I’m back! Last week Liam and I flew to Omaha to visit my family and to enjoy a week of vacation in my hometown. Let me tell you, I didn’t even know I needed a vacation until I was gone. It was astonishing how relaxed I felt being away; though I’m not sure what it was that made me so tense here. Perhaps the calculated stresses of new baby, new “job,” and new house have finally gotten to me, but these were mere trifles once I had the cool Nebraska wind blowing on my face. I felt so exhilarated with the wide openness of the area, like I had been freed of something. The heat and humidity here in Louisiana have a way of confining a person to four walls and, though I relish in being in our new place, there’s something wonderful to be said about being outside. It’s just good for the soul! The temperatures were ideal – mid 70s all week with very little moisture. I’m so anxious for late September/October to get here when it will finally cool off.
If you’d like to know how traveling with my infant son went, I’ll tell you! Liam was simply angelic, a real champ. Right about the time we took off (going and coming), it was time for him to eat and the swallowing motion helped him with popping his ears. I confess that I’m not as die-hard a nursing mom as I suppose some others are: I considered nursing him on the plane before we left, but opted not because I had no certainty as to how successful I would or wouldn’t be. A little chicken, sure, and I have no problem admitting that. Maybe next time we’ll add another ball to the juggling act. Anyway, after he sucked down his bottle, he cooed and giggled at the man sitting next to me and then he was asleep for the duration of our second flight. After such an easy time, I was ready for our return flights, which were just as predictable.
And now, after a week’s absence, I’m preparing for the arrival of our second house guest! My best friend Erin, whom I met at Benedictine, is flying down from KC for Labor Day and I canNOT wait to see her. In anticipation of her arrival, I’ll be putting the guest room together, decorating a few bare walls (trying to cheaply mimic this wall from Pottery Barn), and going grocery shopping. [This weekend I went to Tuesday Morning and got a mirror for over our fireplace and a few other odds and ends. We'll be getting an area rug for our living room too. It thrills me to tend to our house so vigorously! and to see the marvelous change that's occurred. We moved into this house from an apartment, and our previous obstacle of too-much-stuff-not-enough-space has turned to the converse. I'll have to post pictures once the living room is almost finished.] Erin’s visit will help ameliorate my famishment for post-college social interaction. I had my friend Amy over to see our house just before I left for Omaha, and I also hung out with my sister and her friends last week. Both instances involved such QUALITY conversation and truly a wonderful time. You really have to chase down friends once you turn your tassel.
Making friends was such a piece of cake in college. If you were down the hall from someone, you could be best friends after a week of leaving for class at the same time. Everyone was unmarried and babyless; and thus free to stay out after midnight. “It’s 1 AM – who wants a double cheeseburger?”
I graduated from that life, got married, and moved to a new town two weeks later. And since then, I’ve missed having a good network of friends. Friends who have a similar walk in life – young, Catholic, wife, mom. Too much to ask? Over a bowl of cereal the other day, I looked at Andrew and said, “I need friends. So I think I’m going to place an ad for some.”
In a nervous effort to further my own social life, I emailed my pastor to get approval for declaring to the parish that Katie Sciba needs to see more people. I told him that I’d like to turn my own need into a minor ministry of sorts, starting what I’ve coined as a “Chaplet & Chat” group to meet every so often. He LOVED the idea and said that I’ll have full backing from him.
GOOD DEAL. This effort serves a twofold purpose – I’ve wanted to get involved in something outside of my home and I’ve wanted to meet more people so bada BING! Our first get-together will be September 29th – just when it starts thinking about cooling off here. We’ll meet at a park somewhere and after saying a Chaplet of Divine Mercy, we’ll pick-a-little-talk-a-little while the kids rollick on the monkey bars. This past week has been the first that Andrew is back at work all day and I have seriously missed having another person around. Another person who doesn’t suck his fist or smile at me while he “makes a surprise.” Liam is great, but the strong, silent type. He doesn’t contribute much to conversations.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not completely deprived of friendships or socialization. I see plenty of people during my week and maintain some good one-on-one connections. Meeting new people though, has always been a thrill for me, and since it looks like we’ll be staying in Shreveport for a bit, it’s time to invest.
Boy! Get a bit of a running start and you just get drained! I wish I would have been posting these past weeks, but it seems that life persists even if you push the Pause button.
Andrew and I are leading the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class at our parish! I heard about Dave Ramsey through my sister, who’s lead the class twice at her parish in Nebraska. Thanks to his philosphy of paying off debt and “acting your wage,” we paid off our $14,000 debt in 10 months! We made sure to follow his baby steps and we’re now on Step 3, putting 3-6 months of expenses into savings. I’m trying to follow through with #5 on the Mrs. Right list :) Dave encourages couples to work together on finances, and that one spouse does the entering and computing of sorts. I keep our budget with columns and VERY basic addition formulas in Excel and try to keep our spending in line with it. I’ve been so proud of myself lately because I”ve chosen use what we have instead of spending more – for example, we’re nearing the bottom of our budget for groceries for the month and we JUST ran out of sandwich bags and freezer bags, but we have a ton of plastic wrap that I’ve been using to wrap our sandwiches and chips. Also, the other day I was waiting for my husband and he told me to go grab some Starbucks for myself while I waited – I knew that we had reached our max for eating out and it was tempting to go anyway because my husband suggested it. I started to absolve myself – It won’t be such a big deal because Andrew told me to go get it and it’ s just $3-$4 over…who cares? but I knew that Andrew wasn’t updated as to our “Dining Out” budget so I didn’t go and I felt fantastic. Better to save and feel good than spend and feel guilty :)
Saving money, not spending, becomes a thrilling game. I love finding more ways I can dance around the system and improvise with what I have. The temptation to spend is always there and it’s rough when the rest of the world subscribes to instant gratification, but the benefits outweigh the cost. Being disciplined and communicating with my husband yield responsibility and trust in our marriage and stomp out bitterness and possessiveness. So whether you’re a Dave Ramsey weirdo or you just like staying in the black, caution with finances is the way to go.