Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A year ago...

I've been so remiss in keeping up with this...

I'll try to do better!

A year ago this week, the little man was in the hospital for the first time having fallen back under eight pounds.

But this year...

Our little man isn't so little anymore! Praise God! At 15 months, he's finally nearing twenty pounds!

He was right at 13 pounds at a year and ended up hospitalized for four days in early August with that nasty gastrointestinal bug [*I* lost 10lbs in 4 days with it - he lost 11oz in 9 days to take him back under 12.5lbs]. We were already being sent to the CARE/Failure to Thrive Clinic at Children's Mercy Hospital in KC the next week and the consensus at the hospital and with the specialists was that he needed what we call the Michael Phelps diet. Two Pediasures a day plus all kinds of other high fat, high calorie foods. The Pediasure alone runs about $2.50 a day.

Thank God we were debt free [but the house and the student loans] as we took a big pay cut this fall [and will likely continue in the spring]. The special drink took a big percentage of our food budget but we were able to buy it no problem. It was what he needed which was all we really need to know. In that time, he's gained over seven pounds - more than he gained in the whole first year.

And last week, the specialists in KC released him from their care! They're moving him down to one Pediasure a day and down to none after he turns 18mo or so.

Check him out below. The picture on the left was at his first birthday party - after he got sick, before he was admitted. He was probably 12lbs 10-11oz then. The second picture was the birthday party for our two oldest girls in October. He was probably about 18.5lbs or so then, eleven weeks later.

Unfortunately, we just found out we're going to have to change doctors because of insurance reasons :(. We hate that because our docs are FABULOUS and the pediatrician we used to have in the other network isn't taking new patients. :(

But God is good.

All the time.

And something will work out :).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

May update

Wow. Life has been crazy this spring. I had every intention of updating this often...

No time like the present!!!

Our little man is 10 months old and doing so well!! He's eating real food and everything! [Okay, real baby food - but that's a huge milestone for him.]

Financially, we're doing well ;). I'm going to update our totals over there on the side momentarily. We're not making our 10G May goal, but that's okay. We've put 2G into the car this year [we did receive a gift of $300 that helped with that]. Our mechanic said it's a great car and should be good to go for another 75K miles or more. We also used about 2200 to refinance the house. We have much better terms and interest rate as well as lower payments. If not for those two, we would have been there. And we're okay with that.

We put the radiator on the car - I posted about that. A few weeks later, the timing belt went out. We called AAA had it towed to a repair shop where Matt knows the owner and... had it fixed. That simple.

This past month, Matt noticed a dark spot of what we thought was oil on the driveway. The boot was toast. We ended up replacing the whole axle, the power steering pump and something else I'm forgetting. A friend who is a mechanic did that for us and we felt really good that, not only did we have the cash, but we were able to help a friend with it. We also had him fix the air conditioner. It's been out for a year and our mechanic friend said that the car - even though it's old enough to drive, a 1992 - is really in great shape.

So far, we've had a healthy year. Our emergency fund is up and our number of emergencies, overall, is down.

I promise... I'll post more! TVGirl... hold me to that!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Medical bills... Part 1

I'm still waiting on the itemized bills from the hospital but here's the early numbers for last year.

Total medical bills: 92,253.57

Most expensive: Christopher - current age, 6 months - 50763.51
2: Matt - 18,812.38
3: Carol - including labor and delivery and wisdom teeth - 15,573.23
4: Maggie - mostly an ER visit/12 hour hospital stay - age 6 - 5010.11
5: Abbie - 1003.67
Least expensive: Emily - age 2.5 - 305.00
[includes dental for everyone but Christopher and Emily]

Our total out of pocket [not including Rx or premiums]: 3291.11

That's .037% of the total.

God is good!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Just Fix It

Yesterday, on his way to work, Matt's radiator blew.

We've known since... oh, October or so that it was coming but all the health stuff and then the holidays and everything sort of put it on the back burner.

So what did we do?

Called around, found the best price [Republic Radiator], took it in and said "Fix it."

Do you know what it's like to have something go wrong on your car and just... fix it? We contemplated buying a radiator and Matt and probably his step-dad installing it, but to do so was only about $40 cheaper than having it done. It wasn't worth it. We had the money and just... fixed it.

And that was nice.

Our little guy is doing better still. He's still growing, albeit a little more slowly the last couple weeks. He still [easily] wears 0-3mo clothes, but he rolled back to front this week and about wiggled out of his bouncy seat so that he's now in his exersaucer [but his little feet barely touch the bottom even on the lowest level - literally - if he stretches, his toes just brush it]. Matt's fully recovered and the lithotripsy bill's already been paid for by the insurance.

We got our first call for this Spring's FPU class - that was exciting. We watched a couple of the preview clips last night and it's very exciting. Dave recorded all new DVDs last year with updated info and stats. Even if you've already taken it, I recommended checking it out. You won't need new kits, but new workbooks/CDs are available for a reasonable price. If you're in the area and interested, you can find more information about FPU in general here or our FPU class here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Okay - technically, it's now the day after Christmas, but what the hey!


Things are going well here. We actually had money to spend for Christmas this year - a conscious choice on our part. In years past, we'd be like okay, we'll spend $20 on each other and by mid-December, we'd agree to $50 or $75. This year, we just set the amount higher in November, because we could. And there's no guilt involved!!! We have money in savings and money for gifts for friends and family and so, it's all good! And it won't follow us into January and beyond!!

On a health note: Matt's kidney stone is gone. I about choked when I saw the price for the lithotripsy and am so very grateful for insurance! Again - once all the bills come in, I'll blog about it - I think we're up to about $53G now.

Our little guy is 5 months old today! He FINALLY hit NINE!!! pounds last week! He's actually 9lbs 1oz right now. He's averaging about 4oz a week and we're very happy with that! It's hard to believe that he's old enough for things like an exersaucer or to sit with help or to start thinking about 'solid' foods soon because he's just so small, but he is. I'm breaking out the exersaucer later this week I think.

Once again - I hope you all had a great Christmas and remember that the 'only way to have financial peace is to walk daily with the Prince of Peace' [Dave Ramsey] and that He truly is the reason for the season.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

If God cares about the little things...

...then surely He cares about the big things too right?

I know He does, but the confirmation is nice.

Case in point:

This morning - after we weren't actually out of bed until 7:45 - Matt helped me get all 4 kids on the road for church. Now church technically starts at 9 and is about a 15 min. drive usually, but it was icky and rainy this morning, but thankfully, no ice like was originally predicted. About half way through the drive, I breathed a little prayer, "Dear God, please let it stop raining long enough for me to get the kids inside." Now, we do have an overhang at church, but I was by myself and though I'm sure I could have found SOMEONE I had at least a passing acquaintance with to watch the kids while I parked, I'd planned on just parking and walking in unless it was just pouring. Sure enough, about halfway down Blackman Road, a couple blocks from church, the rain slowed to the slightest drizzle. We walked in and stayed almost completely dry. Even had the door held open for us by someone we walked in with. During Sunday School, I happened to peek out the window and saw that it was pouring rain. When it was time to leave, the rain had stopped again.

If He who controls the universe cares enough to make it stop raining long enough for me to get my kids in and out of the car, surely He's taking care of my men - both the little one and the big one.

I've also found that "His grace is sufficient". Every time the last few weeks [and it seems it happens most of the time while I'm in the car with four kids - at least 2 of whom are being quite loud for whatever reason - on the way to church] that I've wanted to pull over to the side of the road - literally or figuratively - and just put my head on the wheel and cry, I've found the oddest thing happening.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, this peace comes over me. You know - the one that passes understanding. And suddenly, it's all okay. Oh, sure Matt still has kidney stones and now 3 kids are being extra loud - including a 4 month old demanding to be fed - but this calm comes over me and I'm able to cope for another 15 minutes until I can drop the kids off in their classes and spend some time with grown-ups, being encouraged and loved on or given dinner or whatever else I need at that moment.

So, yes, God not only cares about the big things, but the little ones as well. He cares intimately about every detail of our lives. That's not to say He's up there pulling on strings and we're simply marionettes, but He does care. And I'm so very glad for that.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Does life ever slow down?!

I knew life with 4 kids would be hectic and 'on the go', but I am so very ready for things to slow down - just a bit.

Matt still has his kidney stone. As of Wednesday, Dec. 5, it hadn't moved - not one little bit - but it was almost 2mm bigger than they said last week - 5mm or so. He's scheduled for a litho something or other on Monday where they'll use soundwaves or something to try to break it up into little teeny tiny pieces. [No, I don't remember what it's called - sad, huh? For me who remembers Nissen Fundoplication with no problems... Not sure what that is? Read November's posts...]

After I posted last Thursday, I went downstairs and heard the water running in the bathroom. All girls denied they'd left the water on and sure enough, the water was off but the pipe coming out of the wall was spraying. Apparently, it had been for a while because the rug was SOAKING wet and the first 6-8" carpet out the door [a good 6ft or so away] was wet. Of course, this was about 10 minutes after Matt left for his evening class and he wouldn't be back for hours. I turned the water off to the house, called a neighbor and seriously considered sitting down and crying.

Our neighbor pulled another neighbor in and the two of them had it fixed in a couple hours. One brought his stuff to solder with and the other went and bought the part we needed. Thank you, Andrew and Tanner!!!!! A huge relief. [This was the day I wrote the post entitled "When it rains..." :)]

Since then, our little guy gained four ounces in 8 days - this is fabulous news! We're very happy about that. However, it seems he may have some sort of genetic anomaly and we have to see some genetic counselor or something from Columbia. It's out of network but because of the weight gain, we won't have to go there - they come here in Jan. Will have to pay out of network deductibles though...

Matt ended up at Urgent Care last night with a possible case of pink eye *sigh*. I'm ready to stop funding the medical community.

Some statements have come in and some have even already been paid by our insurance company. So far, it's closing in on $40G total, but we haven't seen anything from the docs yet - except the anesthesia which came in at $1600 or so. I will detail it once all the bills come in.

After talking to our insurance company, I was right - we will only owe $50 for Matt's ER visit. I think we're up to about 7 or 8 doctor visits at $20 each though. Those were paid for at the time of service... I'm ready to not have those hitting our budget on a once or twice weekly basis... Fortunately, the surgical follow-ups are free. He had one this week and he looked great!

Thank God we have so much paid off and it's not like we're to the point of having to decide between food and doctor visits because all the rest of the money has been paid out.

Most Christmas presents are bought and paid for, no credit used. Bills are paid. Food is bought - hey, we even had pizza last night! The semester ends next Saturday and I'm done on Wednesday. Having that out of the way will be so nice. I'll be done with the last regular set of assignments here in an hour or so [once I get done procrastinating with this blog...]

Okay - I have to stop procrastinating now and get work done. I am so ready for life to slow down, even a little bit, so that I can catch my breath and maybe get some sleep. Sleep... that would be nice... :)