Kind of a Downer

As a general rule, I embrace fall and welcome any day that is not super hot and super sunny. But today just feels cold and yucky. Not even dreary. Dreary I could deal with. I suppose the weather is aided by our circumstances today-making me feel blah and discouraged is what the two of them have teamed up to do. Mission accomplished. Anyway, I am so ready for my in-laws’ visit in October, it’s ridiculous. I will have fully embraced fall by then and hopefully our circumstances will have changed a bit. Allow me to expand.

Hula Girl.

She went away and spent the weekend with my parents. She had a super good time.

But she’s getting her 2-year molars. I can see the one on the bottom right almost coming through the gum. Rumor in the mom group has it that the 2-year molars are awful. They ruin sleep, they ruin attitudes, they ruin routines. For instance, I just got up from the computer (literally, between these two sentences I took a break) and went to her room in the middle of her nap because she woke up crying about her nose being itchy. She’s been crying about this several times during sleep periods (yes, even in the middle of the night) and we’ve had to go in and remind her to use her handkerchief (tied to the crib rail so she can find it easily) to blow her nose. Yep, poor little girl has a runny nose constantly from those darn teeth.

Anyway, the short of the long of it is she’s building up a major sleep debt and it’s compounding significantly regardless of our best efforts to get her down for bed and naps early (or even on time!) these days. I just struggle to get her down when I am dealing with both kids at once. Which brings us to our next circumstantial issue:


He has not been on his normal schedule (substitute the word routine here if you so choose- I have a lot of friends who don’t think it’s wise to “schedule” a newborn-but they don’t exactly know how flexible my “schedule” can be) for the past twoish weeks. In fact, he’s been so off-schedule that I’m not even sure what a good schedule for him would look like. Especially because he’s so young and their optimal waketimes change so much in these early days.

Anyway, he had ย a growth spurt at 4 weeks. Then he went through a wonder week at week 5, and then he hit a biiiiiiig growth spurt at 6 weeks. He nursed literally every 2 hours for several days straight. The 6-week growth spurt also ushered in an old enemy of mine: the 45-minute intruder. Hula Girl dealt with this for the first 20-21 weeks of her life. Short 45-minute naps. I could not get that girl back to sleep for the life of me… and that meant her feeding schedule was really wrong. So I am doing all the things I can possibly do to keep Gelato on an age-appropriate schedule while now dealing with the 45-minute intruder (at most naps, ugh) while juggling a toddler who can’t be left alone for 20-minute segments four times a day while I rock the baby back to sleep. Most moms suggest just moving the newborn to the swing and letting him finish his nap there. Sounds great, right!? Right. Gelato hates his swing. Other moms suggest using a pacifier and when he wakes, just briefly visit his room and pop it in so he can soothe back to sleep and finish the nap. Sounds great, right?! Right. Gelato hates his pacifier.

Ho-kay… what’s plan C? Working on it… I am not interested in leaving Gelato to cry it out mid-nap yet. BTDT, HATED every moment of it. My heart (and Hula Girl’s) can’t take the stress of listening to a crying baby for 45 minutes at a time, four times a day. Nope. Pretty much I’m just praying that God will allow Gelato to just stop having sleep transition issues altogether. If you would please also pray for us in this manner, I would really really appreciate it.


This weekend Jonathan and I decided to take a drive up into the mountains for our annual leaf-viewing adventure. The aspens are starting to turn, and the mountainsides look like they’re ablaze with beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds mixed in with the evergreens. Really, Colorado mountains in the fall are lovely. Since Hula Girl was with my parents, we only had Gelato and decided he’s little enough to have a day TOTALLY off his routine and we stuck him in his car seat and set off on our 3-hour adventure.

About two hours into our trip, on the descent, we heard a “ding!” We looked at the dash… and our engine temperature was all the way up in the “H” range- we were overheating. Jonathan found a place to pull over and we got out the manual and tried to get the car to cool down… it wouldn’t. And we had absolutely NO coolant in the…coolant holder thingie? (I’m kind of not up-to-snuff when it comes to my car knowledge, so terminology isn’t my thing… but I do know that no coolant=bad.) So we sat there. Then we got out and tried to use our cell phones. No luck. Finally Jonathan got through to our insurance company to call for roadside assistance. Apparently tow truck drivers aren’t allowed to carry coolant so they’d have had to tow us. Unfortunately, they’re also not allowed to carry car seats. So we would have to call family or friends to come pick us up. An hour and a half away from home. In the mountains. On Saturday afternoon.

Then these random folks pull over and let me tell you- I learned a lesson in humility. They were chain-smoking and had four children in the backseat of their Jeep, none of which was buckled in. But do you know what happened next? They booked it to the town that was a little over a mile away, bought coolant and water for our car, spent an hour and a half on the side of the road flushing our engine with coolant and water, and made sure our car was fine before they left. And we don’t even know their names. They would not tell us or even let us try to pay them back for the supplies. All they asked was that we pay it forward. Now that I think of it, that will be easier said than done. But we’ll make sure it happens.

Anyway, we get going again and the check engine light comes on so we pull over again. This time, we couldn’t even get hold of the insurance company and NO ONE stopped. We sat there for about 30 minutes trying to decide what to do. I finally got my phone to get enough signal to pull up a map and realized we were about 10 miles from the next town, and we knew we were going downhill. So we risked it and drove to where we could get a signal. We called my dad and he agreed with me when he thought the check engine light just needed to be reset after we were out of coolant. So we drove on to the next town, which was right by the highway. And we stopped for dinner. ‘Cuz we didn’t pack lunch OR dinner for our “3-hour adventure.” (Side note: thank goodness we only had Gelato with us. I can at least feed him anytime, anywhere. Hula Girl would have been hungry, my friends. And crabby.)

After dinner Jonathan noticed our car had a huge puddle under it… and no more coolant. G-reat. We contacted my parents’ across-the-street-neighbor, Dave, who knows everything about anything mechanical, and who kind of repairs cars for a living. He told us we could just keep adding water every 10 minutes and risk the drive home. We got to the auto shop, left the car in the lot and dropped off the key, and asked our across-the-street neighbor, Brett, to drive us home. We got home SEVEN hours after we left. That’s four more hours than we planned on. Ugh.

And we learned today that our car will cost about $450 to fix… as long as the only thing that’s wrong with it is what they think is wrong with it. See, they can’t keep coolant in it long enough to drive it and see what could be the issue. Nice. So, there’s another prayer request- pray that our car will be fixed with only $450… we can’t really afford that, let alone anything else. Which brings my to my next circumstance:


We’ve always lived on less than most people. In fact, Jonathan makes just enough to put our family over the poverty line for a family of four. But we’ve learned to live small. Think about this- before Jonathan was out of grad school, we lived on my measly teacher’s salary for three years. Yowza. We don’t have a TV, so we don’t pay for service. We keep our house relatively warm in the summer and cool in the winter. We don’t have anything new or fancy. Our wedding/engagement rings are the most valuable things we own. So basically, we can’t afford anything that’s not budgeted.*

Jonathan has a wonderful chance to receive a scholarship repayment through the state of Colorado. He has to commit to 3 years of service in an underserved area or working with an underserved population. His current job qualifies him. If he gets the award, his student loans will be paid off in December… by the state! Considering Jonathan’s student loans are our second largest budget area (second only to rent), we could sure use that money elsewhere. Say, oh, to pay for Gelato’s delivery. Or for our car to get fixed. We also desperately need a new car since both of ours are not in the greatest condition and neither are really large enough for a family of four (when you factor in car seats, what sedan really IS large enough?).

So please pray with us that the Lord will provide a way for us to pay for the things we need to pay for, whether it be through this scholarship repayment program or some other means (hey, Jonathan’s boss, if you ever read this, we sure could do with a raise! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) .

*I want to clarify a few things before I start sounding like we’re destitute or foolish. First of all, we have no debt aside from Jonathan’s student loans. Secondly, we make very informed decisions before purchasing anything… including a new child (so to speak). So before anyone gets all “if-you-can’t-afford-stuff-why-did-you-have-another-kid?!” ย on me, let me kindly remind you that we are aware that children cost a lot of money. We are also aware that we made a choice to have a child. On purpose. We asked God to give us the blessing of another child.** Because guess what. Our children are worth far more than any sum you could ever offer or imagine. And not just to us. To God. So when God chose to give us another sweet baby, we were overjoyed (and a heckuvalotta nervous). We can hack it financially, especially with the knowledge that Jonathan has nowhere to go but up in his career and I can always always always find a way to earn money if we really need it. Who has ever heard of a tutor? Yeah, okay. Like I said, we are not destitute or foolish. Just blessed beyond reason to have reaped an abundance of love.

**I also want to clarify that we are done having kids. We’re not going Duggar on ya.





  1. kate said,

    September 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    oh girl, what a drama filled day!!! praying the car is fixed soon and cheaply, and that the scholarship comes through too. Chin up, girl, God is going to get you through this. Sorry for so many ups and downs though.., its tough!

    • September 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      Yep, it’s tough. But I just keep thinking… this will all be a distant memory someday.

  2. Kristy said,

    September 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Wow. You made it through. It is great that Hula Girl wasn’t with you. It would be a bad phase of life for her to go through seven hours hungry and crabby. Thank God she was with loving family elsewhere!

    I have known/met similar people who taught me about humility, too. Who would undergo apparently any sacrifice to do the right thing and help people. While also doing things I don’t understand, like smoking in front of kids. But it is a great lesson to learn. It will take me more than one time to learn it, I’m sure.

    Good luck with the car and money situations. I will pray that something good comes up, and also for the sleep transitions and Gelato. The one thing I think of when I read about him hating his swing is that some babies who hate one style of swing love another style. However, I’m sure a new swing is not happening for you all with an expensive car repair and also the fact that baby swings are very temporary.

    • September 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      I’m considering FORCING him to like his swing by putting him in it during his waketimes just so he’s used to it. Not sure that will help though… ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Jeremy Irish said,

    September 22, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Ugh! Car problems are horrible–especially when there’s no warning. I guess from the next day’s entry that they did actually figure out what the real problem was and fix it? That, at least, is something in my book, not to be going down the road knowing there is an undiagnosed or “cross-your-fingers” problem still lurking. BTDT many times.

    • September 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm

      Well, we do have a small issue still, but oh well. It’s not going to cause spontaneous combustion. ๐Ÿ™‚

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