Friday, October 6, 2017

Adoption Update #1 & #2

Hi everyone! This week has been FULL. You commonly can find me or both of us buried in a pile of paperwork. My mind is mush mostly! So bear with me as I recount the last couple of weeks. Update one and two are mostly the same so I felt okay combining them. :D We decided to join up with Christian adoption consultants - Dawn and Jason Wright. We really love them and they are going to be invaluable I can already tell. They come in more after we start the home study, which we are also moving forward with that too.

Update #1



My goodness! The paperwork.


This is a pretty condensed version of the amount of paperwork. That binder is filled with paperwork just for the adoption consultants alone. Giving an overview of what will go into an adoption. That journal I am using to write to our future baby. <3 nbsp="" p="">

Here we have just some of the books I have on adoption that Josh and I are planning on reading. After this photo, I added more from the library and bought others.

I expanded on what is shown here because incredible what extent the paper is. This is kind of a dry and long update. I PROMISE the updates will not be this long, but it just took time to give a brief overview of things. ;) 

Update #2


Sorry, we were SO behind in posting these....there is no live update this week but you can tune in next week on our page. We will also try to be better about posting on here! :D Thank you all for your continued prayers. 

Megan

Friday, September 15, 2017

Moving forward

After many, many tests. Numerous emotional ups and downs on our infertility journey over the past six years and counting. We have realized that for now, God is moving us onto adoption for our family. According to our doctors, our only course is IVF - we still have mixed feelings about it and are not counting it out but for now, it is an expensive choice to name just one reason. For those unfamiliar with IVF, it can cost upwards of 20k. A staggering number to say the least. Our insurance does not cover or help with IVF costs. You can get grants but that is a whole other ball of wax. 


God is good. He is a promise-maker and a promise keeper! We hold fast to that knowledge as we trust Him, and cling to our hopes in Him.

The update for this week is that we have two skype interviews with adoption agencies. The costs with adoptions can greatly vary and a LOT of couples are out there trying to adopt as well! A blessing that presents its own challenges, the room fills up and you're placed on a waiting list with no more than an email saying "we'll keep in touch". It's hard but yay God! I'm so thankful for each person having a small part of God's heart. That's okay but it is hard to take already and we are just at the beginning of this journey. I for one am SO thankful for God sending me on this journey, I am learning new things alongside Josh left and right. Information overload! It is so amazing how much I was wrong, and the comfort to be found just in digging a little deeper, talking with friends who've been where we are. I ask for your prayers for our journey, and for these upcoming interviews. 

 We plan to use this blog, and our facebook page to keep you updated on our journey. I will plan to at least touch base weekly here on Fridays. We plan to even have live videos from our facebook page not sure what that will look like yet but we are excited! 

Blessings, Megan

Monday, January 23, 2017

Debt - newly completed archived post (2016)

Let me start by saying I am really "screwed up", I have weaknesses, I make mistakes daily, I am a slob and fail daily at my chosen profession. Thankfully I'm a sinner covered by God's grace and Jesus's sacrifice has paid it all. I will continue to work on my shortcomings. I would have thrown in the towel ages ago if not.

I would also love to babble on about fluffy life stuff from home, but I'm going to just be honest with you first and save the "fun and feel good" stuff I love for another post. This post is more directed at those my own age, older than me, and younger than me. I won't pretend with you as I stated, and I am in no position to judge you- that is NOT my place. So please, open your heart to hear this if you need to and know that I make just as many mistakes as you do daily. Without further babble...

Again, please read to the end and hear me out.

My unfiltered opinion (warts and all). Most people have been weighted down with debt. The sad truth is it normally starts at 18 when society/family/peers say we need to leave home, get a job, start college, get a car.... The list goes on forever. How to we normally keep afloat? A job sure, with what you can fit in between social and college hours. Commonly, low paying. How do we amend this? DEBT. Namely, credit card debt. Credit card companies KNOW this! They prey on young adults just getting started. I can't tell you how many I've received, cramming my mailbox almost daily! Every one of those has hit the dustbin. Have I ever borrowed money? Yes, I told you I've made mistakes. Was the CC for braces needed? No. I could have waited. My old used car was only $2400, such a good deal for a good little car...did we need it? No. We could have shared a car longer. The list goes on. Am I thankful for them still - YES! Was it worth it? No, it is n-e-v-e-r "worth it".

The lie is that you "need" a CC to build credit.

God has really pressed on me that I should write about this, why not on Facebook? Facebook really is just a way for people to have an excuse to fuel their drama/opinions everywhere, so countless times the message intended gets lost. That is why this post is blocked from comments because I want you to hear free of the influence of others opinions and seek what's best between you and God. Only you and God decide. Married couples? Together and with God. Hard but simple.

IF you find yourself upset by your own debt and want to change that. Do the research, find another way, pay back debt. Forgive yourself, start again.

I know I might be stepping on toes, and that is NOT my intent. God has shown us that living as debt-free as possible is what is best for our family. I just want you to be aware, decide between YOU and GOD what is best.

(original post- dated June 2016)  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

It's Tamale day!

Hope and Allons-y
...or at least it was yesterday. Let me start by saying, hats OFF to any ladies and gents who make tamales more regularly than never. It was intense! Granted, we made several types of meat so it took longer but still. I wish now I had counted how many were made! That would have been fun to know. Our sweet friend Hope offered to teach us how to make tamales so we excitedly accepted her offer! It was so much fun.



Ian

We started our adventure around 1 pm, Hope and my grandparents left around 5pm...we finished wrapping everything about 10 pm. Not including how long we were cooking after. For our stove, it took on average 2 hrs to steam each batch. It made me realize I need a steam pot for myself! We only had my Mom's to work with so only one batch could be done at a time. O.O It was a LOT of fun and we are excited for next time! 


We ended the lovely day with some skip-bo and popcorn. (please excuse the Christmas boxes mess in the background, such is life sometimes.)

----

Brag on the hubby corner ...

I'd like to take this next section to brag on my honey! Since posting about us starting back to THM & exercise (well, just him right now), hubby weighed in later that day and he is down 2 LBS since his last weigh-in a week ago. WTG babe! So happy for you!!! Also, he bought me beautiful roses....

----

Okay, okay here comes the part where I lose my mind...oh who am I kidding? That was lost long ago. *snicker*. If you follow me on social media at all you that...I love Lilla Rose Flexi clips! Durable, flexible, comfortable, not to mention beautiful. Okay, I'll stop bragging about them and show you how EXCITED I am that they have just announced this release....


 EEEEEEEEE! It will be released on 1/25! It is a limited release so I predict they will be sold out in a flash, so you can be guaranteed I will be among the first. 

....and on the same day the stunning Feb FOTM will also be released! To allow plenty of time for you to get it for Valentine's. *hint, hint guys!* 


Look for these and other newly released styles on 1/25: www.lillarose.biz/joshuaandmeganforever 

Really, I'm not trying to be all "you have to buy this!", I just want to share something I really love! It has blessed my life since finding this company and it was SO affordable to join (under $50!) I did for the discount! (not to mention no monthly sales quotas EVER!) 

Have a blessed Sunday everyone. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Starting again...(weight loss)

It has been a LOOOONG time since I was on plan, making menu plans, exercising, losing weight. Now I'm at my heaviest ever (I am sure), not sure of the number but my previous number was over 178. I lost well last time combined with THM (trimhealthymama) and exercise, I deleted all weight loss pics and numbers because I felt like a fluffy failure.(Anyway...sorry rambling.) I decided to take beginning pictures this time because I was sad I didn't last time. I find it is good to see "before" so you know how far you've come from. I want to be healthy and trim again, God willing (and He is) I will reach it again! I also am doing measurements this time until I weigh in (and after). This picture is today, we've been loosely on plan for two weeks. I've been cheating more than Josh the first week so this has been a better week for me. (Actually, minus ONE cheat dessert that was planned he's been off sugar and doing wonderful, and is looking trimmer! GO BABE! )


Measurements are...
40 In - waist
45 1/2 - hips
44 - thighs....whew that is scary to admit out loud. Anyway, I will try to post here weekly with how my menu plans, exercise, etc went....I use a fitbit to take exercise and I want to use an app that will track my inches...but I won't worry about it too much. I probably will use my fitness pal too. Feel free to add me! :)



(edited 1/22 to add these Joshie took for me later in the day)

P.S. I also hate when women post their before pictures with no makeup, and the after is with makeup. It's a pet peeve of mine. However, I needed to get on with my day so I didn't....not gonna die on that hill but I wish I'd had makeup on here. *eye roll*

 Pin It

Friday, January 13, 2017

Changes in 2016

(Warning picture heavy)

I officially said nothing last year, really it just went unsaid. 2016 was a very, very long year. It was not the worse year, but it was far from the best. Not that I keep them tallied. My thought line has been....what does God want next from us? We started out our 2016 really slow, and right after my birthday at the beginning of July, it changed with a great bang. We spent the whole month moving all eleven of us, and we moved twenty minutes away to our current rental. Which we like but has flaws like anything else, but we have an awesome landlord. I've got to say this, though I did NOT realize what a huge luxury it is to have more than one pet. But, I "pause" and a side note here for a fertility installment, as if life could get any more crazy. ( If you're one of the families that always go, go, go that is awesome - we are just not one of them! So this is unusual and stressful for us ) Hubby had varicocele surgery, because of his low T problems, our fertility issues, nothing was getting better until we did the surgery or so we thought. But more on that later. You never realize just how bad the disrepair is in your home, and how much time all the little things add up. I knew it would take a long time because we couldn't just hire it out, well we could have but that probably would have cost a small fortune. So onward we pushed, painting all the rooms in the house, installing new fire alarms, finishing the side yard, cleaning, replacing the kitchen sink, cleaning up the flower bed, a million trips to lowes, setbacks you get it...this list was unending huge. Tons of money spent on fast food for anyone who was working at the house and we all took our turns, a special shout-out to my daddy who spent all of his free weekends for two months helping out and to my hubby to wheeled and dealed for us when we needed items (i.e. carpet, tile, etc.), and returned stuff when it didn't. He is my hidden gem when it comes to this, I would just pay the price on the sticker so God matched us so well in this additional small way.
BEFORE: Replacing the vanities, and installing floor (hired) 
BEFORE: Other side





Flowers for the flowerbed found these for a steal! I think it was $14 for the entire cart!



That time lowes messed up our vanity countertops (both corners aren't rounded, the only did ONE side- on both)  
That time Lowes messed up our carpet order, cannot tell you how upset we were! Turns out someone fat fingered a number wrong. Thankfully the gal who was in charge of the carpets (not the order) went to several different Lowes on the same day and found the carpet we had ordered! She was AWESOME, and it was still installed same day...did I mention all this was going down when we were leaving on a jet plane the same day?! (See what I did there? John Denver fans know. ;) ) 


After - Here we painted, finished dehazing the floor (for the deal we got I was okay with finishing the job), replaced outlet covers, touched up the paint frame on the beautiful mirrors. Assembled, installed the vanities, the countertops, cut the holes for the sinks (no small feat I assure you! I couldn't watch my awesome Dad and Mom did them), installed the sinks and faucets, installed the drain pipes, installed new handles (we hated those icky brass ones we had) grouted EVERYTHING. Cleaned EVERYTHING on last time.
Master Bedroom, the only bedroom we only did touch-ups. Word of advice, hindsight being what it is...just pay the money and paint everything the same neutral color, the whole house. We save money using what we had, finding deals...but spending extra money on paint brushes, rollers, etc. Also, buyers/realtors will notice the lines where the old paint meets the new, and call it unprofessional. It's just not worth it! Trust me, I am a thrifty gal. I want to save every penny I can. The dollars you save might cost you because that's all potential buyers see. Frustrating.
Bedroom #1 - All the walls painted, and like ALL the rooms in the house baseboards, trim, doors painted as well with the trim paint we chose. Best decision we made painting all the trim. You don't realize how stained something is until it's freshly done.
Bedroom #2 - Even though you can't see it, we had to replace this door (boys, that is all I have to say). Let me just say many, many, many hours spent on that thing - over several days. This room was also painted, carpet installed (professionally, I wasn't touching that project with a ten-foot pole!)
Upstairs Bathroom - Walls/Ceiling Painted. Mirror Trim painted. This door also broke, it came apart actually! So again many hours on that massive little project. This bathroom was also strip down, we even had sub-floor that had to be replaced because of prior to us water damage. (That was fun) Happy to say that now it is very reinforced and sturdy. We even waterproofed under the tile with ditra. Cabinet and sink are IKEA finds we used.
Loft/Game Room: Walls/ Trim painted including that closet. New faceplates installed.
Downstairs: Living Room/Dining Room: Minor repair was done on the floor. New DR light installed. Red/Beige walls touched up. All the vents were also cleaned in all the rooms.
Bedroom #3/ Office: Walls/ Trim/ Doors painted.
Downstairs 1/2 Bath: Walls/ Trim/ Door Painted. Since we moved in here this room was also gutted to the bare bones. We did everything from the tile to the light fixture. The cabinet was from IKEA, as was the sink. We installed all the toilets too. 
Now for my beautiful kitchen, I know someone new is going to love it and it is time to move on. I just cannot describe enough how I loved this kitchen. We all put a lot of time and love into it too over the years. (Bought in '09) I wish I could find a before picture and if I run across it I will add it to this post. It was stripped down to nothing, and I mean down to the concrete slab.  Everything was done by us, including hand assembling each cabinet (by my amazing hubby), installing the beautiful tile and backsplash. We are not timid DIY's as you can see, and all helped spearheaded by my amazing Mom who was invaluable!


This home actually came with two places you could have your fridge which was PERFECT with all eleven of us. However, it was silly to keep. Here we extended countertop space with an additional huge upper and lower cabinet! This is where the additional plug was installed (the only one you can see on the right-hand side) by a professional. That is the only thing we do not DIY. The light also had to be done because it went from a hideous out-dated box light to this beautiful track lighting.

Sadly, the beautiful french doors got delayed being installed so they missed the pictures! I could have wept. Oh well, life isn't perfect! However, we installed the huge pantry wall. You cannot tell but it has a beautiful beadboard on the wall behind the shelving. :) New light here too.
Did I mention our island is an IKEA hack we came up with as a family? It was a project that was a LOT of fun. It is 10' long and can move about on the casters we have attached underneath with a wood frame. We used x4 IKEA expedit shelves on their side, which are no longer available to buy. They have been replaced with Kallax. (insert eye roll here). Then we bought the counter-top from lowes and placed it on top! 


Laundry Room: A "before" of the beautiful french doors! Freshly painted walls/door/trim.
View from the entryway. The floor here, a beautiful bamboo one was our first major DIY project on the house. It was back breaking work let me tell you. Let me tell you this, never, ever again will I install flooring by gluing. It was awful.  It was years ago, and I am still debating if it was worth it or not. 
The backyard before the new doors. I hate sliding glass doors with a passion...they break, they are so hard to keep the tracks clean. Don't keep them if you have the money to replace it. 
The beautiful after of the door, I couldn't close it because the paint was still wet and my light was leaving. I painted it the same raspberry color as the front door. (LOVE!) Trim was also caulked and painted since the wood was new. 
Another view and we back up the green belt, it is so lovely. We installed this fence while we lived here and a back gate to the green belt. Something very special to us happened in this backyard. We were married here with a hundred or so guests,  memories are special things. It just will be weird knowing I can't every go back there once it's sold and visit it. Not that I would want to but still...
This side yard that houses the trash/recycling wasn't here. We added the extension on when we replaced the fence. Best decision EVER. We laid the slab for the bins and laid the gravel. 
Even more, clean-up was done to the garden after this, I just wanted everything looking a little greener and lush when photos were taken. I will miss my beautiful rose bushes and flowerbed. Thankfully, those can be replaced I know. 
We listed the house at the beginning of Sept. and anxiously await the new owners so we can take the next step, whatever that looks like.  




  Amidst all this stress and new situations, Josh went in for his three-month check-up in November. We received very discouraging news. None of his counts had gone up, in fact, his Low T counts went DOWN which is critical for him to lose any weight, among other things. I was out running errands with my Mom while Josh went to his appt. The results were basically: IVF is your only option, and we don't know why your count has gone down. With all the stress build-up this topped off the metaphorical cake. I cried and cried...I have no idea what step God wishes us to take next. We would both appreciate your prayers as we prayerfully consider the next step for our family. It can take up to a year for the surgery to take effect more but this was and is little comfort.

                             -----------------------------------------------

I hate to leave a post like this - open and uncertain but such is life and our current path. God has a plan and we are listening to hear and see what He has next for us. I don't know when I will update next. We are packing up our rental house again in June. That is all any of us knows at this point in time. So prayers for (a) Two houses for us and for my family to be shown to us in our search. (b) For Josh's continued healing. (c) What path to take next on our infertility journey. Thanks and love to you all.