Back to work tomorrow? WHAT?!

We have an almost 3 month old guys! When did that happen? I cannot believe I go back to work tomorrow, I am struggling with that a little. Okay fine, A LOT. Let’s not talk about it, okay great.

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I love being a mom so much. SO MUCH. I feel like I was meant for this. While nothing can truly prepare you for a newborn and I knew that…I will say that all the years of babysitting/nannying and growing up with much younger siblings has really helped me to be very calm and comfortable with this whole experience. Naturally there have been some stressful moments, but nothing that I feel like I can’t handle thus far. Just the typical stuff. Is she eating enough? Why is she being fussy? Is something wrong? What is that rash? Am I doing this right? Is that normal? And of course the OMG IS SHE BREATHING?!

I tried to mentally prepare myself for whatever kind of baby Rocklyn was going to be. I remember talking to Shain before she was here and warning him that there may be nights where she screams for hours and that even though we probably won’t sleep for a month straight, we must stick together!! We can do this! I think I may have terrified him a little. Overall, we have been so blessed. Rocklyn is a very even tempered baby and aside from her first two nights home, she has been an awesome sleeper. She even started sleeping consistently through the night at 8 weeks! Way to go little lady, you are the bomb.

If there was anything I knew for sure prior to having a baby, it was that I was going to be a scheduled obsessed Mom who craved consistency and routine. By nature, I am terribly disorganized and discombobulated. So when I force structure and goals on myself I am just a happier and more productive person. Being a mom has made that even more important for me. Having my daily routines and systems in place has really helped me keep my sanity and feel like I have a good handle on things.  Rocklyn has also responded well so far to being put on a consistent feeding/napping schedule which has been awesome.

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I will say that there are some things about being a Mom I was not prepared for. Lonlieness being one of them. Despite having a supportive husband/father, there is just something about being the woman in all this that comes with a different kind of territory.  There is a lot of pressure and emotions that a man just cannot understand. Yes, we are hanging out in our sweatpants all day which may seem easier than going to work. But it is SO NOT.  As the Mom, this little being’s life literally depends on you and YOUR body to survive and sadly wearing sweatpants and having movies on all day does not make that any easier. It is a ton of pressure and it can make you feel trapped and suffocated in many ways.  Even if I am physically able to step away and take a break, mentally I am never able to truly check out…EVER. And being that my other half doesn’t really feel the extent of that, can be very lonely sometimes.  Especially in those early weeks when you are the only one that can feed and it’s 1am anddddddd your beloved husband is out like a rock 😉   It is easy to see how Mothers can kind of lose themselves in this process of raising a family and how important it is to get out and do some things for YOU.

 
Then there is the feeling of inadequacy; oh boy, I am embarrassed to say that this one keeps me up at night sometimes. People warned me about the “mom judgment” thing,  but now I kind of understand it. I think as a parent it is easy to feel judged because there is so much that you are literally just figuring out as you go a long, so of course it is easy to feel insecure. I can honestly say I am pretty confident in my abilities but when another mom talks about a different way of doing something, it is still hard to fight off the negative talk of, “should I be doing it that way?” or “am I wrong?” and sometime it can go as low as….”I am a mess, I suck at this”.  Then I usually have to give myself a slap in the face. Do I judge another mom for doing things differently? Heck no! So why should I feel judged and inadequate as a mom? I should not, bottom line.  If there was ever a time to “do YOU” it is being a parent.  We all have to do what works best for us and anybody who wants to criticize or disrespect that can shove it.

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One thing is for certain, it takes a village. Even if that village is your fellow mom who totally gets it and listens to you vent or who you bounce ideas off of. Or an awesome Mother-in -Law who comes over so you can go get a workout in….or go stare blankly in the corner.  As I sit here and meal prep, lay out clothes, and  write out feeding/napping schedules for tomorrow, I am still unsure of how this whole working mom thing is going to go but I will give it a whirl.  These past 12 weeks went by faster than I ever imagined they would. Send some positive vibes to this emotional wreck tomorrow please 🙂

 

2016 Here I Come!

Did you think because I have a newborn at home I wouldn’t be setting goals for this year? Come on! If anything is motivation to get after life, it is having a kid and setting a good example.  Even if they don’t really get it at this point and just eat poop and sleep (repeat 100 times daily).

Looking back at 2015…holy cow. What a crazy year full of the unexpected. One of my biggest goals for last year was to slow down and simplify my life- which turned out to be a near impossible task with the kind of year we had.  I thought 2015 could be a pretty chill year, but as it turns out buying a fixer upper home, finishing my Masters degree and having a baby are not ingredients for a chill year.  But God sometimes has other plans and let’s be honest, his plans are usually way cooler.  I mean really look at this face, it is proof the big guys knows what he is doing up there. Sigh.

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Aside from slowing down, I kept the majority of my resolutions with some hiccups here and there which makes me feel good.  But I am ready for a new year.  Because I spent the majority of 2015 pregnant and not training for any races or competitions, I am SO READY to hit the pavement and the weights hard this year.  I am counting down the days right now until my post delivery appointment when I get full permission to start running and lifting again.  I CANNOT WAIT!  I was able to work out and run my whole pregnancy thankfully, so here is to hoping I can get back into fighting shape pretty quick. Not to mention, 3 weeks into maternity leave and I am already getting a little stir crazy.  Our basement is almost done being finished which will of course be the “man cave” but I also convinced my husband to let me have a little home gym down there, victory! No excuses when I am at home in the dead of winter with the babe.

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I have some pretty big things to accomplish this year, but at the same time my goals are pretty straight forward and simple.  To summarize: Enjoy being a Mom, Get faster and stronger, Write and read more & Save money.  That is the gist of it.

To see my 2016 goals in more details you can click here or if you want some tips on setting your own goals, check out a post I wrote last year around this time here.  Don’t feel pressured that it is already mid January, take this month to really be intentional about what it is you want to do this year, don’t rush into it.  Reflect on it, write it down and make action plans.  One year from today, you will wish you started.

Stay blessed in the mess! 🙂

Mommyhood: Day 11.

Hello World! My name is Jill and I am a Mom.  A FREAKING MOM! 11 days in and I still cannot believe it.  So far it has been the most wonderful, terrifying, emotional, exhausting, BEST THING EVER!!

Much like my pregnancy, I feel super blessed with how everything went down with delivery and how everything is going currently with our new babe. Many people warned me that with this being my first pregnancy, little miss would likely be a few days late, but I had a pretty strong intuition that she would be here before Christmas, and that she was!  The  Saturday night before she was born Shain and I went out to a fancy pants dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and then met up with some friends that were in town.  Little did we know that would be our last night out for a while as that night/early next morning I went into labor!

We ended up going to the hospital at 4:30am Sunday morning as my contractions were pretty regular at that point, but they ended up sending us home as I was just not quite there yet.   When I asked the Nurse how I would know when it was time to come back, she simply replied with “Oh, you will know”.  At the time, that frustrated me because I wasn’t sure I WOULD know. How the heck would I know?! I don’t know what this is supposed to feel like! What if Shain has to deliver our baby in the hallway? Or in the car?! I just bought this car! Well, the remainder of the day my contractions got more painful, so I soaked in the tub, took a walk, did all the things they tell you to do and then exactly 12 hours later from our first hospital visit, Shain was speeding down the road back to the hospital gripping my left hand as my right hand was ready to rip the oh sh*t bar out of the car (He was actually very concerned I would rip it out, haha). Okay Nurse, you were right.  I definitely knew.  It was game time.

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Once we got to the hospital, I laughed about how earlier that morning the Nurse at the front desk asked if I needed a wheelchair and how I politely declined. This time around I could barely make it the 10 feet from our car to the door, dear GOD get that wheelchair over here!  But honestly, once they got me all hooked up and got the pain meds in, it was all gravy. I wish I could tell you that I fought through another 12 hours of contractions with no epidural and have you think I am super tough.  Nope, I welcomed that big ole needle like a long lost friend.  Maybe next time I will go for the all natural…maybe.  Anyways, once the pain subsided we spent the rest of night dozing in and out of sleep, watching Christmas movies and just waited for things to progress.  Baby girl descended very slowly but once I was at 9cm the Doctor decided to finally break my water and we got the pushing party started a little before 5am.  25 minutes later she was out! I could not believe how seamless it all went! Despite not sleeping for pretty much two days straight, it all could not have gone better.

You know the saying…”when time stands still”?  I experienced that the moment Rocklyn was out and they put her on my chest.  I seriously sobbed for a solid 30 minutes and had no recollection of anything going on around me.  Poor Shain finally tapped me on the shoulder and was like “Ummm…is it okay if I hold her now?”.  What a jerk I am! I literally didn’t even know how much time had passed at that point.  The world just stopped. One of the best moments in my entire life.

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Many people have asked if there is a story behind her name as it is a little different, but quite honestly there really isn’t.  We really liked the idea of the nickname Rocky- it is cute, strong and different.  Not to mention, it is one of Shain’s favorite films that represents overcoming odds and determination. So when we were toying with what names could produce a nickname like that, Rocklyn kept popping in my head.  As we went back and forth on other ideas for names the last few months, that one just kept coming back.

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Rocklyn is now 11 days old and things are going great. We have had one really bad night where the poor thing had a bad case of gas and screamed for hours and hours, which I am pretty sure was entirely my fault from something I ate that afternoon.  But we got through it and knock on wood, things are going well.  She sleeps well through the night, besides of course having to be woken up to eat, is nursing really well and her temperament is totally chill which is quite the relief.

There is a lot we are learning still and lots of trial and error of course. It is a little overwhelming to constantly think about following all the rules that the doctor/nurses/lactation consultants gave, make sure she has this many wet diapers, is eating this many times a day, don’t do this, don’t do that etc.  But the biggest lesson I have learned so far this early in the game is that I just have to be in tune to our baby and treat those rules as guidelines.  It is much more enjoyable for all of us that way- so I’ve just been kind of letting her take the lead as we all figure each other out.

I already see this world through a whole different set of eyes which has taken some getting used to.  My happiness and newfound love for this little human is also accompanied by constant anxiety/worry of all the things that could happen, so that is something I am working through.  I still however feel blessed beyond belief right now.  What a cool new chapter this will be, thanks for all the love 🙂

 

LESS than 8 weeks to go!

Is this real life? Less than 8 weeks to go until we have a real live human? I have not written in a while because well…things have been crazy.  Yes, I know insert your surprised face here. Jill? Busy? Shocker of the century.  Between the usual craziness of the fall season in admission, finishing up our house projects and then the other to do list of things to get ready for this baby specifically, every minute of every weeknight and weekend has been accounted for. Except for Friday nights when Shain and I are dead to the world and fall asleep on the couch by 9pm.  We laugh when people say things like “Oh just wait, your social life will go downhill when you have a kid.”  Social life…riiiiiiiiiiiiight.

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Anyways, here is a little pregnancy update for you.  Honest to goodness I have been SO blessed.  SO BLESSED.  Those of you who have read my previous blogs know, the first trimester was really hard for me.  I did not get sick or anything like that, but I was really depressed, anxious, emotionally unstable and of course exhausted.  I was truly worried it was going to be a long road for me, but thankfully around week 18 that all dried up.  Weeks 19-21 were a little tough physically because when I started to pop, I felt a lot of cramping pain and pressure which made it difficult to workout/run.  However, once I got past 22 weeks that also went away which was GREAT!

Now I am at 32 weeks, trucking along and feeling good. I don’t have a lot of aches or pains, some here and there that freak me out a little at times but for the most part I am still pretty comfortable.  I have been consistent with working out 5-6 days a week mixing in running, crossfit, yoga, spin etc.  My pace is of course that of a turtle and my strength is steadily decreasing, but that is cool! I just feel so thankful I am still able to get up and get moving.  I am really hoping it will help with my delivery and recovery.

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SHAIN even ran a 5k WITH me this past weekend! Can you believe that? Anybody that knows my husband knows he is not a runner.  He is an active guy, former football player, dedicated lifter but hates all things cardio. HATES.  He was even smiling at the end! I also happen to think it is a bit unfair that he could do a 5k with zero training and not have to walk any of it.  But I digress.

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I will admit that I always thought the hardest part of being pregnant would be the physical aspects.  Gaining weight, feeling uncomfortable etc. which surprisingly has not been that bad.  Different yes, but not bad. I am blessed with a positive body image, so the fact that I am growing by the day is of course weird and hard to get used to but honest to goodness it does not bother me too much.  Sometimes it throws me off when I catch my self in the mirror…WHOA!  Or when I see a picture like the one above somebody took of me running…WOOF.  For the record, I still love this picture.  My husband is running with me, it makes my heart happy.

All in all, I am not indulging in junk food everyday and I am staying active.  So I feel good about the growth that is happening as it is all part of this beautifully bizarre process.

Aside from becoming more difficult to sleep through the night, the part that has been the hardest of this pregnancy is the worry. The “is she okay in there?” thought that comes into my head every 5 minutes.  I pray every night that I can safely carry this baby into the world and that I am not doing anything to harm her.  It is extremely difficult sharing a body with a little being who you already worry and care so much about.  You have to think about every thing you do in a different way and THAT has been the hardest, mentally exhausting actually.  Do I follow all the crazy pregnancy rules? No, because I really do think some of them are flat out crazy.  But I still worry…A LOT.  And from what I understand, that worry won’t stop once she is a real little human in this world, it will get worse! Yikes.

So here is to hoping these next 8 weeks continue to be smooth sailing. Stay blessed in the mess 🙂

 

 

Still hoping, still dreaming.

The dreamer in me is feeling a little bummed out this week.  I received the official news recently that once again I did NOT make the registration cut for the Boston Marathon.

For those of you who are confused by this, let me explain.  Despite the fact that I finally reached my goal of running a Boston qualifying marathon time in 2014, it still did not guarantee me a spot in the Boston Marathon.  The time I needed to qualify was a 3:35 and I ran a 3:34:54.  In the past, all who qualified for Boston got in even those like myself who barely made the cut.  However, in the past few years the running community has increased, gotten faster AND the desire to run Boston since the bombing has been huge; so the last two years they were not able to accept everybody who qualified due to the large amount of qualifiers and field size limitations. Therefore, the fastest got priority.  Last year was one of those years and so was this year- go figure right?  My time was good for two years, so despite being heartbroken from not getting in last year, I was hopeful that this year I would have a chance. Not so much.  This means if I want to run in the Boston Marathon, I will need to go back to the drawing board and run another qualifying time. I plan on doing so, I plan on getting faster.

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Receiving the confirmation that I did not get in brought back all kinds of negative feelings and thoughts of not being good enough.  I was not born a natural athlete by any means. No matter if it was on the cross country & track team or soccer field I have always had to work much harder than my peers to barely be at their level.  This has done enormous things for my character growing up and truly taught me the meaning of work ethic and perseverance.  But I would be lying if I told you it didn’t break my spirit sometimes to work so hard and still come up short.

I had two big things I really wanted to cross off my list before Shain and I started on our journey of having a family. Run the Boston Marathon and and go on a solo international hiking trip.  I thought I had it all planned out.  I thought it was going to work.  But it is no news to anybody that life does not always work according to plan.

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I had booked a trip to Peru for this past May but due to everything going on with selling our house, buying a new one and finding out I was pregnant- I had to cancel it.  I was elated to find out we were expecting, don’t get me wrong.  The day I took my pregnancy test I was alone at home and I literally started dancing and jumping around in the hallway like a little kid.  But a part of me was also sad that the person who could book a trip on a whim or could dedicate hours and hours a week to training for a race/marathon/whatever- would not be the same. This little person who I already love so much is going to change everything.

Now, despite not being a mom yet I am not the person who believes that life ends once your family starts. I know life will change drastically.  I will give everything to my family, I have felt ready to be a Mom for a long time now.  I believe in putting my children first, but I will not sacrifice who I am, that would be a shame. How is my little girl to learn what hard work and perseverance look like? She will watch her dad travel all over the country working his butt off in his day job so that he can support us and she will probably tag along on weekends to help him work on his house-rehab projects, just like he did as a kid with his Dad.  She will watch her mom finally run that Boston Marathon that she trained for in the wee early morning hours or evenings when she was sleeping (fingers crossed on the sleeping part).  Maybe when she is old enough she will even travel the world with me on all kinds of adventures. This little girl will feel all the love and support in the world, but also watch her parents go after what they want and hopefully she will then learn to do the same.

Yes, the dreamer in me is a little saddened this week.  But as I am typing this, my baby is kicking away in my belly and I tell you what- that has got to be one of the best feelings ever.  I may not have hiked to the top of a mountain this year or run a fast enough marathon, but God gave me the talent to create a life and that is something I will never take for granted.

Stay blessed in the mess 🙂

Is a Simple Life Even Possible Anymore?

As some of you know, one of my resolutions this year was to “slow down”.  To live simply,  plan less and enjoy more. Things were going great in the first few months of the year, I got into a good groove of doing morning reflections, writing more, reading more and just trying to stay off the “running around like a chicken with my head cut off” path.  Then life happened…again.  As I look back at the last few years I realize I have been saying the same lines over and over again, “when this month is over it will be better” or “when I get through this project/event/season things will slow down” and guess what? It never slows down.

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When I made the decision to quit part time personal training a few years ago, I was sad but also excited for my newfound free time I would have on evenings and weekends.  But then my work load at AU picked up much more and I also started planning a wedding.

When the wedding planning was coming to an end I was relieved, again, for having my nights and weekends back….and then I had the opportunity to begin grad school.

When grad school was over I wanted to shout from the rooftops because I thought… okay this is really it! I am married, grad school is done, yes my work load is still a lot but I can handle that!  All gravy now! Nothing big was on the horizon so I even booked a solo trip to Peru to do a big hike as a celebration to end the few years of madness and finally be able to breathe and settle into life.

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THEN we decided somewhat on a whim to buy a fixer upper house and sell ours.   All while Shain and I had the craziest spring in the history of ever for work, this was also around the time I found out I was pregnant.  All HUGE blessings and wonderful things of course, but all things that yet again sped up our lives and stress a couple notches.

I am not ungrateful for the wonderful opportunities that present themselves in my life all the time, I really am not.  All of them were conscious decisions that I made or my husband and I made and decided to pursue. I am just exhausted.  As all of these wonderful things have happened, my work life balance has gotten worse and worse.  Sure, that might not be too bad when you enjoy what you do.  But I have been having a very hard time lately “shutting it off’.  When working 10-12 hour days and trying to do things on the weekend is still not enough time to cross off everything on your to do list, there is something SERIOUSLY wrong. I don’t care how much you love your job.

I truly feel I put everything into what I do, I am not just saying that to make myself look better or feel better.  I really really put it ALL in.  I will never be that person that when 5pm hits I am out the door and done caring for the day.  Truth be told, I have tried to be that person to make it easier on myself. But I cannot.

I try to be a good boss and mentor to my 27 student ambassadors, I try to be a good support system for my freshman admission staff and making sure things are running smoothly and their needs are met, I try to be a good admission counselor to the new territory of students I get every year (which ironically have become needier and needier in the college admission process over the years) and then I try to be good at everything else.  Helping support my boss in his role, coming up with new ideas/incentives, trying to set a positive attitude for everybody.  I TRY really hard.  But lately, no matter how hard I have tried at all those things, I come home feeling like an exhausted failure.

I barely have time to respond to text messages, phone calls and emails (personal and work) unless I can do them in the early dawn hours or late at night when I am home and not being pulled in a hundred different directions.  My to do list never seems to be caught up anymore…ever. So what do I sacrifice? My time at home? My morning workouts? My weekends?  I believe in following through with my responsibilities, which yes sometimes means sacrificing those things BUT to what extent? I am having trouble knowing when to draw that line and I know I am not alone in this.

I have found myself becoming resentful of others who are not able to fulfill their own duties and then I have to step in.  Or resentful of those who spend their work days browsing Facebook and shopping.  I find myself becoming anxious when somebody just wants to come and chat with me because all I can think about is that to do list and I have a hard time giving my full attention. I don’t like having those thoughts and feelings, they are not right and that is not me.

Is it possible to be a good employee, good wife, good everything and still have balance these days? Good lord I am not even a MOM yet and I am struggling with all my roles! Is a simple life even POSSIBLE if you don’t life in a shack in the mountains or just decide to be a slacker and not care? There has to be a middle ground.

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I know in the field of education especially, it is expected to give give give until you seem to have nothing left.  Because you believe in students and you believe in what you are doing; unfortunately this also makes it easy to become taken advantage of. I am sure that is true of other fields of work as well. Everywhere I look I see understaffed organizations and overworked people.  I personally cannot keep this up, nor do I want to.  I crave a simpler life so badly. I just want time to breathe. To enjoy the little things.  Is it possible to live both a passionate AND simple life? I really want to believe it is.  I truly feel the way we all live our lives today, passionate or not, is not healthy.  We are running ourselves ragged. What is the solution to this?  I am still trying to figure that out.

Stay blessed in the mess 🙂

My take on being “fit and pregnant”

Having a background in personal training for 7+ years and having worked with pregnant clients (AND having numerous pregnant friends in the past years), I thought I knew exactly how this whole “staying fit and pregnant” thing would go for me.  Of COURSE I would keep the same workout routine!  Of COURSE I would keep the same running mileage!  I mean how hard can working out while being pregnant really be? It will just take a little will power and perseverance, that’s all.  I can totally be like those girls on the Fit Pregnancy, magazines with their super toned arms and legs and little baby bump.

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I could not have been MORE CLUELESS.

Hilarious what you don’t realize until you are physically growing a human.  I have a whole new respect for all the mamas out there who stay active AND for the ones who choose NOT to stay active.  Because I get it now. Growing a baby is hard freaking work. Not only did I not take into account the aches and pains that occur, but the constant (and sometimes totally irrational) fear of “is this okay for my baby?”.  Am I being selfish?

First trimester I kept pretty much the same workout routine.  Most weeks, I would do 3 days of Crossfit and 3 days of running.  The only differences were that I was overly cautious and EVERYTHING was slower, but I could still do most movements without feeling uncomfortable.

Weeks 15-22 have been interesting thus far.  I stopped doing full burpees, crunches, box jumps etc. things of that nature but I have continued crossfitting/lifting and just lowered  the weight depending on how I am feeling that particular day.  I do not follow the “do not lift more than 25 pounds” rule, with permission from my doctor.  But I am lifting considerably less than I would normally and will probably go down in weight even farther as I get bigger. I also ate a hot dog last week and it was delightful.  Please save the speech.

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Running also depends on the day: some days I feel so great (minus the snail pace) and try to go at least 4-6 miles.  Other days, which happened a lot in weeks 19-21, I can barely make it 2 miles without feeling like my bladder is going to explode or feeling an insane amount of pressure in my abdomen as if I am going to give birth right then and there on the neighborhood trail. How’s that for an introduction? Hi neighbors!

In the last two weeks my belly has also popped significantly, which explains all the extra shooting aches and pains and the extra pressure.  So, I ordered a maternity belt and used it this week and it made such a difference!  I don’t think I have ever been so happy to make it 4 miles! As you can tell in the picture below, Wyatt was happy too.  I am hoping this will help me to continue running through my pregnancy, but we will see.  I did some swimming and spinning last week which caused me zero discomfort (except for being in a bathing suit ha!), so I may have to switch to that eventually.  But I have let go of this idea that I just HAVE to be one of those girls who runs until the day she delivers. If I can keep up a varied workout routine, I will be happy.

The inconsistency of how my body feels obviously makes trying to keep a routine kind of impossible, I literally wake up every morning and say “Okay body, what is it going to be today?”.

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Mentally, it has been hard for me to even want to workout when I cannot push myself as hard as I am used to.  I enjoy going all out and pushing past the pain and pushing past my comfort zone.  So quite frankly, I really don’t feel the satisfaction or endorphins I usually feel after workout out anymore which makes it difficult to stay motivated. None the less, I have been trucking along and doing it anyway.  I know it is good for me, helps me keep my ridiculous roller coaster of emotions in check and it is good for my baby. They are different motivating factors for me these days and I am okay with that.

4 1/2 months to go!

Stay blessed in the mess 😉

 

 

Don’t put “courage” in a box

There are two words that have been hot topics as of lately.  Courage and Love.  One would not think such words would be controversial topics. The legalizing of same sex marriage has caused the word ‘love’ to be discussed and defined. Bruce Jenner’s transformation to Caitlyn Jenner has caused the word ‘courage’ to be discussed.   Even though these two topics and events were entirely different, I group them together in my mind because I believe the same about both.  Love is love and courage is courage and it is NOBODY’S right to define or judge either of those. Leave the judgment to God.
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One of the reasons I felt so compelled to write about courage specifically is some of the comments and pictures I have seen on social media of people posting pictures of firefighters or marines etc. saying things like “THIS is REAL courage.”

One of the blessings of our country is the freedom to express opinions ideas, etc.  But on the other hand it can be hurtful to read as most of these are not opinions or ideas, they are harsh judgments and mean spirited comments.  I often wish, we could not so easily hide behind a phone or computer and open up more person to person discussion about such topics.  Like minded people “comment” and “like” each other, which does get our world any closer to understanding one another.  It just divides us more.

I have been aware of the Transgender population for sometime now and I will be the first to admit that as it became more prevalent in the media, I was very confused yet intrigued by it. I felt confused that God would put someone in a body that wasn’t meant for them and would cause them so much pain and distress.  But I also know better than to try and understand God and why he does the things he does. But did I tell somebody who was Transgender that what they were going through was wrong or mental? Did I judge them? NO.  My goal has been nothing short of trying to understand it and help my own ignorance before I make any decisions or comments about what I believe.

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Comments like “THIS is REAL courage” make me angry and sad for those making them and for those on the other end of all this. That comment alone is insulting to our whole human population.  Are people who risk their lives for our country courageous?  ABSOLUTELY.  But, we have done a disservice to courage by putting it in box.  People are struggling and doing courageous things EVERYDAY in their normal lives.  You could write a book on all the different ways people exhibit courage.

I see it all the time with the students I work with. There are days when I sit with students and just cry with them.  I cry for what they have gone through and and I cry because I wish that at such a young age they didn’t have to deal with abuse, neglect, bullying, self-hate etc. Yet, these are the strongest and most courageous young people I know.  If anybody walked a mile in their shoes, they would not doubt for a minute their courage.

It takes courage to walk into rehab. To leave a relationship. It takes courage to admit you are wrong, or scared or unsure. To walk into a new school, gym or job.  It takes courage to stand against a society that is so judgmental and harsh, that it causes people to commit suicide.  For some people, it takes an insurmountable amount of courage just to wake up every day and keep breathing.   I applaud every single one of you.  

It is really okay if you do not agree with Caitlyn Jenner or applaud her or the issue she stands for …or any other issue for that matter, that is your right!  But please understand that courage does not fit in a box.  It is as diverse as the beautiful people that inhabit this earth.

Stay blessed in the mess 🙂

 

 

First Trimester Recap!

You knew it was coming right?  I have bored you with talk of wedding planning, training for marathons, balancing a healthy lifestyle, career etc…..it was only a matter of time before you got a full blown preggo post.  I promise there will not be many of these as I will have many more things to write about in coming months.  However, being as I am a first timer to this whole experience it is BLOWING MY MIND YOU GUYS.

As of today I am 15 weeks pregnant!  For those of you who were like me and thought it was odd that pregnancy measurements were in ‘weeks’, that means I am almost 4 months along. But I totally get the week by week thing now, because every week is truly a victory.

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First Trimester was a little rough for me.  I cannot complain too much however, because I only got physically sick once.  Just random bits of nausea here and there when I needed to force myself to eat (not much of an appetite), so I am VERY thankful for that. However, the exhaustion and the emotions have been a force to be reckoned with.  I thought going to bed at 9pm every night in my normal life was bad, but for weeks I could barely make it past 6pm.  Sometimes I would go home, eat dinner and then just go straight to bed. And that is if I didn’t have an end of day emotional breakdown first that caused me to cry myself to sleep.  Not kidding…ROUGH.

The roller coaster of emotions and anxiety has been the hardest for me.  There should be a support group for husbands who have to manage this, or at least a warning in your wedding vows.   From the moment I found out I was pregnant I have had overwhelming feelings of anxiety and worry that something bad was going to happen, that this beautiful gift could potentially be taken away from me or that I did not deserve it.  I went through every possible scenario in my head until it made me sick. Sometimes it was enough to send me into panic attacks that caused me to have to leave work.  Luckily, that has gotten a little better. I have also struggled with some general depression, especially from weeks 6-10 and had a hard time shaking that.  It it is not as frequent now, but still creeps up on me.   Apparently these are all common things some women go through during pregnancy that I was so NOT ready for.

Lastly, my workouts could be summarized in two words, slow and WEAK.   For now, the girl that could run a marathon or throw 130 pounds over her head is taking a little vacation and is being replaced by girl who has to catch her breath after walking up a flight of stairs.  As much as I wanted to take a break until I got my energy back, I kept at my workouts and threw some yoga in too, I just had to take it extra slow.  This was a little tricky to explain to my fellow gym peeps since they didn’t know what my deal was yet. Luckily, I have been nursing an upper body injury so I was able to do some different workouts due to that and not make it as obvious.

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Current pregnancy craving: canned peaches.  But they MUST be cold.  Pregnancy is weird.

However, as of the last two weeks I can honestly tell you that for the first time in months I finally feel like myself!  This is so refreshing, I was starting to worry that having no energy and being depressed and anxious all the time was my new norm. NO THANK YOU.   My energy is back, my workouts feel great (but still taking it down a notch don’t worry) and overall my happy demeanor has returned. I even felt baby flutters the other day, SO AWESOME!

Surprisingly, I have not gained a single pound yet BUT let’s just say things have… shifted.  The abs I had are officially gone and are being replaced by this weird little pooch that sticks out…doesn’t really look like a bump at all…just looks like I ate too much ice cream or something. Can’t wait for it to look like something is really growing in there!

I have made a commitment to continuously eat clean through my pregnancy and not fall into that false trap that you have to “eat for two” or eat whatever you want.  Of course I would eat pizza and candy all day but that doesn’t mean I should.  I am allowing myself more treats here and there, but overall really being conscious about taking in good nutrients. I don’t think I have ever been so excited to gain weight…I am sure that mindset will change in a few months 😉

Stay blessed in the mess!

 

Remember me?

Oh hi there. Remember me?  Your friend who used to write blogs?  I apologize for my absence, or perhaps some of you were getting sick of me.  In that case, you are welcome for my absence. There are several reasons I have not written these last few months.  The first is that our life has been straight up chaos. STRAIGHT UP. Shain’s travel schedule for work has been nuts and he was barely home for a couple days at a time over the course of three months. Work for me has also been nuts.  So fine, work is crazy for everybody, what is the big deal?  Well, during the busiest time of the year for both of us we decided on a whim to buy a house.  It was not something we were planning on doing for a while, but it was one of those deals we just could not pass up.

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It was not a move in ready home of course, that would be too easy!  It needed lots of work. Which was tricky for Shain with his travel schedule and even trickier that he happened to have two other house rehab projects going on at the same time.

Additionally, during this time we were selling our current house.  Anybody who has had to put their house on the market and has crazy random showings all the time (and has a dog) knows that this process can be a huge pain and ridiculously stressful.  Again, extra tricky with Shain not being home.  So all in all, it feels we both have been running around ragged for months.

Okay… so one of the OTHER reasons I have not written is because I am terrible at keeping secrets.  AWFUL, actually.  I feel like I have to avoid talking to people or even writing when I have a secret. I have had a REALLY big one for what seems like an eternity.  WE ARE PREGNANT!  Never-mind, I don’t like that…it’s weird.  I AM PREGNANT!  Sorry, Shain.

Baby Shain

I have known this as early as you CAN know this.  So it has felt like I have been living this huge lie for months.  When I decided to not go on my trip to Peru (which I was very bummed about) I shrugged it off to people as having too much going on with the houses.  But of course, I decided against it as there were some risks in being such high altitude and in the middle of the mountains while pregnant.  Luckily, I got my money back and I can hopefully check it off the list in the future.  Hiking to Machu Picchu  would have been awesome, but having a baby is even MORE awesome:)

So, it has been hard for me to think, talk or write about anything else when growing a human is all that is on my mind.  Every time I sat down to write a post, I wanted to scream it from the rooftops. Heck, even when the bagger at the grocery store would ask me “How are you today, Mam?” I would want to scream back “STOP ASKING ME QUESTIONS!”.  So it is nice to finally have it out in the open.

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There have been many other blessings these last few months. I was miraculously able to sneak away for a weekend in April to California with a good friend and visit my beloved aunt and celebrate her 60th birthday.  I officially completed my Master’s Degree and had my graduation ceremony last month which was an incredible feeling.

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I was also elected on to the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling Executive Board, which I had gone back and forth on the decision to run for a while as it is another big responsibility.  However, after praying about it and talking it over with a few different people I decided to go for it and was voted in!

Oh and the big one other than THE big one, Shain and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary last week.  The only anniversary we will ever have with just each other…imagine that 😉  So in summary, life has been nuts.  Still trying to slow down.  Nothing like a baby to help with that…I think.

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Stay blessed in the mess!