Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Few March Edits

I've been spending time going through my pictures, getting them uploaded for family.  I'm about three months behind right now. :(  Eeeeeek.  (Sorry, family!)

Anyway, I was going through my end-of-March photos and really liked the following set of Krew.  Thought I'd share.  I think they capture his pensive side. :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Thoughts on [My] Depression

As my delivery date quickly approaches, I can't help but admit that I have this little big pocket of worry and anxiety burning in the back of my mind on a daily basis.

I keep flashing back to the pain.  The hole in my heart.  The apathy.  The lack of appetite.  The inability to smile.  The lack of bonding and connection - not just with my baby, but with everyone.  The lack of desire.  The constant wish for it to all be over - even if that meant simply not waking up the next morning.

Postpartum depression. My worst enemy and biggest fear for the upcoming months.

Those of you who know me or have been reading this blog for a while know about my bout with postpartum depression after Krewson was born.  I admitted it as soon as I was diagnosed, but it took me a long, long time to be able to write it all down and share my experience with others.  When I did finally put my fingers to the keyboard, I bawled my eyes out the entire time.  And now I have a hard time going back and reading the post.  I usually start crying by the second paragraph.  So I don't venture there often.

And now, nearly 2 1/2 years after Krew's birth, I'm about to have another child.  Another wonderful, blessed son.  I am so, so excited.  And yet scared.

I have talked to my main OB about it and received her approval to be put on antidepressants as soon as our son is born.  But then another doctor that I saw two months ago seemed reluctant to agree.  This makes me nervous.  Fortunately I am meeting with my main OB again next week and will be bringing it up again.

In the meantime, I try to pray and not think about it.

Today I read a post over at Beautifully Rooted that shared some thoughts on depression that really touched me.  Some of it was new to me but yet made perfect sense, and some of it put into words some thoughts I'd had but could never articulate.  I was grateful to read those words - I felt slightly less alone, slightly more understood, and a bit more at peace about whatever may come.


She misses herself. She feels like someone she barely knows anymore. We discover we both are by nature joyful people and maybe that's why depression is so loathsome to us. It steals our joy and makes us feel like frauds.

And it breeds guilt. So much guilt.

Because we should be strong enough to snap out of it, shouldn't we?

We know Scripture. We know Truth. We know we are to take our thoughts captive and obedient to Christ Jesus. We know to speak only the Word of God and not the lies of the enemy. We know to give thanks continually in all circumstances and to be joyful always. Most importantly, we know Jesus Himself.

And I've asked Him many times why we aren't delivered immediately from the suffocating presence of depression, why it's a struggle daily, almost hourly for some of us.

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9


Thank you so much to Joye for sharing her words in her post. You've touched me more than you know. :)

Read her full post here: Learning from Depression

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Couponing - Why I Decided to Call It Quits {for Now}

Ever since I can remember shopping for myself, I have been an avid couponer.  My mom got me started when I was younger and still lived at home - I'd help her cut coupons and organize them, and she taught me how to search for deals, shop where the stores double the coupon values, calculate prices per unit, etc.

I carried the lessons she taught me off to college, where I would buy a weekly Sunday paper simply to collect the coupon flyers.  My roommates and I would then use the coupons I clipped to save on our food, cleaning supplies, toiletries, etc.  It was great and I was always so excited to see how much money we saved.

When I moved to North Carolina for grad school in fall of 2005, coupons became even more valuable to me.  Suddenly I was completely on my own, and every penny saved was a penny earned.  I would diligently cut every coupon I could find and scour the weekly ads.  I would take 2 1/2-hour shopping trips to the local grocery store, where I could walk out with a full cart, paying less than 50% of my total bill after coupons and savings.  It was wonderful and SO beneficial and saved me so much money.

Fast forward almost six years.  I am now married with a son, I have another son due in a little over a month, and I'm working 32 hours/week.  We leave town a lot.  I am pressed for time.  About a year ago I discovered that I am gluten intolerant.  Combine all of this and you get a working, tired mom on a limited diet who feels like she can't keep up.  (Doesn't every woman feel like that though?)

And recently I have been feeling very overwhelmed by my coupons.  Let's just say that I'm not maintaining them too well.  Weeks' worth of coupon flyers stack up on our counter, begging for me to clip and organize them.  I feel guilty when I run to the store (for the fifth time this month) without an updated coupon binder.  When I do get all my coupons cut and take them to the store, I become frustrated at how long it takes to go through them and search for savings in each aisle.  (If I go through a whole section's worth of coupons and don't find one for the product I'm buying, GRRRRRRR!!!!!)  I've recently begun to wonder if the hassle of couponing is worth it for this stage in my life.

SOOOO....I did a little evaluating.  Thought long and hard about it.  Did some calculations in my head.  Read an article about it.  And last week finally made the decision that I'm hanging it up for a while.


I never in a million years thought I would willingly put down the coupon flyers and scissors.  But before you hit "X" on your browser and dismiss me as a crazy woman, listen to my reasoning:

When my son Krewson was 12 weeks old and I had to return to work from maternity leave, I requested to be put on a reduced schedule of 32 hours per week instead of 40 hours per week.  I am SO SO SO grateful to have the opportunity to do this at my place of employment.  Of course, with this 20% reduction in hours came a 20% reduction in pay.  Which thereby made money even more tight for us.  However, we figured out that we could still make ends meet and it meant that I would get a day at home with my son, so I was incredibly grateful and willing to accept the consequences.   I have been working 32 hours ever since.

Due to the fact that I'm on a reduced salary, this encouraged me to coupon even more.  I needed to save, save, save.

But hit the pause button and let's think about this in terms of numbers.

I willingly quit working 8 hours per week so that I could be at home with my son and also do homemaking type things like menu plan, clean house, etc.  Let's say that if you break it down, my hourly wage at work is $XX/hour.  Ok.  So I am willingly denying the opportunity to work 8 hours at $XX/hr, right?

Now, based on that information, it seems pretty obvious to me now (although it never has before), that I should not be doing anything during my time at home, in attempt to save or earn money, which pays me less than $XX/hour.  If I am spending my valuable at-home time doing something to save or earn money and my return is less than $XX/hour, then I should be picking up more work hours at the office instead.  Otherwise, I'm simply defeating the purpose of working a reduced schedule.  Right?  Doesn't that make sense?

And when I do the calculations in my head, my $$/hour return from couponing is no where CLOSE to my hourly working wage.  Was it at one point?  Yes. When I had the time to do all kinds of crazy couponing and clipping and organizing and planning and long trips to the store.  It seems that the return investment for couponing increases as you spend more time on it.  The more searching, clipping, reading, planning, and store hopping you do, the more you save per hour.  And that was great when I was a single grad-school lady living by myself in my own apartment with just my pup.  But those days are gone.  I have a little boy I want to spend time with (soon to be two little boys).  I have a husband I want to bond with.  I have meals I want to plan and cook, a house I want to clean, books I want to read, pictures I want to edit, a blog I want to write.  I simply do not have enough spare hours in there to reach the point where couponing saves me the same amount as what I make in an hour at my job.

Add to this the fact that I can't eat any products with gluten.  I'd guess that about 30% of coupons for food products that you find in flyers are for foods containing gluten.  And I also now cook using fresh food a lot more, while I used to do a lot more frozen meals, canned soups, etc.  There aren't many coupons for fresh food, and even when I do eat a frozen meal at work or use a canned soup for a recipe, there usually aren't coupons for the gluten-free brands I'm able to eat.

So what this all boils down to is simply this:  right now, couponing is not a smart choice for my life.  It takes away from my time with my husband and son and stresses me out.  It makes me feel guilty every time I shop without my coupon binder in hand.  It frustrates me when I spend forever searching through my coupons at the store and don't find any savings for the products I'm buying.

What do you think?  Would you quit?

Coupons - I love you, but it's time for us to take a break.  So sorry.  Scissors - I'm sure I'll still find some use for you.

What about you readers?  Are any of you previous couponers who have given up??

Monday, June 25, 2012

4 Cousins 3 and Under

In case you were wondering what happens when you try to get a good picture of four cousins ages three and under...

Love these kids. :)

~Featuring Gracie, "Big" Brady, Krew, and "Little" Brady.~

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy Four Years to my Love

Today marks four years since I married the love of my life.

I have been blessed by my years with Dave more than I can ever put into words.  He brightens my life, makes me laugh daily, and stands by my side as we look to God to guide us in our marriage and as parents.

I love you SO much honey!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A couple days late...

I realize I'm a couple days late on this, but wanted to say Happy Father's Day to my own dad and to the daddy of my little boy.  You are two very wonderful men. :)

Oh, and Krew agrees with me that his dad is pretty awesome. :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Our Trip So Far in iPhone Pics

It's been a good trip so far!  I was amazed at how well Krew did on Friday in the car.  With traffic jams (lots of them) and stops for food, gas, and stretching legs, it took us 11 1/2 hours to get from our house to Columbus, OH.  But we made it without a single tear and minimal whining.  I was really proud of the little guy.

After staying the night in Columbus with friends, on Saturday we traveled the rest of the way to Indiana to my parents' house. Since then we've been spending lots of time with family and friends.  We'll be staying at my parents' until Friday, when we'll head back to Columbus to spend Saturday with my college friends.  Sunday we'll drive back to NC.  It's a busy trip but all good. :)

en route

morning Ohio play time with Lainey

watering trees with Grandpa Gordie

big tractor!

meeting little cousin Brady

work time

belly bumps - my high school bestie and I are due just 3 days apart

I took some actual (non-phone) pictures, but I haven't gotten them uploaded yet. They'll have to come at a later date. :)

Hope everyone's having a good week!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Adios with Asparagus

Krew and I are headed out of town for the next 10 days, leaving tomorrow (Friday) morning.  It's going to be a long road trip to Ohio and Indiana, just the two of us. We have plans to visit my family and lots of my pre-NC friends. (Gosh I miss them all!) Dave is staying in NC to hold down the fort.  Keep us all in your prayers.  For Krew and me on the road, that my 32-week pregnant body handles all that time in the car alright and that Krew doesn't get too crabby, and for Dave that he doesn't get too lonesome without us.  Good thing he has the pups to keep him company for the week. :)

A few recent phone pics to share - because everyone loves phone pics.

And so that I'm not leaving you with a completely boring and pointless blog post, here is an asparagus recipe that Dave and I have now eaten twice and have really enjoyed both times.  It's simple and yummy.  Check it out. :)

Baked Asparagus with Balsamic Butter Sauce
(modified slightly from

1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
cooking spray (I use olive oil in our oil sprayer)
1 tablespoons butter (*not margarine or any other spread, but BUTTER*)
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce (use gluten-free if necessary - I recommend Kikkoman)
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Arrange the asparagus on the sheet. Coat with cooking spray.
3. Bake asparagus 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until tender.
4. While asparagus is baking, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Continue heating and stirring until the butter has turned light brown. *Make sure you let the butter brown for the best taste.*
5. Remove the butter from heat, and stir in the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.
6. When the asparagus is done baking, add it to the saucepan with the sauce and stir to coat.

A couple of notes:
*It won't look like you have much sauce in your saucepan, but don't be deceived.  This sauce has a very strong flavor and will coat the asparagus well.  If you have an exceptionally large bunch of asparagus, double the sauce recipe.
*The original recipe said to salt and pepper the asparagus before baking, but I found that this made the final dish too salty for my taste.  The most recent time I also used unsalted butter, and it was still plenty salty because of the soy sauce.  Try different variations and see what you like.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Baby Bump Update

Sorry, no exciting post for this blog tonight. I put all my energy into writing a post for my baby blog, since it'd been a couple weeks since my last update. Feel free to head that way and check it out. :)