Thursday, December 26, 2013

The 10th Christmas

I'm a sucker for anniversaries. I love celebrating the day I first met my husband. I remember when we got engaged and make a big deal out of it and of course, our wedding.

This year marked our 10th Christmas together. I still recall exchanging gifts before Christmas day back in 2004. I was so nervous. We had been dating just 4 months and I didn't want to get this man any stupid presents. Each year saw our traditions change as he joined my family on Christmas Eve and after we were married, I woke up Christmas morning at his parents house with him next to me to celebrate Christmas with his family.

Christmas Eve 2013 was a bit chaotic! My mom was in New York City on vacation and schedule to arrive back home late on the 23rd. But her plane was delayed and that caused her to miss her connection in Houston. She had to spend the night in the airport and landed in California at 11:00 a.m. Christmas Eve. Scheduled time for the Family Festivities to begin? 11:00 a.m.

After suffering from major pregnancy brain in the morning, I got to her house at 11:30 and started prepping the food and preheating the oven for the food that we would eat. I also made sure to turn up the heat since she had been gone for a week and it was a similar climate to the North Pole in there!

My husband, sister, brother in law, nieces and dad all arrived and we snacked, listened to Christmas music and visited, waiting for my mom's arrival. When we heard the garage open, we were so happy! She arrived! After a quick shower to wash the airport off of her, we ate and prepared to open presents.

The little ones went first, tearing into the wrapping paper and opening nearly every gift they received to check out how it worked and what it did. Their excitement was adorable. Diana asked if she could hand out the presents she purchased at her school Holiday Store next. This is by far, my favorite part of Christmas!

 Uncle Chris:  World's Greatest Uncle magnet

Au Bob: A teeny tiny mug that says "Awesome Aunt." LOVE.


We moved on to the Secret Santa exchange and had a great time guessing who our secret santa was and opening gifts. Baby D also received some items from Aunt Angela.



I have a wonderful family. I am lucky to live close enough where we can gather frequently (but not too frequently) and enjoy each others company. My husband's family also lives close and the ability to drive 20 minutes and spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with both families is priceless. We had a wonderful two days celebrating the holidays and I always feel a bit sad when I wake up on the 26th but as I told Chris last night, we have another exciting milestone to reach together in just a few months! 


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope you all end 2013 on a positive note and begin 2014 strong, happy and full of wonderment! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Funny Pregnancy Observation

I still remember the first time it happened. I was 21 years old and working at Sports Chalet during college. I didn't know many of my coworkers because I only worked a couple days a week and spent all of my time at the front of the store, working the register.

A female employee was buying something during her break and said to me, "I didn't know you were pregnant!" First of all, you wouldn't know if I was pregnant because you don't know me. And second, NO. I blame the thick polo shirts we had to wear, tucked into khaki pants. I hold some weight in my stomach but I never thought it was that much.

I was wrong. It happened again as I was Christmas shopping one year. Again, my choice of clothing may have contributed but I really thought people knew not to ask or assume! It happened at a Jamba Juice once. Only a few weeks after a young male employee was clearly flirting with me, the same dude approached me as I was waiting for my smoothie and said something about being pregnant. STOP IT ALREADY! Another time a student of mine congratulated me on my pregnancy. HUH? The funny thing is that she actually had two kids that I had NO CLUE about even though I spent an entire year working with her.

And then there was this time that actually made me cry. In retrospect, I think perhaps this lady thought I was someone else because she was very convinced that I was pregnant.

Do you know how many times strangers have made comments to me about being pregnant over the past 5 months*?

ZERO. ZERO TIMES.

This was my bump last week, at 22 weeks:






I have had one "in context" comment. While waiting in line to use the bathroom at work the other day, the lady in front of me commented how strange it was to have a line in there. She turned and saw me and said "you must really have to go!"

So that was it. I have now come to the conclusion that strangers must just think I'm really proud of my stomach fat. I can't explain how 5-6 times in my life, I have been assumed to be pregnant with a much smaller stomach and now, I'm clearly sporting a bump and I get nothing. Although, with all of the ignorant statements I hear people say to pregnant women, I'm lucky to be in that camp!

*5 MONTHS. I am 4 months from my due date today. My goodness. Time...where does it go!?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Traditions #1-4

As a person who loves schedules and normalcy, December was meant for me. I know there are events that occur each December that I look forward to each holiday season!


#1: The first home games of the basketball season! My sister's husband is the women's basketball coach at the local community college and this past weekend kicked off the home games! I only made it out to the game on Friday night but I was so happy that they won the tournament. What a great way to head into the regular season!!
 Thank goodness the girls are mostly occupied during the game with toys or a pen and notebook. Amy wanted to play second shooter and sat next to Mommy for a few minutes. 

#2: Wreaths Across America. If you don't know about this program, you should look it up! It is usually held the second Saturday in December in VA cemeteries across the country. Volunteers lay wreaths on the grave sites of each and every headstone in the cemetery. The hour long ceremony prior to the wreath laying is very moving and emotional. As someone who bleeds red, white and blue, I love being surrounded by Americans who love their country and take time to thank the men and women who served in the military. 

I live 7 minutes from a National Cemetery and there is no way I'm going to miss this event each year. I can't wait until Baby D is old enough to lay wreaths of her own. It is amazing how quickly the job gets done with several hundred (perhaps more) people get to work and lay 17,000 wreaths!



#3: Cookie Baking! I used to go nuts and make many, many sugar cookies at Christmas. That was when I was young and didn't know better. One year, I made 70 cut outs and after frosting about 20 of them, decided I was in over my head. I always intend on doing more baking during Christmas but never find the energy. But there is one occasion that gets me in the kitchen. And that is tradition #4......



#4: 5th Annual Cookie Exchange! My friend Lindsay hosts a small cookie exchange each year and I am one of the lucky ones who gets to attend! I think this year was my favorite. The group was small (just 7 of us plus her husband who dipped in and out of the party to add some testosterone!) and the cookies were all delicious! I love all the cute containers and hearing about each cookie. And of course, voting for winners in several categories. I won "best container" this year with the glass jars! I was hoping for a win in that category! When I got home, I placed  all 36 cookies in storage containers and put them in the freezer. Let's see how long these cookies will last!


Tradition #5 is fast approaching.....Cookie Decorating with my family!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2013 Highlights

I might be alone in this but I love end of the year retrospectives. BEST DRESSED! BEST MOMENT! BEST HAIR! I'm cheesy like that. I'm that person who loses track of time reading old blog posts because I want to remember the past.

As another year comes to a close, I can't help but think way back to January and how many things in our lives change in an instant. Obviously, the biggest moment of this year for me is being pregnant. Wanna know a secret? I'm still in disbelief. When you tell yourself for so long that it just isn't going to happen and you have mentally prepared yourself for a life without children, it can come as quite a shock when those plans change!

But to me, the biggest changes that happen over a year are the small things that occur on a random evening or weekend. Here are some of my favorites:

*Seeing my dad learn how to walk again, just months after his stroke. He is hoping to have his drivers license back by the end of this year. Fingers crossed!

*Hitting a double during one of several softball seasons. A double! That was a big deal to me!

*Spending a few hours in Wine Country with my husband and enjoying a wine tasting WITH my husband, who doesn't drink wine. First time for everything!

*The conversation we had in February regarding our plans to try IVF. That conversation gave me a renewed hope and removed so much anxiety and sadness regarding our childless situation. I was able to live life in such a positive way after we made that decision. It was truly a blessing that my husband decided to paint that bedroom and embrace a topic we both had avoided for months.

*Taking a road trip to a new destination! We drove 3.5 hours to the Mendocino Coast in June for our anniversary. The drive was long and very boring until we hit the ocean and then I was in love! Despite a growing head cold, we had a great time soaking up the view from our ocean view room and falling in love with the charm of a small coastal city.

*After years and years of wanting to do it, I finally completed our wedding album. I don't look at it enough and need to make a point to sit down and remind myself of that day more often.

*We had the best 4th of July this year. Yes, it was horribly hot (108 was the high) but both of our families spent time at our house in the evening. We had dinner and sat outside (dumb) and enjoying watching water fights, games of catch and blowing up fireworks. It was such a great reminder of what is important in our lives-family!

*This year was a slow year on the old blog. I wrote just 66 posts compared to 150 in 2011. A lot of that radio silence in August and September was due to keeping my mouth shut about the pregnancy. I didn't have a lot else to write about during that time since my life seemed to be consumed with exhaustion and barfing. I've been on a bit of a roll the past few weeks, blogging some thoughts and fun projects we've been working on. In fact, between October and this second week in December, I have 15 posts published-that is more than July, August and September combined! I hope to keep things going and finding inspiration in both my life, this pregnancy and the outside world.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas (and Pinterest) Inspired Art

I pinned this picture a year ago and I never got around to trying to replicate it. So lazy. But while I was in Walmart this week, I wandered into the art supply aisle and decided to spend time on my Sunday afternoon painting! I figured since my husband was busy upstairs painting the closet in the nursery, I should do something more than stare at the television for hours on end!

 I started with a black squiggle.....


 And alternated colors to make the bulbs. I tend to over do it with my arts and crafts so I refrained from adding anything else to the white space on the canvas. I think it is lovely just how it is.

 With my second canvas, I wanted to paint some Christmas trees but not just one big tree. So I went off to Pinterest and searched "christmas tree art" and found an inspiration photo!

I kept the picture up on my ipad while I painted since I have no artistic talent or vision and needed to copy.


I kind of love how it turned out. I placed this one on my dresser in the bedroom and the light strand painting in the guest bathroom. I'm not sure how I should store them after Christmas. I don't want them to get yellowed or ripped. Perhaps I will put them in a closet and not in the storage bins in the garage. It would also be fun to paint a new picture each year and create a Christmas art wall for the holidays. We have plenty of space in our house for that!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

21/19

Today, I am 21 weeks pregnant. I have "19" weeks to go. I use quotations around that because I believe 100% that due dates mean nothing and this baby will arrive when it is meant to arrive. Early, late, whatever. It is out of my hands.

I love waking up Thursday mornings to read my two pregnancy apps (which always have different information on how big the baby is!) and my weekly newsletter from my healthcare provider. That newsletter always manages to cover at least one topic that I am currently experiencing. One week, it answered questions about dental care during pregnancy on the day I was due to go to the dentist! Today, it covered heartburn and I've been having major issues with heartburn the last few weeks. Time to cut out the chocolate!

The last 2 weeks have been pretty exciting. Since we found out we are having a girl, I've been doing my best not to go crazy buying adorable clothes. I did make a couple of purchases from Gap but the items were on sale and too cute to pass up. Her room is turning into a construction zone with the closet being remodeled and wood floors being installed later this month.

I'm continuing to research the best baby equipment and I think I have settled on the best crib, car seat and stroller that is affordable but also safety rated by the experts. I plan to spend my Christmas break looking into daycare facilities. It seems like a daunting task but I just need to go into it knowing that it is 1) a necessity and 2) expensive.

For the most part, aside from that pesky heartburn, I've been feeling pretty good these days. I feel the baby rolling around throughout the day. No real kicks or jabs yet, more like muscle twitches. I can't wait until Chris can feel them from the outside!

I'm trying to spend more time talking to her but it feels a little silly. Chris puts his face against my stomach in the morning and says goodbye and that he loves her. I sing Christmas music super loud when I'm in the car, hoping she can hear it and start to love those tunes sooner rather than later.

As for a name, we are considering two and keeping them to ourselves. I'm not a fan of hearing opinions of other people. Remember-I spent 98% of the time looking for my wedding dress alone and purchased it without anyone taking a look first to confirm I was making the right choice. No one needs to opine about the name of our daughter, thankyouverymuch. I'm in no hurry to make the final decision and will happily wait until I am holding her in my arms to decide. I'm not sure my husband feels the same way but I don't feel right naming her until I meet her.

Each month continues to fly by and I know with Christmas approaching, it will be January before I know it. The actual year that I will give birth to my baby will be here. It is all still so surreal!



Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas is UP!

With only 3.5 weeks until Christmas, I knew we had to put our Christmas decorations up by December 1. I got to work Friday morning and spent a couple of hours making sure everything was in the right place. What made this day extra special were the items I purchased after Christmas last year that I never got to display. I had a couple of pillows to throw on the couch and most importantly, the pre-lit 3 foot Christmas tree I got at Walmart for $5. I was most excited to display that tree somewhere special!

I placed it on a media cabinet in our loft. It is visible from the street and makes me happy when I walk up and down the stairs each day! So far, Kitty has only knocked two ornaments off! 


After I decorated our mantle, I noticed something was missing. I usually have 4 tall objects placed on the mantle and with those gone, the wall around our clock that hangs on the wall seemed so empty. I scoured Pinterest for a picture that would serve as inspiration. I also needed a new idea for how to display the Christmas cards we received and lucky me, I found the perfect idea that would fulfill both needs!

Red Ribbon from Walmart, extra sticky glue to hold the pieces together and some tape at the bottom of the "tree", I'm all set to display the variety of Christmas cards we get in the mail AND fill the empty wall space above the fireplace. Instead of gluing each card to the ribbon, I will be using tiny clothespins that I have used to display the cards in the past. I can't wait to see the ribbon fill up!

 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Mail for Heroes

I think I write a post every single year at this time, urging people to participate in this easy program.

1. Grab a box of Christmas cards, thank you cards, blank cards.

2. Write 2-3 sentences to the men and women who are serving or have served in the military and their families. These cards are distributed randomly.

3. Stick them in a large envelope and mail to:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791

This is an easy way to pass along holiday greetings to a deserving American. I had students at several of the schools I serve make cards last week and today, I stuffed a medium sized flat rate box at the post office full of cards. And when I say stuffed, I mean STUFFED. I probably had close to 300 cards, if not more.

Cards MUST be received to their facility by Friday December 6, 2013. Not postmarked for 12/6. Received on 12/6.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Meet Our Daughter

Daughter. I will have a daughter. My husband will be the father of a girl. My nieces will have a little girl cousin to have as their little doll. 

Yesterday seemed like a dream. For 19 weeks, we've known a baby is growing inside of me but yesterday changed something. I know she is a she. This girl who will become the center of our universe for a lifetime. 

Meet our daughter! 


Ultrasound pictures are creepy! Here is a shot of her little baby hand...
Hello mommy and daddy and lady pushing down on me with some strange object. No, I will not sit still! My mommy had a sip of Pepsi before her appointment! I'M ALL JACKED UP ON PEPSI!

Now, I will attempt to not buy every single adorable piece of girl clothing known to man. Wish me luck! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What is Baby D?

On Saturday, we go in for our 20 week (19w2d) ultrasound. This ultrasound is mainly done for measurement purposes but we are most excited about finding out the sex of this little baby! This appointment was made way back the first week of September and at the time, November 23 seemed like a LIFETIME away. And here we are, just two days away. I can't believe it! I honestly don't know how people wait an entire 40 weeks to find out what they are having. The anticipation has been building the last couple of weeks and I find myself thinking about it all too often, as if I can figure it out just based on my thoughts.

Over the past few weeks, I've been testing out some of those gender/sex predictors online. The old wives tales and charts that make you do silly things to determine if you are having a boy or a girl. Here are the results!

Chinese Birth Calendar Chart:
I used 5 online charts. Three said girl and two said boy. One of the charts that predicted boy was using my chinese lunar age and not my traditional age. One point to Team Pink.

Mayans:
The Mayan prediction is that if the mother's age at conception and the year of conception are both odd, the baby is a girl.  I was 33 and the year was 2013. One point to Team Pink.

Nausea:
More nausea=girl
No nausea=boy
One point to Team Pink.

Heart Rate:
Above 140: girl
Below 140: boy
I've asked both times that I've had doctors appointments and it has varied. The last reading on my home doppler was 145 but the last reading on the doctor's (better) doppler was 138. I'm calling this one a draw.

Acne:
More acne=girl
Less acne=boy
For the first time in my life, my skin has been well behaved, at least up to this point.
One point Team Blue.

Clumsiness:
More clumsy=boy
Less/same=girl
I don't notice that I'm tripping or banging into walls so...
One Point Team Pink.

Boob size:
Funny story: The first time I went into a maternity store was at about 14 weeks and the sales associate was explaining everything available in the store. She started talking about bras and when she guessed my cup size as a "D", I corrected her and said "C." She replied, "You're a D." LOL.
Bigger Boobs=girl
Same size=boy
I'm not completely out of my bras yet but I probably should be!
One point Team Pink.

Baking Soda Test:
This is kind of gross so I apologize in advance. You put a bit of baking soda in the bottom of a cup and pee in the cup. If the baking soda fizzles like soda, the prediction is boy. If it stays flat, girl
I did this last night and the result was...
One point Team Blue. 

Final result:
Team PINK: 5
Team BLUE: 2

I can't wait to share the news with all of you and see if these silly "predictors" are right or wrong!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Guilt



Before I became pregnant, a friend of mine who struggled with infertility announced she was pregnant. If I am going to be completely honest, I feel more happiness when infertile friends get pregnant. Perhaps it is the (often silent) sisterhood that is formed between women experiencing this kind of grief. When this friend announced her pregnancy, I was so happy for her and for the first time in a long time, something clicked inside of me and I felt hope. As if her success could somehow rub off on me. 

Maybe I had reached that point in my journey that my sadness and despair had transformed into hope and belief that good things could happen to me too. That transformation didn’t occur overnight. It took a solid year of removing myself from the disappointments of trying to conceive and some monthly therapy to calm my nerves and focus on the positives in my life.

A couple of days after I got a positive test, I sent her a Facebook message to ask her a question.  I told her how much hope her pregnancy had given me and she said that she went through a guilty phase. At the time, I couldn’t understand why she would feel guilty! She said she made so many friends in the infertility community and telling them about the pregnancy gave her a lot of anxiety. Since I was about 2.5 seconds pregnant and feeling quite nervous about my ability to carry a baby, I hadn’t reached this stage. I was still shocked and amazed that this was even happening. 

Within the last few weeks, that guilt has crept in to my head. As I wear maternity jeans because my old jeans no longer fit and everyone that I am in regular contact with knows my news, I feel guilt. I feel like I don’t want to talk about being pregnant openly because I don’t want to hurt anyone. I know the pain all too well. I know how it feels to hear someone talking about the baby growing inside of them and feeling that ache in your heart because you want it so bad. I guard my conversations because I realize how much of a blessing this is and that everyone who wants to experience it may not get a chance. I ask the question, “why me” when there are others out there that deserve it too. 

But I can’t control that. As I have learned over the past 3+ years, my reproductive struggles are not the “fault” of others. Why miss out on my joy and happiness? I have to be true to myself and for me, that means remembering my past, recognizing the pain of others but ultimately living my life and being a model to those who haven’t reached that point of hope and belief in good. I can look back and remember getting the news that this friend or that friend was pregnant and as much as I cried and mourned my own “loss”, I always made a point to share in their happiness because walking on eggshells isn’t fun and I didn’t want anyone to do that on my behalf.

I want to share my experience but I don’t want to hurt anyone. I have this past that makes me so much more sensitive to the world of pregnancy and I wonder if it will carry over to motherhood. Will it always be with me?

Monday, November 11, 2013

In His Eyes

The first thing I noticed was that the life was gone from his eyes. His spirit just wasn't there. It was easy to understand why and medically, it made sense but that was the most difficult part for me to cope with. It wasn't easy to know he couldn't eat because his ability to swallow even liquids was gone. He couldn't stand up by himself and his speech was much different.

But none of that compared to the look in his eyes. When I walked into his hospital room just 48 hours after the stroke occurred, I was greeted with his usual "hi honey" but it didn't sound the same. He was in his wheelchair which was a nice change from seeing him in the hospital bed looking so helpless. It was heartbreaking and the picture is burned into my memory for life. I wanted the life to come back to his face. I knew with time, his arm and leg would get stronger. He would be able to eat and his speech would normalize. He wouldn't be in a hospital forever but what I wanted the most was to look my dad in the eyes and see the twinkle. The joy. The happiness that I always saw.

Weeks would pass and he would be in a different hospital bed in a different location. I would watch him re-learn how to walk and be happy to sit by his side while he ate a sandwich. I would explain to him that we wanted him to stay another week, that it was for his own good. He wasn't happy with this news but I had a way of  bringing it all together and he agreed-one more week.

Another week passed and I sat on the stairs inside the home I grew up in waiting to see the car carrying my dad pull into the driveway. He was coming home to a home he no longer could fully utilize but we did our best to make it home, sweet home. Walking wasn't quite an option yet so he was wheeled around sharp corners and through narrow doorways for many weeks.

Months passed and he was on his own for the first time. Nervous doesn't even begin to describe it but he was out of his wheelchair, walking with a cane and able to function on his own. What a relief.

A now, a year (and a day) later, we gathered at his house to celebrate his recovery. He took control of the BBQ and cooked up hamburgers and hot dogs. He doesn't even use his cane anymore. He emails us to let us know about his newest personal best on his walks around the block. He cracks jokes that make him laugh so hard he is in tears. He refers to his not yet born third grandchild as "her" and "she" because what he knows best is daughters and granddaughters.

His eyes are twinkling again. He doesn't have that far off distant look that broke my heart on Day 2. I'm hopeful for the future and feel so proud that my dad has faced these challenges and defeated each one. He still has items on his list to accomplish but there is no doubt he will knock them out of the park.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Round Up

I'm calling this post The Round Up because I feel round. Well, my stomach does.

I woke up Wednesday morning and as I do each morning, stare, push and observe the growth of my stomach. I was feeling especially bloated that morning. As someone who has a bit of a rotund gut anyways, I've decided that I won't really know when gut becomes baby bump but Wednesday morning, the gut was round, I felt full and bloated and decided that it might be a good time to just rock the maternity jeans and maternity shirt and go with it. The thought of buttoning pants over this thing just wasn't going to work for me. Sadly, I still just look chubby but I need to wrap my head around the realization that I am pregnant and my stomach is changing shape and I shouldn't be afraid or ashamed of what I am putting out there. EMBRACE THE BUMPGUT, MICHELLE!
....................

Have I told you guys that we have a fetal doppler? Our friends let us borrow theirs many weeks ago, before it was even possible to use it and hear the heartbeat. I'd been really excited about using it since we received it but didn't want to jump the gun and not have success with finding the heartbeat. We first gave it a whirl at around 10 weeks and didn't have a luck. It freaked me out A LOT and I swore off using it until after our 12 week ultrasound.

Since then, I've tried to use it about once a week, still not having success finding the baby. Since it caused so much anxiety, I made a promise to myself that I would only use it in the days following my doctor appointment, after I knew that the baby was in there and beating away!

Tuesday night, I decided to give it another shot. It took a bit of time to get a reading, but since I know what to listen for now, I recognized the baby right away. It was beating at about 145 for a few seconds and then the wiggle worm shot across my uterus. Such stage fright! I kept trying to find it again, moving the wand all around. When I found it again, I started the video on my phone to capture the sound and the number of the screen. I got about 7 seconds of solid sound before I lost it again. It is such an awesome sound! I know as the baby gets bigger, it will be a little easier to track down the heartbeat but I'm going to stick with my rule of only using the doppler after appointments!



Monday, November 4, 2013

Wiggle Worm

At my prenatal appointment this morning, my doctor placed the fetal doppler wand on my stomach and was able to hear the soothing sound of my baby's heart beat right away.....and then it disappeared.

She moved the wand over to the right and picked it up again. We listened to it for about 30 seconds and she said "you got a wiggle worm in there. Do you hear it moving around?"

Hear it moving around? No. I heard the heartbeat (always a HUGE relief) but moving around? Like swimming in there? What does that sound like? I need to be given the hearing of a doctor.

I find it so utterly strange that there is a avocado sized being swimming around in my uterus but I can't feel it yet.

As we walked out of the exam room, she said "Everything is looking very good. You are having a healthy pregnancy."

This is all so surreal. I'm not faking it. I'm not in a dream. I'm actually pregnant. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Anxiety and Pregnancy

That has been my thought since multiple tests confirmed I was pregnant. To be honest, no amount of confirmation made me really believe it. Not even a trip to the doctor's office, not even getting an official due date. Hell, I'm staring at my 12 week ultrasound picture and seeing a REAL HUMAN and I still think...

Is this even real?

This can't happen to me. I can't get pregnant. All those times trying and never have I ever been pregnant. Why this time? It must not be real. I didn't want to believe it was real just in case it was taken away from me. Then I could convince myself it was all a dream, a good dream, but a dream. The same dream I had been having for over 4 years.

For the most part, after my 12 week ultrasound, the anxiety I had been feeling since the moment that test turned positive melted away. I felt happy and relieved. I still have my moments of fear and worry but I think that is normal. I've noticed that in the days leading up to my prenatal appointments, I get a rush of anxiety washing over me. I worry I'll get bad news. My worry-wart personality is a bit catastrophic and I think just because I'm not showing yet and it is too soon to really start feeling movement that something must be wrong. And trying to use that stupid at home fetal doppler just isn't good either because I can't get it to find the baby's heartbeat. No amount of throwing up in the shower or feeling tired at 1:00 p.m. or extreme hunger can convince me that things are 100% okay.

I am trying my best to work through these moments of fear. I think about what I've learned in therapy over the past year and send those worries down the hypothetical stream that carries my fears away to a distant place since worrying does nothing to change any outcome and does everything to take me out of living for the moment.

But this anxiety is real and I know that I am allowed to experience it and feel it and decide what to do with it as long as it doesn't become overpowering. And 24 weeks from now when I deliver my baby, a new set of fears and worries will come along and I'll have to learn how to cope with those and send them down the stream as well.


My main method to keeping these fears under control is to take things moment by moment and day by day. I'm not thinking too far ahead. I'm enjoying today for what it is providing me. I can still fit into my clothes. I can still sleep on my stomach. I don't have anything stopping me from painting my toe nails. I know in time, those things will change but all I can do now is appreciate today.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

15 Weeks

This is my first published weekly update! I've been writing posts (almost) every Thursday and keeping them as drafts to be able to remember what I've been experiencing but I think I will start publishing them every few weeks. Not much changes week to week so I don't see a reason to post weekly.

My two pregnancy apps say the baby is as big as either an apple or an avocado. I can't believe how small that is but how big it has grown in just a few weeks!

Physical Symptoms: The past two mornings, I've had to make serious puke plans on my drive in to work. I should start driving only in the slow lane in case I have to pull off the road. Who told me that nausea and morning sickness go away after the first trimester? LIARS. I felt wonderful on Tuesday but not so much yesterday and today. Luckily, chewing gum helps take the edge off and I'm trying to chug water to hydrate myself.

I also feel as if an elephant is standing on my chest, making it very difficult to breath at times. I have even considered taking the elevator up ONE FLOOR at work but I have refrained. I just have to take the stairs slowly and even take a brief rest at the landing. Pathetic, I tell you. Hey Baby D, you can have some of my oxygen but not all of it! You are grounded.

I still don't think I am showing although a few people seem to think my preexisting stomach fat is a baby bump. I assure you it is not. My lower stomach is get harder and at night, it seems to bulge out a bit more but I see no signs of a pregnant belly quite yet. I hear some people say they didn't really start showing until 20 weeks with their first so I have a while to go.

Lastly, getting out of bed in the morning seems like a punishment. I've always loved sleep but I can't get enough of it these days. And although I am not as fatigued as I was earlier in this pregnancy, knowing how painful it is to get out of bed has me running to hit the pillow before 8:00, even though I'm staying up a bit later.

Emotional Symptoms: I don't think I'm going through any major emotional swings. I'm an emotional person by nature but I have found that I do get that urge to cry even when not prompted by anything. Just driving along, not thinking about a thing and then BAM, I start to get a knot in my throat. I did cry at the finale of Project Runway the other day but I think I've done that in the past. Again, I'm pathetic.


Looking forward to: I am anxious for our ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby. It will be nice to be able to identify exactly what I'm growing. I'm excited to start showing and looking forward to telling some of my students about the pregnancy. It feels weird just blurting it out, especially with students that I don't have a close relationship with yet. I told a few of my high schoolers yesterday and their reaction was so great. I always thought I would want to shout it from the rooftops and tell every person that crossed my path but for the most part, I'm very quiet about it. I guess I should appreciate the last few weeks of this before I start to show and won't have a choice but to tell people so they don't think I'm just getting fat.

I hope everyone has a great day!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fall (weather) is overrated

Here in Northern California, it is NOT fall. Yesterday, it was 86 degrees out. I went to the pumpkin patch on Sunday and by the time I left at noon, my back was drenched with sweat. I didn't run the a/c at all over the weekend and opted to just open windows but because it was so stinkin' hot, my house was like an oven.

The mornings are cold. It is 51 degrees out right now at 7:00 a.m. But by 3:00, it will be in the mid-80's with no breeze. How do I dress for this weather?????? Freeze in the mornings but be comfortable in the afternoons or be warm in the mornings and dripping sweat by 2:00?

This is why I am Team Summer/Team Winter. You know what you are going to get. In the summer, the mornings are hot, the daytime is hot and the evenings are hot. In winter, it is cold all.the.time. Easy to dress for. Fall and Spring are my least favorite seasons because the temperatures change too much from morning to afternoon. I like the changing of seasons (one reason I hated living in L.A.-80's all the time) but I really dislike these in between temperatures.

Bring on December!!!!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Conflicted

It is hard to believe that I started this blog 5.5 years ago. I now have over 1,200 posts. I enjoy looking back at this written snapshot of my life and recalling memories that seem so far gone in my mind.

For much of the life of this blog, I documented coming to grips with being infertile. I wrote about our medical procedures, vented about those failing to work and addressed my inner most thoughts on the topic of Infertility. This blog was my therapy. During a time when I had to stop reading Mommy/Pregnancy blogs, I knew I could come to this space and spill my thoughts and be comforted with words of support.

I don't want to forget my struggle. I don't want to forget where I came from or what I went through. But I do want to write about my current life situation just as honestly as I wrote about planning my wedding or trying to get pregnant while dealing with obstacles.  And that is my conflict. I don't want people to say "oh, she got pregnant and now that is all she talks about. I can't connect to that at all."

If you feel that way, I hope you hear me out. I think I have a unique perspective to offer. Pregnant AFTER Infertility. And you will know that I had a visit with my therapist last week and plan on going again in December because pregnancy after infertility is tough. I want to write about that. I want to share what I've gone through and what I'm feeling. I want to tell you that I had to throw up in a public trash can while on a walk Saturday morning because my morning sickness hit me out of nowhere. I want to tell you that my first trimester consisted of me constantly squeezing my boobs to make sure they were still sore. I want to ask your advice and get your feedback.

But I also do not want to jeopardize anyone by making them feel left out. Or sad. Or shove in their face that some people get pregnant and others don't. That is not my mission. I've been there and that is not what my goal is for this blog.

I think my goal will be to create a balance. I can't please anyone but most importantly, I need to write what I feel comfortable writing so in another 5.5 years, I can look back and fondly remember this time in my life like I've been able to do with the past 5.5 years.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. As always, thanks for your support!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The White Horses and Patience

Nanny (my mom's mom) taught her children and their children and their children many things during her 92 years on earth. To be honest, she has continued to teach us beyond her days with us. Her nickname was Patience. Most people called her that, in fact. You would have thought it was her given name. When she passed in 2007, I was mostly sad about all the amazing events that she would miss. I would miss her knowledge and reassurance that things would work out. I would miss her faith and her strong convictions. Thankfully, she left us with traditions and lessons that I carry with me daily.

One of those traditions is a bit silly. Nanny taught us that whenever we saw a white horse, we had to lick our left pointer finger, "stamp it" on our right hand, and "seal it" with our left fist. She insisted it was good luck. I've been on the look out for white horses most of my life and to this day, I lick, stamp and seal every time I spot one. I even taught Chris how to do it. On our way to softball, we would see a white horse and he followed my lead.

Lick, stamp, seal.

"What is this for again?" he would ask.

"Good luck." I said.

In the past year, I wondered what kind of good luck had been sent my way from decades of wishing on white horses. Sometimes, I never really thought of the outcome. It was just a way to stay connected to Nanny and pass along the tradition to Chris, although he insists on calling her "Nanners" which my mom pointed out that she would probably love.

I now have a different view of those white horses. Perhaps they are responsible for the loads of good fortune I have had in my life the past 34 years but there was something missing. And when that pregnancy test popped up positive and we got to see our baby moving and stretching on the screen last Monday, I thought of Nanny and those white horses and considered this baby a gift from her.

A gift for all those years of licking my finger, stamping my hand, sealing it in and believing that someday, this luck would pay off big time!

A lesson in Patience. How fitting.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Baby D Details!

It was a Saturday night in July.....

JUST KIDDING. Not those kinds of details! Considering how up front I've always been about our journey to get pregnant, I thought I would fill in the blanks a bit about what has been going on the past 2 months.

***Like I said in my post on Monday, I found out I was pregnant by taking two tests at work on 8/2. When I was just 2 days late, I looked back at 12 previous cycles and noticed that in July 2012, my cycle lasted 28 days which is unusual for me. I immediately figured that in July 2013, my cycle would be the same and decided to just move on with my life and expect my period on Thursday the 1st or Friday the 2nd. When I got to work Friday morning and had no normal signs of anything, I drove to CVS, got a cheap test and took it in the bathroom at work. It immediately came up positive. I ran outside and called Chris. I was crying harder than I have ever cried in my life and my left leg was shaking so bad, I thought I would collapse. We determined that the test wasn't accurate and I should go get another. (A Friday in August means it is DEAD in my office so sneaking in and out was easier than usual.) I didn't want to go back to CVS, so I headed to Safeway and got the last digital test on the shelf. I chugged a bottle of water on the way back but still needed to wait 30 minutes to get the urge to use the bathroom (hilarious, since I've had no problem going pee anytime in the last 2 months). When it was finally time, I sent Chris a text (and my BFF Melissa, who was on Period Watch with me all week) and got down to business. I stood in the corner of the largest stall while the hour glass turned. I was a nervous wreck. Finally, I leaned towards the test and saw.... 
Commence freak out. Commence running outside to call Chris. We again decided that I should probably get a blood test to confirm. I also called Melissa, who is the most amazing person in the entire world and to be able to share that moment with her, where I said "it's positive" was so special. We cried together and were basically speechless over the phone. I told her that I had taken 2 tests that morning but didn't tell her the first was positive because I didn't believe it.  The amazing people in the Infertility clinic ordered me a blood test that would give me a quantitative hcg test reading. That number was 854. The incredible regular doctor, who went through IVF, called me the following Monday and said she would order me two more hcg tests to ensure my numbers doubled. The results from Monday were 5605 and the results from Wednesday were 12,217. Doubling and doubling. Good signs!

***This is when the secret keeping really started. Aside from a couple people at work and Melissa, no one else knew about this. I kept this secret from my parents, extended family and Chris' family for 3 weeks. And let me tell you-it was NOT EASY. Within that 3 week period, I drove 4 hours total with my sister and dad and spent time that evening at an event with my mom, dad and sister. We had both families over to celebrate my birthday and the following weekend, gathered to have my dad's retirement party. It was not easy to avoid family over that time and I really don't know how we managed to keep it a secret. I felt strongly about waiting until we had our first appointment and saw a heartbeat before revealing the news. In the meantime, I continued to take pregnancy tests like it was part of my job. Don't judge. 4 years of trying to conceive will make you crazy with doubt.
Yeah, that isn't even all the tests. I ordered a bunch of cheap test strips online and took them nearly DAILY. 
Hashtag insaneinthemembrane


***After our appointment on Friday the 23rd (in which I couldn't even speak in the morning, I was so nervous), we were on Cloud 9. We ran some errands and made plans to meet Chris' sister for lunch and share the news with her. We had our plans all set out for how we would tell each family member and for his family, it required a few steps. We met Miranda for lunch and sneakily showed her a picture of the ultrasound. That set the wheels in motion. On Saturday morning, we got up and went over how we would spend the next few hours, reviewing the order and confirming that people would be home. We didn't want to raise any suspicion, so we planned to visit people individually, saying that we had something to give them or show them, etc. This post is already crazy long so I don't want to go into each reveal in detail but I will say that everyone was completely shocked. It all went off without a hitch and by the time we left my sister's house after our last reveal, I was exhausted. And relieved. It was a wonderful day! I went to dinner with Melissa that night and got to share everything with her. This pregnancy finally felt real!

***A few days after that appointment, I got a call from radiology to schedule my 20 week ultrasound. I was shocked they schedule this so soon but excited to know that on November 23, we will know if we are having a boy or girl! At the time, it seemed so far away but now, it is just around the corner!

***My next prenatal appointment was scheduled for Monday October 7th and we also decided to have a nuchal translucency scan (a sonographic prenatal screening to help identify higher chances for chromosomal conditions including Down syndrome in a fetus). Since we last saw the baby on the screen at just 6 weeks, I wanted another chance to see the baby so that is the main reason I opted into this scan. Also, with my age (34) and our history of infertility, I thought it would be a good idea. I like the idea of being armed with as much knowledge as possible and to get the peace of mind that the baby is 1) healthy or 2) ability to make new plans if something came back with a high risk. This would be the day that we would start telling the world about our baby. We set up some plans to meet with friends so we could reveal the news in person but by the time 11:00 hit on Monday, we threw that out the window and I started furiously texting/Facebook messaging every single person I knew. We didn't want to wait until Saturday or later to announce on Facebook so the news went out and we were flooded with well wishes. Monday was an incredible day that I will never forget. We both received so many texts, emails and messages filled with happiness and joy. I was so happy to finally be able to share the news with people that supported us along the way.

***As for my symptoms over the past 2 months, I have experienced the main first trimester stuff: nausea, barfing, fatigue, extreme hunger, constantly going to the bathroom. While it hasn't been a complete walk in the park, it hasn't been as bad as other people have had it. Last week was the most extreme as far as morning sickness goes. I threw up Monday,  Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I'm usually fine once I get something in my stomach but Saturday threw me for a loop when the baby decided it didn't like my breakfast and I threw up twice in one hour. Ouch. The fatigue was also interesting to deal with. A few nights, I found myself in bed at 6:30 and I slept the entire night. I just couldn't stay awake. That seems to have mostly gone away although I do get tired around 1:30 each afternoon, I've been able to stay up past 8:00 the past few nights. Go me!

***And finally, for those of you that might have wondered: this pregnancy was a result of baby-making the old fashioned way. And no, it isn't because I was relaxed. That is a myth. Infertility is not cured by relaxation. I'm not sure why 5+ IUI's didn't work. I'm not sure why after 4 years of trying this happened now. But I do believe, more now than ever, that everything does happen for a reason.

This was just our time. Our time for a miracle. A miracle baby.


Monday, October 7, 2013

"Out of difficulties, grow miracles."


On a beautiful day in August, I took 2 pregnancy tests at work. I was late. I'm never late. I didn't suspect a thing. Why should I? Me, pregnant? Not possible.

I learned that day that miracles do happen. They don't happen when you want them to but sometimes, miracles show up when you least expect them. Like on a Friday in August. And again, three weeks later when you see your baby on the screen for the first time. Sure, it looks like a speck but you can hear the heart beating and although you are only 6 weeks along, you  know that the baby on the screen is meant for you. 6 weeks down the road, you brace yourself for an appointment that will give you relief or change your entire life. The miracles keep coming. You are blessed to learn that your baby is healthy and growing and things are right on track. 

Friday August 2 was wonderfully special. 

Saturday August 24, when we made the rounds to tell our immediate families the news was a day I will never forget.

Today, Monday October 7. This was the day dreams are made of. This was the day that I've been daydreaming about in my mind for years. The day we get to tell friends, family and the world that we are expecting a baby. I thought this day would never happen for us. I had come to terms with the reality of our future. Just when you think you know what your future holds, your fortune shifts. 

Dear readers of this blog, you have been more supportive than I could have ever asked for. Every sad post, every failed attempt at creating a baby, every time I turned pain into humor, you were there. Over 4 years have passed since we first started trying to conceive and today, I am so happy to say:

I am 13 weeks pregnant. I am due in April. We are happier than we ever thought possible. 

Today, at 13 weeks, 4 days. Measuring a week ahead of the first  measurement that took place at 6 weeks, 1 day.

In just 6 calendar weeks, look how much our baby grew! Insane!!!

I'm not sure how much I will update. I don't want to become overbearing and annoying. I have  15+ posts that I have written in draft form over the past 2 months that I'll keep private. I think I'll plan to sprinkle in some information here and there but as you can tell from my blog silence lately, I just don't have much to write about anymore. 

I'll be around but if I am gone for too long, know your love and support means the world!



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sah-wamped.

How joyous is September!? June, July and August see me sitting in my cubicle, attempting to be creative and magically summon content for multiple youth and adult trainings. This summer, the ideas came to me before July 1st and a majority of my work assignments were completed in record time.

I wasn't quite ready for the onslaught of busy that was to come. My schedule this year is nothing out of the ordinary but after sitting at my desk for 3 straight months, being out and about for 3-4 hours at a time feels strange. Plus, it is still 90 degrees here in NorCal and I'm ready to break out my pants and sweaters.

The good news is that the student trainings will be done on October 4 and then the massive piles of papers, notes and posters spilling off of my desk will be gone and I can get into a routine of driving to my 10 assigned schools a week. I did some calculations and discovered that I will be driving 800 billable miles in October-not counting my 70 mile round trip commute and well, my poor car is going to be getting a work out!

Working on a school calendar has upsides and downsides. The positive side includes the word HOLIDAY and the negative side includes the words 10 SCHOOLS A WEEK. That's a lot of students, a lot of potential germs and a lot of paperwork to keep up on as I try to stay organized this year. This is the year!!!!!

Anyone else have "busy season" at work? Is it Thanksgiving Break yet? How about Veteran's Day? Can I get a Saturday in my future?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Keeping a List and Checking it Often

Back in January 2011, I started a list using the notes app on my phone. This list has continued to grow over the years and I'm proud to say that as we near 2013, I've kept this listing going for nearly 3 calendar years.

This list contains random, hilarious (only to us) things that my husband says. Whenever he says something that makes me furl my brow or laugh hysterically or just doesn't make one ounce of sense, I say "I gotta write that down." Sad that "writing down" now means "typing into my phone" but so be it.

99.9% of the things on this list wouldn't be funny to anyone but us. 30% of the things on this list don't even make sense to us because they are completely stand alone words and we can't remember the context in which they were said.

It all started when my husband said that the term for really bad breath was "hyper callatosis." Days later, he said he liked riding an "incumbent bike." And then said that since he was anti-social, he was called an "anti-socialite." As you can see, this list started through his made up words but escalated into hilarious one liners.

"I would tweet that if I wasn't so ashamed that I like this show." Pretty sure this was about Jersey Shore.

"He looks like a hillbilly Benjamin Franklin." No clue what this is about.

"Is Aladdin good enough for Jasmine?" Important query.

"That train has sailed long ago." I don't think that is correct.

As I was adding another item to the list last night, I counted how many were on the list from 2011 alone and I believe there were near 70. So over nearly 3 years, I have over 150 random, hilarious, out of context phrases my husband has said. Usually, I don't look at it unless I'm adding something to it and during that time, I scroll through it and find myself quoting some of my favorite lines. We laugh and laugh and laugh.

Sometimes, Chris objects and says that something shouldn't be added but I have the authority to add whatever I'd like, whenever I'd like. I tell him if he wants to have his own rules, he should make his own list. Sadly, I'm not as funny and random as he is so the list would be short.

Why am I writing about this? We have been together for 9 years. We have lived under the same roof for 6.5 years. Life can get repetitive and boring. This "list" gives us a funny look back at time and allows us to laugh at each other even if it is only a few times a month. I love having The List. I email it to myself often just in case my phone gets wiped. I would hate to lose it. These phrases are like a snapshot in time.

It is the little things in a marriage that can keep it fresh and fun. You don't have to make big sweeping proclamations of love and lust or go out of your way to be funny. Turning every day into a reason for laughter is really the way we stay so happy!

Friday, August 30, 2013

'Tis the end of Summer

Although Labor Day signals the end of the summer, I don't really find that to be true. Temperatures here are still in the mid 90's and as long as I'm wearing dresses and sweating buckets walking out to my hot car after work, I proclaim summer remains.

But when I turn my calendar to September, I do get excited. The lack of federal holidays is a bit disturbing (c'mon Veterans Day!) but I know it is only a matter of time before the weather calms down, I can open my windows at night and my early bedtime is more appropriate because the sun is setting at an earlier hour.

I'm not one of those OMG IT IS FALL LETS GO NUTS type of people but I do enjoy the changing of the seasons. That is one reason why living in Southern California wasn't for me-80 degrees (for the most part) year around? No thanks! I must say that winter is my favorite season. I love sunny skies with a cold crisp breeze in the air. Overcast skies and cuddling under a mountain of blankets on the couch at night.

It is always hard to believe a full season has come and gone. June seems like such a long time ago! August went by in a flash and it was quite a memorable month with a lot of family time and joyous occasions. With September comes a vast increase in busyness at work. Soon, I'll be back in my car 4 hours a day, trying to avoid catching the back to school germs of the students I work with. But nothing makes me more excited than building new relationships with the kids that will grow over the course of the school year.

That being said, is it Thanksgiving Break yet? I could really use a vacation! 12 weeks to go!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

House of Cards

No plot spoilers in this post, just opinions on characters.

Am I supposed to like this show? I'm currently 7 episodes in and I feel the pull to keep watching but I find ZERO characters likeable. ZERO. Maybe that is the point? They are all power hungry douche bags-even the females.

Congressman Underwood is a slime ball. I'm not a huge Kevin Spacey fan. He is creepy, in general but his Southern accent and behavior in this show bug me. But again, I think that is the point. I don't think he is supposed to be someone we are rooting for.

Claire, his wife, is also a leach. I figure they are in some sort of arranged marriage based only on power. They seem to like each other fine but they tolerate infidelity and understand that using each other to climb their professional ladders is priority #1.I also hate how she says "Francis" after nearly every sentence when addressing her husband. No one does that. Please stop.

Underwood's Chief of Staff is a perfect match for his boss. He will do anything, right or wrong (or really wrong) to get to the top. Dirty.

Peter Russo, while pretty messed up, has some redeeming qualities. I believe he wants to be a good dad and a good Congressman but he made a deal with the devil and now has to pay the price. He got swept up in the power game and can't get out of it. Stay away from the booger sugar, Peter.

Little Miss Reporter, Zoe Barnes, is also power hungry/being victimized. But she encourages it and plays along in order to get information. I find her irritating because she is really just a goody-two-shoes low level reporter pretending to be more to build up her own self-esteem. I find her current relationship disgusting.


I'm curious to see how the season plays out. The main characters are falling more into their deals with the devil and I just don't think it can end well for all, or any, of them.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Summer of Events

I wish I had pictures to go along with these event descriptions but I am lazy so words will have to do.

What a busy month this has been! The summer in general is filled with a lot of family time, starting in May. Birthdays fill the summer months (2 in May, 1 in June, 2 in July and 1 on August) and add in other family events and it has been a full and busy summer.

This month, the celebrations got started back on the 10th when we gathered at my parents alma mater to watch my mom earn her "Block C" athletic letter at Chico State. My mom was a swimmer during her college days but because this was pre-Title IV, she wasn't able to earn her letter or be considered a true collegiate athlete. For shame! This event was a long time in the making and I am so glad that we were able to be there to witness it. Remember at the end of "A League of Their Own" when the women get inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame? This event reminded me of that scene. It was so moving, emotional and celebratory. About 100 women attended and were overjoyed to finally hold in their hands their Block C letter. The oldest women in attendance played sports in the 40's! Tears flowed!

The next day, our families met at our house to celebrate my birthday over pizza and cake, my two favorite things. They spoiled me with presents and of course, a lot of laughter. I always feel so blessed to have such amazing people to call family.

This past Saturday signaled the end of family events for the summer with my dad's retirement party. Family and his close friends/co-workers gathered at his house for a wonderful late afternoon luncheon. We ordered food from his favorite BBQ restaurant and enjoyed the strangely mild weather by eating outside and allowing old and new friends to catch up. I even created a quiz about my dad that everyone really embraced-with a group of mostly current and former educators, they all seemed to enjoy it! I'm working on a project from the day that I will share with you soon.

And just like that, the summer of family came to an end! Luckily, fall and winter are right around the corner and a new season of gatherings begins. Chris' family has birthdays every month through February, Halloween calls for a trip to the pumpkin patch and I'm very excited about a family wedding in mid-October!

The Dog Days of Summer might be coming to an end but there is no rest for the weary! Bring it, Fall!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wanted: Real Blogs

This is my 1,169th published blog post. My first post was on February 26, 2008. I have 5+ years worth of memories contained in one area.

It seems like blogging was (is?) the thing to do and has been for a while. Some are personal with a small following mostly meant for family and friends. Some have gone on to find bigger audiences through linking posts on Facebook and Twitter. And some have made it to the big stage-hundreds of thousands of hits a day/month/week, endorsements, sponsored posts, etc.

Those blogs, the big ones, started to feel like infomercials to me. What are they selling today? More like, what are they whoring out today? I felt deceived when the start of a post sounded genuine only to be tricked by bolded print and rules and warnings. No, I don't want to enter your contest to win a $100 gift card. Aren't you ashamed that some bigged blogging entity is FORCING you to blog about specific topics?

Is that what blogging has become? Getting free stuff in exchange for a blanket statement that sometimes would appear on THREE blogs that I would read in one a day. BORING.

This little blog isn't anything big. The stats from Blogger tell me that yesterday, I had 113 page views. Last month, I had 3,810. Some blogs see that in a 10 minute span!

But I love writing. I do it to keep track of moments in my life, to share fun stories and hilarious moments. I write as a creative outlet and because it keeps my mind sharp. I have stories to tell-stories of loving my family. Stories of going through infertility. Stories of tv shows I like, vacations I have planned and the story of my relationship with my husband.

I get to blog whatever I want, whenever I want. Sure, I don't have free items flooding my mail box. No one is knocking down my door asking me to blog about their newest product. I don't see a check each month from ads.

But I also don't have that accountability. I work. I have a house to clean, grocery shopping to do, exercise to complete and a husband and a cat to spend time with. I don't have the time (or the desire) to respond to sponsorships or Paypal accounts. Would it be nice to get paid to blog? SURE! Who wouldn't want to make extra money? But to hand over creative freedom from a place that I consider my own?

No way. Not worth it. And although I hate the term, I don't want to be an Internet Sell-Out.

I would love to read regularly updated, personal blogs. I would love to get to know you and your life, as you share it. I hope you have enjoyed reading this little journal over the past 1,169 posts. I hope I can provide more silly life stories over the years!