Friday, December 28, 2012

The End of Our World!

So on December 21st, (a week ago), the end of the world didn't come, but the end of the world as I know it came.  A week ago my husband completed his last day of a 5-year medical residency.  He's now a board eligible Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatrist.  He's completed 26 formal years of training and education.  All of this education and training after high school has had me playing an active part in his education and training pursuits.  Kelly and I met within the first two months of our first year of college; I guess that means we're college sweet hearts.  The journey so far has no words to adequately describe the experiences we've had.  This year has been the toughest yet the most rewarding at the same time.

Friday, December 7, 2012

5 Biggest

Yesterday was my 39th birthday and was forgettable (hopefully) with the exception of Catriona (my DD) making me a beautiful chocolate, coconut pecan, nutella chocolate cake and dinner!  She's so thoughtful and I just love her for that. 

So today I'd like to do an exercise.  Here are my five biggest TODAY....
1.  That Kelly finds a job that will provide for our family, help us dig out of residency debt, and is something he will enjoy as much as he can at this point in our lives considering the whole situation.
2.  That I'll be able to lose 40 pounds before my 40th birthday.  I'd also like to breastfeed Lexi until her birthday which is in April which augments my goals to lose just 5 pounds by the end of April.
3.  That a year from now, all this financial stress of running out of money the end of Kelly's residency will be a thing of the past. 
4.  That our overall stress level will decrease in 2013, and that every member of our family will be able to live with a little less stress and more quality time for each other.
5.  That I'll be able to improve my relationship with my Heavenly Father through better temple attendance, better person prayer, and a better commitment to family religious study (family prayer, family scripture study, etc.).

1.  That in the next few years Kelly is able to move into the best job for his wants and needs.
2.  That I'll be able to nurture my family better because I don't need to focus as much on providing for our family. 
3.  That Preston chooses to go on a mission and thrives and inspires other on his mission.
4.  That Preston, Catriona, Tristan, and Lexi feel more loved and supported by me because I'm emotionally better able to be there for them.
5.  That I find my place professionally that helps me grow professionally, and doesn't overly stress me out crippling my primary responsibility to be a great wife and mother.

1.  That financial recovery will continue to cause us great stress and our children will continue to be affected by this.
2.  That Preston will be too hard on himself and lose a piece of his optimistic and hopeful spirit, and that he will be unable to learn and grow through this struggles and failures as well as his successes.
3.  That I'll gain weight or won't be able to lose my weight debt next year.
4.  That Kelly's car won't make it, or he'll get in a crash because of the repairs we've not been able to do.

1.  That I have been a troll at times to Kelly (my DH) at times during this process of him ending residency and finding a job so late; he's got essentially three weeks left.
2.  That we didn't list our home for 30K less so it had a better chance of selling; but even with the stress, I'm glad we didn't sell now because we might be able to stay in our home.
3.  That I didn't ask for financial help sooner before my credit rating tanked and that I didn't find more ways to cut costs.
4.  That I paid a full tithe the whole time, again being humble asking for help when we came up short.  Choosing to pay our mortgage instead of tithing kind of set the stage for our financial turmoil that started in 2010.

question=/faq/church-tithing/ 5.  That I didn't get more help once I started gaining the weight back at the beginning of Kelly's residency so I wouldn't be in this position now.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Curvy Divas

I've got these wonderful women that I walk with on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9AM-10AM that live in my neighborhood, and this morning, just as always, we went for our walk.  We walk about 4 miles, give or take, and baby Lexi comes along in a jogger stroller.  I love walking with these ladies.  Today is my 39th birthday and I couldn't think of anything I'd want to do more on this beautiful Thursday morning.  We call ourselves the Curvy Divas.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Planes, Mega Family Reunion on Many Levels

The only way to document this is chronologically.....

Day 1 - The Flight from NC to AZ

Thursday, October 18, 2012
Was dropped off at the airport by Kelly with Lexi in two (5 months for one more week).  First flight headed into Charlotte, and went on without a hitch.  Second flight was from Charlotte to Phoenix, AZ.  While this flight was long, Lexi was a champ and did a great job.  I arrived in AZ late into the night (about 1 AM my time, and about 10 PM Arizona time).  After getting off the plane, I noticed that Amy was waiting for me!  She caught be a bit off guard as the only way to meet someone at the gate is if you've come into the airport also.  She arrived with Liz and Melissa, and gave me a warm welcome with all the siblings (except Debi), and my parents.  It was such a warm welcome; words can't describe how much fun it was to see them.  All of us are married now, and all but Melissa have kids so it was a bit surreal to all be there without spouses.  Anthony was among the most excited and was ready to party that night.  I, on the other hand, just wanted to find a bed and get some sleep.  We checked into the hotel around 2 PM (my time), and 11 AZ time and my roommate was Melissa.  It was odd not having a chance to really talk with her and trying to get right to bed. 

Day 2 - Wedding Day
At 6 AM my time (9 AZ), I said to Melissa, "can we have our sleep over now that I've had some sleep?" She laughed and we enjoyed getting to know each other again.  It was super fun that Lexi got to meet her aunt Melissa, Amy, and Liz. Downstairs to have the continental breakfast super early, it was an exciting day just getting started.  It was so fun to talk with Melissa and get to know each other again.  Soon after, met up with Liz and Amy, staying down the hall, and we were off to Anth's house for the day.
After arriving at Anth's, we got the grand tour.  Anthony has a beautiful home and it awesome getting to see it.  Lunch at Anth's, a good nap in Anth's bedroom for Lexi, and back to the hotel to change, we were off to the wedding.  What a beautiful wedding.  I think Angelica was the most beautiful bride I've seen.
After Angelica had there ceremony, we met in the reception hall.  This venue was absolutely beautiful and the reception hall was no exception.  Due to the music and late hour for Lexi, Amy helped me out by taking me home early so I could put Lexi to bed.  She'd had enough soon after meeting in the reception hall.

Day 3 - Melissa's 25th Birthday
This morning Amy and Liz and I decided to take Melissa out to breakfast for her birthday.  She was really excited for her birthday this year because of the news that Jeff got a job working for the International Rescue Committee.  I'm so happy for Melissa.  She's grown into such a beautiful woman. 

After eating a hearty breakfast, we headed over to Anthony's house where we discovered that Dave and Anthony wanted to treat Melissa out to lunch....oops.  After holding off Dave and Anthony as long as possible giving Lexi a nap, we had lunch at the Paradise Cafe.  So, out to each for both breakfast and lunch - a real treat for me.

Saturday afternoon, after having a nice chat with Melissa, and getting to know Angelica, we had a pool party.  Anthony's pool was crystal clear, but very cool.  That dip in the pool I'm sure gave me a much needed cold skin treatment.  After the swim, we were off once again for a catered meal, this time at Angelica's parents home for authentic mexican corn tortillas.  So delicious!

Saturday evening Mom & Dad stayed with Lexi to sleep while we all went out for frozen yogurt.

Day 4 - AZ to UT Car Trek
Sunday morning I packed up our stuff and we were off for the 11 hour drive from Phoenix, AZ to Salt Lake City, UT.  What a memorable trip traveling with a 6 month old.  The highlight of the trip was having my mom and dad all to myself for 11 hours.  I hope I didn't wear them out, but really loved their company.  Lexi was also blessed with being content and happy as a pea in a pod.  We arrived at my parents home at around 9:30 PM.

Day 5 - Being part of Salt Lake Family
Day 6 - Salt Lake to Logan, UT -------------Go Aggie's
Day 7 - Grandpa's Funeral
Day 8 - The Flight Home

gotta finish this later........

Two passes to a clean tub!

Yup, that's right, it took two passes of bleach to get the tub clean.  The second one I had to get right because I finally got dressed today after a much needed post-long-weekend bath at around 2:30 PM today just after getting Lexi down for an afternoon nap and seeing Kelly off for work.   After the second pass, I felt relieved as I finally got dressed into my black jeans and dark hot pink shirt; not a friendly mix for mildew remover bleach cleaner stuff.  Hanging out in a hoodie sweatshirt and sweat pants all morning wasn't good for my already low morale.

This morning Kelly (my DH) was off work.  So, I decided to dilly with a bit of work, a bit of cleaning, and a lot of baby care.  Lexi (my infant DD) had a rough night last night with a her waking at 2 AM for an unusual feeding time.  Then, when I returned, my DH was in a deep snoring snooze until I left the room at 4 hoping to get a few hours before getting Tristan off to school at 7:30 AM.  Lexi was in the same room as me and was a tosser until she finally went down again around 4:30 AM.  This morning I discovered she has her first top tooth.....go figure.....get to blame that one on teething.

While Lexi napped this morning, I found myself having a pity party.  The end of this residency marathon has been wrought with unexpected climbs, bruises, and a possible extension.  I'm sure if I really ran a marathon I'd be crawling to the finish line, and metaphorically I feel I'm there with Kelly's medical residency, and now it might be a few more months.  Being in limbo is really rough mentally.  Not knowing how you're going to pay for the remainder of his student loans, health insurance, mortgages, groceries, the list goes on and on is stressful.  The pity party centered around the fact that I thought we'd have the answers to these questions by now.  We don't.  There are still options to consider, a lot of work to do, and the prayers needed to make the right decision for our family. 

So, that's where I'm at today.  Cleaning the tub today reminded me that sometimes you have to make more effort than you anticipate, or go a little further than you expect,  to get the end result.

Monday, October 8, 2012

So Romantic!

Wow!  That was the longest weekend ever!  I swear, Tristan was the hardest he's ever been dozens of times taxing both Kelly and I to our limits on patience.  On Friday afternoon I felt victorious as I had ALL the laundry done in the house before Kelly got home from work about 7:30 PM.  This gave me a good guage to see how many pants/shorts Tristan goes through on average in a day.  To back track, he's regressed significantly since Lexi came 5 months ago.  He's always wet his pants, but now he's choosing not to use the bathroom and wets his pants all day.  Any people out there with suggestions on how to stop this, let me know?  Right now, he can't play video games again until he's potty trained.  This is defined as no wet pants outside of his bed.  He's still permitted to wet at night if he has accidents, but can't walk around the house in his wet pull-ups; such a pet peeve of mine.  So, ready for the tally?  We went through TEN outfits last weekend or an average of five outfits per day.  Totally unacceptable. 

Add this stress on top of all the other crazy stuff he was doing all weekend, and you'll get an idea of how tough it was.  He's such a tough kid, but there is a tender side of him that wins my heart every time.  Lately, he's been obsessed, and I mean obsessed with collecting acorns.  Now this is something I love about Tristan; he reminds me often of how beautiful the mind of a 7 year old is.  Don't you just love his serious face?  Collecting acorns is serious business.

The other big happening this weekend was watching general conference.  For those of you who have never watched it, I highly recommend it!  It was a breathe of fresh air for me to hear and remember what's most important in life; doing Christ's work here on earth. 

So Romantic!
Being 38 years old with a 5 month new baby, and broke at the end of Kelly's medical  residency, I'm in a bit of a fashion crisis.  My body still has about 17 pounds to lose to be at my pre-pregnancy weight, and about 40 pounds to lose to be at my pre-residency weight; stress is my biggest contributor to weight gain.  This has left me with limited options to take care of myself.  It doesn't help that I don't feel good about my current weight. 

On Friday night, while talking to my mom on the phone, I started crying as all the pent up emotions of me giving up so much of myself for our family came out on the phone.  I kind of feel bad now letting those emotions loose as its been something I've kept pretty secure.  Kelly came in afterwards, and saw that I'd been crying and asked me why.  I confessed to him that I was crying because I didn't have a dress to wear to the wedding, and that I was sad that even if I wanted a dress, we didn't have the money for me to buy one. 
Before my wonderful husband left for the men's session on Saturday night, he knelt down next to me and said he needed to talk to me about something. A little worried, I said "okayyyyy?" He then got out two intricately and neatly folded up one-hundred dollar bills and handed them to me. He had been keeping these hundreds in his wallet since December when he got some money as a gift for Christmas.  He was saving this money to buy something he really wanted. He then said that he wanted to spend his Christmas money on getting me a nice dress for my brothers' wedding coming up in two weeks and said on Monday or Tuesday night, he'd like me to get a nice dress for the wedding with this money.  It was a very tender and loving moment for me.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Nutella - Try with Caution!

So last week, on a whim and after I ran out of sunflower butter (I sadly discovered a moderate peanut allergy in my mid-thirties), I had a Nutella Sandwich.  Wow!  I'm 38, and have never tried Nutella.  I've missed out on this hidden delight all these years.  I'm shocked.  So delicious.  So tonight, I picked up several items I can try with Nutella including graham crackers, strawberries, bananas, and vanilla wafers.  When I got to the store, the Jiff chocolate hazelnut was cheaper so I bought that.

Oddly, Catriona discovered Nutella about the same time and has polished off the whole container in about a week after she ran out of her staple; peanut butter. 

Discovering Chocolate Hazelnut Butter is not good news for my weight loss goals, but I just don't have the oomph lately to work on losing more weight.  I'm working on it, but it seems the more behind my vendors get at owing me money, the harder it is for me to lose weight.  Financial stress directly correlates to weight gain for me lately.  When Kelly started residency, I weighed 173 pounds.  I now weigh 210.  When I started my pregnancy last year I weighed about 193 which means I only put on 20 pounds during his residency; not too bad.  Just writing about this makes me want to lose the weight again because I loved how clothes fit and how I felt when I was thinner..

In July and August, I lost 10 pounds!  In September I didn't lose any more.  I need to lose about 40 pounds to be at what I consider my acceptable weight.  I've discovered that every 10 pounds of fat corresponds to about a size larger. 
200 = 18
190 = 16
180 = 14
170 = 12 acceptable
160 = 10 ideal

All that said, gaining weight and sacrificing the health of my hips had its massive reward!  I have the most beautiful new baby you've ever seen!  I know I'll be fit again soon, but at age 38, every month I put of having another baby lowered my chances off her getting her here safely.  I feel so blessed and thankful today.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


This morning I attended a Kindermusic class for our 5 month old Lexi.  Lately, I've been trying to think of ways to entertain and play with her that are outside of my usual play routine, and this class was just what I didn't know I was looking for.  It was fun to sing to her, work on movement, and watch her responding at such a young age to all the different stimuli.  I give it a thumbs up!
This morning was also my first day at a new gym I joined.  It's a step up from my previous gym, especially with what I would rate the gym child care as being 5 star!

Kelly has his first post residency interview tomorrow.  He's getting his hair cut right now for the big interview.  My mind is continually wondering lately as this season in our lives is coming to a close.  It's always both exciting and stressful entering a new phase in life.  My hope is that all these "investment" years are going to make for a fantastic 40's phase of our lives!  I feel like I've been standing on a platform ready to jump for five years now.  It's been a tough but wonderful 57 months!  He's 95% done with residency now with just 3 months to go.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Early Morning Seminary

So my husband has successfully driven Catriona to early morning seminary from 6:10AM-7:00AM every morning so far since school started in August - a little over a month!  Why would anyone, let alone a teen, want to get up so early in the morning for a religious instruction class?  It's because it works!  Having instruction on spirituality and of the teachings of Jesus Christ is absolutely the best way to start your day.  It also teaches children the concept of sacrifice.  Sacrifice is a good thing when you think about it.  It usually requires you to give up something you want for something better.  Kids that choose to go to early morning seminary, and parent who support it give up that precious last hour of sleep in the morning for something better; having their kids start their day at school getting in tuned to the Holy Ghost and what the Lord wants them to learn that day or do that day in and through the Holy ghost. 

Here's some more info on early morning seminary:

My son Preston just started college this year.  He attended early morning seminary all four years of his high school experience.  What a blessing early morning seminary was for him, and is currently becoming for Catriona in her freshman year of high school.

Oatmeal Cookies & Breastmilk

Catriona made some oatmeal cookies on Sunday and I've discovered two things about them. 
1.  The cookies have given me a plentiful supply of breastmilk.  The past two days, I've gotten Lexi, five months, up early in the morning to feed her rather than letting her wake me for feedings.  The reason is because I'm too uncomfortable and engorged to continue sleeping. 
2.  I can't have cookies of any kind in the house because I have no filter.  So I've been trying to watch what I eat lately and this has completely thrown me off the past three days.  I ate the last cookie about half an hour ago so thank goodnesss they are out of the house now. 

I just got off the phone with my sister Deborah.  I love talking her her.  She's such a strong women.  She lives in New Jersey and has a beautiful family with four beautiful children and a wonderful husband.  Her youngest, Gwen, is 7 week old.  I just love talking to any of my sisters. 

After picking up the kids this morning from early morning seminary (to learn more about this -, I told them how upset I was that Goyte came to concert last night and I didn't know about it.  My husband told me about it before I left, and it left me sad.  Sad because not only do we have zero in our budget for anything outside of food and bills the past five years, I was also sad because I would have really like to see them in concert.  I was also sad because, for a moment, it got me thinking how my life lacks fun stuff that costs money.  Yes, people say, money doesn't buy happiness, but that's such a lie to me.  Money would have bought the memory of taking my husband to the Goyte concert for his 38th birthday, and money would have paid the babysitter, even if it was Catriona, to watch Lexi while we enjoyed dinner (ideal) and the concert. 

That moment of feeling sorry for myself led to immense feelings of gratitude for what I do have that doesn't cost money.  Bring house poor the past five years during Kelly's medical residency has given me the rare opportunity to appreciate hundreds of things that don't cost money.  Here's a small list today of what I'm thankful for:
1.  My faith - we had the missionaries over last night and this gave me a moment where I really appreciated my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  What an amazing organization who's mission is to bring us closer to Christ.  Mission accomplished all these years with my membership and activity in the church.
2.  My husband - how thankful I am to have the best husband in the world.  He truly is my knight in shining armor.  He's the wind beneath my wings.  He's the first person I want to speak with when anything significant happens to me daily.  He's the one I look for in the middle of the night when I wake suddenly.  He's also amazingly talented, and is a wonderful husband and father.  People often say wonderful husband and father but don't say why.  Well I'll tell you.  He's a wonderful husband because his first concern every day is my well being.  From the moment he wakes in the morning, he says a prayer with me often on our bedside.  When we retire at night, he'll often give me much needed back rubs, and is quick to listen to anything I haven't had to say about the day.  He's a wonderful father because he has dedicated his career to both providing for our family, as well as devoting adequate time for each of our children.  He's just there for them from helping our daughter with math, to reading Harry Potter with our son.
3.  My 4 amazing children - The true gems and jewels of my life are my four beautiful children; but I can't talk more on them now because Lexi needs me more than this blog; she's hungry and time is up for her here on my lap. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

My "natural" hair color

So today I decided I needed a change with my blonde hair color and I decided to color it my "natural" hair color which I think is light brown.  I used the box color because I don't have enough extra money right now to get my hair professionally colored.  I used Feria Natural Light Brown (60 Natural).  Now that I've colored it, I like the change, but I'm worried the rich color won't stay.  O well, I'll enjoy it while it lasts and might pick up a second box just to color it again in a couple of weeks when it starts to fade.  I've been self-coloring my hair lighter blond now for years and my last color came out less than ideal and had too many orange hues for my taste. 

This morning I'm recovering from a long weekend.  Kelly was on back-up for the hospital and got called in Friday all day, Saturday all day, and Saturday night at midnight.  He was tired and couldn't help with the kids or house much, so it spilled over to me.  On Saturday night, I did get to listen and watch the relief society general broadcast on my computer which was a "better" that evening.  Best would have been going to the church and fellowshipping with sisters.  Feel free to watch online now at  It was uplifting and invited the spirit into my heart and those women who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as well as those women who are not will benefit from the sweet spirit they bring in speaking.

Tonight we're feeding the LDS missionaries.  This has been a been commitment today because our house is a mess and I need to get it sort of clean before they come, I had to go to the store to get stuff to make dinner, and I've already completed two loads of dishes.  Ever seen an LDS missionary?  They are my heroes because they are men and women typically age 19-22 who dedicated 18 months to two years of their young adult lives to teach and preach of Jesus Christ.  For those reading who don't know about the Lord's Church, check out to learn more. 

Anyway, I'm making Italian Pasta Salad tonight for them, hopefully....if I finish it in time.  Lexi went down for a nap today at about 2 PM which has given me a really nice afternoon to prepare for the missionaries. 
Not much else today.  My job has me chasing down money again today; a part of my job I really don't like. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What are you doing?

8:23 AM
Not the best start this morning.  Baby got me up at 4 ish and then again at 5.  Topped off breast feeding Lexi just now at 8 so I could go for a walk with friends after dropping Tristan off at school.  First interaction with my 7 year old Tristan was not the most patient and loving when I discovered he'd not done his homework last night and now I've got to help him do some before we leave in 15 minutes!  Being rushed is definitely not something I like.  Once I gave into the fact that he was not going to finish it, I felt much better and was able to be more loving and patient with him.

Not sure how long the baby will let me type, but have quick second.  Went on an hour walk today with Amy and Melanie.  That was fun!

Baby just went down for a nap.  I went to the store to get ingredients for my new recipe Olive Garden Manicotti Formaggio with Shrimp.  Wait, baby still fussing....  gotta go. 

Update - That recipe turned our good but had wayyyy too much fat for my taste.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chicken & Potato Florentine Soup!

Kelly (my husband) just called after getting a text from me needing two additional ingredients for my chicken and potato florentine soup!  The whole house smells wonderful.  I got the idea to make this soup from the Olive Garden commercial; it looked yummy.  Due to my life circumstances of having no extra money for anything every month, I'm essentially not able to keep up with my bills and have tapped all our savings at this point, I knew in order to eat this delicous soup, I'd have to make it myself. 

I plan to enjoy this soup with the leftover homemade Lion House rolls I made last night. 

Catriona is on the computer and just set the table for dinner, and Tristan plays outside while Lexi is doing what she does best; girgling on the floor.  She breastfed at 4:00 so I'm sure she'll be hungry a little later. 

Yea!  He's home.  Bon Appetit!Chicken and Potato Florentine Soup (Olive Garden). Photo by TLC-MO

The Perge - 500 Pound Shred Pile


Last night it was tough to sleep because Kelly woke me up coughing.  Then, the baby woke me up to eat at 6:30 AM.  I had funny dream that Kelly had cloned himself and that I caught him when he took Catriona to seminary and, in my dream, was still in bed.  After feeding Lexi, I went back to bed and got back up at 8:00 AM to be rushed in getting Tristan ready for school.  After dropping him off at school, I relunctantly went on a walk with Lexi with the goal of getting 30 minutes of light exercise in before I got on with my day.  The weather that simply beautiful; I love this time of year. 

2:00 PM
So here I am again alone with my thoughts, a pile of work to do, and no desire to do it.  Earlier, after I got myself showered and Lexi a much needed bath, I found it was next to impossible to get anything done at my desk with my baby awake, but she seemed to be thoroughly entertained watching me clean.  So, I starting working on my 500 pound shred pile.  My goal is to get together 500 pounds of paper that can be shredded from our old family files no longer needed as well as anything prior to 2006 for Youth Quest.  This will allow me to hire a truck to come out and shred my stuff up to 500 pounds for about 100 bucks.  I think I have about 180 pounds so far.  Going through the stuff brings back tons of memories so its an emotionally exhausting task.  Anyway, doing that was no good for Lexi as she started fussing so I put on her on the floor and checked to see if vacuuming would keep her entertained.  She loved watching me vacuum so I vacuumed the family room, entry, dining room, and the office.  Now she's napping at the moment.  I suppose I should try to get some work done, but I just don't want to.  I problem is that most of my work requires me to have money to pay bills, complete work, etc. and I don't have any money to pay bills, complete work, etc. so I'm kind of stuck. 

Here's a snapshot of our kids:
Preston has been at USU now for a little over a month.  He's doing wonderfully there and makes me smile when he posts stuff about his adventures at USU from his football games to his chinese class.
It brings a smile to my face when I think of him engaged in wholesome recreational activities, and classes that are expanding his wonderful mind.  I've been really proud of Preston lately.  He's striving for a great life, he's working hard, and he's holding to his values which I know his tough these days in college.  I miss Preston almost every day.  Last year, he came home early from school almost every day due to him having taken so many AP classes that he was on track to graduate high school with only half day of school his senior year.  This allowed him a lot of free time to work and save for college and his hobbies.  His hobbies at this time are that he's a DJ known as DJ PNasty, he still enjoys the outdoors like nobodys business, and he's preparing himself to study abroad some day.  The prayer in  my heart still remains that Preston will choose to remain worthy to have the option of serving a mission this summer after he's completed a year of college.  He'd be a wonderful missionary.  I've heard that missions are hard these days because kids are not used to hard work and disappointment.  My Preston is not afraid of hard work, and he's had his share of many disappointments the past few years.  At this moment in time, I could be more proud of my Preston!

Catriona last weekend whipped up a homemade bag featuring the popular characters on a TV show called Adventure Time; her favorite show at this time.  The theme of the birthday party sleeover was adventure time and I was just so impressed at her thoughtfulness.  She's always been a supurb gift maker.  The bag is lined inside with fabric she designed.  She's supurb at getting up every morning for
 early morning seminary, and is my little angel in helping me keep the house clean.  Catriona is such a gift in my life and I'm truly privileged to have her.  She has just started 9th grade which is at Jordan High School.  Her biggest frustration was that she didn't get into Art this year and has to take Chorus instead.  With her talents, she'll need to wait until her sophomore year to show off all her talents with art in school.  For Cat's birthday, I gave her make-up and she's been playing with different eye make-up.  She's looks beautiful every day she goes to school and has a natural talent in application of her make-up.  Most day of the week, she's out in the "circle" in-line skating.  While I was pregnant, she decided to keep my skates in good use and now enjoys them on a regular basis.  I told her she could just have them because she is putting them to such good use. 

Tristan enjoys watching a caterpillar growing into a butterfly and showed me yesterday how it is moving in its crysallis.  I never knew that they can still move all bundled up like that.   Tristan reminds me every day what its like to be 7!  This summer, after many days of screen time while I survived a summer breast feeding Lexi, we've been going through a kind of detox this fall.  In response, Tristan has rediscovered the lost fort in the back yard forest, has taken up basketball, has been collecting rocks and gems, is obsessed with shart teeth, and has been working on an advanced puzzle.  He loves birds and likes to copy the names of the birds on paper from his dad's bird book.  Tristan loves crunching numbers.  He enjoys riding his bike and going for long walks with his neighbor Diane and her dog Max.  Tristan embodies what it is to be a child.  He's loving and forgiving, has endless energy, and has a sensivity about him that warms my heart.  I love my little Tristan and tell him often that he's my favorite little boy.  Recently, Tristan has been reaching out to the kids in the neighborhood and will be seen playing frisbee and basketball with them.  Tristan has a big heart and wants to please.  He's my little ball of love.

Little Lexi will be five months young tomorrow.  She's my little lap baby and I can count the hours on one hand I've spent away from her since I gave birth to her five months ago.  She's my little bunny, my lovey, my baby boo, my little Junebug, my Lexi Junebug.  She's so beautiful!  I marvel at how beautiful her skin is.  My whole day changes when she shows me her new toothy grin.  She got her first tooth on 9/17 at just 4.5 months.  My baby girl.  Every day Lexi reminds me that my purpose in life right now; to be a mommy.  I love being a mom right now.  Some days are hard, but the spectrum of experience I'm gaining with my children ranging in age from 0-18 gives me such a rich and full life with great moments of joy.  I have very little desire at this time to be Executive Director of Youth Quest at this moment in time.  Perhaps this will change, but today, at this moment, I'm complete as a mom of these beautiful children.  Some of my favorite things about Lexi besides her smile.  When she falls asleep when I'm nursing her and listening to her sweet, soft breath.  I love when she stands with help.  Lexi loves to stand and sit straight up to see the world around her.  She's taking in so much information and its a joy to watch and be a witness to all her "firsts".  What a special privilege I have to be her mommy full-time today.

2008 Schofield Snapshot in Time!

The year is coming to a close so I wanted to write about what went on this year in our home. I feel as though I've been hiding in a cave socially only coming out to communicate with people outside my family here and there. This is partially due to the necessity of adjusting to the overwhelming change in our lives this year as compared to the past six years, but also due to the fact that all I seem to have to give only reaches my immediate family and work this year. Due to this, I've felt a bit disconnected with the outside world. People I love outside of my immediate family are still in my heart and thoughts often, and I truly missed that "connection" that comes from face to face interaction and phone conversation. Thankfully, I've been blessed with perspective and wisdom (except when I have PMS...seriously) that it's just a season, and that times will come when I have the opportunity, time, and resources to reach out a bit more. I think next year will be similar to this year, so I'm trying to mentally prepare for the joys but also the isolation that comes from living in your own little micro world of family and work. I've really enjoyed all the Christmas updates of what's going on in others' lives! It's given me a sense of connection which I've really longed for this year. Overall, I'm overcome with emotions of joy, humility, and gratitude when I think of how immensely my life has been blessed! When I attempt to say my prayers and thank my Heavenly Father for all I've been blessed with, I get overwhelmed because there are just too many things to thank Him for. There are thousands of blessings I have the privilege of taking for granted every day from the beautiful view of the woods in my back yard with frequent visitors (birds and squirrels) to the deep gratitude I felt when I attended Preston and Catriona's well child check-up this year. Any illnesses -no, any allergies-no, any hospital stays-no, any medications-no, the list just went on and on. Perfectly healthy children! I've had perfectly healthy children for the past 14 years! Some days I'm profoundly grateful for this, and other days I just have the privilege of taking it for granted.

So, that being said, here's an update on each of us in the Schofield Bubble.

Preston - Preston is in the middle of his 9th grade year at Jordan High School. He's been my heart break this year as I'm just now dealing with the fact that my baby is in high school. It's hard to describe how hard mentally it can be so see your baby become a teenager. It's as though I've kept him on this little island for the last 14 years, and now I'm sending him out in a boat by himself every day to learn to fish and just hoping that he won't get overcome by a shark or by inclement weather. I suppose this is excellent preparation for the ultimate "send off" which is coming in just a few short years. Preston's chosen to go on a mission which I'm so proud of him for doing. He's already got around $350 saved - almost one month down - 23 to go. He's well liked at school among his friends and teachers. He's got a very charismatic personality which is a big attractor more so of girls than guy friends. He doesn't talk on the phone much, but prefers socializing at church activities and on Facebook online. He's loyal and loving and has a very tender side which he sometimes tries to hide around his family. He moved into "Attica" a few months ago which he now loves. It's his little cave to hide in, well mostly sleep in, when he doesn't want to do homework, doesn't want to hear his mom nag him to do homework and chores, and just wants to get away from it all. He's made some real efforts lately to love his sister Catriona this year which has been touch and go. Sometimes he'll over hug her which he's discovered she hates, and other times he'll say a sincere thank you which is gracefully accepted. He's an awesome big brother to Tristan when he throws him on his back and runs around the house with him, puts together beads with him, and plays outside with him. His favorite hobbies are playing Rock Band on the Wii - his favorite instrument is the drum. He has taken electric guitar lessons every month from his fantastic guitar teacher - Mike and continues to learn the fundamentals of guitar. Preston makes A's and B's in school, and is an excellent test taker. He's grown a lot this year academically in having to learn not to procrastinate on assignments, to turn in homework on time, and how to stay organized. Sometimes he prefers to in-line skate outside rather than study and complete homework but he always seems to "bring it" by the end of the quarter. I'm really looking forward to watch Preston excel in school over the next few years. Preston's outside hobbies include gardening which recently he made an indoor garden for his room. He loves mountain biking although he can't ride his bike lately because it got ruined from popping wheelies...oops. So, he's been burning up his wheels on his in-line skates this year. If you're driving home in our neighborhood, you just might get passed by Preston whizzing by on his skates. He's fearless on those skates! Many days this year Preston told me to strap on my skates and ride all the streets in our neighborhood. I've really enjoyed this time with him.

Catriona - I think the best way to describe Catriona this year would be to describe what life would be like without her in our home. Without her in our home, who would offer everyone in the family a grilled cheese sandwich on a regular basis? Who would keep the spirit of Christmas alive by reminding us about the traditions of our Annual Schofield Fireside, the Christmas tree, the ornament giving tradition at Thanksgiving, and about the joy that comes from giving? Who would make chocolate milk every day and ask if they'd like a cup made for them? Catriona mostly spreads joy, quality time, and high quality living in our home. Since I re-arranged my office desk to have a view of our front yard I often get to see Catriona running home from the school bus. She can also be seen in the cul-de-sac on her in-line skates improving her skating skills. Catriona is a stellar student in school. Many teachers over the years have commented on her enthusiasm for learning. I still remember the day when one teacher talked of a writing activity using the analogy of the parts of a sandwich as the kids built their paper sandwiches to enhance their skills in effective and complete writing. She commented on how genuinely excited Catriona was to do the activity and said, "she's just the kind of student that makes you love being a teacher". At home it's not much different. Catriona aims to please and most the time hits the mark except when she's aiming to annoy which she also knows how to do very well. Two nights ago during a game of Rummikub, she laughed and laughed until we all said "enough". Catriona's hobbies this year have been in-line skating, discovering the forest and making forts back there, training Bits - her rabbit, taking guitar lessons every week, setting up sleep overs and learning to entertain her friends, learning to draw horses, and learning to be a fantastic babysitter. Catriona is very sensitive to how others are feeling and will often show her most beautiful attributes to her personality when she sees a family member in need. Yesterday, while her brother laid sick on the couch, she cheered him up by entertaining him. When she sees I'm overstretched with work, she'll make up the difference by making dinner at times, tidying up the downstairs, or keep up with her responsibilities to lighten my load. What a blessing Catriona is for our family. This year many will often comment on how beautiful she is making envious remarks of her two foot long blond hair and beautiful face, but it's her spirit inside that continues to humble me in gratitude that I've been blessed to be her mother all these years. By being around her, I'm surrounded by service, compassion, caring, and an appreciation of all things beautiful.

Tristan - a.k.a. Trouble, Baby Sweet Pea, My Little Mooka, etc. Favorite sayings to him - "you've got the cutest little toes", "you know your mommy loves you", "your the sweetest little baby in the whole wide world". Now when I say the last one, she says, "no mommy, I'm a big boy", so I say "okay, your the sweetest big boy in the whole wide world" and then frown because it just doesn't have the same effect on me when I say it that way. Tristan is my toddler boy version of me. He's giving back all I ever did to cause hardship to my older sister Liz, mom and dad, and other siblings growing up. He's such a loving little boy. He'll spontaneously say, "mom, I love you" in a way that makes my heart just melt. When his aunt Liz and grandma Kunz came to visit, he stole their hearts with his "stop" comment said in a flirtatiously and slowly. He's often picking up on comments of his brother Preston and sister Catriona and when he says them - it is, for lack of a better word, so adorable. He's our little toe head. He's a little albino baby with the lightest hair, skin, and gray/blue eyes. Preston and Catriona are blessed with beautiful olive skin and can't understand when their Dad lathers Tristan up after each bath with a 1/4" of lotion to keep his skin healthy. When I want to remember Tristan as a 3 year old, I need to think of string cheese, him jumping out of the bathtub and running away from the towel down the hall to escape, locking down the house to keep him from running down the street, that little smirky/mischievous smile, "mommy, I love you", "no thanks" when he didn't want to take Tylenol when he had a fever, riding on his tricycle so fast the pedals were just always in the way, learning to sing "I love to see the temple", night tuck-ins where he'd spontaneously hug me and not want to let go, and the run into my arms hug/love he gives me every morning when he's dropped off at Triangle Preschool.

Kelly - Kelly's career has totally taken a right hand turn this year. After our company was chopped in half in 2007, Kelly decided to go back and become a licensed physician in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. After planning to rank Duke and UNC as the only schools he wanted to match with and meeting with the director of Psychiatry last year to inform her of his plans, he was admitted on the spot and told that he just needed to pass his boards. He successfully passed his boards last fall after six years away from formally practicing medicine which still astounds me and started as a Resident Psychiatrist in January. It's now December and he's completed his internship year! Words can't even begin to describe how much joy it's brought me to see how competent, skilled, and compassionate Kelly has been as a Psychiatrist. His scores are top of his class and his maturity well beyond that of the other residents after all his years as Clinical Director for Youth Quest. It's been a joy to hear him tell of the veterans, hospital patients, and inpatient lives he's been able to serve this year. Last fall we sat down with our children and talked of how our lives would be different this year. It was hard for Preston to adjust to his Dad being less available, and Catriona often wanted to keep up with when he'd be on call and when he would be home. Kelly left his little buddy Tristan who started to ask "where's daddy" more often and Kelly made a frown when he called for mom at times loved rather than him when he was home. Kelly receives top marks from his wife for his ability to leave work at work this year. When he gets home, he hangs up his white coat and has been completely there for us all year. This is one gift he's given that's been one of those things taken for granted. When he's home, you'll often see him bird watching with the kids, outside keeping up his tropical gardens, giving guidance and discipline to Preston and Catriona, reading books every night he's home to them, giving Tristan baths and putting 1/4" of lotion on him, making sure we read a few verses of scripture each night and said family prayer, and getting angry at the kids if they weren't in bed on time telling them that they were stealing quality time his wife needed. Thank you so much Kelly for coming through for our family and working to get us back on solid ground. I love you. Kelly's hobbies this year have been helping the kids take care of the reptiles, maintaining a tropical garden, backyard birding, building an entire attic, hundreds of back rubs to his wife, being a home teacher, and being an assistant scout master at church. My name for Kelly this year is "Dr. McDreamy" because he's just the whole package. What you see is what you get with Kelly. He's truly a wonderful husband and father.

Emily - I'll let Kelly write this part. Here goes.

Emily is the model of perseverance... she has worked incredibly hard this year continuing to nurture Youth Quest through its trials and feeling as if I left her to hold the fort while I go elsewhere. She continues to extend her passion and compassion into serving the clients and staff that we have the privilege to try to have an impact on. She wonderfully gets our kids ready each morning, leaving at 5:45 with Preston to seminary, then sends Cat and Tristan on their way. She somehow finds time to take care of herself by working out and has found a new passion this year in roller blading; ripping it up along side Preston when he is home. Catriona tags along, but doesn't quite have the perseverance for it yet. Emily ran in yet another sprint triathlon this year, but unfortunately Preston and I weren't able to make it to watch her cross the finish line again. She literally does carry a large burden of our family on her shoulders this year and I've missed her and the kids while at the hospital. I have loved the exciting work I've done at the various locations, but I've missed her and the kids. It's a wonderful feeling to know that when I'm gone, my kids are getting her. I often return home to a delicious dinner and lately over the last few months, she's been in a cooking and baking mood; which we've all enjoyed, most of all me!!! She really enjoys our little "beach home" as she calls it and would frequently spend some weekends out there even if my work didn't allow me to be there. She loves to play in our warm ocean and is like a fish when she goes out alone or with Preston. They even jumped in the kayak once and tried to catch up with some dolphins we saw; they got away, but they had fun trying. I'm just really blessed to have a wife and mother as strong as her to hold our home together and wish there was some small way for me to accurately portray how important she is to me and our family. Thanks Emily.

Spending Less than Made

Today I'm really thinking about spending less than I make. I'm in a frame mind where I'm in tuned to the fact that I likely spend more than I make at this point, eat more than I need, don't spend my time as wisely as I could. I'm eager to change, but all too aware of the fact that habits truly are hard to break.

So, I'm starting with my finances this evening. I'd like to see how much we spend, how much we make, how much tithing we owe, etc. I'll get back to you when I complete this homework assignment.

My mind and body have a cold!


Have you ever felt like you were at the summit and weren’t quite sure what the trip downhill would be like? Well this is where I’m at today. I’m in my sunroom enjoying the beauty of the day with rain pouring down outside. It’s quiet at the moment and my bare feet are playing with Lexi on the floor while she works to roll from back to front; she’s working on it at least. I think I’m a little numb today from all that’s transpired in the past few weeks. My brain is still in a fog and seems to have a cold too. I’m on day 12 of a cold that has lasted what seems like forever. I’ve not worked out since Saturday the 8th and that seems like an eternity for me. My weight sits at $2.09 which represents steady progress so far. I’d like to be a buck sixty or seventy one day, but that’s going to take patience and turning down a lot of goodies.

I’ve been pondering a lot lately the “how did I get here” question? Just last year I was considering merging my company, Youth Quest, with Thompsons and serving in some development position. Since they offered to pay me hardly what I’m worth and required me to turn over my company of 15 years, it was an easy decision. But, it was still a decision that was a fork in the road for me. Had I taken the position, I’d be forced to put Lexi in full-time daycare and would likely be busy working to meet quotas. Financially we’d still be struggling to make ends meet as our finances just haven’t been enough to cover our crazy expenses so my stress level would be high to say the least. On top of that would be the pressure to make the relationship work with Thompsons, as having it not work would have meant giving up my company. So, I chose the latter part. To keep my company open but have no ambitions to make it grow for a season, and become a full-time mother of an infant again. That decision was also partly made because the offer came to the table when I was already pregnant, and I knew that I’d be able to accomplish little this year with so many other stresses on my life right now.

Today what’s that like for me? Well, boring today. I really don’t want to clean my house because I still miss getting my cleaning crew to do it when I could afford it, so I sit in a home with much to do but no ability to get things done. The reality is that its hard for me to get anything done that I want to do. The thoughts swirl around my head of what I should get done, and I have the ability to get it done, but my brain can’t keep the attention long enough with the task to get that task done. That basically leaves me in a lurch because I’m not willing yet to stop breast feeding; the reason I can’t take the medication to help me focus. The question I sometimes ask is if its’ really better in the long run for Lexi and I to breastfeed and to stay in this fog and haze, or to stop breast feeding and get on with my life. I just feel like without the medication everything in my life is on hold. My career is on hold, my fitness success is on hold, having a clean house is on hold, getting my finances in order is on hold, and doing things right the first time is on hold. I’m just not thorough. I’m just unable to finish a thought. Yet, typing has always been a refuge for me. I can type like the dickens and can almost type faster than I can think. I’m thankful for my typing skills.

I tried calling my sister today, but she’s busy. I tried calling my mommy, but she didn’t answer. I had a thought today about doing something nice for Kelly tomorrow when he’s off early, but then I got overwhelmed by the steps to complete the task. Okay, so let me try to see if typing the steps will help me get this desire done tomorrow? #1 – look up the weather and see what the weather will be like tomorrow? Nope, an outdoor thing is off the table due to rain. Now, trying to think of something to do inside. Hmmm, thinking?

Okay, Lexi is starting to figure out that mommy isn’t giving her attention. So, that leaves me having to sum up.

#2 The library – travel section! We’ll meet at the public library tomorrow after lunch and plan our next vacation. Maybe?


My brain is a bit of a hot mess this morning as I find myself still recovering from a cold that came to visit me Saturday. I’m finding it hard to focus on anything of real lasting value at the moment. To help myself feel better, and give some much needed relief to my untreated nasal congestion, I’ve escaped to my beloved jetted bathtub for some reprieve. Lexi is also sick and seems to also be in some twilight yet awake zone so she’s stationed on my yoga mat on my bathroom floor with a few random things to keep her attention. With thoughts swirling in my mind and persistent, that I’ve parked my laptop on the side of my tub to get the thoughts in writing in hopes it will relieve some of the annoyance that comes with thoughts and nothing to do with them.

The overriding theme has been that this experience here in North Carolina, now being 15 years, has been a ride I never could have possibly imagined in my wildest dreams. It’s been so full of experiences, I’m starting to forget large chunks of time which seems somewhat tragic in my book of life. Especially, in what I think are some truly awe inspiring and complicated chapters I’ve endured.

So, I’ll take today. This morning I awoke from another night sleeping with a cold and no cold medication. Since I’m still exclusively breast feeding, my best option has been an occasional ibuprophen to help my sinus congestion. Since Kelly’s now picked up the virus from me, I elected to sleep in Lexi’s room to avoid both my snoring and Kelly’s interrupting us throughout the night. This morning, Lexi awoke to eat around 7:00 AM, and then after saying goodbye to Kelly, I woke Tristan up and gave him his clothes for the day, then went down to make eggs. It’s amazing to think of how quickly we fall into patterns and routine with only a few days to set that pattern in place. Then, it’s like we go into a kind of auto drive and that sets the course for a big chunk of time.

On the way to school, I remembered that at 10:45 PM last night I remembered a last minute birthday party Tristan had been invited to at 4:00 that day that I was told about that morning. I had completely forgot about that wonderful invitation by the afternoon. I called my friend on my cell phone and apologized for “mommy brain”.

After driving Tristan to school, and getting home, I thought it would be a good time to go get the emissions inspection waiver needed for the Lexus to be legal to drive. This is something I haven’t been able to do because my routine I’ve worked so hard to establish has been to drop Tristan off at school and then go straight to the gym, or home to feed Lexi quickly and then to the gym. Lexi was asleep and since it has to be done between 8 and 10 in the morning, and working out isn’t on the agenda today, I went to start his car. The battery was dead, so ……

10:44 AM – Well the baby started fussing, so I had to stop mid-sentence and feed her. She’s napping now in my bed and I’ve gotten back in my tub and it’s not as warm now. So, that pretty much gave me the answer to my question of all the random thoughts? This is my life right now. I start something, then have to attend to baby, try to start again, but then attend to baby again. Having a newborn is a kind of nirvana experience in life forcing you out of every routine you’ve been used to. I don’t normally take a bath during this time of day, but then again, I don’t normally feed a newborn every two hours either and I rarely catch cold viruses.

11:00 AM – Bath didn’t seem soothing when I returned to it, so I’m out now and dressed. Well, if you count wearing oversized sweat pants and an American flag t-shirt. Baby is still asleep for the moment on my bed so I’m now sitting in my recliner so I can still hear her and continue purging my thoughts in a much more comfortable position.

Back to routines. Perhaps its good to have bouts of sickness and long periods where you nurse babies so you don’t get stuck in routines and can re-invent yourself. Perhaps its just life’s way of breaking up your routine. I really didn’t want to be sick this week. The weather this summer has been relentlessly hot in the 90’s it seems morning through night. This week has been the first time the weather is amiable. I was so excited to get outside. Oh, just a minute. I’ve been meaning to send an e-mail out on some listserv’s to see if anyone has a running bike I can borrow for a few months…. Good, been meaning to do that.

So how do I feel? The range of emotions I feel lately is almost overwhelming. I feel like my life has progressively gotten more complicated yet the day to day is quite routine. Professionally, I’m going through a bit of a slump. After I finished national accreditation and had a complete bust of a first season writing grants, I sort of checked out of my job. Yes, I’m still getting paid, but I’ve been unable and unwilling to be a leader for the company lately.

Why? Well the primary reason has been money, lack of direction, and lack of energy.

First the lack of money. My career started to take a nose dive in 2007. What we termed the Hive Meltdown of 2007 sent our finances into a tailspin. With our income cut in half overnight, it was very difficult to budget or know if we had enough money or cash flow. Then the state decided to start shutting down all group homes so in the fall of 2009, I reluctantly decided to shut down the Quest; the second group home I’d invested a decade into building. The problem was that one client I was concerned would be adversely affected by the closure. So, to ease the transition I changed it over to a glorified therapeutic foster care and kept the couple on staff and the child in the home. Then that couple left in 2010 and I recruited a second couple. That December, that couple notified me that they were unexpectedly expecting twins. So, my plan to have this home operational with two clients suddenly would only work with one client. This didn’t work financially so it was time to completely shut down or recruit a new couple. The home already seemed to be a conflict of interest with me owning the same place I licensed the couples to work, so operation shut down took place. In November the couple left and the Quest sat vacant for the first time since we bought the home in 1998. All these changes took pieces of my pay until we reached an all time low in income at the beginning of 2011. With 10 years built up of “stuff” at the Quest in very poor condition, in the spring with Dad’s help we cleaned out the Quest and found a long term renter who moved in on April 27 2012.

Second, my lack of direction…or change of direction. With the huge blow to thousands of hours of work in putting together these group homes for troubled teens, I felt deflated and bruised and professionally spent. Professionally, I’ve been going through a very slow forgiveness process of having to come to terms with the reality that another person, an employee in my case, has the power to completely destroy over a decade of hard labor and work building a dream for troubled teens. I’m a fighter so I pursued national accreditation in hopes it would give me a new path, but that was accomplished and has helped with managed care now, but didn’t live up to all that was promised with it either. Then, my children started growing up and my husband decided to pursue medical residency. Where did that leave me? I needed to be here for the kids. The every day routine started to take priority over the five year program growth plan. I’ve found over the past five years that my place hasn’t been in building up a company, but just being at home. I’m always home. I can’t recall a day in Preston’s high school where he was able to come home early and me not be here. The very act of being her for my kids when they are this age has just felt right, and still feels right. It’s much more boring than the joy I find in hiring, teaching, and building up a company, but I’m building a family right now, and the way I see it is that I’ll have plenty of time later to build the company again. What I’ve learned hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s been put on hold until the wind changes again. Right now the wind is blowing east, but when the time is right, it will blow west and I’ll figure it out when it comes.

Finally, a lack of energy. I’m so tired lately I can’t begin to tell you. I can’t believe how exhausting it is to be financially overstretched. For the millions of people in the world who are living beyond their means their whole lives, it’s absolutely exhausting. It a nutshell, it has completely sucked the fun out of my life. It has taken up every last ounce of my emotional surplus and turned me into this person who is fighting depression and hopelessness on a daily basis. It has been exhausting on our marriage and for our children. It has been a trial that could only have been avoided if we sold our home, or abandoned it. We tried to sell our over budget home for residency, but were unsuccessful leaving us with an unbelievable burden of trying to pay the bills every month with money we just didn’t consistently have. We’ve been two months behind on our mortgage for over two years now. We were a few months behind on our investment beach condo until February when we fell more behind this year. Once the payments fell 60 days behind, it went into default 60+ days and the mortgage got sent to an attorney for foreclosure and I’ve not been able to make a payment since. Our credit cards are behind a few months, and I struggle every month to keep up with the day-to-day utility and grocery bills. Then, to add insult to injury, my vendors don’t pay me for months at a time so it’s always feast or famine and is extremely difficult to budget. Right now a vendor hasn’t paid me in three months and owes me over 10K sending us in another financial tailspin. I’ve done everything I can to try and stay out of the abyss of depression and hopelessness, and the only thing that’s kept me going and not applying for bankruptcy is that this will all be over in 3.5 months. Yes, only 3.5 months left out of 60 months of financial nightmare.

Most of my energy has been spent the past five years trying to keep an elephant balanced on a tiny ball platform. Getting Kelly through a five year residency and keeping our home and other investment homes has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever encountered financially. Just the sheer number of months I’ve had to figure out if we’d have enough to pay the bills, and coming up short during some months has been the most emotionally exhausting thing I’ve ever endured.