Faith

Finding Grace…. and Faith

After having my daughter in 2014 looking back I feel like I may have struggled a bit with postpartum anxiety. I know it wasn’t depression from all the questionnaires I completed in the hospital and my OBGYN had great postpartum appointments and questionnaires regarding postpartum depression. I didn’t ask or speak to anyone regarding my anxiety because 1. I didn’t really know postpartum anxiety was a thing  and 2. I’ve always been a more anxious/type A person so I just figured it was that mixed with hormones and deciding to become a stay at home mom. I would have opened up to someone if I had a better understanding of postpartum anxiety, and would encourage anyone to speak up whenever you are feeling or thinking about things that are uncomfortable or different from what you normally feel.

The anxiety I felt was more along the lines of something happening to me or my daughter. Frequently I would think of so many potential bad (and seemingly highly unlikely) things that could happen to us. Cancer seems to run heavily on both sides of our family so I would worry about that; would I know if something was wrong with her or I; how would we cope; make it through, etc… Probably the biggest challenge/thought/worry for me was that I would die and not get to see my daughter grow up and she would not get to have her mother through all of life’s changes and challenges where a girl needs her mom. I would be overwhelmed with these thoughts that would consume a whole day or more. I would get so sad that I would miss out on everything to where I would silently cry my eyes out rocking her at night thinking about it; or at just random points in the day I would just cry. I never wanted to leave her to do anything. I begged my husband to help me figure out how to stay home with her because I couldn’t handle the thought of being away from her. I didn’t want to miss one second to spend with her because I felt that I didn’t know when it would be the last time I would see her.

I didn’t share any of my thoughts with others because at the time I didn’t know how to explain how I was feeling or thinking. I would let the thoughts come to mind and then I would just remind myself that all of the worries I had were highly unlikely to happen and I learned to push them out of my mind for a little bit. I know some moms who are so consumed that they cannot leave their homes. I wasn’t there but I would be anxious leaving.

After I would say 6 months or so I just began wondering ‘why do I feel this way?’ I kept feeling this pull on my heart that I was missing something; like I was longing for something. On the outside I had everything together… my house ran on a fairly regular routine, baby was on a dependable and predictable schedule, my marriage was going well, I was working out…everything seemed to be going well. However, I still just felt like I was missing something. I began reading more, following some mom vloggers on YouTube, and reading blogs and my love of podcasts started during this time. It became very clear there was a theme to everything. One of the words I kept hearing over and over was GRACE. ‘Give yourself grace’ was the phrase of the week for weeks. Of course, I knew the definition of grace, but this time it had a different meaning and I was hooked on it; and I needed this phrase in my life. At the time it seemed so random but now looking back I know exactly who was at work in my heart. So many of the podcasts, books, vloggers, and bloggers I was following heavily had a very strong faith foundation. I didn’t think much about it but as I listened and read I started to find a sense of peace. A lot of my worry about dying seemed to not stress me out so much. As I learned more not only from what I was reading/listening to but also learning about the changes occurring within myself I was feeling so much better and wanted more.

I reached out to a previous co-worker I have kept in touch with and asked her what church she attended. I remembered her faith had been an important part of her life when we worked together so I knew she would be a good person to talk to. Let me back up a bit, I didn’t grow up attending church or having a relationship with Him. I had Bibles and knew of the important people in it but never lived according to the Word. I went to church with some friends here and there and also when we went to my grandparents house in Ohio we would go to my grandma’s church. Anyways, when I reached out to her she was so gracious and supportive (as I knew she would be). She invited me to attend with her and after a few weeks I took her up on that and I went. I was sure that I would feel a like I would stick out like a sore thumb; almost like there would be a marquee sign over my head that read ‘NEW GIRL IN THE BUILDING…FEEL FREE TO STARE’. Boy oh boy was I wrong, everyone was super nice and welcoming but wasn’t paying much attention to me. From the moment the live band started playing I.WAS.HOOKED. So much emotion was happening in me throughout the whole service. When the pastor started to speak I just felt like he was talking to me. The message was so applicable to my life and where I was. I came home and opened a study Bible I’ve had forever but never really opened. And today, I read to listen from the Word every single day! It’s my top priority! I basically just opened up to where the church was studying and preaching about and started there. I found podcasts and so many online resources along with the study Bible to read through it. And at the end of each chapter I have let Him point me to the next area to read and it is amazing how each new part I read it is just exactly what I need to read. He is at work in me and I’m learning to trust in that. My first trip to church was in November 2017 and in January the church kept reminding the congregation that they were doing baptisms. I never witnessed a baptism and was excited to witness one. If I needed proof that God was working within me then January 21, 2018 was the day I received that proof. During the service I felt anxious and just jittery. I had no reason to be feeling that way. Just before the pastor started the baptisms he said (and I’m paraphrasing) ‘I feel that I need to say if there is anyone here that feels that God is telling you to take the public declaration of personal faith in Jesus Christ and believe this is your next step that they are prepared to help you achieve that.’ I got up, walked out in the hall and told those helping out that I wanted to get baptized. I went to church this day not thinking I would get baptized; I had no clue what to even expect at a baptism. When I started talking to them I just started crying as I was overcome with emotion. So on January 21st 2018 I was baptized. Now I know this was not just me doing this but Him in me because if you know me I’m very shy and I don’t just do something I’m not prepared for. I don’t get in front of people to declare anything. I don’t do important things without my parents, my husband, etc. around; yet here I was doing all these things and feeling so much peace in this decision.

Looking all the way back to having my daughter I can see now how God was at work in me before I was even aware of it. Actually, now I understand he was at work when it took my husband and I 3+ years to conceive her. He was preparing to show me what a blessing I was going to receive, He was putting me in a place where we could financially handle me staying at home because he knew I would be anxious and need Him. I have always said becoming a mother is such a blessing and before finding my faith I just thought I was blessed because after struggling to conceive for so long I finally got what I wanted; my baby! But Goodness gracious I was blessed with so much more because my baby girl led me to Him.

I will close this post with quoting from the song Reckless Love. This song has quickly become my favorite because these lyrics I feel depict exactly what He did in my life. Every time I hear it I get the lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.

  “And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
         Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
         And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
         Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

         There’s no shadow You won’t light up
         Mountain You won’t climb up 
         Coming after me
         There’s no wall You won’t kick down
         Lie You won’t tear down
         Coming after me”

Life

Our Favorite Christmas Holiday to Date!

Another Christmas is in the books and it was one to remember for sure. This was the first Christmas where Carolina recognized Santa and began to understand more and more about the holiday! She loved seeing my parents and having daddy home so much for the holiday! Lots of people to play with!

Everything was Elsa and Anna! Her favorite gifts were the Frozen snow globe my parents got her that sings ‘Let It Go’ (loudly may I add) I think we’ve heard it at least a million times already. Fortunately, I have found that if I tell her something needs to charge then her world doesn’t end when we don’t play with/use it for a while. Her other favorite gift was her Elsa barbie doll. It was the last gift I picked up for her because I figured she has all the other Princess barbie dolls she just needed the Elsa one too. Of course she keeps looking for Anna; (should have known that was important since they are always together). Every time she plays with the doll or snow globe she has to watch Frozen, or what she calls ‘Let It Go’. She got some great things this year, more of ‘big girl’ toys. She got a Minnie Mouse kitchen with accessories, a Nursery station so she can take care of her baby while mommy takes care of her sister in a few months. She also got an art table that has a white board and table to color on with storage. She has already used it many times. Her other gifts included play doh, coloring books, clothes, books, and smaller tinker type toys.

I also had a pretty good Christmas as well. I got a pregnancy massage that I can’t wait to use. A lot of kitchen accessories, which I LOVE!

It’s always sad when Christmas is over and this year is especially bittersweet because it will be the last Christmas with it being just the three of us! I can’t wait to bring home her sister and be a family of four but part of me is a little sad that Carolina will have to share/split the attention with her sister from now on. As sad as I am about the holiday season being over I have been a little distracted because Carolina came down with a fever Saturday night and some congestion. She’s a trooper and it didn’t seem to damper her Christmas. Took her to the dr yesterday and she has a left ear infection as well as a respiratory virus (that seems like everyone has right now). I feel like I’m counting down the minutes until I come down with it next. Fortunately, the dr gave her some medicine so I’m hoping in a day or two she’ll start to feel better.

As 2016 comes to a close I feel blessed that my family has been able to have more highs than lows and that we are all very excited to see what 2017 has in store (particularly in April when our second daughter is due to make her arrival)!

 

Motherhood

Christmas and baby talk

Toddler down for a nap (down but not asleep…yet), Face mask on my face (let’s hope it makes my skin radiant as the package claims),  & flashback music from the 90s on the tv…. let’s hope I have a chance to write down what has been going on lately. It hasn’t been almost a year since my last post so I’m at least improving. There is a glimmer of hope that I keep up with writing about my family and about my journey through motherhood.

I honestly can’t believe Christmas is next Sunday!?!? Where did 2016 go? I’m not ready for 2017 to come and go so quickly. I simply love the season after Halloween until New Years; I look forward to it every year. I don’t know why exactly why I cherish this time but I would bet that it is because of all the traditions I remember from my childhood (that I truly don’t think I always appreciated at the time) and beginning new traditions as well as carrying on those old traditions with my little family that is growing! I don’t know why it seems we save all our big traditions for this time of year instead of spreading some out throughout the year but maybe as our kids get older there will be other traditions throughout the year to look forward to. I would also say that the decorations for fall and Christmas is my absolute favorite too… the smells, the colors, just everything!

After New Years I usually go through a little bit of a funk that it’s all over and it is back to normal everyday life. Fortunately, this year we have something to keep up excited throughout 2017; welcoming our new baby girl! That’s right, we are having another girl! I couldn’t be more excited about it! I, as with pretty much everyone we knew, figured we were having a boy! Another girl just feels right! It also makes things a tad bit easier getting ready for her arrival. I saved so much of Carolina’s clothes, toys, blankets, accessories, etc… that can all just go to our new bundle of joy!

I will be 24 weeks next week and this pregnancy just seems to be flying by and for the most part I feel great! So different than my last pregnancy when I was nauseous 24/7 and was really exhausted. I think keeping up with going to the gym, eating at home, and not working has really made a difference. The main thing I suffer from is what seems to be a gag reflex to smells; which I didn’t have with Carolina, and I have a little bit more heartburn earlier this time around. This baby girl isn’t breach like Carolina was so I am feeling more kicks and tossing/turning around. That is a fun part but sometimes can almost take my breath away with how much she moves. Looks like I’ll have two active girls in the near future. That should help me keep in shape a bit!

I still worry about Carolina adjusting to having a sibling, especially a sister. She is very attached to me so I hope she adjusts somewhat quickly and doesn’t feel like she will get less of my attention or love. I wanted a sister growing up so it’ll be so fun watching them grow up together; the bond they will have, the fights, etc. I hope they will remain lifelong best friends.

April can’t get here soon enough! I’m ready to meet her!

Well I hope I’m ready for the challenge ahead of me!

 

 

Blogging, Life

Where did I go?…. excuses & announcements!

Holy smokes! What a year it has been since my last post. It’s hard to believe it’s basically been that long.

So much has happened and changed since I last wrote anything I don’t know if I can update on everything or just start over and go from there.

I’ll try to give the cliff notes version of what has happened and updates on past year.Basically why I mainly disappeared is that both of our laptops took a crap about a week apart from each other. I tried using our iPad and iPhone but typing like that was just unbelievably difficult for me to do (I know the whole world uses them but I’m still an old-fashioned Windows kind of girl), I prefer typing on a keyboard. The other reason for not keeping up with things is because well my daughter keeps me busy and I got lazy (the MAIN reason). 1 nap a day is sometimes not enough time for me to take mommy time.

Who would have guess fixing 1 of our laptops was as easy as exchanging the batteries since one of them was junk. I, embarrassingly, thought about exchanging the batteries today for the first time…why are the simplest tasks somehow take the longest to complete or think of.

Anyways, here I am. I hope to do a better job finishing up 2016 into 2017 with writing more. I enjoy it. Even though I don’t think I have that much talent when writing or organizing my thoughts. I find my mind just bouncing around thoughts and ideas; my posts may be hard to follow or not flow from one to another.

Family Update #1: My Daughter

My last post I mentioned my daughter was around 12 months old and entering the ‘terrible two’ stage. Well,now she is almost 2 1/2 and even more sassy; except now she can use her words more which I’m not sure is better or worse than just fussing. I still try to pick my battles but I feel like she picks a battle with me about EVERYTHING! Mothers should be able to get an injection of patience because I need TONS more than what I have currently. She’s outspoken, full of energy, thinks she is so independent regarding everything…. and she’s absolutely beautiful and I couldn’t possibly love anyone more than I do her.

I wish I would have kept up with writing over the past year because she has grown so much and as I’m writing this I find myself disappointed that I let that time slip by without jotting down my thoughts and memories. Her 2nd birthday was such a great day; she LOVED her Minnie party. We took so many trips to our local zoo where she was able to do more and more with each visit. All the family visits we had… I wish I would have written about those to look back on later. Maybe I can write future posts allowing myself to reminisce about those events.

Family Update #2: We’re growing!

As much as I hope to do a better job with writing in 2017 I’m not sure I’ll be so great at it as we found out in late July that we are expecting our 2nd baby! We are beyond thrilled (and slightly terrified) about the news!

I think my husband and I figured it would take years to add to our family as it took 3+ years to have our daughter, but I guess once your body knows how to do it it’s a little more prepared! ha. We are due early April.

This pregnancy I think will FLY by as I’m already into my second trimester and sometimes I even have to remind myself I’m pregnant because this pregnancy is sooo different from my last. Morning sickness (which consisted of just nausea) only lasted a couple of weeks. Fatigue is a real thing but I think that is probably more from having a very active toddler and no coffee (I miss my coffee in the mornings and I look forward to a venti iced americano as soon as I can get one).

The only drawback so far is that I’ve been battling a cold (stuffy nose, clogged ears, frustrating cough) for almost 2 months now with little relief. I don’t know what it feels like to breath out of my nose it’s been so long. If anyone who may be reading this I’m open to anything that may help with it… I’m so over it!

I’m sure many of my upcoming posts will be about our upcoming arrival and how we are planning for him/her.

Health & Fitness Update:

I am still trying to make it to the gym as much as possible. I was going 5-6 days a week prior to getting pregnant but have backed down to 3-4 days a week. Being sick hasn’t helped and the morning sickness stopped me for a while. My focus this pregnancy is to go regularly as I just stopped going during my last pregnancy. My daughter actually goes to the kids room and enjoys it most days so that helps a lot with staying on a regular schedule.

With being pregnant I’m not trying to lose weight, max out new 1RM; but I’m focusing on maintaining the lifestyle and stay healthy throughout pregnancy so that hopefully after the baby is born it won’t be a hard transition back into like it was last time.

My workouts these days last about 45 minutes and I typically burn 250-400 calories per session. In comparison, before pregnancy my workouts took about an hour or so and was burning minimum of 500 calories per session.

Once I can get back to the more intense workouts I will work back to my old 1RM with my bench (150#), squat(235#), and deadlift(225#). Looking forward to getting back.

I think all of the above updates on all the major aspects of what has been going on. I hope to dedicate at least 1 day a week to take the time to write and get back on track with things that I’ve been wanting to do/write.

 

 

Motherhood

walking….talking…. and not listening!

I live in a household with my husband, daughter, my black lab, and golden retriever. They all love me but they certainly don’t listen to me! Maybe I missed the memo that informed me that the words NO, DON’T, STOP, mean something different to these four creatures.I spend 90% of my day saying No, Stop, Don’t do that, Eh Eh! and then the other 10% is repeating those words! I think the most infuriating one is my husband; I mean he is an adult, right?!?! How can I expect the dogs and child to listen when he doesn’t! I know I’m not the only wife and mother who has felt that way so that thought helps!!

My daughter is now 17 months old and I am simply astonished at how fast she picks things up and makes associations with things. Her and I spend basically all day talking, singing, dancing, learning. It is so much fun to see her enjoy learning new things. To her I don’t think she realizes that is what we are even doing. I try to make it fun (usually at my own expense… I’m so glad no one can see or hear me throughout the day making up dances and songs). She has 37 words in her vocabulary, she knows 6 shapes, she can identify 6 shapes, and knows 14 animal sounds.

She is becoming so much more independent or so she thinks she is. I would love to let her walk around but she hasn’t quite grasped the concept of ‘walk this way’ or ‘come here’. Therefore it is easier for me to carry her to the car or to her bedroom, etc. My lovely husband hasn’t figured this out and lets her walk, then when it’s time to pick her up and actually go where we were originally headed she throws a fit…. then guess who gets her… MOI! I know she has to learn by doing and I’m fine with that but I tend to pick better times to allow her to ‘learn’… for example when its not meal time or when we need to go somewhere. She’s feisty and I think we are going to be in trouble with that as she gets older! She is however, for the most part a happy baby and has been really good when we are out in public, which I’m so thankful for. I know it probably won’t last but…. fingers crossed. Every day with her is still the best day I’ve ever had! With each new chapter her and I encounter we will just embrace it and find joy in it…. living in the moment!

Marriage

Opposites Attract

Being a good wife is hard. I think we are all good at many things. We all juggle multiple things a day and wear many hats so were bound to be good at some, maybe even a lot of things. I wish I could pick the things I’m good at. I mean I know you can always work on certain aspects and things but it’s so hard to remember that during the day. I mean I’m a mother, wife, daughter, sister, Dog mommy (that’s a real thing), cleaner of the house, home chef, etc…how can I remember everything I want to change/improve? And being a good wife should be easy, right? 

I made a post around New year’s that I wanted to focus on being a better wife and sometimes I don’t know if I’m doing any better. Let me start off by saying I love my husband. Love him so very much. He’s my best friend. Now that I’ve stated that…. He can drive me absolutely bonkers. I mean bat shit crazy. We’re very different. The saying opposites attract couldn’t be a more accurate description of us. I grew up in the suburbs, him the country. I am a homebody, he can’t sit still (for more than a few minutes I swear). I’m all about family and spending every moment with them, he is very career focused.

We bicker about everything like a couple that’s been married for 50 years. To the outside world they probably think we don’t like each other half the time, but it’s all in fun.

The biggest difference between us I’d that I’m a planner, organizer, more serious person (I don’t think I’m very fun because I’m always thinking about the next thing or the consequences/results). He’s laid back, non planner, non organizer, and not serious about anything. There is nothing more frustrating than a serious person communicating with the jokester. I can get so frustrated about something and then he’ll do/say something funny and I’ll laugh. “See, you’re not upset” that”s the next thing off his tongue. O. M. G. Soooo not the case!!!

After the day is done or he leaves for work I kick myself because I know I should be able to laugh about what he says or does. “Why did I get so frustrated about something so dumb? Why couldn’t I just relax?” Why is it that as soon as he leaves or I’m falling asleep I can let it go but when I’m face to face with him I can’t? How can I remember in the moment not to flip out on him?

The question I really want to ask is why can’t he just realize I’m like this and not drive me crazy? That would’ve easy because I wouldn’t have to change anything. Ha! Oh well a girl can dream. Seriously though, I know it would take both of us to be aware and in the moment.

I don’t think I’m a bad wife but I definitely want to be better. Tomorrow’s a new day and another day to try!

Life

There’s beauty everywhere

It’s winter and it’s cold and snowy and easy to get tired of. Could be worse… I could be in Boston where they’ve got over 70″ of snow just in January. Crazy!!

It’s so easy to complain about anything and then post it for the world to see. I hope everyone has the opportunity to see beauty in something or someone instead.

I thank my daughter for helping me find positivity and appreciation in things I failed to see it feel before her. She may only be 8.5 months old but she’s already making me a better person.

I snapped this picture last week front my front window. The view stopped me in my tracks.

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