Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The World is Mine

So after mulling over all things financial and stressful over the last few weeks, I came across a piece of paper from 2 years ago on which I listed all of our debts and the amounts owed. So I sat down and, underneath the old list, rewrote that same list of items to pay off and was proud to put a big fat zero next to a couple of them, and to update the others with much smaller numbers. It was a nice surprise! We have paid off over $9,200 worth of debt in a little over two years. Not including all the medical bills we paid off after having a second child (which I remember was a bit of a stretch at the time.) It's hard to see that growth without looking at the specific numbers from 2013 when we first moved here. I also wrote a new list called "Assets" because I was feeling generous :) And I was pleased to write how much money we've saved up in our bank account and to add a few new categories like our Whole Life insurance policy and our retirement plan. Those may not be super big right now, but it's a start! I also looked up the value of our car on Kelley Bluebook, and was happy to find our car is worth more than we owe! So anyway, it was some happy news, and looking over some of our finances of the last few years, we have done a pretty good job of "staying on track" a lot of the time, and "spent too much" some of the time. I can deal with that, as long as we're moving forward!

Since I have been done with Footloose, I have not had a whole lot going on besides mommy business. And I have been really enjoying it! It's such a blessing to feel that way. I'm not feeling the need to rush into any new projects right now. Little Finn turned 18 months and is still quite sweet and easy-going before the roar of the terrible two's, and Rose is sweet and easy to please. We haven't gotten together with friends for play dates as much lately. We just do everything together, and it's been simple and nice. It would be nice to fit a few more family get-togethers in there, but we do what we can. So as I've been mulling over these goals and plans for the future, I think Heavenly Father has blessed me with a grateful heart. And it has been the answer to so much. I don't think I really need to sweat those tiny details--we have our long term goals and we're doing a good job of working on things one step at a time in faith.

We had a hectic couple of days this week. On Sunday, I was feeding Finn some snacks in sacrament meeting because he always misses lunch due to his nap. He was eating a granola bar and I think I was being overconfident in his chewing abilities, plus I think he had too many bites all at once, and he breathed in some of the food and started coughing and then choking and then he threw up. Sweet Lisa Baxter sitting in front of me turned to give assistance and found a ziplock bag to catch... the stuff. Anyway, we cleaned up and continued with our day, but Finn continued to have a deep cough and was a bit lethargic. Raimo called our pediatric office, and the doctor was very helpful and told us to watch it and see if the cough and symptoms continued, and to bring him in the next day if so.
*rose wrote these at church! Got her brother's name down!

*cute photo from Sunday night.. Someone snuck out. All her stuffed animals were behind the door*

Finn woke up at 4 am and was pretty unhappy. It's not unusual for him to wake up at that hour once in a while. I usually go into his room and help him get settled back down. He was pretty upset this time, and though I did get him back to sleep, I laid in bed for a while before falling asleep and had an impression that he needed to go to the doctor. I am thankful for that blessed mother's intuition, or inspiration from God. I am usually hesitant to go to the doctor because a lot of the time we just get sent back home with the usual instructions: make sure he has more fluids, gets lots of rest, uses a humidifier, we know the drill, if it gets worse come back, etc. I called in the morning and our appointment wasn't until 3:20 pm. So we hung around in the morning 

and when it started getting really hot, we got out of the house and headed to the park at Moonlight beach. Finn had been irritable and whiny, had only coughed occasionally, and I was thinking of just skipping the doctor appointment, but we headed there nonetheless. We were hot from the park, and Finn took a nap in the car, so I drove around for a bit.

Finally we were seen by one of the doctors, and she listened to our story and reeeeaaaaallllly took her time listening with her stethoscope. She listened some more. Then she said one lung was definitely filling with less air than the other. She went away for a bit--she seemed undecided about it all. When she came back she said one option was to send us to radiology for some x-rays just next door. But that those would take two hours to get results, and even then sometimes x-rays are inconclusive and there could still be something lodged inside of him. So she said we should go straight to Rady's Children's Hospital and do the x-rays there.

I made the executive decision to stop at In 'n Out to feed the children (and myself and Raimo, who met us there). I had a feeling it might be a long evening (and it was).

We finally arrived, took some x-rays, more waiting, faxed that to the pediatrician, more x-rays, then someone came out and said, "Ok it looks like we're going to the emergency room." So then we checked in there and did some more waiting. Then they called Finn back, we saw a doctor, and more waiting. Finally at 9:15 pm we found out they were going to do a procedure at 10 pm to check his lungs. They said they do this very often, sometimes they find something, sometimes they don't, but it's very important to check because if it goes undetected it's very dangerous. They really downplayed it, said it's unlikely that he will have too much of a recovery, that very rarely there will be a little scraping up of the throat and lips and swelling. And that only on occasion will they keep someone overnight afterward.

So we were scrambling to get some coverage for Rose, then realized that he would be going under general anesthesia and we wouldn't get to be in the room. That was really hard for me. Even harder for me was watching a very kind, very helpful assistant wheel him away in a little blue wagon. He was just so little, and the back of his little blonde head so sweet as he rolled away. I was not too worried, but I was aware of the possibilities of things going wrong and it was soooo hard.

We ended up waiting for much longer than they had projected. About an hour later someone came and updated us, saying that they were finding more in there than expected, but that things were going well. So we continued to wait and around 12:30 the surgeon finally came back and explained the process and showed us the pictures of all the granola they retrieved. 
*the top 3 are his healthy larynx, throat, and one side of the lung. The very middle photo is what they saw when they entered the second side, which they removed, then saw more food (photo 6), and then still more (photo 7). 

It was a little terrifying at first because he walked in with such a grave face. I think he wanted to express the gravity of the situation, and warned us of giving a child anything too hard like nuts or carrots, etc. He also told us they'd ended up intubating him, which they weren't planning on, since some of the pieces were farther down and so small. Because of the amount of food removed, they kept him overnight to monitor him. I was glad for that because I wanted to be sure he was ok. We both feel so grateful for modern medicine and talented doctors who can fix things like this. Such a small thing would have killed a baby and they would have probably just labeled it pneumonia. 

Since Finn had been under anesthesia for a longer time, it took another hour for him to wake up. I was dying to be with him. Finally we got to see him, and he was pretty upset and his little lips were so swollen. We finally got him situated in our room and he eventually calmed down and fell asleep on Raimo's shoulder (he isn't as comfortable on mine, even though I wanted to hold him.) I took my turn after showering and changing out of my workout clothes. I was freezing and so gross all evening.

It was bliss to have him healthy and granola free in my arms (the anesthesiologist was calling him "granola boy"). We went to bed around 2 on the tiny couch, both Raimo and I. Snuggled like the early days haha. We both crashed. Finn woke up pretty unhappy around 4 and again a few more times. You could hear the swollenness in his throat and that he felt awful. In the morning he was happy to eat a whole container of strawberry yogurt and a container of chocolate pudding and some water, so because of that we were allowed to be discharged. They took another x-ray, checked him out, and we headed home around 10.

We crashed at home today and napped. Rose has been very supportive and sweet to Finn, with a small meltdown about not getting to ride in the blue wagon like Finn. (Trust us Rose, you don't want to!) She has the cutest little sincere expressions like, "I'm so so sorry Finn" with so much empathy in her voice. My friend Lindsey and her husband ended up picking her up last night, along with our spare car at In 'n Out, then switching out when my mom and brother arrived. I'm so grateful for them! Today was a hot day at home and Finn was walking around in his diaper, a little off-kilter and with very tired eyes and a bit of a yucky cough, but his little white body is the best thing ever. I'm so thankful for him. Stop giving mom a heart-attack, Finn!

To wrap it all up, I was making some meatballs around 2 today because when I woke up I was ready to really EAT, and it was hot and Finn was crying, but I had never been more happy to do it and grateful for my house and home and family. The world is mine.

Today on a bus, I saw a lovely girl with silken hair
I envied her, she seemed so gay, and I wished I was so fair
When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the isle
O God, forgive me when I whine
I have two legs, the world is mine

And then I stopped to buy some sweets
The lad who sold them had such charm
I talked with him, he seemed so calm, and if I were late it would do no harm,
And as I left he said to me “I thank you, you have been so kind”
It’s nice to talk with folks like you. You see, I’m blind
O God forgive me when I whine
I have two eyes, the world is mine

Later walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue
He stood and watched the others play; it seemed he knew not what to do
I stopped a moment, then I said, why don’t you join the others dear”
He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear
O God forgive me when I whine
I have two ears, the world is mine

With legs to take me where I’ll go
With eyes to see the sunsets glow
With ears to ear what I would know
O God forgive me when I whine
I’m blessed, indeed, the world is mine

Monday, August 17, 2015


Isn't this the most beautiful quote? I've written about this idea before but this quote is just so true of the whole process...

"The most difficult part of birth is the first year afterwards. It is the year of travail - when the soul of a woman must birth the mother inside her. The emotional labour pains of becoming a mother are far greater than the physical pangs of birth; these are the growing surges of your heart as it pushes out selfishness and fear and makes room for sacrifice and love. It is a private and silent birth of the soul, but it is no less holy than the event of childbirth, perhaps it is even more sacred." - Joy Kusek

I felt like I had to allow myself some time after each child to become accustomed to a new life, and a new me. 

Looking at both of these pictures still fills my eyes with tears. Because I remember the feeling of that moment so well. And because the memory is so precious to me.

There is no experience like it.
And I look back at photos of those "transitional" times when I was learning the new me. And I was plumper than I've ever been, and full of milk and soo tired. And I love those pictures, even though I am not the picture of an ideal beauty. I especially love this one because it shows just how tiny my little ones were next to me, the one who made and fed them, the big mama.
 I need to get in the picture with my kids more often.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

On My Mind Lately.

Raimo and I have been very blessed over the past two years since he's been working with Pfizer. It is definitely the biggest financial blessing we have experienced. And we consider the job to be just that: a blessing. Finding the right job after college was a long process, and it was stressful and took a lot of trial and error, and time and faith, especially since we chose to have our first child before we even had the money to really support ourselves. So we finally found ourselves in a position where we had some decent income, good benefits including health care to support our growing family, and opportunities to start saving for retirement and the future. Not to mention, the job was located in North County San Diego and before even knowing anything about the various cities in the area we randomly chose to live in Carlsbad, colloquially known as "village by the sea." And there couldn't be many places in the world more beautiful or more lovely to raise a family, especially for this summer-lovin Californian-at-heart kind of girl. So we've spent our two years enjoying the warm climate and sunsets over the ocean, eating our fill of fish tacos and filling our bathtub plumbing with way too much sand.
But lately I've found myself a little unsettled. We usually move at this point. Until now we never had a chance to really settle into a congregation at church or to establish ourselves with friends in a particular city. And we have definitely started to do that now. We have made the most of our time in a two bedroom condo... it's a sizable one, which made it relatively easy. But now our children are growing and I'm beginning to think about child number three... and is it fair to squeeze so many children into one bedroom... and can we really afford another anyway... and is it really going to be my fate to always be carrying children and groceries and car seats up and down stairs to the car and back in true apartment-style living? I feel like we have done a good job of keeping our blessings in mind and staying positive about our wonderful life, but I am feeling antsy, like something new should be happening here. It feels like we will never have a big enough down-payment for a house, never have enough income to really feel like I can buy as many groceries as I want. After being married for seven years, it's getting old! I was talking about it with someone today, and I off-handedly said, "We've been poor our whole marriage," and she pointed out, "But the thing is, you're not poor. Raimo has a really great job." And she's right--it just feels like we still are because we live in an expensive area. All of this being said, I am not complaining. I guess it's just helpful to write it all out and talk myself through things sometimes. I a woman of action, so I'm thinking of things we could be doing to move our family to the next step so we don't always feel so strapped.

Some ideas:
1.) I  could find some kind of part-time job that won't take too much time away from the kids. I've done it before--and it's usually not very enjoyable, but a little extra to save for a house ( let's be honest, it would probably go straight to paying for preschool which starts in two weeks. But that would be helpful).

2.) We take a new direction with Raimo's career--look for positions in other locations where we could get more for our buck, or try to find something that would be more lucrative faster (Not a likely option because I don't think either of us really wants to)

3.) As Raimo often suggests, one of us become a highly successful super star and we start rolling in the dough (also not likely)

4.) Consider that a move to a new location is inevitable anyway due to the nature of his job, and not buy a house because we may have to move soon (always a possibility)

5.) We continue on where we are, look for the best in things, and make the most of being renters until we have more money saved up (also a more likely scenario)

Every so often, Pfizer gives us a big fat check with a bonus on it. We've used them to build up our savings and pay off debt. No credit card debt! Almost no car payment! After a few more of those, we'll be in better shape to start looking to buy (but it will definitely not be enough for a house or anything with a yard. A condo or town home is looking more likely.) I have been feeling a bit confused as to what to do next. But I guess whatever we decide, the key is just moving forward with faith. I think I'm just getting impatient, and maybe a little ungrateful. A garage, yard, and third bedroom are just a few really USEFUL things I think about having!

I think for now it would be nice to focus on just doing a few things here and there to spruce up the home we do have. I think I haven't been trying very hard lately because I keep hoping we'll move to a home that is actually OURS where I can paint and do more permanent stuff. I don't move very fast or spend very much, but we really could use a few new things here and there. Maybe I should get a job at World Market haha. (No.) There are a few things I've updated lately that I really like.

I installed these shelves and dark curtains in the kids room that have corralled the toys and gotten the kids to sleep in a bit later. I was worried about going with grey curtains instead of white, but it really doesn't darken the room when they're open, and they have a really nice look and texture to them.
Another thing I've always really liked about our place is the way the kitchen nook looks from the family room. It has a really big window that lets light come in all day long, and I feel like I've got a handle on the colors and it has a cohesiveness (which is lacking in the family room and our bedroom!)

The best thing about my house though is what's inside it:

I also sewed these curtains for my favorite nook--they have flowers and are super girly and pretty :)
 I also finally got a white duvet cover and a couple extra pillows for our bed which make the bed look a little better. Still need a headboard or something. Raimo also gifted me a cowhide rug for my birthday this year that I had been eyeing for a long long time, so that's nice. It's just now starting to get really soft under our feet!

Next step, get rid of enormous ugly speakers that we really don't need anymore, and possibly do a little couch shopping. Oh, and snuggle with Finn more. Because why not?!?!
Just look at him! Gah! He is turning 18 months tomorrow and I'm totally sad about it. I can't believe it! He was in the 4th percentile for height today, 8th for weight, and 89th for his big head! Anyway, we live a blessed life. I realize to some people, these are "rich people" problems... always wishing for more stuff and to own more things, never happy with what we have. We are rich in many ways and I am grateful. Maybe you can identify with me on this.

We just keep having babies and they have needs!!! Oh, I want more babies! Rose always tells me to have babies--3 girls babies and 3 boy babies. Happily!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Life as of today

Finn runs. It is the cutest little run. He leans into it with his belly as he goes. And puts one arm behind sometimes like a rudder for steering! haha! He took a 3.5 hour nap today. What a lover boy!!! So dreamy. And he is talking so much more... a lot of sounds and made up kind of things... along with the token "car, truck, mama, etc." Today we watched a garbage truck at Poinsettia Park. It was mesmerizing! Finn was pointing and just in complete awe. I have him seating forwards as of this week in the car and he spent the whole first day just pointing and pointing at trucks and cars out the window. He smells amazing. I love one-year-olds so much! He loves to read his train book, and he will often sit and let me read little baby books to him and he turns the pages (impatiently!) He still snuggles when he is tired enough. And he dances- a little rock side to side or sometimes just kind of bouncing by bending the knees.

Rose asks me if she can sit on my lap. She still wants to be my baby (a little bit). I love doing little activities with her like puzzles or practicing letters or building blocks. I love to see her mind at work. She often looks up at me with those cornflower blue eyes of hers, and her face is just so pure and full of wonder. It happened this morning at breakfast and it just stopped me in my tracks and made me resolve to look at her more and have a conversation with her. She always wants cereal for breakfast. And bread for lunch. She likes white foods. We had a big battle over dinner. She lost her bike and a couple of special toys tomorrow-- she's been getting really mean about even sitting with us at dinner, not to mention about eating anything other than crackers. She has always been so strong willed. But children forgive easily, and before long she was performing songs for us on her sheepskin run. And when I kissed her goodnight I said, "I love you, Rose" and she said, "I love you, Mom" and I said, "I love you more than the whole world." I love the last moments of putting them in bed. They are so easy to put to sleep these days and I'm cherishing it because I know what it's like when it's not easy!!! They go to bed at 8 and sleep till either 6 or 7 ish. So much better than 5 am with Finn!!!

It was a slow mom Monday. I feel really tired. We walked the Carlsbad strand and the kids got to run on the grass. The afternoon was just slow. And we went to the park to pass some time. It was a boring day. But as always, some moments were extraordinary.

Footloose closed last night. I don't have tons of photos, but here are a few. It was a little bit of a relief to be done, and I don't always feel that way. I am hoping something else comes along soon