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March 18, 2013

Debt Free Journey Update has been 14 months since we began this "Journey to Financial Freedom." 


You're probably wondering if it has been worth it. All the budgeting, saying "no" to things we want to do, not being able to always get those special things for our children, not going out to dinner as often as we'd like - is it worth it? Is the sacrifice of doing fun things or buying new clothes really worth it?

After 14 months of being on the Dave Ramsey program, I decided to go through each and every one of our bills that accounted for our debt in January 2012. This included Student Loans, Car, Van & Credit Card with a grand total of:


Now, if you've read my last 2 blogs you will see that this starting number has increased each time. That would be due to not taking the time to actually look at our bills and just use our brains to estimate. This number is by far the most accurate & will be used from this point forward!

Back to whether or not the sacrifices we have made have been worth it. I must say there have been times where I wanted to throw in the towel and buy myself some new clothes or take my children some place fun. But NO!!! Cannot - it isn't in the budget.

So, after 14 months of biting my tongue, saying no & monthly budget after monthly budget...has it been worth it? The total amount of debt we have paid off in 14 months:



Seriously - my jaw dropped on the floor when I saw that number last week. How in the WORLD did we do that? Out of the 14 months we have been on this journey I worked part-time for 6 months, we sold our house & purchased a new one, served our awesome God on 2 missions trips and we paid off nearly $24k in debt?!?!


This happened because we have an amazing support system. Our friends & family are SO understanding of how important this journey to being debt free is to us. Without this support it would be so much harder - THANK YOU!

This happened because my husband is a strong leader in our family. His determination & strong will rubs off on me. Without a strong leader who has faith in the plan, everything falls apart. 

This happened because we serve a Mighty God who is so much bigger than us. This journey is all for Him - so that we may be able to better serve Him. Being debt free is a goal - but the true & ultimate goal is to better serve our mighty Savior. Not being a slave to debt is a huge part of that.

Throughout this 14 month journey so much has changed. Things become less important - that new outfit I have the money saved up to purchase is now way too expensive in my eyes. It isn't worth it! Our "NO" we can't do that has become "not yet." We know that some day we will be able to do the things we want to do, purchase the things we want to purchase - that day will come!! Although, when that day comes, I wonder if it will still be important...


April 2, 2012

Like a Gazelle!!!!!!!

Proverbs 6:4-5 - "4 Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids; 5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand. And like a bird from the hand of the fowler. "

"Gazelle Intensity" - Ryan & I have it!  What does that mean?  It means!!  From credit card companies with low-introductory rates & special bonuses - From student loans & car payments - FROM DEBT!  Just as a gazelle has learned to run & flee from its predator - the Cheetah!  Seriously, the fastest animal on earth that also accelerates faster than a sports car & a GAZELLE can out run it?!  How?!  It has learned to run in circles, bob & weave - anything but stay in a straight line since that is the only way a cheetah can keep up its speed - until the cheetah has tired out & gives up.  So, we RUN! (Read more about "Gazelle Intensity" - here)

We are SO over being burdened by our debt.  So. Over. It!  We still have a long way to go but if we stay "Gazelle Intense" it will be over sooner than later.

In my last blog here, I talked about some of the things I have missed out on so far due to our journey to financial peace a.k.a. DEBT FREE!  This past month was no different.  I had to miss out on volunteering at the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships because we would have had to hire a babysitter for a couple of the days & the gas to get downtown from our house would have cost us since gas is $4/gallon now.  We also missed out on Winter Jam which is FULL of Christian bands that rock!  These are minor when it comes to things we are missing out on but they are still things we would have liked to do. will be worth it.

What you have been waiting for!

At the end of each month we go over everything to see how much under budget we were so we can put that extra $$ towards our debt.  At the end of February, we had a little over $215 extra to put towards our debt reduction.  At the end of March......?!?!?!?!


This is including our $99 SUV payment we no longer have since it was paid off last month (February).  We put this extra cash towards our lowest student loan which brings it down to about $1700!.  This is so exciting!  I can feel the weight of our debt slowly falling off my shoulders each month.  The burden of being tied down to our debt slowly being cut loose.  Oh to be debt free.  OH TO BE DEBT FREE!  OH TO BE DEBT FREE!!!  To be able to SAVE more.  To be able to GIVE more.  To be able to HELP more.  It's coming...It's coming...It's coming!  AHHH!!!!!

I've been following a couple on facebook along their journey to becoming debt free.  They just recently paid off SIX figures in 4 years - 33 days earlier than they had planned!  You can read some of her blog here.  The King & Queen of Free have done it - you can too!  We can too!  I cannot wait to be able to post something similar. 

The Queen of Free has a great blog about keeping your marriage healthy while paying of debt - you can read it here!  This is SO important.  Money problems can cause huge quarrels between a husband & wife.  Ryan & I had many heated talks when we were trying to figure out our budget.  How much should we budget for clothes each month, how about entertainment, gifts, etc.??  Should we do the cash envelope system?  <---That was a big one.  One of us didn't want cash in our possession - the other thought it would help us out more to stay on our budget & not overspend on groceries or other items.  We decided to do the cash envelope system & WOW - what an eye opener.  To only have X amount of cash to spend on certain things and when it's's gone, has helped out tremendously.  We have also spent at least $100 less each month on groceries.  Amazing how much the cash envelope system has helped us out.  It is a little annoying but SO worth it!  Try it!!

If you are on this journey with us - KEEP IT UP!  Don't let go of that "Gazelle Intensity!"  Everything we are doing (or not doing) is worth it.

As of right now our running total of debt is about $27,431.17.  (About $1,000 more than the rounded total from my last blog - this number here is more accurate.)

We have paid off $6,627.20 in debt since January 1, 2012!!!

Again, thank you all for your support in all of this.  It has helped out tremendously to have your understanding & kind words.  You all are a part of this journey with us too.  We look forward to celebrating our debt free days with all of you in the future!

February 25, 2012

Dave Ramsey....You Suck!!!

Yeah...I said it.  Dave Ramsey - You Suck!!  I can't stand you....I can't stand your teachings, I can't stand your videos, I can't stand your budget calculator, I can't stand ALL your 10,000 forms you have us fill out just so we can BE DEBT FREE!  Ugh - why do you have to care so much about everyone else being debt free?  Really?  Is being debt free all its cracked up to be?
How annoying does he look right here!!
Seriously - you know how many things we are going to miss out on JUST so we can some day "Live like no one else"?  That is another thing I can't stand...that stupid saying.  "We have to live like no one else so some day we can live like no one else."  Yeah - did that screw with your mind, too?  It basically means that until you are debt free you get to do nothing.
 Okay...not really.  That's just me being upset because I have to miss out on some things due to keeping tight on our budget so some day we will never have to miss out on things.  Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University is the best thing that has ever happened to our finances.  I want to write about our journey to becoming debt free so maybe it will help others in our same situation - to have hope or see the light at the end of the tunnel (it's there, I promise!).

As I write this I am missing out on celebrating my dad's 50th birthday & my sister's 30th birthday.  The rest of the family is going out to dinner & eating out at restaurants is just not in our budget (unless we have a gift card!).  The day we are debt free I want to be able to have a celebration like no other - celebrate all the things we have had to miss out on to be able to get out from under this weight of destruction - DEBT.

The journey to being debt free began in January - our Lifegroup decided we were going to do Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University for our Bible study each week.  That first week was an eye opener.  We downloaded his budget calculator here & saw how much extra money we actually had each month (or should have) after all of our bills & expenses.  So - where was it all going?!?

Once we figured that out we had to make a plan.  Write down all our debts & crack down on our spending.  We have to "live like no one else" - which meant missing out on things we didn't want to, not doing the things we wanted to & instead budgeting out each month so we could at least do some things & not be hermits all the time.  But that is the hard part - budgeting out each month & saving until we could do something.  Before, we would simply see if we had enough cash in the bank & go do whatever we wanted.  That is what the problem was.  We never budgeted into our monthly expenses so then we had no extra money at the end of the month to help pay of bills.  We also have to save up in order to make purchases we want & don't necessarily need.  If we want a new dining room table we have to save up instead of financing it.  Pay cash for everything!!

The first order of business is to get $1,000 emergency fund savings - once that is done we could start our debt reduction.  That $1,000 is for EMERGENCY only.  That is something that is really hard for a lot of people to remember & stick to.  We ended up setting up a completely separate savings account labeled "Emergency Fund" just to make sure we never took from it.  So far, so good!  Especially since we haven't had any emergencies come up.

We have 5 debts (not including our house) - 2 Student Loans, 2 Car Payments (SUV & Van) & 1 Credit Card.  The total is just over $30,000.

So - $30,000 in debt beginning in January.  Where to start?  We started with our SUV.  It was just over $4,000 to pay off.  During the months of January & February we put any extra cash towards extra payments on the SUV.  Ryan got paid for doing a couple surveys - straight towards the SUV.  We got our taxes done ASAP - got them back before the end of February & BAM - SUV was paid off!  We also had some extra money left over to put towards our next debt - student loans.

Before the end of February & only about 1 1/2 months into our journey & we have paid off 1 debt.  WOOHOO!!  One debt down, 4 more to go!  Now onto the next!

We will begin March with about $26,000 in debt & plan to have a big chunk of that gone by the end of the year.  The SUV payment we had set aside each month will now go towards our smallest student loan - $2,000 on top of what we were already paying on it each month (and any extra $$ we might come up with).

This journey is going to be long & difficult but I know it will be SO worth it in the end.  Family - please bare with us as we go through this road.  Friends - please understand if we sometimes cannot go & have some fun with you.  Everyone - please pray for us along this rocky road.  I look forward to being able to celebrate with you all someday at the end of our journey of being debt free!

December 30, 2011

NIP - The Big Debate!

NIP = Nursing In Public

Here we go.....the big debate.

If you haven't heard about the nationwide Nurse-In at Target stores that happened on December 28th, 2011 then you have been living in a hermit shell.  It all started by one woman, Michelle Hickman, who was shopping in her local Target store when her infant woke up hungry.  She found an area in the women's clothing department, sat down and began to nurse her hungry child - completely covered by a blanket.  A Target employee asked her to move to a dressing room & when Michelle said no the harassment began.  You can read more about her story here.

Now, many of you may not understand what the big deal is.  Just stop what you are doing, get up and move to the dressing room.  Right?  Wrong - You try unlatching your barracuda who has already begun to scarf down his meal.  Not only that, but the process of milk let down, foremilk & hindmilk - its kind of a big deal!  Interrupting the entire process could make for a very unsatisfied baby, leading to crying & crabbiness.  Which would you rather have in your public place?  A satisfied, relaxed baby or one that is crying and fussy?  Mmmhmmmm....I think I know the answer to that one.

So why not just head to a private place when your child is hungry instead of starting to nurse in such a public area?  Babies don't understand "You have to wait until I can make it to a more private area, sorry!"  When they are hungry they are hungry NOW.  Making them wait any longer than what is necessary to pull up your shirt and get latched on will seem like FOREVER for your baby.  Not only that, but usually when you are out and about with your child you are doing so because you need to - like grocery shopping or Christmas shopping.  You will, more than likely, have a cart full of items that you don't want to leave.  If its groceries - there is probably dairy or frozen foods.  If a mom can shop & nurse at the same time, doesn't it make more sense for her to do so instead of leaving her cart full of perishable items to go "nurse in private"?

Besides all this - Nursing is Normal.  It is not sexual, it is not the same as showing your butt, having sex in public or running around naked.  The act of nursing is about nourishing a child.  Giving a baby sustanence.  A baby cannot live without food....drrrrrr.  Comparing breastfeeding to anything is just ridiculous & absurd.

NIP is legal in the state of Indiana & almost all the others. 
Breastfeeding Law:

Not withstanding any other law, a woman may breastfeed her child anywhere the woman has a right to be. Source: Indiana Code 16-35-6-1 Chapter 6, Sec. 7

But what about a woman showing her breast in public?  That isn't right!

You're Absolutely Right!
God forbid we try to do something right for our children & provide them with nourishment!  We may just show too much skin.
c/o Melissa Morgan
c/o Melissa Morgan
My challenge to you: 
Give a little thumbs up or smile next time you see a mom nursing her child.  Ask her if there is anything she needs - perhaps she needs the burp cloth that is buried in the diaper bag.  Help us normalize nursing in public instead of giving dirty looks or making a scene.  This is about our children - not anything else.

December 23, 2011

Odd Man Out

Odd Man Out

Have you ever been somewhere & felt like you just didn't fit in?  Like everyone was in this special club and you weren't a part of it?  Or you didn't get the "invite" to the party?  The butt of every joke was you?  Everyone stops talking when you enter the room.....?

Yeah....that is how I've felt since coming back to work. 

Everyone seemed so excited for me to come back.  I felt my self-worth fill up a little.  My knowledge of our system at work is something many people would compliment me on & it felt good to receive those compliments.

I don't know what happened within my 2 months of being back at work, but whatever it is has put me in a rut...a darkness...a sadness...somewhat of a depression.  Perhaps it is a combination of a couple things - 1 definitely being missing my kids.  The other....well....feeling like I have disappointed everybody's expectations of what I should know how to do here at work has definitely contributed.

Many of you have seen my posts about "Middle Child Syndrome" and because of this, disappointing people cuts my chest open and rips my heart out.  I strive to perfect my skills & when I fail, I fall hard and it takes a lot to get back up out of that pit.  So when I get those glaring eyes looking at me in disappointment I can't help but break down.

I feel I have let down my children by leaving them to go back to work - I feel I have let down my boss & co-workers for not being "all-in" at work - I feel I have let down my husband by not being able to do things I used to be able to when I stayed home - I feel like a complete failure.

Luckily - an opportunity has opened up for me to be able to take a part-time position.  This seems ideal for many reasons.  The most important reason - being able to be home with my kids more often than I am now.  Yes, all of you who thought I was crazy for going back to work full-time can tell me "I told you so."  I thought I was ready but it is completely apparent that I wasn't.  Some of the other reasons are mostly work related.  Not "taking my job home with me" like I have been with this position, still having an income, getting out of the house, etc.  Still being able to be a wife & mom while doing a little work....this part-time position has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders (along with a lot of prayer). 

Hopefully there will be less posts about "woe is me" here soon.  I don't like this deep & dark rut I'm in but its hard to get out of when I am as unhappy as I am with the position I am in.

Oh the life of a former stay at home mom................

September 17, 2011

The Beginning of Happily Ever After

Once upon a time, long ago, before Twitter, Facebook & Myspace there were chat rooms on a place called "America Online" (AOL).  Many people, often lonely, would go to talk trash, act like people they weren't, entertain themselves & look for love - or their version of it anyway.  

This, my friends, is how Ryan & I met.  The fabulous world of AOL!  It was completely by chance ( God!) too.  The chat rooms had so many different categories, anyone could create their own room if they wanted to & anyone could go in and chat from anywhere.  But, on one boring night in 2002, both Ryan & I just happened to be in the same Christian chat room (out of hundreds) at the same time looking to fill the void with entertainment, friendship and, possibly, love.

I'm not quite sure of the exact wording but this is possibly how it went down:
WORL211:  Anyone here from Indianapolis?
WCDiver77:  I am!  19/F/Indy
WORL211:  22/M/New Orleans You know of anything going on up there?
WCDiver77:  hmm..nope, y?
WORL211:   IMing you (that means "instant messaging" lol)

And so it began.....our friendship, our relationship, our love.....our happily ever after.

Ryan was stationed in New Orleans as a Corpsman in the U.S Coastguard.  So our long distance friendship began.  Over the months we got to know each other while still living our own very separate lives.  I was still looking for love in all the wrong places & he was still "having a good time" in New Orleans.  The moment came....he was coming home for Christmas to visit his family & we were to meet up.  He was going to call me when he got into town & had a free moment.  I think the plan was for him to come to my apartment & hang out.  This was not new to me, I had met many people in person off the internet.  Never at my apartment, though...for some reason I felt Ryan was different.

Ring....Ring....Ring....heart pounding, OMGosh its him...he's calling me....what do I do??  Answer it?  Should I?  Oh no...second thoughts - I'm not ready for anything he wanting something serious?  Have we already gotten more serious over our chats on the phone than I'm ready for?  Oh My Goodness - WHAT DO I DO?!?!?  Crap......go to voicemail.

That was it - Christmas of 2002 - we were supposed to meet up and I chickened out.  That was the end of it.....

Or was it?

Fast forward almost 2 years to August 2004.  I went on a trip to Cancun, Mexico with a guy I thought I knew well enough.  Turns out I didn't & what I thought was a friendly trip to Cancun turned into him leaving me halfway through our trip to go home to his girlfriend (whom I did not know about).  Before you get all judgmental let me inform you the sleeping arrangements & my thoughts about what the trip was supposed to be was different from what he thought/wanted them to be.  I reserved a room with 2 beds & I slept by myself, in my own bed, every night.  Three days into it & he left me.  I rode out my vacation & made it home safely - Thank God!

Why did I tell you that little story that seems to have absolutely nothing to do with our little "happily ever after"?  Well, because it has everything to do with it.  You see, since that day in December, 2002 when I ignored Ryan's call to meet up we hadn't chatted.  He must have been a bit miffed from my ignoring of his call & we both had moved on with our lives.  Or had we?

Soon after I returned from my vacation with myself, Ryan & I reconnected.  I was SO anxious to tell someone about my trip - probably looking for him to feel sorry for me.  We both kept each other on our "Buddy List" on AOL which made it easy to IM when we were both on.  One of us IMed the other (not sure who did it first, probably me!) & we started chatting again.  I told him all about my vacation & in that moment it happened - we had rekindled whatever feelings we had planted 2 years prior. 

I remember chatting with Ryan on the phone one time while I was driving home to get ready for a date.  Haha, yeah....I was going on a date - but, come on, I still hadn't met this guy (Ryan) in person & I had already had this date set with a guy I had a crush on for a while so I was going!  Anywho - this guy called for directions while I was talking to Ryan.  I put Ryan on hold, told the guy how to get to my house, then clicked back over and said my goodbyes to Ryan.  The date obviously didn't go well - we just didn't "click."  I honestly think the reason we didn't click was because deep within me I was already connected to Ryan - even if we had 'just' reconnected a couple weeks before.  The seed that was planted 2 years ago had started to take root.

First picture I ever saw of Ryan
 Weeks went by & our conversations got deeper.  This time it seemed a little different because his time in the Coast Guard would soon be completed.  He was planning on being discharged at the end of the year.  We had a better grasp on what we wanted with our lives & saw an actual date when we would finally be able to be together.  By September 15, 2004, we decided we would be exclusive - we would not see other people & would focus on getting to know one another even more.  Remember, we still had yet to meet in person.  All we had were pictures of each other & what we knew from chatting all the time.

The weeks turned into months & we learned more & more about each other & even ourselves.  Our friendship turned into a relationship & our relationship turned into a deep bond neither of us really saw happening - but it did.  We learned more about each other from our chats than anyone will ever know.  We opened up about our fears, regrets, mistakes, happy moments, what excited us, our past (even if it hurt the other person), our plans for the future, our families & on & on.  Everything you learn about someone over the course of dating them but we didn't have the distraction of physically being next to one another.  When we may have just been making out or watching a movie we talked.  We began to tell our secrets & be honest with each other which some relationships never have.  I can remember Ryan calling me after Halloween & telling me he hadn't been completely honest with me about his partying but he was now done with it.  He didn't want that lifestyle anymore.  That had to take guts & trust to be able to tell me something like that.  I also recall telling Ryan about my past & us both breaking down on the phone.  I hurt so badly knowing this man had saved himself for me & he was broken over the fact that I hadn't saved myself for him.  My heart felt like it was ripped out of my chest, I thought I was going to lose him.  It was awful - but we grew so strong from then on out.  These conversations had to happen & in the way they did.  Had we been chatting eye to eye I'm not so sure they would have ended the way they did.

Thanksgiving rolled around & Ryan always spent it with his Aunt & some family friends in Florida.  By this time we already knew we would spend the rest of our lives together.  Kind of strange to everyone around us since we still had yet to meet in person & lets be honest here, my family & friends had seen my history with guys that I eventually got bored with & dumped.  I can only imagine what their thoughts were about this whole relationship.  Anyway, the day after Thanksgiving came - Black Friday.  Ryan went shopping!  Guess what he bought??  I don't even know why he told me but he did - he bought an engagement ring.  Now....I know this sounds completely strange for us to have felt this amazing connection before ever meeting in person, but we did.  A connection so deep Ryan bought a ring.  Yes, as shocked as you all reading this probably are, I was too.  But, it just showed how sure he was about us - that felt amazing.

The moment came again when we were going to finally be face to face.  Christmas of 2004!  Exactly 2 years after our first chance at meeting that never happened (whoops, lol).  The plan was for him to be able to come home for Christmas & not have to go back since he would be discharged, finished with his time in the Coast Guard.  The Coast Guard, however, had different plans.  They simply said, "No, you'll have to wait until after Christmas."  

ARE      YOU     KIDDING     ME??  

Ugh....all of this built up excitement & anticipation lost at the hands of the Coast Guard.  Fabulous.......this sucks.  Now what?  I'm going to be sad on Christmas & my man has to spend his all alone.  Who wants to spend Christmas alone?  Hmmm......then came the bright idea!

I'm flying down there....I'm gonna do it.  I'm putting my butt on a plane & flying to New Orleans to spend the weekend of Christmas with Ryan!  The man I will someday marry is NOT going to spend Christmas alone!  And - maybe this will make up for 2 years ago when I chickened out! ha ha  Ignoring my family & friends' thoughts about flying down there, I bought a ticket.  They all thought I was crazy & I'm certain were scared for my life.  They had never met Ryan, heck, neither had I, but I knew him.  I really KNEW him.  I felt like I knew him inside & out - I had gotten to know his heart, his mind, his soul.  They just didn't understand.

Actual email between Ryan & I before we finally met in person

The plane ride had to be the shortest & longest trip ever.  I was so excited & anxious to finally be able to put my arms around Ryan but once I landed I was SO nervous.  What if all these months of falling in love with each other were for nothing & we just don't click in person?  What if we aren't really attracted to each other?  What if?!?!  I can't exactly ignore his phone call this time - I'm on a freaking plane to New Orleans!

Oh crap....the plane has landed.  I actually have to get off this plane.  Its like 10:00pm - maybe later, I can't remember.  I just remember sitting in my seat...looking around as everyone was anxiously waiting to be able to get off the plane & I was a nervous wreck.  I called Ryan as soon as I was able to tell him we landed.  He told me where he was, what he was wearing & I told him I'd be carrying a pink pillow, you couldn't miss me.  I also told him I was going to wait until I was the last person off the plane just to make him wait that much longer.  Honestly, I just didn't want anyone around when we finally did meet up.  I was afraid it would be completely awkward & everybody would be looking at us.

Here it goes - the last person off the plane.  I'm still talking to Ryan as I get my luggage out of the overhead bin, grab my pillow & head off the plane.
Ryan:  Are you off the plane yet?
Me:  I'm off the plane headed your way.
Ryan:  Where are you? Where are you?
Me:  I'm carrying a big pink pillow, you can't miss me.  Where are you?
Ryan:  I'm standing right outside the doors waiting on you.  Oh, I see you!
Me:  I see you too!
Ryan:  Come & get me! (with his snarky little tone, lol)

Pretty sure I started walking faster at that moment.  I passed the doors to where Ryan was standing, dropped everything I had & it was "movie moment" time.  You know, when the two actors finally reach the much anticipated embrace & the camera circles around them.  Yeah, it was like that.  Exactly like that.  I'm sure if someone was there who knew what was going on they would have gotten butterflies in their tummy, smiled that smile, got that "awe" look in their eyes & possibly even shed a tear.  

That moment we embraced solidified everything we had felt over the past several months.  Feeling his arms around me for the first time is something I will never forget.  The strength & softness - I felt safe, secure, home.  Next was our first kiss.  WOW....this was it.  THIS is what the movies are like in real life.  THIS is what every girl dreams of.  THIS is everything.  

There is something amazing about falling in love with someone before seeing them in person. I think every mother can relate - we love our child in our womb before ever seeing them. Then that moment comes when you finally get to meet them face to face & you are overcome with emotion. Yeah, that's exactly what it was like.

And so began our happily ever after......

Our First Picture Together

Our First Date

A Letter From Ryan Soon After He Was Home For Good

September 8, 2011

WE made it!

It's here - the 1st birthday of my baby girl.  Now, I know that is a celebration in itself but that isn't what this blog is about.  This blog is about 

Yes - I want to celebrate the 1 year mark of breastfeeding! 

I had my struggles at first, but I was determined to battle through them.  I made it 5-6 weeks with Declan & I wasn't going to be overwhelmed this time & quit.  I knew if I took it 1 week at a time, then 1 month at a time it wouldn't seem so bad.  My first goal was to make it past 6 weeks.  Next it was 3 months - then 6 months - then 1 year.  We are here.....1 year of breastfeeding.

Of course, I did give expressed milk in a bottle to Averley but I still think that is considered breastfeeding since she still only got mommy's milk.  Some may disagree but I don't care. :)
I don't write this blog to try to make anyone feel bad.  This is strictly about me, my battles, my struggles & overcoming them all.  Yes, I am tooting my own horn....because I can & I want to.  I am PROUD to be able to say I breastfed my daughter for 1 year.  The commitment in itself can be overwhelming, then you add in daily tasks, taking care of other children, trying to take care of the house & have dinner made.  I did it!  Thank you Jesus for giving me the strength to get through each day to be able to give my daughter the best thing she could ever get.
There were so many times throughout Declan's 1st year that I felt so sad that I gave up.  I felt like I somehow disappointed him.  My friends were going strong breastfeeding their kids & I gave up.  It hurt me.  

Not this time!
It was a struggle, like everything is when you have a newborn but WE made it.  I didn't give up on her & she fought through our struggles with me.  It actually took me until she was 6 months to enjoy nursing her - 6 months!  She is now a gymnast breastfeeder!  She will latch on no matter her position as long as she can get to it she will take it!  She likes to rip at my shirt in the most improper places (like the state fair, middle of Walmart, out to dinner) - she doesn't care where we are, when she wants it, SHE WANTS IT!

We are now at the point where people ask me when I'm going to stop.  Well - I don't really have a choice in that matter.  Its up to Averley to decide when she doesn't need/want to anymore.  No - I'm not going to be nursing her until she is 6 you crazy people, but stopping at 1 year???  Its not necessary.  The AAP actually recommends breastfeeding as long as it both mutually desired. So get it out of your heads that its "gross" - cuz its not.  Many sites say a child will "self-ween" when they are ready - usually around 18 months.

We will see how it goes - one day at a time.  I'm not going to lie, it will be nice when I can be gone overnight or even just for a day & not have to worry about nursing my daughter or needing to pump.  However, I LOVE seeing her look up at me with those big blue eyes & then smiling with milk dribbling out of the side of her mouth as she giggles!

Here's to us Averley!!!  Love you baby girl!!
Happy Happy 1st Birthday!!