Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Loss

I had a miscarriage in November at 11 weeks. This post is long, complicated, heartbreaking, weird, funny, and real.

This post covers many things, but what I really want from this is that it helps SOMEBODY. If one person learns something or feels less alone, it’s worth it.

Anyone who knows me knows I am an open book, an over-sharer, a chatterbox. So when I had a miscarriage in November, I was all of a sudden silent. Not because I was ashamed, but because I wasn’t really sure what to say. So, after a few months, I’ve gathered my thoughts, and I’m ready to share.

I got pregnant in August and we were super excited. I would be due at the end of May/beginning of June.

The first appointment I was supposed to be 8 weeks, but they told me that I was 6 weeks 5 days. I asked why, and they ensured me that my dates were probably off and it’s no big deal. That was extremely disheartening because I had been sick all day and all night, and now that end of trimester hump was even further away.

Now, this was my first curious moment, because, my dates weren’t off.  But, I pushed that aside because I mean, I don’t really know how all of the dating TRULY works…

When I was 8 weeks pregnant with Lucas, my sister in law had a miscarriage at around 20 weeks. Rocked everyone’s world. You hear it happen, but when it happens to your family, it’s just too real.
She went on to have a happy healthy baby later on, but a miscarriage that close to home, just changes every moment of your pregnancy. So for all of Lucas’s pregnancy I worried all the time. 

 This pregnancy I was determined to try to be more positive.

Something still felt wrong, but again, last time I second guessed everything for no reason.
I was super nauseous for about 5 weeks. All day, all night. Super tired. So much so that I told Justin, “This is the last time. I seriously can’t do this again.”

Funny, how life doesn’t care.

Weeks past, and around 9/10 weeks it got better. I felt better.

Then I got worried. Shouldn’t I still feel sick? Of course the pregnancy boards, assured me that that was about the time it got better for some. But….there was that one post about how sometimes that means it’s a missed miscarriage.

Missed miscarriages are especially scary because there are no signs. You just show up to your appointment, and bang, no heartbeat.

It’s one of the many, worst fears.

Of course, I’m rational, I play the odds, ….I’m just being paranoid.

Probably.

We were going to announce the pregnancy at my son’s 2nd birthday party to all of my family and friends. But first, the 11 week appointment.  I mean, I hadn’t seen the doctor since the last appointment 4 weeks ago, so…it’s always scary.

Right before I went to the appointment, I text my 6th grade team, “Wish me luck, this is the scary one.”

Again, I wasn’t THAT worried. I didn’t ask my husband to come. These appointments are usually boring.

I was only 11 weeks so it’s hard to find a heartbeat on the Doppler, and my doctor told me that before we started.  She didn’t find it.  She assured me that it’s really ok, and we would just do an ultrasound to be sure.

While I waited for the ultrasound to get set up, I did my blood work genetic testing. It’s blood work that can be done after 10 weeks, that tells if the baby has chromosomal abnormalities, but it also tells the gender. So now, I’m sitting there. Nervous. Doing blood work. I hear the nurses talking, I’m trying not to think. At all. Just don’t think. Look forward. I didn’t pray. I didn’t hope. I didn’t think. Because I knew that nothing was going to change what was going to happen….and it will probably be fine.

Probably.

I went back to the ultrasound tech. She started and I didn’t look. I didn’t hear anything, but I didn’t want to think. With each passing second the doom grew.

Then, she got up real fast and said she’d be right back.

I knew what that meant, but I couldn’t look.

She came back in and kept working. She asked, “How far along are you?” That’s present tense, ok, that’s good right? I said, “Shouldn’t we hear a heartbeat?” She just said, “They will talk to you about that later.”

Shit.

I looked.

I wish I didn’t. There was a baby there. He was big. But he wasn’t bouncing around and wiggling like Lucas was. He was still. His back facing me.

I looked away. I was silent.

This is really happening.

How does this happen?

I didn’t cry. I just sat there. I waited for the doctor to come in, which what seemed like forever waiting in silence. She came in and confirmed. She said some other stuff, I’m not really sure. I was only half listening. She said that the baby was measuring 10w5days so it had happened the day before….or today.

That was the worst thing I could hear. 

This wasn’t something that happened weeks ago. This happened…today? Yesterday? What did I do?
As I was trying to figure that out, she asked me whether I wanted to take the pill and pass it at home, or have a D&C. I didn’t know, I didn’t make a decision.

I went home, and just went through the day, silent. Saying as little as was needed. I of course told my husband, but we didn’t talk much about it. He knew if I wasn’t talking, I didn’t want to talk.
I knew the more I said, the easier it would be to cry.

I ended up sleeping with my son that night. I knew how this was going to go. I remember waking up like an hour after going to sleep, and my brain turned on. I started thinking and feeling, and it was horrible.

Why would the baby die at 11 weeks? If there was something wrong, shouldn’t it have happened earlier? What did I do that day? I keep my computer on my lap? Did it get too hot? I didn’t eat lunch that day because I was too busy. Was that it? Did I drink too much caffeine?

It was this heart wrenching pain that I really can’t describe, other than the feeling you would feel if …you killed your own child.

 Because in that moment, that’s exactly what I believed. The woman is solely in charge of the baby’s life for 9 months, so what did I do wrong? That love and beautiful child I have in Lucas, was squashed out. This baby didn’t get that, and that was my fault.

I knew it was not rational, but no one is going to tell you it was your fault, even if it was.
I just can’t explain the utter pain I felt, as I sobbed with the realization of the day. When you hear in history books about beating their chest in agony, that’s what I felt like. I wanted to rip my heart out of my chest because I couldn’t breathe it hurt so much.

Agony.

I just laid in the dark and sobbed…in silence.

In the middle of my hours of sobbing, something, told me to go downstairs and google it. I mean honestly, I really felt like something told me to do that. I walked downstairs robotically and before I knew it, I had come across a post from the UK, that was 4 years old: “I was supposed to be 8 weeks but I was 6 weeks 5 days.”

No joke. Just like me.

Every stranger, at least 8 women had commented, that their pregnancies had ended around 10-12 weeks.

What? Now, there was no explanation why, this happened to us but somehow I felt….less pain.
Maybe I didn’t cause this.

I’m not alone in this pain. Why would the dates being off, have a similar occurrence to a missed miscarriage around 10-12 weeks.

I had to go to work the next day, and thankfully I had plenty of my female friends to talk to. I unloaded on the car ride to work with my friend, and trapped myself in another’s office, to unload all of my medical questions.

My friends helped me heal. Almost all of them had a previous miscarriage. I definitely was not alone. Talking helped me heal. Reading helped me heal. Moving forward helped me heal.
Also, a thank you to my very long time friend who chatted with me on facebook messenger. You know who you are. Our similar stories were so helpful to helping the pain heal.

I went on to have a D&C surgery after a ton of advice from my friends, and I am glad I did. It was easy and as “painless” emotionally as possible.

There are a few things I want you to remember about your friends or family who have miscarriages. There is a lot of things after that are just insult to injury.  Not only did you lose your child…. You get to watch everyone around you have a great pregnancy, you get slapped with huge medical bills, you have weight gain that reminds you, it was all for nothing. Life goes on and you are expected to as well. It’s hard. So I don’t know what everyone needs, but just remember, regardless of how far along they are, how detached they seemed, it’s hard.

Now, I am going to give you my little slice of funny, but if you think you heard the whole story, you aren’t even close. (I told you this was long.)

The day before my D&C, I went upstairs to my room alone, because my husband’s smart enough to know, if I look sad, don’t follow me. I spoke to my baby. I told him I loved him, and I was sorry. That I was going to move on, but that didn’t mean I didn’t love him and miss him, and wish he was here.

Because tomorrow, he wouldn’t be inside me anymore, and that was hard. I told him I honestly didn’t know where his body was going to go, and I’m sorry, but I knew where his spirit was.
 I cried, and I talked, and I asked my family to watch over him. It was my time with him that was both tragic and loving.

 I went downstairs.

I put something in the laundry, and walked into the kitchen.
I stood in the middle of the kitchen, and then all of a sudden a bag hotdog buns flew off the counter onto the floor.

I mean, flew.

OFF THE COUNTER. 3 feet from the counter, on to the floor.

I just stood there. I laughed.

I can’t explain that. The thought that crossed my mind was…

The baby died on my uncle’s birthday and my great-grandparent’s anniversary. Both of whom, are no longer with us.

My uncle who was quite the character. I imagine him like most men, don’t know how to handle a woman when they are upset, slapped it off the counter, as his funny way of saying, “We are here for you.”

Again, it didn’t slip off the counter. There were 4 sets of buns, one flew off. Haha. If you follow my ghost stories, this probably isn’t surprising, and also rather fitting for my journey.

Anyways, I’m not done yet. About 2 weeks later, my doctor called with the results of the genetic blood test. This would have been the day I find out what the gender of my baby was. I didn’t expect what came first.

“The bloodwork came back positive for Trisomy 18.”

“Oh, ok.” I of course didn’t know what to say, but she asked me if I knew what that was, and I said I did. Some other things were said, but I don’t remember.

She then asked if I wanted to know what the gender was. (If you have been listening to my pronouns, I am sure you figured it out.)

It was a boy.

Honestly, that conversation changed everything. What was once horrible timing by God, became perfect timing. What once was the dream and heartbreak of this happy healthy baby, went up in smoke. And thankfully that thought that I in fact caused this, disappeared.

Because this pregnancy wasn’t going to have a happy ending.

Trisomy 18 is a fatal disease.

Most will die in miscarriage.

More likely in the 2nd and 3rd trimester.

Stillbirth is common.

Those that are born alive will most likely die within days of birth. It is extremely rare for a baby with Trisomy 18 to live past 1 years old, and of course if they do, severe challenges are ahead. Boys, even, have a higher mortality rate.

I had the missed miscarriage at my 11 week appointment. I wouldn’t have gone back until 15 weeks. The baby died the day before the appointment. If he had died 1 day after, I would have gotten the phone call…not knowing anything was wrong, that my baby had Trisomy 18, and now I get to wait for him to die.

I would have been told, even though my baby wasn’t dead yet, that he was going to die.
Now, to me, that helped. It didn’t change my love for him, but it helped me understand that there was nothing I could have done…and again, the timing was perfect. I miscarried, like normal, and had time to process before I got the news.

Getting that news AFTER a miscarriage, really isn’t devastating. The damage was already done.
Supposedly, it’s just a random cell error. Bad luck, probably.

Probably.

Most people just chalk it up to a normal miscarriage and never have testing done.
So all of sudden that anger of why me? And the anger of why even let this happen if it wasn’t going to work out, became: thank you.

Pain was going to be inevitable on this journey, but I was spared more by timing. Also, I’m glad this happened, now. He got assigned to us as parents. He gets to be a part of our family. I don’t wish this never happened because he deserved to happen. He got to skip the pain and go straight to the place without pain, for that I am thankful.

I’m almost done I swear.

But this is important.

Life is not black and white. There is an in between. I mean this sincerely, but if you didn’t know what trisomy 18 was, or what anencephaly is, maybe, just maybe, you aren’t informed enough about reproductive issues to be making laws…or even opinions on the matter? For the record, I don’t think a woman should be able to have an abortion just because she doesn’t feel like having a child. But things are complicated in life. Rare things happen. Laws forget about the rare things, because they are rare. But someone is on the other side.

I would have continued the pregnancy until the end, whatever the result may be. But I am telling you right now, I feel like I am a strong person, and I am not sure I would be able to handle the onslaught of delivering a baby and watching it die. I would never be the same. In this circumstance, you don’t get to pick if your baby lives or dies, it’s going to die. I would have faced it. Is it my call that a 15 year old should have to face that with trisomy 18? Is it my decision to tell a 40 year old woman, that she doesn’t have a lot of time left, but she’s going to have to continue this pregnancy deliver the baby in 9 months, and then she can start over, in a year after she watches this baby die??

I’m just trying to say…. Things are complicated. When laws start trickling down, other things get thrown in, and people forget that RARE still happens. I’m glad I had a choice between passing it at home and having to dispose of the body on my own and having a D&C at the hospital. I don’t want to call myself pro-life or pro-choice because I don’t think I know enough about the repercussions of being either.

So, maybe it’s ok to not know what should and shouldn’t happen to someone else. To just say, I’m not sure on the matter.

So, all I know is: I’m sorry life is complicated.

I’m sorry to:
My friends who struggle with infertility and had to make a new family plan.
My friends who have had miscarriages at 6 weeks, and my friends who have had miscarriages at 20+ weeks.
My friends who have had multiple miscarriages.
My friends who have PCOS and endometriosis.
My friends who are still trying, but not conceiving.
My friend who had cancer, and is adopting.
My friends who have tried IFV and it didn’t work.
My friends who want to have children, but they don’t have a husband.
My friends who have lost a child.

I’m so sorry. I’m sorry life is complicated, that life isn’t black and white. But, you aren’t alone. I am here for you. I love you.

We can’t control the world. We don’t know everything, so just love each other, and remember even though someone may be silent, it doesn’t mean they don’t feel pain.
Also, for everyone who suffers, and gets back up to keep living. You my friend, are a badass.

*For all my friends who brought me dinner, when I said I didn’t need it, who listened and shared their story, who texted me, when I said not to, who hugged me, when they weren’t sure….thank you.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

1 Month of Saving and Purging


Well a month has come and gone and here were some things we have learned about “Minimalism”. We saved 1,300, made some extra cash, and donated truck loads full.

People always ask, “How do you save that much?”

Well simple answer:  by cutting $5 for coffee, and $12 for lunch, and all of those under 10 dollar purchases. We tried to eat out only on Saturday, and used gift cards for Friday. We also sold the random clutter we don’t use on garage sale sites and websites like decluttr.
Decluttr -we sold all of our games and DVD’s for $50. You type in the barcode and they send you a prepaid shipping label. P.S. No one buys DVD’s anymore and Gamestop won’t give you much for old games anyways.
We paid our bills and ate. Oh and if my cable bill gets too high, I switch or get a promotion. I will never pay over $170 for internet and cable combined. Don’t let them railroad you. That was it. Little things month to month, make big things.
We used this to determine how much was possible to save in a month. I just changed categories to “diapers” “dog food” etc. https://www.spreadsheet123.com/ExcelTemplates/monthly-budget-planner.html

My complicated answer. We didn’t over spend in the first place. It’s a complicated statement, but Pete the Planner says that if your household is working and you are still paycheck to paycheck without room for any savings, you can’t afford your lifestyle. We didn’t buy our house at the highest loan we could get. We have mediocre normal vehicles. Every tax season and bonus.. we put it in savings. We “Normally” don’t have credit card debt because we use our savings. So that, helps with HOW. There is room for it. BUT, there is always room when you spend money on trivial things. Maybe your savings is less, but if its $50, that’s $50 more than you had, and it will accrue. It’s $50 you can save and spend on something you VALUE. I VALUE my dog. Do I wish I could go to Hawaii instead of pay vet bills? Yes. Life doesn’t care about your plans. So plan ahead. Outsmart life…. Then tell me how you did it, because I currently have no idea.

Here is my biggest spending and savings in one: FOOD.
I think food costs helped us save as well. I spent $200 on 22 dinners and 15 days worth of breakfast and lunch. I spent another $100 on lunches and varies things the second half of the month. I prep them all on the first of the month in order to make sure we don’t veer from the path. Dinners included: Beef stew, zucchini boats (aka cucumber boats), 2 chicken and mushroom dinners, shrimp enchiladas, tacos, brats and broccoli mac and cheese, 3 veggie spaghetti and turkey meat sauce, chicken parmigiana, roast beef and green bean casserole, lasagna, 2 crab cakes and veggies, chili, and Mexican bake.
We used lunches as left overs, also I take 1 chicken breast with buffalo sauce and ranch seasoning in a crockpot for a week of lunches for my husband.  (I just eat special K meal bars or tuna salad for lunch).

Lessons learned:
1.       We have WAY too many things
How did it happen? Why do we buy things, that we don’t need. How many things do you buy to make things more convenient only, to never really use it?
2.       Electronics are a scam.
Xbox, XBOX 1, there will be an Xbox Abyss soon I’m sure. Where all those games you paid for will be worthless, and the only fun can be found in the new, best version of a new game system.
3.       Also DVDS? Just get rid of them.
I have Netflix and Amazon Prime. I’m never watching them again. We sold all of our old games and DVDs on Decluttr. You don’t make a lot, but be real, they are worthless.
4.       Clothes aren’t made to last (fashion wise).
I got rid of 3 trash bags full of clothes then went up and found more, and when I thought there were nothing left to purge, I made myself get rid of another trash bag. That is 5 this month and 9 trash bags this year. THAT IS CRAZY. It actually helps me dress better because I’m using quality basics, not getting overwhelmed by choices.
5.       I’m cleaning less.
I didn’t pitch my son’s 1.5 million toys. I simple put them into bags, and I am rotating. Instead of having all his big toys downstairs, which I had to pick up daily…I just left a few downstairs, and when he gets bored we swap out another group, and bring those upstairs. The clutter downstairs has decreased and I am already less stressed.
6.       There is still a long way to go. 
The garage. The closet. The pantry. The others we haven’t let go of yet.
7.       We can be a family.
We can eat at the dinner table because its not full of things. We have family night during the week and do something cheap or free, because I mean….you can only watch so much TV.



Life is complicated. We don't have to make it MORE complicated by having too many things to take care of.

I love looking back at family photos and seeing how happy people were with less.  More people, less things.




My next monthly challenge:
1.       Minimal Meals is brought to me by a Frugal facebook group. She challenges you to only eat from what you have in your pantry. Now, I am not going that intense, but I reorganized my freezer and with about $10 worth of more supplies I will have 9 more meals that I can make from things in my freezer and pantry. Nine dinners, essentially for $10. WIN.
2.       No Spend Again
Well my dog likes to cost ungodly amounts of money so we are continuing our no spend month to Feb. We stick to free things like library movie night, using old gift cards, visiting family and friends with wine night, and using our memberships when we are bored. (First Thursday of the month 4pm-on, the IMA is free. Cool date night.)
3.       Vacation Freeze.
This was my hardest. We were about to schedule our Spring Break for St. Louis, but vet bills decided otherwise. I am excited to do an extreme savings Spring Break in Indiana that is still fun for everyone. I already got a Groupon for an indoor waterpark in French Lick for $30 for all 3 of us and another local hit for $6! I like a challenge, and this will be a fun challenge yet we will still have a great time.
**Did you know you could install the app HONEY on your chrome browser and it will give you discount codes at any checkout? Well it works.


What is your monthly challenge? Good luck!








Friday, December 30, 2016

Are You Ready for Less?

Well you can lump this in to another New Year’s Resolution, but this is more of a lifestyle change. Why do we have resolutions? We want change. Change in our world, in our life, in our diet, etc.

Let us discuss my 3 month resolution/challenge: minimalism.

Ok, wait, don’t leave.

I’m not selling my house and living in a tiny house and becoming vegan.

I’m just challenging myself to live with less, consume less, and live more. That doesn’t sound so hard right?

As Christmas season draws to an end, it is clear that we consume way too much and call it happiness. I get it. I love to shop. I love to shop FOR people. But, what is the cost of every decision we unconsciously make?

Lets take a different direction. What do you want in life? If you could have anything you want, what would it be?

Think for a second.

Things will run across your mind like, “healthy family” “more vacations” “more money” “a maid” “Xbox One” etc etc.

Now, let’s go ask someone in their 90’s or 80’s if they could have anything they wanted, what would they want?

It won’t be an xbox or more money or material goods. They would want things that we take for granted, time, health, and family.  In fact, when you ask your grandparents what they want for Christmas, is it a long list of material goods? Probably not. Was that your list? Or are you so SICK of THINGS, that you couldn’t think of anything? If you were either, good news.

You are ready for the minimalist challenge.

I recently came across a job opportunity which in all aspects seemed wonderful, but my heart wasn’t invested, and the only thing drawing me towards it was “money”. We take job opportunities for money and call it love. We spend money and call it love. We make more money, then buy more things, and still never have enough….money.

In my quest to understand why I said no, I’ve been learning about what I truly want. (My boss who is wonderful, said that indeed, you will learn more about yourself just by entertaining the thoughts of yes or no.)

Let’s see if you want to take the minimalist challenge for 3 months with me: Do you identify with any of these quotes?



1.  For the longest time, I thought I needed to be more organized. Now I know I just needed less stuff.
2.   Stop trying to impress others with the things you own. Begin inspiring them by the way that you live.
3.   You might get 85 years on this planet- don’t spend 65 paying off a lifestyle you can’t afford.
4.   Kids don’t remember their best day of television.
5.   The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.


Number 5, was my calling. Mindless spending does have a cost. When I say, I could never afford a European vacation now that I have a kid, I’m lying to myself because it’s easier. I COULD afford it. Other things would have to make a sacrifice.

I’ve always been a frugal person, never cared much for new brands. I’ve never owned a coach purse or shopped at high end stores. But I still consume so much that I don’t need. Clothes go out of style within months. Electronics are useless within years. We haven’t been consumed by a materialistic society; we have consumed the materialistic society.

My husband’s cousin Chris dropped his corporate job and traveled the world. Now he has created his own business. Here is an excerpt from his blog: 

“Locked into my job as a commodity trader, I had reached a point in my life where the only objective was putting more money in the bank. Sitting in front of 8 computer screens for 10 hours a day wasn’t doing much for my soul, and the prospects for adventure were limited to checking out a new bar or a 3 day ski trip to Colorado. The Chicago winter had kept me from seeing sunshine on a weekday for the past 4 months.

Something had to change.

That something was me.”

Are you convinced yet that you need LESS things and MORE life experiences?




Are you up for the challenge? Post a pic of your purge and tag me! Come back soon for February’s challenge.

Remember he who buys what he doesn’t need, steals from himself.-Sweedish Proverb

*If you want to learn more, there is a documentary on Netflix: minimalism.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Be Not Afraid

I think we all suffer from acute blindness at times. Life is a constant journey of trying to open your eyes. I'm just beginning my journey, and my eyes aren't fully open yet.

Some things can't be explained. Maybe "explained, but not fully understood. Every life change comes on the heels of tons of advice, predictions, assumptions, and hopefulness. Having a kid is no different. No one can ever explain the magnitude of parenthood. Much like no one can explain the pain of a shark bite until you've felt it. It's like trying to explain an ocean to a blind person, they may grasp the idea, but they won't truly see it, until they see it. 

You are blind before you are a parent. Just like you are blind before go to college, work your first job, love for the first time etc. Words just can't describe. 

So for those adults out there who are terrified of having kids, terrified of losing: freedom, yourself, your money, your fun, your control, your lifestyle, your sleep... Your everything... It's ok. I was terrified too. 

And I did lose all of those things to an extent. 

Don't feel rushed. Live your young life. The young adult life has different lengths for everyone. But even though the thought of losing all of those things is terrifying, it is beautiful. 

New journeys are beautiful. 

Saying goodbye is hard, but saying hello is better. 

"Old Ann" as we call her isn't dead... She's just more tame. 

It's instead of whiskey and coke.... It's coke with some whiskey. That's ok though. There will most likely be a point in your life when you'll be ready to make the switch. Some people's whiskey bottles are bigger than others. 

But regardless of our drink choices, regardless of what you fear, no one can explain the magnitude of parenthood to you. So just get there when you get there. (Having an amazing best friend to go the adventure with, really helps)

Every summer before I had a kid, I kept trying to embrace every single free moment. I would revel in eating outside free of responsibility, I would travel just to travel. I would do whatever I wanted when I wanted. 

The do whatever you want WHEN you want dies but you can still do what you want. 

This summer with Lucas was the best summer of my life.  Not lying. Side note, my kid doesn't chill. He's always on the go and he has since day one. There is no rest for me. But isn't that what I wanted? A life full and a life of experiences. Sure I miss binge watching Netflix... But do I really? Is that life?

For you out there that love life and freedom, imagine taking your best friend to all the places you love. That's parenthood. This summer starting in May I did something every day until August. I never stayed home all day. He wouldn't allow it anyways. 

I made a baby bucket list. I took him everywhere I loved. It was the best summer ever. We went to every park i could find and explored new paths. We went to almost every museum I could think of. We went to Tennesee and did everything I loved as a child. 

He's his most calm and happy when we are out. Exhausting, but amazing. 

I have someone to show the world to. I'm the tour guide for life. What better adventure?

Yes I lost. But what I gained, just can't be described. 

Fun has a new meaning. 
Adventure looks different. 
3 am looks a lot different too. 
But love...

Man, I was blind before. 

So fear not wild adventurer .. You largest climb and most amazing view are right around the bend. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Miles to go Before I Sleep

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep." -Robert Frost

See Robert Frost knew a little thing about parenthood. Parenthood is lovely, dark, and deep. To say it is only lovely is wrong, and to say it is only dark is wrong. Parenthood is made up of so many things that people forget to mention. That they can't say out loud.

I'm a realist tried and true. Parenthood isn't what you see on facebook posts of "LOVE, SLEEP, and CUDDLES." Well it is, but its also a lot of other things too.

I like to call these, the "shitty" things. Don't get me wrong, when I had him in my arms and we were a family of 3, it literally was the happiest day of my life. BUT you know how we survived the first 8 weeks? Not cuddling... Not gazing into baby eyes... Not kisses on the head.

Sarcasm.

Being real.

Hell, you can't cuddle with a baby who doesn't sleep. Well you can try, but it looks like you are trying to restrain a mental patient.

Now before you get your panties in a bunch, this following list is supposed to be funny. But it's also REAL. I wrote this because I think it's important for people to see someone struggle, to have a hard time, to not make it easy. BECAUSE THAT'S REAL. Maybe it was colic, or his reflux, or we didn't know what we were doing, but it was hard. So if a new mom is out there feeling like they are doing something wrong because it's not going as you planned. Revel in our sarcasm.

I hope when Lucas grows up he doesn't feel like he needs to put on a show to make his life look perfect. God knows we don't. If it's any kind of show, its a shit show, haha.

So, here's a list of things Justin and I have said in the first 8 weeks of life. If you can't laugh about it, you'll cry... and no one likes crying. 

Try to guess which one I said and which one he said. (Hint: he's the dramatic one.) 

We aren't doing this again.

How do people use cloth diapers? This kid pisses 50 times a day.

You don't know skill until you pee while holding a sleeping baby.

I bottle feed my baby breastmilk. Just because he doesn't suck on my tit doesn't mean he won't love me.

Did you wear that yesterday?  - Yes, and the day before.

Your kid sleeps through the night at 4 weeks? Really? REALLY?!

Omg it's everywhere! I'm going to throw up.

Oh, OH, he's peeing!
He peed on the pointsettas.
He peed in his hair.
He peed on his back.
He peed on Heather.
He threw up in his eyes.
He threw up, but Boston got it.
He threw up down Kelly's shirt.
He thew up on his polo.

10 diapers a day? Lies.

They want me to cut out diary and caffeine. So... what is left? 

Omg, he's shitting. RIGHT NOW!

He threw up on all of my Michigan shirts.

What's that smell? 

Did you ever let Boston inside?

Do people REALLY like the newborn phase?

Do I need to wipe that off?

There's poop on your arm.

It's your turn.

Um, aren't you going to change? - No, he'll throw up on me again soon.

It'll get better? When? When he's 20?

Boston ate his mittens.

He seriously just punched me in the face.

YOU wanted this.

Here you drive, and I'll eat. Then I'll drive and you can eat.

He shit so loud I almost dropped him.

The pediatrician said he was dramatic.

Oh God, he's awake.

I know some people love every second, and that is great. I think it's really based on your personality and your baby. I love HIM every second. I do not love having vomit go down my shirt. Call me crazy. If you are sitting there thinking how horrible I am for writing this, go move to planet perfect. (Hey, I told you not to read it.)

All those people that said "It'll get better." I wanted to punch, but hey, they were right. Granted he was never the "all they do is sleep" baby. BUT he sleeps like a 5-6 hour stretch at night and is much easier to figure out now. 

Don't worry, he won't sleep now, because I wrote this.

Back to the Robert Frost poem, "But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep."
During labor (don't ask, long story), I faced the dark and I made a promise. If I could just have a healthy baby, I would do anything to raise him to be a great man that made a positive impact on the world. So.. even if I have miles to go before I sleep, its ok, because I have promises to keep.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dear Justin

I decided to write a letter to my husband, and post it publicly. Some may say, this should be something private, not public, but I disagree.

As a teacher, when you see a student who constantly is doing good work and working hard with little to no encouragement, you want to reward them. How? Publicly display their hard work for everyone to see: for others to take example from, for other to recognize, for other to understand and appreciate.

Justin deserves public recognition. He has been awesome throughout this pregnancy, and he deserves praise.

Ok, so if you know me, you know I'm not the mushiest of people. If you're a strong person in my life, I don't feel that I need to reassure you that you are strong, because you don't need it. (At least that's what I think.) But sometimes, it's nice for a non-mushy person, to be mushy every once in a while.\

Justin, this is as mushy as you are going to get.
 


Dear Justin.

First, let's start by saying, yes you did shut the garage door today. Second, I wanted to write you this letter, because let's be real if I said this out loud.. it would just be weird for both of us. We would end up making some sort of joke about it and then say something sarcastic, and I'll probably do that anyways. But, thank you. Thank you for being amazing during this pregnancy.

I don't really complain (which you like about me) so everyone would assume I am having an easy pregnancy and I am. As much as medically it has been easy, there is another part that is key to my current state of happiness and ease, and that's you.

I read those pregnancy blogs, and let's be real. Some men are dicks. Some ladies are crazy too, but I am thankful you aren't a dick. (I mean sometimes you really ARE, but not deep down!) I haven't worried about anything during this pregnancy. You caused no drama. You are always helpful. You are always supportive, and you give.me.space.

I'm an independent person, and I really don't like to be taken care of. This whole pregnancy thing was new to me, and I didn't really know how to take it. So when I didn't want to talk about how I felt and looked disgusting, you let me be. When I was worried, but didn't want to talk, you let me be. But leaving me be was only part of it. What you also did was tell me that I looked pretty. You told me all the time that I really do look good. You complimented me on my outfits and my hair whenever you could. I never thanked you. I probably said, "Oh my God, I look disgusting" or "Whatever".

I'm really not an insecure person, but I am a female. Growing into a new body isn't easy. I know the looks on people's faces when they lie to you or when they avoid the topic of how you look because your pregnant. You sir, have no poker face. I can always tell when you are lying. Yet, probably the nicest thing you've done, is when you tell me I look pretty and I can tell that you aren't lying. It might seem shallow to other people, but I don't ask for a lot of encouragement, and sometimes I don't ask for it when I need it, but you have been giving it to me whether I ask for it or not. Thank you.
 

Let's also talk about how awesome you are as a person, provider, and future father. I couldn't have picked a guy who is more excited about having a kid. You've wanted this since the day I met you. We may have disagreed on how to live our young adult lives, but I KNEW that if I wanted an amazing father for my children, you would be it. I don't have to take care of you. You are a grown ass man, and I love that about you. You go to work and bust your ass, and you are driven to be a success for your family. You don't ask for hand outs. You want something, you make it happen. You are always there for your family regardless of the circumstances. You take on other people's burdens so that you can help them. You are a real man.

You don't complain about baby shopping.  You like to organize his room. You help me if I need it. You let me do some of the things on my own, but you are still involved. You actively participate, without smothering. Thank you.
 
What you display is what a child needs in his life: stability, hard working parents, participation, joy, and real, true, love.

So thank you for making this pregnancy journey so easy. We would both agree that we are the happiest we've ever been together. I know new times are on the horizon, but I wouldn't want anyone else on the journey with me. Now don't let this all go to your head... These last 8 months have been awesome because I am a badass... but so are you.

Love you forever,
Ann

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Nursery

Being a teacher has taught me, that when it comes to children, everything has a purpose. They are sponges. They hear what you say when you aren't talking to them, they see how you react, and they soak in the environment whether they mean to or not.

When it came to the nursery, I had a plan. My nursery and decor were going to show what I valued in life and my hopes for my child.

"It's just a room. It doesn't matter. They won't remember it anyways."

Part of that is true. The other part isn't true for me. I'm setting a standard for my life and my kid's life... starting with his room. The message?

If you are going to put effort into something, make it meaningful. I want the nursery to look good, just like I like to look good,  but if all I have and all the nursery has is looks... isn't that time wasted? I want it to look good AND mean something. Looking good alone, is hollow. I'm going for deep.

Ok let's not get too deep Ann, damn it's just a room, haha.

So let's get to the good stuff.

My theme: Vintage World Explorer

When I told most people (including my husband), they didn't understand. They gave me that look like, "for a baby?" Also, its hard to picture. I am a big picture thinker..I knew they'd come around, they just had to see it.

Vintage: History. The past can be much more beautiful than the present. Value what may not be rich monetarily, but rich in story and depth. 

World: I like the world we live in. I do think it's a beautiful place. Diversity is great, and while the world has its flaws, you live in it. You better look for the good, or get ready for misery.

Explorer: See the world. Go out on a limb.  Fail, get lost, laugh, learn, and try again. What is more sad than having the world at your fingertips and never living? Never exploring? Being afraid to go somewhere new? Don't be afraid. Go out and have fun.



This is my overview. The wall decal above the fridge was soooo fun. No, it wasn't but I did it alone and bought it from amazon. The globe always started as my inspiration and my friend Chelsea and I love antiquing. She saw one in Noblesville so I picked it up. The suitcases were from my shower. My sister found them and they were super cute!! Now my favorite, the upper left picture. The letters are his name with map paper modge podged on by again, my lovely sister. The camera is a piggy bank and the plane is from DC. I made the wood map from my grandpa's fence. We packed up his house this summer and I wanted to do something with it. He was always making me wood projects in his spare time.. so I passed on something from him to Lucas. 









The shelves hold a ship from my grandpa's house, a fan from China, a bull from Mexico, and the turtle is from AL. We took tons of vacations there. The flag is my grandfathers. He was very patriotic, as am I.  Also, you can't see it but there's a chip of wood from Bloomington on Justin and my first camping trip. I love the quote art! Thanks to Alli Rodebeck for the design! I told her to start an etsy store. The quotes are what I want the theme to represent. 

"Not all that wander are lost" In my opinion, it's not about how fast you got there, it's about how much fun you had on the journey. Plenty of good times come from mistakes and errors. 




I made these gutter bookshelves. Nothing too special here other than.. Reading is important! When you can't go somewhere, read about it! 


This is my last part, and probably the most meaningful. The cross is at the entrance to the bedroom...Justin and I are both Catholic. It's a tradition I've always practiced. It's meant to remind you and protect you with the love of God.  The little mailbox in his room is for letters and postcards from family members. He's already received letters from Vegas from my mom, Thailand from cousin Christopher, DC from his parents and I also included a 115 year old postcard from a family member dated Nov 17th, his due date. 

I've been researching family history and these letters back and forth between my great grandfather and great great grandfather. It's an amazing and real display of love. There is also a postcard to my great grandfather who was station in Texas during WWI. 

My sister had a great idea to bring vintage postcards to my baby shower and family members all wrote a little message to Lucas. In the age of technology emails and texts won't be saved in 50 years, but he will have physical words and proof that his family always loved him. People will come and go in this life, and sometimes a few written words can say so much about a person. 

......


My mom said something to me one time when I was about 15, and I've always remembered it. "Well, we didn't buy the nicest house we could afford because I wanted to have money for vacations."

Values.
Priorities.

I may not have had the prettiest house in the whole town, but damn did we travel. I've visited a majority of the United States and saw how people were different. I valued and liked the differences in people. We took minimum one a year since I can remember. Most of the time it was 3 or 4 a year.

We didn't go to Paris or Tokyo. We traveled, and I learned a lot. I may not have always acted like I loved it then, but I do now. The United States is a beautiful place. It doesn't take much effort to see it. A $500 purse will never outweigh a weekend of memories. That my friends, is my plan.

So Lucas, when you are old enough to look back, you probably won't remember your nursery and that's ok. Hopefully you will be too busy enjoying and exploring, to realize... that was your mom's plan all along.