Friday, October 30, 2009

3-year-old Theology

Somehow yesterday in the car, Nathan and I got to talking about Heaven.

It started with him asking why we lived in Fort Smith, me answering that it was a great opportunity for Daddy and God had opened some doors (maybe not the best choice of words to use with a 3-year-old), Nathan asking if God had opened garage doors (Nathan LOVES garage doors - ours, the neighbors', anyone's), which led to him asking, "Where is God's house?"

I tried to explain that God's house is in Heaven, God's house is the Church, and God's house is in our heart.  We even got into a small discussion on what it means to ask Jesus into your heart.  He wanted to know where Heaven is.  I'm pretty sure folks who have many seminary degrees still don't know the answer to that one, but I said that I thought it was "way past the moon," since he's also fascinated with the moon right now.  That seemed to be a good enough answer.

He wanted to know if we could go to Heaven.  I'm sure he meant "can we go right now?"  (I wasn't expecting to have the Death Discussion at that moment in time, but somehow I muddled through.)

Then we were talking about what Heaven was like.  I told him he had family members looking forward to meeting him when he got there.  I told him that there wouldn't be any hurt, that he'd never be hungry, and that he'd never get too tired and grumpy.  Then I said, "There's nothing bad in Heaven." 

His response: "There will be no breakable things in Heaven."  "Well, Nathan," I said with a bit of a chuckle, "I've never thought about it like that, but you may be right."

The more I think about that, the more I realize the truth in his young words.  There really will be no breakable things in Heaven.

No broken bodies.  No more sickness, injuries, aches and pains.  Our pastor this past Sunday said that only Jesus would still have scars in Heaven, but I'm not sure I agree with that.  (Please point me to the verse if I'm wrong.)  My husband lost his leg below the knee almost 13 years ago.  I am certain he will have two legs again in Heaven, but somehow I think a faint scar may still be there - not as a reminder of the pain, but as a reminder of how God used that accident here on earth and of God's ultimate healing in Heaven.

No broken promises.  God has never broken one of His promises, and we will see them all fulfilled when we meet Him face-to-face.  It's easy to see how many of His promises are kept here and now, but many others are fulfilled in ways we just don't understand.  None of us will break promises to each other there, either.  It just won't even be possible.  No sin!  I can't even imagine.

No broken commitments.  No broken relationships.  No broken marriages.  No broken hearts.  No broken spirits.

There are no breakable things in Heaven.  Thank You, Lord!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's Here!

It finally came last night!

Now can I tell you the story?

My parents came to visit weekend before last to celebrate Megan's first birthday, and they brought me an early birthday present, too.  My mother had noticed that I kept entering to win a Kitchen Aid stand mixer from The Pioneer Woman (because Moms are good at noticing things like that), and they brought a wonderful one as a gift in Empire Red.  It was beautiful, and I love red in a kitchen, but (with the exception of a can opener I bought at Target) I don't have any red in my kitchen.  I love to use pieces of my Gail Pittman pottery as accents, and it's mostly blue with greens, purples, and pinks.  (I waxed poetic about it once before here.)  So with Mom's blessing, we returned it to Target with a promise that I would buy a mixer with the money and not use it to pay bills.

When you look at those green countertops, please don't unsubscribe to this blog.  Remember that we're living in a rental.  If we decide to buy this house, those will be leaving the premises. :)  (However, they do kinda sorta "go" with the rest of my kitchen.)

To get one in blue, I was going to have to order a larger, more expensive model, so I was prepared to put $50 of my other birthday money with it.  Fortunately, I had "friended" Kohl's on Facebook, and the day after my parents left, they were running a sale.  Not only were the mixers they had online less expensive than the ones on the Kitchen Aid site, but they were offering 20% off any purchase over $100, plus free shipping.  Yay!!  In the end, I got this bigger one in the color I wanted for a teeny bit less than we got back at Target for the original one.  PLUS, it's eligible for a mail-in rebate for a Rotor Slicer/Shredder attachment that normally sells for $50.  Yippee skippee!

Woo hoo!  Happy Early Birthday to me!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Musing: The Countdown is On....

It should be here any day now.  And I can hardly wait.  The confirmation e-mail said it should arrive between October 20th and 26th.

So what am I waiting for?  This beauty!!

Photo from

It seems all my blog-dreams have been coming true lately.  First, a reader sent me her wondeful camera.  And now, I am getting a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for my birthday from my parents!  Woo hoo!! And I got it on a great sale, so I was able to get a better one than I had even wanted!  Double Woo Hoo!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You're How Old??

Warning:  This is likely to be a whiny post.  Proceed at your own risk.

When did I get old?

Today, I went in search of my new best friend adult conversation at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group that meets at the church we've been attending.  I had gone to a different one a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it, but this one is much closer to home.

As I looked around and listened to the conversations, I quickly realized that, with few exceptions, I was the only one there who had actually been born prior to Ronald Reagan's presidency.  Now perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised; after all, this is a group for women with at least one child not yet in Kindergarten.  But still, this was a new experience for me.  Since having Nathan 3 1/2 years ago, I've always had friends my age or older who also have very young children, so I never thought much about it.  I guess I'm still not "the norm," though. 

My mother married at 20, had me when she was 23, and was the mother of 3 by the time she was 28.  Both of my grandmothers had similar stories.  In contrast, I married at 24 and didn't have Nathan until I was 32.  Megan will be 1 next week (sniff, sniff!), and I will turn 36 exactly one month later.

So I guess the question really is not so much "When did I get old?" but "When did everyone else get so young?"

No, I'm still wondering when I got old.  And yes, the impending birthday could have a lot to do with this feeling.  This picture I recently found from when I was 24 didn't help.

Where did this girl go?  And why didn't someone tell me I was a hottie? :)  Oh wait, someone did.  And I married him!  Thanks, David.  No wrinkles, great hair, flawless complexion (well, I know that part wasn't true, but you can't tell by this picture anyway).  Ahh, I miss her.

Now almost 12 years after that picture was taken...

I'm not sure I even resemble the younger me.  Shorter hair (extra disheveled from the trolley ride), wrinkles (mercifully vague in this picture), a few extra pounds.  And wait - something else is different.  Hmm, what could it be?  Oh, I know!  The two kiddoes attached to me at all times.  This could be a big part of the answer to my question.

So what am I going to do now?  Wallow in self-degradation?  Spend way too much money on wrinkle cream?  Give up and call it a day?  Nope, nope, and not a chance.

First, I have decided am seriously considering growing my hair back out.  I'm in need of a haircut right now, so now is the time to make that decision.  I've been blowing it out straight similar to the "young" picture for a few days, and I believe I'm ready to make the change.  If it doesn't work, I can always have layers cut back in at any point.  I think I'm already looking younger.

Second, no more frumpiness for this Mama.  I think I already do reasonably well on this one, but there's always room for improvement.  There's no good reason why I can't be a Hot Mama. :)  (On a related note, the baby weight is continuing to leave.  Yay!)

Third, I don't have to feel old.  There's no reason I can't hang out with girls women who are 10 years younger than me.  And if it's just making me feel bad, I can find another group.  (I DO know that I'm too old to play games and try to be someone I'm not.)  I think the first group I tried was generally more "my age."

Fourth, I can remember the benefits of waiting to have these children.  By the time Nathan was born, I had traveled around the US and to many countries, I had a master's degree, David and I had been married for almost 8 years, and we had lived in 4 different states during that time.  I'm amazed when I think of how different (not better or worse, but definitely different) my life would have been had I married at 20 and had my first child at 23.  No regrets.

OK, I'm feeling better already.  Thanks for letting me vent!

So, have you had one of those days when you thought, "When did I get old?"  Did it prompt you to make any changes?  I'd love to hear that I'm not alone.  (And yes, you can still respond even if this is the first year that you can remember when there wasn't either a Bush or a Clinton in the White House.... :) )

Monday, September 14, 2009


I've recently been following a blog called Pleasing To You, and I highly recommend it. The writer is celebrating her 100th post today by hosting a blog party where people write in about what brings them joy. I have found that I work best with these sorts of "assignments." Otherwise, I'm often wondering what on earth to write about.

When I saw this topic, I knew immediately what I wanted to write about.

Yes, my baby girl brings me great joy, but that's not actually what this post is about. It's about the camera used to take this great picture.

Earlier this month, I wrote a couple of posts about some DIY projects I've been doing around the house. I included some pictures, and several were less than ideal photo-wise. With an upcoming birthday, I wrote a not-so-subtle message (really intended for my mother) saying that I would really like to have a new camera.

Well, shortly after that, I received a comment from a reader named Jennifer saying that she wanted to contact me by e-mail. I wrote to her and thanked her for visiting my blog. She wrote back saying that she felt the Lord was leading her to give me her digital camera! She sent a link to the description of the camera, and I immediately saw that it was far superior to the camera I had at the time. I excitedly accepted.

The camera arrived this past Thursday. And not just the camera, but a lovely candle and candleholder from Yankee Candle (LOVE that store!) for a housewarming gift, and 3 fun books for my children! I just sat there in stunned JOY!

Did I mention that she lives in Rhode Island, and I live in Arkansas? We've been e-mailing back and forth, and we are really a lot alike in personality. Once again, God has used the Internet to make a connection that otherwise would never have been made. She has been working on a new blog to display her photography. Right now, it's under construction, but I'll let you know when it's up and running. I would love for you to visit her as well.

God has clearly used her as a channel of blessing into my life. I pray that He will bless her multiple times over for her generosity, and I pray that He will teach me to be that kind of friend.

What brings you joy?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fun with Ribbon!

I have been having more cheap and cheerful decorating fun involving both my glue gun and upholstery tacks! :) There's nothing quite like an impending visit from the inlaws to motivate a person.

I have lots and lots of pictures of the kiddos, and I had this big, blank space above the piano. As usual, my original plan was much bigger and just proved to be way too much. Turns out, hanging lots of pictures very high and in very straight lines is nearly impossible when surrounded by two children under 4. So I came up with a more reasonable plan and decided to stagger them (which makes the unevenness on purpose!).

Dear Birthday Fairy, I could really use a new camera. This one is only 0.2 megapixels better than the one in my cell phone!

I thought it would be fun to have the baby pictures matched up by ages (3, 6, 9, 12 months). (I just have two kids, not seven!) The spot under Nathan's 1 year picture is awaiting Megan's 1-year picture in another month. Plus, they can be easily changed out with different pictures.

I might someday paint the frames black, but for now, I think it looks just fine.

Meanwhile, our bedroom still needed a little something. We did have red floral bedding that coordinated wonderfully with the lamps, but the master bedroom in our rental has pinkish walls. David said that he'd rather get new bedding that have to paint, and since I had wanted new bedding for a while anyway, I didn't wait for him to change his mind.

I found this bedding on clearance at JC Penney for ... wait for it ... $35.80!! It was originally $390! The sheets were on half-price for $39.99, so all of it was less than $100. Score!

I chose this bedding to go with this picture that my mother-in-law painted a few years back. It's a little small for this spot, so yesterday I added the L and D. The letters and ribbon came from Michael's, and I painted them black to match the frame, sign, and a computer armoire we also have in the room. I think it adds a nice personal touch. (And the sign always makes me giggle inside ... even after 11 years of marriage and 2 children!)

My First Foray into the World of Window Mistreatments

Two of my favorite blogs are Nesting Place and A Soft Place to Land. Every Thursday, Kimba at ASPTL hosts a DIY Party where readers post links to projects they've been working on. Check it out here! Today she's giving away some Gail Pittman pottery from Southern Living at Home, so you know I'm all over that! Here's a link to where I drooled over some of what I already have.

The Nester emphasizes that "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful," and one of her favorite techniques for decorating on a budget are "window mistreatments." She gives various examples of this, but most involve various lengths and types of fabric, upholstery tacks, and possibly a glue gun. (Actual hardware is optional!)

So a few weeks ago, I excitedly began to "mistreat" some existing valances I already had.

Turns out, mistreating is not as effortless as it appears on the blog.

This first result doesn't look too bad in the picture, but it just didn't look at all right in person.

So in the end, the curtains ended up back in their "standard" position on curtain rods that were left behind. Not bad, but not the exciting creation that I had envisioned.

Not to be deterred, I eventually got up the courage (and found the time) to tackle my laundry room window. I found this fabric called LuLu's Lounge back before we left Alabama.

Well, a few folds, some clips I already had, and some upholstery tacks later, and this is what I had:

Not too bad, I suppose. Again, I had visions of something infinitely more wonderful, but nevertheless, I have a cute window for very little money!

I think it looks even better with this plate I bought for a couple of dollars at Tuesday Morning! I would love to paint the walls a nice, bright color, but that's pretty low on the priority list....

I had better luck (and spent much more time) on the curtains in Megan's room. Let me start by saying that I realize the pink on the wall and the pink in the curtains is a little "off." The curtains were based on her bedding, and the wall color will be changing in the near future to either the right shade of pink or a sage green.

Everything was bought at Hobby Lobby. (LOVE that store!) The topper is just a remnant I found in the clearance bin!

No sewing machine was disturbed at any time. The curtain panel was hemmed and attached to the liner with stitch witchery - an iron-on adhesive. And the trim was attached with my handy-dandy glue gun.

I also found this crystal doorknob at Hobby Lobby and thought it would be great here. (I just hammered a tiny screwdriver end into the wall, and twisted and pushed it in!) You can't see the trim very well, but it's the same as the tieback.

I'm not sure I want to leave the valance like this. Right now, it's just been mistreated with some upholstery tacks, but I do think it has a bit of a princess-y feel to it.

So there you have it, folks. Cheap and cheerful - two of my favorite qualities in home decor!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Decorating Dilemma

If you're visiting for the first time from Serenity Now, welcome! I hope you'll take the time to look around, and I'd love for you to become a follower if my blog interests you at all.

Whether you are new or not, I would love your advice on a decorating dilemma at our new house.

In the master bathroom, there is a spa tub (yay!), but it also doubles as the shower. Right now, there's no shower curtain hanging because a standard rod (or even one of the curved ones) doesn't fit. (You would think that having to watch myself take a shower in the mirror directly across would motivate me to stop baking brownies, but so far, no luck!) I am aware that rods can be ordered for this type of shower, and we're planning to do that in the near future. My dilemma is how to keep such a large area from looking like a "stage" once a curtain (or probably two curtains) is hung up. Any suggestions for making it a little less "dramatic?" We're renting, so tearing it out or other major changes are out of the question.

Thank you so much for your help!

Check Serenity Now for other dilemmas in her blog party!


There's a new site that has burst on to the blogosphere: (in)courage. It's already become super-popular because it's sort of a compilation blog done by about 20 bloggers who are well-known in their own right, plus the Dayspring division of Hallmark.

Anyway, they've challenged readers (and dangled the carrot of winning a new T-shirt) to write posts on the topic What Encourages You?

I've been giving this a lot of thought over the past several days, and particularly today. There is so much to be discouraged about right now in the world at large, so this exercise has been very beneficial for me.

The word I keep coming back to is new.

New things encourage me. New people, new opportunities, new environments, new challenges.

Here are some specifics:

1. New neighbors.

On Sunday afternoon, our next-door neighbors brought us a plate of brownies to welcome us to the neighborhood with a note including their cell phone numbers in case we ever needed anything. It is so encouraging for someone to reach out to us. You wouldn't believe how uncommon this is, even here in the South. The first time (and only other time) anyone has done this for us was the first time we moved to Knoxville. While we were busy unpacking, our neighbor, Rose, brought us a plate of brownies. We were so impressed by how thoughtfully simple that gesture was that we have made it a point to pay it forward. Whenever I see a moving truck on our street, I head to the grocery store to get a box of brownies.

But if you are the new person, let me encourage you not to wait around for your neighbors to make the first move. They most likely won't. Do it yourself! It doesn't have to be fancy. In the words of one of my favorite bloggers, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."

2. New environment.

I really enjoy exploring a new territory. My husband calls it "filling in your map." In other words, as you get to know the main streets of a place, explore a little further to discover how they're connected. Get a map of your new (or old!) town just in case you get lost, and just start driving. You may be amazed at what you find, even in a place you've lived for years. If you're in a new place, this is especially important. Few things will make you feel more quickly "at home" than feeling like you know your way around.

3. New opportunities.

Perhaps the very best thing about moving is the chance to start over with a blank slate. How encouraging! While I don't recommend trying to be someone you're not (it won't last very long), it's always good to try to be a better version of yourself. Even if you're not moving at all, you can still make changes every day. Want to be more organized? Start with one drawer (or a shiny sink, a la FlyLady). Want to have more friends? Join a group like MOPS or a Bible study or a tennis club.

4. New ideas.

image from here

This past Sunday was our first time visiting a local church here in Fort Smith. In the Sunday school class, a Messianic (Christian) Rabbi was the guest speaker. (We're Southern Baptist, so that's not common at all!) He showed us things about the Hebrew alphabet and language that pointed to Christ in ways I had never known of before. Having gone to church all my life, it's rare for me to hear something completely new. This captured my interest.

New ideas are encouraging because they keep us from staying stuck in our own ruts and habits. Looking for new ideas? Go to the library. Check out area museums. Sign up for a class at the community college.

5. New mercies.
"The Lord's lovingkindnessess indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Nothing is more encouraging than knowing that the Lord never gives up on me. I can have a clean slate with Him anytime, day after day. Every day is a new day. He doesn't hold my past mistakes against me.

So what encourages you?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The First Week

Just a post to get you caught up on our past week. It started with a massive deep clean of our apartment. It's amazing how much stuff can get caught in crevices and overlooked for months at a time - or maybe that's just at my house. It's also amazing how moving and cleaning can make a person a bit crazy. For example, here's my dear husband sitting in the refrigerator, just because he could.

He's going to do a guest post later on about how to load a moving truck, but here's shot of the load right before we started unloading at our new house.
I know it looks like a huge mess in the picture, but it's amazing how much stuff is packed in there. We hired some professional movers to come help unload, and they offered David a job. (I was glad David finally got some recognition for his packing prowess!) :)

There's always a part of me that wants to just leave things on the truck because a nice, clean, empty house soon turns into this.

But later came the best part - unpacking pretty things I hadn't seen in a year. I must tell you that I have never - not for one moment - doubted my choice in fine china. (For that matter, I also love my white "every day" pattern, but I didn't take pictures of it.) Brookhollow by Noritake. I don't think it's made anymore. I just love it. Look at those dainty cups! I have got to use this stuff more often than the occasional Thanksgiving!

Can I just say again that I have missed having pretty things? Now, I must tell you that my kitchen is open to the family room, and this pottery clashes horribly with my living room furniture. I thought about not using it. But I decided that, at least for now, I would rather be surrounded with things that I loved, even if they don't all match each other. I love this pottery, and I use it as accents in my kitchen.

Now if I could just get new couches....

Meanwhile, we have also made two big trips to WalMart, explored our new territory a bit, and made our first trip to the DMV. I say first because David managed to get a driver's license, but he had to go back later to get our new car tags, and I can't get a driver's license until I get a new copy of our marriage license. (Apparently, a social security card is not enough proof that my name is, in fact, Laura Baggett. ARGH!) Has anyone seen our marriage license? I haven't seen it in almost 11 years. Oh well. Just think how much more exciting a trip to the DMV will be when I get to go alone with the two kiddos. I can just imagine how my picture will turn out as I try to keep Nathan from running out the emergency exit. I'll let you know if it turns out to be "post-worthy."

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Meeting the Neighbors

Well, thankfully we have arrived, safe and relatively sound. I'll get you all caught up on that soon, but I wanted to share a brief funny story.

We moved in on Wednesday, and trash day is Friday (afternoon). Our landlord had just moved out, and so the trash was piled high with her stuff, including frozen food she had cleaned out of the freezer several days earlier that now smelled to high heaven. Nevertheless, the pile apparently looked intriguing. No fewer than two neighbors came by that day to introduce themselves and ask if they could rummage through the trash....

Strange place, this Four Zits!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Next Stop, Four Zits!

I guess I should explain that "Four Zits" is what Nathan called Fort Smith the first time I mentioned it to him. He can say it correctly, but where's the fun in that?

Anyway, since I'm writing this from the library and our computer will be loaded onto a gigantic U-Haul sometime tomorrow, I expect this will be my last post before we move. I'll do my best to make lots of blog-suitable pictures of the move itself.

I am so thankful for a husband who doesn't mind doing all of the packing. And most of the loading. And a good portion of the unpacking. He's a keeper!

Anyway, TTFN!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's Getting Closer!

Moving Day is fast approaching. If everything goes according to plan (when does that ever happen?), we will be pulling out of the parking lot at Sunlake Apartments one last time (hurrah!) this coming Tuesday. The next day, we'll be moving into this house:

Words cannot express how happy I am to be moving out of this cramped apartment and into an actual house again. Our neighbors here have actually been quite wonderful, but there's just something about being able to hear your neighbor use the bathroom that just doesn't sit well with me. *shudder*

And I know a couple of kids that are going to love having a back yard to roam in.

Nathan got especially excited when he saw the motorized toy Jeep in the backyard. I have tried to explain that it doesn't come with the house, but I bet he'll still be looking for it when he gets there.

I'll save the inside pictures to use as "befores." The owner is letting us paint and such inside, and I am beside myself with excitement over getting to decorate my own place again! A couple of days ago at WalMart, I bought this fabric:

I bought it simply because it makes me smile. :) The best part? The striped one is called Lulu's Lounge. I love it! I'm planning to use it to make curtains in my new laundry room. Note the upholstery tacks. I have become a HUGE fan of The Nester and her window mistreatments. If you haven't discovered her for yourself, go there NOW!!! I love her motto: it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.

Gotta go! There's lots left to be done!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So much to do!

Today, I have tried to get a lot accomplished, even though I have been sitting here in front of this computer for 3 hours (I *heart* naptime!). Everyone always asks how the packing is coming along, but there is so much more to moving than just packing! In fact, packing is the LAST thing that has to be done.

First, of course, you have to have a new address. (Nothing else can be done until ... No wait, we did move once without a new address. A P.O. Box in Jacksonville, FL. YIKES! Don't try that!) Then, you might as well go ahead and change your cell phone numbers or get a new landline number before doing anything else or you'll spend the first few weeks at the new place updating all of your contact information with all sorts of people. We did that last night.

This is a bigger deal than it sounds. David had the same phone number since the first time we lived in Knoxville, 5 years ago. We've moved 4 times since then, and his number stayed the same. So did mine until a few months ago. We REALLY wanted to be back in Knoxville, but that's a story for another time....

Then come the endless account openings and closings. Electricity and gas? Done! Water? Got to bring the lease agreement and $80 deposit to the office after we get there. Cancel gym membership here? Waiting for a confirmation e-mail. Cancel cable and internet here? Got to take the equipment to the office here or else pay for someone to come out and get it. Cancel electricity here? Done! Open new bank account (we're finally leaving Regions!)? Pending. Contact leader of a MOPS group in the area? Done!

See? You can be surprisingly productive sitting in one spot! (Of course, the clean laundry still needs to be put away, but oh well.) But there's still much to be done: DirecTV and internet at new place, order new checks, arrange mail forwarding, and whatever else I'm still forgetting.

When David gets his lip poked out about doing the packing, I show him my list of phone calls and e-mails. We have a system that works for us. I handle these sorts of details, he packs, I unpack, he helps me to hang pictures and curtain rods, we both paint, and so forth. You'd think we would be able to function like a well-oiled, moving machine! We've gotten tons of practice, but it's still always chaotic.

Nevertheless, I was quite amazed when a former real estate agent asked me, two days before closing, if I needed the number for the electric company, the phone company, and so forth. Are you kidding?? PLEASE don't wait that long to make these arrangements. It can be done, but I don't recommend it!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Making New Friends, Even Before You Get There

For most people (well, at least for me), one of the hardest things about moving is leaving friends behind and making new ones. It can be very tempting to just stay in the small world of your new house and new job without venturing outside of those circles. I confess that in a few places that we lived, I did exactly that. When you have moved many times, it's easy to say to yourself, "Why should I make new friends? It'll just be that much harder when we move again." But here's what I have learned: it's a good thing for it to be terribly hard to leave somewhere.

Friend-making can start before you even load up the U-Haul. Sites such as Facebook are wonderful for this. When we first began considering a move to Fort Smith, I searched for people on Facebook that had any connection to that town. One woman who came up in the search was in the Huntsville/Decatur, Alabama network, just like me, but she listed Fort Smith as her hometown. So I sent her a message and asked about her hometown. Her name is Lora. She's now one of my Facebook friends, we've met in person, and she's one of the inspirations for this blog. She has since moved back to the Fort Smith area, and I'm hopeful we'll soon be "real life" friends, too.

Through her, I have become connected to several other people in the area. In fact, the house that we will be renting was never listed for rent or for sale. Lora mentioned us to her friend Laura in the real estate / rental business, and Laura mentioned us to her friend who owns the house. I have also met another friend of Lora's, and we almost rented his house. Being from Fort Smith, she has been able to share all sorts of information about the area from schools to churches to restaurants to good areas to live. And because her kids aren't much older than mine, she understands what we are needing and looking for.

Now, I can't guarantee that you'll have exactly the same results, but don't be afraid to reach out to people online. In general, people love to tell you about the city where they live, and you'll get much better information than from city websites and such.

Later, I'll be writing more about how to get involved once you move, but I've found that the more connected you feel to a place before you even get there, the easier the transition will be.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mortgage Madness

I mentioned in an earlier post that the good folks down at Wells Fargo were willing to loan us $325,000. (Remember that these people have also recently taken lots of taxpayer money to get themselves out of a mess, but that's beside the point here. Or maybe it IS the point.)

Well, that got me to thinking. You should know before you read any further that I am a math nerd. (No really.) And I get a kick out of the mortgage calculators that can be found online. (Just search under mortgage calculators and you'll be amazed how many will come up.)

You should also know that I am a compulsive online home-looker. (Of course, I could blame this on having moved so many times.) ((Am I using too many parentheses in this post?!?))

The following houses are for sale in our future town of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and the pictures came from this site. The first one is very similar in size, age, and location to one we will likely be renting and will possibly purchase within a year.

It was built in 2000, has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and is 1636 square feet. It is listed for $142,000. For the record, you can get larger houses in this price range if you're willing to consider a much older home and/or a less desirable location.

This second one is closer to what Wells Fargo has in mind for us.
It was built in 1994, has 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and is 3457 square feet. It is listed for $335,000. It's also located in what most consider to the be one of The Best Parts of Town.

(I know. If' you're reading this in many parts of the country, even today, you may be gasping at the inexpensive houses, but the principles below still apply, just on a grander scale.)

Would I love to have that second one? Of course! Do I want to be able to sleep at night? YES!!

Here's where it gets interesting: Let's compare loans of $140,000 and $325,000, each at 5.5% interest on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. The principle and interest (P+I) payment on $140,000 is $795. For $325,000, the P+I payment is $1845. That's a difference of $1,050 per month.

Suppose you buy the $140,000 house but decide to make the $1845 payment on it every month, adding $1,050 to the required minimum payment. In just under 8 years, you would own the house free and clear!

Assuming a very modest appreciation rate, let's say that at the end of those 8 years, you sell the house for $175,000. Now that $325,000 house will only cost you an additional $150,000. ($175 + $150 = $325) Paying the very same amount that you have been paying all along ($1845 per month), you will then have paid off the $325,000 house in just 8 1/2 more years. In other words, starting from the day you buy the $140,000 house, you will have paid off the $325,000 house in 16 1/2 years.

Now, stay with me here. If you had bought the $325,000 house to begin with and made the same $1845 payment, at the end of 16 1/2 years, you would still owe $210,675 on it!

Of course, by the time you sold the first house, the second one would be worth (theoretically, at least) $411,700. If you still wanted that house, though, you could still have both houses paid off in less than the originally planned 30 years. (8 years for the first house and 16 years for the second house)

Like us, you may not have $1,050 extra every month to add on to a mortgage payment, and even if you do, there may be even better ways to invest it. And yes, there are lots of valid arguments for buying a nicer house to begin with. We may very well decide we just need/want more room. But doesn't it at least make you think about your dream home (and how to get it) in a different way?

My goal in this post, as with all posts on this site, is not to tell you that this is the only way home-buying, selling, moving, etc. can be done, but to give you something to think about, share our experiences, and maybe encourage you to think differently.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Short Update

Sorry I haven't written in a while. I've been waiting for our housing situation in Fort Smith to be finalized so that I can write all about how that has developed, but we haven't yet signed a contract, so I'm hesitant to send it out into blogland beforehand. Know what I mean?

Anyway, in the meantime, the U-Haul has been reserved (yay!), and we've gotten rid of some more stuff. Here's a picture from when we arrived at our storage room on Saturday morning.

That's my super-hunky husband sitting there in the rocking chair. Isn't he cute? That man can "sho nuff" pack a moving truck. I'm hoping he'll write a guest post for me later on. He can give you the scoop on the pros and cons of the various rental companies, the proper placement of boxes and furniture in the truck, etc. Remember that for all 10 moves (so far), we've moved ourselves. Twice, we've hired some people just to help with the loading. A few other times, some friends helped to load. More times than not, it was just the two of us! (Hey, don't laugh! I'm stronger than I look!)

Well, we got rid of a bunch of stuff, but somehow we didn't make a picture of the trash before it went into the dumpster, so you'll just have to use your imagination. Hopefully, we'll have a chance to do some more decluttering before we load up in a few weeks. If so, I'll try harder to get an "after" picture.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I have finally realized that if this blog is to ever have more than 3 readers (thank you, David, Mom, and Lora!) I should perhaps try to make it a little more cohesive. I won't promise to never again rant or ramble about totally random things, but I'll try to keep most posts related to the main topics of this blog: moving, establishing a new home, and getting plugged into a new place. Who knows? Maybe someday we will live in one place long enough that I will have to abandon this blog entirely, but until then, these are subjects I have lived and about which I have lots to say. Or at least I hope so.

So with that in mind, let's start with finding a new home.

As I have written elsewhere in this blog, we are about to move for the 11th time since we were married almost 11 years ago. We have rented apartments and houses, and owned houses. Some of these choices were made with a more conscious desire to be in God's will than others, I must admit. The three houses we have owned I believe most clearly demonstrate how God often leads in these situations.

This is the first house we ever bought.

After looking at lots and lots of older homes that just made me sad, I had just about resigned myself to never finding something I would really like. Finally, just before seeing this one, the agent had arranged for me to see a lovely 2-story home on a little over an acre. It was beautiful! But we couldn't get in the front door. Or the back door. Or the side door. Eventually, we gave up, and then I saw The One. It didn't look like anything special on the outside, but I walked inside and "just knew." It's true what they say about that. You just know.

We had to leave that first house earlier than we had wanted to, but once again, God lead the way to the next house. I had fallen in love with this house (or more specifically with the room that was to become Nathan's nursery) online before I actually saw it. The first day I went with our agent to look at houses (I should mention that we've never had more than 2 days to spend looking for houses before putting in an offer), this one was not listed. It had been under contract twice before we bought it, and both times, the buyers' financing had fallen through.

Our usual process for buying a house is that I find several online that I like, I go to see several with an agent, and then David comes to see my favorites. On the second day of looking, this house was once again listed, and I quickly narrowed my favorites to this one and one on the neighboring street. Once again, we were unable to get into see the other house. We took that to mean it wasn't the house for us and made an offer on this one.

Our last house was perhaps the most eventful purchase so far. Once again, we were moving quickly, so I drove up to look at some houses with an agent, and the next day, David went back with us to my favorites. After looking at those plus more older homes to satisfy David that we could not, in fact, afford a newer house in the location we wanted, we put an offer in (albeit half-heartedly) on a house very similar to our first two homes but far away from our target area. The sellers made a ridiculously unaccomodating counter-offer. While mulling it over, David asked me to search online again, upping our target price by just a few thousand dollars. This is the house that appeared on our screen:

Can you hear the choir singing in the background? :) After asking our agent to check it out for us (we were almost 4 hours away at the time), we put in an offer, sight unseen, on Christmas Eve. It was formerly a foreclosure home, so the price was right. It was in our most desired location. And again, we just knew.

Once again, we are in the midst of this process, even though we are looking for a place to rent rather than buy. I'll let you know later how it all turns out.

Here are some tips for finding a new home before you move:

1. Pray - We have often prayed, "Lord, please let us see what we need to see and not see what we don't need to see." He has honored that prayer. In 2 of the 3 house-buying trips we have made, there was at least one house that we literally couldn't see. Don't be afraid to try the backdoor, but don't force the issue. Know that God is involved in the details.

2. The internet is your best friend. Do your homework before meeting with an agent. In addition to national sites such as and Coldwell Banker, many cities often have local real estate sites. If you are new to an area, one of the best ways to learn about the areas within a city is to research the schools, even if you don't have school-aged children. There are several sites for this purpose, but I recommend School Matters. Also, don't be afraid to try networking sites such as Facebook. I made a friend who is from Fort Smith but (at the time I contacted her) was living here in north Alabama. She has since moved back to Arkansas, and I have made many other contacts through her. In fact, we found the house we are likely moving into as a result of contacting a person that she had suggested.

3. Don't choose the largest home in the neighborhood or subdivision. The larger homes will, over time, increase the value of your home as well.

4. Do not, under any circumstances, spend as much as the bank will loan you. These calculations apparently assume that you will never leave home, will only eat macaroni and cheese, and will certainly not be giving any of your income away to church or other charity. I recently contacted Wells Fargo to discuss the terms of a mortgage in case we decided to buy a home in the near future. It turns out we could get a mortgage for $325,000.00!! Out of respect for my husband, I will not divulge our income, but believe me, we have no business even considering such a home! Figure out how much you can afford to pay per month, subtract some from that amount, and base your home search on that number. And remember that the folks at Wells Fargo and their counterparts make money on commission! There's nothing wrong with that, but always remember it.

4B. Shop around for the best mortgage. Lenders vary on interest rates, points, origination fees, and other closing costs. Know what is more important to you: cash to close or monthly payment.

5. Do not buy a house until you have sold your last one. Hopefully, in this day of mass foreclosures and economic downturn, this one goes without saying. If you can afford to pay both mortgages, congratulations! I hope your job is very secure. (I'll write more on selling a home in a later post.)

6. Do not even think about buying a house without getting a home inspection. Spending that $300 could end up saving you thousands. While you're at it, if the house you are considering is more than 10 years old, have a heating/air conditioning person take a look at the unit. An inspector generally just checks to make sure it will come on, and he won't turn on the heat in the summer or the AC in the winter.

7. A can of paint can make a world of difference. Don't pass on a house just because you don't like the color in one room.

I'm sure I could think of many more things we have learned along the way, but I'll stop with those for now. The basic idea is this: learn as much as you can, pray hard, trust that He has opened and closed the appropriate doors, and prepare to Bloom Where You're Planted.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Year in Review

This probably seems like a very odd time to have a post entitled "The Year in Review," but for our family, it's completely appropriate. You see, one year ago today, our lives changed dramatically. This was the day when David's office in Knoxville, Tennessee, was closed - without warning.

I was 5 months pregnant with Megan, watching an episode of A Baby Story when David showed up in the middle of the day, suddenly out of work. (Ironically, a VERY similar situation unfolded when I was about 3 months pregnant with Nathan.) During the last 365 days, we have moved twice, we have sold our house (thank You, Lord!), David has worked for two different companies, and we have learned many lessons.

1. God always provides.
We should have never made it financially. When we moved to Huntsville last August, we began paying rent on an apartment in addition to our home mortgage. (We thought that we were moving back to Knoxville within a few months - but that's another story altogether.) This was already a huge stretch for our finances, but already God was providing. Because of a contract David had signed with his employer in Knoxville, he was paid for an additional 3 months after the office closed. That allowed us time to find another job and to accumulate some savings after the next job started.

Then, David's new boss decided he was going to cut David's pay by 1/3. This put us into huge financial strain. The Lord again was faithful and provided another job that started within a month. However, this job still paid roughly $1000 a month less than what we had when we first moved to Huntsville. Between this decrease in salary and increase in expenses (apartment rent, new baby, rising gas prices), we were hemorrhaging money.

By all logic, we should have run out of money within a couple of months. But God continued to provide. We were still struggling to pay the bills, but none were going unpaid. The mortgage and rent were still being paid, there were still groceries in the pantry, and somehow we were surviving. Finally, when we literally had $78 left in savings, God provided a buyer for our house. We owed money at the closing, but God provided that, too, in the form of our tax refund which arrived right when we needed it.

2. We really can live on less.
We learned to cut back in all sorts of ways. One of the biggest (which I suppose should have been the most obvious) is by buying generic brands. My mother clipped coupons for me, but rarely did I find a coupon that resulted in a product costing less than its store-brand competitor. In most cases, the store brand was just the same. In some cases, it was even better. (Kroger Raisin Bran has MORE raisins than Kellogg's Raisin Bran.) In other cases, the name brand proved to be the better buy. I can't say that we ate very healthily during that time, and since our finances have improved, I have started spending a bit more to get more healthy items, but we still don't spend nearly as much on groceries as we used to.

Other examples include items that I have found on craigslist (most recently two chairs for our kitchen table - $10 each), not having a home phone, and consignment sales for the kids' clothes.

3. We'd rather have financial security than _____ (a big house, boat, 3rd car, etc.).
I would love to have a big, beautiful house again. I really enjoyed our house in Knoxville, and I still wouldn't call it an unwise purchase. In an otherwise stagnant market, it sold in 4 months. And because it was a foreclosure when we bought it, we didn't owe a huge amount of money at closing.

Nevertheless, I now look at houses differently. I know from living in this apartment that we don't have to have something huge (although please, Lord, let it be bigger than this!). I would rather spend a little less and have more money to spend on decorating (and I'm learning more ways to do that inexpensively as well). At one time or another, each of the houses we have owned have felt like a burden, and I would like to avoid that feeling if possible.

Right now, we're looking at several rental possibilities in and around Fort Smith. A couple of them are lease-to-own houses. Whatever we decide, it will be nice to be there for a little while, catch our breaths, save up some money, and then make a more informed decision. I really want two things right now (well, maybe three): a yard for Nathan and Megan to play in, room to put our stuff (it's already been pared down, but I could certainly do better), and the freedom to personalize the space. And I'd like these things to be in a location that will allow us to make friendships and be involved in our church.

So it's been an eventful year. It certainly hasn't been the most enjoyable year. With the bright exception of Megan's birth, it's been fairly miserable and at times quite frightening. But we are different people now. Better people, I hope. We're more aware of God's abilities and hopefully prepared to make wiser choices with a new perspective.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Sorry I haven't written in so long. I am very, very tired, so I apologize if this post doesn't end up making much sense. For each of the past two nights, I have gotten no more than 5 hours sleep. Last night, Megan's cries woke me up at 2:38 AM. Fortunately, with a bit of soothing, she was back to sleep pretty quickly. Unfortunately, I was wide awake - for the rest of the night. I think I finally fell back to sleep this morning sometime around 7:00 and then had to get up when David left at 8. ARGH!! I'm encouraged that Megan went back to sleep without actually leaving her bed or being fed, but I'm still exhausted. Maybe tonight will be better.

Meanwhile, the potty training continues to go well. And for that, I am truly grateful. I think we've only had a couple of accidents in the last 5 days. He's still in diapers for naps, nighttime, and whenever we go anywhere (I'm not yet that brave - maybe after I've had some sleep), but it's a vast improvement. The problem now is that he likes doing it too much. I think he would go every 5 minutes if I'd let him, but that's still better than refusing to go at all.

The decluttering has continued along as well, albeit at a slower pace. I'm not making any promises for today. I just hope to be out of my bathrobe by the time David gets home. I promise this isn't a common occurence - just a little more common over the past couple of weeks. Oh sweet elusive sleep!

Speaking of that, I think I'll try for a quick nap. Night, night!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Potty Time

Just a little update: Nathan has pee-peed in the potty 3 times today! This may not mean much to you, but it's a huge deal around here.

Now I need to clean the floor around the potty while he's napping. Boys. Gotta love 'em.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Small Success

Today I finally made a small bit of headway in decluttering my bedroom. Here is the before picture:

And here is what it looked like after I finished:

Ahh, much better. In addition to finally being able to see the top of the desk (and dusting for the first time in a really long time), our new printer can sit on top of the desk. We had to trip over the old (larger) one that sat on the floor in front of the tower.

There's still much work to be done in this room, but it's a start.

I'm afraid this success came after much consternation. Megan had awoken very early from her nap and was refusing to be happy in her Pack-n-Play that I had moved back to this room. I didn't understand why she couldn't be happy surrounded by toys and in the same room with me. She only seemed happy while I was holding her. Didn't she realize I had lots of work that needed to be done? I love to hold Megan, but it's not good for either of us to do it all day long. After much frustration, temper-tantrums on both our parts, and me questioning why God had chosen to make me a mother since I clearly had no idea what I was doing, I decided to try putting her in the floor and letting her wander a bit amongst the mess. Well, all she wanted was a little freedom. She happily played with bubble wrap and chewed on a cardboard box, and I was able to finally clear off the desk and reroute several cords. When she went down for another nap about an hour later, we were both much happier.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Getting Lost in the Details

Well, as usual, it's feast or famine when it comes to blog posts. I either have too much to say or not enough to justify a post - at least in my own mind. But here I go anyway.

First, I've been getting caught up in the details of my blog the last few days - tickers, colors, fonts, etc. I think it's the home decorator in me wanting to come out. Since we currently live in a beige-walled apartment, there's not much room for that side of my personality. I LOVE picking out paint swatches, finding fabric to make curtains, envisioning the layout of a new place. Maybe I'll get to do that again before too much longer.

Second, I'm getting caught up in the details of making big decisions long before they're actually here to be made. For example, amongst the many wonderful blogs I have discovered over the last several days, I've found at least one person doing homeschool with their toddler. Yep, I needed one more way to feel like a dismal failure as a mother. Anyway, the thought has occurred to me that, before I decide to take on homeschooling (a decision at least 2 years away), maybe I should try it on a smaller scale. So off to WalMart we went, in search of craft projects and various other manipulatives. I enjoy teaching math to college students; preschool just doesn't come naturally to me, but I've got some great ideas, especially from 1+1+1=1 and their Tot School. We'll see how it goes.

Meanwhile, I haven't accomplished much else today. But there's still time. I'm thinking of trying a new recipe from The Pioneer Woman. Her Strawberry Shortcake Cake was a success on Saturday, so I'm hoping her Chicken Spaghetti will also go well. And who knows? I might even have time for a bit of decluttering. :)

[Update: The Chicken Spaghetti was a big success! Try it yourself!]

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Clutter Frustration

OK. New post for the day. This is what I wanted to write about before I started reading on The Pioneer Woman. I've got to start setting a timer or something.

I have got to get rid of stuff. I'm going on a clutter-busting rampage. There is just no point in bringing a bunch of junk with us to Arkansas. It's ridiculous how much stuff piles up around here. Now granted, this apartment is a big part of the problem. There's really just no place to put even the necessary stuff. But still. I could do better.

So I'm posting this blog and getting busy before the kiddos wake up. But first I need to change out of this bathrobe (see earlier post). And I need to get the meatloaf in the oven. Then maybe I'll have 10 minutes before someone wakes up. Oh well. I'll let you know how it goes.

For what it's worth, I am doing better with the laundry. Well, at least it's being cleaned more frequently. The putting-away part still needs lots of improvement.

Uh oh. Megan is awake....

3:29 PM and wearing my bathrobe

So it's 3:29 PM, and I'm sitting at my computer in my bathrobe.

It's not really as bad as it sounds. I got up reasonably early this morning (Megan slept all the way until 7 AM - Go Megan!), and we went to MOPS (after the usual struggle to get out the door). Nathan was in his bed headed for naptime (hopefully), and I was feeding Megan a just-before-naptime bottle. Then she spit up all over me and the couch. YUCK! I love her dearly. I really don't want her to grow up any faster than she already is. But when will the spit-up end?? I can only hope that we will be able to get new furniture before too much longer. That couch has definitely seen better days. But anyway, that's why I got into my bathrobe to begin with.

That was over an hour ago. Then I started reading. I have recently discovered The Pioneer Woman, and I am completely enthralled reading her love story of how she met her husband and went from city girl to rancher. I just finished part 25 of about 50. Maybe there will be time tonight to read a few more installments. I highly recommend it, but know that it's very addictive.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Better Life. Is It Really Possible?

There are lots of things I would like to change about myself. Am I alone in this feeling? I hope not, and I think not. I'd like to lose these last 10 pounds of baby weight, I'd like clearer skin, I'd like a larger chest (TMI!). But I think what I'd like to change the most is my complete, chronic, lifelong inability to get and stay organized. I've tried FlyLady, I've tried Sidetracked Home Executives, I've tried my own plan, but nothing has ever stuck. I basically hate housework, but it has to be done, and I know (or at least I believe) that I would be happier if it were done more often. Maybe someday I'll be able to hire someone to do it for me, but until then, I need to improve. Also, my lack of knowing how to do this may have come from my mother hiring someone to do it, and I want my kids to be better at this than I am. I'm honestly not trying to blame someone else; I'm just trying to understand this problem, learn how to fix it, and hopefully not pass it on to my children.

So what would my "ideal" look like in this area of my life?

1. Laundry: Ideally, laundry would never get piled up and would always be put away the day it is done. No more searching through giant piles, and no more hearing David ask, "is this pile clean or dirty?"

2. Clutter: There have actually been moments when I have thought that, with the exception of pictures, it would be easier if the whole house was just destroyed and we could start over from scratch. Every time we move, a lot of stuff gets thrown away either while packing or unpacking. I can only imagine what the house/apartment would look like if we had never moved. There are so many things that just do not need to go with us to Arkansas.

3. Cleaning: I would like to have a reasonable schedule for doing the basic cleaning chores. I have tried this many times before, but life always gets in the way. Maybe I have too many things on my list. Anything is better than nothing, and as FlyLady says, "housework done incorrectly still blesses my family." Of course, this flies in the face of my upbringing (anything worth doing is worth doing well).

Now before I get too overwhelmed again, I should mention that I have made a lot of progress in a couple of areas, although there is always room for improvement:

1. Calendar: I use a calendar faithfully which has all but eliminated missing appointments and deadlines. I really can't imagine life without it anymore.

2. Meal planning: The calendar I use has a column to list meals for each day of the week. (I don't worry about assigning a day to them. I just check them off as I use them, and then I know what I haven't used yet when planning for the next week.) It also has a perforated column for a grocery list. This is wonderful for listing things that I use up as we go through the week. No more wondering, "now what was it I wanted to be sure to replace?" I cannot recommend strongly enough Amy Knapp's Family Organizer.

3. Checkbook and bill-paying: Much of the last year has been very tight, money-wise (more on that in another post). Although I've been fairly diligent about bill-paying and such for the past several years, it became especially critical recently, and I've become much better at planning for upcoming bills rather than just dealing with them as they arrive in the mail.

So how am I going to make these changes? I have no idea. But I'm not going to stop trying. First up, end this post, cook supper, and start putting away the laundry....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Logistics of Moving

So the Baggetts are moving again. To Fort Smith, Arkansas, of all places! For those of you keeping score, this will be #11, and it should culminate the week of our 11th anniversary. Sigh....

Don't get me wrong. I'm thrilled to be leaving this apartment, and I'm excited about the prospects for the future. It's exciting to be heading to an area I have only driven through before now. But the details are overwhelming, and no matter how many times we do this, I never get used to the chaos that always ensues or the weeks that it takes before a new place feels like home.

You would think that after 10 moves (not counting auxiliary moves or "half moves" following the sale of houses) that we would have this down to a fine science. Well, this move looks to be our most challenging one yet. For one thing, we now have two children. We may be able to actually drive the U-Haul to Arkansas with only one child, but that one will be just under 10 months old, and we will have to drive back across the state a couple of days later to pick up the other one. Plus, there's the matter of packing and cleaning around two young children who are too small to help but big enough to add to the mess.

If that wasn't enough, David has decided that now is the time for him to take a trip to Virginia to see his cousins, a trip which will require at least 4 days. On top of that, there's the matter of missing a number of paychecks. We have some money in savings as a result of recently selling one of our cars, but I had sure hoped to use more of that money to pay off debt. Sigh again....

But after 10 moves, I have learned (and will need to remind myself) that somehow things always get done, somehow the move always gets made, somehow we do settle into a new normal, and somehow we eventually feel at home in our new place. If I click my heels together, can I fast forward to that time and place?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A little background info....

This post was originally written on August 8, 2008, shortly after we moved back here to Huntsville. I'm reposting it again here on my new blog because it explains a lot of our background.

Today as I was driving either to or from Mother's Day Out, I passed a cute little Mustang car. I used to have a blue Mustang that made me look much "cooler" than I actually was. That car was just the best, and I was so sad when it got totalled a few years ago. As I was thinking about that car, I realized that I was driving an SUV with two carseats and now two strollers in the back (none of which would have fit in the Mustang). How did this happen? I guess my kids (one is 2 and the other is still unborn) are too young for me to really be called a Soccer Mom, but the title still fits.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want to be working, and most of the time I love my life, but this is certainly not the life I would have predicted.

I grew up in a small town and graduated from high school with some of the same kids who were in my kindergarten class. We moved twice while I lived there - from the South end of town to the North end, and then back again. When I went away to college, I definitely didn't plan to move back to that same town, but I guess I figured I would likely end up somewhere fairly nearby.

Well, I currently live about 45 minutes from where I grew up, but it hasn't been a straight line from there to here. I got married in 1998 right after graduate school, and we have moved 10 times in the past 10 years. Our longest-running address was in Seattle, WA, for 2 years, so you know many of the other moves were less than 1 year apart. It's been a wonderful adventure, and I would change very little, but it was just so unexpected. (I'll save the latest part of that adventure for another post.)

I was never a Mommy type of person. I hated babysitting and was scared to death of working in the church nursery. I think I would have been perfectly content without kids were it not for the "peer pressure" of some friends in Knoxville, TN. Once they all started "trying," I definitely didn't want to be left out. :)

Nathan arrived in 2006, and my world completely changed. (You know you have changed when you find yourself picking someone else's nose!) I never knew I could love someone so deeply and completely, and I have never known such intense frustration and exhaustion. Some days I can't quit hugging him, and other days I want to run away and join the circus. (Being a trapeze artist is one of my two dream jobs, but again, that can wait for another post on another day.) We're expecting a little girl in about 6 weeks. We have a name picked out, but David doesn't want to share it with the family until she is born - a tradition started by my brother that drives my mother crazy. Again, I have a wide range of feelings from excitement and anticipation to fear and incompetency. (The second stroller is a double stroller in case I get up the nerve or feel the overwhelming urge to take them both to the mall or the park.)

I used to teach Calculus and Differential Equations. Now I wipe noses and sing silly songs. Are there days when I want to go back to teaching? Sure! Are there more days that I'm glad I'm at home instead? Absolutely! So how exactly did this happen?

I saw an advertisement for Campus Crusade once that consisted of a picture of a girl lying peacefully on the beach as the waves crashed in front of her. The caption read: "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Unfortunately, this probably isn't it." God's plan is often not the easiest, and it seems to be almost never what is expected, but it is always for the best. I wonder what will happen next?
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