Thursday, June 29, 2006

Glad about Glads

In early spring, I planted about 50 gladiolus bulbs along the back fence. They all blossomed this last week.

Isn't God amazing!? That little ugly bulb sat inside the dark earth for a few months and then pushed up this glorious flower. What fun God must have had imagining up all these wonderful creations!

Music Room: Before & After

A week ago, Josh and I brainstormed all the projects we'd like to finish before the baby arrives. On the top of our somewhat lengthy list (can this count as part of the 101 in 1001?) was redoing the music room. We wanted to paint, and put up wainscoting, baseboard, chair railing and crown moulding. We have been tackling the project every night (and late into the night!) for a week. Last night we finally "finished" the project.

Below are the before and after photos. The "before" photo is a bit dark, but you can get the idea: white walls, hodgepodge decor, and clutter. If anyone knows someone in need of a drum set, let me know. Ours has retired to the garage.

The first "after" photo is taken from the same place as the "before." I love the new arrangement, with the couch on the wall where the piano had been. . . much more inviting. We decided that the new room is perfect for cozying up on the couch with a good book and a mug of hot cocoa (one reason to look forward to winter!). If you're ever in the neighborhood, drop in, and we'll make you a mug.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


As of July 1st, the R Family will be switching to a good old-fashioned envelope system for all our discretionary spending. Josh and I were brainstorming the best way to get ourselves acclimated to our new and improved, one-income budget. We did a bit of research and read in several places that the fastest way to cut 15-30% of all discretionary spending is to switch over to using cash.

The reason cash-only saves money is two-fold. Firstly, it hurts to spend cash. Slide the card, and it doesn't really feel like money is being spent ( A while ago, fastfood restaurants realized that people spend about 20% more on every single purchase when they are using plastic. So, what do you now find at every drive-thru and every register? ATM and credit card swipers!) But, when you have to pull out cash and hand it over in exchange for goods, you really analyze whether or not the goods you are getting are worth the cash you are giving. Secondly, using cash-only also forces you to stop spending once the cash is gone. If there are still 5 days left until the end of the month, but the dining-out envelope only has $1 in it, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that dinner at Olive Garden isn't an option.

Our current policy is to use our debit/credit cards for nearly every purchase. We always pay off the credit card at the end of the week (gotta love those online accounts with unlimited payment scheduling) . The advantage of this approach is that the bank and credit card companies automatically create a record of every purchase. That's less work for us. At the end of each week, I go over the activity for that week and categorize it in Quicken. We have utilized the records to help us get a good handle on where our money has been spent.

But, now that we have a baseline for all our different budgeting categories, we are switching over to cash-only. Our goal is to pay off our house as quickly as possible and in order to do that on one income, we are cutting our discretionary spending.

I am so thankful to have a husband that is such a good and careful steward of our money. I'm thankful that we have exactly the same approach to spending/saving/giving. It sure makes life easier!

I'll keep you updated. And, if you see me in the grocery store with a wallet full of envelopes, you'll know why!

Technical Difficulties

For the last month, not one single comment has appeared. I thought perhaps my posts were boring and/or all of you were no longer interested in baby bumps and European travels.

But, I guess I was wrong. . . A good friend of mine emailed me this morning (thanks Christianne!) and asked my why her comments weren't showing up. I guess, somehow or other, I inadvertently disabled the comments in my settings. The problem has been fixed. From now on, new comments will appear. Unfortunately, any comments left during the last month are gone forever. Sorry!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Last night Josh and I took a tour of the Family Birthing Center at the hospital just down the street from our house. Somehow, seeing those labor and delivery rooms made it all very real.

We went to bed at a decent hour, but my mind was racing. I had that sudden and overwhelming sense of panic! A baby. A real baby. A real baby is coming. It's so crazy. Josh and I will be responsible for the health, safety, nourishment, education and spiritual training of this little being. Not for a week, not for a month, not for a year. . . nope, we'll never stop being parents. Life will be forever different. Better, I'm sure, but completely different.


Please, God, be gracious! Please, God, give us wisdom. . . you know we need it!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


As you can see, the baby is definitely growing. Last night I sat down on the couch after a busy evening and was about to count eight kicks in only five minutes. So, not only is the baby growing, but getting stronger by the day!

* For those of you who were with me when this blog first started, you may also like to note our happy wisteria plant which is now climbing all over the trellis. I can't wait for next year's blooms!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Favorite Memory from Prague

Perhaps I am committing a logical fallacy by generalizing from the specific to the universal, but I believe that traveling is very good for relationships. For me, it is a wonderful opportunity to get out of the everyday pattern and experience unfamiliar situations that increase my love, respect and appreciation for the gift that God has given in my spouse.

On this trip, I learned that my husband is extremely kind, compassionate and patient. I knew all that before, but I saw it demonstrated in a way that was overwhelming to me while we were abroad. Absolutely overwhelming.

Unfortunately, the combination of a 14-hour plane trip on Saturday, 7-hours of walking on cobblestone streets on Sunday, and a genetic predisposition to lower back problems resulted in severe back pain for me, beginning the 3rd day of our trip. By the 4th day, I was completely bed-ridden. I couldn't walk, even from the bed to the bathroom. I couldn't sit. I couldn't stand. I couldn't lay down. I was literally sick from the pain (I vomited for the first time since 7th grade!). My mom has similar back troubles so I knew that what I was experiencing was not dangerous, just exceedingly painful. Every time my mom has had a back spasm, the only thing the doctor tells her is to take prescription muscle-relaxers (which I can't take since I'm pregnant) and wait it out until the muscles release their vice grip. Sometimes that can take hours, sometimes days. Meanwhile, the pain is intense (I told my mom about it after we got home safely and she assured me that between child labor and back spasms, she thought child labor was easier)! However, experiencing a back spasm for the first time in a foreign country while being 5-months pregnant with our first child, made the experience very scary.

God sends us trials to teach us things. And, I can truly say I am very thankful for those 96 hours of physical pain. I am thankful it was utterly debilitating. I am thankful it happened while we were thousands of miles from home. I am thankful because through it, I learned to completely entrust myself to the protection and care of my husband. It's so easy to rely on myself for many things because I've always been able to "handle it". While single, I put myself through college, established a good career, and was able to buy my own home. The last 8 months have been a joyful process of learning to submit to the headship of my husband, but it's a continuing struggle to see him as truly necessary. I thank God for the abrupt and convincing lesson that I really am the weaker vessel and that I really do need him. I learned that I cannot make it on my own; I shouldn't try. . .I need the protection and covering of my husband. While single and unable to rely on my parents, God gave me the grace to handle situations on my own, as He does for all Christian single women who are awaiting marriage. However, the grace He has now given me is through my provision of my husband.

Being completely and utterly dependent upon Josh was a wonderful and humbling experience. I saw him in a way I had never seen him before. He was strong yet tender, adamant yet gentle. He amazed me. I was so blessed by him and so grateful to God for giving me a godly, loving, servant-hearted husband.

I am happy to report that the back spasm passed by Thursday evening and we had a wonderful vacation, despite the little interruption. The city was beautiful and we had many cool experiences, but my favorite memory from Prague will always be the moment Josh lifted me from the bed, put me in a warm bath that he had drawn, and sat by the side of the tub to give me sips of cool water.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Picturesque Prague

Just about everyone who heard that Josh and I were going to Prague asked the same question-- "Why Prague??" Well, a picture is worth a 1000 words so here is my 8,000 word essay to answer that question. For those of you that aren't convinced, I can send you more pictures.

21 weeks

The baby bump is now definitely visible. Even to the untrained eye! This picture was taken about 10 days ago on the Golden Lane in Prague. I'll be posting more pictures from our wonderful trip but for now, I wanted to get the latest pregnancy picture up.