Category Archives: employment

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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Filed under baby, birthday, kindergarten, pre-school, reading, school, summer, work

“Someday” is Now

I’ve been blogging about my heart history for the last few posts. You can read about when I was born, my open heart surgery at age 2, and how having a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) has affected my growing up years.

I’ve posted in the past about how pregnancy could effect my heart. It turns out, after I was able to carry two wonderful precious babies, my heart has in fact has some negative change.

First – because I can – here are some of my favorite pictures of my boys. I love them to bits!

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The day my youngest (E) was born.

 

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Are they not precious?! Both of these photos of the boys are from when we were still in the hospital. (Z on the left, E on the right)

 

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Twins, two years apart. Z on the left – 5 days old. E on the right – 9 days old.

 

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Love, love, love this!

 

Cankle to Ankle

These two pictures show just how dramatic the swelling in my leg was after my second child. Later, I was told that this is considered “symptomatic heart failure.” Which makes sense I guess, when you only lose .8 pounds after having a 7+ lb baby … something must be amiss.

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From September 9th – it took this long for my leg to go back to normal.

All of this to say – yes – pregnancy had an impact on my heart. HOWEVER — and this is important — This is NOT the reason for what I’m about to say. It had an impact of timing, but it’s not the reason.

So on to the news:

“Someday” is Now.

Meaning: I’m getting a heart valve!

We met with the surgeon this week and I am currently scheduled for a Valve Implantation on May 17th. May 25th  (updated to reflect new surgery date)

[It’s not a valve replacement or repair, because I don’t have anything to replace or repair. 🙂 ]

We were able to ask a ton of questions and are feeling confident that this is a good decision and the timing is right. It is considered “non-emergency”.  That’s the entire reason my doctors have kept such a close eye on me all of my life – to figure out exactly when “now” should be. While not an emergency, it is necessary because at this stage, they expect my heart to return to “normal” size since the pumping function has not been compromised (yet).

Mostly, we are wanting everyone to know so that you can be praying.

Prayer requests:

*Peace of mind for both JJ and I (I’m feeling ok about actual surgery – being put out will be better than the c-sections. Recovery – not so much. I’m dreading that and looking forward to late summer when, hopefully, I will begin discover energy I didn’t even know was possible.)

*Clarity and discernment on when and how we explain to Z what’s going on. Thankfully, due to E arriving via c-section, he already knows that Hospitals & Doctors “Help people”

*Work for JJ now, so he will be able to take some time once it’s surgery and recovery time

*A good plane ticket price for my mom as she flying here for the surgery and some of my immediate recovery time

*That Insurance will cover everything. We expect it to – but – you never know.

Praises

*Great doctors that are experts in their field

*We finished our emergency fund – a few weeks before we learned this was what our spring contained

 

I’ll be continuing to do some blog posts regarding my heart and up coming surgery. I’ll answer some frequently asked questions and such. Also, when May 25th arrives – this blog (not facebook or twitter) will be the best place for updates.

Thanks for stopping by. I know I have friends and family all over the US and Canada, the world really. Since I already had an established blog – we thought this would be the best way to let every one know what’s going on.

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Filed under baby, cardiology, work

Emergency fund… slow going

So, we are now at about 53%* of our emergency fund goal.

While we have only saved 3% since becoming Debt Free in October, we are actually encouraged that we were even able to save that much. While money going out to pay for debt does not happen anymore, we have had significant increases in other bills.

We’ve had a few situations create bills we didn’t plan on. Diapers, along with the price of fresh organic produce for baby food (I’m making Z’s food), have been creating some instability in our budget. I’m still breastfeeding the kiddo and believe it or not, this means I eat way more food than I ever did while pregnant.

However, the biggest item that is currently holding us back is our medical insurance premiums. We estimate that for the three of us, our monthly premiums are just shy of DOUBLE our home mortgage. Yes, you read that right. Granted, our mortgage is not massive (we’ve been wisely living in a home that my hubby purchased 9 years ago and he did not bite off more than he could chew), but still… this is an increase of 1160% since January 2013. (gulp!) Yes, again, you read that correctly.

Some of this increase is quite understandable, I went from being fully covered, to having a very small amount taken out of my check, to being laid off. Tack on an additional family member and we were bound to see increases. We get that. However, this is an absurdly high amount. It did not help that during this time of life change for us, the insurance market went into total meltdown/chaos. Our insurance broker even told us “Sorry – I can’t help you. I have no idea how to answer your questions at this point and I might not even be in business in a few months.”

That being said, we are working on a couple of options and hope to see our monthly premiums decrease significantly in the next couple months as we work to make changes. AND we are so thankful to be out of debt. Again, the margin created by not having debt and not throwing money away on interest, has allowed us to weather this medical insurance storm.

*100% will be 6 months of expenses as suggested by Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step 3. We saving 6 months over because we are a small business family where income is not always the same every month.

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Filed under baby, baby steps, budget, debt, emergency fund, employment

Major Announcement (AKA October by the Numbers)

Proverbs 22:7 says “The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” (NASB)

We have a major announcement.

We’re done.

That’s right… 22 months after we started, we are out of debt!

Seriously.  It hasn’t quite sunk in for us either.

DONE!

Feels a little anti climatic, right? 🙂

In Dave Ramsey style….. FREEEEEEEEDOOOOOM!

For a final ‘by the numbers’ here is how the numbers break down:
Extra Debt paid: $5,116

Total Debt paid in October: $5,362

Since 1/1/2012 – Total Debt Paid off: $46,453*

*For the purpose of Baby step 2 we are not factoring in our home mortgage

There you go.

A few more numbers to consider while letting that number, $46,453, sink in.

•22 months
•1 layoff
•6 months on only 1 income
•6 months of steep COBRA medical premiums
•4 months of slow small business income
•1 HVAC system
•3 Student loans
•2 Medical bills
•5 consignment sales
•1 garage renovation
•1 baby born

One item that has been an uncountable blessing, is the support of our family and friends. From gracious understanding on the numerous times we declined going out to eat to the boxes of hand-me-down clothing and piles of gifts for our little boy. We truly could not have done this without the support of loved ones.

Thank you LORD for providing for us.  Thank you for entrusting us with funds and teaching us to be good stewards. Thank you for giving us strength and endurance to do what is right with your money, even when we didn’t feel like it. With the wisdom of Proverbs 22:7 in mind, we choose to not become the lender’s slave.

In closing, while the monthly “by the numbers” posts are done, we will be chronicling our next steps. Dave Ramsey’s baby step 3 is an emergency fund to cover 3-6 months of expenses. Feel free to drop by and see our progress as we move forward, aiming for step 3.

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Filed under baby, blog, budget, by the numbers, debt, employment, family

What’s New

So we had a bit of an unexpected additional ‘Debt Snowball’ setback this month.  I was laid off.

It does not change the current process of our baby steps, since we are already on hold and trying to save up money in the “crisis fund” but it does mean the “crisis fund” will grow much slower than expected.

So the next three months, I will be applying for unemployment benefits, and looking for work.  There is a chance that some contract work will come up and I can at least be making a decent income. We’ll just have to wait to see what happens.

As for when the baby is born in July – most things are up in the air right now how all of that will play out. Thankfully, I do have the option of picking up COBRA – so myself, and eventually the baby should be covered. The cost of labor and delivery has not changed – other than the fact that we now pay for my monthly medical premium.

The other good news it that my husband’s freelance work had picked up quite a bit as compared to the last fall and winter.

Other than that – we had two baby showers in the last two weekends. We are almost set and ready for the baby to come. The only items we really still need are the car seat, diapers & wipes, bedding, and a few items for our “diaper changing” desk.  And the ergo baby carrier – but the carrier is a luxury and not a necessity. 🙂

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Still Looking

I’m still looking for work.

The search is now branching out to Admin / Clerical work as that is where most of my work experience lies.  As much as I want to do Web Dev – the interviews I’ve had so far have not panned out and ultimately, it’s more of getting some sort of paycheck & insurance benefits.

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Job Hunt Update

I haven’t posted in a while about my job hunt.

Over the summer, I’ve been doing contract work, so I was not putting a lot of effort into the job search.  As the summer winds down, my contract job is also winding down. Thus, I’ve started looking and applying again.

Currently, I have 2 interviews schedule in the next handful of days. And I’m waiting to hear back on 4 other positions.

Here’s to hopefully being employed full-time in the next handful of weeks!

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