Expecting while expecting…

I feel like Baby B #2 (along with my blog…and my pets…) is already getting a serious shaft in attention. It is no longer a surprise to me that I have a completed baby book as a keepsake, while my middle sister’s is about half done. And the baby sister? Well it has her name and some birth day stats in it…Poor girl…

As I presently near the end of my second trimester, I found myself realizing how well I documented my pregnancy with Charlie and how poorly I have documented this one! So many reasons and excuses could be made. Time, energy, distractions of a toddler…all pretty legit. Truth be told, the entire pregnancy has been very different. I was not by any means expecting them to be the same, after all no two children are the same. Heck I am not even the same person I was a few years ago, life is just entirely different! Change is the only constant, after all.

I make it a point in my life to always be learning. To always be growing. To never settle or remain stagnant. I always have some area of my life that I am working on. Be it relationships, soul searching, faith…you name it, there is always room for growth and development.

My focus and life lesson during my first pregnancy was learning to let go of control, to trust and let God run the show. It was funny how the pregnancy paralleled what I was already working on. But the lesson didn’t stop there, it just evolved right on into one of my present self-development mantras;

Letting go of expectations to free myself to accept things as they are.

The trend of the pregnancy parallel has continued as well…

While this was a planned pregnancy, it just happened SO FAST. I am very blessed in this regard! Once past the initial excitement, my first thoughts honestly drifted to the many women I know who are struggling to conceive. It almost felt unfair. I offered up a lot of prayers for these women, for all women struggling, in the early days.

Then I remember thinking what an amazing big sister Charlie will be. I am pretty sure this progressed to a lovely rose-colored image of 2 children playing joyfully together and leaving me alone in peace for more than 10 consecutive minutes. Rose-colored indeed. Deep down, I know better…

If I have had an ongoing lesson as a mom and wife, it is as mentioned above. EXPECT NOTHING. Expectations really do set the stage for disappointments. I will say this again:

Releasing expectations leaves you free to simply ACCEPT things as they are and deal with things as they come. (Easier said than done, but the intent is there.)

I had several internal struggles for probably the first 16-18 weeks of this pregnancy. I thought my belly grew too fast. (I know my butt grew to fast…) I had such bad nausea and food aversions that all the healthy things I really wanted to eat made me want to vomit. I still can hardly eat eggs. Out of desperation and hunger, I ate an embarrassing amount of rice. (Which is out of character for me and does at least explain the butt growth.) But most of all I struggled with how I thought I should be connecting with my baby. It just came so easily with Charlie, my first baby. I felt her kicks so early and so much of my heart and my mind were always with her. I am not sure I will be able to give the proper words to these feelings, past and present…

I was eager to do so many things that I found helpful the first time. I meditate pretty much every day, I regularly jot down quotes and scripture to potentially help me through labor and delivery, I sing to my belly…yet I would find myself almost straining to feel kicks. And then questioning the ones I thought I felt. I would have these little moments of panic because the baby wasn’t moving as often or as much as I had hoped…all these expectations I was ultimately putting upon my baby, myself and my pregnancy.

Then one day something beautiful happened. And it happened when I wasn’t even trying. I was driving in rare silence and the words of John Lennons song, Beautiful Boy, suddenly popped into my head. At almost the exact same time, I felt a huge whoosh of movement in my hips from my little one.

“Before you go to sleep. Say a little prayer. Every day and every way, it’s getting better and better. Beautiful beautiful beautiful beautiful boy.”

Now I don’t know if baby is actually a boy, so I have since replaced “boy” with “baby” just in case. (But it sure does match my mommy feelings, so we shall see!) But in that moment, I felt like I KNEW my baby. It was just really really powerful and wonderful. All of the nausea, food aversions, restlessness, ligament pains…all of it was suddenly worth it. I am finally feeling freedom from my expectations and am looking forward to what my final trimester will bring.

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Year of Firsts

One of the things that stands out in my mind, after losing my dad 6 years ago, was how hard that first year was after his death. I refer to this in my head as the Year of Firsts. With both the approaching dates of our daughters first birthday, as well as the one year mark for when we lost our nephew, my family has once again found ourselves in a Year of Firsts. How bittersweet it has been. IMG_0235
There is truly nothing harder than that first year after loosing someone so close to you. Holidays especially hold a bit of an emptiness to them, as you find yourself going through the motions with nothing to fill the space where a loved one used to stand. Traditions change, lights remain dark, as we stumble around trying to find our new normal. I ran across this statement today, which sparked the urge to write this:

If we don’t transform our pain we will just transmit it.

How profoundly true, and what a hard truth. Everyone grieves and rejoices differently and needs to be allowed to do so. However, I know I am guilty of passing my junk on to the ones I love most. It has been a learning process but I feel I truly am on a path of learning to be at peace with who I am and where I am at. This is something we can all do and I fear that if we don’t, we are just going to continue transmitting the junk we have to others. This world does not need anymore junk!
We have in turn, been fortunate this year to have had to clear out some junk to make space in our lives for a new person. Charlie has kept me grounded and given me purpose over this past year; a year that has tested my marriage, my friendships and more. I am so grateful for her place in my life! She has filled a hole in my life that I didn’t even know was there. Her big heart and strong personality just flow from her little body.
I am also blessed to be in touch with my faith. To a point that I feel I can rejoice a bit in both my blessings and my sorrows. This is the season, so many years ago, when our Father sent his Son to save us all! To give us someone we could see and touch, to lay our path to heaven; where we we will be able gather as a whole family again. Where all of our lost loved ones are waiting. Where we can celebrate together forever as kings and queens. What a gift this is! The true meaning of Christmas is so often lost in what our society has become.
I invite you all to take a moment, regardless of your religious beliefs, and stop telling yourself that “you will be happy when….” To reflect on the giving you are doing this season. To stop seeking happiness in materialistic things and rejoice in the good that is in front of you. To take joy in your children, your spouse, your family and friends…the loved ones who are still here. For they might not be here tomorrow.
Take a moment to think about what you will want from your deathbed. Are you going to wish you had more time to spend on Facebook? Or maybe watch one more episode of your favorite show? Or are you going to wish you had put down your phone and read your child more stories? Or that you had slowed down and taken the time to hug your spouse? I already wish I had more time with my loved ones and I try to remind myself of this often.IMG_0890
So to all of you out there suffering or rejoicing in a Year of Firsts; May your hearts be open to see through the holiday stress to find peace and happiness in the moments that are right in front of you. To those of you who are specifically suffering a loss; I wish I could tell you that it gets easier. But that is not the right choice of words. I feel more like you just get used to it. You do find and settle into your new normal. And to those of you who are fortunate enough to believe in the wonderful Christmas gift our Father gave to us, then rest assured. You know you will see them again.

 

 

100 Days of Gratitude…30 down!

photo-6Day 19: I am so grateful for the Friday Farmers Market today and the first night off in ages so I could go! Charlie and I braved the heat to stroll the vendors and came home with some great food. Oyster mushrooms and okra filled my plate tonight!

Day 20: I am grateful today just to get to hang out with my family. We don’t get the opportunity to do this as much as I would like and I am just happy to be in a room with the hubby and baby. The hot and cloudy day means we may even have an excuse to do as little as possible. I am grateful for my friend Meghan, who regularly shops for me at Costco and Trader Joes. She just texted me the good news that Costco is carrying avocado oil again. So I guess I am really grateful for avocado oil and a friend who gets me.

Day 21: Grateful for a new dress to wear on this muggy day (thank you again Meghan!). Grateful for family time at church, a picnic, and a birthday dinner for my niece Sayla. Kevin called it an activity filled day 🙂 and I am just really feeling the love for a wonderful weekend with my husband and child! It was so nice to feel connected!

Day 22: Kevin goes back to work today and I am grateful for wonderful babysitters to leave my Charlie with! While I hate being away from my baby, I also love the flutters of excitement I get when I get to pick her up. She is starting to get excited when Kev and I get home after not seeing her for awhile and it just makes my heart leap with joy. Being a mother is simply amazing!

Day 23: Bit of a tough day today. It is amazing how quick we forget things and I had forgotten how hard it is to go a whole day without touching base with my husband. He got home at the end of the day and I was exhausted and on my way to bed. I didn’t want to just rush off to bed and I hate feeling like I have to cram the whole day into a brief conversation. Especially when we have both had heavy things weighing on our minds and hearts. So much going on…too much going on really! I have doubts that humans are meant to handle so much stimulation. So today I am grateful for my faith. Being able to turn to God in these times that cause stress and anxiety makes so much difference in how I handle things.

Day 24: A new day brings a chance for a new attitude and new look at life! Today I am grateful for the gratitude!means to buy tickets to go see my mom for Thanksgiving! It was a relief to get the tickets purchased and now we can focus on the excitement of the upcoming trip. I am also grateful that this is the last day I have to do burpees before the upcoming Burpee Mile event at work! 550 down, 4000 total for the month of August and two glorious rest days…my arms are spent!

Day 25: I am so grateful for my sister-in-law, Lindsey for giving up one of her days off to help watch Charlie! Truly an awesome thing to have family around, but even more awesome when the family is close and there for eachother. I love you sister! (I also feel that the squat rack Steve ordered for the gym deserves an honorable mention. I put it together today and am super excited to use it!)

Day 26: Always grateful for a Friday! I am grateful for an awesome husband who goes out of his way to bring baby to me so I can pump less. I am grateful for a morning with my family before work. I am grateful for being able to come home and have things like ribeye steaks and fresh garden kale for dinner. I am grateful for my friend Meghan and our conversations that I am pretty sure no one else would understand. And finally, I am grateful for the writings of Stephen King. I spent my Friday night in bed at 8:00 with Dr. Sleep.

photo-7Day 27: It’s Burpee Mile Day! And while I am not necessarily grateful for the Burpee Mile, I am grateful for the healthy body that will (hopefully) allow me to do this! As I am writing this before the mile, I will have to update the end results later… I am also super excited and grateful for the trip to see my sister and nephew today too! Celebrating Ethan’s birthday with them will be wonderful. – Update on Burpee Mile (All 4 laps completed, and the only reason I did the 4th lap was because I NEVER want to do this again…My body was CRUSHED for two days!)

Day 28: A wonderful day at the Childrens Museum for Ethans birthday! I so enjoyed the day with my sister and her family. I am grateful for the awesome relationship I have with my sister. She is one of the few people in this world who I feel just “gets” me. Thank you for being you Mally!

Day 29: I am grasping at straws for something today…the end of my SoDak trip was a little rough. I am grateful for my husbands sense of humor today. When I got home he joked that Mallory and I needed to start planning destination get-togethers…We are both inclined to agree! I am also grateful for a wonderful baby who could have made a long drive home even longer, but when she wasn’t sleeping, she was chattering and playing happily. #rockstar

Day 30: So hard coming back to work after a long weekend and always hard to leave the baby! Grateful for a wonderful set of babysitters who watch her in our home. Grateful for homemade mayonnaise, which makes an otherwise boring meal a zesty mouthful of fun. And since we are on food, I am grateful for ground beef. It is versatile, it’s delicious, it fills me up and more importantly, there is still around 20# in my freezer!

100 Days of Gratitude continues…10-18

mayaangelouDay 10: So grateful today for my job. Not only do I love it, but it makes me flexible enough to work from home if I need to and to accomodate crazy babysitting hours! For anyone who is miserable in their job, I too have been there. What did I learn? It is NOT worth it, especially if your health is suffering. There IS something better out there if you are brave enough to never settle and get out and look for it!

Day 11: I am grateful for my friends today! I am also fortunate to be able to call many family members friends. I remember hearing something along the lines that people come in and out of your life for a reason. I feel like I have accumulated a very eclectic collection of friends over the years! I have someone I can call for no reason other than being bored, someone who will listen to me if I just need to vent, someone I can share nerdy nutrition ideas with, friends who keep me grounded, friends I can share my faith with and friends who will best comfort me when I need to cry. I have friends I sometimes won’t talk to for months and when we finally reconnect it was like we were never apart. I believe you should tell people how you feel about them so most of you should know who you are! And I apologize to the ones who fall into more than one of these categories…as I probably call/text you often…

Day 12: My hubby Kevin…today I am feeling grateful for you. As your week long trip to Canada draws to a close, I find myself eagerly anticipating your return. Tomorrow, I plan to hug you so long I may never let go. I don’t know how all of you single moms out there do it! Kev, I appreciate you (and the extra set of hands and feet that you bring to my life) more than I can say right now. I survived the week…barely…and am so grateful that it was a temporary situation! p.s. I am sorry the house is not clean, that I may not be clean and the dogs may need a walk…but the pets are still here, the baby is happy and kicking, well fed and (kind of) clean.

Day 13: I am grateful for so many things today, picking one was hard! I am going with yoga. I love taking and teaching yoga! Today, one of my gratitude 1friends in the class I taught asked me if I get anything out of teaching the class, since she felt like she got so much from it. The answer was yes, to a certain degree! I really feel like yoga inspires love, positive energy, presence and peace and I really can feel it radiating off of a class. While teaching is an entirely different experience that taking a class, I do feel like I get a whole different reward from it! And this morning it was a MUCH NEEDED reward! So thank you to my yoga class this morning, Namaste!

Day 14: Couch day, Netflix binge. Enough said.

Day 15: I am grateful for my garden full of veggies that are paid for and made into delicious dinners! Grateful for the knowledge I have gained about food, and super grateful for the healthy body I have gained from it. I have developed such an appreciation for food and the vibrancy good real food brings. I can’t wait to pass this onto my child!

Day 16: Amidst a stressful day, I found gratitude in spending the morning with Charlie. I am grateful for a noon workout and the fatigue in my arms that followed, as this means I did it properly! I am grateful for a husband that loves to workout, and the chance to do it together today. Things like this make me feel more connected with him! Now, at the end of my long day, I am grateful for a warm bed to sleep in. (even if only for a few hours.)

Day 17vibramsw: VIBRAMS! I love them. I don’t care how much people (my sisters) make fun of me. And nothing beats a new pair, especially my new pair…which I think are super cute…so if I have to wear shoes, it will be Vibrams. That is all. #gratitude

Day 18: I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with Kevin yesterday and honestly, until I was nominated, I was not even sure what ALS was. After the challenge, I was compelled to look into and donate what I could to the research fund. This stuff is some scary stuff! Now I am always pretty leery of the causes I donate my money to, but it seems that ALS is something that affects a fairly small percentage of the population, and I decided that helping to find out more about something that has not gotten a lot of attention is not a bad thing at all. This has all made me reflect on how ever grateful I am for a healthy body!

 

100 Days of Gratitude…the front 9

I was having a discussion with a friend the other day about expressing gratitude. It started because I was frustrated and venting about some stupid things regarding family and she ever so subtly dropped in a question about whether or not I kept a gratitude journal. This is whBuddha-Quotes-Health-is-the-greatest-gift-contentment-the-greatest-wealth-faithfulness-the-best-relationship.y I love her…it was just the reminder I needed about what is really important in life! So I decided to track 100 days of gratitude and share this with you in sets of 5-10 days. Take care of the mind, take care of the heart, take care of the body…health really is a package deal!

Day 1: Today, I have to say I am grateful for the motivation of my 5 a.m. class at work. Kettlebell circuit down, 150 burpees down. In turn, I am grateful for the capability of my body to be able to do these exercises! What a blessing it is, to be fit and healthy. One of the greatest stories my boss tells is about a patient he sees who is confined to a wheelchair and talks about how much she would love to do just one burpee. I WILL NOT WASTE  the incredible gift of a healthy body!

Day 2: Today my patience was tested while trying to manage some things with work, while also having my niece, Emma, and the baby. My first thought was that I was really grateful for coffee, without which I may not have survived my morning. But after I managed to escape to work, (I practically ran out the door) I have found myself wishing I was at home with my family. So today I grateful for the wonderful time with my niece Emma. She has taught me so much in the short time she has been here, she has made me laugh and helped me re-develop a sense of humor about certain bodily funtions. After repeated instances of “crop-dusting” you do eventually have to laugh…

Day 3: I am kind of liking the fact that I have to do this even on stressful days. Keeps my mind working towards the positive and that always feels like a step in the right direction. Today I am grateful for my little sister Mallory, who will rearrange her whole life to be there for her family and the people she loves. We can all learn a thing or two from her, and I am so looking forward to spending the aftegratitude-quotes-attitude-quotes-A-moment-of-gratitude-makes-a-difference-in-your-attitude.rnoon with her!

Day 4: A bittersweet day as I said goodbye to my sweet niece after her week long visit. She was crying, wanting to stay longer and talking about how unfair it is that we don’t live closer. Times like this really make me think about how unfair it really is for families to be so far apart. So today I am grateful for the love I have for my family, for the connection we have even though we are so far apart. I would so much rather feel the pain of saying goodbye than not know the powerful feeling of a love that makes you miss someone enough to cry when they leave.

Day 5: Today I am grateful that it is Friday. This day seems to put nearly everyone in a better mood, which in turn makes the gym members happier. The tone of the whole day is changed by the mere fact that the end of the workweek is here. A testimony to the power of mindset. I love that I can say this even though I have to work for a bit tomorrow, so I guess I am also grateful for a job I love!

Day 6: I got to spend the WHOLE DAY with my little Charlie! We went to work for a few hours, stopped at the mall, went for a walk and she watched me clean the house. 🙂 I am so grateful to be a mommy!

Day 7: Grateful for a lazy Sunday, Netflix and the ability to just shut down and enjoy snuggling my baby on the couch. Un-productivity has never felt so good!

Day 8: Hit the ground with both feet running today and have spent most of the morning yelling at the dogs and making a bijillion work phone calls. Grateful that I can do most of this work from home where can still here the chatter of my baby, where I can stop and pet my fur babies and where the coffee is already paid for.

Day 9: I have been thinking too much this morning. Specifically about, no matter how bad we think we havegratitude-quotes-1 it, or how bad our day is, there are just so many people out there who are worse off. Kids who have to go to school on an empty stomach, people in other countries who live in unsanitary conditions, people in abusive relationships, people loosing loved ones, people who will live their entire lives feeling sorry for themselves and thinking the world owes them something, people who will never know what it feels like to wake up in the morning feeling good; good about themselves or in good health…Today I am grateful for so many things! The roof over my head, the ability to forgive myself for past mistakes and to learn from them, the freezer full of food to feed my family, a happy healthy baby, a loving husband, a close-knit family, and the grace of the God it has all come from.

Until next time readers, please take care of your body, your mind and your heart!