Tuesday, November 23, 2010

At the end of the rainbow

Classes are over for the semester, and now I've officially entered Reading Week. Just one week to prepare outlines, get my notes organized, and refresh my memory of big cases before I get my two finals on Dec. 2.

Thinking about this time last year when I was a clueless and terrified 1L, I have to say that being in my second year of law school has made me so much calmer and at peace with studying, finals, and even (gasp!) grades. Compared to my constant panic about Civil Procedure and Torts last year, this fall I really am not too worried about the finals, one for Constitutional Law and the other for Natural Resource Law. They are take home final papers that I have two weeks to work on before they need to be turned into the Registrar. The idea of having two weeks calms my nerves incredibly. No memorizing, no gathering in a large auditorium with my classmates and writing furiously for three hours during the final. I can take my time. I can get up from my computer and go to the bathroom or take a nap if I hit a writer's block sized wall. I have time.

Well, I have two weeks of time, and that can be seriously limited by the fact that Baby Buckaroo might make an early surprise appearance. But compared to three or four hours of a normal law school final, I feel like I almost have an eternity to finish these papers. And knowing that I don't have to consider the added worry that my water would break in the middle of a law school exam really just puts me at ease.

(Maybe I should ramp up the stress level and that will help me focus on studying this week!) But I finally feel that there is a light at the end of the tunnel-- or at least I've got a glimpse of what's at the end of the rainbow.

I took the picture above a few weeks ago, and I found it hysterical thinking about a truck full of Fat Tire beer was parked at the end of the rainbow. While my pot of gold isn't Fat Tire, I definitely feel like its getting closer. Law School finals are almost here, I have whittled down my list of things to do at work to almost zero, and I've only got 26 days before the official baby due date.

Life is good! While I can't wait to meet the little Baby Buckaroo, I feel like I'm going to truly enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy (despite the constant heartburn) and hopefully survive law school finals as well.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hello, Lovely!

It's baby shower season... and after years and years of going to my dear friend's showers... this time, the baby showers are for me! Yay! My friends and family spoiled me completely, and before I share more, I just wanted to leave you with this little tease, a surprise gift from a dear college friend.

Yes, it's true.

I have now, in my possession, my very own, Petunia Picklebottom diaper bag.

I'm beyond thrilled, but I just don't know how I'll let my baby actually lay on the changing pad and perhaps get this lovely dirty. I'll have to pray about it beforehand, I think! :)

Did you celebrate National Un-Friend Day on Facebook?

Yesterday-- in case you missed it-- was National Unfriend Day on Facebook. Yup, Jimmy Kimmel created a new holiday, to declutter your life, and your Facebook, by unfriending those people you really aren't friends with.

Watch the clip here:

Did you celebrate?

I'll admit that I did not. In fact I added a Facebook friend. I like my social network, it makes me feel loved. :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Book Review: Financial Peace, Revisited

This morning I read a news article that says that Colorado residents carry "an average of $8,700 in credit card debt. They are startling numbers that put Colorado second in the nation for credit card debt per person" (source). These numbers are terrifying, and when the Chef and I got married, we also struggled with debt, specifically racked up by my poor budgeting in college and later wedding expenses.

We read a lot of books and joined a Crown Financial Ministries class at our church to help us create a budget and live within our means. One of the books that we read while in this class was Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. Wow... it changed our perspectives completely.

Almost four years later, I just finished reading another Dave Ramsey book, which inspired me to want to read one financial planning book every month, or at least every six weeks. Whenever I complete one of these books, I feel motivated and inspired to keep a budget, to pay off debt, and to be able to say "no" to those little purchases that keep sucking money out of our checking account.

Last weekend I finished Financial Peace Revisited, by Dave Ramsey. This book was Money Makeover so much of this book was the same material, and I just needed to review it. The Chef and I implemented Ramsey's Baby Steps to Financial Peace over a year ago, and we're slowly slogging away to financial freedom.

Dave Ramsey's Baby Step #1: Save $1000 for an Emergency Fund
   Having this emergency fund has helped us so many times, and I highly recommend having an emergency fund at all times! Not just for a rainy day fund, but for family emergencies, bad plumbing, and the always terrifying car mechanical issues that seem to hit at the worst times of the month-- having an emergency fund is essential.
Baby Step #2 Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball method
   While we've paid off all of our credit card debt, we still have car and student loans to pay off. Ramsey's debt snowball plan alone is worth reading the book, as it really gets you excited about paying off debt and becoming financially free. Our whole snowball plan was derailed when the Chef's car broke last year and we had to replace it, and then five months later when my recently paid off car was totalled and we had to replace it. Despite that, we're on a mission to be debt free-- read this book and see how!
Baby Step #3 Have 3 to 6 Months of Living Expenses in Savings...
   Hopefully we'll be able to get all of our debt paid off and start this Baby Step soon, and be able to move on to the rest at some point.
I'm excited about budgeting, finances, and living within our means (today). Next month I'll probably have to read another financial book to kick start my budgeting juices again, but I'll give this book five stars, trust me, you won't regret reading it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

back in the saddle...

Well, my plan to write a blog post every day for thirty days is off to a great start! 5 days of posting in a row... and then I took four days off. Sigh. So much for good intentions, but I've found it's really hard to be motivated to write on the weekends, when I can spend that time cuddling on the couch with my husband.

But instead of wallowing in guilt, I'm just going to keep cracking, and start writing again. I have a hard time sticking to plans, and I comfort myself by telling myself that I'm not undisciplined, but a free spirited rebel who bucks plans and rules.

The last time I rode a horse was five weeks ago, at 7 1/2 months pregnant, thereby breaking every rule listed in all of those pregnancy books I've been reading. But since I figure the rule of not going horseback riding while pregnant is more about not falling off of a horse while pregnant. I justified my lovely horseback ride by the fact that I was not planning to fall off, and I didn't fall off, therefore riding a horse while 7 1/2 months pregnant is ok.

What can I say, I'm a rule breaking rebel.
Isn't the first part of recovery, acknowledging that you have a problem?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pregnant Women are Smug (I hope people don't think I'm smug!)

I love being pregnant. I think I've shared that before, but it's really true. At 33 weeks pregnant, I'm starting to not be able to easily touch my toes or pick things up off the floor without squatting. I have stretch marks-- although oddly enough mostly on the right side of my belly (weird). My back is starting to hurt, and I've spent the last three weeks sitting on a yoga ball chair at my office.

But still, I really love being pregnant. Baby Buckaroo has assumed the correct position. BB's head down, with his little bottom pushed up against my sternum. His legs are spread out, with a little heel gouging my ribs on each side. So basically he's sitting like an upside down koala bear, and when he feels like I've ignored him too long, he digs in his heels. Luckily he's not yet wearing cowboy books and spurs.

(pic from thebump.com)
The fact that Baby Buckaroo is the size of a honeydew is incredible, truly a miracle how he's grown from the size of a poppyseed in March all the way to a melon.

While I'm sure my life will only get more uncomfortable in the weeks to come, I still love being pregnant. Although, when I watched the video below, I'm hoping that I'm not this smug. If I am, please feel free to slap me (even though I still giggle out loud every time I watch it).

Thanks to Natalie at The Bobby Pin for sharing this video with me! And yes, I too speak in cliches now.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Introducing the Chef

I spend a lot of time on my blog talking about my best friend and husband, known here in the blogosphere as "The Chef." I just realized, however, that I haven't really formally introduced him.

After our first date, I knew there was something special about this man, who despite the fact of growing up in New York, had so many qualities I admired. This Yankee loving Yankee swooped in and captured this cowgirl from Nevada's heart... and well, seven years later, the rest is history.

The Chef's passion is cooking and food, and he claims that everything is better with butter, cheese, and swine. I have to agree! :) You've heard of the Five Love Languages? Well, I have to disagree, with us, there is a sixth love language, and it's food. We love to eat. We love to cook together, to go to fancy restaurants, to well... enjoy food. This is also why four years after our wedding (and before I got knocked up) I was carrying an extra 15 pounds. Oh well.

Now the Chef doesn't like getting his picture taken, especially by me. But he's so adorable I try to sneak them in, here he is trying to look serious (see pic above).

When the Chef isn't busy whipping up an incredible meal for me, my family, our friends, he also teaches Kung Fu. A Chef who could kill someone with his thumb-- he's like Steven Seagal in Under Siege, although not as scary! :) Last weekend we watched the new Karate Kid movie with Jackie Chan, and the Chef spent the whole time 1) complaining about the title of the movie-- they were in China learning Kung Fu, not karate; 2) and the rest of the time picking apart the different forms of martial arts.
For this cowgirl I still find it fascinating. Where I'm from, if someone wants to start a fight they just go behind the rodeo corrals and have a fist fight-- nothing fancy like kicking and pressure points. Is it shallow that I think its so incredibly awesome that my husband can break bricks?

However incredible I find my husband's cooking, his kung fu, and his love of me, I must say there is one quality about the Chef that always makes my heart flutter.  My husband's best quality is his unshakable faith in God and his devotion to the Bible. I am so excited to be starting a family with him, to see him transform into a father, because I know that he will continue to provide excellent spiritual leadership and will be an exemplary role model for our son or daughter.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Change is in the Wind

Yesterday was Election Day... and like response of the country two years ago, citizens voted for change... this time for change in big government. While I don't like to talk politics on this blog, I just found it interesting that one of the primary reasons people voted was the economy. Why?

Because it sucks.

While my husband and I are currently blessed to have good jobs that we love, we know many who have been hurt by the economy. Our neighbor, Dave, an electrician leaves his house at 5 am every morning and drives all the way to Vail (at least two hours in good weather) for a job, and when he's done at the end of the day, drives home. Why does he do that? Because it's the only job he can get at the moment.

While I'm hoping the economy picks up, we don't receive any more new taxes, or incure more national debt-- I was also delighted yesterday to realize that my favorite coffeeshop, Starbucks, was also celebrating change by debuting their new holiday cup.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

all I seem to be able to handle

All right, here's another whiny blog post. (Sorry... I'm still waiting for the bright ray of sunshine to give me optimism, energy, and the ability to retain a complete thought during my last trimester/ last few weeks of the law semester.)  

I'm not doing my homework, I'm barely able to clean the house... and all I seem to want to do is quilt.

Yes, that's right. Quilt. My grandma activity that for some reason makes the world feel right and comfortable. The ability to cut fabric and then sew straight lines and put the fabric back together is soothing to me right now.

So I quilt. I skipped Constitutional Law last night because I felt so blah... and I went home, took a two hour nap, and then I quilted until bed time.

It seems like its too early for Nesting urges, but really, can't I have the urge to get caught up on my Natural Resources law reading? Or have the urge to outline my notes? Or clean out the refrigerator?

I'm being somewhat productive... but this isn't really going to help my law school grades at all.

I blame the Peanut-- the Baby Buckaroo for distracting me.  I mean how much longer can I get away with playing the pregnancy card after all?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Confession-- I can't say no

When I was in Junior High, I was obsessed with Oklahoma. I probably watched the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical four dozen times, and can quote most of the lines to this day.

One of the things I've realized is that I'm horribly like Ado Annie on the movie, (not the kissing part) but I have a horrible time telling other people (and myself) "no!"

I'm jist a girl who cain't say no,
I'm in a turrible fix
I always say "come on, le's go"
Jist when I orta say nix!

If someone asks me to do something for them, usually I'll do it, even if I'm terribly busy doing something else. But, even worse, is my inability to tell myself No, and to set limits for myself. Sure I'm working full time, in law school, and in my third trimester with my first baby-- but canning a case of peaches over the weekend? Good idea! Trying to make handmade gifts for Christmas for our entire family? Absolutely-- let me go buy supplies now!

My most recent bout of struggling with personal boundaries came in the form of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I've heard about the contest, and have contemplated participating before. Last Friday I had a length internal struggle about whether or not I should sign up for it. I mean come on, it happens only once a year, it'd be great experience -- never mind that this is the last month in my law semester and I'm about to pop my first baby out in 5-6 weeks!

Finally reality set in, and I was able to convince myself that joining NaNoWriMo would be a bad idea. So to compensate, I joined National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) instead. I already have a blog, why not commit to actually posting once a day for an entire 30 days? I may be busy with life, but at least I have something to write about: law school, pregnancy, wife, family, quilting, etc.

Why not?
So, here goes, in an attempt to be disciplined and to write a blog post once a day for the next month... I can do it... and I challenge you to as well!

If you haven't ever heard Ado Annie's song-- here it is.


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