ramsey listener.

Thank you Father, for my insightful children that consistently keep me on my toes. Thank you that you've introduced us to Dave and that my 6 year old gets it. And yes, please bless that pizza delivery man through his journey today and in his future.

I'll never have carpet again....

A few days ago, I was cleaning out some paperwork and I ran across some medical invoices and Explanation of Benefits sheets and I was a little disturbed. See, Julianne at the age of 4 months was diagnosed with bronchiolitis and then RSV. We did around the clock breathing treatments and visited our doctor several times a week because the treatments weren't helping and I felt like a helpless, terrified mama. Many times, our pediatrician would double her breathing treatments and put her on a pulse ox machine or give her a different med in the office. It was terrifying but the pediatrician really was trying to keep her home with us and not have her hospitalized.

After all of that, she was never the same. She became winded easier. She started to fall off of the growth chart. Every cold went to her chest, she wheezed alot and the doctor visits continued. Our pharmacist kept Xopenex in stock just for Julianne because we used it so often in her nebulizer and we had two nebulizers... just in case. My life revolved around breathing treatments and it got to the point that if she slept in after her normal time I'd worry that she had stopped breathing.

After feeling like we weren't getting anywhere, I pushed for a pediatric pulmonologist referral. The soonest they could see us was 3 months away. I called and asked to be put on their cancellation list. And one day the nurse called and told me I had an hour to get Julianne's radiology records and get us both down to MCG- there was a cancellation. I boogied it right on down there.

I'm so glad that I did! The visit was so productive! Julianne's diagnosis was changed from Reactive Airway Disease to all out Asthma. Most doctors really wait to label asthma because of insurance issues. But our ped pulm decided that our insurance was already acutely aware of Julianne's respiratory situation and all future insurance companies would be too. She also sent Julianne for an upper GI and found that she was still refluxing. Even after reflux usually resolves itself. Reflux can irritate the nerve endings in the chest and can trigger asthma attacks. She put her back on reflux meds (long after the ped had taken her off) but this time prescribed a solutab instead of a liquid that burned her already irritated throat.

Her nurse practioner taught Julianne to use an inhaler with a spacer and that made her meds so much more convenient for us.. all of us. An inhaler with a spacer means it takes a few minutes instead of 20 plus for a nebulizer treatment. She changed her meds from Xopenex to Qvar and Albuterol and I had a new child within days. She still made me very nervous but it wasn't as bad. She continued to have issues with colds, etc.

Fast forward.... November 30, 2008, we moved to Richmond, Virginia to an all hardwood, linoleum and tiled rental. We braced ourselves for our first Virginia winter. And nothing happened. No colds, upper respiratory infections, no need for her inhaler, nothing.

Fast forward again: December 2009, still nothing. She has had small colds, but nothing has gone to her chest like it did before. Our pediatrician is shocked when he looks over her history and then notes that she has no issues now except ongoing periodic reflux.

Looking back, I see a few things. We built and moved into a brand new house in September 2006. And Julianne's issues started that very October/November which is also right around the time that you start putting your baby on the floor for playtime. Some might say it was something in Georgia she was allergic to... but even here in Virginia, if she is in a home with carpet for an extended period of time, she breathes much differently. In fact it is the same as if she is in a home in Georgia with carpet. I'm convinced it is the fact that we do not have carpet in our home here. I think the brand new carpet in the home we built was something that triggered her respiratory issues. And I'm just so glad we've found a way to make her better without pumping her full of medications.

And in the future, none of my future homes will have carpet if I have anything to say about it.

Santa Saga 2009

Ahhh yes.. the Old Red Guy. I really dread going to see him. I hate the lines, my kids being impatient and then wasting all that time to have the kids not even give us a good smile and then paying ridiculously over inflated prices for not so great pictures. This year was no exception. In fact, Brandon knows that I hate going to see the O.R.G., so he bribed me with a treat of a pedicure after if I just made it through without having a little hissy or getting huffy and puffy. Honestly, I think handing Xanax out at the beginning of the line (for the parents of course!) is a grand idea. Too bad it's also highly illegal.

So we get the children dressed... and head out. There is still snow everywhere and traffic is moving at a snail's pace. I think I could have drug three children through the snow barefoot a little faster. Instead we cranked up the 90's hits collection and used our car heater to keep warm.
The mall was just as insane. We were pleasantly surprised that the line was short when we finally got to that end of the mall. (Sidenote: Do you walk on the right when trying to get through a walkway? Or is that something thoroughly ingrained in my brain from EHS days and the tunnel? Either way, I'm very aware that apparently everyone doesn't know that little gem of information.)

A short line.. so no problem right? Well it sure wasn't until I got Miss Talkative right behind me. She wanted to know the children's names, ages, where I got their clothes, and get this... If I was expecting... and how on earth did I do it all? Oh wait, it gets better. The next question: "So are you done yet?" I mean really.. is this something you just ask a random person you just happen to be behind in the dreaded Santa line?

For the record, I have to say that I was very polite and nice and no we aren't done. *grin* We won't know that until well.. there are no more! But both Brandon and I really feel called to adopt at least one more time. So instead of telling her no and being short, I told her that we view each of our children as blessings and that God has timed each one perfectly... and given my struggle with infertility we were pleasantly surprised to be expecting #4.

Okay.. so then another child starts pulling on the gate that is protecting Santa from all the.. blessings and I thought she was really going to pull it over.

Phew.. Our turn. And well.. this is when a Xanax would have been GREAT! First the "elf" says she doesn't know if she can fit three children around Santa. REALLY? Are three children really that rare these days? So they pile poor Santa up *rolls eyes* and start attempting to get my three to smile. Lainey smiles, most of the time. Julianne smiles in the beginning of each attempt but the elf is trying to get Xander to smile by clapping a giant hand clapper. It's not working and Julianne's smile fades each time and turns into a grimace. She is merely tolerating this whole process. Oh and let's not forget Miss Talkative is now standing behind me yelling over my head at MY children trying to get them to smile. Xanax PLEASE!

After 12 pictures, I gave up.

We spent $29.99 for a mediocre picture and then I went to debrief in the pedicure chair while Brandon took the children to get cookies.
Wanna see the final result? Yes friends, this is the *best* picture out of 12. *sigh*

Notice that ALL of Lainey isn't in the picture and even Santa doesn't look thrilled. Maybe next year I'll bribe Brandon to take all four by himself. LOL

The apple.. ahem.. strawberry? doesn't fall far from the tree.. And my name is Julianne!

So the Sunday that Auntie Karon was coming in, we dashed around town running last minute errands. She is incredibly hard person to shop for. But what girl doesn't like chocolate? I mean she's a woman but do we ever really outgrow our need for chocolate? I sure don't think so.

I knew Augusta didn't have a Godiva and my aunt is FAAAAR too practical to buy Godiva for herself. BINGO! A great gift right?

Brandon had a huge smile on his face and said "NO chocolate covered strawberries for the baby!" as he looked down at my belly. I leaned over and said "Did you hear that Baby G_____ (name not announced) Daddy says NO chocolate strawberries."

Suddenly from the back, I heard "I is allowed to have strawberries... and my name... is Julianne!" Silly girl thought I'd called her the wrong name and told her she couldn't have strawberries. It was hilarious!

Well Godiva is in our outdoor mall... and it was cold so we rushed in and made a mad dash across the mall (of course we couldn't park near the Godiva.. we aren't natives and have no idea where Godiva is in relation to the various parking lots!)

As soon as we opened the door to enter Godiva, my girls both started sniffing. You can SMELL the chocolate there. Julianne began pushing air towards her nose and inhaling deeply and then she began to look around. She looked a little like Charlie when he entered Willy Wonka's factory.

We picked the gift and Brandon stood in line to pay. He cannot resist batting eyelashes and so he got two cones of chocolate covered strawberries. One was dark chocolate and one was milk chocolate.

When we got to the van, I gave each girl 2 stawberries and I stressed for Julianne not to eat the tops. A few minutes later, we were stuck in traffic and I asked Julianne where her strawberry tops were and she said in her carseat. I asked her to pass them up to me and this is what I saw:

Not a single drop of chocolate or strawberry left on the tops... and that my friends, is how I know that she was not switched at the hospital. She is definately mine. ;)


I promise I wasn't purposefully neglecting you Blogworld. I really do have good reasons for my lengthy departure. LOL

1. The end of the 1st trimester and beginning of the second was rough. For some reason my morning sickness came back with a vengence. Things seem to be better now but I'm still a bit sensitive to texture and STILL can't eat a chicken patty to save my soul. Popeyes? Easy Peasy. Chick Fil A? Not so easy peasy.

2. My Auntie Karon came to visit us for 4 days! Of course I was wrapping up our homeschooling before Christmas break and preparing for her visit (cleaning, finishing up last minute shopping, etc. etc.) so I was very busy during that time. Then see reason #1, and well.. it was hard to do. But she came, we had a great visit, and I even got to send presents back for my mother in law and sister in laws and it saved me a trip to the Post Office.

3. I was VERY homesick after Auntie Karon left. Like curl up on my couch and cry for the entire day while I turned the children's brains into mush and let them watch cartoons. Cartoons for more than 30 minutes is a RARE thing in our household. Julianne cried off and on for "Nanny Naron" and for some reason thought that she was just going to get breakfast and then she was coming back. Poor baby girl.

4. Then we got snow.. not just a little snow. 18+ inches of snow. This Georgia girl doesn't *do* snow if it is any more than a dusting. So we were housebound on Saturday. Sunday we braved it and guess what? It is Tuesday night and we still have snow! Lainey is starting to wonder if there will be snow on the ground until spring. Please Lord, no! I can't do it! I don't have proper footwear for this. (I'm a sandal girl through and through!)

5. We've been finishing up Christmas prep. Santa pictures last night with a pedicure as a treat for mama after, preparing 17 treats for Brandon's team at work, Christmas cards, etc, etc.

6. Nesting has hit... hard! I've done somewhere around 5 consignment store drop offs, 5 Goodwill drop offs and had Brandon haul off lots of trash. Subconsciously, I think my body is preparing for bedrest like I had with Julianne's pregnancy. There are no indications that I need any bedrest though. Things are looking good and my cervix length is GREAT! (Sorry.. TMI I know!)

I hope to be a better blogger. I'll be posting a few things to you all caught up...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

WOW.. it's been a while...

It's been a while. I haven't done a good job of keeping this blog updated. Of course I have had plenty of time to read blogs... Sigh....

So I have quite a bit to catch up on.

1. #4 is on the way! We found out in October that what I thought was bad Chinese food was actually a little one creating hormones that cause morning sickness. After what is now years of heartache in the fertility department I was in denial. Brandon is the one that begged me to pretty please test late one night and two lines popped up quickly. I was speechless. He said "I told you so!" Okay, honey. You were right. *smile*

I was only 3 weeks and a few days... I knew it would make for a long pregnancy but I was able to get in and get some bloodwork drawn and find out that my HCG numbers were great but my progesterone was iffy. Since I've lost 2 pregnancies of my 4, the doctor seems to think that low progesterone might be the culprit. So I started progesterone supplements. I'm due June 23rd and so far everything is going well. I love the practice that I blindly picked here. LOL I've never made it to a due date before and have had issues with preterm labor so they will be following my case closely. I'm thrilled there is a peri in the office just in case!

I've had to actively battle my fear. Part of me believed that I'd just lose this baby too. Afterall, I had lost half of my pregnancies and I am ONE miscarriage away from having the most hurtful words written on my chart. "Habitual Aborter." It makes me nauseated to type that! What a terrible label for a woman that loves her children deeply and has never done anything to harm them! Even in my first pregnancy which was a complete surprise and the news came at an interesting time (like uh.. right after my ex- husband and I separated...) I NEVER considered abortion. NEVER!

But each day, I'm SO very thankful that I've been allowed to carry the baby yet another day. And here I am 11 weeks today!

2. Xander is now crawling...

and holding his bottle, except for Mama...

He is also pulling up on the edge of the couch and in his crib... and the other night attempted to stand up on his own without pulling up on anything, but well, that didn't go so well.

3. Homeschooling is going well. I'm getting a little frustrated with our particular curriculum and I've started making a list of things to change next year. I hope that I can make it to the Homeschooling Convention. I think it is June 10-13 and as mentioned above I'm due with #4 on June 23rd but haven't made it to my due date yet. We are still doing written schooling four days a week but now we have school Wednesday-Saturday so it coincides with Brandon's work week.

I promise I'll try to do a better job of keeping this up. I might make this my homepage so I see it every day. Maybe that will help. LOL