Monday, January 31, 2011

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

But my bed is so delightful
and since we no where to go
let it sleet
let it sleet
and some snow

Seriously it's a winter wonderland out there...I'm considering calling in "snow" tomorrow...only draw back is if it gets worse as the week's not looking good. I love being snowed in! I love an un-scheduled day off...a day when we can lounge and play, read books and bake bread! hmm...wondering if it's going to be bad enough tomorrow to warrent staying home.

All Work and No Play

All Work and No Play Makes…

Makes me irresponsible
Makes me feel guilty
Makes my children sad

We planned a vacation for Disney this spring. We had planned to take a small chunk from our tax return to pay for this vacation. But as the check is significantly more than we expected we have a lot of thinking to do. We could pay off most of our debt. We have a significant amount of medical bills (now I know how people are ruined financially by medical bills) So in interest of full disclosure our tax return this year will be $10,000. Writing/seeing that number feels wrong. Feels like it’s too much, like somehow our taxes had been done wrong (I trust they were not, as she showed us the break down). We have 4 debts on top of medical bills right now. It looks something like this:

$2100 in medical bills
$9700 for Todd’s truck
$3700 for an ATV (never again will I go into debt for fun)
$3300 for one credit card (1)
$3300 for one credit card (2)
$1500 for vacation

We would like to put some into savings, so that if an unexpected emergency comes up we don’t have to go back into debt to survive it. My problem lies in the I know financially we would be better off to skip vacation altogether and pay off debt and set up an emergency fund. But for the sake of family sanity I know we need it. The boys have talked about it since we decided to go in November. I want to be medical debt free (those bills are important to me). So what I’d like to do is pay off medical bills (2100), put aside vacation money and a savings (total $2300), leaving $5600 to mess around with. Obviously the ATV has a lower interest rate than the credit cards so we could split that and put $2800 on each credit card or pay one off and put $2300 on the other leaving only $1000 to pay off. In the grand scheme of things this makes the most sense. My family hasn’t been on vacation since we went in 2008 to Cedar Point for a week…we need this. I want this for them. So I guess the break down will look like this:

10,000 tax return
1,500 vacation
800 savings
2,100 medical bills
3,300 credit card
- 2,300 credit card

$0 total

Dave Ram.sey said to budget every penny and be flexible. I’ve got the budget every penny part but being flexible is not my greatest quality. But I’m definitely working on it!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Talked to His Doctor

I called the Dayton Childrens and finally got a call back. I explained what's been going on to the nurse, she asked if anything else was going on, I told her we have an 18 month old but I didn't think it was jealousy and that I didn't know of anything else...I have been trying to think for days what it might be. I've talked to Todd about it, I've talked to my Mom...both agree it does mirror my thyroid symptoms. They immediately faxed me an order for blood work. We'll have it done tomorrow...hopefully we can get some answers!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A lot going on...

Ethan is doing big news...he is reading and that's HUGE! I didn't know if we'd see the day when he enjoys reading enough to bring me books to read with him. I love how much he's growing and changing. He's definitely taking the "older brother" role. This summer we were working together to move Todd's Mustang from my Mom's garage to ours (after Mike and Brian helped Todd put the garage together - thanks guys). But when we needed to get the car off the trailer we needed someone in the car to press the brakes if it started to roll too fast...we knew Ethan could keep a level head in a tight spot (Lane Michael gets too excited). He did well and has talked about it a lot since then. He's definitely better to have in an emergency, he thinks fast on his feet.

Ryan has been potty train-able for a few weeks now. He just refuses to do it. He's even started holding it until he goes to bed...which means very few wet diapers but the wet ones are WET LOL I'm sure he's just experimenting with control and showing us who's boss. I'm not in a hurry but I also don't expect to be in diapers long (which makes me sad - - I really enjoy cloth diaper butts).

Lane Michael is having a hard time right now. The last few weeks he's been moody. Really moody. He's acting how I feel when my thyroid meds are off (or like I did before I started thyroid meds). He was laughing about something the other day and as soon as I laughed (with him) he started crying. He didn't know why he was crying. He fights with me all the time and doesn't seem to be able to control it. He's been sleeping a lot lately (even when he has cousins over to play with). He's just not himself.

All in all though, life is good. I wish we had more time...time for other people (I miss my friends) more time with my family and just in general more time together.


We are having a harder time than normal setting up our annual budget. DHs income is inconsistent as are his expenses. I hate "flying by the seat of my pants" but it looks like this year we'll be doing more of that than normal. Also I have no idea what our tax return will look like, so I'm waiting until after Saturday to make decisions.
I have 3 debts all very close in size, 2 have a higher interest rate but the other has a higher monthly payment...I think I'll be able to pay off the lower payments faster if I pay off the higher payment instead of the higher interest rate...I also want to set out some for savings...I guess we'll just have to see what it looks like before making decisions.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I wanted to be more honest in my blog but getting started (because I’m not anonymous) is tough…if people I know stumble across my blog there could be repercussions. It could upset quite a bit of my family. *sigh* here I go.

There is a boy (teenage; he is quiet, and moved recently into the area, leaving all his friends’ hours away. We’ll call him G. In the past when we would visit their home this boy would “hang out with” the little boys (who were at the time three 7 year olds and one 9 year old but now they are three 8 year olds and one 10 year old). Then things took a turn.

My Mom was taking the boys to school when she overheard them telling my neice (who is a year older than they are) about “making out” So when I got home she relayed the story to me and I asked them what “making out” is. Ethan immediately clammed up. He knew right away that these questions were bad news (he has a lot of “street” smarts). Lane Michael however was a fountain of information. But the answers were NOT what I was expecting or wanting to hear.
*I figured some 1st grader with an older sibling had taken the 20 minute bus ride to educate them.*

The conversation went something like this:
Me: who told you about making out?
LM: G (previously mentioned 16 year old boy)
Me: what did he tell you?
LM: making out is kissing and touching and then the girl is your girlfriend and then you get her flowers and rings and then you give her something she likes more than flowers and rings
Me: and what’s that? *voice shaking*
LM: G wouldn’t say
Me: *big sigh of relief* Do you have any questions about the stuff he told you?
LM & E: no

Before I did anything I decided to discuss this with Todd.

*backing up for just a minute, the relationship with the parents of G is rocky, they have said that their children are perfect and never do anything wrong making this touchy and difficult situation even more touchy and difficult*

After discussing (at length) how to proceed we decided it may have been a lapse in judgment (on G’s part) so we re-visited the subject. Ethan again wouldn’t say anything. So we pulled Lane Michael aside and (as casually as possible) asked him if there was anything else we should know or anything that made him uncomfortable. He paused, he hemmed and hawed and finally he told us that G had offered to show him pictures of girls without shirts or clothes (Lane Michael did not take him up on the offer). I thought I’d throw up. And after reassuring him he’d done nothing wrong and was right to tell us we sent him upstairs to play. This changed everything.

In every foster class we’d ever taken we were taught that this was a predator’s way of opening up the opportunity to victimize. Play to the child’s curiosity. And an age gap 3 years (or more) isn’t “locker room” talk, it is predatory behavior.

These are people we see regularly. People we spent the night with, shared birthdays with and would be expected to associate with in the future.

There was an outside source (who has always been the common ground between my family and this other family), I went to this person and discussed everything that had happened. I explained that we wouldn’t able to expose our children to this young man any more. This person, while upset with the situation and G, understood where we were coming from.

We have since seen this family once at a shared Christmas party. I was a nervous wreck and yelled pretty consistently throughout the night. I was miserable and made everyone around me miserable. Nice. At one point G picked up Ethan, I immediately told G to put him down, after that G sat across the room, probably afraid I would yell again. I’m sad for this lost relationship, sad for the other kids in the home, sad for the “middle man” and sad that G tried to take the innocence from my boys. I’d like to go to the parents of G and talk about this, I just think nothing would be solved and if anything make things worse in an already bad situation.

*I should say that there are more situations adding to my “accusations” but they aren’t my story to share*

Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Lane Michael and Ethan

This year was their first "big boy" birthday dinner...they decided to go to the hibachi grill and since their birthday is so close to Christmas we don't give them gifts but that's what others did. The boys will go shopping tonight for their "gifts" they'll put any extra money left over in their savings. We had a great time but loved watching them watch the show most of all!

8 years ago today!

8 years ago today I met these two amazing people.

Lane Michael, my challenging, rewarding, sensitive boy. You challenge me and my parenting abilities every day. You're spirited and smart. Beautiful and loving. Life hasn't always been easy for you but you take it in stride and rarely complain. You've been able to give yourself shots for almost a year and now can even dial up the dose. You're book smart and catch on quickly in school. When asked if you're a nerd, you answer proudly that you are but it's ok, because nerds run the world *grin* (fun twist on bullying).

Ethan...sweet sweet Ethan. You're changing and growing. Amazing me every day. Easy going and happy. I can count on you. I do count on you. A great big brother to Ryan and the perfect twin to Lane Michael. I see now that their similarities will make you the glue between them. Last summer you really started're people smart, you read people well, keep a cool level head and think quick on your feet. You've started reading and really enjoy it but you're really good at math.

Being your Mom is a gift. I treasure it and don't take the responisibility lightly. I love you and can't believe you're already 8!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cleaning the Closet

I'm cleaning closets that's not true...I'm cleaning a closet. The dreaded closet we have nightmares about. It's floor to ceiling boxes of baby clothes. So today I'm sorting baby clothes and every time I've ever sorted baby clothes I always got this sad "I want another baby" feeling. Not today. Today I feel like I can get rid of all this stuff and not look back! No baby fever! It's a great new feeling! I love this. The only thing I'm "kind of" struggling with is getting rid of the girly crib set...that I keep double looking. So pretty! Everything else has "must go" written ALL over it! This will thetime when I don't look over the piles, box it back up and put it back in the closet; this is the first time I'm really ready!

Friday, January 14, 2011

For the First Time Ever

I will NOT be doing our annual budget alone! Woot Woot! Todd has agreed to sit down with me this weekend and plan out our year! I'm so excited! and maybe a little nerdy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Date Night!!

Tonight is Schwieterman Family Fun Night but I won't be there!! Our church young couples crowd is going out to eat at a hibachi grill!! We're all so excited! I can't even tell you our last date night! I think we had one when Ryan was just a few months old and we went to eat at an opening night but is it classified as a date if your Mom is there? I didn't think so either. So it's our first date in forever! SO STOKED!

Now the big important question - - what do I wear!?!? I have one super cute top that goes with leggings, but it's sleeveless. I have another super cute tome that goes with leggings but the zipper on my boots broke. I have a super cute top to wear with jeans but it's sleeveless and I have the top I wore to New Years cousin refers to it as the boobie shirt. decisions decisions.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Class Schedule

Todd starts his new semester tonight. Class from 9:30 - 7:30 every Tuesday and Thursday. Which opens up a really tough question. If the boys and I go to GLOW every Wednesday night, and he has class every Tuesday and Thursday, then that leaves only Friday through Monday that the Bigs will see him. When does GLOW (church) have to take a back seat so that Lane Michael and Ethan can see their Dad? hmm...

Monday, January 10, 2011

On a Lighter Note

Todd is headed home! FINALLY! Oh how we've missed him! I have been reminded of how nice it is to just have that person...that extra set of hands/eyes/feet/shoulder! We've been rather successful with no major hiccups...but taking everyone to the store every time I go is getting old fast. So ready to not be a solo parent!

His Story...and Mine.


I've posted about my Baby Braden often. I talked about how much I miss him and how old he'd be...where he'd fit into our life. But I don't know if I ever shared "His" story. It's short. We started "trying" for Braden about a week before he was conceived. His pregnancy was easy, about 3 months into his pregnancy I changed jobs, I went from working at 5 / 3 Bank to working for the county as a Veterans Service Officer. His pregnancy moved quickly and smoothly through the months. As I didn't have any time off built up I asked the doctor to induce me about 3 weeks early so that I could have extra time with him over the holidays. My doctor quickly refused my request and uttered something about a tax return.

Then on the Friday (the 29th) before New Years I was having contractions so Todd and I headed to the hospital. The nursing staff confirmed contractions, did an internal and hooked me up to the machines. Dr. R was called but he decided everything looked ok for me to go home and see what would happen (normal protocol).

Tuesday morning (the 2nd) I called my OB telling them Braden had stopped moving, they said he had probably run out of room but to come on in, I e-mailed my BFC (best friend cousin) to tell her that B had stopped moving and I was going to be checked out...I left work telling my co-workers I'd be back later in the day. I arrived for my appt before lunch, but Dr. R was out for the day. Dr. K took me back, checked for a heartbeat...he got a very serious look on his face, turned white, and went to find a different heartbeat monitor. After the second monitor didn't pick up a heartbeat he sent me for an ultrasound. I sat in the hall way waiting for what seemed like an eternity, a very pregnant woman walked past and smiled, a 20 weeker was waiting for an US and another was waiting for a non stress test...they chatted around me, asked me when I was due and what I was having...I don't remember answering, though maybe I did...

The US tech called me in quietly, looked sheepish, almost like she had been scolded...we all know she hadn't been. She was scared, was this her first loss? She didn't say much, maybe the normal "up on the table, shirt up" spiel they give everyone...then she started the US....after a few moments she turned the screen away from me. I remember the look on her face...the fold in her brow, the frown. She finally smiled a small smile, not a smile of relief, and said she would get the doctor. I asked her "just say it" and all she said was "he's gone". Dr. K came in immediately, I remember he was wonderful, called my Mom for me (I was alone), he held my hand, discussed my options, offered to let me go home and think it over. I refused, I wanted Braden here and in my desperation I thought, maybe he isn't gone but the heartbeat was faint, we just need to get him out. A nurse brought down a wheelchair. She made small talk as she wheeled me up through the back halls...the nurses halls to Labor and Delivery, she gave my nurse a look, neither said a word...someone had called and "warned" them. As I stood up to get into the bed, she tried to hug me, I pulled away, sat down and just waited. Minutes later my Dad came in...he was in Lima, just getting off work when my Mom called him...asked him to get to me (he was closest). Soon family started to trickle in. Aunts, cousins, my Grandma...everyone seemed to come. Todd hadn't showed up yet when my BFC asked "can I ask what Braden looked like?" My uterus had relaxed so much I didn't even look pregnant. I just looked deflated. When I told her that I hadn't delivered him yet they all looked at me like I had 2 heads. As time drug on people filtered out, Todd called from the parking lot, Mom met him in the lobby and explained everything...everyone cleared out before Todd got to the room. He cried. I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready to accept Braden's death, or my fate, I wasn't ready to cry, I wasn't ready to give up hope of a miracle. I wasn't ready.
I labored all night long, the nursing staff gave me too much medication to remember most of the night. Todd never left my side. At 11 am Wednesday, I was finally ready to push. Dr. R had come back and was my delivery doctor. He asked if I'd like Braden placed on my stomach or if I'd like him taken to the bassinet. I opted for the didn't happen that way. Dr. R pulled Braden out, layed him on my belly and proceded to try to loosen the knot that had cut off Braden's oxygen and nutrient supply. I wasn't able to look at Braden. I didn't want to see him like that. I wanted to only see him as perfect, after he had been cleaned up and dressed. The nurse finally took Braden to be cleaned up while we delivered the placenta, Todd was visible struggling, I finally said "he's your boy, you can go look at him" He didn't want to...couldn't. Who can blame him. We spent a couple hours with Braden before they sent him to the funeral home, he was beautiful. Most of the hospitals dead babies are just too little to survive so they put him in an outfit for a didn't fit. But it was his. He came to us wrapped in a blanket, snuggled in and looking like a perfect little sleeping baby. We talked to him, prayed for him, gave him a list of relatives to look for and finally I cried. Long and hard. Todd held me. We held each other.
Because my Mom was with the twins, she wasn't able to come to the hospital, so she went and vistited him at the funeral home. While there she sang to him, prayed for him and cried. The funeral was just days later, held in our church (Bethlehem). Everyone came, every one said it was the quietest funeral they'd ever been to. The funeral director offered to play lullabyes, we asked that they not. I don't remember the service. Only the tiny casket. Linda read Lane Michael a book, Ethan had to go potty. I vividly remember having a small panic attack when I had to leave the casket alone. When we all walked away and he was just there. exposed. I couldn't make myself leave, I knew I was being unreasonable. I knew it didn't make sense. I couldn't make my heart listen to logic. We did finally leave.
My Mom drew Braden's grave stone was perfect before's even more perfect now as it looks JUST like baby Ryan. Amazing, it's like God led her pen.

I wrote this post because before Braden died, I didn't know babies still died. I knew miscarriages still happened, but I thought if you made it to the end, if you were fortunate enough to get through 40 weeks, you'd be guarenteed a eyes have been opened. I wish I had known. I wish someone had told me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Solo Parenting.

Todd left (rather abruptly) for Missouri yesterday. We found out on Tuesday that his Mom (step) is having surgery today, decided that we couldn't afford 2 trips to Missouri (in worst case scenario). Todd was very distraught and felt obligated to go...I crunched numbers and just didn't know how we'd make it happen. Wednesday morning, I was balancing our check book, got online and there was an unexpected deposit. More than enough for 2 trips to Missouri. (let me just say, God does not work in mysterious ways if we're willing to see it and recognize it). So last night, after a lot of debating, hemming and hawing, I told him that we both know where I'd be if this was my Mom...that sealed it. After supper, he loaded up and left...shortly after he left I loaded up the brood and hauled them to GLOW (our Wednesday night church for kids). GLOW went well but as we were leaving I couldn't find my keys...and couldn't find my keys...yep locked in the car. again. Called my Mom...we tried to open it but to no avail so we called the sheriff...who not only took forever getting to the church but sat on his phone for 10 minutes in his car after arriving. So an hour after GLOW had ended, we got home and the boys to bed. Oh did I mention Lane Michael's glasses broke...well lost a screw, so after they were in bed I packed lunches, set out the next days clothes, fixed glasses, packed book bags and finally relaxed. Ryan slept like a champ (as he usually does when Todd is away), the morning ran very smoothly (the boys got to sleep in until 7 and still made the bus at 7:25) Ryan was happy to be at Julie's house and all has gone well. I don't normally do well solo parenting, I'm a great team player....but I have to say, the boys have really done well and we have rocked it this time! I think I will have them set out clothes again tonight to make the mornings flow better, that would eliminate the "I'm out of socks" "where are my jeans" "I hate this shirt". I wouldn't want solo parenting to be permanent but maybe I can rock it when necessary...especially with these lifestyle changes in place!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Goals. Resolutions. Changes. Fresh start. Whatever you want to call it, I'm going to try it.

I want to be more honest this year. I went through some "stuff" last year. #1 reason for not blogging as much. Life wasn't always good. It was dramatic and ugly, but we all survived. So this year I plan to dedicate myself first to God, second to family, and third to my career.

To God: He deserves my time, my energy and devotion. Prayer has recently gone by the way side, I have tried to "solve" "fix" life's problems alone. Turns out I can't do it alone...I don't want to. Worry less, pray more.

To Family: Routine. Healthy meals. Time. My family (the 4 men I am responsible to) they deserve more of my undivided attention. I'll admit that Ryan (a 3rd child) has me overwhelmed. But if I'd slow down and take on one thing at a time we'd be more organized, go to bed earlier and I'd accomplish more and most importantly Prioritize our activities. Use our time together as time together. Pick and choose what we attend...we are too busy.

Career: I work fast, I type fast, I talk fast. It is my biggest flaw. I act without enough thought. I will change that this year. If nothing else changes, this WILL change. NOW. I am making careless mistakes, mistakes that should have never been made. It's slowing me down. I have to re-do some things I've already done, it changes now.

These aren't New Years Resolutions. They are changes I am making in my life. Not just for one year but forever.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday Braden

I have a lot to say. But I could just post last years post because it's still how I feel. I still miss Braden, I still wish he was here. It hasn't even gotten easier. So I'll refrain from a long drawn out pity party post and just say "I love and miss you sweet Braden" Any other day I can rejoice in knowing Braden is dancing whole and healthy with my Savior and Lord in Heaven. But today, just for today, I will sit on the verge of tears at my desk wishing that life was different. Wishing that 4 years ago today we would have held a screaming newborn instead of a lifeless body. We would have planned his future instead of his funeral and we would have laid him in his crib instead of in his grave.