Wednesday, July 21, 2010


In conjunction with my Getting out of Debt/Remember When Wednesdays posts I'm doing my first EVER giveaway!

Head on over to Being Gently Led for all the details!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What do you do??

Momma Fargo just celebrated 22 years with her hubby. How cool is that? 22 years off her life sentence she said. Ha! I have this feeling (call me crazy) that she actually adores that man that's put up with her for so long (snicker snicker).

It seems marriage, or at least marriage long term and/or marriage done well, isn't such a common thing in police work. When Officer Hottie was in academy he was told that something like 80% of marriages don't survive the first five years after police academy. I don't know if that statistic is correct or not, but I know it sounds scary. I remember very clearly OH coming home, holding me and saying, "I will NOT let that happen to us." We're committed. We're in this for the long haul. Good or bad. Period. There's no escape plan, no exit route, no Plan B. It's us. Until death. That's it.

Honestly, I like it that way. OH and I come from a long line of committed marriages. All four sets of grandparents were only married to each other. Both of our parent's are still married to each other. Talk about stability.

I feel very strongly that marriage was created to be enjoyed; not tolerated. So I enjoy it. Very much. So far, it's my favorite. Even more than being a mom, or chocolate or sleeping in. Being a wife takes the cake. And although I would love to do an entire post on what Officer Hottie does to make sure that I enjoy being a wife so much, I will instead pose these questions:

How do you keep your marriage strong?
With all the failed marriages around, how do you keep it together?
With failure being an option for so many, how do you keep the temptation away?
What do YOU do to keep your husband coming home every night?
What does HE do to make sure you're home when he gets there?

(If you're missing me at all, or are just curious about our debt story, come check out Being Gently Led. It's where I'm at most the time now!)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

So, here's the thing.

I have this other blog I started a couple years ago - mostly as a creative outlet but also as a place to share what I was thinking about whatever. It was often neglected as I felt crazy busy with our four kids and rarely had time to go to the bathroom, let alone sit down and write an entire blog post.

At the end of October last year when Ofc. Brenton was killed, and then when the four Lakewood officers were gunned down I felt that the police wife part of me needed a place to go and write about what was going on in my head and in my heart. I had a few things I've posted that I feel have been relevant to living with a police officer, but the majority of what I write is about what I know the most about ...

Being a wife. Being a mom. Being a Christian.

And that's it.

I've realized, while reading other police wife blogs, that Officer Hottie has worked exceptionally hard, and done exceedingly well, at protecting me and our children from what living with a police officer could be like. Some of the credit can be given to the department he works for and the people he works with. His department encourages family and because they are a small department don't often encounter the big politics that disrupt other departments. His coworkers, as much as they get along, go home to their families after every shift. There is no "fraternity" or "blue wall" and I know I speak for many spouses at the department when I say that being police officers is what their spouses do - but it does not define who they are.

Most of the credit, however, I give to my husband. Even during our most trying times in law enforcement he has remained open, honest and kind. During academy when he was gone and stressed, he came home, rolled around with the boys and helped me with the dinner dishes. When his friend was killed on duty, he clung to me and our family, talking with his dad and our pastor to find comfort. When his schedule changed every month and he worked the most bizarre hours I'd ever heard of, he went without sleep so his children would know his face and his wife could have his support. When he left his first department and the treatment he received was less than fair, he never complained; he simply carried on with dignity, refusing to stoop to such a low level. He has, by all accounts, done everything within his power to maintain his integrity as a husband, father and Christian. I am proud that my husband prioritizes his family. I am thankful that I don't totally understand what other police wives seem to go through.

With that being said, I have decided that the place I know and fit in best is my old blog. I hope you will come by and visit the old/new blog - maybe even become a follower - but I honestly feel that it's misleading to have a blog titled "Confessions of  Police Officer's Wife" when the reality is only 1 in 10 posts actually have anything to do with being married to a police officer. After all, Officer Hottie has always been a hero to me; the badge just made him a hero to everyone else.

I will blog here every once in awhile; when, on those rare occasions, I actually have something to say as a police wife. And I plan on continuing to read your blogs because they are something I truly enjoy reading. For the most part, however, I plan on being over at  Being Gently Led. I hope you'll stop by for a visit sometime.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Before ... and ... After!

My apologies to anyone reading this who doesn't know me and has never been to my house. Since you never knew/saw the "Before" you probably won't care much about the "After". I, however, am over the moon excited about the "After" and so ... I share.

Say, does this butt make me look fat?
(*Side note...this was taken at my surprise 30th birthday party...hence the pink wings. Although I would love to wear pink wings from the Dollar Tree every day of my life. Not.)

To all my friends and family who said I looked just fine - liars - thank you for being nice to me and sparing my feelings. Don't ever, never let me get that fat again.

I honestly don't feel like sharing an "after" picture of my butt. I will say that those jeans I'm wearing in the above picture, I gave to my friend who just had a baby. Either I was really fat or my friend is losing her baby weight at an incredible rate. Perhaps both? Regardless, 23 pounds later, two pants sizes smaller, and I'm feeling much healthier and less ... plumpish. Thank you Jillian Michaels and My Fitness Pal. You saved me from a lifetime of pictures that I am embarrassed to be a part of.

Now onto the really truly very exciting Before and After's. The kitchen!! Although we aren't quite finished, it's basically done. All that is left is some finish work (trim, cabinet knobs, etc.) and I am thrilled to have construction finally coming to a halt.
Again, more apologies as I over-share our journey.

S and B, helping Dad clean out the shed to make room for all our other, treasures.

The "Before" in the hallway.

The "Before" for the play room.

"Before" the demo, but "After" we cleaned up a bit!

My laundry room "Before". In the kitchen. And overcrowded. I am organizationally challenged.

This is my dear sweet Father in Law. I love this picture because it captures completely the confusion he and Officer Hottie felt every time they opened a wall. I believe a good caption would be ... "Wha....???"

Sadly, this is my refridgerator "Before". Ugh. Double ugg. UGG!

The wall. "Before" Have I mentioned that I am organizationally challenged?

With a little bit of help...

My hallway now looks like this.

Still a messy fridge but at least it's out of the way and I now have a pantry right next to it! (Sorry for the lighting issues...I was too excited to post these to take the time to edit.)

The view from the dining room.

The view from the hallway.

The view from the sink. Haha! My poor kids can't get away with anything now! I can see it ALL!! Mua-haha!

Some of my new favorite features are...

This prep table that OH put together for me. I love that handy man of mine.

This little spice rack. There are a few "S" hooks that we have and I am hanging my measuring cups and spoons from them. How handy!

Under cabinet lighting. Right above the prep table. LOVE IT.

So, that's it. My "Before" and "After" post. If you are still reading you should eat a bowl of ice cream. You've earned it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Remember When Wednesdays : Or ... not.

I wanted to sit down and write an entire post about the next chapter in our getting out of debt saga ... because I'm sure you've been waiting on pins and needles. Right? Right? Hello?

However ...

We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel. I am so proud of the work Officer Hottie is doing - he has made me a new laundry room (er...closet), a pantry, installed new countertops and removed a wall to name a few things. In six weeks. He's amazing. And completely stressed. 

Considering his truck literally caught on fire when he left work on Sunday ...
"Honey, I'm stopping by Lowe's on my way home to pick up the rest of the stuff we need!"
(Five minutes later)
"Honey, I need you to come pick me up because my truck is on fire. The FD is putting it out right now."
... I'm cutting him some slack. The man is allowed to be stressed.

In my attempt to help with his stress level I told him I would paint the ceilings (which still have the paint splotches from when I painted the living room walls last year ) and finish the tile backsplash. I know as much about this kind of work as...well, most women, I guess. I am having fun though and it feels good to actually help my husband with a project instead of folding laundry and offering him another cookie every three minutes.

So, between the car and the kitchen I haven't found time to sit down and write about our debt story. But I will. Because even if no one reads it, it is good for me to remember where we've come from, especially now that we are back down to one car and the prospect of spending another summer without a way to get the kids to the park and play dates is a little discouraging. It's time to buck up and practice what we save save!!

For those of you wanting to "see what happens next" I promise to get it out there soon. As soon as the ceilings are painted, the backsplash is tiled, the counter tops are sealed, the cabinets are painted and the last load of laundry has been folded and put away. Or something like that.

See how stressed these poor children are? See?
Seriously though, thank God for carboard boxes. Can I get an amen?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tidbits from a Day in the Life in the Hottie Household

Because I canceled my Facebook and blogging is my last public outlet ...

1. B: I'm not a tattle tale. I don't even have a tail.
    Me: Being a tattle tale means telling stories, or tales, about people. Yes, you are a tattle tale.
    B: But I don't have a tail.

2. J: I just farted two times. (pauses) I mean three.
    Me: (Febreeze)

3. Me to S: Do you want to go potty in the toilet?
    S: No.
    Me: You don't want to be a big boy?
    S: No.
    Me: So, all those underwear I just bought? Nothing?
    S: (farts. poops in pants.)

4. Officer Hottie: I still can't believe my truck caught on fire.
    Me: (nervous laughter) (crying)

5. L: Mom, I know a way you and Dad can never pay for a baby sitter again.
    Me: Really? How?
    L: You. You and Dad. (runs away, proud of himself.)

6: Me: (glass of wine)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Remember When Wednesdays: The Debt Story Pt 2

(To read Part One of the Debt Story go HERE.)

"I don't get it!" I exclaimed with frustration.
"What's wrong?" Officer Hottie asked as he sat down next to me on the bed.
"I can't seem to get this budget form to work for us. When I fill in all the blanks we come up short. Really short. It's just that we can't be that far off - there has to be something wrong with my math. There is just no way that we are coming up so negative every month."
"You're probably just missing something."
I sighed. "I don't think so. After our mortgage, car payment, credit card payment, car insurance, phone bill and utilities we hardly have anything left for groceries or gas, let alone tithing, gifts, oil changes or anything else."
"Don't worry so much," he tried to reassure me. "I'm sure Dawn will have some insight."
I sincerely hoped he was right. We were almost at the 30 day mark, and Dawn, the financial class instructor, had promised if we kept track of our expenses for 30 days she would sit down with us and come up with a working spending plan. The class had been good for me, although most of the information I already knew, I'd just never put it into practice.
Dawn had said to get $1000 put into an emergency savings account. I wondered where we'd come up with $1000 when we could barely come up with the $245 to make our credit card payment. She said never refinance your mortgage and tie up your credit cards and car payments into the mortgage payment; that within one year the credit card bill would be back up to where it had been. I wondered if she'd looked at our last refi. We'd rolled a $15,000 car loan and an $11,000 credit card into our mortgage...and 10 months later we had a new car with a new payment and our credit card balance was at the $11,000 mark again.  Yikes. She said to pay cash for everything. I wondered how in the world it was possible. Never use a credit card?

The next week Officer Hottie and I headed over to our church to meet with Dawn. We were excited to finally get a plan for our money. I was hopeful that she would be able to find a way for us to not only make our payments, but maybe even have a little extra.
I handed over all our bills, our list of expenses we'd kept track of and our pile of one-time expenses (like our dentist bill we hadn't paid yet), smiled and asked her to work her magic. Dawn was so gracious; I'd liked her the minute I met her. She had worked her way out of a mountain of debt so I felt comfortable letting her look at our situation. She seemed to have it all together and I admired that about her. Her husband had been injured and unable to work so she bore the burden of getting the debt worked out on her own. She had inspired and encouraged me and I felt that having her on our side was going to be a huge help.
Quietly Dawn looked over our transactions. She paused when she got to the last one, a charge to the credit card at Claim Jumper the night before. She looked up at us. "This," she said, circling the charge with her finger, "can't happen anymore. You guys are in no position to be going out for dinner right now. You have a very tough road ahead of you."
There it was, plain as day. We were in trouble and she had called us out on it.
I laughed nervously as she looked back at our paperwork and began making columns. At the top of each column she had OH's take home pay. Underneath she began making lists; mortgage payment, food, auto, insurance, etc. She used a pencil and would write numbers under each column, often erasing and rearranging. She paused every so often to ask us questions: "Is this a recurring bill or a one time bill?" "Is it possible to spend less money on gasoline?" "Have you ever considered clipping coupons?" "Is this cable AND internet?" Each question, each erase, left me more and more worried. I wondered if I had been right, if we really were that far behind every month.
Finally, after lots of math, Dawn looked up at us.
"I think this budget can work. But it'll be tough and you have to be committed. You can do it though." She handed us the paper she had put together. Officer Hottie and I leaned in to read it.
The first thing that stuck out to me was tithing. She had left it blank.
"Wait, what about tithing?" I asked. "Where's the money for tithing?"
Dawn looked at me kindly, but somewhat sadly. "If you tithe, which you can do, you won't have money to pay your mortgage, or make your car payment, or feed your children. It's up to you, because you have to follow your convictions, but I'm telling you, if you tithe, you will not be able to make it."
"Can't the money come from anywhere else?" Officer Hottie asked. "I mean, I'm sure we can cut money somewhere."
Line by line Dawn showed us what we were up against.
A mortgage payment that was 51% of OH's take home pay. A car payment. A credit card payment that was almost as much as the car payment. Utilities. $321 a month to spend on groceries, diapers, toilet paper and shampoo. For our family of five. I kept trying to smile but reality was quickly sinking in. We had spent so long over-spending and it had finally caught up and over taken us. When everything was said and done, simply to pay our bills OH was going to have to work a minimum of one hour of overtime every pay period.
"Ok. Ok. Ok." I think I felt that if I kept saying 'ok' than everything really would be ok.
"You have to cancel your gym membership, reduce your cell phone plan, cancel cable, not drive around so much and get that overtime if you guys want to stay afloat. If you want to keep your home and your car," Dawn said matter-of-factly.
She sighed. "Here's what I want  you to do. If OH gets more than one hour of overtime, you need to think of something you want to do with that money. What do you guys like to do?"
"Eat," we said at the same time.
She laughed. "Ok. So, if you get more than one hour of OT, you get to go out to dinner. Then anything extra you put towards your savings until you get $1000."
"What about Christmas?" I asked, fearful of the answer.
Before she could respond Officer Hottie spoke. "I work Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving," he reminded me. "We'll use that money for Christmas." I was relieved. I really didn't want our children to pay for our mistakes. "Plus," he added, "I get a CPI raise the first of the year, and my step raise soon after that."
"Excellent!" Dawn replied. "Use your tax refund to finish putting the $1000 you need in savings, put about $500 aside for clothes, because your kids will need new clothing, and then put the rest toward your debt. It will only be tough for a short time."
I felt slightly better, but it was only October and we wouldn't be seeing any raises for three months. On top of that, overtime was never guaranteed.
We packed up our things, left the church and got into our car. The car I had been so proud of, so excited to start driving. I now looked at it as a weight that was sinking our family. I plopped into the passenger seat and began crying. Sobbing. How did we let this happen?
Before we left the church's parking lot, Officer Hottie was on the phone. He canceled our cable, took text messaging, internet and the extra minutes off our phone plan. He canceled the gym membership.
"We can't do this," I said.
Officer Hottie grabbed my hand and gave it a firm squeeze.
"We can do this," he stated. "We can and we will."
"We can and we will," I repeated.
I was so thankful one of us had confidence and I tried to remember that three months really isn't a very long time.

To be continued...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I have had an epiphany. Actually, I had this particular epiphany awhile ago, but recently it has taken more of a front seat in my life.

I love baking. Love.

My recent baking obsession began during our trip to the Great Wolf Lodge in April. J asked if we would buy him a giant pretzel. I saw the $4 price tag and promptly stated that I could make better ones at home and he'd have to wait. He whined and begged and pleaded but I was not persuaded and when we arrived home I began my quest for making the perfect giant soft pretzel. I tried two recipes that came up lacking. The kids didn't complain, in fact, they really enjoyed them, but I knew deep in my heart of hearts, there had to be something better.

Then Melissa told me about these. And I was done. I have used every excuse to make them.

"Oh, you're pregnant! You probably want a pretzel."

"Oh, you're nursing? You probably need a pretzel."

"Oh, you're on a diet? You should try a pretzel."

"Oh my gosh! You blinked. Here's a pretzel."

Yes, it really is that bad. I tell myself they are healthy, you know, because I use a few cups of whole wheat. It's basically a health food. Basically.

My husband has only aided in my obession by turning these fabulously disgusting counter tops ...

Into these most gorgeous, flat, perfectly perfect counter tops.  

Oh things I will use you to bake for me!! And my children. And husband. Of course.

Come to think of it, Officer Hottie hasn't done much complaining about my baking. It is possible that he is using the perfect counter tops to manipulate me into making more baked good.


Since I like to share you can find the most fabulous recipe for the perfect pretzel HERE. The Pioneer Woman. Of course. And I realize this post should be on my very neglected food blog. Pshhh. Poor neglected food blog.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Remember When Wednesdays: The Debt Story Part I

The light at the intersection was red. Thankfully. Laura's words had pierced my soul and I was hoping, praying that she hadn't noticed. When she spoke it was as if God Himself had spoken; I realized He'd been trying to speak to me for a long time, but it was the first time I'd actually listened.
"The light's green," Laura said. It  brought me out of my haze and we continued chatting as I tried to ignore the lightning bolt that had just shot through my heart.
Everything was normal when we arrived back at the house. Our husband's were playing in the yard with the kids and we started on dinner.
Later, when Officer Hottie and I had a minute alone, he asked how the trip to Target went.
"Um...Laura said something that really hit me."
"Oh yeah?" he replied. "What was that?"
"Well, you know how she's really into homebirth but she had Kaleb at the hospital? I asked her why and she said their insurance hadn't covered home birth. She said they had a conviction from the Lord to never go into debt, and that the conviction He gave them was stronger than their own personal ideals, so they decided that instead of putting his birth on credit they would go to the hospital."
I could see the twinge across his face as the words "conviction from the Lord" slapped him as hard as they'd slapped me. I could see his shoulders slump a bit as he deflated. Laura and her husband, Julian, came out of our guest bedroom then (which was really just our son's room with an extra mattress thrown in) so I knew the conversation would have to be finished later.
A few days later I waved to Julian and Laura and their kids as they left to go back home and I nearly forgot about how God had spoken through her. When we went to put our son's room back together we found a pile of their clothing and pillows. I laughed as I packed it up to take the the UPS store. Laura said she'd send us money but I laughed her off. "Pshhh. Shut it."
The day after sending the package I sat down to balance our checkbook. After having friends here for a week I was happy to see we had some money left over. Sweet. Maybe we could go out for dinner one more time before payday? I do love to eat out.
The next morning I awoke in a panic. My heart was racing and it was like God was again talking to me..."Did you pay the credit card bill?"
Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. I forgot to pay the bill. I forgot...I forgot...
Officer Hottie was already at work so I ran out to the computer to check our ledger balance...sure enough...I hadn't paid the bill. My heart sank. The minimum payment was $250 and we only had $100 left in our checking account.
Wait? Where did all that extra money go? What happened to all that overtime?
I frantically looked through the list of transactions; they screamed to me as I passed each one.
The Old Spaghetti Factory. You didn't have enough money to eat here!
The Children's Museum. Why would you even go here if you don't have money?
The Woodland Park Zoo. You paid more for GAS than for admission. And the lions were sleeping!
Trader Joe's. Really? REALLY? Chocolate covered ORGANIC pretzels? Really?
I could feel the tears building up as each transaction left me feeling more panicked and angry. How did we do this to ourselves? Where were we going to find the money to pay our bill? We'd never not paid a bill before...the weight of responsibility and failure was heavy on me as I reached for the phone to call Officer Hottie.
Through tears I explained that we'd spent our money and had no way to pay our credit card bill. Or to tithe. All that money that we'd blown through that we were going to give to our church. I felt as if we'd not only let ourselves down and been completely irresponsible but that we were also letting down God; that we had misused His blessings and cheated on Him. OH was calm and practical, promising to call the Credit company and see what we could work out.
"How did we do this? How did we get here? How could we let this happen?"
I thought back to a few months earlier when I'd overpaid our internet bill by $30 and it took our account negative. Why hadn't that forced us to look at our finances? Or two years before when OH started with the police department and his first paycheck was $700; I remembered the terror of the realization that we had no moeny and barring a miracle we wouldn't be able to make our mortgage payment. Why hadn't we allowed that to put a freeze on our spending? I thought about when he transferred to his new city and got a pay raise of over $300 and the first thing we did was buy a new car and get into a car payment. What else could we have used that $300 for? Certainly we had bills we were obligated to; how did we forget that?
My heart was heavy and burdened as I mulled over the mess we had made for ourselves.
Oh God, what are we going to do?
Little voices lifted me from my fog of self-despair. I had to turn on Mom mode and go. Change the diapers, get out the cereal, get them dressed, take a shower, go to the park ... the day moved on, each hour taking us closer to the dreaded payment deadline. I tried not to think about it, to shove it away as had been my practice for years but it was different this time. I knew things had to change, I just didn't know how we could change them, and that frustrated me almost more than not being able to pay our bills did.
The next day I woke up with an uneasy feeling in my stomach. A knot. A pit. Butterflies. I'm not sure what to call it. I hated waking up and feeling dread. It was going to be a hard day. I got the kids ready for church and while they were eating sat down at the computer to check my email. Someone had responded to our ad on Craigslist for our bedroom set. The weight, the dread, lifted slightly.
As I packed the kiddos into the car I begged the Lord to have the people buy the set. If we sold it, I knew we could pay our bill - we would make it another month.
I sat through worship and when the pastor got up to give the weekly announcements I was hardly paying attention as I was sitting next to Mom and there's always something important for us to talk about. I heard the pastor saying something about financial classes and immediately grabbed the bulletin from my mom's  hands. Sure enough there, was going to be a financial class offered for women. An answer. Hope. Help. The weight lifted a little bit more.
That afternoon a couple came over to look at our bedroom set. Officer Hottie was working and had given me explicit instructions on how to load the gun and answer the door. Having a gun on my person made me more nervous than strangers coming to our house. He's such a cop sometimes. When they arrived I saw they were an elderly couple and quickly tossed the gun on top of our fridge; it was making my pants fall down anyway. They walked into our house, took a quick look at the set, and gave me $350 in cash. I wanted to hug them, to cry, to jump up and down. I wish they knew how they saved me that day. I briefly thought of the $1700 we'd spent on this set that I just HAD to have when we first got married and the measly $350 I now held in my hands but the remorse was temporary as the burden of not being able to pay our bill that month lifted completely.
I carefully tucked the money into my purse to take to the bank the following morning. I was ecstatic that our bill would be paid on time. However, in the back of my mind I was already wondering how we would pay next month's bill and praying that the financial class would hold some answers for us.

To be continued...

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Other Woman

There is another woman in my husband's life.
She demands his love and affection. 
She will settle for nothing less than his undivided love and attention.
She climbs into our bed and hogs the sheets.
She thinks she is a princess and the world is her oyester.
She is just over three feet tall and has such a pitch to her voice when she doesn't get what she wants when she wants it, the paint could peel right off the walls.
I've seen it happen.

Little stinker. Flirting gets her everywhere.

This is GG, the million dollar blanket. I wish they came in King size. Best. Blanket. Ever. (Most people call them the little giraffe blanket because of the giraffe on the tag. I call it the million dollar blanket because it costs nearly that. My cousin bought it for her. God bless you Melissa.)

She often says something like, "My finger isn't hungry so I CAN'T eat dinner."
Oh? Ok then.

And then she smiles, because she knows she got him, hook line and sinker.

Oh how she adores her daddy.

He's pretty fond of her too. By pretty fond I mean over the moon in love.

I can't blame him.

Cinnamon and sugar crumbs. Because Daddy ran out and bought donut holes. It's what his little girl wanted.

I would like to take this opportunity to say that my husband has lost 42 pounds and now has a jawline, which I find to be highly, highly attractive and sexy. Just sayin'.

I think she tolerates him. Just kidding. She eats this stuff up.

Oh, another one? Ok, if you must.

I think I'm framing this one.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Remember When Wednesdays

Growing up, I was bossy. Really really bossy. Even still my brothers and sisters will let me boss them around, it's just that now my husband gets after me when I try to boss too much. But they didn't have my husband's protection when we were growing up and so I bossed and bossed and bossed a little more.

I made my brothers dress up in princess clothes. I made my sisters wash the dishes. I made lists of chores for them to carry out. I even tried to tell my parents what to do. My mom says that one time I came storming into the house and exclaimed, "MOTHER! Do you know how close the children are to the road?"
To which she replied that she was the mother and I could stop worrying.
To which I replied, "Then act like it."
I'm pretty sure I got a swat for that one. Thankfully I don't remember.

My whole point in pointing out how bossy I was, is that I am much less bossy now. Sort of.

There is this really great book I found, quite by accident, that I just had to buy my sisters for their birthday a few years ago.

It's about an older sister who is left in charge when her parent's go out. She bosses her little sisters and tells them to make dinner and not to wake up the baby. And then she falls into a pot and hilarity ensues when her little sisters refused to be bossed anymore.

One of my sisters laughed and laughed and said it was the best book ever that perfectly summed up their childhood with me. (Thank you Rach.)
The other sister blew me off and gave me a smirk and didn't thoroughly appreciate the novelty of the book. (Um...Boo. I'm talking about you.) I'm pretty sure that's because she always wanted to be the boss.

My kids still think I'm bossy. And my husband gets after me for bossing. And recently I had to apologize to my sister-in-law when I realized she asked about what time to be at a party and I laid out step-by-step exactly how they could arrive and be on time. She's gracious and laughed (thanks Tara). I would have told me to shut up.

On this Remember When Wednesday, I would like to remind you to love your older sister, because (as my therapist told me) she's just a little Mom trying to keep you on the straight and narrow.

At least, that's how I remember it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Debt Free Workshop

I had a wonderful time at Camp Gilead. I got to stay in Cabin 0, which just so happens to the cabin I spent my first summer as a counselor in. It smells the same. I came home (after one night) and washed everything I took with me. I aired my hairbrush and mascara wand out on the porch. I saw an old friend, we worked together during the summer of '99, and she so very graciously included me in her little "group" that had come with her. (Thank you Faith!)
The theme for the retreat was "The Wisdom Behind the Apron" and the speakers were sharing about things they learned during transitional times of their lives.
The first speaker on Friday night was a gal named Hannah. She was pregnant and blonde and adorable and too young to have done much transitioning. Except that she became a widow at 23. Her husband was killed in Iraq, during his second tour of duty, when their son was six months old. Youch. Her story is incredible and her faith is inspiring! The Lord used it to speak directly to me as, I'm sure you remember, I have lived with a lot of fear as of late. She shared some great Bible verses, which were unfortunatley tossed into the recycle bin during Officer Hottie's Clean off the Kitchen Counter Frenzy of 2010. Oh well. I came away from that session with an immense feeling of peace and hope and the reiteration of the knowledge that Christ Jesus is stronger than death and my fears.
The second speakers were ok, although I wasn't as touched as I had been the night before. Sorry gals.
The third speaker on Saturday was a 70 year old great-grandma. She was hilarious. She talked about loving our husbands and forgiveness. She said sex and bitchy (in church!) without wincing or pausing and I fell in love with her.
As for my workshops...
I think they went well. The first one was really tough as it was in a teeny room and four of the gals were Russian and had someone interpretting for them. It was just confusing. Plus, one gal asked me a really challenging question about tithing, and not being a theology major, I was kind of at a loss for what to tell her. All in all though, I think people were able to understand my story, my heart and come away with some financial hope.
The second workshop went much better. The group was a little bit smaller and it was in a larger, no interpreter talking over me made for a higher comfort level.
I was able to share information about debt using lots of the ideas you gave me! Thank you, by the way. Your ideas were SUPER helpful. If I were more technology-savvy I would put the pages I shared with the gals on here so you could look over them...this is the best I can do. Click HERE for a reality check on debt and HERE for a sample budget if you seem to have a difficult time setting one up.
Thanks for your encouragement and prayers. It was a great time and I'm working on writing out our story so hopefully you will be inspired to see that if we could get out of $27,000 in debt in 14 months, anyone can!

Friday, May 14, 2010

I'm off!

After a brief hiatus I am simply writing to say that I am heading out for my women's retreat where I will get to share about our journey to debt freedom. I know that story will make for a good post ... but it really is long and like most difficult things we go through in life, now that the journey is over I can only look back and remember the triumphs. Thankfully. Because if I only ever remembered the difficult stuff I sure wouldn't be willing to try many things that took any sort of effort.

I am nervous because I'll be speaking to a group of women (please don't fall asleep on me!) but I am so excited because I feel that if we could work our way out of a mound of debt, and go from not being able to make our minimum credit card payment, to being completely debt free (minus the mortgage) and able to pay for our Hawaiin vacation and home remodel with cash in just a few short years, anyone can do it. Anyone. I just want the women to walk away with hope!

So if you think about it, say a little prayer for me. I'll update when I'm home!

Oh, and how cool is this? The theme of the retreat is "The Wisdom Behind the Apron" and literally last week a friend (thank you dear Kathleen!) gave me a vintage apron since I've been spending so much time in the kitchen. I love it. And now I get to speak to the ladies wearing a super hot little apron that makes me feel all domestic goddess and such. Very very cool.

Yes, I'm wearing flip flops. I love flip flops. And I really love Locals flip flops. My fond affections for them will one day get it's own post.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day

A few weeks ago my oldest son came up to me with a pad of paper and a pen. He proceeded to ask me a series of questions and dilgently wrote down my answers.

His questions were:
*What is your favorite cookie?
*What is your favorite chocolate?
*What is your favorite kind of cake?
*What kind of frosting do you want?
*What is your favorite dinner?
*What is your favorite mint?
*What is your favorite dessert?
*What is your favorite color? (Mom, how do you spell streamers?)
*What kind of gift do you want?
*Would you like to go to any special places?

I'm pretty sure I'll be the most spoiled mom on Mother's Day.


 Officer Hottie is working on Mother's Day.

But seriously, how sweet is this kid?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Remember When Wednesdays

I just reached 30 followers. On Remember When Wednesday no less. I have a hard time believing that there are 30 people in this world who care to read what I write, but thank you. When I started blogging I got giddy over 3, one of which was my husband who doesn't actually read this blog, so I don't think he really counts. However, as more people have found my blog, made comments and invited me into their (online) lives, I've been very blessed. So thanks for following.

I've been having a bit of writers block the last little bit. I thought having something to focus on to write about, like Remember When Wednesday, would force my creative juices to keep flowing but creativity seems to be a little elusive so I hope you'll bear with me as I struggle through this!

This morning Momma Fargo posted a link to Momma's Pixie Dreams. Their 16 month old daughter was just diagnosed with cancer. That shook me up. I hate cancer; I wish there were a stronger word to describe how much I hate it. Resent, abhor, repulse...none really seem to describe how much I really truly feel about cancer.

When I was 15 my best friend died from cancer. I hated it when they said he had it, I hated it when they said it had returned after they thought it went away, and I really hated it the night he was so doped up on medication he could hardly remember me and the following morning when he died. I hated what it did to his family, I hated how it ripped a hole in the world, I hated how life goes on no matter who dies. I hated drinking guava mango juice because it had been his favorite, I hated not knowing what to say to his parents, I hated feeling empty and helpless. I hated when his family took a long vacation after he passed, I hated that I didn't like his other best friend so I couldn't talk to him, I hated going to the zoo because we'd gone there for his birthday once and the whole place reminded me of him. I hated being a teenager and instead of enjoying being 15 I was dealing with real life, I hated that I was so messed up I had to miss school and go to work with my mom.

15 years later the only thing I don't hate is that his sister is one of my dearest friends and his parents are still a part of my life. I love that they all love my husband. I love that his sister's son is just a few months older than my youngest so we spend a lot of time together. I love that we have each other and we can remember together. I love that our husbands are both police officers so we understand each other on a level we never thought we would. I love that we go to the same church so we can pray together and focus on what is most important. I love that she laughs and has joy and that time, Love and the Lord have erased many of her hurts and her own hate. I love that losing her brother has made her a stronger mother and wife, more fierce than she would have been. I love that she is tender toward those who are going through their own loss and that she remains vulnerable to those around her.

All that hate I dealt with ... and now all this love.

On this Remember When Wednesday I want to remember that love and hope are stronger than hate. That God is stronger than cancer. That there will be a time when all pain will be erased; although the journey and the way it ends may not be the way we want, the result can always be Healing and Hope, especially for these little ones.

I will remember to pray for Momma Pixie's little Monkey and for all those who are struggling.

I hope you will too.

Love this family.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Have you ever???

Have you ever been convinced that the conversation you just had with your husband will be the last time you ever hear his voice? Or that the last time he says "I love you" will be the last time you hear him say it to you? Have you ever been convinced that you will never see your husband alive again?

I'm sure that as police wives we all go through times of doubt and anxiety. I go through that on occasion, but usually only after something happens. I feel nervous about letting him go to work, I get worried when he doesn't call or text me, I cry and pray a lot. But it is often a reaction to an event that has already taken place.

Last week, my dad called Officer Hottie to tell him how much he loved him and how thankful he was that he was part of our family. It was very sweet. When OH and I were first engaged he and my dad didn't have the best relationship. My dad always liked him just fine, but as most young men, OH has his own way and idea of doing things and it didn't gel well with what my dad's plan was. That was long ago and any hurts or stresses from that period of time has long passed, but it still feels good to know that my love genuinly loves my husband.

When OH called to tell me my dad had called him he was very sweet. He said how nice it was of my dad to call and how he was glad they had a good relationship. And before he hung up he said he loved me so much, which he always says. When we hung up, I looked around my house, the home we've made together, and our four beautiful children and I started to cry. I just knew that was it. In a few seconds my mind was there. You know what I mean; how would I tell the kids, how would I sleep alone, who was going to notify me, who were going to be the pallbearers, how much music would they allow at the service, which pictures should we find, etc. On and on. Then I started to beg. I begged and begged and pleaded with God to protect him, to not leave me alone. I can't raise four children on my own. We're in the middle of remodeling. I can't finish that. Who will keep my feet warm at night? No one understands me like he does, no one puts up with me like he does, no one smells as good as he does ... our kids like him more than me. Then slowly I started asking for strength and help. For courage. For peace. And for sanity.

When OH called me later, hearing his voice was such relief. What he hadn't told me earlier was that a few minutes after my dad called him he was dispatched to a fairly scary call. He also had been convinced that he was being sent into certain death. It was really just the timing of everything - a seemingly random phone call from his father in law, and then getting dispatched to this particular call. He said he started driving and thought, "Ok Lord. This must be it." So he called me. He said he had wanted me to know that he and my dad really did love each other and that he loved me the most. I, of course, started crying again. I hadn't told him when he called the first time that it terrified me; that for a moment (a long long moment) I thought that just maybe my dad knew what the future held. What he hadn't said was that he felt the same way.

It was an interesting dynamic; both of us being convinced we would never see each other again. Him trying to keep his head on straight so he could do his job effectively, me trying to keep it together so my children didn't see me falling apart for no reason. When he came home that night we couldn't seem to get enough of each other.

I know death is inevitable. I know it's going to happen; one of us has to go first. I don't know if it will be today, or in a year, or in 80 years. I don't know if it will be a gunshot, a car accident, or cancer. I just don't know. And I'm thankful for that. After those few hours when I thought I knew, I realized I don't want to see it coming. I don't want to be waiting for it. I won't sit at home in fear of what I have no control over. Trust me, I've considered it. Every time I get in the car, every time he goes to work, every time he works on our house or climbs up on the roof, every time we leave our children to go on a date or a vacation, every time one of our children is gone from our family for some reason, every time my son gets on the school bus I wonder if that time will be the last time. I've got to stop. After our second son was born I went through a time of not even wanting to leave our house. The "what if's" got the best of me. It was short lived, thankfully but I realized I'm a fearful person, and fear gets me nowhere. Fear paralyzes me. It stops my life, it makes me incapable of enjoying the very life (lives) I'm afraid of losing.

I'm glad my dad doesn't see the future and I'm even more glad that he loves my husband. I'm glad my husband's first thought when he thinks he is headed to death's door is to call me and make sure I know he loves me. Mostly, I'm thankful for Peace. I am thankful for the Knowledge that death isn't the end. I am thankful for Hope.

I am thankful for one more chance to hold my husband's hand and to look into his eyes and to hear his voice.

I will let Thanks be more powerful than Fear.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

In Honor of National Infertility Awareness Week

Kate over at Busted Plumbing has been talking a lot about National Infertility Awareness Week. It has been a good read for me, with lots of tears. Last night I dreamed about Kate (if you're reading this, you were a cartoon); probably because I have been praying for her a LOT. I don't even know her. In my reality, she's literally a cartoon; a funny, sarcastic, witty cartoon. Yesterday she posted that she's pregnant, but after 5 years trying to conceive and four miscarriages she is naturally apprehensive. I've been praying for her ever since.

Her struggle is personal for me as conceiving of our first two children didn't come easy. All said and done it was only 17 months between the two of them, but those 17 months were filled with a lot of disappointments, questions and tears.
I watched my sister and her husband struggle with infertility for three years - before my sister finally conceived their daughter she was no longer eating wheat, dairy, sugar or red meats; all in an effort to get her body to do what it was supposed to do.
Currently I am watching one of my dearest friends struggle with secondary infertility. Her son just turned two and he is a joy. He was conceived immediately with only the fun kind of effort put into it. For over a year they have been waiting for the magic to happen again, but it has eluded them. Every milestone they celebrate with their son is shadowed with the knowledge that his "firsts" may be their "lasts".
Another dear friend and her husband adopted four children and suffered multiple miscarriages before she conceived and delivered her first biological child.
These stories are not unique. Unfortunately we all know someone who is currently infertile or who has struggled with infertility. Take a moment and head over to Busted Plumbing to see what Kate has to say on the issue. Then stop by to see how you can get involved in helping to find a cure for infertility and how you can support those you love who are living through this struggle.

Busted Plumbing

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What gets me through.

Today I weighed myself and was a little disheartened. I am proud to say that I am at my goal weight (woot!) but there's something about working so hard to lose weight and then not losing weight that just weirds me out. So my day just started in a funk and continued that way.

So, for dinner, I did what any good "wanna lose more weight" woman would do.

I took these very healthy four ounce chicken breasts

and dressed them up a bit.

Work it girls. Work it.

And then I gave them a nice hot bath.

Sizzle sizzle pop. Sounds of beauty and comfort.

Gotta get both sides. An even tan is a must, after all.

Oh, hello Pepper. Hello Thyme. I didn't see you there.

I didn't want them to be lonely, so I put them together with these.

My day started looking better.

So did his, apparently.

And then I went to my parent's house.
My mom had these ...

(Those are chocolate covered marshmallows, in case you couldn't tell. Milk AND white chocolate.)

So we did this.

And then magic happened.

And now, all is right with the world. And I'm throwing my scale away.