Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Four Nichols Two Cents must be crazy!

Hey guess what? I need to change my blog title to the FOUR Nichols Two Cents! That's right! Our darling squishy has come home to be a part of our family and we love her oh so much!!!! She came home on March 5th and yeah, everything is awesome.

I can't go into details because this is a foster to adopt situation. But what I can say is:
-It's a girl!
-She is under 1 yrs!
-We love her oh so much!
-Her arms and legs look like drumsticks!!

And oh the questions!
People are so funny.
Believe it or not, the number one question we get is:
"Did you adopt from overseas??" We know several knock-your-flip-flops-off families that have and they are great. But hey, we were not called to do that. We know God could provide in a heartbeat financially and whatever need, but He led us to adopt through CPS.

Now, I know what you are thinking not that I believe in mind reading, but you are thinking that I am off my glider with this. Oh sure, you are simultaneously thinking oh wow, so glad she could give a little one who's in a hard place a loving home-

What that do you mean exactly?

"That" meaning:
- the dealing with CPS-
well we have a fantastic, loving, and highly knowledgeable Christian agency who works with CPS (for free mind you!). And yeah, we do have to have dealings with CPS, but you know what? I've only had positive interactions with them so far. It's not a perfect system of course and there are some changes I would make if asked, but it's what God is using to place our daughter forever with us, we pray. And it's just allows for more chances to meet people and God willing, be used as a witness for Him.
Plus, when God says to take heart for He has conquered the world- I'm pretty sure that included CPS and any other red tape or person or entity I can think of.
- the visitations-
 yeah those are no fun at all. What's a visitation you ask? It's where you take your foster child to meet with their birth family- or whoever is presumed or named to be in some cases...
It stinks like poop outta water (yeah I said it!).
We've only been to 2 so far. There are 2 a month. The Husband goes with. He better! And after last time, we just pray during it. So at least we get to have prayer time together. Also, we look at it as just another piece of the puzzle that we have to do to complete this part of the journey.
- the birth family issue-
We pray for them.
We pray for them to first receive salvation.
For them to see Jesus and repent and find the way.
We pray for them to see Jesus in us.
This is hard, but what else can we do?
- the hearings-
 Everyone said: "It's not like what you see on TV." WRONG. It is. For us, it is. And that's fine, I'm so used to drama and things being all whaaaaaat??? It doesn't bother me. We just get to have that "front lines" feeling and really see God in action. I'm telling you. You having a bad day? Go to a courtroom downtown and watch people's lives being ripped apart or put back together and then thank God for the "Oh this Chick-fil-a line is too long!" grief you have to endure. Not that I'm hating- those lines are too long! 
- the worst fact of all-
We are in complete control of nothing except for the love we readily give this adorable child. That's it. Things change constantly on her case. And yes, she can be taken away from us at the drop of a hat. This has been naturally a truth that has already pre-broke my very sensitive (I don't watch sad movies y'all) heart.
Until God told me this- Leelah the lion-lover, John my bff, and any number of peeps I adore could also be taken away from me in an instant. Yes.
And now my heart is reconciled.
It really helps to go there for me. To actually picture that happening- in a healthy way. I don't want to grieve in advance and cause joy theft here- but just get to that point where I ask myself, "And what would I do next?" Turn to God and let Him be enough.

And we have this precious 7 yr old who thinks way too much. Our wonderful agency told us what to tell her:
"You are going to have a sister! And I know you will be a wonderful big sister to her and show her lots of love. She is going to be your foster sister until she can be your forever sister. You don't need to worry about what that means- mommy and daddy are waiting on what God is going to do about that- all you have to do is give her forever love."
"Okay, I love her already!" She says.

And for now, we hold this piece of Heaven and laugh and play and praise God.

Should He decide His best for her is not with us, we will be so very sad. But like those brave 3 in Daniel said, "But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

To me that means, I am gonna praise God no matter what He has planned for her and us in this because I know it is better than anything I can dream up or imagine.

Thank you all for praying for our family.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Budgeting: Battling the Shame-Monster

Today as I renewed our family's E-Meals plans and added a breakfast one to it (and no, I'm not getting anything to endorse or talk about them) I felt that yucky ol' shame-monster attack again.

Does anyone else know what I'm talking about!?
I live with this daily until I remind myself that God does not use shame at all and that that feeling is one of the enemy's fave tactics to use in getting me off track mentally.

"Therefore is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1

I was told by a wise person that self, you, me can be included in "those in Christ Jesus." Give yourself grace.


Update to our Debt-Free story: 
Well we became debt free (except the house) last year in either March or April (see below post as to why I'm not mentally sound in remembering things right now) and friends, we fell of the wagon just a titch.

Why? The Car.

Oh for the love of Benji and holy things, the car. It's a trap that gets families back into debt I tell you!

I was going to tell you about our urgent need for more space in a vehicle, but it grossed me out to read all the excuses so I deleted that paragraph.

 This is/was a true need.

And with my business, I had supplemented almost all of the amount needed to purchase the used vehicle we had in our sights. Praise upon praise!

Did you happen to catch the "almost all?" So we purchased the new(old) car and still had to finance about 2,000. So we are back in debt right now for $2,000. And I'm sore about it.

There were so many things that persuaded us:
  •  time ticking (I think that's always the biggest trap/set up), 
  • the true need for more space,
  • the availability of the car we wanted (It's pretty popular around these parts which I don't like that it's popular but oh well.)
  •  the low(ish) mileage
  • ultimately the price. It was thousands less- like $3,000-$5,000 less than every dealership in town.
Guys, don't fall into the trap. We could have saved up money and it would have been fine. Fine.

But there comes in the shame again.

Are we going to pay this off before summer- we hope so and that's our goal!

But back to the E-Meals.

You see along this journey of living as Dave Ramsey says, "Like no one else so you can live like no one else" I have realized that there are things I am NOT skilled at that I must outsource so I will remain a for the most part: calm mom.

Disclaimer: If you are truly in $1,000's of debt- then this might not be something you can do at this point. Look at it as a challenge and attack it with everything you have got along with your spouse and pray like no tomorrow to get it conquered as a team!!!!
IF YOU ARE MARRIED YOU CANNOT DO THIS SOLO. It doesn't work. I'm so sorry. You guys have to be on the same page- a literal budget page.

I suck at planning out meals.
The worst.
Breakfast is a joke. Lunch is such a mish-mash. Dinner - oh wait, that's not thawed out....

It's just not my strong suit. I can barely cook the meals let alone plan out an entire menu. I'm not this lady!:

Or what the hay- her either:

Can I tell you how good it feels to know what you suck at so you can just take that off the "Skills to master list??"

Other things I do not shine at: 
-Gift giving. I once gave someone a pack of gum and sunglasses. And by once I mean this past December. I'm an awful person.
-Clothes shopping. It might help my darling daughter if her mother bought an actual outfit instead of a cute shirt with balloons on it. "But it's got BALLOONS on it!!!" I've really had to learn that I need to buy the entire outfit if I can or else suffer later trying to match and waste time and then start randomingly yelling at the laundry basket.
-Ironing. We budget for dry-cleaning. Why? BECAUSE THIS IS 2014 and husband's work clothes and like Sweet Brown the wise sage says, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" No really, it used to take hours. HOURS.
-My hair. Bless my heart.
I'm on medicine that makes my hair fall out and yours would too if you had a hysterectomy at 26 years old. It's not cute. My fancy shampoo I had to order comes in today. So Katy/Brookshire community get ready to see me like this!:

I guess what my friend's trying to say is (Old School ref.) that you gotta know what you can't do and make peace with that and budget for it. And then keep on budgeting when things get messed up.

It's been years since we started our bi-week budget meetings and we are STILL doing them and we just learned that we need to keep the budget out to make changes when things come up. Y'all we just learned this!!!!!!!!

Like with the buffer amount. Dave Ramsey recommends a zero-balance budget sheet. And we do not do this. We are going off-canon from this because the buffer is there for all the "school fundraisers-spirit-night-tshirt-random-crud" things that happen in 2 weeks.

Beware of the false-sense of security of the buffer- keep a tally on that mess!!!!

I thought these might help a person out who is needing to know a little more about budgeting and the ins and outs and the stuff no one really talks about. Godspeed on your journey! And NO CREDIT CARDS!!!! (We have 1 that we have our ez-tag for our toll road usage and that is it- but we need to change it to just withdraw from our bank acct.!)

Most importantly: Grace.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Schooloption & Spiderman.

Oh 30 day challenges for all the public to see aren't you a laugh-riot!

I just love humiliating myself on such a large platform such as the internet.

In my defense, I have just a tad of stuff going on and I don't journal like I should so y'all have to suffer hearing it if you have even continued reading.

Stuff that rhymes with schmajopshion. Yes, that. Things are heating up and I've had to do stuff I didn't think was possible for our family in the whole 3 Nichols becoming 4 business.
5 if you count that cute little dog. And guess what??


Nope. Oh I've told some family and friendamily peeps, but absolutely are not supposed to divulge anything on social media lest we want to be un-considered for a kid. So I'm making a point to write that down so I can visually see the Hand of God in this and our future daughter can too.

It's no small thing adopting. You are interrupting the enemy's plans to own a life. Well, I'm not doing anything. God is.

So yeah....

There's Snow business like Snow-business!
And here in Katy, TX there's been these phantom ice storms and silly school closures and this and that and the like. And I'm so freakin over cold. Totally knowing that I am talking about Southeast Texas cold which is relatively so not cold.
My salamander body is not equipped to handle this and it's causing me mini-fits of rage that like to come up when I can't zip up my kid's coat which is now in lost and found purgatory. I tried to look for it, but when I had to dig through the pile all I could think of was lice and had to stop.

Drooling over Schooling:
And we are looking into "other options" for our kid's schooling because we crave huge family transitioning times that totally earthquake our home in a good way...

Here's the deal with that.
My kid is of a certain group of children- all kids are in certain groups (when you get down to it) and I'm not trying to sound elite in that at all- and this particular group of kids need attention in different ways (just like all kids in their respective groups). And only a handful of people understand that in our particular school district. And frankly, like bronchitis ain't no one got time for these kids! Especially when they have over 1,000 other kids to deal with.

Same Exam For All Animals Cartoon

So what happens then?
  • Your kid reads in class. A LOT. (Thankful she loves to read, but....)
  • They are told that they don't really need to do the Christmas break homework - excuse me, winter break. Christians are not allowed to practice their faith- remember that! Silly me!
  • And then 100's which seem like a good thing (we are thankful for sure!) are actually a sign that my child is not being challenged in the way she needs and therefore cannot develop the resiliency which is the key to pretty much everything life throws your way.  And her mom likes run-on sentences.
  • So when she hits a wall which is inevitable, there is no resilient quality to let her know that she knows she can get through stuff that has been "hard" before.
  • Your kid starts saying, "I don't like school." This is the same kid that lived for school a couple of months ago. 
I do not blame her teachers!!!! AT ALL. I'm such a teacher fan. I'm 98.7% always on their side. Promise.
Look, I'm not trying to subtly brag here.
There has got to be other moms that feel this way. It's a different type of struggle that has to go unannounced in comparison to other struggles- YET IT IS STILL A STRUGGLE. One that we are trying with God's lead through prayer to get on top of before it gets hairy.

Does anyone else- moms I'm looking at you- have this super-spidey-sense where they can see where their kid is headed and they don't like it? I can see it. 

We are looking at private schooling - a small school that caters to kids that fit into this mold and actually love to talk about mold, science, etc. etc.

And also at homeschooling, but I'm so not worthy. Did you see that huge run-on sentence back there? Yeesh!

Our thinking is like this:
If He calls us to go to Private School, then He will equip us for that journey.
If He calls us to homeschooling, then He will equip me to homeschool her complete with pigs with wings in flight.
And if He calls us to stay in our current Public School, then you guessed it- equippage.

This is what is going on. I know it's nothing all together spectacular.

It's just lots of decisions that make this momma stress-eat on some days and forget to eat on others (another mountain for another day). I'm thankful to be a parent. I'm not complaining. I'm just saying in hopes that we can all band together as moms and know that dang, parenting is not a joke.

I think this quote from Spiderman (the comic and the film) says it best:

Thank you Stan Lee.

Friday, January 17, 2014

30 Days of Sight: Day 17

This is a twofer!
Day 17: Seeing my baby girl get baptized! Thank you for the pic Sweet T!

30 Days of Sight: Day 16

Day 16: This was taken at aTm at the Century Tree where tradition has it if you walk under the tree with your sweetheart you will be married. Now marriage for our little one is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay in the future of true hoverboards and deep space travel, but it was a great thing to see through Leelah's eyes the campus where I met my precious husband.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

30 Days of Sight: Day 15

Day 15: Horses. I love horses. Something I love about Texas is that we see horses and cattle interspersed amongst skyscrapers. I used to ride and I do miss it very much.
And yes, I fell off the wagon. Can you forgive me?

While you're forgiving me and stuff could you throw a prayer or two in there for my left eye? It likes to be cantankerous and is currently trying to pop a stitch (the lens) and it's painful. Thank you!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

30 Days of Sight: Day 9

Day 9: The club God put together for little girls to know that they are lovely.
Thank you TByrd for the photo!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

30 Days of Sight: Day 6

Day 6: The sight of my in-loves' backyard. I think it's got a certain Thomas Kinkade-ish quality about it.