Thursday, November 10, 2016

Catching Up On Fall

We've had lots of fun this fall, so I though I would share some photos!

Going to the arboretum in September/ October is one of our favorites because they set out tons of pumpkins! They have a pumpkin patch and a pumpkin village. The girls love it!

Brendon went on a work trip to Philadelphia and filmed in an aquarium. While we don't love him being away, I did think this was a pretty cool photo!

The girls' favorite thing we've done lately would probably be the State Fair of Texas. I hadn't been since college, and the girls have been itching to go. We went on a Thursday, which is when you can use homeschool tickets. It's great because it wasn't too crowded. It reminds me a lot of the Houston rodeo, sans the concert and bull riding. There's a lot of animals, artwork, and kid exhibits to go see, and almost all of it is free. 

We were surprised by all of the exotic animals there! It was more like a zoo than a petting zoo.

There's a hands-on kids farm that lets kids pick crops, milk a (fake) cow, plant seeds, and sell their items to a market. Then they get play money that they can use to buy a snack. That was definitely a hit!

And I welcomed Mother Goose story time because of the lovely benches where you can sit down for a good half hour and let your kids be entertained.

I let them choose a ride and a fun fair treat. The cotton candy impressed them!

Meanwhile, we've also had a ton of fun playing at home and outdoors. Lilleigh learned to ride on two wheels and is out in the front daily riding her bike! (She normally does wear a helmet...) And Adeline has learned to brake - ha, also an accomplishment!

I made Adeline a big quilt like her sissy, and she loves it! I also made the baby a small quilt, and I tried some new techniques, using free motion quilting, which was definitely a learning curve. I was able to sewing words (!!) and lots of waves... it was hard and definitely not perfect. But I enjoyed it! And it's part of the "homemade by Mom" charm I think. Overall, it looks pretty similar to Adeline's, in terms of fabrics, only I cut out the pinks and just did a lot of blues, yellow, coral, and gray to make it gender neutral.

Adeline has been working super hard on potty training. One day she just decided she was ready, and she had maybe one daytime accident for about three weeks. We've had some regression since then, but overall she's still doing really well. After two weeks of stickers on her potty training chart, I took the girls to Chuck E. Cheese. The charts they have on their website are such a deal (free tokens for basically everything under the sun), and this particular day was also half price game day plus "wear a costume for 50 free tickets" month... you know I love a deal, so we were thrilled about this! 

Adeline has basically remembered 90% of the one million promises I have made to her over the past year to get her potty trained. One was getting to do gymnastics. How cute are these two gymnasts? Sadly, this day did not end well... Adeline only wanted to be in Lilleigh's class, which wasn't doable because there were too many kids that day. So she had a half hour long fit, during which my huge prego self had to carry her sideways on my hip out of gymnastics. Yikes. Thankfully we all recovered from that thanks to a Sonic run. I think Adeline will love gymnastics once she gets brave enough to be in a different group from Lilleigh, but until then, she's okay sitting out of gymnastics and hanging with Momma, which is okay with me!

For Halloween, Lilleigh wanted to be Alice in Wonderland and recruited Adeline to be the Cheshire Cat, which Adeline happily agreed to! These two crack me up. One day Adeline won't be so happy to be Lil's little sidekick, so I'm glad to just let Lilleigh enjoy this while she can.

We hosted our annual Halloween party. We grill hotdogs in the front yard and invite friends and neighbors to come eat and hang out before trick-or-treating.

For the record, I was a gum ball machine, and Brendon was a quarter.

And Halloween always means -- FOUR days till my birthday! So my dad and "Lili M." came up. The girls had a ball. Momma needed a really long nap after they left, but it was super fun having them here!

For the record, sea salt caramel cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory is my new favorite. So yum!

Monday, October 10, 2016


Recently I took a quick girls trip to visit Anabelle in NYC! It was a quick trip, but so much fun! 

I actually wrote a longer post sharing what we did, but it somehow got deleted. And I'm just a little tired these days, so getting any posts up on the blog is big time. So for now, I'll just let you enjoy the photos! Love you, Bananabelle! We loved coming to see you in your new city!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Home Sweet Home

Alas it's fall! It feels AMAZING here in Dallas. Hopefully the cool weather won't be too short lived. Anyway I probably have one million updates to post, seeing as this blog is mainly to keep friends and family up to date on life. A lot has happened in the last two months! I only have a few minutes tonight, so let's see what I can cover in that time. (I apologize in advance for typos.)

Of course, our biggest update is our house! Finally after THREE months, we are back in our house, and dare I say, the whole leak fiasco/ renovation is complete?! It's been an adventure. We were delayed up front due to mitigation taking forever to start and then uncovering mold that we had to deal with. Once that was finished, we could actually start the rebuild process, which was much more promising and exciting. We used that time to choose new wall colors, open up a wall between the living room and kitchen, and add wood floors to our living room. The girls figured out about this time that walls could be painted, and naturally they requested their room be painted pink! Brendon hasn't wanted to paint bedroom walls, despite my many ideas over the years, so I was super excited to grant these girls' request! 

Everything seemed to be going smoothly until our cabinets came back. The very short story is that there were MANY issues with them, such as: scuffs everywhere, cabinet units being swapped around, not enough room left for our appliances, and granite CAULKED (for real?!) and the two slabs having a huge gap between them. The repairs that needed to be done solely due to the cabinet guys' errors were about a month's worth of work, but in the end it worked out for us, as we did get our cabinets professionally painted, new granite, new backsplash, and a new kitchen sink. I'll take it.

Here are some photos. I kept delaying taking any, waiting until the house was clean. But let's be honest. I'm not sure that really ever happens when you homeschool. This is our clean. :) I will say though, the girls room is still a work in progress, so that pic is yet to come!

Not sure you can really tell from my kitchen pics, but the bigger doorway between living room and kitchen really makes a huge difference. I didn't capture it well in photos. Also the lighter cabinets (solid antique white, rather than my distressed look I had going on), lighter backsplash, and color on the walls really makes the kitchen just feel cheerier. Which is a great thing if you spend a lot of your day in the kitchen!

A highlight to moving back in when you're 6/7 months pregnant is that your nesting work is already set up for you! We had to take everything off the walls to begin with, so now I have a blank slate. It's been fun to reevaluate each room and recreate it. I've actually purged a ton, and we had a pretty successful garage sale over the weekend! The girls also had a pretty profitable lemonade stand too - lots of great math lessons there! 

Okay I'll work on more updates later, but that's the house in a nutshell. Still wrapping up some things with insurance, but as far as work goes, we are pretty much done. Home sweet home!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Just a few summer updates!

This post is so overdue that frankly, I'm not even sure where to begin. I'm backing way up a few months, so bear with me!

After I started seeing my naturopath and Dr C, I started to see improvement in my symptoms. I had more energy, though sleep was just so-so. I actually got comments that I was looking better physically, not as drained. I could feel my vitamin stores improving.

As for sleep, I did stumble upon tart cherry juice (the concentrate, no dilution) though, which helped me to start sleeping like a normal person! Essentially tart cherries have natural melatonin in them. The average person needs 20-30 MICROgrams of melatonin; however every OTC melatonin I've seen contains 1-5 MILLIgrams of melatonin, which is 5-25 times more than a person needs; hence why it makes many people restless, rather than inducing sleep. Two Tbsp tart cherry juice contains about 50 MICROgrams natural melatonin, so it's not surprising that for many people this is a better option. It's crazy. Good to know - more is not always better.

In March, both Brenda and Dr C said I was at a good point to start trying again. Honestly, I was shocked, totally didn't expect to be given the ok so soon. And I wasn't sure I felt ready. Nonetheless, in April we found out we were expecting!

(Photo taken last week)

Of course, after two miscarriages, this pregnancy has seemed sorta surreal, and I've held it loosely. I was on progesterone and finally breathed a sigh of relief after my last appointment, once I had weaned from the progesterone. I'm now 18 weeks, due right before Christmas, and so so thankful! I feel the baby moving, just little movements, daily. It definitely feels more real. And pregnancy hormones have made me sleep at night! SO thankful.

I was tested for methylation issues, via 23andMe, including MTHFR, but surprisingly (to me, anyway) I came back negative! I do have some methylation issues, for which I am on support, but nothing major.

I'm on adrenal supplements and thyroid meds, the latter of which have made a huge difference! Last pregnancy I was exhausted the entire time and napped daily; I had no idea that wasn't normal for having kids and being pregnant! This time my second trimester energy is definitely back, which, if you've been following our summer, makes this a great (or maybe a not-so-bad) time to be displaced in a hotel!

Speaking of hotel, the update there is that we have at least another month. They are replacing cabinets, which apparently takes 3-4 weeks?! Bizarre. I don't get why you wouldn't save the hotel money and just buy pre-made cabinets. Nonetheless, I'm glad to have cabinets that will actually match my kitchen (they're reusing my old cabinet faces, to ensure it all matches), despite the fact that insurance keeps telling me they don't have a responsibility to make my house match - i.e. our travertine. They're sorta making me crazy on that (and many other things), but I'm hanging in there. So the agenda now includes: finishing ripping out subfloors, mitigation (water damage restoration), opening up a doorway, putting subfloors back in, replacing cabinets, and new floors. You can probably see that the hotel stay is truly the easy part of this whole thing.

We also just celebrated 9 years of marriage and 32 years of my darling hubs! I am thankful each day for my sweet, sensitive husband. Really grateful for God's hand in this. He definitely blessed me with more than I could've dreamed of in a husband. 

So our summer highlights thus far, include...

  • Sleep! Energy!
  • A new pregnancy!
  • A hotel stay, house repairs, lots of eating out, and very close quarters. As Lilleigh said, "Our house is going to feel SO BIG when we go back!" True story. Maybe that's the ticket to not wanting that fourth bedroom.
  • Nine years of marriage, and Brendon's 32nd birthday!
  • And looks like Adeline's birthday COULD be while we are still in a hotel, so I've told her we will do something super fun on her birthday and then do a friend party (I'm so low key though, really) when we are back in our house! Ha.
  • I'm also planning our kindergarten homeschool year! So pumped!
Happy summer, y'all! 

Monday, July 4, 2016

House Leak, Insurance, and Hotel Living

I have several blog posts that need to happen in the near future. Lots of updates and thoughts here. But I think what most people want to know is why exactly we are living in a hotel and what is happening at our house, so I'll begin there.

At the end of May we started hearing an air-like noise in our kitchen, and we could not figure out what it was. It sounded like it was coming from near our air vent, so we sorta figured it was an issue with that and hoped we would figure it out soon enough. Probably four days later, Brendon went into the kitchen on a Sunday morning and could hear water running - under our house. (Our house is built on a pier and beam foundation.) When he went outside, near the wall adjacent to the water sound, he felt steam. So we finally knew the culprit - a pinhole leak in a hot water pipe under the kitchen.

The next day a plumber came out to fix the pipe. He said it was humid under the house, due to the steam, but he seemed to think it would dry out fine. However, over the next two weeks we had a ton of rain and humidity - humidity like that of Houston, which is way more humidity than is normal for Dallas. Needless to say the crawl space did not dry out, and within three weeks we started to feel our subfloors pop up. 

I had our adjuster and mitigation guy come out together. Our mitigation said subfloors would need to be replaced, and our adjuster went along with it. (They DO need to be replaced, as many are incredibly warped, but apparently insurance likes to just do new flooring most of the time, not addressing the underlying issues of subfloors.) So as of now we are replacing most - possibly all - of the subfloors and floors in the living room, front room, and kitchen. Our entry does not seem to be affected. I'm holding my breath next week as they start to rip up kitchen subfloors. If they look as bad as the front room subfloors (which surely they do?), then we will getting some "expert opinions" on the matter, as well as bids, and using them to petition insurance to take out our cabinets too. 

Another side note: I'm learning to back everything up with expert advice and bids, taking matters into my own hands, BEFORE going to insurance. I have to be ready to make my case.

Back to the demo. Honestly since our kitchen is updated and it's a galley kitchen, with a fireplace on the other side, making it difficult to open up the living room, I don't really care to have them demo and try to put back together my kitchen. I like it the way it is. The few changes I would make wouldn't be covered by this insurance claim. (Though if anyone has genius ideas, do send them my way. I'm open.) I'm learning insurance loves to only cover half of a project. For example, let's just remove two cabinets and replace the granite counter top for that portion. Matching granite like that isn't an easy task, nor is matching cabinets when they only take out the bottom portion. Yet many insurance companies don't care if it all matches in the end, if they replace the damaged portion, they call it a day, whether it matches or not. So unless my whole kitchen were destroyed and they are redoing the whole thing, I'm not sure I want insurance redoing my kitchen if that makes sense.

One update to the kitchen we do want to make, pending cost of this whole project, is to widen our doorway between the kitchen and living room. Currently it's standard doorway size. Since our kitchen is not open at all, we would love to widen it to about 5 feet, and obviously this is something to do before flooring goes in. At some point we may also swap the fridge and computer work station (which is currently in the kitchen, along the wall to our washer and dryer), putting a window to the living room in (or maybe half height wall, pending a support beam) behind the fridge. The window can be done after this project is over, and since we are still sorta pondering it, we may hold off there for now. The questions always arise - how much value will this add, and how long will we be in this house? Will we add on, or eventually just move?

So that's sorta where we are at the moment. We really love our travertine in the entry and kitchen and wood floors in dining, so the only change we are wanting there is wood in the living room. That carpet has been used and abused by spills, multiple rounds of potty training, and kids and a dog. So there IS a silver lining in all this. New living room floors! We did contemplate doing wood all over the main areas (entry too), and a lighter wood tile (meant to stand apart) in the kitchen. (I have talked to others with engineered wood, but honestly I just don't trust engineered wood as the kitchen floor. And our house is too old and the foundaton in North Texas too wonky to have a seamless wood tile in all of the main areas, per talking to neighbors with it and seeing their tile cracking.) So basically we have contemplated flooring a lot, and until we sign on the order form, we probably still will. But ultimately, we do still love our travertine after 8 years, and we do feel travertine and wood are timeless. And since we are a little more timeless in taste than we are trendy, though I do love trendy, that's where we currently are. Again, if you have a genius idea, speak now... like beginning of the week, before floors are ordered... or just smile say how lovely you think it looks when it's done. :) 

We know a family from church in our exact situation this summer, though they have six kids, so they took the money insurance gave them for hotel accomodations and food and hit the road to Colorado for six weeks. That's pretty brilliant in my opinion. Or that's what I thought at first. Except now that we are in the midst of this project, I'm glad to be here and popping daily to manage the project and see the work being done. Contractors are inevitably slow in making progress and not giving as much detail to my house as I would. And who can expect them to? No one cares about your house the way you do. Needless to say, while I would love for this to be a nice staycation - and it some ways it is - it's also filled with a full part-time (?) job, managing contractors, making phone calls, and picking out floors. We've had sweet friends offer to babysit the girls, so the girls have had lots of play dates while I've been busy spearheading this project. (Side note: Since I'm always the one saying we should get into doing rent houses, and realistically I'm the one who would be managing them, I'm the one tackling this project, getting a feel for if we really want to own more houses. Ha. Time will tell.)

Here's some pics of our house currently. 

Every time I walk in, I want to leave running. I'm told eventually my house will be pieced back together. I keep reminding myself of this.

So where are we living? Insurance is actually paying for us to live just a few miles away, still in Richardson, at the Hyatt House. We have a one bedroom suite, which is essentially two separate rooms with a pull out couch in the living room. It's getting a little crammed with all four of us, all of our stuff, and the dog, but it works. We are on the wait list for a two bedroom suite, but we shall see if that happens. 

We did look into VRBO and staying with friends also. There are definite pros and cons to a hotel. 

The pros:
-Having our own space
-Free wifi
-Free hot breakfast... It still tastes like it's made in mass, so it's okay. But there is an omlette station. 
-Daily housekeeping
-Apparently they'll run my grocery errands for me... I really need to start using this service because I haven't yet, and it's not like I don't have enough on my plate. Ha.
-Work out facility

The cons:
-Small space
-Have to keep the girls quiet because there are other guests. So we are pretty much gone every morning till naptime and then again after naps.
-No yard for the girls or the dog
-Having a babysitter is tricky. Still figuring that one out.

Overall, the trade off seems to be worth it, but of course, we will be so eager to get back into our house once it's done! 

As for food, we are eating out a ton. If you know us well, you know we eat out maybe 2-3 times a month, so eating out 1-2 times per day is quite the change! Our hotel does have a kitchen, but not an oven, making cooking tricky. Thankfully insurance pays for all food expenses above what we normally spend in a week. Since our budget is generally low, I can't complain there.

So that's the update here! More updates to come. Hopefully the rest of this hotel/ demo/ mini (?) remodel will be uneventful... ha!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Meet our baby chick!

Meet our broody hen Honey. Someone recently posted on Facebook some fertilized chicken eggs, so we let Honey sit on them. This was both to make the most of her broodiness, have a homeschool lesson in chicks, and to hopefully get a new hen out of the deal. 

When I came out to see her with them out in front of her, I was a little concerned. 

We candled her eggs to find out if any were viable. From that, I found there was one potential. I wasn't holding my breath.

It takes 21 days for eggs to hatch. On day 22, I told Brendon I would give that egg one more day to hatch. That evening he came in and asked if I had wondered why Honey was being broodier than normal. (Umm no, I wasn't. Broody is broody.) Then he led me outside and lifted her up. 

Eeek a chick!! 

Seriously this has been such a fun experience! And the best part is momma hen is raising the chick, so literally all we have to do is provide shelter, food, and water! (FYI chicks are easy to kill when you raise them heat lamp style. Temperature has to be exactly right.) 

So here we are chickie guardians! No real name yet because we can't agree, and we won't know gender until it's around 5 months old. 

If you want to come see the chick, hurry up because she will be on the awkward teen phase SOON! She's already growing feathers. (I say "she" because I'm hopefully baby chick is a girl... That would be so sad to raise it for five months and then for it to be a rooster...😖)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Balloons, Camping, Mercy, and Chicks

Seriously this should've posted a couple weeks ago... Oops :) 

These last few weeks have been so busy!! 

On Good Friday, we sent off balloons for Austen, our tradition on the anniversary of his passing. 

Easter weekend we went camping. I began the week with the crazy sleep experiment to see if I could reverse my circadian rhythm. And we ended with camping - because what's better for sleep than being in nature? The second night I slept like a rock. It was amazing. I'm not entirely sure my sleep experiment held but it helped for a time... I'm still deciding. Camping was way fun though!

Adeline was my snuggle buddy.

And we came home to meet Mercy Belle Wideman!! 

I love this precious momma!

Speaking of mommas, we decided to let our broody hen sit on fertilized eggs. After candling all six, only one has potential to hatch. I'm hopeful but not counting on it. It's been a fun experience nonetheless!


Monday, February 29, 2016

Samaritan Ministries Q&A: Share the Burden

I have people ask me constantly about our healthcare with Samaritan Ministries, so here is a post to answer many of those questions! Some are based on what I hear, and some are ones you've actually sent me. Always feel free to send more my way. I do ask if you join because of us that you would write us down as your referral. Here we go...

Q: How is this different from insurance?
A: I wrote extensively on this in my first post, so this answer here will be the short version. 

There are many ways Samaritan is different. The first way is that Samaritan, unlike insurance, is not a guarantee. Honestly, I'm not sure I ever viewed insurance as a guarantee, but since our government does, I'm going to note it as a difference. Samaritan sees healthcare much the way the Acts 2 church is described - we all need to share in each others' needs! That is done by joining together with others, who have committed their lives to Christ, to share the burden of healthcare.

With insurance, you give money each month to the insurance company to "insure" your needs will someday be covered, should they occur. With Samaritan, you write a check each month to someone with an existing healthcare need. With your check, you are supposed to send a note of encouragement too. We love how personal this is and that we know exactly who are money is going to and what it is covering. 

For more on this, read that post linked to above.

Q: What is the actual cost per month? 
A: For our family, it is $405 per month. That is the cost for families with three or more people. You can look up specific rates here. The cost would vary based on your family circumstances and size.

Q: What are the variables on cost per month? 
A: I listed the rates above. Other than those, what we pay can sometimes vary. We've had many months where the cost is less that $405, simply because there are less needs shared that month than there is money in the pot. In those cases, we are only asked to contribute the amount needed. 

My husband and I have also opted to be a part of the "Save to Share" program, where we save an additional $399 per year in order to help other families, who are part of this same program and have bigger needs. I'll talk more about this in a bit. However, some months, as participants in this programs, we are asked to contribute a little more to the person in need. We have yet to contribute more than $20 extra in a given month to the person in need, and since we've joined, we have only had a handful of a months where we've even needed to give any extra money for "Save to Share." 

Q: What steps do you take to get it? Can anyone join?
A: If you are a Bible-believing Christian and are actively involved at a church, where you are a member, then you qualify to join. Be sure to read Samaritan's foundational principles. Fill out the online form or request one by mail

Q: What steps do you take to make a "claim"?
A: What insurance companies often refer to as "claims" are actually called "needs" by Samaritan members. When you spend over $300 on one particular medical need, call Samaritan and they will set up the need for you and send you a three page packet where you describe your need and list out your bills for that need. It's really that easy! 

Q: How much time does the paperwork take? 
A: it does take some time. When we have had an on-going need, I usually schedule a couple 1.5-2 hour windows, while my youngest is napping, to fill out forms, gather my bills, call billing departments if needed, and make copies. 

Q: Call billing departments? 
A: Yes. As a Samaritan member, we agree to be good stewards with money. Therefore where we can get a discount, we do. This works by calling the billing department on a bill and saying, "Hi I'm Ashleigh Lankford. I'm calling about account {xyz} where we had {such and such need} performed. I'm cash pay. Can you give me any discount?" They almost always reply with a 20-50% discount. I've had as little as 10% taken off and as much as 80% taken off. There are some doctors today that only accept cash, so in their offices, we are not offered a discount, which is totally okay! 

This may seem like a pain, but this has actually been one of the quickest parts of the paperwork for me. And it ends up being more than worth the five minute phone call, since any discount you get is taken off the $300 you put towards your need. Essentially, you can pay $0 towards your own need if you do the necessary work to get your discounts. You will never be owed money or pay a negative amount towards your own need, but $0 is possible. 

For two of our three needs, we have paid $0 towards our end total because our discounts have been substantial. For this third one, I have chosen to see a cash pay doctor, a second doctor who does not offer discounts, and a naturopath who is cash only. Therefore we will end up paying close to the $300, receiving only small discounts on prescriptions I've had filled and used the app Needy Meds on to receive a discount. 

(Please note that when I wrote this we were on our third need. Since then we have added a fourth need, my daughter's food sensitivities.)

Q: "My concern when looking into it was that we would have tons of expenses that are under the threshold. I think our kids' sick visits are usually right under that. I wasn't sure how I could budget for that. So I guess the question is, do you have lots of expenses under the need threshold? And how do you budget for that?" (Taken from a Facebook question)
A: We do have some. There are multiple ways we could go about this. First of all, the $405 we pay per month is much less than the amount we would be paying with insurance, so we could easily set aside the difference for our doctors appointments, supplements, etc. 

For us, we had money in an HSA when we first joined Samaritan, so we chose to simply use that as our money towards doctors appointments. Every few years we have put one of our extra paychecks towards health needs, and that has been sufficient for us. 

Also when people join because of us and write us down as their referral, we get $180 off our next month's share. We put that $180 towards doctor appointments, supplements, etc.

Q: Any other thoughts on how this has made sense financially? 
A: I cannot say enough how BLESSED we have been through Samaritan. Truly blessed. 

Here's a simple example: My oldest daughter Lilleigh has been dealing with food sensitivities. There is a variety of testing you can do for this, but I kept hearing great things about a specific naturopath who uses the Asyra machine to scan your body for sensitivities (along with anything else that may be going on). I took it upon myself to book an appointment with this naturopath. Lilleigh's appointments to see our naturopath and the supplements she's been prescribed by her are all covered. We do pay the initial $300, but that's it. Insurance would not have covered a naturopath, in my experience. Plus, our deductible was much higher than $300 when we were on insurance, so even if they had covered a naturopath, we would have had to pay $5000 before the insurance kicked in. While this need won't come close to $5000, it is definitely already over $300, and we have few more appointments to go, at least.

A more complex example: I've been very open about my health issues I've had going on. I'm currently being treated for thyroid and adrenal issues. I started by seeing a hormone specialist, who did not accept insurance. He ran many tests, and his office visits were not cheap. A couple months in, I sought a second opinion from the doctor I am currently seeing. This doctor does accept insurance. She ran many more tests and came to a different conclusion. At the same time, I decided to see a naturopath, who I knew could scan my body to confirm what we thought was going on and also to see if there was anything we were missing. Insurance generally does not cover naturopaths. In addition to office visits, this naturopath also prescribed me many supplements to get my body back on track. Every doctor I saw was at least $250 for the initial appointment and not much lower than that for follow-ups. Add in my labs, four months of my crazy amount of supplements, a couple of prescriptions, and we are currently looking at a few thousand dollars of medical bills that Samaritan is covering. Y'all, on insurance, I would have had to pay for two of these medical professionals out of pocket completely. Supplements definitely would not have been covered. My couple of prescriptions would have been discounted. And anything that insurance might have been able to cover, such as my current doctor and those labs, still falls below the threshold. So right now we would be looking at around $3,000 in medical bills to pay from savings, and I have many more appointments and supplements to go. I was unable to receive many discounts since most of these doctors are cash pay anyway, but the prescriptions were discounted by $10 here or $20 there, which means we are paying a little less than $300 for this need. We will be budgeting for supplements beyond the four month mark, and that expectation seems really reasonable to us.

More numbers to offer a big picture perspective: I've mentioned that we have had four needs in a little over two years. These have been a trip to the ER for a severe stomach bug, our miscarriage, my thyroid/adrenal issues, and food sensitivities. We are paying less than $600 for all four. 

Q: Do you worry about something BIG coming up, like one of you getting cancer or some disease that requires a hefty treatment plan?

A: Honestly, no. Part of being in the Save to Share program means any need over $250,000 will be divvied up among those in the Save to Share program. There are cancer cases, of course. That's a big question I get. There are big surgeries and life-threatening illnesses. My family's needs are a blip in what Samaritan sees. They're "easy" needs. I would STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to sign up for Save to Share if you are considering Samaritan. The amount extra that you save is minimal, and that $399 per year is money well spent should you ever need it. 

Q: How have you been blessed by being a member of Samaritan Ministries?

A: Oops I kinda answered this above. But I'll say it again. We are so very grateful for Samaritan. I'm not sure you could ever twist our arms enough to get us to switch back to normal insurance so long as Samaritan is an option. 

Q: What are the drawbacks? 

A: If you have a pre-existing condition, this is not covered. If you have a pre-existing condition that is still requiring a lot of maintenance and treatment, you may want to weigh the cost of something like Samaritan with your current insurance plan. 

Please please send any questions my way! I am here to chat! All I ask is that if you join Samaritan because of this blog post, please do write us, Brendon and Ashleigh Lankford, as your referral. This post has taken forever, so please 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Adeline at 2-1/2!

This girl keeps me on my toes. She also keeps me embraced in her arms for "mommy-only" snuggles! 

She has courage. High slides aren't a problem.

This picture was taken at The Heard wildlife sanctuary and museum. They have large, fierce looking dinosaurs there that roar. Adeline hates them. She's actually been having nightmares about the "monsters from the Heard" lately. That poor girl. And poor mommy and daddy since we are the ones up with her. Yawn.

Yesterday we sang our Joshua 1:9 song, prayed for a peaceful night, and made a "no monsters/ dinosaurs allowed" sign for her door. Last night she slept through the entire night. Praying that lasts!

She still takes good 2-hour naps. Sometimes longer, but usually right around 2. Mommy loves good sleepers.

We love Pei Wei! This weekend I took just Adeline on a date to Pei Wei. So special! We went to the park to swing afterwards. Adeline's favorite thing to do might be to swing.

The girls love their teepee they got for Christmas from Papa Larry! It's been such a fun fort, readingnook, nap time hideout... 

Adeline is also full of energy and will. She is strong-willed, so discipline is something we are having to stay on top of.

I love this precious girl to the moon and back!!

PS I thought I posted this post and the one on Lilleigh awhile ago, but alas they were still in my drafts. Publishing now!