25 Weeks Later…

IMG_0020.JPG

25 weeks have flown by! I look at the very first picture we took, 20 weeks ago, when my belly was flat and school hadn’t started yet… and I can’t believe nearly 5 months have passed. Where does the time go?!

Honestly, I’m feeling very proud of myself and of my incredible husband because we have a lot to show for ourselves since August. Both mentally and physically. We’ve accomplished so many things on our “to-do” list since getting back from Italy and finding out about our big news, and next weekend, we are rewarding ourselves with a trip to Charlottesville, VA.

I will have a larger update after that, and some pictures to share! We are excited to spend some time together as a couple… especially since the days of “snick the duo” are coming to a close very quickly. If I think 25 weeks flew by, the next 15 will probably be over before I know it. 🙂

2016, Here we come!

FullSizeRender (2).jpg

This week, the three of us rang in the new year in Atlanta with family and friends. My goodness, how we are blessed! These days, it really does feel as if there are three of us, not just two anymore. The more my belly grows and the more movement I feel on an hourly basis, the more I begin to incorporate “we” and “us” into my discussions of what “I” am doing. After all, it is not just me or me and Nick anymore… Nugget is fully with us at 24 weeks, and the countdown to April has started to speed up.

We had the pleasure of spending New Year’s Eve with Nick’s sister, Emma, in Atlanta at a restaurant called Ladybird. We had dinner and (everybody but me had) drinks and got to hear a live band who played some pretty awesome Outkast covers. As the clock struck 12, I couldn’t help but picture the year ahead. 2016 is going to be, by far, the healthiest (both mentally and physically), craziest, scariest, most wonderful, most challenging, and most rewarding year of my life to date. We are only 4 days in, and I already know all of these things for a fact.

On New Year’s Day, we had brunch with Nick’s sister and then made a trip to IKEA for the last desired items for Nugget’s room. I will post the finished product in a week or two, when we have everything put in it’s place and put together. We also got to spend time with my cousins, my aunt and uncle, and my brother, Brian. It was good to catch up and spend time with my family after the holidays, and I am looking forward to my next trip down there because my sweet aunt, Molly, is throwing me a baby shower for Nug. 🙂

The weekend was topped off with a FABulous wedding for my dear friends Chris and John. I love all weddings, but I REALLY love camp weddings because I’ve known my camp friends since I was little. I’ve known Chris and John since age 12 or so – and we spent several summers together working at Mikell while we were in college. John and I are famous for singing and playing guitar together and Chris and I got our camp tattoos together in 2008, the summer after we raced through the 7th Harry Potter book while at camp (very nerdy, we know). Not only did I get to watch these two special people exchange wedding vows, but I got to see all of my other childhood/teenage/college friends who know me better than anyone else in the whole world (and love me anyway, I might add). Spending time with them always means the world to me, and it always recharges my batteries. The wedding was incredibly beautiful, and leaving such awesome events gets harder every time, especially because I have to say goodbye to everybody for months at a time.

These next four months are going to FLY by. My second semester at school starts in two weeks, as do our birthing classes, AND my third trimester in pregnancy. I am “leaning in” to 2016 with a clear mind, open arms, and full heart. I can’t wait to see what this year will bring!

21 Weeks = 52% Complete!

IMG_3021 (1)

It is crazy for me to think that I am more than halfway through this pregnancy. It still hits me in a different way every day, and I continue to be thankful and grateful for each day that my bun grows in the oven!

We had a fabulous week, and I am getting really, really excited for this holiday season. Nick’s parents (the newly named Lollie and Pop) had a friend in town from Switzerland, with her new baby, Jack. Nick and I got to have some “parent practice” with him on Saturday, and it was the cutest thing ever. Watching Nick hold a baby (which I have seen several times before, but not since being pregnant) really woke my “mommy senses” up in a way I did not predict. I couldn’t help but melt a little as I thought about the fact that he is going to be such a supportive, loving, and kind daddy. It was also really funny to watch him practice all the different ways you can hold a baby – one of which Jack did not like – and the whole family got a chuckle out of that one.

My week, overall, was a very peaceful and calming seven days, filled with extremely incredible responses to my post from last Monday. I am so much more loved and supported than I could have ever imagined, and an experience like that can really bring things into perspective for a person. Having the opportunity to see how my actions and words have and can positively affect others was so moving, and was the type of reassurance I didn’t even realize I was looking for. Thank you all for that.

Why Eating for Two has Changed My Life

IMG_2964

I am halfway through my pregnancy. HALF freaking WAY! I can’t believe that 20 weeks has gone by so quickly. I mean, I can and I can’t. I feel like Nick and I have gotten so many “things” done, and yet, we have so much more to accomplish before nugget arrives. And then… at the same time… I realize that there is literally NOTHING in the world we can do to prepare for the day that he or she actually takes a breath in this world… and what will follow in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. I am coming to grips with the fact that we will just have to “figure it out” like everybody says.

Part of the reason I can say that is because I’ve had to do a lot of that lately. By lately, I mean, in the past few years of my life… I’ve spent a lot of time “figuring it out.” What I’ve been thinking about recently is how this new phase in my life has affected me in so many more ways than I can possibly describe, and this baby hasn’t even arrived yet. Some of you are like, “What in the hell is she talking about?” and some of you might have an idea. I want you to know as you continue to read this post that it has taken me YEARS to build up the courage to discuss this stuff publicly.

Why? Because it’s the hard stuff. Why is it difficult for us to talk about the “hard” stuff? Because we don’t like to put our problems on others. For me, it is like a disease. Like… I would rather DIE sometimes than risk not pleasing the people around me. That’s right, hello, my name is Sarah and I am a Type A, hardcore, people pleaser. So what does that mean? It means that when you ask me how my day is, I will tell you that it’s fabulous. I will tell you all about my weekend and who I was with and how great school is going, and how much I love my soccer team, etc… (the best part about that statement is that it could have applied to me in the past, could apply to me now, and can apply to me in the future… when I was 16 I loved my family and school and soccer and now that I am 27, funnily, I still love all of those things as a mom, wife, teacher, and coach). If I was having a bad day, the only person who would know it, was me. These days, if I am having a bad day, I’m a little better at talking about it. Why? Because I’ve gotten help from family, friends, and professionals for it. That’s right, I see a therapist. I’m not saying that my life is perfect now, and that I never have bad days, but when I do, they are a little more manageable than they used to be. I could not be more thankful for it.

I woke up one morning, about 9 months ago, after a very long series of events (including but not limited to: alcoholism, divorce, infidelity, grad school, new house, new job, etc.) that had built up over the course of (approximately) ten years, and finally admitted to myself that certain parts of my life were out of control. What I had spent a lot of those ten years doing was focusing on all of the bad thing that were “happening to me” or “being done to me” … and what I wasn’t focused on were the things that were going on “with me.” Around the time I was 17/18 years old, I became aware of this new “thing” I was developing. I have, since then, struggled with this “thing” during different times, different highs and lows, at varying levels of awareness and difficulty. This “thing” is what I’ve come to call “Ed”. I didn’t come up with that term – I have to give credit to Jenni Schaefer – because she is a woman who wrote a book called “Life Without Ed”, that I read a few years back. I came across this book after calling a random therapist I found on google in a hysterical state because I was tired of running from/hiding from/denying my eating disorder. There. I said it. Eating disorder.

My heart is already racing because I just typed those words, and now they are out here on the internet for everybody to see. The problem with talking about this stuff, among other things, is that I get really hung up on what people will think of me AFTER they find this stuff out. Will their opinions change? Will they think of me differently? Will they think I’m weak? I’m afraid that people will think I’m not fit to be a teacher, a mother, a coach … all of those things include being a “role model”. Well, here’s a little piece of MY personal experience. The few people who already know about Ed seem to love me more than they did 2 years ago, 5 years ago, 10 years ago. Do you know why? Because everybody has their shit. And it is no better or no worse than yours. The fact that we talk about it is what makes it real, and what makes it possible to connect with one another. It took me YEARS to figure this next part out: I thought that what made me a good person and a good friend and a good role model was having what everybody thought was a “perfect life.” But guess what that does? It makes you untouchable. Un-relatable. People can’t reach you on a personal level. They can’t get close to you. Real human connection comes from sharing your truth with others, and having them share their truths with you. THAT is what builds relationships. Another part of that, that took me YEARS to figure out, is that the people in my life who I looked up to the most, respected the most, trusted the most… were the people who were honest with me. People who shared their “scary” truths with me became stronger in my eyes. Not weaker. I loved them MORE than I did when I thought they were perfect.

So what does this have to do with “eating for two”? Well, lots of things. Not only am I physically feeding myself and my baby, I am mentally feeding myself and my baby. I want to be the kind of parent that can admit I have made mistakes. I want to teach my child that I have weaknesses, just like everybody else, and that it is OK to not be OK sometimes. I want to teach my child that love and honesty is what breeds acceptance and comfort, and nothing else. When I found out I was pregnant, some of my thinking was: “this is healthy for the baby” or, “I need to eat this, do this, do that, for the baby”. Over the course of the last 20 weeks, my thinking has shifted. It hit me one day in the form of this thought: “There is no way I can be the best Mommy I can possibly be if I am only ever thinking of what I need to do for my baby.” Sure, that is a HUGE part of it, and any parent knows that. But part of being a healthy person and a healthy parent is taking care of yourself. If the baby is “worth it” (putting all of the hard work it takes into being physically and mentally healthy) then SO AM I. I was worth it all along. It just took growing a life inside me to realize it.

I hope that this post can serve to help any women who are currently struggling with, or have struggled with eating disorders in the past. You don’t ever “cure” yourself. It doesn’t ever fully go away. You have to work on it, maintain it, TALK ABOUT IT. When one more person comes out and shares their story, the stigma loses its power over us that much more. Living your life inside that disease is one of secrecy and despair. I pushed people away for years, and lost some of those relationships permanently along the way. Don’t do the same, don’t be that person, don’t make my mistakes. Make your own… you have to. It’s the only way to come out on the other side alive and well. For those of you reading this who know me well, continue to love me and support me just as you have in the past. I am the same person I’ve always been, I just have a new sense of awareness and appreciation for the world these days, and I wouldn’t change one single moment of the journey that I took to get here 🙂

Blessings to you all on this lovely December day! ❤

Side note: Nick and I got to see Nugget on Friday and he or she is beautiful, thriving, and in constant motion! Nug also heard his/her first story on Sunday as Daddy read Brown Bear, Brown Bear!

IMG_2971.JPG

IMG_2970.JPG

FullSizeRender.jpg

FullSizeRender (1).jpg

19 Weeks and Counting!

IMG_2939

What a fabulous week! Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays, and this year was just as good as any! Nick and I traveled to Atlanta to be with my Oma and Opa, my Aunt Molly and her family, my brothers, and my mom and her husband. My uncle, Mike, has a fantastic family who hosts Thanksgiving every year (his mother Ceci really does host upwards of 20 people most years) and it is truly one of the only holidays where more than a few of my family members get together in one place. On top of all that – the Panthers beat the Cowboys and are now 11-0 for the season, woo hoo!!!

IMG_2933

We got to spend time with my little cousins this past week, and as if I wasn’t already excited for our little nugget to arrive… watching them laugh and play be curious was such a treat. I have so much to look forward to!! Nick and I talk all the time about how we want to raise our family, what kind of parents we will be, how we want to treat our kids and how we want our kids to treat other people. My cousins are so polite and caring, they are smart as tacks, (beating us genuinely in games like Junior Monopoly, matching memory cards, and tic tac toe) and they love being read to. But they grow up so fast!!! I feel like it was yesterday when I went to the hospital as my aunt was having Max (now 7) and I have already started cherishing every single moment I have with nugget. Who, by the way, has started moving like crazy and it is surreal!! It feels like a worm is squirming inside my stomach, ahh!! I had a root beer float last night for dessert and the sugar must have made him/her go crazy because nugget did summer salts in my belly for an hour!

IMG_2936

Nick and I put the crib, rocker, and changing table together this weekend, and it felt like freaking Christmas morning in our house!! We have an ultrasound of nugget on Friday, and the anticipation is something serious. I want to see his/her little arms and legs and body and head and face and nose and everything there is to see while we are in there! Fingers crossed, everything will go well. I think often of how lucky and fortunate I am to have had a healthy pregnancy up to this point, and don’t pretend for one minute that I don’t understand things could go differently at any given point. I don’t need Thanksgiving to come around in order for me to express my gratitude. I am grateful for every day that I have with nug, and for my health, and for my support network.

Next week will be the half-way mark in my pregnancy. I have been working on a draft for one of these entries over the past few weeks, and I’ve decided that next week is the week I want to share it with you all! As a little teaser, I will share the title here: “Why Eating for Two has Changed My Life“. Until then, have a great week! 🙂

 

Life Without a Sink at 17 Weeks…

IMG_2835

Hello dearest readers! I hope you all are well, and enjoying your November weather so far… I know I am (except my skin is not… it’s very, very dry… I think nugget is sucking up all of my moisture)! This week, Nick and I bring you news from the Cainade House… or “carnage” house I should say. Yes, we decided to demolish our kitchen, dining room, and mudroom in the middle of our pregnancy, all in the name of needing a dishwasher.

We are so freaking excited for the finished product!!! BUT – the hard part is being patient. Getting a new kitchen is like… a 10 part process. We needed new cabinets, new counter tops, new appliances, new floors, a new sink, new lights, etc… and it will take about 3 to 4 weeks until everything is complete. Let me tell you what… having no stove and no sink will really teach you just how “thrifty” you have to be in the house in order to feed yourself (including doing dishes in the bathtub. It has been an adventure thus far, and I have the pictures to prove it!

IMG_2833

IMG_2845

Being patient when it comes to my kitchen is a pretty good lesson in being patient when in comes to waiting for nugget. It is crazy to think that I am almost halfway through this pregnancy, and with each new day, I want it to be April 25th more and more. I took my first prenatal yoga class this week, and it was magical. I am hoping that will really help with the learning to “wait” part (and the relaxation part). One thing that has helped this week in my “I need it NOW” phase, is that we finished nugget’s nursery. We added crown molding to the ceiling, put in new blinds, new curtains, and a new rug. The crib and changing station still need to be assembled, but we will do that soon enough!

IMG_2842 IMG_2843

One thing that has been on my mind the past few days has kept me humble, grateful, and beyond blessed for the life that I live. In the midst of our home/nursery renovations, as we prepare a safe, warm place for our baby to sleep, some terrible things have happened in our world. Attacks on humanity in more places than just Paris leave me wondering things like, “how will I explain to my child why such evil exists in our world?” and “how will I protect my baby from these things?”

I don’t have the answer to those questions yet. I don’t know if I ever will. It’s just something I think about, especially in times like these. I can’t help but thank my lucky stars that I am here today, with a husband whom I love more than life itself, friends who support me day in and day out, and a family that I can lean on whenever I need. A lot of people around the world lost that this past weekend, and I do not take that thought lightly. ❤

Making some Moves at 16 Weeks!

IMG_2799

Hey everybody! I chose the title for this blog post for two reasons: literally and figuratively speaking, that is. One – the nugget has started to “flutter” in my belly and it is crazy!!! I can feel him/her moving around and oh my gosh… words seriously cannot define what it feels like. Two – Nick and I made some serious moves on the nugget’s nursery! We had a great weekend with his parents, who came over to help with the task of painting the nursery, moving some furniture, and building a shed in the back yard.

IMG_2784

IMG_2783

Laurie and I got to tackle the painting. We chose two colors for the nursery – Daffodil Hill for the yellow accent wall, and Grey Sanctuary for the other three.  I love the way these two shades compliment each other, and there is lots of room to make them either “girly” or “boyish” when the nugget finally arrives in April. We had a great time catching up and talking about the future, and it was such a great reminder of how lucky Nick and I are for having his parents right down the road. The nugget is going to be spoiled by lots of family and friends, but we are going to have a huge amount of help from them (as much as they are willing to give) and I feel so grateful for that, as so many moms and dads do not have their parents around for the love and support we will get. This weekend was our first dose of that, because we definitely could not have done everything we did without them!

IMG_2796

Greg and Nick tackled the shed in the backyard, which is going to be a HUGE help in storage space. We are moving everything out of our “mudroom” into the shed, and everything that was in the office (now nugget’s room) into the “mudroom”. Building this shed was a two-man task, and Nick is handy – just like his dad – which is another thing I am so grateful for! When we need things built, or projects completed around the house, Nick and/or his dad can usually do them, and I know I am lucky for this as most people have to hire help for DIY projects!

Overall, we had such a fun, productive weekend, and all of this progress helps to calm me when it comes to nugget’s arrival. Having a warm, loving feeling about our house and family helps me to settle in – nesting as they call it – and it helps me to get excited for this new adventure 🙂

More next week!

15 Weeks and a Great Weekend!

IMG_2735

Nick and I had the pleasure of traveling to Georgia this weekend for a dear friend’s wedding at the summer camp where I grew up. It is always a special treat when I get to see my camp friends, but this time, it was extra special to be there with nugget for the first time.

On Friday night, there was a Halloween party, where we wore our “expecting parents” costume (shown above). We got some compliments on the shirts, which was so fun, but even more than that, we got lots of love, questions, hugs, advice, and just overall excitement from our beloved friends who are so thrilled for us to begin this new journey. It was so much more than I could have asked for throughout the entire weekend. Knowing that our nugget is already so loved and adored by some of our closest friends is such a warming feeling, and really encouraging for the two of us.

Since getting married in June, Nick and I have been to four weddings, and each time it is an incredible feeling of “renewal” as it is for most married couples at such events. Seeing my friend Whitney and her new husband Nate exchange vows invokes a memory that I will never forget, which is that of the day Nick and I pledged in front of our friends and loved ones that we would love and honor each other for all the days of our lives. With each new week of our marriage, and now journey into parenthood, I remember that promise that we made to each other, and feel so grateful for the opportunity I had to marry my best friend. 🙂

Now, if you want to “test” a marriage and/or a relationship… make a trip to IKEA (which is what we did on Sunday). I am mostly being funny, but Nick and I got slightly “testy” while shopping for some new kitchen supplies, and the baby nursery items I had set out to buy (in my mind, apparently without telling Nick). We had picked out a crib and a changing station, which I cannot WAIT to set up, but I had forgotten to mention the curtains and rug that I had found for the nursery as well. When I “surprised” Nick with the desire for these items, we had to have a brief “conference” which quickly ended in me getting what I wanted… as it always does, haha!! I am always amazed at my husband’s ability to bargain, reason, and negotiate with me… because it does help to keep our finances and budget in check. However, occasionally, there are some things that I know that I (or we) “need” and I usually tend to win those small victories! 🙂 So – stay tuned as we begin to paint the nursery and assemble our crib and various nursery items!!

I have added a “bumpie” below (sorry for the horrible quality) because Nick and I forgot our weekly belly picture due to weekend travel! Nugget is definitely showing himself/herself at 15 weeks! Until next time…

FullSizeRender

UPDATE: Here is my real 15 week picture!

IMG_2770 (1)

Welcome to the 2nd Trimester!

IMG_3288

Woo hoo!! So happy to finally say that I am 14 weeks along, and in my second trimester. What a HUGE relief. Even though I have felt pretty good about things recently, it is still a nice feeling, and I know that Nick feels the same way.

This week was super fun, because Nick and I got to go to the North Carolina State Fair on Saturday. I have never been before, and we had a blast! My favorite part was the animals, especially because there were so many babies!! The little calves and piglets were so attached to their mamas, it made me teary-eyed (probably because I’m hormonal). My second favorite part was the food. Holy crap! Such deep-fried goodness! I think nugget liked the roasted corn on the cob the best. Here is a picture of me indulging in a deep-fried Oreo and a fancy balloon hat 🙂

IMG_3280

Another interesting thing that happened at the fair had to do with a random man walking up to me, and telling me that he thought my sticker was funny. (Backstory: I had grabbed a “Future Democrat” sticker at the Democrats for NC table and stuck it on my baby bump). I laughed and told him I thought it was clever, and he asked if we knew if we were having a boy or a girl. We said no, and that we were keeping it a surprise, and he said that 7 or his 8 children had been surprises and it was incredible every single time. He also said that he and his wife were “made to” get an ultrasound the one time they knew what they were having – and then asked me where I was having the baby. I told him we were going to the Birthing Center in Chapel Hill, and he had already started nodding his head before I finished. It was like he could “smell” the natural birthing route on me, haha! He told me that all of his children had been born there and that his daughter ran the place – I happen to know who she is now! We had a great conversation and it was a wonderful, reassuring, experience that reminded me exactly why I chose to go to the birthing center in the first place.

IMG_3286

Here is the picture of me with my sticker — but PLEASE do not be fooled by the size of my baby bump… my stomach was so full and bloated with fair food, haha!