Author Archives: debwa

About debwa

Follower of Christ. Married, Mommy, Mariners fan. Social Media Junkie. Blogger of 8 years. Interested in theology, history, politics, and especially areas where those three topics intersect.

Yesterday I turned 40

I haven’t forgotten this blog.

I know it looks that way as my posts dropped off from at least once or twice a month to zero in a year, but it’s often on my mind. Perhaps this post will silently explain the busyness and importance of life around me that prevents my public writing. The words are there, in my mind, they just don’t make it all the way to here.

As I reflect back over my 30s, it is a decade of mostly imminence joy, but also deep sorrow. On one hand I would likely consider it “the best decade of my life.” And yet, there is one dark blotch of sadness that makes me hesitant to label it as such. <— This is as far as I got in writing before my younger brother (who lives over 2,000 miles away) slammed into my sliding glass door startling me into practically having a heart attack. He had flown in (unbeknownst to me) and came along with my older brother and his family to surprise me for my birthday.

Since that point on Saturday, it’s been birthday celebrations and surprises. I didn’t get a chance to finish my thoughts.

Now, the day after my birthday, I couldn’t sleep. Perhaps this is the very definition of being “old.” Although reality suggests it’s more likely I have an early apt at the DMV to renew my license and my brain is terrified I’ll miss it. I hardly ever set alarm and if I sleep in, I’ll need to drive around illegally for the next month.

I do intend to complete my original thoughts for this post but I’ll leave you with this, a bullet point summary of the last ten years.

*2010 – I turned 30 and 9 days later, got married

*2011 – JJ had a short hospital stay. I was laid off about three weeks after he came home. Our house was invaded with bedbugs.

*2012 – We started our debt free journey and learned we were expecting our first child.

*2013 – I was laid off again, four months before Zayden was born. We finished paying off 46,000 dollars of debt in 22 months.

*2014 – We traded in my beloved Jetta of 10 years to purchase a minivan.

*2015 – Elliot was born.

*2016 – I had open heart surgery. Four months after surgery, we sold our town home and moved to our current house.

*2017 – We took a family road trip to visit my brother Tim and his family in South Dakota. Robin was born.

*2018 – Tim died.

*2019 – I started seeing a counselor and taking medicine to help recover from medical PTSD. We officially started homeschooling. We celebrated our 9th anniversary with a kid-free trip to Disney World.

*2020 – The pandemic began and I turned 40.

I hope to elaborate on some of these items more in future days. If you are curious about anything from 2016 and earlier, just search this blog. I’ve written in detail about many of those items already.

Thanks for reading this disjointed, understated reflection of a decade in the life of one who knows she’s living in Bonus Time.

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39

Today is my 39th birthday.

This morning I was booted from the house so my kids could “surprise” me with baking me a birthday cake. Surprise is in quotes because I’m the one that set out the cake box and frosting a few days ago. I also made sure to leave 3 eggs in the fridge. 🙂

While they baked a cake, made cards, and wrapped gifts, I wondered around my favorite thrift stores.

Between Veteran’s Day sales (50% entire store) and price tag color mark down (one store had 3 colors at 75% off) I found some fantastic deals.

I found a couple of my brand, my size jeans.

I also found some wonderful old books. (Such as a lovely 2 volume set of “The Outline of History” by H. G. Wells. I’m aware some of its content is not congruent with a Biblical Worldview but I’m still interested in reading the books.)

I think we are ending the day with my choice of dinner (wings?), cake & cards. I love celebrating my birthday and being that I almost didn’t live through my first day, I’ll never be ashamed of my age.

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Disney World Experiences

I’ve written before about “Disneyland experiences” (see here).

However… to celebrate our anniversary, we are going, not to Disneyland, but Disney WORLD.

I haven’t been since 6th grade. To say I’m excited is an understatement – maybe mostly because it will be our first kid free getaway in six years.

Unbelievably, our oldest (now six…. see, that’s why no kid free trips), took the news really well.

I started out with gentle info. “Now son, you know that grandpa and grandma moved to Florida but just because we go to visit them does not mean we are going to Disney every time.”

Later “You know, Mommy & Daddy might go to DW without you kids. You realize you are really tall and can ride all the big rides, but little bro & sis can’t.”

Then I overheard him telling little bro “Mommy and Daddy ARE going to DW without us. Because I’m tall and you are not. I can ride all the rides but you can’t. We would waste a lot of time standing in line….”

Truth. He took our conversations to their correct conclusion.

JJ and I have talked at length how we want the kids to be out of diapers, and even more so, old enough to remember. Six is probably old enough, but four and two are not.

Anyway, I’m super pumped to get time to myself with JJ. I keep thinking “Getting out the door…. it won’t take forever!” And not only do we get a few days and nights of quality time, we get to do fun things and eat at fancy places.

Lastly…. we have a breakfast reservation at Oga’s Cantina. The reservation was not easy to get because the Galaxy’s Edge is extremely popular.

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Books

Here is a list of books I’ve read so far this year. (Some are chapter books I read with the kids and some are books I’ve technically “listened” to via audiobook.)

2019 books

1. Food: A Love Story – Jim Gaffigan

2. The Tipping Point – Malcom Gladwell

3. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy – Jeanne Birdsall

4. Little House in the Big Woods – Laura Ingalls Wilder

5. Farmer Boy – Laura Ingalls Wilder

6. David & Goliath – Malcom Gladwell

7. Penderwicks on Gardam Street – Jeanne Birdsall

8. Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder

9. Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand

10. On the Banks of Plumb Creek – Laura Ingalls Wilder

11. Origin – Dan Brown

12. The Life You’ve Always Wanted – John Ortberg

13. Frog & Toad – Arnold Lobel

14. Henry Huggins & the paper route – Beverly Cleary

15. The First Consperacy – Brad Meltzer

16. Mary Poppins – PJ Trappers

17. A Cricket in Times square – George Selden

18. Memory of Light – Robert Jordon

19. On the Shores of Silver Lake – Laura Ingalls Wilder

20. The long winter – Laura Ingalls Wilder

21. Little town in the prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder

22. These Happy Golden Years – Laura Ingalls Wilder

23. The First Four Years – Laura Ingalls Wilder

24. Becoming Mrs. Lewis – Patti Callahan

25. The Inklings – Humphrey Carpenter

26. On Reading Well -Karen Swallow Prior

27. Gray Mountain – John Gresham

28. Penderwicks 3 – Jeanne Birdsall

29. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

30. Little Men – Louisa May Alcott

31. Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster

32. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle -Betty MacDonald

33. Wait Until Next Year -Doris Kearns Goodwin

34. Mrs. Frisby and the rats of NIMH – Robert C. O’Brien

35. Light in the Attic – Shel Silverstein

36. Henry Huggins Clubhouse – Beverly Cleary

37. Peace Like a River – Leif Enger

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Oh boy

Wowziers. It’s been my longest break from blogging ever.

I’d do a quick year and a half rundown but there have been too many things both wonderful and terrible.

For example, on the terrible front, my younger brother Tim passed away suddenly last October. I’ve done some writing about that but didn’t feel like making it public on this blog.

On the wonderful front, we’ve finally started our homeschool adventure, with my oldest beginning kindergarten. Which means I’m both busy and also don’t really feel like blogging about homeschool all the time.

So for now I’ll leave you with this, I’ve been listening to some amazing podcasts on reading and writing well.

These podcasts introduced me to a few new favorite books. If you haven’t read “Peace Like a River” by Leif Enger, I can’t recommend it enough.

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Gold medal

I wanted to share some thoughts I posted yesterday on my Facebook page.

Driving to church this morning, I found myself thinking about last night’s game – AND BAWLING!

1. I was very tired.

2. I was thrilled with the outcome.

But more than anything:

3. Games like that, verses Canada, take me back to all the wonderful memories of college & dear friends that I am so incredibly grateful for.

While we had (have) a good natured rivalry, and I (15 years ago) had to give a nod to their 2 gold medal wins during my graduation speech, it’s mostly about friendship to me. Sibling love. Our closest ally.

From living there when 9-11 happened (and the fear of being stuck outside of your homeland when the borders closed) to the Salt Lake games or grieving the tragedy of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, there’s no other Country and friend I want on my side more.

To the True North, see you in Beijing 2022 ❤️

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Post Baby Heart Check

I had my post baby cardiology appointment on Friday. I had an Echo and then saw the cardiologist. She says everything looks great!

I did tell her I’ve been having (what seems like) more palpitations. It’s normal for me to have some and from what I described, she wasn’t worried.

She did say lack of sleep, stress, and sometimes caffeine can increase them. I’ve never noticed a specific correlation with caffeine, but lack of sleep and stress (or anxiety about having palpitations so I have more or notice them more) are part of life these days.

Other than the fantastic “see you in a year” doctor’s orders where as follows:

1. Get more sleep

2. Lose 10-15 lbs

Both of these are directly related to being a mom and having 3 kids.

More sleep shouldn’t be out of reach. I can easily adjust my bedtime and go to bed earlier.

The weight one however is so new to me. I’m actually right in line with “normal bmi”, but being a heart patient, I totally understand wanting to be on the lower end of normal.

She wants me at 130-135. We looked up what I weighed when I first came to see her 9 years ago. I was SHOCKED! Y’all. 112 pounds. That’s like being see through! Way too light for my 5′ 6” frame.

I figure in 9 years, with 3 kids and 1 heart surgery, 35+ pounds isn’t terrible considering my starting point.

Now that I’m middle age, it will take some effort. I’ve never had to be concerned with what I eat before. (And I do love candy!) My game plan to start with us drink more water, eat less carbs. I’ll do that for a while and then reevaluate my plan as needed.

Overall – I’m so pleased. Also – I love my Adult Congenital Heart Disease Cardiologist. She’s brilliant and funny and kind.

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Busy

I find myself (obviously) blogging less just due to having a full life.

We are doing well. We’ve been mostly healthy. We are still loving our house (can’t believe it’s been over a year here!).

And we love having this pretty girl along for the ride. (She’s wearing my baby clothes in these pics.)

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Thread on our Lower-Middle Class Family

It’s been a while. We added a new child to the family in October so I’ve haven’t had much time to blog. The following is actually a series of tweets from yesterday. I did make a few small grammatical/clarifying/organizational edits, but it’s basically a series of 15 tweets:

Looking at our income and all these tax numbers…

We are basically lower-middle class. A one income family with 3 kids.

From all the talk, one would think we are dirt poor and cannot survive. Yet we do. Pretty comfortably, I might add. Here are a few thought as to why.

  1. The only thing we owe on is our house.
    1. It’s descent size but not massive. Two kids will share a room until one of the 3 move out. *gasp* And we prefer it that way, shocking I know.
    2. We only have a house because my husband (as a single man) purchased a town home way below his means. And we lived in that “semi-inconvenient” town home until we had 2 kids and the profit of a sale would cover a house down payment.
    3. We also don’t owe on school loans because we bought nothing but needs for several years. (All extra money went to pay them all off.) Not having those helps tremendously.
    4. We drive 2007 & 2008 vehicles. No loans on those. One was bought used, with cash (other is a hold over from single days)
    5. While we use credit cards for convenience, we never carry a balance.
    6. Having little to no debt (just the house remember) frees up a lot of money every month. Less locked in payments and less waste to interest
  2. Having only one income provides opportunity for saving money
    1. I cook most of our food (healthier and cheaper). I have the time to clip coupons, find the best sales, and make meals from scratch. It’s a lot more difficult to do this when time is limited
    2. Our monthly budget for gas and clothing is lower than most. Not only do we drive less, we don’t need work clothes (helps that our one income earner also works from home)
    3. We don’t pay for any child care (except an occasional date night)
  3. Probably the most significant, we define “comfortable living” very different than most
    1. All of our needs are met (first!) Food, clothing, shelter, water, power, transportation, these items are always covered. We recognize this and are extremely grateful that our income covers the basics. Some are not as fortunate.
    2. We have such great peace of mind that the basics are covered, we get to really enjoy when there is extra to cover the fun stuff.
    3. We value getting a deal. We truly enjoy finding deals and bargains. We love shopping thrift stores. We love store brands. It doesn’t make us feel “less than” because we don’t value the pride attached to brand-name or new. The reverse is actually true. It makes us feel like we are smarter than others wasting money.
    4. We get to live our value of people & quality time over stuff. We trade money and a second income (which buys nicer stuff) for what we really want – joy, peace, love, less stress.
    5. Our idea of fun is different. We do lots of free activities with the kids. We drive for vacation and have adventures on our journey (see things you miss on a plane)
  4. For me, growing up as a preacher’s kid has impacted my world view in regards to money
    1. I trust God will provide for my needs. First and foremost, spiritual needs, but also physical needs.
    2. We (similar to my upbringing) have a wonderful community and support system. Should something terrible happen financially – we know our God provided support system would step up. And we do the same for others.
    3. Not having much money as a kid, I saw my parents work to cover needs and then some. We were loved and didn’t feel like we missed out.

In summary, our world view regarding money is very different than most.

Because of that, we can live comfortably with less. Practically speaking, we work hard to live this way. (Physically, emotionally, and intellectually)

The resulting freedom: Absolutely Worth it.

/End of Tweets

***Long time readers will know this, but I’ve blogged extensively on how we got out of debt. Starting in Jan 2012. We paid off 46K in 22 months. If you want to read about that, look for the “by the number’s” posts. To be fair, we were dual income for most of that time, pre-kids.

*PS: In the blog post editing page, I got the code to do a nice ordered alphabet list nested in an ordered numbered list. (Point 1. A, B, C, Point 2. A, B, C etc.) It’s driving me crazy that the actual post isn’t reading the code correctly but I don’t have time to fix it. Sorry. “Hashtag Three Kids” ;-p

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These days

It’s been a while since my last post so I thought I’d do an update on what we are doing these days.

*We started preschool last week. By pre-school, I mean me take 30 mins – an hour, about 3 days a week to do some intentional play, reading, and crafts. Now that E will be two next week, both boys get to participate. Mostly this has resulted in E throwing fits when I put the colors away because he wants to keep going. 

*Z and I started “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”. He’s really interested in reading. I’ve modified the lessons a little and told him we will do 10, and then he can decide if he wants to keep going. A lot of research shows it’s most helpful to many kids to not start formal, structured learning until they are 6 or 7. Generally, I agree with this research, which is why “pre-school” is pretty casual in our house and I’m not pushing the reading lessons all that hard (thus the letting him decide if we go past 10). [He won’t start kinder until fall of 2019. We have tons of time.]

*Baby girl is set to arrive in 8 weeks.

*We moved E into a big boy bed on Z’s room. So that is a new challenge.

*This summer has been tight between work slowing down and OB bills, but we have hopefully made it past the most difficult period. Work is picking back up and my OB pre-pay plan has likely been met.

*With the help of some birthday money gifts from family, daddy built the summer birthday boys a sandbox. We’ve been having fun with that. (Sand everywhere! Hose downs before coming back in the house.) 

*As we approach being in our new house for almost a year, we’ve finally gotten around to selling some things. Vases, chairs, shelves, dishes, and such. Stuff we didn’t have time to sell before we moved last year. That’s been both a challenge (taking pictures, writing up descriptions, determining prices, and posting online) and a relief (cleaning up clutter, making space, and having a little extra cash).

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