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Choosing hurt over and over again.

My husband and I we’re pro cry it out. It isn’t for everyone. We know that. But it was what we chose to do when raising our little ones.

Then Sweet Pea came into our lives. The very first night I put her to bed she started quietly crying as she nestled her head into her pillow. She whispered “Mommy stay.” Without hesitation, I sat on the floor of her bed and held her hand until she fell asleep.

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I knew when I walked out of that room I’d have hell to pay. There would be 3 other children complaining and whining about how unfair it was that I didn’t do that with them. But here’s the thing, they went to bed in a familiar place with familiar people who loved them fierce. Their futures and their pasts were known. They were mapped out. They were planned by their parents.

It wasn’t like that for Sweet Pea. She was a toddler who didn’t have the luxury of being tucked in by her mom and she was afraid. Afraid of what tomorrow would bring. Afraid of what tomorrow would take. She was in a new home. in a new bed. with new people… for who knew how long. Her fate decided by lawyers and judges and case workers and volunteers and therapists.

So we developed a routine. I’d lay by her bed and hold her hand or pat her back or let her touch my shoulder until she was fast asleep. As she was dozing off, she’d feel around for my hand or my head just off the bed to make sure I was still there. I stayed until she was asleep because I wanted her to know, to trust, that I’d be there the when she woke up. Some nights I was in and out in 5 minutes. Other nights would drag on as she sang or talked or tossed and turned herself to sleep. I was usually tired and ready to tuck in 5 other kiddos so it was inconvenient. The days were long. I wanted in and out so I could finally have some down time. Parents need quiet time too.

Sweet Pea, she needed this.

I did that every night for the entire time she was ours. Five months. Five very long months. Six kids under one roof – not easy. I was brought to my knees more in those 5 months than I’d ever been in my whole 38 years of life.

On a rare occasion or two I would let my phone record video of her night time shenanigans to show her mom. Because it was dark it was really only sound. nonetheless, it was music to my ears and I loved sharing it with friends and family.

We moved to Vermont two months ago. Sadly, we couldn’t take Sweet Pea and her sisters with us without being labeled kidnappers.

For two months I’ve been wanting to watch the video of her. I knew watching it would break me and it was always inconvenient. I mean, who has time to sob uncontrollably and then the patience to wait for the puffy eyes to clear again?

This morning, I bundled my two oldest and sent them off into the beautiful snowy Vermont winter scene and onto the bus and off to school. I sat at my computer and opened iCloud and found the video of her. Sweet Pea. I didn’t remember exactly what was behind that 10 minute video. But I was sure it was beautiful. And I was sure it would break me into a million little pieces. But I was longing to hear her voice. I had been missing her terribly. I was missing all three of them something fierce.

I listened to it just now.

I am a mess. One red, swollen, snotty, lost mess.

It’s excruciating. My heart hurts, my head hurts, the gag reflex is almost uncontrollable. It hurts so much to think of them that even my muscles can’t control themselves. Letting your children go is hard. So very very hard. For me.

But it’s not about me, is it? It never was.

Sweet Pea gets to go home, to the mom she’s always known. To the mom and dad that changed their heaven and earth to get her back. A girl deserves a love like that and a love like ours.

So yeah…

I’d break like that all over again just to tell those girls how much I love them.

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Isn’t Grace just amazing?!

LUKE 15:3
“For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

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Budgeting Made Simple and Fun

ok. I know, budgeting isn’t fun. Not when your finances have a hold on you. But it gets fun, I promise, when you take control and you make that money your bitch. Sorry, I cuss a little… but I love Jesus A LOT!

I finally found a budgeting system that I love! I did Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University over 12 years ago. I wanted to get back on track and on budget because I love his plan but it was going to cost me almost $100 for all of the new and updated material and the membership. So, (because I want to be smart with my money and not spend $100!), I ventured out for a budgeting calculator on my own and I have been very happy with these. They serve different purposes and it turns out I really like all this organizational shit so it may be overkill for most.

Most of the budgets I use are on the Zero Based Budget(ZBB), which is my favorite way to budget. In a nutshell, it is a method of budgeting in which all expenses must be justified for each new period. Basically, no penny is left behind. Every single dollar is accounted for and given a name/function etc.

So you want to make the income minus all the expenses equal to zero when budgeting. For example, if after all your expenses are entered you have $500 left over, don’t just leave it hanging there with zero purpose. You have to tell it where to go or you’ll never know what happened to it. I promise. Pinky promise. This money has a way of getting lost and you lose a cnahce to make this money really work for you in getting out of debt or saving for that home remodel or growing your wealth.

So here’s the first budgeting spreadsheet I use…

Advanced Yearly Budget Template
I like this one for a whole year overview. It has month by month budgets and is already prefilled in with recommended percentages for housing, charity, etc. This helps you see what percentage of your budget should be allocated for that. The recommendations are just that, every family has different needs so don’t stress too much over it.

Advanced Yearly Budget Spreadsheet Template
I wish I could remember the source for this template. If you happen to find the original source, please let me know so I can give proper credit and link back to them.

Advanced Yearly Budget Spreadsheet Template

 

Simple Monthly Budget Template
This one is a lot like the Yearly above except it lets you tackle it one month at a time if that’s where you prefer to start. I usually start the month with this one and then transfer it all into the yearly so I can get the year to date picture. But I think it’s totally unnecessary.

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Snowball Debt Reduction Template
I’m still getting used to this one so I can’t tell you if I like it or not. My focus has been budget because that’s where I suck.

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Hope you enjoy the spreadsheets and I hope they help you be even more bad-ass than you are now. You’re slayin’ it Mama!

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