Wednesday, February 17, 2016

that time i was on the bachelor

the bachelor franchise is celebrating 20 seasons right now.  that means 20 bachelors only, plus all the bachelorettes, plus bachelor pad and bachelor in paradise, which puts them at 30 something runs at love. and there are only about 4 that i didn't watch.  i'm a total relationship junkie, and i guess you could use the bachelor phrase about me--i love love.

so it was absolutely "amazing" last night when i found myself ON THE SHOW!

things started a little rough just because i could not for the life of me figure out what was going on, and there were so many kids around.  i thought maybe mike fleiss didn't have to follow child labor laws and they were training all these little ones to be ABC interns or something. because SOMEBODY has to count out the roses and put the blankets with the picnic baskets and the hot tubs in all the middles of nowheres. but actually, there were just lots of moms on my season, and they all took their kids i guess, which, whatever, but mine were no where to be found, thankfully.  because honestly, i had seen the teaser about how ben responded to amanda's kids on her hometown date, and he looked a little stressed, so i was glad that mine weren't here to distract me.  this was going to be a good time.

i guess you could say the problems started early on in the night, when every.single.time i tried to talk to ben my phone kept buzzing with text messages from like, ALL of lillian's friends.  i caught on pretty early that he was absolutely not interested in me.  but i figured it was just because it was so hard to have a conversation with all those texts coming through!

so that was really disappointing.

but later when i was brushing my teeth by the fancy mirror, i heard my name in the conversation happening outside the room with ben and the other ladies. turns out they had given me a nickname, and i was the "religious spy." i first took offense to that, but then realized that maybe i should take it as a compliment, and hope that if nothing else it got picked up by lincee from and i could be featured on her blog every week. i guess if they were going to bash me for something, at least it was my faith, which meant that they knew that is a big part of me. but like, whatever ladies, i didn't come here to make friends...i was there for the right reasons (right reasons).

overhearing that conversation got me a little curious though if i'm being honest.  i mean, don't we often wonder what's said about us behind closed doors?  i decided to take it one step further and google myself.  big mistake.  googling 'andrea on the bachelor' revealed to me that the whole entire world had pegged me as THE BORING ONE and i found post after post and tweet after tweet about how badly i needed to go home.  it was like, worse than olivia. thankfully there was no mention of my bad breath or my ankles though (poor olivia) but they seriously wanted me off the show.

this was, of course, the straw that broke the camel's back.  it was obvious that i was not going to get a rose, and the night was going from bad to worse. i didn't care about the free booze or the potential of super fancy hotels and traveling and exotic dates. i was surrounded by people who didn't like me, and i was working SO HARD to just not crawl into a bed and pull the covers up over my head and cry. the introvert in me was like JUST DO IT but i knew i'd never find love if i did that.

it was a NEVER-ENDING night. i was exhausted. i couldn't figure out where my kids were. ben was totally uninterested. the ladies were mocking my faith. and bachelor nation said i was boring. this is not what i had signed up for.

but then suddenly, the setting changed. i tried to get my bearings, but couldn't quite tell if i was in tahiti or the badlands or what.  i was just hoping that my date wouldn't be on the water bc i'm just not a huge boat lover. or heaven forbid it has to do with birds. they always pick what you are deathly afraid of for dates. i started feeling the warmth of the sunshine on my left.  it was weird though that it was dark but warm. my eyes focused a bit more, and i reached toward the warmth, which turned out to be a 7000 degree steve hydeen with his back toward me, breathing slowly and steadily in a peaceful sleep as if his wife did not just spend the whole night on a show he pretends to hate. 

now, let me just say that i love this man so incredibly much every second of every day.  

but never have i loved him more than the moment last night when i realized that he was still mine, and i didn't have to convince him to like me, and not only that, but that he actually loved me, and all of my boringness, and that the longest night of my life was actually just a dream, and i could carry on with my life and my husband and my kids whose friends text me, and people who don't make fun of me for being a jesus-loving spy.  


i snuggled up to my sweet husband, trying to get every part of my body touching his just to make sure it was real life.  it lasted about 3 seconds before i was dripping in sweat, struggling to get my foot out of the covers, and flipping my pillow to the cold side.  but even back on my own side of the bed, in my small house in Nebraska, with my boring self and an alarm clock that would be sounding much too soon, i realized how much i love MY love. and i love MY life. 

and the fact that these ridiculous shows can make me realize it. :) 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

being intentional

wow, i feel like i'm dusting off an old bookshelf, except that i don't dust, so never mind.  but it's been fun to just browse through some of my old posts again... a bit like i'm reading stories of someone else's life.  things i had completely forgotten about, and wouldn't remember if they weren't recorded here on the blog.

i've gotten the urge to write again recently, and after reading my last post, from almost a year and a half ago, i realize that much has changed in the hydeen house (THANK GOODNESS), and i'm not really even sure how we got here, but it obviously happened!  my memory is crap.  but i do remember a moment that must have been during the same time frame as as when I wrote my previous post, bc it was the SAME pants fight, but this particular moment didn't make the blog.  probably because it was so embarrassing at the time, but now that i've taken a step back and get a bird's eye view on the whole thing, i realize that totally losing my cool and dumping EVERY SINGLE pair of pants and leggings on top of lillian while she bawled in a heap on the floor in her half-naked state of not wanting to wear anything, was really just representative of our whole stage of life at the time.  intense emotions.  over-tiredness. having to figure lots of things out.

another thing that never got mentioned in that post was that we were having MAJOR issues with josiah's stomach at the time. he'd eat certain things, which never created a pattern, and end up screaming his head off on the toilet, in so much pain that he was convinced there was something cutting up his insides or something. he could never fall asleep at night either, because of his stomach aches.  so we went through the whole rigamarole of charting every food he ate and the reaction if there was anything, putting him on acid reflux meds, attempting gluten free, and calling his pediatrician (who is also a friend from church and knows us well) in tears trying to figure out what in the world to do. she mentioned that it might just be anxiety (the stomach aches started, although much more mildly, after katie died, and josiah's heart just broke and he really struggled after that).  honestly, i thought she was crazy because it was so OBVIOUS to me that there was something actually PHYSICALLY happening in his stomach.  she was awesome in reassuring me that she didn't think it wasn't real physical pain, but that our emotions can cause physical pain, and to just try something for a while to see if it helped.  so we started "talking time" where every night we sat in his room with him, just to let him verbally digest his day.  he never said anything that made us realize "oh! this is what's giving him anxiety!" or anything like that. but sure enough, enough time passed and his stomach aches were gone.  i love that we were created to need each other like that.  the simple act of being intentional with each other can take away physical pain.  God has truly created masterpieces in us.

and that's the thing for me, really.  i want to be more intentional.  our family survived the absolute craziness a year and a half ago, with me working outside of the home, lillian's emotional peaks and valleys, and josiah's stomach issues.  yes, i do realize it was probably all connected to the fact that our whole life and family mojo changed with me working every day, but we found our new normal somewhere along the way.  so now that we can think and talk and dream and DO things besides survive, it's time to get intentional.

i think that writing again will help with that.  it makes me think about things in different ways when i know i might end up writing about it.  i can't decide if that's good or bad, but either way it's true. here are some of the ways i'm hoping to be intentional this year...

i want to read more books.  specifically books that lillian recommends.  the girl LOVES reading and it's definitely a way for us to connect and be able to have conversations that she can't have with anyone else.  right now i'm reading the mr. terupt books, and loving them.

we're trying to take time every night at 8pm to get things ready for the next day.  i know it's a total no-brainer for most people, but the hydeens don't do stuff like that very often.  we're very fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants and it just doesn't always serve us well. :) so we're doing things at night. works.

me and steve are back in debt reduction mode.  i know i blogged a lot about that like 3 years ago when we hit it hard, and it'll probably come up again some this year, but after our intense year we just needed a little break.  if only that meant we bought whatever we wanted to for a couple years....ha....that woulda been fun.  it just meant we said yes on occasion instead of no all the time. and more grocery money, hallelujah. our kids are older now and into things like music and sports, which you all know cost money, so our budget looks completely different now than it did then, but it definitely reflects our priorities, which is good i think.  anyway, blah blah money.

i'm also going on two MAJOR trips this year.  listen, i know i just said we're getting serious about our student loans again, but ya gotta live a little too.  we've never been on like, a real vacation, just the two of us, since our honeymoon.  we were saving to go to mexico for our 10 year anniversary and ended up spending it all on redoing our shower that was leaking into our garage. ugh. so anyway, we're going to mexico this year.  found a sweet deal thanks to my friends tirelessly looking for weeks straight, saved steve's year end bonus and all our christmas money, and we're going to mexico, baby! not till november but still.  anybody want 3 kids for 5 nights in november??? :) big (and by big i mean teeny tiny) sister is turning the big (and by big i mean teeny tiny again) 4-0 this year, plus she moved out of the country in August, and let's just say that the little (and by little i mean...well...younger than 40) sisters didn't approve of not celebrating together.  so me, maria, and mel are headed to vancouver this summer to hang out and celebrate.  boom.  stamp that passport.

the being intentional part of those trips are because PEOPLE MATTER and we have to make sure to tend to our relationships.  and what better way than a trip, amiright???  but seriously, we have a plan for paying for them. my "second job" is donating plasma, don't judge, and we allow ourselves to use that money for fun stuff like gifts for Christmas and trips, woot! i very intentionally allow someone to stick a needle in my vein twice a week for 40 minutes, and we're gonna be intentional with that money.

also, i'm jazzercising. you guys should see me. i feel like i'm on a hidden camera show where everyone else knows what to do except for me. it feels like a joke every time. i'm not kidding. i think i might finally be getting the hang of it, as long as i don't try to do anything with my arms, or yell wooooo!!! when the rest of them do (which is a lot.  and it's weird.), or think about anything else trying to pop into my head, and think ahead at every single moment.  let's just say jim and sharon never paid for dance classes, and it shows. but I'm going every morning at 5:30, which is intentional and borderline crazy. but i like it. for now. :)

and more time in the Bible. i go through such phases of reading the book i claim to love, and being gone so much during the day now makes that part really hard.  but i know there's time available if i make it available. intentionally.

also, oxford commas and double spaces.  i refuse to get rid of either of those.

i'll be done now.  too much talking.  too much typing. maybe i should be intentional about shorter blog posts in the future...

i'm just really excited about this year. i think it's gonna be a good one.  i'm gonna make sure it is.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

today is the day

today is the day it happened...

today is the day I broke down in tears and yelled at my kids because I really needed to yell at myself and I guess that was just too weird to actually do.

it's been a hard week at the Hydeen house.  or a hard month?  monthS, actually.  months.

I think it's sort of the cumulation of a lot of things making it hard, but it's like it's been just barely at the top, bubbling, spattering a little (or a lot), but not boiling over.  I've been at that point for months.  just BARELY not boiling over.

ONE of the hard things has been my relationship with my oldest child.  Now, I realize that some of you are probably rolling your eyes and saying FINALLY she's giving you a run for your money!  I'll be the first to admit, she's been a pretty easy kid for most of her life, once we got the eating thing figured out.  She made me cry at every meal for the first 2 and a half years of her life, and I wondered if I would ever ever ever enjoy a meal ever again in my life, and wondered why why why why why God designed us to eat so FREAKING many times a day.  So she hasn't been easy breezy her WHOLE life, just remember that, you eye rollers. :)

But lately, we're getting to this whole "pre-teen" thing.  and oh my gosh.

I've been hearing parents talk about it for years now, and honestly, it's always made me really sad.  I've always wondered why parents always just assume that their teens will be horrible and they all just seem to have this "oh you just wait..." type of mentality.  OR those words actually come out of their mouths.  sad.  it always made me sad.  never let me say that to you.

but now I'm realizing, for my daughter anyway, and I guess I'll just speak for myself, that it's not a "horrible" thing, or an intentional disrespect thing (usually...).  It's a completely emotional thing.  Her teenager emotions are starting now, and she's scared to death, and she totally can't help it that her brain is not fully developed, and it's practically impossible for her to control her emotions.

The PROBLEM here, is that her mom is still fighting her own teenager emotions as well.  I have confessed on here before that my gut reaction to things is to turn into a sassy teenager.  Just the other day I sassed my husband, the person I love most in the whole entire world, because I'd had a hard day and how dare he act like his day might be hard as well.  SASSY pants.  that was me.

So I get it.  She gets it from me.

And now here we are trying to figure this all out together.

She's fighting, like, really fighting, things like the knowledge of periods and sex and all that "good stuff" that awaits her.  We've been doing this question thing lately where we either take questions from a game we have and ask each other one card's-worth of questions before bed, or we ask questions at the dinner table that everyone has to answer.  I saw this really sad Facebook video about the question "If you could change one thing about your body, what would you change?"  So I wanted to test the theory (that kids say things like "I'd have a shark mouth" and grown ups say things like "I'd change my forehead bc it's too big") so I asked my kids.  And before I could even finish asking the question, Lillian shouts "PERIOD!"  really loud.  mass confusion came over the other two kids, and mass dying-of-laughter came over her parents.  And she laughed too.  But it was the kind of laugh that you  laugh because you're so freaked out and if you don't laugh you might cry.  Or you might actually even cry a little bit while you're laughing.

It's always on her mind...this huge change that she could end up waiting YEARS for, but it has her so freaked out that her emotions are out of whack.

She also knows the sex talk is coming soon.  The one from me, that is, because soon her school will start the "human growth" classes or whatever.  And yeah, I signed the papers so she can attend the class.  I don't think much will be taught besides maybe body parts this year.  I read the class descriptions, and felt comfortable with the progression (3 classes a year, for 3 years), and signed the papers.  They won't be learning much she doesn't know already in 4th grade because I've always given her pretty straight up answers to her questions.  She also knows, however, that some things are for a later discussion.  BUT, I also know that once her classmates start learning about this in a group setting, they'll also probably start talking about it in a group setting, and girls who know more will starting talking about "more."  So anyway, I told her not to worry, and that we'll have a good talk before her class starts so she can hear it from me, the way that God intended it, and when she hears her friends or songs or movies talk about it in different ways, she'll know that God's design is different.

But she's like, totally freaked out about that too.  She just doesn't even want to know anything.  Her friend asked her once, "Did your mom talk to you about sex yet?" and she said, in the most "Lillian-way" EVER, "  And I'd APPRECIATE it if you didn't tell me anything, because I'd really like to hear it from her."  But the thing is, she doesn't even WANT to hear it from me and she's begging me to wait til the very last minute before I tell her anything.

it's like she's trying desperately to cling to the last bit of childhood she has left before her body is taken over by hormones and emotions and everything else that's coming, that's slowly starting, and she hates it.  she hates it all.

I know that will change.  I know.  But this is where we are.

And these emotions that are building are like a tornado, wreaking havoc on her not-fully-developed-brain.  which, in turn (you guessed it!), is wreaking havoc on my should-know-better brain.

So the result is HUGE battles about, for example, which pants she should wear.  To me, it's obvious, that you either wear THESE jeans that I dug out of the dirty laundry, even if they might smell bad, because they are the only pair of jeans that I can find right now, OR, you can wear something else like leggings, which, yes, might make you cold.  But right now those are the two options.  or maybe three, if you count your pajama pants you are wearing right now.

but no matter the situation, it's the same thing.  She simply can NOT accept either option.  so round and round and round and round we go until both of our emotions are at an all time high, and we've BOTH tapped into our inner teenager, and even though we don't want to hurt each other's feelings, we sit there freaking out on each other because we don't see the other one's point.

so that whole refusing two options thing just KEEPS happening over and over.  no matter what the situation.  and I can be really calm and "good-mama" for about three rounds and then I LOSE IT.  So lately we're both ending up in tears over the stupidest things EVER.  And I tell her that i"m sorry I"m just a sucky mom for her, and this whole phase of life is new for me, and I'm trying to learn.  And I know what's right and I'm still choosing what's wrong, and that she's doing the same thing, and it's just not working.  so there we sit with our emotions on high gear, crying in each others arms, both apologizing profusely for being that way, just to do it ALL OVER AGAIN in 30 minutes.

for real.

it's so bad, actually, that our sweet boy who is VERY sensitive, especially within the last year, and thinks a LOT about death and dying and loss (ever since our Katie died) can't get these horrible thoughts out of his head about me and Lillian fighting.

These changes in Lillian and me have snatched us out of the lovely phase of life we've been in for the last few years.  It was wonderful.  The kids were old enough to do things on their own, and I finally wasn't needed for every single thing, and they were young enough where they still liked each other and loved to play together, and they still thought me and Steve were cool enough to hang out with, and we just loved being together as a family.

And now, thanks to a little change, their mother has become a total spazz freak out mom who cannot control herself no matter what.

Sunday was hard.  I have been looking at all these old pictures the past few days.  I saw pictures of sweet little me, with my sweet little kids, and wondered what on earth had changed.  I ended up in tears in the fetal position on my bed, just devastated at what our family has become.  The mom really sets the tone for the whole family.  In our house, anyway.  That whole "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" thing is true for us.  gosh, I hate that.  Because I haven't been in a very good mood for most of the last few months.  We've all been going through an adjustment with me working outside the home.  But seriously...I've got to get a grip...

So this morning it happened.

Steve left early, I was making lunches and finding L's socks and brushing B's teeth and doing dishes and all the bazillion things that need to be done each morning.  And they were whining and bugging and sassing and just plain being mean to each other.

and the pot boiled over.

I burst into tears and pleaded with them to stop.  I explained how daddy got in a car accident yesterday and thankfully everyone's okay but we just never know how much time we have!  we don't know when our jounery here is done!  and there are kids with siblings in the hospital who will never come home, and kids whose brothers or sisters have died already and they don't get to have them in their life.  And here we are in this house and we all  have each other for who knows how long, and this is what we're doing!  you're being mean!  on purpose!  and please please please can we just stop?????  Can we please choose love?  can we please forgive?

what I meant was...

there are PARENTS with kids in the hospital...
there are PARENTS with kids who have died...
there are PARENTS whose arms are empty...

can you, Andrea, please just STOP?
can you, Andrea, please choose LOVE?

you're being mean.
on purpose.
and you're the mom.


I just keep begging God to not take my life right now.  Because these will be the memories my kids have.  No "best mom ever."  No "best wife ever."  No "great example of God's grace." None of that could be said of me now.

Give me a little more time to change.  Please, God.  I just keep saying it.

And thank you Jesus that you forgive.
Thank you Jesus that when you look at me, you hate my sin, but you don't see it.

You see your child.  and you choose love.

HELP me to just see my children.   and to choose love.


I literally had a pot boil over this week.  on the stove.  and it leaves such a mess.  the mess is still there actually, because that's how I roll.

But one of these days I'm going to work at it, and scrape up the mess, and shine up the stove top again.  It would have been easier to add the couscous to the boiling water/seasoning combo BEFORE it boiled over.

But sometimes you miss your chance and you're left with a mess.

a big mess.

I'm so grateful I have Help for my messes. so grateful...

Sunday, May 11, 2014

cinnamon gum moments

It's mother's day, and I often find myself writing posts on this day.

so much emotion.

Today my people served me well.  well, first of all, yesterday, before Steve left for a long day of teaching improv, he got up early to clean the house for me!  woot, woot!

and also yesterday, while I sewed my brains out in the basement, the little people fulfilled their big plans for me.  cake baking, craft making, card writing, mess making. :)  it was so sweet to see them at this stage of life where they did it all without prompting, and really just wanted to bless me on Mother's Day.  They're so sweet!!!

This morning I woke up to pancakes and cereal that spelled out "mom" and gift bags galore on the table.

seriously, how sweet is that. :)  and in those bags were the crafts and cards and school crafts, etc.  Lillian baked me a cake, Josiah made me a craft he found on pinterest (seriously, love that kid.) and a paper jewelry tower thing he thought up himself.  Brielle wrote me a card, with her sweet sounding out stage she's in.  and cut out shapes of paper just for me. :) melt my heart.  You can "cis Mome" anytime you want babe. 

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the gift from Steve, which the kids were VERY excited about because he couldn't wrap it, was a super long kiss, complete with moans and groans and eye covering from the kids.  nothin' better. :)  

my people know how to bless me.  forget the flowers and diamonds.  this was my kind of day.  

But then there's always the "motherless daughter" in me who doesn't quite know how to celebrate this day that I should be celebrating her.  I read this blog post the other day. (  and by read, I guess I mean skimmed, because I couldn't quite let myself fully feel quite yet, while the kids were still awake and such.  But I passed it on to my sisters, because we're in this boat together, mothering without our mother in our lives.  it's a tough place to be.  I fully intend on reading and weeping through that post again, probably on Tuesday morning, when I'm here by myself.  that tends to be a good time for me to feel things...

But a few weeks ago I had this "moment" I guess of such a strong surge of memories of my mom.  It was totally out of the blue.  I was at a church meeting, in the home of one of my friends, and after we finished up a few of us were just sitting and chatting about nothing and everything.  My friend Rachel got out a pack of gum and I spotted it and quickly asked for a piece before she stuck it back in her purse.  For some reason, she apologized that it was cinnamon gum, which was weird to me  bc I grew up on Trident sugar-free cinnamon gum.  I quickly smiled and said, "oh! that's going to remind me of my mom!" and the second I stuck that piece of gum in my mouth, I BURST into tears.  It was the type of moment that almost never happens for me, especially in a group of people.  And there I was apologizing to my friends but completely unable to get rid of the rush of memories that sparked from the smell/taste of my mom's gum of choice.  

It wasn't really even any particular memories.  It was just like, the ESSENCE of my mom felt so close.  and I just sat there bawling like a baby, remembering my mom.  Sometimes she feels SO far away.  Like it's been so long and I"m starting to forget things, like EXACTLY what her voice sounded like, or EXACTLY what her cute feet looked like, or if her jaw popped all the time or just sometimes when she chewed, things that probably seem weird to you but I want to remember so clearly and sometimes can't.  

But the feeling the cinnamon gum gave me made me realize more about what being a mom is all about.  I just FELT her in that moment.  I didn't remember any special trips we went on, or any special presents I'd been given by her, or any momentous occasions.  I just felt my mom.  her love, her warmth, her smile.  And these are the things that made her HER.  

So when I was sitting here today with my kids, working extra hard on my patience or whatever other fruits of the spirit needed tuning up in the moment, because it's Mother's Day and you're not supposed to get frustrated with your kids on the day you celebrate being their mother... Today I was realizing that it's not about the special days. (although, for this family, it was the perfect type of "special day" for me, nothing fancy, just little acts of love.)   But in general, it's not about what you give them or where you take them or any of those things that seem so important to most parents these days.  and it's also not about the million ways I feel like I've failed them as a mother.  

it's about being there.

it's about your everyday attitude.

it's about listening and making them feel loved.

It's about giving them something to FEEL when they chew your gum after you're gone.  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

we got "robbed"

most of you already know about the break in we had this morning.  for those of you who don't, here's how it went down.

5:00am- roll out of bed, brush my teeth, put my shorts and my shoes on

5:10am- head to kitchen, fill up water bottle, mess with fish tank that steve cleaned up last night, and grab cash envelope thingy out of my purse

5:15am-leave for body pump class

6:35am- stop at HyVee for some tofu

6:45am- come home, realize computer is gone, wake steve up.

At that point things get a little blurry for me.  We just stood there in our kitchen trying to figure out what in the HECK happened (even though it was quite obvious) and if it really could have possibly happened to us.  The evidence makes it pretty obvious what happened.  He (ok I know it could be a female too, but we keep slipping and saying "he," so I'll base it on statistics and stick with "he."  no sexism intended...) moved our flower pot, climbed up our deck, wrecked our screen to pop it out, opened our (unlocked, bummer) window, climbed over our sink, left tree seed CRAP all over our kitchen floor bc it was stuck to his feet, walked down the hallway to the bedrooms and realized people were home, went back to kitchen to grab my brand freaking new computer (which I just bought to do photo editing), my purse, and some cash I had left on the counter (probably like 50 bucks), walked over to our dining room, unplugged my external hard drive (HALLELUJAH!!!!)  and put it in some totally random spot in our dining room, moved our big board block thing that goes in our sliding door as an extra precaution, unlocked the back sliding door, put our door block thing outside, and left.

there are a lot of electronics in this house.   they're all pretty crappy, but still...he only took the one computer and my purse and some cash.  we actually feel very blessed for this sort of outcome.

The next part of the morning was total chaos.  we had to tell the kids because there would soon be police officers showing up and we didn't want to freak them out.  So the first police officer comes, and Steve starts showing her around while I (attempt to) get the kids ready for school.  they were freaked out a bit, but also wanted to be in on the action with the police officer, and I was making tofu scramble for the kids' lunches that day.  Part way through I realized that my purse had also been taken, so at that point steve and I switched because it became "my" police report instead of just a household one.  So Steve was finishing the tofu scramble, packing up the kids lunches, signing folders, making sure they all got dressed, etc, welcoming my daycare girl, and managing the chaos while I talked to the police officer, called the bank (they got gas with my card at 6:14 am, which gives us about a 45 minute window that we KNOW it happened in, ugh...) and all the other stuff that comes with having your purse stolen.  Then the crime lab techician or something came over, so that meant TWO police cars outside and TWO people inside, and she was taking pics and dusting for fingerprints, which was sort of cool, except for the fact that it was my house as a crime scene.  :(

Steve got all the kids off to school, so when he got back we had the rest of the morning to go open new bank accounts, and go through all that business which is a HUGE pain in the butt.

and later in the afternoon my friend took the girls for a couple hours so Steve and I could focus and either call or change info online for all the places we pay bills to that are connected to that specific account.  that is a very very long and annoying job.

it was a long and grueling day, and I still haven't gotten the shower that I came home to take at 6:45.  blech.  but so many people have so many other issues.  so many BIGGER issues.  I kept telling myself, out loud, all day, "this is okay. this is not cancer.  this is not divorce.  this is not death.  this is not kidnapping.  this is not SO MANY HORRIBLE THINGS.  we can do this. easy."

but it's still sort of sinking in I guess.  We got robbed.  and that sucks.  But I'm realizing that it's not the stuff I feel robbed of, it's other things.

We got "robbed" of our sense of security.  That's not something that will easily be built up.  I know that burglaries happen everywhere.  small towns, big towns, small cities, big cities, north omaha and west omaha.  I get that.  but you don't quite understand the feeling of the loss of security until it happens to you.  when it's YOUR house that someone was walking around in.  when it's YOUR kids sleeping in the bedrooms that he obviously peeked in on.  when it's YOUR husband who was finally for one moment (it's been a rough sleep week) sleeping soundly enough that he didn't hear.

Steve got "robbed" of his role as a protector of our family.  that's all I'm going to say about that because I am not a man and don't even totally get it, but I'm pretty sure that's pretty high up there on any man's list of things to be for his family.

We got "robbed" of our hard work!!!  Steve and I both work more than most other people we know.  we work hard for less pay than most people, so it takes us a really long time to save up for something like a computer, or the software that I put on to do my editing, or the cash that was on the counter, ya know?  we work HARD and LONG for the stuff we have in this house.  and someone just robbed us of our hard work and cheated us out of something that we earned.

I know it's just stuff, and trust me, that's not lost on me.  But our current "stuff" isn't recent enough to be a replacement bc the sofware (or whatever it is- Windows Vista and Mac 10.6.8 instead of Windows 7 or Mac 10.7, or soemthing like that.  I don't even know...) don't support my photo editing sofware.  and well, that just sucks.  so I really do sort of "need" the "stuff" even though it's "just stuff" in order to do my work.

We were also "robbed" of sentimental value.  I realize this is going to sound REALLY dumb, but one of the things I'm saddest about is that they took our mouse pad.  When Josiah was a baby and Lillian was, well, a baby too, practically, I took this odd-angled selfie of me cuddling with my two babies, and I ended up LOVING the photo because it was so real life.  I was in a hooded sweatshirt with no makeup and my hair in a ponytail, looking like my every day self.  and my babies were just so cute because they were mine, ya know?  So for Father's Day that year I spent about 6 bucks on a mouse pad for Steve with that picture on it.  and the dumb guy took that mouse pad.  I know he doesn't even want that freaking mouse pad.  why would he take it?  I'm saddest about that.  I know I can get a new one, but it won't have the pen marks all over it from one my sweet angels totally attacked it with a black bic.  and I grew to love those pen marks all over my face I guess because now I'm having a hard time imagining a new mouse pad with the same picture, but no pen marks. :(  He robbed me of that sentimental value, which you just cant replace.

so yeah, I mean, we got robbed.  in so many ways.  but here's the truth of it all.

You cannot rob people of God.  You cannot take God's peace away from someone who is choosing to cling to it.  You cannot steal from us our Refuge and our Fortress.

so we spent the day talking about God's peace.  He's the Prince of peace!  We discussed how God can use bad things to make good things happen, and maybe the good thing was FIVE Hydeens choosing to let GOD win this battle and have FIVE people grow their trust in God when ONE person chose to sin.  We had lots of good talks today about choosing peace, and choosing to let God win.  but as evening fell upon us, that peace was getting a little farther from our sweet kids' minds.

It's kind of tricky to let them feel their very real feelings, but to also encourage them to not allow the fear to hijack their minds.  I'm not even sure how to do it.  all I knew was we had to hear it from God.  We want our kids to know that the Bible is God's clearest and easiest way to "talk" to us, and guess what.  he usually has something to say that we need to hear.

For us it was Psalm 56:3.  When I am afraid I will trust in You.

So easy for the kids, so simple to understand.  But I could tell it wasn't quite enough.  it was recommended to me to read Psalm 91 with them (I LOVE FACEBOOK!!!) so that's what we did.

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9 If you make the Most High your dwelling-- even the LORD, who is my refuge-- 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

I definitely skipped over the "stalking in the darkness" line, I'll admit it. :) But this is the perfect passage to end a fearful day with.  we talked about baby chicks nestling under their mother's wings.  we talked about angels coming and guarding us through the night.  and we talked about how this is like a little message for us from God, telling us just what to do when we're afraid.  

and I'm not saying we did it perfectly, or that it was the magic potion that worked for this time, or anything like that.  I'm jsut saying that I saw God work in their little hearts, and take away the fear.  Josiah sweetly said, "um, mom, I didn't forget about the robber, I just....."  and he told me something TOTALLY random, I don't even remember what it was.  but the fact that I could see him release his fear (which had him in tears moments before) without even releasing the memory of the experience proved to me that God really IS bigger than the boogie man, he's bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on tv. (veggies tales reference for those of you deprived people in the world who don't know bob and larry).  

and he's BIGGER than being robbed.  of stuff, of security, of sentimental value, of hard work, of anything.  so BOOM.  take THAT, robber!  WE WIN!!!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

a few things...

so, it's the middle of April and I haven't blogged once in 2014.  So I guess it's time to get a few things on the ol' internet for all to see.  sometimes I wonder why I do this.  and then random people approach me at random times and tell me that either a) they read my blog, or b) they like reading my blog, which I guess don't necessarily mean the same thing, but it makes me feel like something besides the babysitter/seamstress/mom in me matters.  and it's fun for me to go back and read about my life.  if you know me well, it's no secret that I can NOT remember ANYTHING ever, which makes me look like a really bad friend on many an occasion.  but it's not intentional, promise.  plus it's awesome because I can rewatch Friday Night Lights over and over and over again and recite the lines with them but still wonder how each episode will turn out. it's awesome! :)

ok so anyway, I figured I'll write a few things out again. know, the recent happenings.  the hydeen happenings.  yep.  I just did that.

1.  so the beginning of the year kinda sucked.  I'm not even exactly sure why, but I was just really sad.  didn't quite feel like myself, laid around a lot, crushed too much candy, cleaned on a rare occasion, and cried more than usual.  I actually think a lot of it was sparked by a book I read which was supposed to teach me about being a great wife for my dear husband, and instead made me feel like the worst wife EVER in the whole entire world and like there was no possible way I could be everything he needed me to be, so I went with the obvious decision and was NOTHING that he needed me to be.  not exactly sure how that made sense in my head but I went with it.  still slowly climbing out of it, if I'm being totally honest. but the good news is that I"m slowly forgetting everything the book said, since that's what I do!  and that probably helps the situation a bit.

2.  or it might be the fact that mini cadbury eggs made their appearance for the year, and that seems to help whatever ails you, right?  now, listen here.  I'm full of self control when it comes to money.  but not so much when it comes to portion control.  So those suckers at Cadbury know how to get someone like me.  I can say "no" to the giant (but actually quite small) purple bag of heavenly chocolate drops, because I"m unwilling to pay 4 bucks for a small bag that I will eat in entirety in one afternoon.  BUT, they have these 69 cent mini bags with just a handfull of them inside, and I let myself buy one every time I see one.  it's small, and cheap, and it's helping with "the sadness."  so I figure I can't go wrong.  right?  RIGHT???

3.  I started doing some indoor photography the last few months.  It started bc I wanted to do my own pinkadink photo shoot, which could also be read that I procrastinate way too much to get prepared for a shoot with another photographer ever again like I did last year.  even though it was AWESOME last year, I thought I could save myself some last minute stress and do it myself.  I liked it, thought the pics turned out pretty cute, and people started asking me to do their baby shoots, etc. so I said I would!  I took a photo editing class last fall, and so I bought some new editing software a couple months ago so I'd know what I'm doing when it comes time to edit the WEDDING pics I'm taking in May.  Yes, I"m doing a wedding.   (what!?!)  but I'm so excited!  so anyway, I was doing all these photo shoots, and ended up pretty happy with the pics in general, and then someone tried to print them and they were SO HORRIBLE. I thought surely it was just a problem with how they were saved or something bc the digital versions looked way way way better. anyway, I tried for like 3 or 4 weeks to figure out the problem.  I stressed out so much over these darn pictures.  I spent hours and hours and hours trying to figure it out.  I asked 3 other photographers to see if they could help me figure it out.  LONG STORY SHORT: Sara Crane is my hero.  I was just whining to her one day about the problem, and how much stress it was causing me, and she googled the problem, gave me a link, I followed these totally random directions for doing who knows what, and changed a setting that the software came with, and it worked.  ba-da-bing.  easy as pie.  I cried happy tears and then got raging mad that I spent hours in the software "help" section when all along I should have just used GOOGLE.  I google things about 700 times a day, but didn't ever google that problem, since I thought I'd find the answer in the actual help tab.  sooooo anyway, here's a little glimpse of the cuties I've been shooting. :)  and here's the link to my facebook page if you want to check it out:

4.  another new thing in recent months is that we joined the YMCA and I'm doing body pump twice a week.  It's not nearly as fun as when I did a trial class with my sisters over Christmas, but it does feel good to feel stronger.  I could barely move the first week, got stuck when I tried to pee, and felt like I had weighted shoulder pads in every shirt for about 2 weeks straight.  but now I'm getting strong, and I even did a couple pushups on my TOES last week, which is major.  The only problem?  I'm gaining weight.  so I decided to try and measure inches lost instead, hoping that would boost my spirits.  and, um, well, let's just say....see #2 of this post. :(  

5.  and I'm not the only one eating candy around here either.  The kids' bus driver gave them each a bag full of candy a couple weeks ago.  yes, this would be the same bus driver I had a little chit chat with a while back about slamming on the brakes when the kids were doing something out of line, even if it meant just having their foot in the aisle.  I HATE confrontation and it was a huge deal for me to climb up on that bus and talk to her about my concern, but I put my big girl pants on and TOTALLY humiliated my kids, but it had to be done.  and now she's totally kissing my butt by giving out candy bags and friendly honking at me when she drives off after the kids get off the bus.  and I'm like 'whatever, lady!  just don't slam on your freaking breaks with kids inside!'  

6.  daycare is winding down.  I have had a variety of daycare situations over the last 5 years, but Maddie (that cutie in the b/w pic up there) has been with me for 4 of them.  That girl is as close to my own kid as you can get.  But I always said that I wanted to stay home with MY kids (which is why I did daycare instead of teaching) and not necessarily OTHER people's kids, and Brielle is going to kindergarten next year, so it's time to be done.  I'm now spending my days half-dreading and half-desiring the days in the future when I can just, like, do whatever I want whenever I want.  sorta.  it's like the dream from when you were a kid and you thought that's what adulthood would be like, and then it doesn't turn out that way, but then all the sudden all your kids are in school and it sorta DOES turn out that way.  except for the fact that you have to figure out how to pay the bills (that's the half-dreading part), which leads me to my new job.

7.  I've started sewing princess inspired fleece hoodies for a lady here in Omaha who can't keep up with her etsy shop.  she has EIGHT seamstresses and we'll be super busy from Aug through Dec because apparently there are a lot of people willing to pay over $100 for a hoodie for their little girl.  I'm certainly not one of them, but just in case you are, then you should check out this shop!!!  I'll be trained in Rapunzel, Snow White, Anna, Elsa, and the my little pony ones.   so that will keep me super busy and give me lots of time to work on my posture since I am convinced I'll be a hunchback in a couple years if I continue to sew the way I do.  so, posture practice it is!  I'm not totally sure what will happen with the pinkadink during those months.  I'll probably see if I can do both for a while, but if it gets to be too much I'll have to close the shop for a bit while I work on making the big bucks. :)  for those of you who think my pinkaink stuff is overpriced, well, I BARELY make a profit off it so I gotta do what I gotta do for my family now, so hoodies will have to take priority.  kinda sad, huh?  but I am really excited for it too.  We just got our taxes done for the year and I was reminded once again that nobody else in the whole world would work as much as I do for the pinkadink and get paid what I get paid for doing it.  so... I"m trying to figure out what to do with that information, once again. and this gives me a chance to still sew cute stuff and get paid pretty good to do it.

ok, it's time for me to make taco soup.  the kids are not impressed with the idea, and they are quite tired of me trying out new recipes.  I'm actually considering starting a new blog where I just post aobut stuff I"m doing around my house, not necessarily personal stuff like I do here.  and recipes would definitely be a part of that since people ALWAYS ask me what we eat. and like craft projects or DIY things that I've always wanted to do and would feel inspired if i was going to blog about it.  but I don't know, would anybody even read that???  hard to know.  

alright, in the words of Paco, and in honor of being TEN YEARS past our semester in Spain next month, "paz afuera."  

which is a really horrible gringo translation of "peace out."  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

the debt reduction diaries: holy smokes we did it for a year

so, our Belize trip happened in July, and then on Aug 1st our world was rocked by the death of our sweet friend Katie, and after that I never got back into blogging about money.  There are a variety of reasons for that I guess, but now that we're coming up on ONE YEAR of rice and beans, I thought I'd give a quick little update.

First of all, I never mentioned the money miracles that happened in connection to our Belize trip.  We raised our 1/3 of the trip cost very easily thanks to many of you, and were able to put more than our share in the group fund!  We praise God for that!  We also had so many people give us money to use for personal expenses, which was a HUGE part of the financial stress we had for the trip!  It was incredible to watch God at work in His people and all the random (well, I guess they weren't really random, now, were they...) things that happened to make this trip work for us.  We had WAAAAY more trip expenses than we ever thought we would.  It turned out that we were going to have to pay about $200 of our own money (no, we didn't know where it was going to come from yet...) to make sure we had what we needed to go, even though people were crazy generous with what they gave us.  We just had no idea that passports, travel stuff, and SHOTS were going to add up to be so crazy much.  So anyway, there we were, a few days from leaving, and not knowing what to do, when a neighbor lady stopped over with some money for us, and then we got more from Steve's aunt who had always meant to send it earlier and never did.  and in the end, we had $16 more than what we needed for our personal expenses.  I realize that I just wrote that whole paragraph with so much emotion in my heart that you can't READ, but I was just amazed at how God met every need we had concerning that trip.

Another little blessing was that a family that I babysat for during most of my life in OC also decided to send some money, even though they knew we had what we needed.  They knew that me taking a week off of work being self-employed would be a kicker, and wanted their money to help with that.  and i was like WHAT!?!?!  I probably never even thought of the extra work I'd have to be doing with the pinkadink for taking a week off, but God had.  and they had.  and so even the KIDS (who are older now but still TEENAGERS) gave out of their own money for us to be able to cover some of that burden.

and I just felt SO BLESSED to have grown up in such a loving family and community to see all that money pour in to support us on that journey. Our hearts are forever changed because of it.

So anyway, the rest of the summer and the fall were full of financial surprises.  Here are a few of the ones I can remember. :)

We had to get a new water heater.  The guy who came to take a look said we were so lucky to have gotten 34 years out of that thing, but we decided that all the previous owners were the lucky ones, and not us! :)  anyway, long story short, we had an extra paycheck from Steve's work because he gets paid bi-weekly so twice a year there's an extra paycheck.  and even though I certainly didn't have "new hot water heater" on the top of my list of things to spend that check on, it was the winner!  But it felt so good to have the money on hand and write the check instead of waiting to see how we'd figure this one out! It gave us some serious perspective of how our future could be when we're done paying this debt and saving up for things like that.  This time still felt like a miracle, but in the future I hope to be in the same boat because of good planning and stewardship of our money!

another odd thing...I'm convinced that someone payed our medical bills.  I had an appointment this summer for just my regular check up and mammogram.  and when I went to pay the bill, I realized it was actually two bills and we couldn't pay both that month, so I was going to wait til the next month and pay it then.  Well then when I went to pay it the next month it was gone from the system.  I was so confused but in a hurry so I couldn't look into it at that time.  And then later I got mail from the clinic and thought surely it was my bill and instead found an overpayment check of like $30 or soemthing.  So I was SO confused and went back to my bank records and searched and searched for my payment and couldn't find it anywhere.  SO, my only conclusion is that somebody must have paid it.  I feel like I remember asking one time about my OWN bills over the phone and they some weird thing about how they can't tell you the amount over the phone.  so if someone did that and didn't get an exact answer, and then just paid what they thought and over paid by $30 or something, that's the ONLY thing that could possibly make sense in my head!!!  So if it was YOU who did that, I don't even know how to say thanks except for on here, and just pray that you know how much we appreciate it!

ok but here's the weirdest thing about that situation.  I was feeling a little sick about this whole blog and the idea that I was writing what was hard for us during this journey and then all these awesome people would step up and help to make it easier for us, with food, or money, or whatever.  And I just had this thing in my heart bugging me about if I was really trusting God, and what would happen if I didn't even tell anyone what was hard, and THEN what would happen?  was it really a trust in God to provide or was it a trust in my blog readers?  (that's one of the reasons I quit blogging these last few months.  I didn't feel like I could be honest about it all because the people are too awesome and want to help!  so I guess I needed to feel like I could do it without the blog.)  so anyway, I had only told ONE very close friend that I couldn't pay the bill.  and she swore she didn't pay it.  so, I don't know.  somebody was listening to God I guess.  oh my gosh, I just have to figure out what I can do for someone else after a story like that.

ok, um...another sweet deal...we had a hail storm in March or soemthing.  April maybe?  and just a few weeks ago got all the work on the house done!  so YAY, we now have a new roof, the house is painted, the deck is re-done, and we didn't spend a penny (well, except for our deductible I guess, but we didn't have to write the check)!  We actually knew we'd have extra money from the claim so we used a little to buy a new (the very cheapest, but way better than what we had) sliding door for our back deck.  It was a MUCH needed investment for this little home, but now we are getting all the final numbers figured out with the insurance company and the contractor and all that, and we're nervous that we may have spend prematurely.  The problem was that winter was coming and our neighborhood had seen a spike in home break-ins through the back doors, and ours was falling apart so bad that you  just had to lift it a little and slide it open, even when it was locked.  So that made us nervous enough to make the investment at the time, but now we're wondering how it'll all turn out.  prayers appreciated as we wrap up that process!  (we DO have money in our "van fund" from that hail damage if we need it, but we're also getting nervous that our little Honda is gonna bite the dust soon, so we'd rather not use it.)

so yeah, our house has just been totally freaking out these last few months.  We also had a bathtub spazz out and insist on staying ON unless we jimmy-rigged this huge pole thing to put pressure on the knob to not pop out.  anyway, we eventually got it fixed, but of course it wasn't as easy as it seemed and ended up being a huge project!  ugh...

our van battery was also giving us many problems, and I had about ten dead batteries in the course of a couple months.  But my daddio came to the rescue and bought us a new one, so that's one more thing off the list of "things to replace around here."  thanks Dad. :)

Then we had a leak under our sink that made the bottom of the cupboard so soggy that our water filter system crashed through the floor of it.  So Larry was back again (our handy-man-hero) this week to fix another Hydeen House problem.

so, like I said, it's been a few months full of surprises.  some good, some bad, but in general, we feel really grateful to God that we started this journey in January so that things like this aren't totally major stressors in our life.  When we have something come up, we just pay for it and take it out of the next month's debt snowball.  and that really sucks but it's what we have to do.

and speaking of debt snowball, we officially paid off $10,000 of debt this year.  About $6000 was the minimum payment due on all our freaking loans, but that also means that we put $4000 extra toward it this year, which is so exciting!  When I think of all the money we had to put toward the house, and all the money we tithed this year (it was our first official year of really truly tithing), I'm just AMAZED at how God has met all our needs!  Last year at this time, it seemed impossible to even be able to tithe, but we stepped out in trust and not only did we tithe, but we have done much more than that!  Yes, it was a lot of hard work, and we still feel like we're in the same boat as when we started: tons of student loan debt and no grocery money. :)  BUT it's totally worth it to know we won't be in this boat forever.

it's been incredible to have our monthly budget meetings, and spend that whole month's money in one shot, and then just trust that it'll all work out for the rest of the month.  We've used some extra pinkadink money to make up for the snowball when we've had home repairs and such, and then I just have to PRAY that for whatever reason, lots of people will order stuff that month, and then I sit back and watch it happen.  It feels like I've got a front row seat for watching God go to work.  It's probably been this way all along, but I'm just so much more aware of it really being God and not me.

We're so thankful for all our random sources of income.  the pinkadink (I made a profit for the first time this year!), 88improv, my photography, daycare.  all these little amounts that, put together, allow me to be home while we tackle this debt.

and so.... we carry on. :)

I'll be adding a baby to my daycare situation next year, just a few days a week.  because who doesn't love to get paid for snuggling babies??? :)  and my very first plan for that money is to up our grocery budget!  wooooo hooooo!!!!

but besides that, we plan on just trucking along the way we have been!  I'm planning on being done with daycare for next year when Brielle goes to kindergarten, so that'll change things up agian for us, and we'll see what happens with our income at that point!  eek!

as we finish out this year, it's been fun to explain to the kids that because of all the choices we've made with our money this year (yes, the same ones they've complained about), we have a little money to choose how we want to spend it, and for the first time we're getting them a Christmas gift!  I'm not sure if they've ever realized it or not, but they've never gotten a "real" gift from us.  so this year we have a real christmas budget and if I thought it was fun to buy Christmas gifts for people before, well, it's a million times more fun when you're financially prepared!  We also did Christmas cards instead of just printing a picture, which was really fun for me too.  I did the photography, the designing, and ordered them as business postcards and used a coupon to get them for only 40 cents each, and I love how they turned out! plus it's a postcard so I save a little on postage to.

so all in all, I'd say it was a very successful year for our family with our debt reduction.  I'm sure Dave Ramsey and his hardcore fans would find many areas we could have done better, but we're focusing on US and what WE want to do with God's money that he's given us to use.

It's been a ride, folks, and I"m mighty sick of rice and beans.  Thanks for the encouragement along the way. (can you believe it's been a year already?)  I know I checked out of the blogging part of the journey, not that you even noticed, but it was good.  So many of you have said that you're in the same boat, so if nothing else, I just want to encourage you to make little changes that seem insignificant til you add them all up.  every little bit counts.

so, I'm not sure if this is officially the end of "the debt reduction diaries:" series, but it's been fun.

thanks for reading. :)