The Two Ns.

Names and nurseries.

After a post-ultrasound celebratory brunch at Cracker Barrel (yeah, we're redneck like that), Cody went off to work and I went straight to Target to scout out their baby name books. I left with The Complete Book of Baby Names: The Most Names (100,001+), Most Unique Names, Most Idea-Generating Lists (600+) and the Most Help to Find the Perfect Name and went straight to work reading through all the lists, names and definitions, and have come up with a list of… eight names. And I'm all the way through the letter "O" right now. If there are 100,001+ names in this book, half of which are girl names, and I am more than halfway through the alphabet and have only come up with eight names… either the book stinks or I am incredulously picky.

The funny thing is, as I flipped through the pages while lying in bed the other night while Cody was trying to drift off to sleep (not something that was going to happen with a wife full of name ideas at his side), one name in particular popped randomly into my head, one that fit perfectly with the middle name we both like, and I asked him what he thought of it. His response: "I thought of that name earlier too. I like it."

Oh really?

"Like, this same name? Randomly popped into your head? Because I'm not even in the right section of this book to come across it right now. I just thought of it out of nowhere. And you did too? What do you think that means? Is it a SIGN from GOD? IS THIS OUR DAUGHTER'S NAME?!!!"

"Perhaps. Weird, I know. I like it. Going to sleep now…"

So the same name randomly pops into both of our heads and we both like it? What are the odds? Of course I wanted to analyze this at midnight the night before a maddeningly early morning for my husband, but I decided to spare him and turned out the light after a few extra minutes of searching. There were some cute names I made note of, but the whole time, that one name kept ringing in my head.

And no, it's not on our preliminary name list. I think the only way we would revert back to that is if I give birth, and a boy pops out.

And no, we're not telling you the name. For now, anyway.

Second on my list: the nursery. My whole life, I always vowed that if I was having a girl, I would NEVER be The Pink Mom. Pink is dumb! Pink is so cliche! Pink is for sissies! Pink Moms are SO ANNOYING!

Well, guess what. I am now The Pink Mom I swore I'd never be.

I am having visions of ever-so-pale pink walls, white lace, bird decorations (kinda trendy but I dig it), fresh flowers in mason jars, splashes of green and yellow, crocheted blankets, fluffy pillows… I know, I'm already getting completely ridiculous. As much as I wanted to be the mom who would do something different when it comes to her children's decor, I am a total sucker for pink. Not just any pink, though: it has to be pale pink. Bright colors have to be done just so in order for me to consider going there. My parents painted my room Pepto-Bismol pink when I was a kid, and looking back now, I'm not sure how my head didn't spontaneously combust. But I'm sure that it was a good idea at the time, given that it was the early 80s, and so many things were acceptable in the 80s that should simply never be mentioned EVER AGAIN.

I'm currently scouting the blogosphere for nursery ideas and would love to hear your favorites. So far I'm a big fan of Making It Lovely, The Lovely Little Things, and Craftynest. They aren't nursery/baby specific but have some great ideas. I love to be creative, and get some really great ideas in my head, but sometimes putting the ideas to paper or into existence requires some tactile inspiration that I have to see in order to fully realize my own visions. Shoot me some of your favorites and I will get this show on the road!

And finally, I can hardly stand another second of living without my new sewing machine, courtesy of Amma. I want to have craft days with my mom and grandma with all three of our sewing machines zipping along, making some of the cutest little girlie items ever for the fourth generation in the room. Oh, and perhaps a fancy new camera with which to document our adventures and finds- one of these days, anyway. For now, my ghetto Canon Elph with the broken, taped on battery case cover will have to suffice.

The “New Normal.”

I'm seeing a lot of this "New Normal" business on the news shows on network TV lately. People living in tents, in motels, kids without shoes, etc. etc. "With the economy the way it is…" I'm really beginning to get tired of that statement. Yes, the economy sucks, and I am not one to deny its effects on many in our country, I promise. I've said it myself a time or two. But sometimes I think it's nothing more than a GIANT COP-OUT for anything that happens to a person these days. There comes a point when you have to take personal responsibility for the things that are or aren't happening to you. 

I've been a complainy, whiny mess lately. My hormones are off the charts and I don't handle feeling sick like a champ unlike some people. I try, but quite honestly, I fail. I am thankful for friends and family who let me vent, and understand, and have compassion, and am annoyed with the ones who do not. I am annoyed that my paychecks have been cut by more than half; in fact, I'm just annoyed with how that whole situation was handled, period. I am annoyed by things that are affecting us that are out of our hands.

I cannot, however, be annoyed by the things that I can control. And we can always control where the money that we do have goes. 

We live in a nation of absolute excess. My husband's income alone places us in the top 3.5% of earners in the world using that number. It feels so… ridiculous. That is an eye-opener, for sure. We both seek to be giving people, and giving should be a sacrificial and joyful thing. Nobody wants to receive something out of reluctance or obligation. It's scary to give when you aren't sure your own needs will be met. But it is what anyone with the title "Christian" is called to do, and God is faithful to provide when you show you trust Him to do so. 

My friend Amy posted a fantastic blog on this subject. I read it right after I woke up and it was such a timely read in the midst of all the stress and uncertainty we are living in now. Not because I believe in distribution of wealth (I'm not sure she necessarily does either, as she clarifies later in the comments); I believe that people who earn whatever they earn deserve to keep it and do with their income what they see fit. I also think giving and charity should be a huge part of what people do with their earnings, but it should not be forced on them. (OK, I'll spare you. I'm off my soapbox.) I enjoyed her post because it pointed out that we have to be responsible to the choices we made to get us to where we are now, and what can we ACTUALLY complain about? I can't complain about not being to pay for things if I'm out buying a new shirt at Anthropologie because I "deserve it" or even something as small as a $2.00 bag of Starbursts because I was craving them, as I did tonight, because every penny adds up these days. Never before has the reality of being really, and I mean REALLY, frugal hit me so squarely in the face. I realized that up until now, we were trying to be frugal, but we still allowed ourselves luxuries from time to time. Unless money starts magically appearing in our bank account, we simply cannot afford those luxuries anymore. 

And in a strange way, while still fearing it, I'm actually looking forward to it. 

There are things I've been missing out on in life. Laziness and fear have gotten the best of me. I don't feel like doing much RIGHT now, but once I start feeling better I don't want to miss out on life anymore. It's strange because I feel that in some way, by being forced to forego the little things we usually enjoy, like eating out, seeing a movie every now and then, or buying the latest book that gets our attention, we will find other, more meaningful ways to enjoy life. I can see how God would be teaching us and stretching us more than we ever thought possible during this time. I know that there will be times that I HATE going without; honestly, I always have. I would be lying if I said I didn't get pangs of envy when I serve some of these girls my age who come in with their friends and their giant diamond rings and cute outfits and fancy purses and Lexus key rings and order their salads and lattes without a care in the world. I've always had expensive taste- just ask my dad, or my husband 🙂 But going WITH those things makes a person lose perspective on the things that are really important. 

And I want more out of my life. And more for our new little life. I'll just be trusting God's provision along the way, more than ever before. 

WAHM.

Work at Home Mom. I hope to achieve this title in the near future. I just can't seem to figure out a legitimate way to do so. 

Lately I have been overwhelmed by all I have laying ahead of me, and all I have to get done, everything I have to learn, not knowing what I don't know but need to know, and wondering how we are going to stretch our dollars without my income anymore. Because insurance companies are evil and view pregnancy as a "pre-existing condition," Cody is stuck at his job at least until our little one arrives. And because ASU is run by a communist- I mean, Michael Crow, they have things like forced mandatory retirement funds that don't let you choose how much or how often you put in money, and they require employees to pay for parking (and Lot 59, which was a mere $50 when we were in school, is now $270 per year for EVERYONE and is the cheapest parking on campus!), plus unpaid furlough days to cut everyone's salary by 10%, on top of taxes, and you have a paycheck that is whittled down to less than 70% of what you would normally take home from that same salary anywhere else. Cody is very good at his job and has gained great experience since he started there three years ago, but he doesn't necessarily want to stay there long-term, and without his Master's degree, there really isn't a way to move up, at least not in the next six months or so. And even if he did, his income couldn't be impacted all that much with all the FEES that are FORCED on ASU employees. Grrr… 

I have a love-hate relationship with the whole scenario. In spite of everything I don't like about it, I am SO thankful that Cody was able to keep his job through all the budget cuts that happened there last winter, and I am so thankful to have great health insurance. Things could be a lot worse so I know I need to keep that in perspective. I am frustrated with employment in general on many levels these days and all I can say is that I know both he and I are worth WAY more than either of us take home every two weeks. 

Cody is a scholar at heart and wants nothing more than to go to seminary for his Master's degree, and even talked about getting his Ph.D so he can teach at the college level someday. He would be SO good at this, but an education like that costs a pretty penny- a pretty penny we thought maybe we could swing BEFORE we found out that we had a baby on the way, and now we're like, "THE MORTGAGE! THE A/C! DIAPERS! THANK GOD WE DON'T HAVE A CAR PAYMENT! HOLD ON A SECOND! DO WE NEED A NEW CAR!" 

I'm happy to report that the panic phase has passed, but we still don't have any answers. That's the thing about trusting God- you don't know what He's up to, but you have to trust the fact that He is always up to something, and it is always for our good. It's our humanity that makes us freak out, and I still do from time to time. My hours at work have been cut in half (which was NOT part of the deal) and my pay was cut too, so I've been trying to figure out what exactly I'm supposed to go out and do. Go get a new job, tell them I'm prego and not even stand a chance at the job (no matter how illegal that is), or don't tell them and let them figure it out when they see The Bump, and then say something like, "Oh, that? I didn't mention it before? My apologies. I won't be here much past January." I mean, really. Who does that.

So I'm researching like crazy trying to find something I can do from home that brings in a steady income but gives me the flexibility to care for our baby. I've found like, two legit sites, but one of them is already ruled out because it requires a PC, and we are a Mac family. I've gone through all the steps that are required of applicants to be considered for an opening on the other site, but the follow-up I received totally goes against everything I already did. I of course am beginning to question its legitimacy. 

For right now, I just want a paycheck. I have dreams of doing other things but those things will have to wait for a time. For instance, I LOVE to sew. I am a total novice at it, but it was a childhood hobby of mine that I'm starting to pick up again, and I'd love to make something of it. My Icelandic grandma was a professional seamstress and used to make all sorts of goodies for us when I was growing up. I would love to do what she did and learn her tricks (she had SO many cool tricks) and sell my items on Etsy… I know, I know, this is SO TRENDY, it almost makes me not want to do it. It seems as if talented, well-practiced, formally trained artists of the handmade variety are a dime a dozen anymore- it's overwhelming- and why would anybody want the work of a mere hobbyist like me? I have so much inspiration and a lot of ideas but when it comes to executing them, it's almost like I get paralyzed. By what, I don't know, but I am surrounded by people who are just going for whatever it is that they have always wanted to do and I want to do it too. I am so inspired by them. It'll take time to achieve these things, but I'm sure it'll be worth waiting for. 

But on that note: if anyone has any ideas for income in the meantime, please, enlighten me.