Friday, April 27, 2012

Baby Hanwah - Update

For all those praying for our Hannah...

Our Mess of  a Baby Girl
The pediatric orthopaedic (is it orthopaedic or orthopedic?  I've seen it both ways...) confirmed she did have hip dysplasia in both hips.  We really liked the doc.  She's straight forward, which I appreciate.

Not treating Hannah is not an option - not really.  She'll develop a limp before she's 10 and have arthritis by the time she's 20.  So no, we cannot do that to her.

The doctor wants to do something called a "closed reduction" where basically Hannah will go into the OR under anesthesia and they will manually force her hips in place.  I hurt even describing it.  She will then be placed in a body cast for 3 months.  (If you want to google it - it's called a Spica cast.)

The doctor is almost positive that Hannah's right leg will move in the correct place.  She is not positive about the left. 

If the left does not go in place, then they will immediately do surgery and basically cut her open from hip to mid-thigh and force it in place that way.  So we actually won't know what is happening, till it's over.  Which as a nerd, I hate not knowing and being able to plan.

Either way - we will be dealing with an immobile little girl for 3 months.

As you can imagine, we're still processing all of it.  I know it's not cancer.  I know it's not Downs, or autism.  It's curable.  I don't need reason at this moment.  My head knows what's right.  But my mommy heart hurts.

I look at a little girl who on the outside seems perfect but walks a teeny bit funny.  And she's so happy.  And she trusts me to keep her safe and from pain.  And I have to hand her over to a doctor and know that when she comes back to me she'll be "worse" than when she left me.  And there's no way I can warn her.  She won't understand.

It's not the surgery that scares me.  It's the fact that she won't be able to swim this summer.  There will be no playing in the playhouse.  No swinging outside.  No pushing her favorite stroller around.  No toddling around the house and getting her favorite thing ever - fruit snacks.  I will have an infant with the mind of a 2 year old.  Who knows what it was like to free and doesn't know why Mommy did this to her.

Sounds incredibly selfish.  It's me that I'm worried about.  Is she going to hate me?  Does this mean no one will want to watch her?  Will I be on duty 24/7 plus trying to work, plus trying to manage 2 other kids? 

I wish I was handling this better, but I promised you one day 1 of this journey I wouldn't lie.  I'm a hot mess.

Everyone has been so supportive.  And everyone asks what they can do.  This is what we need:

1.  Pray for Hannah - first and foremost.  Pray she responds well.  That she doesn't fight it too much.  I'm prepared for the day of and after the casting to be absolute H - E - double hockeysticks.  So if it's not, that would be a great relief.

2.  Pray for no surgery.  While it won't change the body cast dilemma, it would be one less worry on our mind.  No wound to have to fret over.  And lastly, no scar.

3.  Pray for us.  I'm good one moment and terrible the next.  I might need to refill my prescription for Xanax.  :)  Mr. DDA - is being all tough about it, but between you & me (and the 6 billion people out there on the Internet) I think he's a teeny bit worried & upset over it.  If I can't get Xanax, I'm sure a new pair of LK Bennett shoes will have the same effect.

I know some of you out there have much bigger worries to deal with.  And like I said, my head knows there are thousands of moms who would trade places with me.  I'll promise not to overwhelm this blog with poor, poor me updates and get back to money topics soon.

Thank you all for your support & encouragement.  When you message me or text me or Facebook me, I appreciate every single one of them. 

Now, enough crying for's my first day off on my new schedule and I'm going to enjoy it.

To the Peanut Gallery

Ah, well that last post certainly grew legs, arms, and maybe a right shoulder...

I enjoyed the banter and the different views.  Some of you may noticed that I had to eliminate the comments.  It's not because I didn't want opposing opinions.  I think it's great.  It doesn't bother me if you disagree.  Some of my favorite friends are liberals.  But someone decided to use my blog to futher their personal vendetta against the school.  This is my opinion and has nothing to do with the school.  They are innocent in this and I will not let them suffer because of my post. 

But for those of you who can't tell the difference between the eraser and the lead, the point of the post was:  Is a Christian school perfect?  No.  Is there sin at a Christian school?  Uh...yeah.  Is there stuff that goes on that shouldn't?  Yes - I was a part of a lot it.  Do we miss out on some good things that would probably be valuable to us all later in life?  Yes.  But I would gladly miss out on those good things to miss out on the bad things. 

I think it's healthy to have both sides even if I may not agree.  It was a fun break from my new reality.  Thank you for that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Gripe with Christian School Graduates

Most of you know that I rarely keep my opinions to myself.  But I usually try not to call people out on their (obviously wrong) views on life.

But one too many Christian school graduate has gotten on my last nerve by complaining about their poor, poor, pitiful me life.

So I'm going for the jugular. 

I went to a small Christian school.  K-4 through 12th grade.  Then a larger Christian college, but still small compared with public colleges. 

I'm constantly seeing my old "friends" from school complain about missing out because of their sheltered life, lack of education, blah, blah, blah.  So I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and complain.

Because of going to a Christian school, I missed out on:

1.  Learning what sex was in the 2nd grade.
2.  Being taught that I came from a rock, then a monkey, and that I'm only here by a freak accident.
3.  Wondering why Sallie has two mommies.
4.  Knowing that the real F-word was not "fart."
5.  Prom - and getting pregnant after prom.
6.  Drinking myself into an oblivion on Friday nights.
7.  Learning how to hold a cigarette in one hand while fixing my hair and driving with the other.
8.  Having to give a presentation on the foundation of America and having to leave out all references to God.
9.  Being taught how to put a condom on a banana before I even hit puberty.
10.  Being told that I'm lucky if I can find one person in this world who may love me for a few years - much less a Savior who gave His life for me, knows every hair on my head, Who hurts when I hurt, and loves me unconditionally.

You know what? 

I didn't get to play soccer.  I didn't get to be a cheerleader.  I didn't get to dissect a frog.  College was the first time I had to go from "class to class."  I only wrote a handful of papers in high school, but I knew how to write a book report on great martyrs of the faith.  I guess you don't count weekly devotionals to the whole class as a presentation - but I do.  The closest thing to prom I had was a sweetheart banquet where I took my dad!  (And I still consider it one the best dates in my life.) 

A lot of people would look at my life and say I missed out.

I missed out on spring break - and coming home with an STD.

I missed out on drinking and then getting to spend the night in the county jail.

I missed out because a cigarette has never touched my lips.

I missed out because the first time I had sex was after I was married.

I missed out because I have NEVER touched, seen, or even been in the presence of illegal drugs.

And the end of the day, when I stand before God, I'm not sure any of the things that "I missed out" on will matter much to Him. 

I have a great husband that I met at my Christian college.  I have three amazing kids with that husband.  I have a great job - thanks to a great education.  I show up to work on time because I was taught ethics at my school.  I go to sleep at night with a clear conscience (except when maybe I go overboard on my blog.) 

But you can blame my little Christian school for this.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Baby Hanwah

Meet Hannah.
Hannah is the blonde hair, blue eyed child in front.  We still have no idea where she came from.  As we've talked about before, she is our miracle child.

She's affectionately known around our family as "Hanwah" thanks to a minor speech impediment of Morgan.  The curly haired, talks non-stop child behind Hannah.

Hannah took her first steps on Thanksgiving Day 2011. 

By January, I knew something was amiss.  Hannah didn't walk like a normal child.  You might not notice it at first, but there was something  We took her to the doctor in February.  Her pediatrician that I love with all my heart, didn't see any cause for concern.

Last Wednesday, Hanwah went back for a check up and was immediately referred to an orthopaedic doctor. 

This morning, Hannah was diagnosed with Developmental Dysplasia of the Hips.  It was not the news I was expecting.  I thought really and truly I was just being an overprotective mother making too much out of something.

Now I know this is not life threatening, but in our world this is life changing.  She sees a pediatric orthopaedic specialist this Thursday.  I will know more then.  But thanks to WebMd, I've terrified myself with all the possibilities.

I know without a shadow of a doubt, God wanted Hannah here for a reason.  And I know this is part of His plan.  But could I ask you guys to please pray for our Hanwah? 

Like I said, we'll know more on Thursday.  If what I read is true, and you know how that goes, it's going to be rough road for our little girl the next year or so.  And mommy isn't handling it too well herself.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Ghost Whisperer

I'm the ghost whisperer.

Actually, I have no idea what that is.  Never seen the show.  I wouldn't mind looking like Jennifer Love Hewitt.  Even during her so-called "fat period" when she wore maybe a size 6.

I digress...

Anyhow, from my wiki search of it, she talks to dead people and helps them cross over.  Ok.  I don't talk to dead people and I sometimes have panic attacks on a long bridge.  (Or in tunnels - really bad in tunnels.  So bad that I will drive 45 minutes out of the way before I will go in Big Walker Mountain tunner.  Norfolk, Baltimore...don't even try getting me through there without a Xanax.)

Again, I digress...

So I guess, I'm not much of a ghost whisperer.  Maybe I'm the tax whisperer.  Or the money whisperer.  Neither is a very catchy title for my new tv show.

Ever since I was in high school, people shared things with me and I had no idea why.  I knew some of the deepest darkest secrets of most everyone there. 

Even now, I seem to attract those who need an ear.  Even the cashier at Target...  I know way too much about her bodily functions.

In my job, people are normally instructed to speak to me as little as possible, yet, I end up knowing about their daughter's divorce, their churches decision to get new carpet, and their last visit to the acupuncturist.

Too whom much is given, much is required.  I feel honored (and occassionally completely weirded out) that people share their life-changing burdens as well as the most mundane details.  Feel free to share anything and know it stays with me and me, only. 

BUT - all I ask is that you keep these things to yourself - or at least keep them from me:

1.  Your personal sicknesses...  I really don't need to know about your latest UTI, cashier at Target.  Or how soda makes you feel bloated.  I really just want my coupons not to beep and get out of there.

2.  Your position on how I spend my money.  If you ask me my opinion.  I'll give it to you.  If you don't, I won't.  If I have worked, have earned, and can afford something nice and I get it, I really don't want to hear from you on why I shouldn't have bought it.  Now, if I follow my "I got it" statement with whining about how I'm going to pay for groceries, feel free to let me have it.

3.  Your private techniques.  I don't think I need to explain further, but really, if it's about a private moment - KEEP IT PRIVATE.  I really, really, REALLY, don't want to know.

I was trying to alliterate with P's.  I know you appreciate that...

Other than that, I'm game.  You can tell me anything. 

But those three things, just tell dead people.  They care; they told me.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Hallmarks of Idiots in Charge

If there are any readers left...hi!  I'm not doing too good at this lately, am I?

Basically, it comes down to this:  I need sleep.  Period.  End of story.  And at night, when my computer stares at me from the dresser, I think to myself, "I'd rather go to sleep 30 minutes early than write on my blog."

So, yes, I was being selfish. 

Glad I got that off my chest.

Now, I'm going to get on a soapbox.  If my whole tax, financial, credit counselor career doesn't work out, I'm going to start a managerial consulting service.  And specifically target governments and governmental organizations.

In my humble opinion, the better you treat your employees, the more you get out of them.  Many organizations are changing the "rules" on their employees to cut costs.  Yet, they're idiots if they think that's going to work.  Am I totally confusing you?  Ok...

Example 1:

At a former employer, they got tired of people racking up tons of leave and then having the audacity to get sick and get paid for six or eight weeks of surgery & recovery time...  (I'll just say it.  They were cheap.  Painfully cheap.  I.e., couldn't even get post-it notes cheap.  Had to use scrap paper.) 

Anyhow.  Makes sense at first -a huge expense for no production, right?  Their solution:  We're going to reduce the leave that our employees can carry over from year to year.  That will save us big money, right? 


Are you really so stupid to think that people will willingly give up their earned leave?  A local government just announced that they were going to do this.  I just shook my head.  If an employee has earned leave, sick/annual/whatever - they will use it rather than lose it.  So instead of saving money, you are now paying people to stay home sick on days they could be working because they're not going to give you back that day!

Stupid #1.

Stupid #2


Say Jane in your office commits a cardinal sin; she knows she messed up and is truly repentant and you decide not to fire her...  Don't announce a new policy on the matter the next day.  You've already decided not to fire Jane.  Last thing you or her need is a new written policy circulating around the office the very next day.  You will only embarrass her.  Regardless of how discreetly you think you are - YOU'RE NOT.  You have the TACT OF A DO-DO BIRD...specifically the one in Alice in Wonderland...

Do you really need to add to the stressful situation at that particular moment?  Everyone knows what happened and that it will NEVER happen again.  I understand you need a policy on it but rightthissecond?  Really?  When you've already waited this long...

Wait till she's on vacation.  Pass around the policy.  Make sure she gets a copy in her stack of incoming mail.  Ta-da!  No awkwardness and yet effective.

Stupid #3

Being a morality judge.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.

You are an employer.  Not a judge; at least until you wear "the black dress" as one of my heroes, Judge Marilyn Milian says.

Yes, I liked her on Facebook.
Until your employees personal life affects your business, it's off limits.  Jane coming in hungover every day is unacceptable.  It obviously affects your business.  But if Jane has a stomach made of lead and you don't know if she spent the night with her cat and the latest Nora Roberts movie or at Coyote Ugly - it's none of your concern.

Oh and by they way, if you tolerate Jane coming in hungover, expect John to start coming in hungover..k?

Stupid #4

Underestimating your Employees

Employees are like your children.  They see the "real" you.  Despite the acts you may put on, they can tell if you like them, if you don't.  If you care about them, if you don't.  If you're selfish, if you're not.  They know.  K?  And if you play games with them, they know it. 

If you're whole goal is to make as many chocolate bunnies as possible every shift so you can get your bonus, they'll know it.  And you can be as rude, as sickeningly sweet, as hateful, or as aloof as you want - they know the end game.  You can not underestimate their intuitiveness.  And till you care about them, they won't care about your - or your chocolate bunnies for that matter.

If you can't care about them, you're not management material.  Get out of the business now.

I was going to have 5 "Stupid's" but it's past my witching hour and I think I'm just beginning to ramble now...  But seriously, if you have an idiot boss, call me. 

That would make an awesome reality show!  I'm going to patent it - or copyright it - or both maybe.

Monday, April 2, 2012

How to Deal with a Setback

So, we've all been there... Things are going along just peachy... We're working our snowball, or avalanche, or other method, then... BOOM! Our world gets rocked. And we find ourselves with new worries and concerns that didn't even exist a month ago. And one of them, even if it's not highest on the list, is the financial fallout. All of the sudden, we have less money that needs to do more. We keep hearing that the recession is over, but it isn't. Not by a mile. This post is inspired by a friend's recent stroke of misfortune. His company recently told them all they could each take a 10% pay cut or 15 employees would be let go. To their credit, a unanimous vote was rendered... So how do you deal with a $5000/year setback? First, let's break it down... $5000 per year translates to $416/month, net of taxes you have to replace $312 per month. First, cut all your "disposables" by the same amount - 10%. Groceries, gas, gifts, etc... That will probably take care of $100, but let's say $112 just so we can start dealing with round numbers. $200 to go. Next, cut the cable. It's the most obvious, and maybe most painful option. There's another $50. Don't forget, if you tithe, that will drop. There's another $50. This last $100 may be the hardest to compensate for. There are several options. You could change your cell phone plan. Could you live without your smartphone? Research insurance rates - higher deductibles, different companies. $50 left... Try not to touch your retirement or savings, because if these amounts are a % of your salary, they will be reduced already. Don't cut your health or life insurance either. Not having these can make a bad time turn dire. Lastly, cut your debt repayment by the remaining amount... So, there. How to deal with a financial setback. Im thinking about sending my plan to Congress. They're the only body I know that asks for a raise when told they need to cut expenses.