Thursday, March 21, 2013

She Made It to 86


None of us thought we would be celebrating this birthday with her here on this Earth. But we did.

After a year of health problems, long-term hospice (not the kind for end of life... its new and different), living with my parents off and on and many hospital stays, tests, and medications, we were preparing to celebrate without her.

Instead, she defied even her own doubts and made it. To 86.

I first posted about the heart attacks here. And then I posted more about the non-hospice hospice and "the plan" here.

She is currently still living with my parents and just last night I asked her if she thinks she wants to go home soon. She is definitely moving in that direction very soon.

Overall, there is nothing exactly wrong with her. Her body is old, her arteries are clogged, and her COPD gives her a run for her money every couple months.

In December, she was so so sick she missed my cousin's wedding (took a lot for her to make that tough decision); we assumed it was the end. I even had a complete and utter slobbery breakdown about losing her in the car one night. And then she bounced back.

We aren't sure what the next year holds. We are all again feeling that we won't be celebrating 87 with her here but I, of course, hope to be writing a similar post next year. Unfortunately, her body could just decide it has finally had enough one day after everything she has been through in her long life but we aren't sure when or how that is going to happen at this point.

I'm finding myself just incredibly grateful for each new Sunday we get to spend with her at family dinner and the times we see her in between.


Happiest of Happy Birthdays Nanny. You are one amazing grandma.

-------

p.s. I know my header is broken. It decided to up and delete itself from Photobucket (seriously no clue how it was there one second and gone the next..) Sorry for the ugliness :( I am working on a few updates and getting it fixed (its more complicated than just re-uploading since I have the Nav Bar to get the links into). I hope to have that done this weekend :)

p.p.s. I have found a new blog reader that I love and since Google Reader is going away soon, head over to bloglovin and follow along there (I promise you'll love it... its an awesome reader!)
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lessons from an empty bank account


I've been really vague about one particularly big topic in our lives for 6 months now and I've decided I want to share. I want to remember this time in my life in the future when (hopefully) things are better and someday be grateful for where I've been and what I learned along the way. I am also an open book and I love the camaraderie of blogging and sharing and being open about the struggles of life. We all have them. Just some are more cliche to talk about than others.

Like money.

At the end of September I was offered the job I am currently at. 2 days later, Mike was let go from his.

When we first moved into our apartment at the end of June last year, we weren't the best with money. We went out to eat a lot and bought food at the grocery store that went bad more often than not. And we thought things were tight. Truth be told, we were in for a rude awakening when it came to money being tight. A very rude awakening. We felt like we were broke all the time when in reality we needed to take a good hard look at where the money was going. Granted, I was working a job making less money than my current one but I also didn't have taxes or health insurance being taken out so my take home is almost exactly the same.

After Mike lost his job, things got really difficult. That first month and a half was incredibly hard (but little did we know, not the hardest time to come) because unemployment stuff kept getting held up so we were living on my salary and savings to pay all the bills. Not even close to enough. Southern California is a rough place to live if you don't have a fantastic job.

Mid-November we finally received the first unemployment check and got back-payed for everything that was missed while things were held up. Mike talked about getting a part time job while searching for a new one and then discovered that while a part-time job would allow him to keep getting unemployment (if he stayed under a certain pay level), it was impossible to make any extra money to help while he looked. Instead they just subtract what you make and give you the remaining so he would be making the exact same money whether he worked or not.

Meanwhile, we were now getting money for a month and a half worth and Christmas was fast approaching. It was our very first Christmas together so to say we allowed ourselves to put the money struggles aside and spoil each other would be a bit of an understatement. It wasn't the best decision but we made it through and had a wonderful Christmas together.

Come January 1st, my health insurance kicked in and suddenly my paycheck was a chunk less. Add that to the Christmas spoiling and January was a really rough month. Since then, every month feels more difficult than the last. I'll never forget the day I found $5 in quarters in our change jar just so we could buy milk. Or the night we skipped bread and other basics so I would have gas to get to work the next day.

Its the hardest thing asking your parents for help when you know they are dealing with their own debts and rough times in this economy but our parents have been the absolute greatest. I can't even say thanks enough to them for how they've helped get us through when the rent hit at the beginning of each month.

On top of that, this has been even harder for Mike than for me. He is your old-fashioned "the men take care of the woman" kind of guy and it has been heartbreaking for him to watch me get up before the sun every morning to get to work 30 minutes away by 7am. And then to come home completely spent and unable to think straight after working with 5-8 year olds all day long. Not to mention the shop I am trying to keep up with, build, and grow in my "spare" time. It kills him everyday to sit at home feeling worthless while I work 2 jobs and it breaks my heart that it hurts him so much.

At the end of December, Mike found a listing for a job with a high end real estate company and went for an interview with the CEO. The CEO loved Mike and was excited to get him on board. In the end though, everything was put on hold until he got his license. On the second day of 2013, we charged the real estate courses to my credit card and he set about getting his license. He has been working hard on his classes and got over 90% on all 3 small tests and is now preparing to apply and take his Real Estate Exam in the next month or so.

I am endlessly proud of him for finding a new path. One that uses his sales skills but allows him to pursue a career he will love and will be something he can love for a very long time. I know he will be amazing in real estate and will be able to "take care" of me and our future family the way he desperately wants to.

We are working hard to get to the end of our apartment lease before getting out and finding a solution that allows us to get back on our feet, pay off debts acquired during this really rough time, and actually remember what its like to leave the house on the weekends without fear of costs in gas or otherwise. We have talked many times about breaking our lease early but we are trying really hard to make it work for 3 more months in order to save the fee and our credit. Some days it doesn't feel entirely worth it.

But even when the time comes that we can move out and save again, or even years down the line when things are hopefully a world of different, I will never forget this phase. It has and continues to teach me some much needed valuable lessons:
  • I've never truly understood what it is to be truly paycheck to paycheck or to not be able to afford our end of breakfast out with the family (my parents have many, many free breakfasts in their future!). 
  • I never knew the feeling of having to ask for a significant amount of financial help from loved ones and how hard that really is. Even taking the dog to the vet meant having to call my mom and that hurt us both so much. We can't even get our dog healthy on our own.
  • I never really got what it was like to add things up in the cart before going to the checkout lane to avoid that all too embarrassing moment of not having enough
  • As shallow as it may seem, I never new what it was like to really not be able to buy a single "fun" thing at Target for months on end. To go into the clothes section with my sister and be on the verge of tears because so. much. cute. stuff. and there is literally not a spare dollar for anything fun. To wear workout shoes that kill your feet because that is a "frivolous" buy as well as so many other things.
I won't ever allow myself to forget what its like to not know where the money for gas or bread or milk is going to come from that week and just trying to get through each day in one piece. I will not allow myself to ever let go of these lessons God is teaching me. I always believe everything happens for a reason and this is absolutely no exception. I know I needed to experience this for one reason or another and I have accepted that. That doesn't mean I don't still cry out to God in the shower to just ease this burden a little bit. To take this weight and bear it for a day. But I know it time things will get better. Maybe not in my time. But in His. 

I know things won't be entirely perfect when we do leave this apartment because we will be leaving here to someone else's home and putting our "home" into storage. That is not an easy thing at all. In fact its hard for me to think about some days. But its for the best. And even if I can't see a pinprick of a light at the end of the tunnel, I am choosing to believe it is there. Some days I have to force that belief more than others.

Thankfully, I have an abundant amount of love in my life and I am also learning that that is more valuable than any amount of money in my bank account. I have a family that will always take care of me. I have Mike's family who does the same. I have a puppy who knows when I need her cuddles even when I don't. And I have Mike. He is my rock when I can't barely lift my head or when I am on the verge of tears at work. And I know he will always be there in whatever way I need even when he is just as depressed as I am. For all this love, I am truly truly blessed. And I am thankful for that reminder even if it means being completely flat out broke for 9+ months. 

Thank you for reading, for supporting, and for blessing me with your friendship even when I disappear from the blog for weeks/months at a time. I try to put things in a positive light as much as possible but even I am human and need to crumble at times.

xoxo.
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

three65: February


1st: park day for the kidlets at work.
2nd: lunch at Lazy Dog thanks to M's mom.
3rd: Superbowl Sunday.
4th: River girl turns 1!
5th: waffles in the freezer at work=breakfast.
6th: sick day from work and M brings me breakfast in bed.
7th: sweetest M showed up at the doc to keep me company while I waited.
8th: reminders to be positive in the form of a rainbow.
9th: homemade muffins with the family recipe.
10th: Valentine's week sparkle pink nails.
11th: back on the workout train.
12th: worked 11 hours with a 2 hour split so M took me to dinner.
13th: oranges for snack for the kidlets.
14th: V-day treat after dinner and a movie.
15th: getting shipping supplies prepared.
16th: flip flops and Jamba Juice on an 80 degree day.

17th: dinner for my cousin's birthday.
18th: all day training all about being "campy" during summer.
19th: glasses day.
20th: dandelion from a preschooler.
21st: a 5-year-old's portrait of my coworker.
22nd: weekday morning protein shake in my blender bottle.
23rd: thankful for a real breakfast.
24th: my teal Kitchenaid makes me happy.
25th: i hate bills.
26th: i let a 5 year old "paint" my nails with marker.
27th: all day CPR training day.
28th: Mongolian BBQ with my daddy-o.

Monday, March 11, 2013

River Gets Sick. Sad Face.


About a week ago (the very late/early morning hours Saturday/Sunday) M and I woke up to River throwing up all over her bed (a blanket at the foot of our bed). Its not the first time she's ever thrown up but it ended up being the first time she got continually sick. We tried to go back to sleep, only to wake up to her vomiting under the dining table. Laid awake for another couple hours before she started throwing up again. Needless to say, we got very little sleep that night.

She rested all day Sunday without throwing up for 12 hours so we headed to my parents for our usual Sunday Night Dinner only to have her throw up there 3 times (luckily we had already eaten). We brought her home earlier than usual where she continued to throw up all night long again. Her solid rear ejections also become very dark liquid rear ejections.

We weren't sure what to think but we were trying everything we could think of/read about online before going to the vet.

She threw up a couple times Monday morning and then stopped completely and seemed to be coming around. She was back to her usual jumping, playful self. Not 100% but better than we'd seen her in 2 days. We picked up some Pepto Bismal that night at the suggestion of a couple friends on Instagram and got her to take that. She slept entirely threw the night with no incident that night and Tuesday we tried feeding her for the first time in 2 days. Just chicken broth to start and then some boiled chicken in the broth later in the day (thanks to another IG suggestion). She did fine with those even if she didn't love them.

In the middle of the night Tuesday, about 10 hours after last eating, she suddenly threw up again. We thought we had gotten through it all and now here we were again. We fell back asleep and woke up to her going diarrhea in the house. Mike went to clean it up to find it to be black in color. He started researching on his phone and woke up my dozing self with a "shit!" after having read three different sites saying black stool could indicate her stomach was bleeding. Cue panic.

We gave in and M took her to the vet Wednesday. A lot of tests, ridiculous costs, and a crap-ton of stress later, they were sent home with a bunch of meds to calm her stomach. All of the really bad stuff came back negative thankfully and they came to the conclusion that she has a really sensitive stomach and GI problems. As Mike put it, "$250 for an upset stomach". If the meds don't work, we may be looking at something more serious like colitis but so far, so good.
The meds have been doing the trick and she seems to be back to her normal playful crazy self. Jumping and happy and actually wanting food again.
Its crazy how much your heart hurts when they're hurting even for a puppy. Can't imagine what a mess I'll be when I'm a mom of human children. I feel stuff so hard and deep. I'll be a mess lol.

I appreciate all the love and suggestions and good wishes extended to us over Instragram. It meant so much and we took all the suggestions and used them and we really are so grateful. It meant so much for all the love for our sweet puppy.

xoxo.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Shop Update: February


 It's time for the February shop update! I stuck with all "old" stuff (not really old, just been listed before and now revamped and relisted) this month and tried to do sets together so it could all be listed together.
2 available 1 left

Don't forget everything is ready to ship and comes with a lens cap pocket!

Happy Shopping! :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

One Year

Today is our one year "anniversary". A year ago today this happened. 

Because I had to work today, M planned a surprise celebration that turned out to be so special. I posted about it on Instagram but I wanted to share the real pictures and more about his special gift. 

We started by going to Total Wine. When we walked in, Mike told me to pick any bottle. It didn't matter what liquid was inside, it just need to be clear or clearish when the liquid was gone. I had no idea where he was going with this but I searched all over before finding a really pretty bottle that I loved. And it was less than $20. Score.
After choosing the bottle (and still not knowing what the bottle was for), we headed to lunch for our favorite pizza place (its like Chipotle but for pizza). 
With lunch over, it was time to battle the beach crowd. It was 82 degrees yesterday and the first really warm day in at least a month so it was crazy busy but we found a spot and got to walking.

We started the beach portion with Balboa Fun Zone for ice cream.

We then took our ice cream across the street to the beach where we strolled and photographed.
 He then pulled out an empty water bottle that he'd found in my car and told me to fill it at least half full... "for later."
When we got home, he laid out a blanket, got the vodka I had picked, lemonade and squirt we had on hand and made us each a little drink. He then poured the rest of the vodka into an old Grey Goose bottle we had lying around so we could use the bottle for his special project. 
He snuck away to the bedroom and came back with a bag full of momentos from the past year. Movie ticket stubs, Disneyland tickets, the ticket when we saw River for the first time, little notes I had written him, his two favorite things from this.... all sorts of cool things from places we'd been and things we'd done together. I knew he was saving them but never had any idea what he was planning to use them for. He made me think he was going to make a book with them so I hadn't even put it all together when picking the bottle and getting the sand.
We went through each thing as we rolled them up and put them in the bottle with the sand at the bottom. He said the sand was to commemorate the celebration and the day and the keepsakes were for the past year and in 20 years, we'd break open the bottle and revisit our first year together. #sweetestthing
He asked that I use my "crafty-ness" to decorate the bottle and make a label to cover the alcohol label but I haven't done that yet. I'll do that soon and post the final product. 

He outdid himself in making this day incredibly special. And we did it all for less than $40 :)

Love him so and so happy to have him in my life. #luckygirl

Happy One Year, Lovebug!