Monday, February 29, 2016

Some highs and lows of life lately

Happy Leap Year Monday friends! ( That just rolls off the tongue so easily, I don't know why people are greeting each other more with it)  I saw someone on FB say that today was a special 24 hours that we are only given every 4 years so we should make the most of it. I loved that! I will be making the most of today by doing laundry, buying groceries, and keeping my Little Man alive. But I did wear my silver sparkle Toms to make the day seem a little better.

I thought I would just share some high and lows of life lately. The first high would definitely be my Little Man's 1st Birthday.
 It was a lumberjack themed party so we had pancakes, a variety of breakfast meats, baked beans ( it's a Maine thing) and eggs. Little Man loved his birthday meal
 And really loved his birthday cake. I have been that super intense Mom who would not let her child have sugar at all until his first birthday, so he still was mildly apprehensive about the sugar but warmed up quickly.
I think he had a good time since he slept for two hours after the party ( as did his parents)

A low for life lately would be the fact that honestly friends, I am just straight up lonely. I heard being a stay at home mom was a lonely life, and after having lived the life for a year. I would agree. This weekend it became very clear to me that the circle of friends, I used to once consider very close is no longer really close friends. Yes, we still talk and may socialize occasionally but we are not what we used to be. That is life and it happens to everyone but I do not have a surplus of people in my life. I am not even really trying to get out and be social. Honestly, just having a few people to text would be nice. China Man works an unusual schedule at the moment so I spend my evenings and nights alone. I am in no way unable to be alone, and usually I do like it, but having people to talk to about silly and random things is nice. Especially because it also became very clear to me this weekend that the church we have been attending is not the right church for us. We had never planned on remaining there but had been waiting to see where we moved before really settling into a church. I don't think we can wait any longer. So I spent half this weekend feeling very alone and like there is something wrong with me that I can't settle into a church or keep friends.  I know this is a just a season of life and if you just keep marching forward with faith things will get better they usually do.

A high for life right now would be how absolutely low key and happy our Little Man has been lately. When your child take 4 months to cut one tooth, you really just adapt to a lifestyle of constant whining, crying and clingy behavior. Then this past week came along and it was like a whole new world. Sometimes I actually have 10-15 minutes to get a task done while he is happily playing. Of course I still check on him approximately 20 times in that time span, because he is destructive. However, he spends his days lately just babbling, and laughing. It is SO nice.

So those are some highs and a lot of life around here. I hope you are enjoying your bonus 24 hours. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Favorites- Random Edition

This week went really fast. I am not too sure how or why, but I appreciate when a week does go fast. The past month it seems like life crawled painfully slow. I blame the First Trimester for that.  Anyways I thought instead of just posting what was my favorite personal events this week, I would share some things I have seen online that I love!

1. This post by One Little Momma, I really loved. I love her blog because seriously has to be the coolest, trendiest dressed stay at home Mom I have seen. She looks both cool and comfortable. Anyways, I liked her post about wanting kids but hating the chaos, and then compared it to our relationship with God. I know I frequently wonder what is wrong with me that I want multiple kids when I hate chaos, clutter and disorganization.

2. In general, I love this blog Full Hands Full Heart, she is so upbeat and positive about her family and life. It is nice because she just seems like a Mom you might meet next door. After reading her blog it is always a reminder to look at life a little more optimistically.

3.  Sparkly shoes. Sure, I am a grown adult, and when necessary I know how to do the whole "adult" thing. However, who says you can't wear sparkly shoes while you are busy "adulting"
I have had a pair of silver sparkle ones for about 4 years and they have started to lose their sparkle. So when Zulilly had Toms for sale, I knew I needed a pair. These will probably be glues to my feet the second mud season ( yes that is a real season here in Maine) has ended up until the minute I start to get frostbite on my toes this late fall.

4.  Belly Bands I've hit the ever so lovely phase where my normal clothes are not all starting to fit like they used to, but it seems utterly ridiculous to wear maternity clothes. (Plus I am cheap and hate to buy a lot of maternity clothes). Whoever created these are wonderful and brilliant people. I can almost wear my regular jeans comfortably. ( For the record, it is definitely true you pop faster after your first pregnancy)

5. Okay this one isn't from the web, but seriously the weather! Yesterday was 50 degrees outside!
 Little Man and I were so excited to be outside for a little bit. We are both ready for warm weather and to be outside more.

So those are my favorites from this week! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

On the day you were born..

On the day you were born Little Man, I 1000% had stopped believing you were coming.  I was in labor for 12 hours and attempted to push for 52 minutes. With all due respect, that was the worst 52 minutes of my life. For all the woman who find birth magical, more power to you. To the women that find birth empowering, while I agree, it is not empowering in the moment.
 I do not have a real "birth story" because I really was in labor the whole time at the hospital. I don't think I impressed the nurses at the beginning because she had hooked me up to the machines to monitor everything. A few minutes later they asked how long I had been having the contractions. My response was " oh those are contractions?". A few minutes later she asked what kind of birth I planned to have. I explained my goal was to have a medication free water birth using hynobirthing. Her response was to smirk and say " Yeah everyone says that before labor starts". Oh no you did not just say that to an uber past due pregnant first time mom. Now I am grateful for her snide comment, because I think it just helped my resolve.

  Because of the contractions they told me they could not do anything regarding inducing, but they would check back in the morning. They said there was a chance the contractions would proceed into full labor. That was at 10pm. By 12am, there was no doubt I was in labor. Except, I did not believe I was in labor so I was pacing in the room not wanting to wake up China Man or disturb the nurse. Fortunately at 1pm, I texted a friend who said she would be working the night shift. After she asked me a few questions, she confirmed I was in labor and it would be highly apppropriate to let my nurse know. The next hour or two really stunk because I could not find a way to manage contractions. I hated to ask the nurse to fill the tub because that seemed really demanding ( looking back, yes this all seems silly). Once I did get into the the tub it was all really a blur. Hello successful hypno-birthing. Plus they are details that just seem gross and unnecessary for a blog, lol.

But 8 hours after I climbed into the tub, a little screaming smurf baby was put on my chest. I was in total shock. There was so much going on around me, so many hands and arms all around working on me and grabbing at my baby. Meanwhile he is just screaming on my chest and I suddenly became very aware of how little I knew about babies. As I mentioned before, we did not bond instantly those first moments and I think part of it was because I had a few complications so I had the midwife and four nurses all around me talking and then 2 or 3 nurses grabbing at the baby. So I just sent the baby with his father  and nurses to the other side of the room because it was very chaotic and I honestly was very out of it. Looking back it makes me very sad that those first 3 hours or so I did not get to hold my baby very much but I don't think it had impaired us in any way.

    When I did get to hold him, I was in total shock that he was mine. He was my little boy. Honestly, I still stare at him in shock on a regular basis that this guy is mine. 

  At one year old, what exactly is my Little Man like. He is turning into an energetic, talkative and fiesty little guy. He loves fruit, and eating whatever we are eating. He is over having his own homemade baby food. And don't you dare try to serve him bland food, he wants all the herbs and spices.

   His favorite activities really appear to be climbing into cabinets, playing in water and looking at books.

He has turned into a bit of a snuggle bug lately, and I love it.

So that is the story of my Little Man and how he came into the world a year ago.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What is Up Wednesday? February Ed.

Linking up today with Larson LingoMix & Match Mama and Pinterest Told Me To for What's Up Wednesday.

What We're Eating This Week... 
    This week I tried a new recipe ( shocking, a new recipe I know)  for Lasagna Soup. It was one of those pins on pinterest that I have had pinned forever. This week the spirit moved me and I felt like it was time.

The verdict, it was delicious. I did add more broken noodles than the recipe called for and about doubled the tomato sauce because of that. I also did not add the green peppers, because green peppers make me gag. ( in case you were really wondering)  Next time I might add spinach and/or mushrooms to make it a little healthier. 

What I'm Reminiscing About... 
    Last year on this day I went into the hospital to be induced. Technically, I went in at 6pm so I just had all day to sit and stew about what was going to happen. At 13 days past due, I had fully come to terms with I was never having a baby. This was the selfie we took right before I got into the ever attractive hospital gown. 

Oh hello swollen pregnant Debbie. We will see you again real soon. 

What I'm Loving... 
      I am loving having some energy back. I don't know if at 12 weeks, I have just turned some corner and the worst is over (for awhile) or if it is the B6 the midwife prescribed but I am definitely loving it. Of course when I say I have energy I mean I actually have like a solid 3-4 hours of productivity in me, lol. A month ago, getting dinner made was my sole accomplishment. So this is really nice, and I am thankful.  

What We've Been Up To... 
      Just minor things like buying a new car, finishing home improvement projects, preparing for Little Man's 1'st birthday and growing a new human being. 

What I'm Dreading... 
   Actually, I am really not dreading anything right now. I mean paying bills is always a downer but really there is nothing worth dreading. 

What I've Been Working On... 
     I have been getting ready for Little Man's birthday. I have also been trying to some pictures printed, and organized on my computer. I really feel like it is such a daunting and ongoing task. There is just so many pictures...

What I'm Excited About... 
      Have I mentioned my baby turns one this week :-)  I am also excited that we made the appointment to find out the gender Baby #2 for April. It is still a ways away, but my little planner heart is starting to itch wanting to make plans. Also really exciting for spring to come. Normally dreaming about spring in February would be highly illogical but this year I feel like Spring is an option. 

What I'm Watching/ Reading...
      Last month I was all about NCIS but sadly that relationship did not work out. This month I am all about this show. 

   Netflix only has one season, and I am so sad about it. This show is strangely boring and yet so addicting.  They bake the most interesting items, and the judge manage to be so brutal and yet so nice. If you like cooking/baking shows, I would highly recommend this show. 

What I'm Listening To... 
     I am currently at war with one of my favorite radio stations because they literally only ever play Justin Beiber. I don't know if he secretly bought the station or what. But if I hear him say " Girl what do you mean" or him tell me " Love yourself" one more time I might break my radio. 

What I'm Wearing... 
    I am obsessed with these. I used to be a loyal lipstick/lipgloss girl but these tinted lip balms are the best. I feel like they make look put together but not too flashy when I am running errands in my mom uniform. 

What I'm Doing this Weekend...
     Pretty sure I have covered this one, alot. 

 What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month... 
        I have a girl's night planned with two of my friends.  I haven't seen them in a few months so that is exciting. I also am trying get an actual dinner planned with China Man. 

Favorite Easter Tradition.. 
    Jelly Beans!! Is it bad that all my traditions for Easter involve food? My mom used to always make hot cross buns, and I always love them at Easter.  I also like putting together little Easter baskets for my Cota men. 

So that is what is up this month! 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Freshman Year of Motherhood

Little Man turns 1 this week ( be warned, super emotional Mom in your midst on Thursday) and I have kind of (well a lot) have been thinking about this past year of Motherhood. I mentioned previously I had no idea what to expect of motherhood. As a blog and pinterest friendly individual, I have read maaaaany different perspective of motherhood. Some women portray motherhood like this sweet angel descends from heaven every day and just fill the house with glitter, rainbows and giggles. Then other women portray motherhood closer to World War 3 with just a whole lot more bodily fluid involved. After 365 day involved in this, here is what I have learned so far.

1. There will be a lot of tears. The baby is going to ugly cry sometimes, and so will you. Newborns cry. It is kind of like their job. Sometimes your baby will have gas, be constipated, be teething, have a fever, or a hundred other reasons. The car seat does not feel right, the sun is in their eyes, the blanket is not right, the bottle is not warm enough, you heated it up too much, the bath water is too warm, or not warm enough.... I think you get the picture.

 Sometimes really all you can do is cry too. There were definitely days when I had no reason why he was crying. He was fed, he was dry, he was warm, and yet he was insisting on crying. Everything in you will probably want to run, but as a responsible parent that is not an option. So you just keep walking, rocking, swaying, humming, praying and when all that fails cry too. You will both survive what seems like the most miserable day of your life and he will not hold those 20 minutes of crying against you. Also in full disclosure, my little guy spent the first 4 months of his life dealing with LOTS of gas issues and also started teething at 3 months. So in some ways, I think we might have experienced some extra tears. 

2. It is survival of the fittest. Parenting is seriously no joke. This little human being relies on you for every single thing about their existence but they have absolutely no way to communicate any of their needs. What could possibly be hard about that situation? It seems like everyone and their cousin has an opinion about how children should be raised, fed, and treated. You can be having the most casual conversation with a stranger and you mention something about your child and almost instantly you can see them start twitching because suddenly they have an opinion. Our Little Man started his first year really scrawny. He was a long string bean of baby with absolutely no fat on him. I honestly could not get through a store without someone telling me how small he was and how they would "fatten" him up. His doctor was not worried in the slightest, she knew that he was a tall baby and assured us he was the picture of healthy growing baby. I do not know what it is about parenting that everyone thinks they are experts but my opinion is simply "You do you". I raise my son in the best way I can. However I do not think that I could walk into my friend's house and raise her kids the same way. So you raise your kids, I'll raise mine and let's just high five that we are keeping them alive. 

3. Being a mom is the most selfless job you can ever have. I had heard this before and I didn't give it much thought. I assumed that I was a fairly maternal and care-giving type personality so being a Mom would not be a stretch. Nope. It was still a stretch. I am someone who has always appreciated her personal space and her personal time. Having a baby that you are exclusively nursing does not allow for a lot of personal time or space. You are fully on their schedule. So you may not always shower, sleep or eat when you really want to. It is easy to get annoyed that when the baby is young no matter what is wrong it seems you are the only one that can fix it. I started to remind myself though, that it was really an honor. What an amazing honor and special thing that for this little human, I was "It" for him. From the minute he was born, he knew I was his person. They say newborns recognize their mom's scent and voice instantly. So while there may be days you wish you weren't "it", what an awesome thing.  You are one of the few people your child will love unconditionally his whole life. 

4. You are Mom so that means you are the Boss. It took me a while to learn this. When it comes to this human being, you make the rules. When he was first born, I was so nervous at the hospital I did not even dress him until the 2nd day because I was not sure if I was "allowed". When people would hold him, I would practically be shaking with anxiety because I did not like the way they would let his head wobble, or how they would handle him. Not that it was the end of the world, but I never thought I should speak up. Then it finally started to register with me when we were at the doctor's office. He was getting some immunizations, and before he received them I asked the nurse if it would be okay if they did not put band aids on him. The nurse gave me a nice smile and responded " You are Mom, you make the rules".  Then it slowly started to sink in, I'm the boss. If I am not comfortable with a situation, I am allowed to say so. In full disclosure, my husband also makes the rules and I usually run everything past him because he is pretty good about reigning in my over-reactive Mom side. It was an empowering lesson for me and allowed me to relax. 

5. You still get to be you after you have a baby. I was so afraid that I would never get dressed, take showers, paint my nails or have any kind of life. People joke all the time about Mom's never getting out of their yoga pants and going days without showers. They reference hobbies that have fallen by the wayside and as someone who is a hobby addict I worried. Newsflash- you are still you! You might have some jiggly skin in new places but you will have interests. 
 Do you spend as much time do those hobbies? Probably not. When you do have the time, you will be focused and you will appreciate it so much more. I used to worry that I would never run in races or work out after having a baby. Ironically, I came back stronger than before. Don't get me wrong, it took work but it is something I love. I think that is just the factor, you hold onto what you love. There are certain things that will fade away but that is just life. You may fall asleep alot more while reading, but at least you still had a few moments to read. My nails are still painted, I still go shopping and I still are very dedicated to Dancing with the Stars.

The last thing I learned in this freshman year of motherhood is how awesome this man is 
   This may seem like an odd picture but it makes my heart so happy because wherever China Man is, my  Little Man wants to be too. He just adores his Dad. Like I said before, parenthood is survival of the fittest and the best key to survival is having a great partner. Literally everything he does is based around taking care of his family and he never complains about any parenting task. He would probably keep Little Man beside him like this all the time if he could. 

So those are my big yet very basic lessons from my first year of motherhood. 

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Oh hello Monday.

I am not sure how it happened but this weekend flew by. But just like I said I hoped it would be, our weekend was all sorts of productive. Woo-hoo! 

In epic news, we did actually buy a car. It is funny because we looked at a couple cars of Friday, and on Friday I totally expected to buy a car. I honestly thought we would find one and that would be that. Instead I had a lesson in why used car salesman are not always regarded in the kindest light. We returned home Friday somewhat discouraged. Then Saturday, China Man said he had another few he wanted to go look at. I went along totally not expecting to buy the car and then 3 hours later we were rolling out of there with this 

Quite the change from the compact cars that we have been driving. But as people who will soon have multiple kids, always are doing projects, plan to do family camping trips and will probably have a dog in the future this car made the most sense for us. I was scared of it at first, but it is kind of growing on me. I feel like it makes me tough being able to drive it. Ha! 

 I have been honestly super surprised at everyone's reaction to this new car. Most people are very openly unimpressed and somewhat judgey about it. The car salesman said this car wasn't for everyone and based on the reactions that is clearly true. However for this growing family who has spent the last year in a state of transition just dreaming and praying for when their life can move forward and actually look and be the life that we want. This car was a huge step forward for us. It just happens that my car looks like it is transporting JayZ . 

In another exciting weekend news China Man finished up some house projects. I have new trim in my kitchen and new steps. It gives the condo a cute country cottage feel. 

So when you factor in the hours of car shopping, house projects, church and basic life... that really was our weekend. Not going to lie, I fell asleep on the couch by 6:30 last night and woke up long enough to go to bed at 8:30. I feel like I hold off most of my pregnancy exhaustion until dinner time and then it is just a lost cause. At least I can hold it off that long! 

Little Man's birthday is this week and I am already getting emotional and nostalgic about my baby being one. Fair warning it might be a little extra sappy around here this week. :-) 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Favorites-

Happy Friday Friends! I hope your weekend includes fun things and relaxation. My plans have been switched around a couple times this weekend to the point where now I do not have any set plans. I think the weekend will include China Man working on the condo, trying to finish some projects (woo-hoo!!!), China Man and I looking at some potential new (or new to us, cause we are classy like that) cars and hopefully something mildly fun. Although I am definitely an adult now, because the idea of getting house projects done and taking steps to getting a new car THRILLS my little old soul.

So lets recap the favorite moments of this week, shall we?

Obviously one of the top moments of this week was sharing our exciting news Baby Cota 2.0.
Sharing the news made it seem a little bit more real and exciting.

Also baby related, we had a midwife appointment this week that allowed me to hear the baby's heartbeat.  I have a lot of anxiety during the first trimester because there is so much that can go wrong and there is nothing I can do. So these appointments do wonderful things for my anxiety. I record the little heartbeat and probably listen to it at least once a day. It makes my heart happy.

Finding random selfies like this on my phone totally crack me up. I do not know what was going on but Little Man was not impressed.

Hanging out with my sister on Monday was definitely a favorite this week. Obviously this picture was not taken this week but I felt like some kind of picture would be appropriate. We don't get many opportunities to go out just the two of anymore but when we do it is a good time.

I made these for Little Man this week, and they were a huge hit. He didn't mind broccoli pureed but steamed, he will not touch it. So when I saw this on pinterest I thought it might be worth a shot.  He loves them. They don't look super attractive but they did exactly what the Mama ordered. Got my small child to happily consume broccoli.
 So that is a wrap for this week. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I have not been honest lately

I have a secret I have been keeping the past five weeks.

photos by DNA photography 

Yep, Baby #2 is on his/her way.  Apparently I am the only person who finds this shocking information. Because newsflash, we weren't planning on Baby #2 quite yet. This little one was really ready to make his/her place in this world. So lets back up a little bit....

In January life was all peachy keen. I had signed up to run a half marathon  so I was starting to train for that pretty steady, China Man was looking at potential houses very seriously and we had a plan. Find the house we want, and when we had actual space we would add to the family. ( Hello, logical plan) Then strange things started to happen. First, I could smell the weirdest things and normally I can't smell anything. So China Man joked that I was pregnant and we just laughed it off. Then I noticed that I was feeling really rundown and tired all the time. I assumed it was because I had really stepped up my running and workouts. So I tried to watch my nutrition a little better. The one that really started to make me wonder was when I was brushing my teeth, and I started to gag. However I assumed I was on birth control and nursing, there was physically no flipping way I could be pregnant. A week later I was was sick three mornings in a row. On the third morning, I could not stop being sick. It was just like last time. I was completely freaking out. My friend was convincing me there was no way I could be pregnant. She suggested I just take a test to rule it out and stop worrying. Later that night while China Man was downstairs with the baby, I slipped upstairs and literally got the most shocking results ever. "Pregnant". Many times in my life when I have gotten shocking information, I have just frozen or gone stoic. Not this time. I started bawling my eyes out, shaking like crazy and honestly had serious trouble breathing. I hid in that bathroom for awhile because I thought I could pull myself together. I texted my best friend because she usually can put things into perspective for me.  I now laugh remembering her response "Oh wow..." and "Take another test".   I will always be thankful for China Man's response. I showed him the test all teary eyed and gross faced and he just lit up. He got the biggest smile on his face and just said " No way, this is so cool". I then responded by falling into his arms bawling my eyes out again. That is basically how I spent the remainder of that week, trying to get my head wrapped around it. Pregnancy hormones people.... they are real and I am not afraid to use them. 

 So now let me just take this moment to clarify, I am in no way sad about my second child. I know that once this baby is born I will love and adore him/her just like I adore my Little Man. This new person will also be my whole world just like my Little Man.
 Am I intimidated by the fact I will now be outnumbered during the day time? Um, yes! 

Do I find the idea of two kids under two a little daunting? Yes. 

Will I ever sleep again? Probably not.
 I also know that China Man is the best partner and will be beside me the whole time. I think that perhaps these two siblings close in age will get to grow up a little closer ( that might just be wishful Mom thinking). I love being a Mom and we had always planned on having more kids. I can't believe by the start of fall I will have 2 kids. I officially graduate from "New Mom" status. Thank goodness. Nothing annoys me more than when older woman give me that "look" and call me a "New Mom".  It is just a polite insult basically. 

What I am not excited about and have been very open about my dislike is... being pregnant. For the next 9 months my body suddenly becomes my worst enemy. Fortunately the morning sickness has not been as bad thanks to medicine and experience. When I say it is good, I mean I usually only am sick 1-2 times a day. All day sickness messes with your head after awhile. You are constantly on guard for anything that is going to make you sick, any smell that will trigger it, constantly assessing whether you should eat, worrying if you are too far from a bathroom, trying to find foods that you can stomach, forcing yourself to eat when you really do not want to, and then when you do get sick... you feel bad that your baby isn't getting those nutrients or water. So you have to start all over.  Then factor in an almost 1 year old who doesn't believe in lazy days. There have been days I honestly wake up and just start counting down the hours until evening when I can lay in my bed and not move. First trimester is ugly and when you were in no way ready for it, that just adds another hill. I am praying so much that in a few weeks maybe I will be blessed and the nausea will fade away this time.
   Until then I am starting to look at each week of pregnancy as a mile in a long run. They are not all going to be pretty or your best.However keep focused on the current mile/week and what can you do to make it better. For me this week it included hearing my little babe's heartbeat this week and getting prescribed a better medicine. Both are winning moments 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Weekend Recap-President's Day Edition

Happy Tuesday Friends!

This weekend included lots of eating out, a movie and quality family times. So basically it was a win!

Saturday we went out to eat with my parents and sister to celebrate my birthday. I was really nervous because this was the first time we have taken Little Man to a resturaunt to relax. He is not exactly in a sit still and be chill phase of life. He did really well though. I was so relieved! It helped that he had food to snack on the entire time we were there, which included french fries. Then he was introduced to crayons for the first time. He did not want to chew them the whole time which I also considered a win.

This weekend while we were at my parents house visiting, they pulled out a little rocking chair that has been in our family for a long time. He thought it was the coolest thing. As a biased Mom, I also thought he looked like the cutest little thing ever.

While Little Man hung out with his grandparents on Sunday, China Man and I went out for a little Valentines date. We went to see the new Star Wars movie. I would hardly call myself a Star Wars fan, but China Man is a bit of fan. Honestly I spent about half the movie wondering what was gong on. I love going to the movies though and really enjoyed the little break away with China Man.

On Monday, I went into Portland and hung out with my sister. We walked around downtown Portland, and ate at the best Chinese food place ever. Once again, I totally forgot to take any pictures, which is a little surprising because my sister is a selfie queen. It does not help that it seems every store in Portland now has a sign up telling you not to use your cell phone in their business. I am proud to say that by the end of the meal I was totally rocking the chopsticks. Like I totally ate noodles with chopsticks.  Of course next time it is time for me to use them, I will have forgotten my mad skills.

So that was the basic gist of my long weekend
 Becky at BYBMG | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
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Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Favorites- Birthday Edition

Woot-Woot! We made it to Friday. Does anyone have special Valentines Day plans? When I went to the grocery store earlier in the week, the lady in front of me was explaining to the cashier how everything she was buying was for her husband and how they were going to have a fancy steak dinner on Valentines Day. She looked really excited and it was cute. Then the cashier asked me if I was making my someone special anything special. I felt slightly bad having to admit when I menu planned for the week, I totally spaced that it was Valentines Day on Sunday until that minute. So our fancy dinner will be Ham and Cheese Stromboli. Let's just say neither the cashier nor the lady in front of me looked impressive. Lol.  In the words of Taylor Swift "Hater gonna hate".

So favorite moments from this week....

In a strange turn of events on Monday we did not have water for a few hours. We were given warning about this and told it could be for all day. So my survival instincts told me that it would be a good plan to fill the bathtub with water. Turns out we really only went without water for maybe two hours. But the tub full of water turned into the best activity for the Little Man. He seriously spent forever playing there swishing the water around and pouring cups of water. Make no mistake, he was completely soaked and the floor had plenty of water on it when it was all said and done.

 In an attempt to get out of the house a little more, I packed Little Man and I up and went to the library to play one afternoon. He was so fascinated by everything in the kids section. When we first got there, the room was empty but then a family with five kids came running in and he basically just wanted to follow those kids and watch them. I should probably try to socialize this kid a little bit based on that experience.

  So I am always trying new recipes but this particular recipe was a surprising win for me and Pinterest this week.

I added cabbage to the mixture too just to add some extra veggies. Maybe it is just my Pennsylvania roots showing but this was definitely a favorite of the week. Usually I never eat leftovers of a meal, something about leftovers really gross me out. However with this meal, I definitely ate all of the leftovers. 

Another favorite was my birthday!  (duh) China Man gave me a pretty, pretty Kendra Scott bracelet. I refer to it as my birthday bling. He made me a Peanut Butter Trifle which is basically the most amazing rich dessert ever. I also love all the Facebook messages. It is fun to be reminded of friends of past and present. I have one friend who literally has known me since the day I was born. Our parents were close when we were young and we shared childhoods until we were about  preteens. As we got older our lives went in different directions and we really don't have much contact but every year on my birthday I get a phone call, or email message from him wishing me a happy birthday. It is a small but very sweet tradition that I love. 

So that is some highlights from this week. This weekend our fun will include lunch out with my family to celebrate my birthday ( woo-hoo!) I was thinking Mexican sounded good but now I am thinking I might change my mind. It's my birthday so I am allowed!  Other than that, I don't really know. China Man and I have casually mentioned going to a movie on Valentines Day but I do not know. Basically this weekend has a lot of potential for spontaneous fun. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

It Is A New Decade

Today I start a new decade. That is kind of crazy to think about. I am definitely one of those people who likes to look back and think about things that have changed.  Honestly a lot has changed  from when I was 20 years old. Some people probably mourn the loss of their twenties. I however, think 30's will be my decade.

 This is me when I was 20. I was in college in Ohio, and I honestly I was not doing so well in life. I was struggling with depression and anxiety. I had absolutely no self confidence or idea of who I was as a person.  People say that college is when you find yourself. Unfortunately for me that was not true. I spent most of my college time in my dorm room avoiding the world. I didn't know what was wrong me, I spent all my time thinking I was not good enough for anything, that I was already a failure and that things were hopeless. I tried to be whatever people wanted me to be but never really felt happy, safe or secure. My senior year of college, I finally realized that I had a problem. I tried talking to some of the people I considered friends. Most of them had a hard time believing me because I had done such a good job pretending to be this different person that was so happy, upbeat and optimistic. They just told me I was having a rough time but to focus on better things. To pray more, and  read the Bible more. I tried the free school counseling that was available but unfortunately the young therapist was a little bit over her head. But that senior year was a step in the right direction because I acknowledged I had a problem and took some steps to take care of myself.

So I graduated college, and moved back to Maine. Started life as a grown up. Life didn't change drastically at first. I started a job as a case manager, started online graduate school and lived at home. Honestly, working full time and going to school part time really does not leave a lot of time for a social life.  But one thing happened that didn't seem like a huge deal but turned out to be a life changing decision for me. I joined a gym. I had never been in shape, always having  been the "chubby" girl and never really exercised on a regular basis. My job said that it would pay for a gym membership and I thought "why not".  I was so clueless and out of place at first but I stuck with it. I knew I had to go three times a week in order to meet the criteria for the free membership. Then I started learning about healthy eating, and counting calories ( I know counting calories is so not popular right now, but it worked for me).  It was a weird thing though at the gym , I learned that I did belong there. I used to tell myself other people were judging me, but then I realized 98% really did not care about me, just like I did not care about them. I learned that by accomplishing regular workouts was leaving me feel accomplished and confident. All the negative thoughts that I used to deal with every day plus the stress of daily life I could just channel into those work out. Those exercise endorphins are a real and powerful thing that I still rely on daily. 

 I finished graduate school and decided to buy my own place. So I bought my own condo. 
Another thing I started doing was hiking. Which previously I probably would have compared to medievel torture. But hiking these 3,000 and 4,000 foot mountains made me so happy. I was always sure I was going to die on the way up, but standing on top of those mountains was such an amazing feeling. I also learned that just because I didn't always look like your standard hiker ( I wore pink, leapord print, and rejected the standard hikers garb) didn't mean I could not climb the mountain. When I would tell people that is what I liked to do on the weekends, they often looked at me very doubtfully. That this girl standing in front of them wearing polka dots, bows, stiletto heels and hot pink nails would do that. But guess what, just because people think you can't do it doesn't mean it is true. In fact, please tell me I can't do something because I will definitely do it then. 

So now, I had my own place, and I was no longer in school having to spend all my free time studying. That was another game changer. I suddenly made a very focused effort to be friendly and social. It was amazing how fast I went from a small social life to always having plans. I made friends with the best group of women. They did not expect me to be a certain person and they simply liked me for me. 

I suddenly was willing to try or do anything. I was very proud of the fact that I would try anything at least once. How would I know what I liked if I did not try it? Ziplining, indoor rock climbing, hockey games, Zumba, going to a nightclub, etc. Some of it I loved ( zumba) and some of it really wasn't my scene (nightclubs, big shocker). I made fun goals like reading 100 books in a year, or trying 12 new things in 2012. Then I decided to try online dating. I had tried it before but this time I decided to take it way less serious. Just go on and try to make some new friends. I figured the worst I had to lose was some really bad dates ( which I had!) but I would probably get some funny stories and make some friends.  I remember specifically telling my friend,  "It isn't like I am going to marry any of these guys, I am just in it for the free dinners". 
I used to say that I would never live past a certain town in Maine, I would never live on a dirt road, I would never be a country girl and I would NEVER own chickens.  Then I met my China Man. 
After 8 months of dating my China Man, I said Yes. Looking back now, I was a little naive thinking uprooting my entire life, getting married, and settling into a new community would be so simple and easy. But I was in love, optimistic and ready for a new life challenge. 

 Some couples talk about transitioning into a married couple and how hard the first year is. I think most of our first year bumps came from mostly me trying to adjust and settle into a new area where I really had no friends. Lots of acquaintances but no one I could be "me". I lost a lot of confidence in that transition but I also learned so much. For example, you would be really impressed to know how much mud a Hondo Civic can drive through. I learned to give myself grace, and time to adjust. I learned every day that marrying the China Man was the right choice. (Except when he snores) In my wildest dreams, I could not have created someone more caring and protective as him. He helped me learn that sometimes you really don't have to figure everything out at once. We had a cute little life and we were happy.  Then after awhile we decided the one thing we both felt we needed and were ready for in our life was kids. 
As I have shared before, pregnancy was basically the worst 10 months of my life. Morning sickness is really an all natural form of torture. Being a Mom seemed like such an abstract concept for me. I didn't know what life would be like. It was weird to spend 10 months basically not able to picture what life would be like after a certain date. I felt confident I could keep the child alive, because I am not an idiot but what would it be like? You hear people talk about their heart exploding when they meet their child for the first time. I wanted to be that person since I certainty did not bond with him during pregnancy. 
When my Little Man was first placed in my arms there really wasn't any fireworks or sunbursts. I was just so confused. He was screaming, blue and flailing around. All I wanted was for someone to tell me he was okay. I think I asked several times before the midwife finally reassured me he was the picture of a healthy baby boy. Even then I was still so in shock that I had really given birth. Then everyone else was so busy holding him at first, and I assumed they had been waiting to meet him for so long they should him. So my moment didn't come for a little while afterwards but I remember looking at him and finally understanding what it means to say your heart no longer lives inside your chest. 

So there you have the past 10 years of my life. I would say in the past 10 years I grew up and found out who I was as a person. I have had to kind of reinvent who I am as I have taken on new roles as Wife and Mom. I still worry that people don't like me, but at the same time I have also learned how to stand up for myself. I still have sad days but I have experience and tools in my  pocket to know how to deal with it.  I will always be my worst critic and every day will is a deliberate choice to be happy. 
   I have been the girl in counseling, I have been the girl on multiple medicines, I have been the girl wishing she didn't exist, who used to not be able to get out of bed and thought she couldn't do anything. Now I am the person who now knows I am in no way weak and when I am not sleep deprived, I am a fun person to be with. I am strong because I took care of myself and fought for the person I knew I could be. I used to think it was a bad secret I needed to keep from people that this was something I struggle with because they might think I am weak or incompetent.  Now I think, if that is what you think of me after reading this then in the words of all the cool kids "Bye Felicia".  
     A lot of women who give birth talk about their "Tiger stripes" the stretch marks left from carrying the baby for 9 months. There is a movement to be proud of those stripes because it shows what you did and are capable of. When I look back at my twenties it is filled with a lot of fear, sadness, anxiety and lonliness and those are the "Tiger Stripes." of my 20's. I fought them, and  I won. So welcome 30 and I can honestly say I am 1000% happier in this picture than the first.