Category Archives: marriage

One Year

One year ago today, my heart stopped for 20 minutes. Isn’t that crazy?!? On average the heart stoppage time for having a pulmonary valve implant is 45 minutes. A heart can go 3-4 hours on “pause” for transplants.

I’m very thankful for my less than average stoppage time. I credit it to not having the typical brain fog that often follows open heart surgery. I’m also extremely grateful that the Creator of the universe allowed his creation to understand the human body so well as to be able to have the knowledge and skill to do heart surgery. And I’m grateful I was created at this period in time, where I could live a full, mostly healthy life.

Since One year ago:

My health has been great. After the initial healing time, I’ve had more energy and have been able to bounce back better from full, exhausting days or lots of time spent out in the heat.

Because of such a surprisingly easy and quick recovery, I was bored and started looking at houses. This resulted in us listing our town home to sell. Because of our location and price point, we received 7 offers in 4 days. We found a new home (that we LOVE!) that met our needs and even checked off some hard to find wants (my large kitchen!). Within 4 months of heart surgery, with the help of many family and friends, we moved.

With cardiologist approval, we found out at the beginning of this year we are expecting our third child. We couldn’t be more thrilled to add to our family. And as I suppose is normal, this third pregnancy is flying by. I can’t believe we are already at 18 weeks.

We are very fortunate to not owe on any of the heart surgery medical bills. We have been sticking with Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and the only debt we have is on our new house. We’ve been working really hard on not buying items we really would love but just don’t have the funds for right now (like a new grill) and God has surprised us with some fun stories of perfect used items that “fell into our lap” with very minimal expense. (Like our “new to us” grill. Free from a neighbor two streets down. We just had to buy a couple of small replacement parts.)

*A week after moving in, we “crashed” the national night out block party a street over
*We participated in our new city’s Trash Bash, our little family picking up trash on 3 streets and allies near our home.
*I found an amazing facebook group dedicated to women with CHD. It’s the first time I’ve ever “met” anyone born with a similar heart condition
*We participated in the neighborhood spring fling party, winning 2 of the 5 raffle prizes (I finally have a porch swing!). The party also included the ribbon cutting for the new butterfly park so the boys each got to release a butterfly
*We completed a 16 week marriage enrichment class
*Our oldest son had eye surgery to correct his crossed eyes
*I’ve been able to read at least 1 new book each month since we moved. I love reading, but when our oldest was born, I put that hobby on the shelf.

It’s been a busy year. It’s been a fun year. It’s been a surreal year.

We are looking forward to another full, fun year, with many, many more heart healthy years to follow.


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Filed under baby steps, cardiology, family, friends, grilling, health, housing, marriage, moving, reading

Where are we now

WOW! Did I really go an entire month without posting!?!

In 8 years of blogging that has only happened a few times.

I guess after doing 22 “by the numbers” and not having much to report – I took a little break.

As far as our emergency fund goes, it’s about the same – 50% done.

We did have our foundation fixed which cost 3,700 so – that was money that DIDN’T make it into the emergency fund (but it also didn’t create more debt since we cash-flowed it).

Other than that November was crazy busy!

*Z had 2 doctor’s appointments and I had one.
*We went to the Bush Library Museum & the Perot Museum
*My Parents came for Thanksgiving.
*I made my first Thanksgiving Dinner
*My brother and his family moved back to Texas
*We helped them get some painting done
*I had a birthday and we had our third anniversary.

What a great (and exhausting!) month it was.

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Filed under baby steps, birthday, blog, emergency fund, family, food, health, holiday, marriage, thanksgiving

In the News

Just saw a headline that read: “Rate on 30-year mortgage drops to record 3.89 pct.

My husband bought our town home about 6 years ago during the top of the housing bubble. So while it’s value from that point has gone down, we are current on our mortgage, the house is not underwater, nor are we needing to sell it any time soon. Hopefully, we’ll be able to just ride out the housing bust and prices will start going back up before we sell. So for right now, we are in the process of a refi, trying to take advantage of historically low interest rates.

The goal is to lower our monthly payment – and while on Baby Step 2 –> use the new savings to go toward other debt.  Helping along our goal of being Debt Free (except for the mortgage) by the end of 2012.

We are very thankful that we are in a great position to do this.  Since we started the process a while back, I’m sure we aren’t getting the low rate I saw in headline, but we are getting an amazing rate since they’ve been so low many months now.

Being in this situation makes me very thankful for having a wise and financially astute husband. When we married – I would joke about marrying into homeowner-ship.  Thing is, it really wasn’t a joke. It was a bonus that came along with my terrific guy. Still a bit baffled at how blessed I am.

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Filed under debt, housing, marriage

The only thing I’ve ever won…

At least that I can think of right at this moment, was sneak preview tickets for The Dark Knight, through an ARG that I’ve posted about several times.

At the moment, I am hoping to win an Amazon gift card from the Live Simply Love Blog contest about moving (VOTE for me HERE!).  I’m a few votes behind, so every vote helps (just say who you are voting for in the comments section).

And while you are there to vote – look around. The author, Merritt, is blogging about her adventures in marriage.



Filed under arg, marriage

Wedding Planning – in the rear view mirror

I have recently started reading Live Simply Love (check out the blog, it’s great!) and in one of the blog posts Merritt writes about the craziness of wedding planning and how you get sucked into the ‘wedding planning vortex‘.

I was thinking about this and thought I’d share my take here.

We had 3.5 months to plan and (in part) thanks to a fantastic spreadsheet ‘someone’ gave me – we were able to hone in on the important details and cut out what was not important.

Plus we used the short timeline to our advantage, saying “sorry – we can’t do that – not enough time” when some individuals tried to pressure us to do this or that – items unwanted or not in the budget.

And while looking back there is one particular item I would have probably done differently / shelled out money for – mostly, I’m glad we saved money.

At the end of time – that one item does not define my husband & I – Christ defines us. And a marriage honoring him is infinitely more important than one wedding day disappointment.  (Full disclosure – 7 months in, this the truth I keep reminding myself with.  I’m still trying to let go of a small disappointment and cling to truth)


Filed under marriage, wedding

5 months

Today is our 5 month anniversary.  🙂

(and a week from today is the one year mark from when we started dating.)

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2 months

so… the posts become more spread out. 🙂

Today, on our second month anniversary, I can happily report that thank you notes have all been written. *phew!*

Also, not sure if how much I’ve mentioned this, but at the end of last year, I transitioned to a new position at work. I’m now a Web Developer. It’s been a challenge (and occasionally, easy), but also fun.

This last week I’ve been making huge progress forward in learning and working with PHP. We had a training class (where I got 100% on the worksheet) and a practice project. The practice project is not completely done, but it did give me an opportunity to use “Pennies for Debra” as my ‘client’. (The current count by the way is 9252.)

Other than that, I’m busy looking forward to the Mariner’s baseball season starting. Less than a month until Pitchers and catchers report.

Lastly, no, I haven’t finished War & Peace yet. I did however start reading book 13 in the Wheel of Time series.

OH. one more thing – don’t forget the Shamrock Shake. It’s almost that season again. Please contact McDonalds and help us get the Shake in Texas.

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Filed under mariners, marriage, pennies for debra, reading, seattle, shamrock shake, technology, tolstoy, wedding

One month down

We’ve made it one month. 🙂 We are quite enjoying this new phase of life and adventure of being married.

As we head into the Christmas week (which has completely snuck up on us!) we are continuing to putts around the house, organizing, throwing things out, combining, cleaning, and getting settled into our Home.

We are also wrapping up loose ends on wedding things, like pictures and thank you notes (I addressed 135 envelopes today.) I get the week between Christmas and new years off, so hopefully those extra days will help us get a little more accomplished, but also have some time of rest.

Other than that – I’ve finally picked up War & Peace again. See 5 years ago… or again 3 years ago… This time I am already 150 pages in (about 1 / 10 of the way through) and I am finding it quite enjoyable.

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Filed under christmas, marriage, tolstoy

We’re Married!

So i’ve been gone for a while… 🙂

The wedding was so fun! It was beautiful. It was a whirlwind.

The honeymoon was wonderful – A week in Hawaii.

Now were elbow deep in boxes and packing material, pulling everything out of boxes. Getting rid of old kitchen stuff. Cooking food with new appliances and gadgets.

And with such generous friends and family, we have a huge stack thank you notes to write. and really, it’s almost disheartening to think that our small little thank you notes will even come close to expressing how thankful we are for our incredible friends and family.


Filed under marriage, travel, wedding

Once upon a time…

…I was finished with school, broke, stuck in a bitterly cold Chicago, with no full time job in sight. Don’t get me wrong – this is not a Cinderella fairytale, it’s a realistic glimpse at part of God’s story.


After much prayerful thought and an offer from a kind brother to move to Texas, I was on my way.  I picked up my brother from O’Hare at 8 pm; we loaded up the U-Haul, attached it to my Jetta and left in the dead of night.  By the next afternoon, bleary-eyed, we arrived at my new home, just north of Dallas Texas.

The next few months were full of job hunting, church hunting, and trying to get acclimated to the quickly approaching summer melt down (this WA state kid doesn’t like 100+ degrees – and yes, it can be TOO sunny!).

By June, the Lord provided a job through “people who knew people”  at an agency that “Helps those who do good, do better.” That is to say a company that uses technology and storytelling to help non-profits fundraise.

As I got to know people, moved out of my brother’s house and closer to Dallas, I started attending Watermark Community Church. Watermark stresses the importance of living in community, not just a group of social networks, but a biblical community.  I knew I needed friends, and I knew I lacked community, so I decided to go “all in.”


Early February of 2009, I met up with what were essentially 12 other complete strangers – women who, like myself, wanted to get involved in community.  We started meeting together weekly at one of the girl’s house just down the street from church. After only meeting a few times, our host, Sara, suggested that we plan a game night in order to get to know people from Watermark (all of us were Very New to the church).  She said that her next door neighbor was our age, attended Watermark, and was involved in a guy’s community group. And so the plans were made.

Game night took place on 4/11/09. I know this date, because it happens to be my “Happy to Be Alive Day” (anniversary of my open heart surgery).  It was fun to play games and meet new friends.  Something I didn’t quite see the significance in, was meeting JJ, Sara’s next door neighbor.

The summer quickly came, and quickly sped along. My company moved to a different location, so my commute grew. I was finding it more difficult (and expensive) to live by myself then I had calculated.  I started getting involved more at church and became part of the Student ministries team.  I started attending The Porch – Watermark’s weekly church/meet up for singles in the community.  In short, Life became busier and quality of life continued to improve as the months went on and friendships deepened. (see my blog posts over the last year for more detail).

In October, thanks to some very wise counsel and a wonderful offer from Sara, I moved closer to church and became her roommate.  If you were reading closely, you’ll have put together that I also gained a next door neighbor, JJ.


Nothing changed at first, the next few months plodded along, the fall changed to winter, and soon 2010 was at our doorsteps.  JJ and I were acquaintances, we ran into each other occasionally at The Porch and didn’t really realize what was about to happen.

JJ was living with his brother and another roomie, so as the calendar flipped from 2009 to 2010, the three of them, and the two of us (Sara & I) started hanging out occasionally.  From game nights to carpooling, to more mutual friends and church events, picking pennies out of my car, to (perhaps most *significantly*) watching LOST every Tuesday after The Porch; it became a regular occurrence to hang out. JJ & My friendship grew the more we hung out and the more we found we had in common.

Somehow this crazy kid with blue teeth from cotton candy didn’t scare him away at the church 10th anniversary party.  Something was up.  “The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air…”

In early February, Dallas got an unprecedented 10 inches of snow, and I got the day off of work. With my roommate out of town on business, I pestered the neighbors until they would have a snowball fight with me… It was a grand day. And JJ & I discovered even more we had in common.

By late April, we knew what decisions were in front of us, so we started down the path called dating.  In Mid June, we started attending a premarriage class through Watermark and as the class wound down in August, it simply confirmed what we already knew.  He joked that it would be at least a year. To which I replied “a year? Try two!”


But I’m a “timeline” girl and I have to have a plan… and I KNEW that since he hadn’t met my parents and wouldn’t meet them until an already planned trip in September, I was going to have to wait a bit.  It had only been a few months; I could surely be patient and wait at least another, right? Besides that I already was aware that I’m one of the hardest people to surprise.  I can’t help it; I just accidentally pick up on the clues.

This brings us to this past weekend. We drove down to go camping with his family. The trip had been on the calendar for a month or more, so I was looking forward to spending time with JJ’s family, but also see this lake of his, full of his childhood memories.

Friday, JJ suggested we go watch the sunset.  (He had been talking up the sunsets at the lake are the most beautiful he’s seen anywhere.) As the evening came to a close, we walked out to a spot to watch the sunset. Sitting down on the rocks, we found a Penny. (Pennies for Debra anyone?) We sat, watched the sunset, enjoyed a light show from a looming thundercloud, and talked about the premarriage class, tying up all the loose ends from that.  As it was just about dark, JJ turns to me and says he has something for me. Handing me a piece of paper I though “awww. That’s sweet. He wrote me a nice note.”  I unfolded the paper to find a certificate indicating we finished premarrige class and were eligible for a discount on TX marriage license fees if we got married within the next year. He then proceeded to suggest he had a ring on hand.  Shocked, I blurted out “are you Joking!?!” He asked if he would joke about something like this to which I stated “YES!” He acknowledged that was valid, but no, he was not joking. After switching to a tux-t-shirt, he got down on one knee and pulled out a ring.  Obviously, I said yes.

We walked back to the campsite where his family (Everyone, his family, my parents and brother, my roomie, KNEW!) had decorated and set up a lovely celebration.

We spent the rest of the evening calling and texting family and friends.


We are now in the midst of all the planning… we’re looking at a middle – to late November wedding, so the clock is a ticking!  So many things to be done.  A ring to find (he gave me a promise ring so that we could both have input on the ring, but he could also surprise me with the timing of the proposal), invites to get out, a dress to find, details, details, details!

In the avalanche of all the tasks to do, there are some I needed to make sure are not to forget. I wanted to just say thank you to all my dear sweet friends and family.  For those of you who have encouraged me over the years, prayed with me, laughed with me, cried with me… Thank you. Thank you for continuing to point out (in perhaps different words) that the point of life is to Glorify God, in big things but perhaps even more so in all the ‘little things’.

We look forward to celebrating this wonderful occasion with those who are dear to us.  And JJ & I are thrilled to be a part of God’s bigger plan and that for this moment in time God’s plan happens to mean we get to go on an adventure together.


Filed under favorite, marriage, wedding