Thursday, March 31, 2011

3rd Trimester...Ready or Not, Here We Come!

Is this really happening?!
I cannot believe it.
I remember being in my 1st Tri begging for it to be over
and that 13 weeks took FOREVER!
Now I only have 12 left?!

I say I have 11 weeks and 6 days left
because it would be awesome for our Baby Girl to arrive on June 22nd.
If she comes early, fine by me, but here is my silly reason for the 22nd.

I was born September 22nd.
My next sister, Carrot (Caren), was born December 22nd.
Then Bagel (Baylee), the next sister, was born November 22nd.
And then the failure begins...
...ok, it was because of the doctor,
And it would have worked but things were overlooked at the time
So, Boog (Hannah), my last sister, was born July 26th...
...although the doctor admitted she could have arrive on the 22nd because she WAS full grown.
Wanna know how we know...
...July 26th she arrived at 9lbs 11oz.

Well it just so happened that my "official due date" is June 24th
But I told the doctor,
Because he is the same one that delivered me and all my sisters
and knows the "tradition"
I told him if she is still not here by June 22nd, I want her then.
He smiled and nodded, saying he can make that happen!
I don't think so.
Just so happened that way!

People do fun things with names...
like get this...
I just so happened to be born on the 22nd
and then Caren just so happened on the 22nd as well.
According to my mom, that just worked out that way.
So when she was having the next one, she tried to have Baylee on the 22nd as well...
...walking around the mall the night before and such.
So our names went D - C - B - and then that was it because we couldn't agree on an A name.
So Hannah is as close as we will get to an A name.

Anywho...people do fun things with names, and if it so happens I can have our children on the 22nd
of any given better believe I will do that.
Silly? Yes.
Fun? You bet!

Anywho....enough with that sillyness.
This has been one fun ride.
How I only have 83ish days left, I have no idea!
Our Little Jewel has been getting stronger and stronger.
It has been fun and uncomfortable all at the same time.
But I am so happy to be here experiencing this.

Last night I was on the phone with Nik as he was driving home from work
And She had the hiccups.
It was so cute!
You could see a steady beat right on my belly.
It lasted just over 3 minutes.
It was so cute.
I interrupted Nik real quick to tell him and he just laughed and smiled.
He is so in love with her already!

Oh, and not sure if you remember me mentioning my lower back and hips always hurting...
...well Nik and I bought a mattress topper and it has made a HUGE difference.
I no longer wake up in pain.
It is wonderful!
Wish we would have gotten on sooner
But we didn't. Oh well.
I'm happy now!
And Nik says his back hasn't hurt as badly either.

But now I have a question...
...and if you are still reading this, yay!
Does gravity effect the baby while in the womb?
Lately I have felt her feet on my right side
and when I lay on my right side (just for a little bit)
she gets her tap moves on like crazy...
...or so it feels like.
And it REALLY hurts!
Such a weird feeling.
So I will then roll over to my left and I stay that way 95% of the time.
Well, is she landing on her head with a headstand or what?
Might be a silly question,
But I really wanna know.
So...let me know what you think or if you really know the answer.

I guess that is all.
Thanks for your attention.
So excited to meet this little girl....but right now I gotta go feed her.
Yay for breakfast!

*And sorry I don't go through and proof read it before submitting it
So hopefully it makes sense.
Just what is happening in this Pregnant Brain of mine.

Friday, March 25, 2011

First of Many

So last night was the first night I have experienced what so many other mothers talk of and dread...

Our Little Jewel decided she wanted to play around...all night long.
Before this, she would be quiet and if she played around, I had no idea.
Occassionally she would wake up with me around 3:30am on my potty break, but that was it.
She was as light as a feather when she would move.
Well, not anymore. She is one strong little lady.
I could not for the life of me get more than 30 minutes of sleep at a time.
Didn't help that her and her daddy decided to tag-team and keep me up all night.
I guess it was warmer than usual in our room last night, so Nik would not lie still.
But then again...neither could I...BECAUSE the two of them kept moving.

I laugh at it now...but maybe it is just because I am super-dee-duper exhausted!
And I am very very happy that everything seems to be healthy and right on schedule...
Just part of learning how to deal with this completely different part of life.

But on a different mom and I play our own Scrabble Game on FBook.
Now, this is very unusual because the family isn't the biggest fan of playing that game with her...
...because she is SO DARN GOOD!
She jokes about reading the dictionary when she was younger, but I swear she did.
In fact, if I close my eyes REAL hard I can see her from my spot on the clouds in Heaven doing so.
True story.
Well, we started a new game, because I actually won last game.
THAT, my friends, IS RARE!
So it's my first turn on this new game....and in 2 minutes I find a word using ALL my 7 letters... me the 50pt bonus! I was super stoked! I couldn't stop laughing...not that I was rubbing it in, because I know it will eventually be her winning....but I was just sooooo happy I got a good score and was in the lead.
And the funniest part was how the word directly relates to my pregnancy - CRAVINGS. lol
Well, my next hand of tiles were A A A I I U T.
What am I suppose to do with that?!?!
See, this game is not about strategy at's about luck and knowing weird words.
Well, I guess a little about strategy because you don't want to play somewhere next to a DW or TW to allow the next player that spot. But other than that, just takes brains.

Now onto the BEST part of the night....Cherry Swirl Coffee Cake

Bring on this bad boy!
Just found this on the Betty Crocker site....and made it in a jiffy.
You should try it out.
Looks almost like the Entenmann's Coffee Cake.
If it is a similar match...I'll be in heaven.

Well, that is all for tonight, folks!
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Precious Moments

Your Baby: Month 6

Let your spouse put an ear to your belly -- he might be able to pick up baby's heartbeat (no stethoscope required). Inside the womb, the formation of tiny capillaries is giving baby a healthy pink glow. Baby's also soaking up your antibodies, getting the immune system ready for life outside the womb. Eyes are forming, and baby will soon perfect the blink -- perfect for batting those freshly grown lashes (cute!!).

So we tried this last night.
I was getting ready for bed and remember reading this earlier in the day.
So I asked Nik if he wanted to hear something cool.
He was up for it.
I told him to put an ear on the baby and to listen closely.
He had to move around a couple times and finally found it.
He lifted his head with the sweetest smile of one happy daddy
and said he could hear our daughters beating heart.
He put his ear back to her and closed his other ear so he could hear better.
He was soooo cute!
I wish I could hear it without a monitor...
...but that's not possible...
...I have a huge baby in the way.
I asked him how fast it was beating just to make sure it wasn't mine he heard.
He mimicked it perfectly.
About 155 beats per minute.
(At least that is what the doctor said on Monday).
Awww....such a sweet moment.
I was afraid it would be too soon to hear it but I guess not.

Such a precious moment that I had to document it.
It is the little things in life that make us smile.
I don't ever want to forget this.

Dear Baby Berry,
I haven't written you in a long time.
I just want you to know that I can't wait to see you!
13 short weeks left.
Can you believe that?!?!
You will be here before we know it.
I also want you to know that you are so precious and special
to your mommy and daddy already.
We love you so much!
This has been such a fun journey
getting ready for your big debut.
You have changed your mommy and daddy's lives so much
and it is all for the better.

You have so many friends and family members
that love you so much already,
without even meeting you face to face.

Your Auntie Amy and Uncle Tim
got married 12 days ago.
You were so cute during the ceremony,
kicking around and making your presence known.
Auntie Amy loves you so much and gives you a special hug
every time she is around.
You even made it in the wedding pictures.
Just you, me, and her.
She was so pretty that day,
I'm sure you will love that picture!

Your Grandma Allred asks about you every morning.
Sometimes you would think I don't matter anymore... least not as much as you,
but I know that isn't true.
She loves us both.
When you get should ask her about
The Owl Quilt.
You could get a good laugh outta her with that one.
She was just so excited to be a Grandma,
she got started early!
She loves you so much!

Nanu is always excited to have you around.
Don't be surprised when soccer season comes around
and you are out on the field.
Don't worry,
we will all be there cheering you on.
You might have actually heard her a time or two
talking to you.
She loves you so much.
I know she will make a wonderful Great Nanu!

Can't forget about your Grandpa Berry.
Every time you are around he is making sure you are good and healthy.
One time he gave me a whole plate of strawberries...
...just because "his granddaughter needs her vitamins."
It was very sweet.
Hope you liked those!
I sure did.
Grandpa even got a nasty scrape all along his forearm while working.
I made sure to bandage him up and take care of it
before it got any worse,
because we all know he needs that arm to hold you.
Especially when it comes time for you to go out hunting with the Berry Boys.
Don't worry will look cute in all that hunting gear,
bows and all!

Trust me...everyone else is so excited to meet you too.
Auntie Carrot has even set up a website and clothing business
so she can give you cute little clothes.
She sure misses you while she is in Utah but she will be here in July to visit.
Be careful though, she might squeeze you to pieces!
Auntie Bagel and Boog love you too.
They count down to your arrival with me.
They are having so much fun.
Your Uncle Sam is excited to teach you how to play ball
and is very sweet to let me have the soft seat in the house
so you and I can be comfortable.
Uncle Jake always checks on you,
just like a good big uncle would do.
And we can't forget about your Grandma Berry.
She loves hearing all the cute stories of what you have been up to lately.
Your Grandpa Allred is sweet and excited for another girl...
...I mean, heck, that is all he knows.
All your other Great-Grandparents and other friends
are so happy to have you joining the family.
You are going to have loving people around you all the time.

I guess for not writing in a long time
I can become a chatterbox.
I'll let you get some sleep now.
I love you,
my Little Princess.
You make me smile.

Your Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


My friends and family call me a Numbers Freak.
I love to count down.
I became a pro while Nik was on his mission...
...and am now perfecting my skills even further with this pregnancy.

As of today....
Nope, not excited...
And I am DEFINITELY NOT the one counting
*sheepish grin*
And if you didn't already calculate...
...that makes it only 14 weeks from tomorrow!
June 22, 2011...HERE WE COME!

Double Digits.
Gosh, this feels good.
To think about the day I found out
I had 246 Days to go.

If you have been to my house you might have seen the Mission Countdown Board Nik made for us hanging in the hallway.
Well, that board has been used numerous times since.
Any time there is something big to count down to, 
my family puts the days back up, just to remove them one night at a time counting down.
They used it for when we moved back home to AZ...FOR GOOD this time.
And now I use it for the arrival of our Sweet Baby Girl.
There are only 2 rows and 3 days left.
(I tried to get a good picture of it but the board is so large and the hall is so small,
it didn't quite work.)
Crazy Talk!

I guess I ought to post pictures of this glorious time
And show off The Bump.
Our Little Princess is approximately the size of an eggplant.
13 inches and around 1.5lbs.
I have my next appointment this Monday so we might actually get an accurate measurement.
We'll see.

25weeks 2days
(not my room.
this was the Random Room for my sister-in-laws wedding this last weekend.
i wish that suitcase in the back was mine for a cruise.
Here is a closer picture.
(p.s. I LOVE my skirt.
got it at Ross.
super cute. super silky.)

 And I can't leave out the cute couple.
I just LOVE her!
Just when I thought I had ENOUGH sisters...
...cuz 3 is a lot when that is all you have...
...I join her family and we get along so well!
Love my Amy!
And I am so happy for her and Tim
Can't forget that!
What a happy day that was and what a happy life they will have...
...always giggling and having fun.
(I just hope they aren't sick on their cruise right now...
...because a bug has been passed around the Berry Family
this last week.)
Oh and what is even better...
they are staying here for the summer rather than going to San Diego!
My little girl will have 4 Aunts and 4 Uncles!

Oh, remember that sick note a minute ago...
...that brings me to my next piece.
Nik was sick with a Stomach Bug all Sunday
And we just thought it was some Ranch he had with his Pizza.
Cuz I didn't eat that Ranch....and now I'm sick.
It has not been a fun 24 hours
ESPECIALLY as the Baby is practicing her Gymnastics Routine in MY BELLY!
Not today, please.
Okok....I am so grateful she is well and kicking....but she has never been this continuously active.
And on the day when I am most nauseous she decides to play around.
I could feel her doing somersaults and cartwheels.
It was insane.
It was awesome at some points and then others would make my eyes go cross.
But...really....I'm glad I have an active baby and that everything is good and well.
I can't wait to meet her!
So...we pray this sickness will leave soon.
Nik just has some lingering side effects and hopefully it will be gone...
...because how long he is out is a sign of my days ahead.

So...that is what is new.
Don't forget...


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Normal is Broke. 2011 is Our Year to Be Weird!

This post has taken a long time for me to get to as I started it in February (on Valentines romantic!) and just now found the time to have Nik read it before posting). Another reason it took so long to even start on the post was because I was afraid to share it with everyone because of embarrassment. But after Nik and I have been working on this EVERY.SINGLE.WEEK for the last few months, we feel that we might be keeping something very helpful and special from somebody out there in cyberspace. We need to share our story in hopes that someone will become as happy as we are! Nik and I also want this written down as a reminder to us of where we came what more perfect way than our blog!

See...when Nik and I got married back in June 2009 we both brought debt into our marriage. Not a lot of debt, but it was more than we were pleased with. Then over our first year and a half of marriage we worked on getting it paid off, slowly but surely, but sometimes more slowly than anything. Our goal was still "one day be debt free." That was our problem...."one day"....that isn't good enough although we were determined for that day because we have hated having this ball and chain around our ankles. Debt is something you live with everyday. It doesn't go away. It doesn't sleep. It lives and breathes and grows just like us. We are sick of this monster.

Well back in March 2010 we paid off our wedding rings with our taxes and it felt AMAZING! We said we were then going to snowball that payment into another debt, but it didn't work out too well. Other things somehow found themselves more important for that money. We just never got around to it. We did not budget properly. That was a mistake we have since had to pay for - (interest).

Over the summer of 2010 we moved out of Utah and worked in California saving up money for a house when we would move back to Arizona. We saved up a couple thousand and felt pretty good. We moved back to Arizona in August, but ran into employment delays. I had a steady and great paying job, but Nik did not. He worked with his dad landscaping but those jobs are only good when people want to pay for it, and it has kinda been slow with the economy being so dead. So, we moved in with his parents, and for that we are so thankful. Because of our debts and only my secure income, we couldn't afford much of any sort of apartment. Then in December we moved in with my parents because my in-laws housing situation was changing. We are so thankful for our supportive parents. They have been so kind to us in our times of need!

Back up a little bit to September 2010. That was my birthday and I told Nik that all I wanted was to pay off a credit card. We just had a couple hundred on one and we had the money available, so on the 21st, the day before my birthday, I made that payment! It felt so good! Best birthday present ever. I was so happy, smiling like crazy, and on Cloud 9. Weird...but definitely the best present I got that year.

October came and went and in that time we found out we were expecting our first baby. Yes, we were heading in that direction anyways, but Heavenly Father granted us this sweet spirit a little earlier than we were anticipating. So...this gave us more motivation to become debt free! Our goals as parents are to have me home with the children so they can have a mom full-time, but the only way we can do that is if we get rid of this nasty ball and chain around our ankles.

December came by and Nik heard about the Financial Peace University that Dave Ramsey has and that there was a special going on to attend this 13 week program. So we saved up some money and signed up for the class and got all the materials. We were so excited! This was our Christmas present to each other. It was to start in the middle of January and so we made the Resolution to become debt free in 2011.

Also after signing up and reading more about Dave Ramsey (we already used his Cash Envelope System but that was it) we decided to take the money we saved for a down payment on a home to pay off debt. There are 7 baby steps that Dave recommends you follow to be the most successful in becoming debt free.
1) Build a $1000 Emergency Fund
2) Pay off all debt (using the Debt Snowball method)
3) Build 3 to 6 months of expenses in a Savings account
4) Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRA's and pre-tax retirement
5) College funding for children
6) Pay off home early
7) Build wealth and give!

These steps are put in this order because he finds they are easiest for people to follow. We had already put away the first step from taxes last year and saved more money for a house. That was backwards. We were spending so much interest on the money in debt that it didn't make sense to keep that little money earned in interest from our savings. After just being DONE with this debt, we got MAD! Dave says that is when he knows the person or couple is going to do well...when they get MAD at the situation. We were LIVID! We looked at the amount of debt we had and started paying off the smallest amounts first with the money from our savings. We paid off a line of credit in December and then a credit card in January. It felt so good! We still had the $1000 saved for our Emergency Fund but now we were closer and closer to becoming debt free!!!

There were some hard times in December in the midst of all the holidays and getting MAD about debt to the point we were feeling happy about being more free! I lost my job the week before Christmas. That was hard. I had been with my wonderful boss for almost 4 years but when her budgets got cut, she couldn't afford another staff member. I never thought that day would happen. I mean, heck, everyone needs insurance, right?!?! But my time at work was brought to an end. Yes, not having to travel over 100 miles a day for 2 hours was such a beautiful thought, but how were we going to pay off this debt and care of a family? How?! After much prayer Nik and I felt this was meant to be. Sort of like a kick in the pants from Above to get our financial orders in a row. Nik was just offered a job in November with Bank of America, so luckily he had a steady job and income. There in his division they offer lots and lots of overtime. Nik has been able to work overtime and still go to school online. With this overtime, we have been able to keep paying towards our debts and live on a tight budget so that the most money can go towards this evil ball and chains around our ankles.

In January when our Financial Peace University class started, we were so pumped up! We were going to kill this monster in 2011! Our official goal was to have it all paid off by December but the better goal would be to pay it off before the baby arrives! In the mail we got an offer from USAA for a credit card that has 0% interest on all balance transfers until December 2011. SWEET! Nik and I talked about this and decided it would help a TON to not have interest or fees. I applied and we qualified for enough to take care of all our debts. We were STOKED!

Now that February is here (I started this post on Valentines day but just am now getting around to publishing it) we have all our debts on the USAA credit card and no more with interest! Now we can get cracking! Then this last week I sat down and listed our debts each month since February 2010 and it made me sick! All this money that is being put to waste on things we don't even remember purchasing. All these loans for hospital bills, braces, and dental appointments. Although most of my debts were medical bills...there were a lot in "Stupid Tax", as Dave likes to call it.

Let me list out the points of our madness!

-In February 2010 we had a total of $12,026.98 in debt
-Now in March 2011 we have $2,157.21 in debt.
-Although that seems like a good jump, and it is, we have paid $13,913.28 towards that debt in 13 months
-$2,103.47 was paid in Interest and Fees.
-($2,103.47 and $13,913.28 will not add up to the amount of debt we had in Feb 2010 and March 2011 only because 2 or 3 times in between our moves across states we had to put a charge on a credit card as we were in between paychecks...but these calculations are correct.)
-On our Chase credit card the minimums were around $52 a month (although we always paid more, it made us sick to think that) the interest and fees were $49 a month! What IF we only paid the mins. SICK!!!
-Our Chase credit card had 23.24% interest. DISGUSTING!
-In February 2010 we had 7 different debts.
-Each month we have been paying between $400(on a low month) and $570(on a high month) towards debts. THAT could have gone to savings or for our situation right now, a roof of our own over our heads!
-GAH! I cannot get over how much money has been 'given away' to interest and fees and stupidity.

Now, I do not write this to brag or to boast about being ABLE to pay of these debts. I write this to show others that there is a way out. There is a tool, there is help, there is motivation. You do NOT have to be stuck in a rut with the world taking your money. You CAN have control! It IS possible! One baby step at a time. That's steps. That is all Nik and I have done and will continue to do for the rest of our lives.

The most important thing we have learned is that we need to 'name' each dollar before it is 'born'. That means each dollar is planned in the budget on what a regular paycheck would be BEFORE you are paid. Then all the extra goes towards debt or savings, whichever the situation might be for yourself. Now, that does not mean to not give yourself space to breathe...because if you don't give yourself some sort of Allowance, you will one day binge and regret it. So far, this has worked for us. If things go right, we WILL have this paid off before the baby arrives....even if that means we wake up early for a paper route. We WILL make this happen. All this is possible because we have been shown the way out.

Check out Dave Ramsey.
He is great! He is motivational. He has been to the highest of highs and then the lowest of lows when everything was taken from him all in his 20's. Read his story. This IS possible.

Again, I wrote this to remind Nik and I of where we have been. This is also to help those that might not know of these tools and the fact that debt can be erased. This has made me and Nik so happy to feel free and to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We just want to share it so others can have this same joy!

Dave quotes a lot of scriptures as he goes through his lessons. He quoted a scripture from proverbs and explained it a little bit. I am not a sciptorian and a lot of the Old Testament confuses me but he has shed a lot of light on one in Proverbs

Proverbs 6:1-5
1. My son, if thou be surety (old testament term for debt) for thy friend, if thou hast stricken (made agreement) thy hand with a stranger,
2. Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
3. Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself (sell those fancy unneeded things), and make sure (repay) thy friend.
4. Give not sleep to thine eyes (work, work, work), nor slumber to thine eyelids.
5. Deliver thyself as a roe (old name for a gazelle, a VERY fast animal)  from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.

and in 22:7
7. The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

I only have one person that I am servant to and that is Jesus Christ. No man can have two (or in our case with 7 lenders, 8 masters) so we, as my beautiful wife has stated, are taking off these shackles so we can be able to serve our master and live the way intended. We are going to teach our children to be debt free and make wise decisions so that we can start a new family tree, as Dave says. How awesome would it be if we never had to have a credit card, had a house paid off at like 35, had THOUSANDS of dollars for each of our children to go through college without loans, could walk into an appliance store or onto a car lot and buy something that would be $600 a month for the next 5 years but instead pay for it outright and not hurt our finances one bit, take vacations and not worry that we can't make a mortgage payment if we do, and most of all drop everything and serve faithfully in any calling the Lord asks us to... IMMEDIATELY. This is our new vision. Happiness doesn't come from money, but being free from the snares of this world to free our minds to find that happiness that comes through Christ. I love my beautiful wife Dawna in joining me and inspiring me so that we can do this. Get mad! Get Debt Free!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pregnancy...Still Happening

Well, I guess I ought to let everyone know I am still alive.
Not much has changed since I last posted...
...other than the fact I am getting bigger.
I don't feel like I LOOK bigger
But I am definitely growing.

I finally had to break out the box of Maternity shirts from my friend.
BriHo is so nice to let me borrow them!
I had to go find another pair of bottoms to wear
Because all my basketball shorts are finally too small.
This is all becoming more and more real to me.
I am so excited!

While I was at Kohl's the other night buying my pants
I just ended up in the baby section.
That stuff is so cute...
....and I almost wanna say cuter than Target.

Look at this!
My sister, Caren, is in LOVE with Giraffes and so I sent her the pic too.
I about died from cuteness
The cutest little jumper...everrrr!
I had to immediately turn and walk out of the section or I was gonna lose my self-control.
I went home and told Nik what I found but that I had the self-control to NOT buy it right away... wait for it to go on sale,
And he was very proud of me.
Got a good pat on the back!

Other than that....our little girl had hiccups for the first time that I could recognize.
Yesterday morning the same rhythmic pattern lasted for over a minute.
It was so cute...little tiny hiccups!
And then she decided to do a full, sprawled out somersault....and made me nauseous.
I had to laugh after I gained my was quite the trip.

I have loved my pregnancy thus far and am so happy to have this opportunity.
June 22nd is only 16 weeks from today!