Friday, June 29, 2012

It's Not Always Perfect

So on Tuesday, yours truly was contacted by the PR department of one of our favorite debt-free guru's with a radio show.  They had heard our story and had some questions for me. 

Then today, I was contacted again and asked would I consider appearing on the show during a special hour in July as a success story.

The producer then began asking questions about our debt, how much we paid off, how we paid it off, etc.  When I mentioned that we had to incurr some additional debt after Hannah's birth, the producer abruptly ended the conversation.  She said that I would not be able to be a guest because we went backwards during our debt-free journey.

After we hung up, I sat and thought about it.  And it really rankled me.  So...because our story wasn't textbook perfect you don't want people to hear it? 

You know what?  Our debt-free journey was not perfect by any means.  But things happened - LIFE happened.  But I would bet that my story would be 200% more encouraging than hearing person after person say, "We paid off $60,000 in debt in 4 months and our income doubled."  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.  That happens to about .034% of us.

How about we get real for a minute?  How about we say:

We worked our butts off, sold everything we could get our hands on, even had to go back in debt thanks to a baby surprise.  I really wanted to throw in the towel and just say screw it all.  Our lives weren't cookie-cutter.  It hurt.  We sacrificed.  We fell.  Over and over we fell.  We got back up.  It was ugly at times.  We cried.  We quit; but the next morning we got started again.  BUT WE NEVER GAVE UP.

So I won't be on the radio.  It's probably for the best.  I used to get terrified to even call the local stations and request a song.  But it is time for someone to say it's ok not to be perfect.  And it's ok to be proud of it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Meet the Matriarchs

I wrote a post similar to this over a year ago for my sister’s blog…Here is the new & improved version…

Meet my grandma. 

Here she is, minus the crown. 

She’s pretty much the best Nanny ever. Hands down.   

When it comes to being fair, she’s a killer. 

She’s never missed a birthday party, shower, recital, play, etc. that one of her grandchildren or great-grandchildren have been in.  She sacrificed time, money, food (oh the food!)  She’d bring me a lunch to school when I forgot it. She traveled with us through some God-forsaken parts of West Virginia going to countless volleyball games and tournaments.

She is not her number one priority. Her family is, always has been, and always will be. 

And our family?  Pretty insanely awesome.  We have our dysfunctions, but still, on the Richter scale – we’re a 10.0.  We were once called a “clique” but actually, we’re just family. But we operate like no other family I know. Think of us like the mob – just without the organized crime and gravy. 

And it’s all thanks to her. 

All of us grandkids think we are Nanny’s favorite, although deep down, I know I am.  :-)

She’s practically perfect in every way. 
She taught my mom the principles of grace and class. She taught her how you should treat people and how you should expect to be treated.

You’ve met my mom before – but for you new readers… 

Ok, so she doesn’t have flaming red hair and a serious NJ accent. 

anyone else see Morgan in this????
In 20 years, I’m pretty sure my mother’s biography will mirror my grandmother’s.  (Although she has a good dose of her daddy in her.) 

So far, she’s never missed a birthday party, shower, recital, play, etc. that one of her children or grandchildren have been in. (No recitals yet, thank the Lord.) 

I just don’t know if I could ask for a better mom. 

She is not her number one priority. Her family is, always has been, and always will be. 

Our house was always full of people. Kids she knew – lots she didn’t.  :-) I’d bring home girls, boys, didn’t matter. She fed them.  Even the poor guy who had the misfortune of being my first boyfriend. Some slept there if they needed a place to stay. Not counting us three, I’d say my parents had a hand in raising another 20-25 kids. 

I, naively, grew up thinking all grandma’s and mom’s were like this. Boy, was I wrong! 

We rarely “went out” in high school. The party was usually at our house.  But when we did, we had these 5 rules. 

1.  Don’t smoke.
2.  Don’t do drugs.
3.  Don’t drink.
4.  Don’t have sex.
5.  Don’t lick a toad.  (Apparently, people tried licking toads in the 70’s to get high. ???  I dunno.)

And somehow, she got me to follow them…all of them…without hating her. 

She taught me how to treat people. And I have to say, I did have enough of my daddy to not always follow her guidance. My poor cousin, Anna, bore the brunt of my dry wit. (And she’s still my friend!!!)  Mr. DDA almost didn’t ask me out because he didn’t know that behind my sarcasm was a huge crush. (After living in the south for 9 years, he has a good grasp on it!)

I’m almost 30 and still trying to learn what my grandma and mom seem to have such a firm handle on. You know Meg Ryan's character in “You’ve Got Mail”, Kathleen, when she zings Joe Fox (F – O – X) and then she has to feel bad for it? That’s me!  My sister calls it word vomit. 

I want to not feel bad for zinging someone who deserves a good zinging, but my mom and my grandma are to blame for the whole caring if I've hurt someone thing.

But since I can’t stop zinging people, and can’t stop feeling bad, and can’t keep apologizing all over myself every day, I’ve decided I’m going to take a vow of silence, shave my head, sell all my high heels, and become a nun. 

Right after trout season ends.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Their Highlight Reel

Yesterday, my dentist posted this quote on his Facebook page.  (Is it weird that I'm friends with my dentist on Facebook?)

I, sadly, have no clue who Mr. Furtick is.  I could Wikipedia him, but I'm too tired and it doesn't really help further my point.

This quote really hit home for me.  I'm a competitor.  It's in my blood.  Every sport I played, I played to win, not to become a better sport.

I haven't put any of my kids in sports for this very reason.  I'm not sure I could deal with them not playing or worse, playing and not winning.

I want to be great.  If I'm in the same place in 5 years, I'll consider it a failure.  I have to move up.  I have to get better.  I can't just be status quo.  Maybe some can, but not me.

I want my kids to be great.  I want them to get what they want.  I want them to be happy and yes, it's vain, but I want them to be well-liked.  I want other kids to want to be their friend. 

Mr. DDA already is great, but I want him to get whatever he wants in life.  If he doesn't, it makes me upset.  He gets passed over for a promotion, I get upset.  He gets disappointed by being left out, I get upset.

And it's super easy for me to get caught up in who has what, who's doing what, who's kids are doing what, who got what...

And now, with Facebook - it's easy to see everyone's highlight reel.  The perfect pictures of their life.  And we look around, at our messy house, with laundry spilling out in the floor, with our greasy hair and flabby stomach and think, "Their life is sooo much better than mine; I need to do xyz/buy xyz to be as good as they are."

And I do it.  And my house is still messy.  My laundry is still not folded.  My hair will not wash itself and my stomach will require surgery before it will ever see the light of day.  But I have a killer pair of shoes.

See?  I'm competive.  I don't know if it's just me or if we are all like this deep-down and the rest of you are just smart enough not to talk about it.  I'm not sure I'll ever get past this.  I think I'll always be competitive.  But maybe I can not act on it so much. 

It's probably a good think I never got into gambling...

Update on Hannah

Before I get all in to tonight's post, I wanted to give you a quick update on Hannah.

First, she did not have to have the invasive surgery.  The doctor was able to move her hips in place without actually having to cut her open.  That was praise #1!

Praise #2 - Hannah is doing amazing in her cast.  I mean, I expected H - E - double hockey sticks for the first two weeks.  Hannah has not complained about her cast at all.  I mean, not even once.  It's been an absolute miracle. 

This will kinda give you an idea of what she looks like.  The ridge on her chest is where it starts. 

It's been so hot and we have to be oh-so-careful with her and the heat that we've pretty much hung out inside.  But after realizing she would fit in a stroller, I did take her on some errands yesterday.  People stare and it makes me self conscious, but Hanwah just waves and says, "Hiy!" in an extremely thick southern accent.

It is a lot of work.  Even though I knew it would be, it's still more work that I expected.  Mommy & Daddy are tired and haven't had a minute to ourselves.  BUT those are such minor complaints.  Seeing Hannah so happy has made it so, so much easier. 

People have brought food and dinners.  I've been overwhelmed with text messages.  Thank you all for your prayers.  We covet them and beg for more.

One week down!  Whoop!  Whoop

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's Here

Well, after weeks of stress, angst, worry, and tears, surgery day is finally here.

It's 4:35 am and we are on our way to the hospital.

So far, so good. No crying...yet.

Last night, we had dinner with some good friends and took Hannah on a date to the park and to the ice cream place.  It was a great way to spend her last night of freedom.

And it kept me from sitting in the house and crying my eyes out.

I slept last night, surprisingly well. Woke up this morning before the alarm.

As I laid there, I tried to make a coherent thought and I couldn't. All I could come up with was this.

"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite."  -  Psalms 147:3-5

These verses were given to me by the Lord after losing a friend. They're my favorite in the whole Bible and work for almost anything you're going through.

So this morning, that's all I have to leave you with. These three little verses.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. I will keep you updated.

Friday, June 8, 2012

And Here Come the Tears

So, we're on our way home. We're technically not even out of the city and I'm already crying.

It's already hard enough to leave your favorite place on earth. But this year, it's so much harder.

I told myself I wasn't going to worry about Hannah's surgery til after vacation. Like for some reason, that would make it never get here.

And it came.  Despite my wishing it never would arrive, it did. And now all I have staring back at met is that. That horrible awful thing of Hannah's surgery.

To be honest, I'm not sure I've ever seen her so happy. I mean, ridiculously happy. A wave would come and bowl her over and she'd get up and scream,  "Moowah." (More. )

She loved it. She loved the ocean, she loved the pool, she loved Disney and Mickey.

She loved every moment of this trip. And oddly, it wasn't planned for her at all.

My heart actually hurts tonight. My chest feels like I have an elephant on it.

I hope that as we go through the next couple months, I'll look back on these pictures and hold on to these happy memories.

It really was the perfect trip at the perfect time in my perfect place.

Till next year...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Have a Magical Day!

It's 3:30 in the morning.

And I'm up.

I'm usually a pretty solid sleeper, so I'm not a big fan of insomnia.

No one is on Facebook at 3:30. No one is on Google Chat. 3:30 in the morning pretty much stinks.

In about two hours, I'll round up my family for an exhausting, but exciting two days at the "most magical place on earth."

Or so they say.

I'm excited for the kids. We've been counting down to this for almost a year.

I'm not particularly excited for my wallet. Not sure why the most magical place on earth has to be so darn expensive. But it'll be fine.

How many times have I said that lately? 

"It'll be fine."

That's my bumper sticker for life. As long as it's not my kids, Mr. DDA, or my'll be fine.

Your daughter will be in a body cast for three months..."It'll be fine."

You'll need to go three months without pay... "It'll be fine."

You're being investigated at work for trying to fix their  piece of junk computer..."It'll be fine."

You've already gained 5 pounds in two days of vacation... "It'll be fine."

Your son starts Kindergarten in less than three months... "It'll be fine."

You turn 30 this year... "It'll be fine."

Your husband has the man-flu on vacation... "It'll be fine."

If I sit down and actually think about the stresses in my life, it can quickly get overwhelming.

But you know, this stuff doesn't just happen to me.

If you ran down your list of stresses, I'd need a Xanax by the time you were done.

So I put my stresses on here for the world to see and then forget about them...sorta.

Mr. DDA and I celebrated 8 years of marriage last week. We honeymooned in this same place we're at now.

Already, I've thought back to when we were here then and how much less we had to worry about then.

With 5 months to go before our wedding, we called off our engagement. And with 2 months to go, we called it back on. (That's not proper english I know.) My attitude then... "It'll be fine."

When I'm on my death bed my last words will be "It'll be fine."

And it will be. It all will be. Because He likes me.

Hope you guys have a magical day. (That's what they say every time you call customer service.)

If you don't, that's OK too... it'll be fine."

Friday, June 1, 2012

On the Road Again

So, I'm writing this about 10 hours into our road trip. GPS says three more hours...but the kids are finally asleep.

We're going here.

Lest I remind you, it's my happiest place on earth. In my book, there is no better relax, to forget.

After my dad was shot, this is where my parents came to try to learn how to be "normal" again.  (I briefly discussed that here.)

So far, so far as money goes.

I have to tell you my genius moment.

As you know, we're going to a magical place for a couple days. Tickets for a family of 5 + babysitter = $$$

Well, our local grocery store, Kroger, has a points program.  You get a point for every dollar you spend in their store. Every 100 points equals $.10/gal. of gas.

Even better, right now you get quadruple points on gift card purchases.

This morning, I went to Kroger and bought enough gift cards to buy our tickets. I was so proud of myself even as the cashier stared at me in disbelief as I handed her 20 gift cards.

Mr. DDA filled his circa WWII tank with gas for a whopping $27.  I almost cried. (He doesn't really drive a tank, but I feel like that when I'm behind the wheel. )  And we still have $2/gal. credit when we get home.

Something to look forward to.