A Jam Plan

I have a new plan.  A jam plan.  Name that TV show.

Moving on.

I have a new plan.  It has nothing to do with jam, but that episode just keeps rolling through my head.

It’s a cleaning plan.  It’s not new.  I’m sure lots of people have done it.  I’m going to implement it.  I will warn you that this has not been tested or approved.

I have a small house.  Basically just 5 rooms on the main floor.  5 rooms that I actually have to clean on a regular basis.  2 in the basement that I rarely have to clean.  I have decided that each Monday I’m going to take one hour to clean one room (or technically, one type of room).  However, right now my whole house needs cleaned.  So I’m doing a test run to start it out and this week I’m cleaning one room (type of room) every day.  But, normally, I’ll only have to deep clean for one hour a week.  I’ll do it on Monday afternoon and get it out of the way.  And every month my whole house will get cleaned.

I really dread cleaning for an entire day to do my whole house.  One hour, once a week seems much more manageable and I’m totally ok with each room only getting cleaned once a month.  If you think my house should be cleaned more frequently then I will let you know where you can send your donation for my cleaning lady fund.  Anyways, I’m going to pick up, sort out, dust, vacuum, and mop for one hour.  I will just spot clean in between.

Here’s the plan.  No jam.

Week 1 – Living room

Week 2 – Bathroom

Week 3 – Kitchen

Week 4 – Bedrooms

Week 5 – Bathroom – because it probably needs an extra cleaning

There ya go folks.  If you want to come when my living room is the cleanest then I recommend you scheduling your visit on Tuesday of the first week of the month.  Otherwise, you’re coming at your own risk.

As momma (and my aunt) always said, “If you’re coming to see me, come anytime.  If you’re coming to see my house, call and make an appointment.”  She actually said that.  A lot.  It’s one of our family’s favorite quotes.  And we lived by it.  Folks were always welcome, but we lived in our house and not on a magazine cover.  And you know what, we had a lot of people in and out because my mom was hospitable and people knew they were welcome.

I think Jesus would want it that way.  You may not be able to eat off my floors for most days out of the month, but you will be welcome to come and eat at my table.  You might have to watch me clear it off and wipe it down, but then you’ll know it’s clean.

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Um, hello, I’m gonna need some answers over here.

We. Don’t. Know. What. We’re. Doing.

Really, we don’t know.  We are thinking adoption is next.

We’d like to raise a little boy.  Ok, maybe Husband wants that more than I do.  Boys scare me.  They are wild, crazy, bleed, and have a penis.  I’m just not sure I’m ready for all that.

However, in this house we can only adopt a little girl.  Dang.  I mean, whew, sigh of relief, for now.  I doubt very seriously that I’ll get off the hook that easy.

I really want to adopt from South Korea.  They mostly adopt little boys and you can’t select a gender.  That’s out.

Do we want an infant?  Well, not really.  But if we do, we’ll have to adopt domestically.  That makes me nervous.  That means somewhere down the line there will be the I-want-to-meet-my-birth-parents conversation.  I’m not sure I can handle that to be super honest.  Ha, like I’m not usually super honest.

I would love to adopt internationally, but shoot, that is crazy expensive.  And I’m going to have to have a different car, because mine is so small that I literally cannot fit 3 carseats in the back seat.  How will we afford that all?

And from what country???

When?  Where?  How much does it cost?  Can we do fundraising?  Is this what God is calling us to?  Are we totally crazy?  Do we really believe this is for us?  How will our girls handle all this?  How will we handle the travel to pick up our new child?  What if the new child is ugly?  C’mon, don’t tell me that doesn’t cross other people’s minds.

I have always felt very strongly that we would one day adopt.

Husband is still a little doubtful that it will work out and he doesn’t have much hope.  Do I have the faith and hope to get us to the point where God redeems and restores husbands hope and faith?

I have a feeling that I’m not going to get any answers, at least not until we start stepping out in faith.  Ugh.  This is going to be a test of patience and trust and a long journey.  And if you’ve ever met me you know that patience and trust is not typically how I roll.

I’m Old Fashioned.

Yep, that’s right.  I actually carry envelopes in my wallet and use cash to pay for most everyday purchases.  Husband and I took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course and have used a monthly budget and cash ever since. We highly recommend it.  It literally changed our life.  In fact we just paid cash for his new truck (new to us anyways).  It’s more than just learning how to budget.  It covers all kinds of topics, like budgets, saving, insurance, planning, etc.  Take it.  Seriously, it’s worth every penny.  Go ahead, check out the link and find a class near you.

Don’t get me wrong, I still utilize technology every chance I get.  I pay my bills with online bill pay from my bank.  I use a debit card for online purchases and for gas.  I simply refuse to go into the gas station and leave the girls in the car or drag them in just so I can pay cash.  Not. Gonna. Happen.  I budget an amount to sit in my checking account to cover my gas for the month and then I happily use my debit card to pay for it.

To make the practical stylish here a couple links that make it easier and more desirable for me to pay in cash.

Make your own envelopes with this great free tutorial!  Have a party and do it with some friends.  Pick some super trendy paper and get to it.

My two favorite wallets…currently on sale!  Vera Bradley’s zip-around wristlet…my current choice is mocha rouge and I love it!  I also like her zip-around wallet.  Both of these are large enough to hold the cash envelopes and are easy to manage.

Wallet w Envelopes

So, there you have it.  Be old fashioned like me and pay with cash in a trendy way.  You’ll be glad you did.  And I’ll hold your hand while you make the change if you want.  I’m passionate about this.  Use cash.  Do it.

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What are the obstacles to you using a cash-based system?

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What next?

Our options are not great.  We can try the Metformin for a while longer and do a round a Progesterone every 3 months.  Or try Chlomid and continue our quest to get pregnant for the third time.  And by the way, if I could live on that progesterone I totally would.  Taking it made me understand why people do drugs.  It was amazing.  Not sure what it did, but it was lovely.  Those 10 days were a definite bright spot.

The thing is, I was completely miserable and maxed out on my capacity to keep trying.  I felt like we tried and did everything we could do for 6, almost 7, months.  I sincerely tried to make it happen.  I prayed.  I trusted.  I went off all my meds.  I was a good wife.  😉  But I just didn’t think I could do it for another 5 – 6 months.  I was so messed up and miserable and didn’t have the energy or capacity to do the basics with the girls, the house, the business, or Husband.  I wanted so badly to go back on the pill and move forward.

But, how I do balance that with Husband’s disappointment?  How do I balance that with feeling so clearly that we were supposed to try for another baby?  How do we reconcile all this?

What do we do?

I told Chad how I felt.  That my choice would be to go back on the pill and proceed with adoption.  I also told him that ultimately I would do what he felt God asking us to.

He still wanted another baby.  But he understood what it was doing to me.  We said 6 months to a year and it had been that time and no baby.  He was ok for us to move on.

Deep sigh of relief for me.  And sadness for us and for Husband.  I went back to the doctor.

Back on the pill.  Back on my sleep meds.  And thanks to this post, 6 months on an antidepressant while I get things all sorted out.  I had been so depressed, so exhausted, and so hormonally unbalanced that it was overwhelming to think about getting everything in my body and head on a normal cycle again.

Husband just shut down for a couple weeks.  Between the crazy wife, the disappointment, and the stress of everyday life, he just couldn’t process through it and shut down for a bit.

And then I crashed.  I think I thought once I started my meds and once we had made the decision to stop trying that everything in me would be magically fixed.  Well, that was dead wrong.  Whoops.  I felt the shock after my doctor visit and pretty much crashed for a couple days.  Literally all I did for an entire day was lay in bed with the iPad and watch Netflix.  I needed help.  I called my best friend who gave me great wisdom.  And then I called my mom.  She came to the rescue.  She kept the little girls over night so Chad and I could go out and have some time to talk and process through everything.  And then I got a full night of sleep.  With sleep meds.  No kids waking me up, nobody making me get up in the morning.

We were finally starting on a new path.  Change.  And no earthly idea where this path is going.

But, as Pastor Steve asks, do I trust God to write a better story for my life than I would write for myself?

Here’s where the rubber meets the road.

…and There’s Even More to the Story…

Ok, so I just agreed to do the one thing that I did not ever ever ever want to do ever again.  Another c-section for me.  Post-partum, not fun.  Newborns, not fun.  Cute, for sure, but so exhausting.  Bring on the overwhelming painful and sacrificing 18 months.  I’m ready.

I pretty much just assumed that I would get pregnant on the first try.  I just knew God was going to make me do this.  Afterall, Chad really wanted another baby.  And I was actually agreeing to it and being obedient and submissive.  I deserve a pat on the back.  My self-righteousness here is ridiculous.

One month passes.  No Aunt Flo.  Woohoo!  Start taking pregnancy tests like they’re candy.  Negative.

Two months pass.  No Aunt Flo.  Yay!  More tests.  More negative.

Three months pass.  No Aunt Flo.  And no baby.  Hm, maybe there’s something going on here.  Call it a woman’s intuition, but I just knew there was something wrong.  Ugh.  That nagging feeling that says, just call the doctor to make sure.  We’d always gotten pregnant in about 3 months before.

Four months pass.  Start the doctor visits.  Strange thing happens.  Like a switch, actually.  I was pregnant.  Well, not by the test results yet, but I always knew instantly when I was pregnant.  It was too early to test.  And then something happened and I wasn’t pregnant.  I don’t exactly have an MD after my name so I can’t give you a certain diagnosis, but either that little one didn’t implant or I miscarried super early.  To say we were disappointed would be an understatement.

Ultrasounds and bloodwork confirm a diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  My ovaries are full of cysts.  My hormones are out of whack.  And a whole host of other issues to go along with it.  I’ll spare you the gory details.  Aren’t I sweet?  But suffice it to say that I’m a mess.  And, now there’s more bloodwork to do.  My least favorite thing in the whole world.  But, I did it.  2 hours + in a doctor’s office, a finger prick, and 4 sticks.  I didn’t pass out!!!  Now there’s a miracle, folks!

My body doesn’t seem to want to ovulate on it’s own.  I started taking Metformin to help with that.  Still no Aunt Flo.  That’s not cool.  A round of Progesterone to convince my body to do the right thing.  The womanly thing.

Five months pass.  Negative.  Oh, and if you had any interactions with me during this time, I sincerely apologize.  It wasn’t pretty.  I was an exhausted hormonal mess that could barely function.  Thank goodness for the grace my close friends and family gave me.

Six months and we’re nearing the shortest parameter.  I’m more a mess and more exhausted by each passing day.  This may not happen for us.  More negative.  I think the time has come to revisit the doctor.  Seriously, I apologize if you had dealings with me during this time…I was so exhausted and wrecked that I simply cannot be held responsible for my actions during that time.  Hormones are serious business and can impact one in ways that I didn’t know were possible.  I learned a lot about grace and I’m so thankful for Jesus and the people he gave me to walk through that.  I actually like grace.  (But that’s a topic for another day.  Soon, though, I think.

What next…

And the story continues…

I seriously cried a lot.  I fought a lot.  And ultimately I obeyed.  And here’s how that conversation went down.

Well, husband, here’s the deal.

You want another baby.  Fine.  We’ll try for 6 months to a year and see what happens.  On three conditions.  1 – Three carseats won’t fit in the Jetta and I’m going to need a new car.  I want a Mazda5.  2 – I want to move home.  I’m going to need help with that many kids.  I sure can’t do it by myself.  3 – I need a new maternity wardrobe.  I’m going to need some money.

His response was pretty much a look of unbelief and excitement at the same time.  And with his usual reasonableness he told me it would be cheaper to just hire a baby-sitter than to move home.  The other 2 were understandable.

We’ll see, I told him.

I also might have warned him that this was going to be the hardest thing that I had ever done, that I was going to need his help, and there was a good chance that we would all be miserable.  But, yes, I was willing to try.  And, shockingly, there was part of me that actually wanted another baby.

We decided that we should probably pray about something like this and make sure this was how God was directing us before I went off all my meds.  You see, I was diagnosed with restless syndrome in college and have a sleep specialist that I see in St. Louis.  The bum thing is that he won’t let me taken any sleep meds if I’m pregnant or trying to get pregnant or nursing.  Dang doctor.  I also love my birth control.  I get a little bit crazy without it.

Chad did finally admit that he didn’t think I’d ever actually agree to this.  And he admitted that it was a little scary now that it was actually an option.  We were getting older afterall.  I completed agreed.  We were off our rockers.  Although if this worked like we thought it would we actually would be in a rocker quite a bit more.

Shameless Plug

So here it is.  A shameless plug.

Trailhead Church is having a women’s breakfast this Saturday (Feb 23).  It starts at 9:00 am.  Free breakfast, home cooked, healthy, fruit, there will be options.  Budgeting is the topic, presented by yours truly.

For those of you that don’t know me, I love budgets.  Yep, I’m a total loser and I’m not ashamed.

Women only.  No kiddos.  No men.

You should come.  Really.  It’ll be a blast.  I promise it won’t be too terribly awkward even if it is a roomful of women.  (Sometimes women get awkward, but that’s another whole post.)

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Truth or Dare:  Do you budget?

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Enter Heatwave

Ugh.  There’s this stupid nudging feeling.  I think it’s called conviction.  And you just can’t ignore it.  I think it was the stupid 100+ degree heatwave of July.

So, what do I do?

I ask Chad if we can talk.  I want to know when he’s going to have “the surgery” done.  Yep, that’s what I did.  Let’s just get it scheduled.

Then follows this really awful conversation.  He just doesn’t want to.  He really feels like we’re supposed to have a third baby.  He just can’t get over it.

Me, I just don’t want to sacrifice myself to have a baby.  Again, I’ll gladly adopt, but I don’t want to birth any more children.

We’re getting nowhere.  Absolute stalemate.  He wants to try for one more.  I don’t.

I did the only rational thing.  I said, I need a break and I’m going to take a shower.  ha  You can’t make this stuff up folks.

That was the worst shower ever.

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What do you do when you need a break from a hard conversation/fight?

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Well, that’s just awkward

Life happens.  In the form of the stomach flu at the Stuehlmeyer house.  How’s that for an awkward Valentine’s Day?

I wish you better luck than ours.

I hope your children don’t poop and puke all day.

I hope you can eat chocolate since I cannot.

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I have no question for you because I am too exhausted and miserable to think.

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