Friday, December 19, 2008

Living like no one else:)

So it's been more than a month and I have not blogged.

I've decided that I'm going to blog about my journey to becoming debt-free, with some other random topics thrown in randomly.

We currently have about 38K in debt.

It breaks down like this.

15K for that brand new car we just had to have.
16K for my student loans, and no degree to show for it, I only did two years.
2K on credit cards, not bad compared to a lot of people, lol.
5K in random unsecured debts, mostly for financing things, ugh.

So for us that's quite a bit, seeing that we, meaning my husband, bring in probably around 30K a year, being lower enlisted in the Army. I am lucky though that we can manage enough for me to stay at home... I honestly don't know what kind of job I could get that would justify the cost of day care though!

We have chosen to follow the Dave Ramsey plan, which is to do these 7 simple steps.

1)Save up your "Baby Emergency Fund" of $1000, for lower income families like us, you can save $500 if you don't see any storm clouds over the horizon, which we don't.

2) Dump all of your debt using the "Debt Snowball). The "Debt Snowball" is making minimum payments on everything except for your smallest debt. The smallest debt is the one that you throw every extra nickle and dime you can find on. You do the smallest instead of the one with highest interest because finance is 20% knowledge and 80% behavior. A quick win will keep you with the plan and get you motivated. After you pay the smallest debt, everything you were paying toward that debt now gets put onto the next smallest, and so on and so forth.

3) Save up a fully funded emergency fund for 3-6 months of expenses.

4) Save 15% of your income in pre-tax retirement accounts.

5) Save for college.

6) Pay off your mortgage as quickly as possible!

7) Invest and Give!

You isolate and focus on the first three steps, then you do steps 4, 5, and 6 together.

There's the synapsis of the plan we are following. Due to a tax refund and raise early next year we should be able to do this quickly. If we can get that stupid car sold we'll be able to do it even faster. Although we won't be trying to sell the car until early next year.

I'll post monthly, at least, with updates... so if anyone ends up reading this, they can follow along with our story:). Otherwise, this is still beneficial to me!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

She’s two months old today!**

Wow, McKaleigh is getting so big! People still point at her and say "awww look at the tiny baby," whenever we're out, though, lol. McKaleigh and I spent all of last week at Ft Benning and then Michael came Wednesday night. Thanksgiving dinner was good, uneventful for the most part. Michael and I had our first night out alone, we went to dinner and a movie last Friday. So McKaleigh got her first bottle, which my mom said she took pretty well, but looked confused, lol. I doubt we'll be making a habit of bottle use though.

Sunday McKaleigh was baptized at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, after the service. Antonio, Selena, Zachary, and my cousin Tyler are her sponsors, basically what some churches would call godparents, I think. I wish we could've done it at St Paul in Fort Dodge so more of my family could've been there, but I'm not sure when Michael will be able to come to FD with me.

McKaleigh's become way more vocal lately and coos and aahs a lot more, hehe, it's adorable. She has a bouncy seat with animals dangling in front of her and she'll just kick her legs and flail her arms like crazy to get those animals to move back and forth, haha. I can't think of much else... Time goes by so quickly!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What to write about...

Hmmm... So in thinking of what to write about I'm kind of at a loss for words. I have opinions on many subjects, but to just pick one and run with it... it's hard for me to do for some reason. Perhaps I'm scared of someone judging me, and maybe I'm self-conscience of other people reading my thoughts. Really though, that's what I'm meaning to do, so I don't know what's the matter. I really shouldn't care since I doubt anyone will read this anyway. I don't plan on giving the address of this blog to anyone, in hopes that no one that I actually know will find it. It's so much easier to share your thoughts, when you don't have to see the reader in real life.

Perhaps with each blog I will mold my identity as a blogger. Will I prefer to write about personal things? Maybe writing about the news will be my forte. I could always write about some of my favorite books, that would give me the motivation to finish so many of the books that I've started lately. I suppose I could be an eclectic blogger and write about all of the above. Afterall, this is my blog, and I may do whatever I'd like with it. Only time will tell.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I haven’t blogged in a little while...**

I just realized that it's been a few weeks since I last blogged. Well since then we've made a trip to North Carolina, to see Michael's parents, and then this past weekend McKaleigh and I went to Fort Benning for the four day weekend. We had tons of fun both weekends:).

So I cannot believe that McKaleigh is more than a month old! She's six weeks old today! ...Crap I need to make my post partum appointment... eek. Thanksgiving is coming soon, which means another trip to Fort Benning, and hopefully we'll be getting her baptized that weekend. Then a few weeks after that we have Christmas, which means another trip to North Carolina, and after Christmas we might be going to Iowa... So much travelling ahead of us!!!

I can't think of too much else to say... McKaleigh is smiling more and more everyday and it's adorable... also, I think she may have lifted her head up the other morning, but I was really drowsy, so I'm not sure, lol... In short, she's simply amazing!


My first blog on blogspot!

It's funny, I blog on MySpace, and I have a "journal" on Baby Center, but for some reason I still feel the need to have my own blog. Perhaps it's because I mostly write about my daughter on both of those sites, because I feel like the people who read those entries mostly want to hear about my daughter. So this blog is for me to write about anything, even if it is not my daughter, although I'm sure many entries will be dedicated to her:). She is after all my whole world.

So here is some basic information about me. My name is Tara Jane Koch and I'm twenty years old. I've been married to my husband, Michael, for a little over a year now; our one year anniversary was November 1st. We had our first, and quite possibly only, child on October 3rd of this year. Her name is McKaleigh Elizabeth Anne.

I grew up in Iowa, but am currently living in Georgia because my husband is in the Army. I really like it here and hope we can stay here for as long as possible, although Michael might beg to differ. I love how warm it is, but part of me does miss snow... especially seeing all of this Christmas stuff being put out, and me wearing a t-shirt or light sweatshirt.

I graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High in 2006. Freshman year of college, I went to Concordia University of Nebraska in Seward for my first semester. Second semester I transferred to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I also attended first semester Sophomore year. In that semester I married Michael, and at the end of the term I moved to live with him. A few weeks after I moved to live with him, we found out I was pregnant. I've taken a break from school, since I feel that being at home with her is more important.

Here are some thing to give you a feel for the kind of person I am. I'm a Lutheran, to be specific, I'm a member of the LCMS. I consider myself a "liberal republican," if such a thing exists... To explain, I believe in things like the government being less involved in my life and the economy, but I'm pro-choice and pro-gay marriage (note:pro-choice, does not mean pro-abortion, I feel it is wrong, but it's going to happen regardless of legality, so at least it is happening safely, and my idea of wrong isn't necessarily the same as someone else's.) I like the shows Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, The Office, Gossip Girl, Lipstick Jungle(so sad it's getting cancelled!), and Family Guy. I quite often listen to NPR, I love "All Things Considered," "The Marketplace," and "Prairie Home Companion," to name a few. My top three favorite movies are "Casablanca," "When Harry Met Sally," and "Breakfast at Tiffany's." I was a cheerleader in high school and miss it a lot. I am a member of the Army Reserves, but when I found out I was pregnant I put in a packet to get out, that's still processing, so who knows how that will end up working out.

I think that sums things up! Now onto the real blogging, hehe:)

Monday, October 27, 2008

The beginning of another week.**

It is Monday once again. We had a nice weekend. My mom came on Saturday and left on Sunday, so it was nice to spend time with her. I couldn't imagine living any further away from each other than we do now. If we still lived in Killeen, I would go crazy! That's just so far. Next weekend will be fun too, since McKaleigh will finally get to meet her daddy's parents:). And then Saturday is our anniversary, yay!

So I've started what's called attachment parenting, and I absolutely love it. It's hard to explain, so if you really want to know you can check out this site. One of the things included in attachment parenting is "babywearing." I keep McKaleigh in a sling with me as I do things around the house. It's nice because she's right there all the time! So when she gets fussy I'm pretty much as close as I can be to tend to her needs, which in the long run makes her less fussy in general. Another thing I love is that instead of just staring at whatever is in front of her bouncy seat she gets to see everything I see and learn more in result:) Right now I'm just using a sheet rigged into a sling to wear her but I'm planning on buying some material this weekend to make a nicer wrap.

Well... that's all I can think of to ramble on about;)


Friday, October 24, 2008

Now for a blog about life.**

It's the end of the week already!!! Wow! I can't believe how fast the days go by. McKaleigh is three weeks old and I'm feeding her as I type this one-handedly lol. I cannot believe October is almost over! In eight days Michael and I will have been married for an entire year... talk about time flyin' by, haha. It's been an amazing year so far. It's funny how my life has turned out so differenty than I once thought it would be... but I would not change a thing, not one single thing. I absolutely love my husband, my daughter, my home... and I love thinking about where our lives together are heading. It's funny how no matter how stressed I get and frustrated with my lack of sleep I get, when I sit down to blog, only the good things come to mind, lol.


Dave Ramsey on the election...**

If you don't know who Dave Ramsey is, you should definitely look him up... Here's a link to his site. He's pretty much changing our lives, haha... I really agree with what he said in the following statement. I can not wait til Election Day has passed lol.

Dave's Thoughts About the Election

Dave, which bozo should I vote for in this election? Who's going to fix the economy? Who's going to give me the most money?

Well, I'm here to remind you that you're going to fix the economy because your personal economy is up to you. It's not Washington's job to fix what's going on with you. If you are waiting on Washington to change something, you've got a long wait!

You're going to give yourself money as a result of your hard work and persistence. Waiting for money to be taken from others and given to you is a spirit of envy, and it's wrong.

I'm not here to tell you who to vote for. But I am here to tell you that the government doesn't have the capacity to fix your problems. Washington is full of bozos, and I am doing my part to send a lot of them home!

This economic mess is a reality, but we can each only control one thing—our reactions. Does this stuff define you? Only if you let it. The weird thing about the economy is that YOU are the economy! I learned this the hard way. I got my real estate license when I was 18 years old. By the time I was 21, interest rates had risen to 17% fixed-rate … and I still sold houses. How? Because I worked hard.

As bad as USA Today meant a recent article to be about what we think of the suffering economy and upcoming election, I think it's rather encouraging that no one thinks that President Bush or Barack Obama or John McCain can fix the economy!

This may be the beginning of the biggest level of prosperity this nation has ever known if we don't look to a candidate to fix our lives. How about we say, "I'm going to vote for the candidate who's going to fix the nation. I'm going to fix my life, so leave me alone and let me do my own thing."

Don't react based on fear or panic. Don't look to Washington to fix your problems. Why would you do that? At what point did Bill Clinton fix any of your problems? At what point did he cause you to prosper? At what point did George Bush end your career or cause you to prosper? When did Ronald Reagan fix your problems? Guess what? I liked Reagan the most, and while he was in office, I hit rock bottom and filed bankruptcy—but it wasn't Reagan's fault. It was mine.

So when you go to the polls in a few days to cast your vote, don't get caught up in following a political party or candidate without knowing the issues they support. Do your research so you can make educated decisions.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Isn’t life great?**

So things have been going awesomely! I just can't imagine what my life without McKaleigh would be like, she's so amazing!

We had our two week appointment this past Thursday and she's perfect. She'd already gained 5 ounces at that appointment, which was great to hear. It's hard to know if she's eating enough, since I'm breastfeeding and can't really see how much she's getting, but it's been going really well.

Today was our first day with Michael back at work completely. McKaleigh and I stayed in bed until he came home from lunch, hehe... It was nice catching up on much needed sleep. McKaleigh's gone through a little growth spurt where she wanted to eat every 1-2 hours, it was exhausting! I think she's back to her normal schedule again... until she hits the next growth spurt. She was also getting pretty fussy lately. We're pretty sure it's just gas, but she's so hard to burp, so we ran out and got Mylicon drops last night. The look on her face is so cute when I give them to her, they smell like they would have a weird sweet/sour taste to them. The drops seem to be working, though.

Well I better go give McKaleigh her before bed feeding, and hopefully get a few hours of sleep before the middle of the night feeding! My mom came weekend before last and took some pictures, check them out and comment them if you haven't already! Also, we just got a new camera! So expect plenty more pictures of my beautiful baby girl, hehe...


Friday, October 10, 2008

McKaleigh is a week old!**

I can't believe she's already been alive for a whole week! Today we took her out for the first time. We just made a quick trip to the commissary, but boy was it nice to get out of the house, haha. She was a little angel and slept the whole time, in her little carrier that I wore on my chest, lol.

McKaleigh has been pretty much awesome. For the last two night in a row she's only woken up twice to be fed and then gone right back to sleep. That means we've been getting way more rest than we ever imagined we would get.

So exciting news for me... I pretty much lost 20 pounds in a week(about 10 of it in the delivery room, haha) and now I'm only 5 lbs up from my pre-pregnancy weight! My actual goal is to weigh less than I did before I got pregnant though, and I have quite the little tummy and love handles, which is really weird for me, haha! I fit in my jeans and everything, they're a little snug, but it's hard to get into most of my tops seeing that I'm at least 2 cup sizes bigger than I was before.

I'm trying to think if there is any other news... I took a few pictures today, so I'll post those. My mom is coming this weekend, with her really nice camera, so I'm sure there will be plenty more pictures by the end of the weekend!

Overall the three of us are all doing great:)


Monday, October 6, 2008

The story of McKaleigh’s birth:)**

My birth story...

Thursday @ appt- Had membranes stripped.

Thursday afternoon/evening: Had irregural contractions all night.

Friday 4AM- Woke up and couldn't sleep through contractions anymore.

7AM- Decided it was time to go to the hospital because the contractions felt so strong... I was only a loose 1cm!!! I was so upset. I got sent home and they told me that it could be false labor and could stop in 24 hours. I was sooo upset!

Getting home that morning- My contractions only got much much much worse. They were so strong that all I could do to make it feel any better was to scream and cry, and I like to think that I have a decent pain tolerance!

1230PM- Michael said we should go in because he could tell how much pain I was in. When we got there I was only 2cm!!! I thought I was going to hurt someone I was so upset... Well shortly after that I got a shot of morphine for the pain. They told me that it would make the contractions stop if it was false labor, but if it was real labor it would give me time to rest. I could still feel the contractions but they were sooo much easier to deal with, and I could actually control my breathing, unlike before.

They checked me about an hour later and I was 3-4cm, better news, a lot better than hearing that I had only progressed 1cm in 4 hours like they had told me that morning. The nurse told me that she was going to ask the ob whether or not they should actually admit me.

She came back about another hour later, maybe less, and I was already 7cm! At this point I was feeling the contractions quite a bit more. At 9cm, which didn't take too long, they got me the epidural, I was scared that they wouldn't get it to me in time, lol. I could barely feel anything. My nurse did a cervical check and my water broke, she didn't mean for it to. Well it was green, which means the baby had a bowel movement in utero, so they called in a pediatrician to be on hand just in case there was anything wrong.

It only took like 5 sets of pushing to deliver her and they had to wisk her away and suction her to make sure she hadn't ingested any of the meconium. She was 7.5 pounds and 20.5 inches, she's beautiful.

I should've known that having such an amazing delivery would mean that something had to be difficult afterward. Since it was so quick my uterus didn't really do what it was supposed to right away, so I had horrible clots, the ob had to come in and get them all out and it was probably the grossest part of the whole thing!

She's an absolute angel:) We got home a few hours ago and couldn't be happier!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Had an appointment today:)**

So we had an appointment today. They were backed up and it took forever to get in. When we finally did get into the exam room it was short and sweet. She did an internal exam, I'm 1cm dilated, and 50% effaced. She also stripped my membranes... so here's to hoping I'll go into labor soon! I'm going to try a few of the other tricks to push labor too, hehe. I'm already starting to get kind of crampy and whatnot, so I'm crossing my fingers!

I have an appointment for next Wednesday and I'm really hoping that I won't need it! If I don't go into labor this weekend I'm hoping for Monday, because if she comes on Monday I'll actually get to have my midwife deliver her. At labor and delivery you just get whoever is on call at the time, so there's no telling who will deliver my little girl!

I'm getting so anxious! Ahhhh... the excitement is too much to contain, lol.


Having trouble sleeping...**

Ugh, I can't sleep again, but I'm exhausted, so I know I'll be in bed earlier tonight than I was last night. I'm planning on staying up for twenty minutes or so and then trying to go to bed again. I know when the baby is here I won't be sleeping through the night either, but at least I won't have this big ol' belly in my way anymore when I'm trying to sleep! I cannot wait to sleep on my back and on my stomach!!! I also cannot wait for my bladder to be at full capacity again so that I don't have to pee ALL THE TIME! I just have to keep reminding myself... not much longer, lol. One more thing I can't wait for... actually having the baby here! I love being in the nursery and just picturing her in her crib, hehe:).

We have an appointment tomorrow(today I guess), so you can expect there to be another blog soon. Hopefully I will be dilated enough that she can strip my membranes. If I'm not... then this could be a long wait, ugh. Keep your fingers crossed for me! Oh and thanks to the people who commented on some of our pictures:) ...if you haven't, then you should because they make me happy and being happy can produce oxytocin, which can induce labor. So you will be helping my baby arrive by putting a smile on my face! Hehe...


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just a blog for the sake of blogging**

So there's really no new news... I'm just really bored and I like to type, so I thought I would write a blog to occupy my time. It's weird to think that there's a pretty good chance that we'll have a baby this weekend! I am 39 weeks and like 3 days pregnant today. At my last appointment I opted not to have an internal exam... because I just don't see the point until I'm at my due date. This Thursday I'm going to have the internal done so I can know whether or not I'm dilated or effaced, and she might even strip my membranes. For everyone who does not know stripping my membranes is essentially her separating the amniotic sac from my cervix, to try and put me into labor. If it works I will most likely go into labor Thursday night or sometime Friday. I'm hoping I won't go into labor until Friday, so that Michael won't have to leave work early, so that we can get the weekend without him needing to sign out quite yet, which would give us a few extra days of his leave, hehe...

I am so excited for her to get here!!! I've been super bored lately, with nothing to do and I'm actually excited to be busy! Right now I rarely sleep for more than 2 hours at a time anyway, so I don't think getting rest will really be a problem for me, I have no problem napping whenever I need to, lol. Hopefully she'll be a sleepy baby like I was, hehe... my mama says I slept a lot when I was little so I'm crossin' my fingers that little McKaleigh will be the same way:).

So we've been set on the name McKaleigh for awhile now... but I'm sort of scared that it won't "feel right" when we have her. What if I have her and she just doesn't feel/seem like a McKaleigh? Her name is embroidered on so many things, lol... Oh well, I'm sure it will seem right, I'm probably worrying about nothing. What freaks me out more than that... what if somehow it's a boy! Haha, that would be awful!!! I have so much little girl stuff, I don't what I would do, lol.

Another thing that's been on my mind... whether or not I want to do this all over again! I've seriously been thinking a lot about that lately. As long as I can remember, I've wanted two kids, a boy and a girl, in that order. Well things already are changed by having the girl first, lol. Then I was thinking what if we have another baby and we end up having two girls and I don't get to have a son. Then I started thinking... what if we just have one girl, and stop here. For the longest time I felt like I needed two kids, and for the first time I think I realized that I would be perfectly content if she were our only child. There are so many benefits to stopping with her. We'll be 38 and 40 when she graduates from high school! How awesome is that??? We'll only have to save up for one child to go to college... overall it's cheaper, hehe... Michael and I both have quite a few siblings, so she'll probably have plenty of cousins. It will be easier for me to move when Michael deploys again if I only have one little one as opposed to having a toddler and an infant, which is probably what would happen if we decided we want another. Well we're not making any decisions just yet, and we're definitely not have number two for more than another year, if we ever decide to have a number two.

I'm trying to think if there's anything else on my mind... La di da di da... I think I'll just finish this up, and probably go find a survey to do, hahaha...


Saturday, September 20, 2008

So close!**

So I'm 38 weeks pregnant today, my due date is two weeks away! At this point the baby could be born and need zero medical interference. That's really exciting! I've been having a ton of false labor, which is really annoying. I get crampy pains every hour or so, but until they get more intense or more patterned I'm not paying much attention to them. I figure I'll probably go a week or two after my due date, so I'm not getting my hopes up to deliver any time soon.

The nursery is almost completely done, we need to hang a few things. Once I(and by I, I of course actually mean Michael) get everything hung up on the walls I'll take pictures and post them. The bedding set came today and I got that set up. It's adorable! I love love love it! If you want to see what it looks like now here is a link to the theme... it's Sugar Plum by Cocalo. I still want that lamp and mobile... but I have the 6 piece crib set and a few other things.

I've finally gotten all of the baby clothes through the wash, and most of them have been folded and put away. I do have a load that I just did today that needs to get folded and put away. It's weird folding clothes that tiny! I got all of the blankets put away too, and boy do we have a lot of blankets! I filled the whole bottom drawer with blankets, and the dresser is larger than average, in my opinion. It's your typical 4 drawers high, but they are much wider and deeper than most dressers of that design.

I can't believe how close we are to having a baby!!! It's weird to think that all the holidays coming up will be shared with our daughter. It's definitely still not sinking in. It probably won't sink in for awhile, I'm guessing. I'm sure that as soon as she's here though, I'll wonder what I ever did without her.

Not much else has really been going on. In every other department of our life it's the same ol' same ol'. Just sitting around waiting for the baby!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Crazy Dream... and other things**

So with being pregnant I've for some reason had really, really vivid dreams lately. I'll wake up and remember a majority of my dream on most nights. Last night I had a dream that we already had McKaleigh! It was so weird to be holding her and feeding her and just interacting with her! Haha... It was so real. This morning when I woke up and remembered that I was still pregnant, I was pretty disappointed, lol.

I can't believe I only have like a month and a half left!!! I feel like I've been pregnant forever, but at the same time, it seems like it's gone by really fast! Like seriously... 6 more weeks... that's it! Holy Crap!

I still have so much to do too! Eek... I have to go out and get all of the stuff I need for breastfeeding, diapering, and just a lot of basics. If anyone wants to send something and you're not quite sure what, send me a message and I'll be glad to let you know what we still need. Seriously though, it's probably best to just check out my Target registry and pick something off there, especially if it's something for the nursery. I really want the sugar plum lamp and mobile... just saying, lol...

Michael and I had our last childbirth class last night. He's going to be such a cute daddy, hehe. We even watched a "taking care of baby" dvd last night. I definitely felt like a lot of the stuff we've "been taught" has either been really common sense or was something I had already read about... but it's nice to be told again, lol. During this last class we got told that we are all pretty lucky because we'll most likely miss the upcoming baby boom.

Starting in January and going probably for the rest of the year they're supposed to be expecting a lot of babies... The 3ID got home from Iraq this spring, and January should be about nine months from that. Plus, they're starting renovations on that floor, so sometimes rooms will be closed to be redone and women might have to double up... so here's to hoping we'll get our own room!

We just got new (upstairs) neighbors, and wow do they make way more noise than our last neighbors. I can't believe we ever complained before! It seems like they're always running around or wrestling or something... ugh! I definitely think we'll be moving off post in the next year, neither of us can stand this apartment style housing, plus we'll probably save money and Michael has a crappier commute than most of the guys he knows who live off post!

Well I can't think of much else to write about. I'm just really bored and this helps to pass the time, hehe...