Author Archives: Audra

Have I Mentioned How Much I Love Being Pregnant?

Definitely not me… but I sure feel this beautiful. :-)

To reiterate the title, I absolutely love being pregnant.  As I type this our little girl is moving and grooving in my belly, it truly is the most beautiful and comforting feeling.  I don’t know if she is happy that she finally isn’t pushed up against a desk at work … I don’t know if she is grooving because she liked the grilled cheese sandwich and apple I had for dinner … I don’t know if she is pissed off because she – well, because she is a girl and sometimes we just have our moments.  BUT she is moving, and that means she is healthy.  That is all hubby and I can ask for.

I have had a fabulous pregnancy so far.  Nearly 30 weeks in and other than an expanding belly and some back aches here and there, I feel no different than I did prior to being pregnant.  (Other than the moving creature inside me mentioned above…)  I still work out at least five days a week – albeit a little less intense, but still staying as active as I feel I can handle.  I never had morning sickness, I have no stretch marks, I haven’t swollen up, and I sleep great at night.  And yes, I am knocking on wood right now.  ;-)  I am not sure why I have been so blessed, and yes, I do realize how incredibly blessed I am, but I think I can thank genetics for feeling so great.  My mom said the best she ever felt was when she was pregnant with me and I feel as though I am on a similar path.  I can only hope that when our daughter is pregnant – if she decides to have children – that she feels this great.

All this being said, who knows what is in store for me these last 10 weeks, but I do know that this has been an amazing experience so far.  I just have to make sure that I don’t think too long and hard about where she has to come out of, because the thought of her coming out of THERE, is still a bit unsettling.  We will just have to cross that bridge when we come to it.  If it wasn’t for the fact that we can’t wait to see her face, I would probably just try to keep her in there forever…

For all you moms and soon-to-be moms, what was your best part about your pregnancy experience? And for those of you who are trying, what are you most looking forward to?

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Are you happy? If not, do you want to be?

I actually had another blog piece written to post today, but for some reason I didn’t feel now was the right time to post it.  So that post is officially shelved for now.

Now what to write about?  Well, as I sat on my couch watching the season premiere of Design Star, I decided to hop on the computer and peruse Pinterest.  Because that is what we do now that Pinterest exists…

I open up Pinterest and the first thing I see is the picture to the right.  Man, it struck a chord.

I feel that we are a society of complainers and the complaining is only increasing in magnitude.  Does everyone expect happiness and their idea of a “perfect life” to be handed to them?  Or are they actually willing to work for it?  Our grandparents did… they worked DAMN hard to have the life they imagined for themselves, their children and their grandchildren.  This is why they are the greatest generation – they did not work hard for just themselves, they worked hard for the kids and grandkids that they didn’t even have yet.  Can anyone say the same about us?  Nope, sure can’t.  We are focused on the here, the now and the next handout.  Some people blame our dependance on technology, some people blame the generation before us and starting us down this path, some people just blame the closest target.  But no one is really at fault except ourselves.

I am not a fan of generalities, and I realize I am using them in this post… I know there are exceptions, as I feel I personally am one.  That doesn’t mean I don’t complain – I am human, I complain.  But I don’t expect what I want to be handed to me on a silver platter.  I understand that if I want it, I have to work for it.

I think we all need to realize that if we want to be truly happy – deep down in our cores – we have to work for what we want.  Handouts don’t provide satisfaction, working provides satisfaction.

So ask yourself… are you happy?  If not, do you want to be?  And most importantly, are you willing to work for it?

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Fabulous Read: Why I Don’t Love My Children More Than My Husband

My better half…

After a two month hiatus – JENNY AND I ARE BACK!  Sorry kids, life got in the way for awhile and other things took priority, but don’t worry, we never stopped thinking about you.

So why am I writing today of all days?

I just read an absolutely fabulous article on Babble.com titled, “Why I Don’t Love My Children More Than My Husband“.  At 25 weeks pregnant I find myself thinking more and more about what kind of parents we will be and all the new – yet very exciting – challenges we will be facing.  But one thing I have never questioned is that I know my husband will always come first.  He has to.  And I have to come first for him.

Our relationship is the foundation of this family we are building.  If we aren’t strong, the family won’t be strong.  As selfish as it sounds, we must make each other a priority.  Whatever that takes at the time – maybe sometimes ten minutes alone is all it will be, maybe it will be a date night, maybe there will be times when we need an actual vacation (sans munchkin-to-be).

And like the article, hubby and I have been at rock bottom.  But hitting rock bottom and working our way back up made us stronger.  We love each other more today than the day before and the day before that… Everyday we choose one another.  We choose to trust in one another, to confide in one another, to support one another.  I am his biggest cheerleader and he is mine.

As much as I don’t doubt that he must always come first, I also don’t doubt that we have the biggest challenge of our lives ahead of us in raising this little one – but no matter the challenge, we have one another.  That is all that matters.  Together we can make it through anything.

(cue cheesy romance movie music)

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Let’s Talk About Change.

Change is something that happens to all of us, all of the time… on big and small scales.  Losing a loved one, having a baby, buying a new outfit, rearranging a room in your house.  It is all change – some more impacting than others.

Lately I find myself going through many changes.  Being pregnant and realizing the impending lifelong change of hubby and I becoming parents… job changes… rearranging rooms in our house… and so on.  All of them combined feel incredibly overwhelming.  Even though they all are good changes, they are changes nonetheless.  And change is scary.

Scary to think that the ability for hubby and I to go run out to dinner because mexican food sounds good will be more labor intensive.  Scary to think that we are responsible for another human being.  Scary to think that everything I know, right here, right now, will never be the same.

When the “scariness” of the changes roots itself, I remind myself of all the good that has come from change in my life.  It may have been overwhelming and unknown at first, but all in all, I am a better person for the changes that have happened in my life.  I am stronger and more well rounded person.

Change is scary.  Change is good.  Change grows us as people.

(Can someone remind me of this post when I am going on my third day of no sleep, can’t console a crying baby and am wondering what we got ourselves into?  Thanks in advance.)

How do you handle change?

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So Incredibly Proud To Be An American

This past weekend I went and saw the movie Act of Valor.  One word: amazing.

I am incredibly proud to be an American … I am the girl who always gets the chills and nearly cries every time she hears Taps or the national anthem.  This movie takes it to the next level.

The movie is based on real situations that Navy Seal Team 7 has dealt with.  All of the main characters are actual Seals.  The only actual actors in the movie are the ones listed on Imdb as roles like “Christo’s thug”.

I would highly recommend this movie to anyone.  Be prepared to walk away emotional, proud and incredibly thankful.

On that note, I would like to extend to all United States servicemen and veterans a HUGE thank you.  What you do for our country and its citizens is selfless, honorable and something that we can never truly thank you enough for.  Words will never do it justice.

All I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart and know that the sacrifice of you and your families does not go unnoticed.

THANK YOU.

www.actofvalor.com

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Can I truly “unplug”?

Not me... or my vacation spot. But my vacation is just as awesome as this picture looks.

I am currently on vacation…and thanks to much prep work and a great trip, I have actually been able to “unplug” more than I have on other vacations in the last few years.  (Hence my lack of blog post last week…but don’t worry, you are getting two posts from me this week, just in case you missed me. :-) )

There is still work that has to be done, but I am pretty proud of myself and the fact that I have been able get done what I have gotten done and then go right back into vacation mode.

But I truly wonder, in today’s society of constant contact and ability to be reached at anytime and anywhere – can we truly unplug?

We set the expectations in our lives, and for many of us, we have set the expectation that we are all available – all the time.  Any time, any place, no matter what we are doing, no matter who we are with.  Whether for family, friends or work – we are always “on”.

I think we all strive to find a good balance in life and having a great trip where a glimmer of “unplugging” has been shown to me has taught me that it is possible to have a fulfilling day without checking facebook, replying to too many emails (but yes, I did check them daily) or having my phone glued to me all day.

Now that I my eyes have been opened to this, I plan to continue down this path… What do you do to find a good balance or “unplug”?

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Pinterest… the greatest, but best, time suck

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So, let’s talk about Pinterest.  At this point, I think everyone has heard of it, most people are on it and of those who are on it, a good chunk are officially in the “addicted” category.

Pinterest is a place where we put together our imaginary wardrobes, build our imaginary homes, dream of our amazing weddings/nurseries/holiday parties, plan our rainy-day crafting and realize how much more organized our lives could be.

To date, my girlfriend Kelsey and I have had a Pinterest recipe night (cheese roll ups and Orange Julius smoothies – yum!) and a Pinterest crafting day (ribbon wreath, pictured above, and felt wreath).  It is affecting how we find things, how we spend time together and how we view household items and garbage.  Before an empty oatmeal container was garbage, now it is a perfect headband holder.  Pinterest is changing our culture in ways that I don’t even think we realize yet… and frankly, I don’t realize yet.

So, for those of you who haven’t joined, I encourage you to drink the Kool-Aid.  But be warned, it is like potato chips.  You can’t eat just one.  You can’t pin just one.

p.s. Wow, two food references in one tiny paragraph?  I must be hungry!

Follow Jenny and me on Pinterest!

A whole lot of nothing… and it was amazing.

When there is a moment of nothingness in today’s world of being scheduled to the hilt, obligations galore and feeling pressured with everything that “must” get done… it can be terrifying or absolutely amazing.

Over the weekend I had many (many!) things I could do or wanted to check off the “back burner” list, but ultimately there was nothing that was time critical, needed to get done, or was breathing down my neck.  Hubby was in the same boat.  We each had things we could do, but ultimately we tossed most of the to-do’s out the window.

We did a whole lot of nothing.  It was a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

We ran errands (so yes, we were somewhat productive), talked about our future, enjoyed a good friend’s birthday and, most importantly, enjoyed each other’s company.  It was the best weekend I have had in I can’t remember how long…

I have to admit, throughout the entire weekend I was worried I would wake up on Monday morning and kick myself for not taking the time to tackle X, Y or Z.  But you know what?  I didn’t.  I woke up with a smile on my face because I had an extraordinary weekend enjoying the company of my husband and doing a whole lot of nothing.

I guess the point I’d like to make is this – when the “do nothing with the one(s) you love” opportunity presents itself … take it.  You may hear a voice in the back of your head saying “you could organize your bathroom cupboards”.  Ignore it.  In today’s world we don’t get many “nothing” moments.  Treasure them.  They are pretty awesome to reflect on.  :-)

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What People Don’t Tell You About Trying to Get Pregnant…

Welcome to the ride... did you bring your airsick bag?

When hubby and I were in the process of trying to get pregnant I knew I wanted to write this blog post.  I felt it would be great for me to reflect on the process, as well as help others so they aren’t as blind sided by all the things you don’t know (or at least, I didn’t know) about trying to get pregnant.  So, here we go…

Is there ever a “right time”?

Hubby and I have been married 6 ½ years, so you would think that we have been harped on about having kids.  We haven’t.  We have an amazing family that knew it would happen…eventually.  We decided over the summer that I would go off the pill on January 1, 2013.  Clearly, we are planners, but planning only gets you so far…

One night, to be specific, on October 27th, after attending an event and having enough drinks to feel good, hubby and I were talking and after many “Are you sure?” “Is it the right time?” “Why wait?” “It’ll take time and won’t happen right away.”…we decided to go off the pill the next day.

Enter Friday, October 28th.

   Hubby: “Did you take your pill today?”

   Me: “No”

   Hubby: “Are we sure this is the right time?”

   Me: “We gotta do this sometime…”

   Hubby: “Ok (sigh) let’s do this”

Later in the day on October 28th, enter my first freakout…. frantically texting a friend, “Did you freak out when you stopped taking the pill?”  Her response: “Oh my god yes!!!”  (insert huge sigh of relief that I am not the only one who freaked out when they pulled the goalie)

And so began the task of trying to create a tiny human being…

We are at a good age and healthy so this should be easy, after all teenagers get pregnant all the time and people get pregnant from one night stands… Then you start to do research and you realize that it isn’t so easy.  You find out things like sperm only stays alive inside the female for up to 72 hours…and that the female egg only lives for 12-24 HOURS once it released.  So basically every month there is a 12-24 hour window to get pregnant…. yeah, that isn’t depressing to think about at all!

Then you find out that they don’t even consider talking about fertility treatments until you have been trying for a whole year!  A year!  Damn it, I want to have kids now!  You inevitability start reading about the people who have had multiple miscarriages, multiple chemical pregnancies (which I had never even heard of before), have been trying for years (plural!) and the emotional rollercoaster begins.  Welcome to the ride.

The sex factor…

Basically your month breaks down like this:

   Period: No sex

   Next week: Sex

   Fertile week: Lots of sex

   Two weeks of waiting to take a pregnancy test (while still having sex…but mainly for stress relief/fun/distraction)

Those last two weeks are like nothing I have experienced before in my life.  It is the ultimate emotional rollercoaster – wondering if you’re pregnant, trying not to get your hopes up and be realistic, but wanting to get excited in case you are… trying not to read too much into your (insert symptom here – headache, nausea, boobs hurting and so on), being excited and dreading taking your pregnancy tests all at the same.  Excited for a yes, terrified for a no.

On an island… (yep, by yourself)

You really don’t want to tell people you are trying because you don’t want to take them on the emotional rollercoaster with you.  It’s hard enough to be let down when you get a “no,” let alone have to tell others that you got a big fat no that month as well.  This is when I started my journal (which I have gotten horrible about writing in now that I am pregnant…) to help me download everything I was feeling and going through.

Don’t get me wrong, hubby was great…but the emotional rollercoaster isn’t the same for them.  It isn’t their body psyching them out with symptoms, or what they think are symptoms.  It isn’t them waiting every day to bring them one day closer to peeing on a stick.

What shocked me more than anything about this process is how easy you think it is going in – emotionally, physically and all the way around.  You start the process and you quickly realize that it is one of the most emotional and frustrating things you have done and NO ONE talks about it – at least no one I’ve been around.  I felt completely blind sided by how this “easy” task became so emotionally Herculean.

The first month I was off the pill we weren’t really “trying”… mainly because I think we both thought that if you have sex with no protection – BAM! – you get knocked up.  Then, after not getting pregnant that first month (while thinking I had all the “symptoms” and I totally must be knocked up), I started to do all the research I referred to above. I found out that this process – while it should be enjoyable, actually kind of sucks.  It isn’t as simple as “Put Part A into Part B and baby is made”.

Then, begins month two of trying…

This month, we were more dedicated to the timing of our polka dances, tried to be relaxed about it all, I kept myself (somewhat) sane with my journal and learned some things from some message boards.  I didn’t think I was pregnant.  I had no symptoms and figured we were definitely in for a third month of trying to conceive a little alien – I mean, human being.

Because I have no patience, I started taking pregnancy tests five days before my missed period.  I knew the chances were slim, but what can I say, I am glutton for punishment.

Friday, December 23rd …  the day I refer to as “Holy S#!* I’m pregnant.”

Hubby was (literally) on the other side of the world on “Holy S#!* I’m pregnant” day… I had all these grandiose plans of telling him in some elaborate way when he got home, but those flew out the window.  I told him over the phone.  His response: “Awesome.”  (insert another huge sigh of relief that the response wasn’t… “Really? Oh.”**)

**Note: For the males reading this, yes, we do worry about that kind of response.  Be excited – even if you are terrified.  Because we are T. E. R. R. I. F. I. E. D.  We have just learned that we have a human being growing inside of us.  Act excited, no matter how terrified you are.  I guarantee we are more terrified than you.  (This may not apply to those on their second, third or twentieth child…but it definitely does to the first one.)

So, when I say we were blessed – I mean it! We were VERY blessed that it only took us two months to get pregnant and I give the women (and their dedicated spouses) who go through this process for years so many kudos for sticking with that rollercoaster ride…. If I thought it was bad after two months, it must be complete hell after years of being on it.

I am going to wrap up this insanely long post (that could have easily been even longer) with some recommendations for those trying, or soon to be trying, so you aren’t blind sided like I was.

1. Be emotionally prepared.  It is hard, but so worth it.  But know going in, it isn’t a cake walk…

2. Don’t read too many stories.  They will just psyche you out.  Make your own story and enjoy the process.

3. Pregnancy tests are damn expensive!  I learned of Wondfo pregnancy tests through one of the message boards.  They are way cheap on Amazon and highly sensitive.  I got a faint positive line five days before my missed period (I just wasn’t sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me so I waited to really believe it).  Then once you have a line on one of the Wondfo tests… I would go for First Response. After that, I made sure I wasn’t totally losing it with a Clear Blue Easy Digital test.  From what I have read, Clear Blue is the least sensitive, so if that says yes – it is a sure deal.

Believe me, you will peeing on at least a dozen sticks a month… then when you are knocked up (or think you are) triple that number.  Every day you feel to have to take a pregnancy test to make sure something didn’t change over night.  Call me crazy, but wait and see… you will become an expert at peeing in a cup or on sticks.

4. Journal.  Even if it is just writing a line a day about how you are feeling.  It helps – greatly.

Well girls, I feel like I crammed what could have been a 100 page novel into a blog post, I hope it is helpful.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate.  I am happy to talk about our process and help others deal with the emotional rollercoaster ride of trying to propagate the species.

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Propagating the Species…

It is for real... there is an alien growing inside me.

Time for some big news!  Hubby and I are pregnant!  Well, I am the pregnant one… but WE are having a child.

After weeks of keeping it under wraps – which was probably one of the hardest things I have EVER done in my life – it is now out for the world to know.  And yep… people, it happens exactly how you are taught.  Pulling the goalie… then the birds and the bees… I really don’t think I need to explain any further.  Well, we will to our child, but I think (I hope) we have a good 12+ years to develop that speech.

The little bundle of joy – and potential terror if our childhoods come back to bite us (hubby and I weren’t always the most well-behaved children) is due September 3rd. Fortunately, my love for dresses is going come in very handy this summer…

Hubby and I are now embarking on the most exciting and most terrifying experience of our lives – parenthood.  I am sure there will be at least a thousand and one times where the “What were we thinking?!” conversation happens…but there will also be a thousand and one times where our cheeks hurt from smiling or laughing so much from the many joys this little one will bring us.

I hope ya’ll are ready for this.  I’m bringing you along for the ride.  And trust me, you will be hearing about it all – the good, the bad, the ugly and the really ugly.

Buckle up and hold on… or as Captain Jean Luc Picard would say (yes, I’m a total ST:TNG fan)…

Parenthood: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Diaper Genie. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new bodily fluids, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where everyone has gone before – except us…

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