In 2015 heartbreak miscarriage New Year

2015: My Year in Review

It's that time of year when everyone looks back at the year to see what has happened, to think about the new year. And this year, for me, was a year of absolute heartbreak.

January began with cautious optimism. I was feeling normal again, Nathan was going to start a new job, and Jace was going to start daycare for the first time. My job moved into the beautiful new office where snow didn't come through the windows and the heat actually worked.

Then Nathan's car died. We became a one car family, but were thankful it had waited until he worked walking distance from home.

We enjoyed the most snow we've ever seen in Kentucky, made snow cream, and drank a lot of hot chocolate well into March, when I found out I was expecting, quite unexpectedly.

Again, we were cautiously optimistic, but as soon as I saw the heartbeat on the 6 week ultrasound, caution was thrown aside as I was in love.



Two days before my son's 3rd birthday party, I discovered that I had miscarried again, this baby had only lived 9 weeks.


We mourned, we cried on the shoulders of friends, and we tried to move on.

Walter the bearded dragon joined our family, named by the three year old, and provided great entertainment to all.

Family invited us to Florida for the best family vacation we've had, and I was able to watch my son fall in love with the ocean and waves.

I was diagnosed with depression in May, put on medication and told that I was not crazy, just responding to what the world had thrown at me. I began to get better.

                    

Jace and his best friend Clay met Thomas the train and went on his first train ride.



Then Nathan was so sick Father's Day that we took him to the emergency room. They released him, but before we knew it, he was back in, and then we were transferring him to the Cleveland Clinic discussing surgery as the most viable option.

The summer passed with hospitals, doctor appointments, and me being a single mom in Kentucky while he recovered in Cleveland.



One surgery became two became three, 12 weeks became 16 became 20. Unable to make finances work, seeing the mess that was my life and marriage, I made the hardest choice: I left home. I handed in my resignation, said goodbye to my church, my friends, my mountains, and started over.

Within two weeks I had found a new job, one where I am utterly replaceable and my opinion is not asked for, nor taken with any credibility.


I made a trip back home to see my people and to go to the grave of my baby one week after their due date. I got to feel the closure that comes with having a place to mourn and a place to return.

I was reminded that distance does not end friendships, and thanked God daily for the people that, even through all this, still listened and encouraged me.


So, waking up on January 1, 2016, I am putting this year behind me. I'm taking the Christina Yang approach that says, "If you want crappy things to stop happening to you, stop accepting crap and demand something more."

Two Thousand Sixteen, I eagerly greet you. I look forward to what  you will bring, what you will change, and who you will let me encounter.

I demand life in 2016, instead of survival.
I demand joy rather than heartbreak.
I demand security to replace mind-numbing fear.
And, above all, I demand myself back, the optimist that 2015 has held hostage.


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In anniversary husband husband and wife marriage

For Better or Worse

When I got married, I heard that the first year of marriage was the hardest. You had to learn to live with all of each others flaws, to budget together, to really be adults and partners.

But if I'm being very honest, despite the learning curves and welcoming our son into the world four months into our first year of marriage, I would not dare say it was the hardest year of marriage. In the past year we have truly tested our vows. We have been so far into "or poorer" that we moved into the basement at Nathan's parents. Living in the hospital for nearly two weeks and planning for two additional surgeries for him plus surgery and testing for me, means we've definitely experienced the "in sickness and in health." Quite frankly, this year has very strongly been a year of the "or worse."

And, in the interest of being transparent, I have to admit to struggling with the "till death do us part." There's nothing like extreme stress, rapid change, drastic loss and uncertainty to really exacerbate the problems that already exist in marriage. Like any couple, Nathan and I have had recurring issues in our marriage. Issues that are challenging enough to work through without all the other pressing changes.

But for today, today I'd like to focus on the good. I want to remember that for four years, this man has stood by my side. He has held me when I cried as often as he has frustrated me. He has listened to me for days on end when I need to vent, he is my sounding board, and he unfailingly loves me. Whether or not he always shows it, he is the unfailing one in this relationship that always, always, no matter how angry or frustrated he is, says "I love you."

Happy Anniversary my love. Thank you for your dedication and loyalty, your comfort, and for being my friend no matter how crazy I am. I love you.




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In Cleveland law office life link up monthly learning Things I Learned

Replaced, Quashed, Constructed (November Learning)

1.) A Motion to Quash is a real thing.

I started working in a law office at the end of last month. I do a lot of filing, phone answering, and typing, which means typing anything that is needed. Most of it seemed normal to me, but then I got to type a Motion to Quash. I seriously looked at the word over and over, certain I had to be reading it wrong, but in the legal work it exists!


2.) I'm not awful with construction.

Since moving in with my in-laws, we took on the task of making Jace his own room, which involved drywall, lots of mud, hours of painting, and adding flooring. While I didn't help with all aspects, I did assist with the mudding of the drywall, and though I wore quite a bit, I was overall not bad at it.


  3.) If you allow a three year old to choose the color of his new bedroom, assume it will be bright.

We told Jace he could pick whatever he wanted as a color for his room, and he said he wanted blue. While standing at Lowe's looking at the paint samples, he chooses Adriatic Azure. He loves it and that is what matters though, plus he had an excellent time getting it onto the walls.

4.) Being replaced (even when it's absolutely necessary) still hurts.

I've talked a lot about my job at the ACA. I loved it, I enjoyed the travel, the day to day aspect, the new building, and especially some of my coworkers. But when I had to leave (sadly, we couldn't find a way for me to do the job from 400 miles away) I knew they would have to hire someone to replace me. But when they did, I was shocked by how emotional I felt about it. On a logical level, I knew that it was a good thing and that they deserve to have someone handling the office aspects that I cared for, but to know someone else is now sitting at my desk just hurts.

Many thanks to Emily at Chatting at the Sky for her monthly "What I've Learned" linkups, and it's nice to be getting back into my writing and into the blogging world. Hopefully things will remain calm enough for me to stay!

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In mindfulness mindset thankfulness Thanksgiving

Being Grateful (when all you really want is to hide under the covers)

Thanksgiving was hard for me this year. I'm sure I'm not the only one, and I don't say that so everyone can go, "Oh poor baby, you have had a really rough year."

But the Thanksgiving's of my childhood were always so happy. The grandparents came over, mom cooked a huge feast, I read whatever book I was obsessed with and, when I was old enough to drive, my sister and I would make a master plan to be at JCPenny's at 4 a.m. Black Friday when they opened to get our free snow globe and take on all the stores from there.

It wasn't much, but the predictability was perfect, and I was extremely thankful. I was thankful for my home, my friends, my family, good food, and peace. This year I've realized that I still have friends and family, and I still have much to be thankful for, but the reason I want to withdraw, the reason I'd like to hide under the covers, is because I don't have much peace.

These holidays are being overshadowed with who is missing. December 10th will be ten years since my papa passed away, ten years of holidays without him when holidays were his time of year. These holidays will be my first without the babies I thought I was going to have, the ones that I'm still accepting were real and gone before I ever got to feel a kick. Those losses, they unsettle my peace. They unsettle me.

So trying to be thankful, trying to be in the holiday spirit this year, is challenging.

However, I know I still have so much to be grateful for, so to ground myself, and to offset my lack of peace, I need to remind myself of the good things that are in my life, and that deserve to be appreciated.

1.) Jace Alexander. He's willful, intelligent, creative, compassionate, inquisitive, and his smile melts me every time. Even if he is the only baby I ever meet on earth, I am still luckier than I deserve to have him.

2.) The security of a job. It's not my favorite, but it is a steady paycheck, teaches me new (and old) skills, and has hours that are regular and make it easier for me to plan things out.

3.) Family. Family that have taken in my family when living on our own wasn't a possibility. Family that have responded to texts when I am uncertain of my next move, that have sat in waiting rooms with me until past midnight waiting for my husband to get out of surgery, and that have done what they can to help us through the rough year.

4.) Friends. Without my friends I guarantee you that I would not still be around to post this. My people have been the ones to keep me sane, and to continue standing beside me when I am insane. They have opened their homes to me, they have done more for me than I ever thought I deserved, and even when I was barely functional in my depression, or lashing out at everyone in anger, they still show me support and love.

5.) God. Though I may not understand this plan, and I may not understand why anything has happened, I know without a doubt that I am a child of God, and it is not up to me to understand everything, but I can trust that I am in the hands of someone that does know and does understand. And that even when I am furious and angry, when I am childish, and even when I am running away, I am loved.

These things, these relationships and securities, they are what ground me when I start to drown in the losses. When I feel uncertain, I remember what I am certain of, and those are what I feel grateful for.

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In 3 year old life cute sayings humor Jace Jace quotes kids say toddler

Mom Moments (Part 3)

Jace and I are walking Luna.
Me: Luna Lynn, stop pulling at me!
Jace: Luna in?
Me: No, Luna Lynn. Just like you're Jace Alexander, it's her middle name.
Jace: *Pauses* No, him Luna Alexander!

Me: Okay, bathtime!
Jace: I not dirty, I don't need bath!
Me: You are dirty. Bathtime.
Jace: I don't like bathtime.
Me: Like it or not you still have to bath.
Jace: Oh.

Me: Do you miss Clay?
Jace: Yeah, I miss Clay.
Me: And Miss Gabby?
Jace: Yeah... what her name?
Me: Her name? It's Miss Gabby.
Jace: No, her name!
Me: Clay's mommy?
Jace: Ohhhh, Miss Gabby is like Camille!

Jace got to pick the paint for his new bedroom, and he picked a very bright almost aquarium blue. 
Me: Jace, is this a light blue or a dark blue room?
Jace: Hmm, light blue. *goes over and turns off light* Now it's dark blue mom!




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In healing help life miscarriage

Healing

Two weeks ago was my due date. Baby Emmeline Faith or Cade Atticus was set to arrive, to be with our family for all the holidays. It's tough to write that, and hard to wrap my mind around.

This past year has been one of the hardest of my life. Last Halloween, I miscarried for the first time. I miscarried again in April. I was diagnosed with a combination of situational and post-partum depression. Nathan needed surgery, finances got to be impossible, and I had  to move away from home. When I look at my life last October, I can't recognize what has become of it now.

It's impossible to think about my life right now and not think about everything that I have lost. But slowly, I am fighting to regain my sense of self and control of my life. While I cannot say my life is currently ideal, I am morning by morning beginning to tell myself to find one thing that is good and focus on it.

Last weekend I went back to my Kentucky home for the weekend. I saw my friends, my people, and visiting the cemetery where my baby was laid to rest in May. And it was the most healing thing I could have done.

The decision to move came quickly. Everything bad that happened the past year seemed to happen in a rush: once the ultrasounds revealed that my babies were no longer viable, it was quickly time for surgery. Then quickly time to go back to work. Too quickly it felt like it was time to stop bringing it up over and over, because we are still not a culture that knows how to respond to miscarriage.

When it was time for Nathan's surgery it went from an overnight hospital visit, to a year-long ongoing endeavor that has altered our relationship and our lives.

And when the options were gone and the only viable option was to move back to Ohio, the four weeks passed in a blur. I sold all of Jace's baby things, got rid of everything that I didn't have space or desire to move, and tried to say my goodbye's to my home.

Going back last weekend gave me time to myself in the place I identify as home, time that was spent in self-reflection, in prayer, and in healing. On Sunday I went to my home church to hear a sermon that felt as though it may have been written specifically to reach me. It was directed at those who are "going through" and reminded me that this season, this year, no matter how horrible it has been to me, is a temporary season. That the point of going through, is that eventually, you get through.

So I'm not going to pretend I have it all figured out. I'll easily admit that there are mornings I wake up dealing so poorly with depression that getting out of bed feels physically impossible. There are moments I close my eyes and curse at God for this happening. For my babies, for my mental health, for what I envisioned in life. But little by little I am healing, I am accepting what has happened, and I know that I have no choice but to get stronger as this season rages on.


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In chaos leaving home moving

The Move

I came to Berea in August 2008. Over 7 years ago I began calling this Kentucky town home. I made it though college, met my husband, and had my first baby. I climbed the Pinnacles, explored Flat Lick falls, ran the Spoonbread festival 5k, and learned how to be an adult.

I also lost here: friendships and two babies, one laid to rest in a cemetery in Lexington. That was okay, because this was home.

But now I am leaving home.

Additional surgeries for Nathan, financial constraints, and other compounding issues mean that I am moving back to my birth home, back with my parents. I am grateful beyond words that they will take me back in and that I will have someplace safe to go. But I'm leaving home, and when you're faced with leaving something behind, that's when you really notice the little things that you don't want to be without.

I'm leaving my secure job for interviews and uncertainty, hoping to be hired somewhere. Really, anywhere.

I'm saying goodbye to the church that has shaped me in the past years: the church that brought meals and mourned with me after each miscarriage. That challenged me and that loved me even when my opinions were starkly different than others.

I'm entering into long-distance relationships with friends that have been my rock and sanity. Knowing that friendship cannot be the same 6 hours away as when I could show up on their front porch.

The nearest Meijer to me will be two hours away. And Newton Falls certainly does not have a Thai restaurant. There's not a mountain at the edge of town to hike when I feel overwhelmed, and no one says y'all.

Berea, thank you for being my home. For welcoming me, giving me such great opportunities and friendships, and for being so hard to leave. It is my deepest hope that one day I will return.















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In Crohn's disease life link up migraines monthly learning Things I Learned

Resurrected Walter, Migraines, and Single Momhood (August Learning)

I'm finally getting back to my monthly learning link ups, so thanks for understanding the gap!

1.) Being a single mom for a month makes you really appreciate your husband.

So not kidding here. Jace is amazing, and he and I understand each other well. But being the only person to wake him up, to get him juice, to make sure he washed his hands, and to make sure he still felt loved despite only have one parent at home; it was exhausting and overwhelming. I cannot lie, I am dreading having to do it again in October. And then one more time as we just found out there will be a third surgery.

2.) Migraines are hereditary.

Grandpa had them. Mom has them to the point that they crippled her for a couple days. Sister has them. And mid-month, after a headache that just refused to go away, I was forced to consider the possibility of migraines. 'Cause, ya know, we haven't had enough medical drama over the past couple months.

3.) If you can't escape for real, make a temporary escape.

I turned out back porch into a getaway one perfect late summer evening to have a movie date and just get away from everything for a couple hours.

4.) Reptiles are great self healers.

I've introduced everyone to Walter before. The bearded dragon. Well Walter had a little accident this month while playing with Jace. Walter decided it was a good idea to jump down and run across the living room. Luna decided it was a good idea to chase Walter. Tiny few ounces Walter got stepped on by 50 pound Luna. I seriously truly thought he was dead: it looked like his ribs and legs were crushed. I laid him in his tank and planned to bury him the next morning before Jace woke up.
Except when I walked downstairs in the morning he was alive. He is somehow totally healed and doing fine now, though not very happy to be taken out of his tank.

Thanks to Emily at Chatting at the Sky for hosting these little monthly linkups!

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In Crohn's disease life

Whirlwind

When the going gets tough, the blog is the first to go.

That's how the saying goes, right?
No?
Okay, well it was worth a shot.

Most of you all are aware of the whirlwind that Nathan's been through the past month. Crohn's is a mean disease, and he's fought it for 24 years, but this time it caught up to him and resulted in a major surgery. He started out at a hospital in Lexington, ended up in Cleveland, Ohio, and will finally be coming home to me today!

It all started with an emergency room visit June 21, so you can only imagine how anxious I am to have him home and to regain some semblance of normal.

But the silver lining in all of this chaos and hardship, has been the reminder that words cannot express the compassion of our community. Our family, friends, church family, extended relatives, people close and far away have been here. They have supported us in prayer, in finances, in hope, and in practical ways like babysitting or looking after the cats. I have been overwhelmed by the love and the way that everything has worked out.


When things have gotten bad, there has always been someone to step in and say, "How can I help?" When we were convinced the only option was to move back to Ohio, move in with parents, work made it possible for us to stay in our home. To keep our life.
When Jace's daycare closed down, making it seem worse, I found another. One that actually is less expensive, and despite my mom worries, he loves it. He tells me every night about his new friends, and playing on the big playground.
When I've been here alone, being a single mom and full time employee, I've had friends text, call, and invite me over to keep me company, knowing that doing it alone is hard.
And Jace, he has been amazing. He asks about daddy, he misses daddy, but being home with just me, he has done so good and I am so, so blessed to have a little boy that rolls with the punches.

I'm hoping now, as we get closer to normal, I can get back into my writing. As we prepare for a second surgery in October, I hope to be able to keep up with this, but hey, even if not, I will always come back eventually, because I cannot stay away from writing.



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In grief heaven miscarriage open letter remembering

To My Baby in Heaven

Hi Sweet Baby,
   
Today was your due date. Your birthday should have been earlier this week (maybe even last week), based on your older brother's arrival 9 days before his due date. So today we would be at home where you would have met Luna and would be sleeping on my chest for most of the day while we watch your big brother play trains. One of your grandma's would probably be here to help out and steal cuddles from you while I got some rest.

I loved that you were supposed to be my summer baby, I was going to take a whole summer of maternity leave with you and your brother to spend at the pool and in the sun. We were going to take Luna for walks, and watch your brother learn to swim.

We never knew if you were a boy or a girl, but Daddy and I had your name decided either way. If you were another sweet baby boy, you were to be Sawyer Phoenix Kouris.
Our precious girl? Ava Victoria Kouris.
A couple months after we lost you I discovered something in the names meant for you: Ava can mean "of the birds" and a phoenix is a bird that is continually reborn. Even your name had wings little angel.

Even though we never met you, you are so loved. And you are missed every day, but especially days like today. I'm so sorry that I will never know you in this life. But I believe with every fiber of my being that you are in heaven and you will greet me when my time on Earth ends. I cannot wait for that day sweet one, because not meeting you still torments me.

I'm sure you've met your baby brother or sister, who was supposed to arrive on earth in November. We miss you two more than we can put into words, but in a strange way I take comfort in knowing that you are not alone anymore, and then when my time on earth ends I will see my two babies.

You will always be treasured, and always be counted little one.

Love you forever,
Mommy

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In April learning link up miscarriage monthly learning Things I Learned

Conference Hosting, VeggieTales Birthday, and Researching Babies (April Learning)

It's time to talk about what all I learning in April, while linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky!

1.) I do enjoy that whole "facilitating a conference" aspect of my job.
Except for "that guy." Every conference that I've ever done has that one guy who just can't get over himself and clearly still believes that men are the superior gender. I kind of despise him.
Otherwise, I enjoy my give out name badges, direct people to the correct room, make sure the fort is held down role!

2.) Kid's birthday parties are superior to all others.
Jace's 3rd birthday party was just at the local park with some pizza, homemade cupcakes and watermelon. He picked his own theme (Veggietales), helped decorate, and mostly just loved playing with his friends. It was an adorable day, and watching the kids laugh and run and chase each other with squirt guns was probably the highlight of my month.

3.) Adoption is only for those with money.
Let's face it, raising a kid is expensive. Didn't an article go around earlier this month saying something about how raising a kid costs about $250,000 over their life? Totally worth it of course, I'll spend whatever I need to for Jace. But since I had a second miscarriage in a row, and was told the odds of it happening again are 30%, I thought I'd just do a little research. The agencies that I found in Kentucky list a basic "fee chart." Between the home studies, applications fees, expenses paid to the birth parent etc, you need somewhere around $25,000 for a domestic adoption. To do international it's even more with higher and stricter rules.
For some countries you (and your spouse) have to be at least 30 years old, or have a net worth of $80,000, or "prove that you're a good Christian" to be considered by that countries adoption agency. Can I just ask how I'm supposed to PROVE my Christianity? And who gets to decide that?
In a nutshell, the research that I did just killed me a little more: it's taking the fragile self-worth of someone who has lost two babies and saying "Hey, let me decide your worthiness as a parent based on some things that you have no control over, like your age and the fact that your job only pays you X amount of dollars each year."

4.) I am not a reptile person, but Walter is pretty awesome.
Nathan has wanted a ball python for probably forever. Every time we go near a pet store he's all about the reptiles. I'm, well, just not. However, of all the reptiles, the bearded dragon looked least offensive. So when his sister asked if she could get him a little dragon as a birthday present, I halfheartedly said yes.
Well the little bugger has grown on me, and I'm actually pretty attached. He's fun, and even if he bites it doesn't hurt (thank you toothless reptile).

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In loss miscarriage

Being Okay with not Being Okay

Twice.

Twice now I've gone to an appointment, walked in believing I was full of life and full of promise, only to leave with the knowledge that instead of being full of life, I was a human morgue.

I know every woman responds to miscarriage in her own way, and my description probably only suits me, but that is the best way I've found to describe it.
My body has twice refused to accept that the human that was growing stopped. Twice my body has held on to the lifeless embryo that was supposed to be my bouncing baby. And so in the meantime, when I wait between the news and the D&C, my body is a morgue.

My body is empty now, it is my own again, and it feels very hollow. No amount of cookie dough makes a dent (confession, I've always always been an emotional eater).

And I, despite answering what feels like a million times a day, am not okay. I say okay because I don't know what other word to use and because I'm not okay with the fact that I'm not okay.

There's no rule book for how to grieve a miscarriage. When a relative dies, the whole family gets together, brings meals, remembers fondly all the great memories, plans the funeral, and is expected to do some crying, but also some laughing.

When a baby no one ever met passes on? There's no funeral to plan for, no fond memories to talk about. Thanks to a hush-hush miscarriage culture, no one knows what to say. It's isolating knowing that no matter how good your friends intentions are, they can't quite latch on to what you're feeling.

And talking about feelings, let's go there for just a quick moment. When the D&C was performed, I was 11 weeks and 2 days along. That's 11 weeks of pregnancy hormones coursing through me, meaning that my emotions are about as stable as my toddler walking in my highest heels. In a moment, I can be calm, then furious at the world. I can weep so deeply that my cries sound more like an animal, and then stand up and walk to a task that needs done with efficiency and poise.

I'm afraid that if I laugh, if I actually enjoy myself, that I'm not mourning properly. That I'm doing something wrong. But if I stay in my grief I worry that I'm making too much of the loss. After all, there are women that miscarry and never tell anyone, who am I to go on and on when other's suffer worse?

But that's the problem, I can't compare my experience to someone else because they are not me. And for me, in this moment, I am not okay. I'm not all right. And I am finding a way to let myself be okay with not being at all okay.

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In advice baby update miscarriage

What Not to Say to An Expecting Mom (After a Miscarriage)

This pregnancy is a blessing. An unexpected, sometimes terrifying, wonderful and amazing gift. But it's much much different for me than when I carried Jace. The pregnancy in between changed a lot.

When I got a positive pregnancy test in October, I was overjoyed. We had been trying for a baby, and I was thrilled. When March 3 came and I took a test, the positive line confused me. I didn't feel that carefree joy, I felt fear. I wondered if I could possibly do this again, if I could risk that pain another time. Part of me even thought it was false, so I took another test the following morning.

In October I went in for my first doctor's appointment confidently, hoping they'd do an ultrasound so I could see the little heartbeat and then announce to the world that we were expecting. This time I went in timidly. Despite trying not to, still detached from it. Hoping for an ultrasound for reassurance, but also afraid that they would because what if I saw no heartbeat again?

I know that this whole pregnancy, this entire experience, will be framed with the loss. But at the same time, I'm trying very hard to not let fear steal my joy, I'm working to be connected to and content in this pregnancy and with God (harder than it sounds for a control freak like me).

However, there are some moments that don't make it easier for me, and I know they aren't said to be mean, they're said because since miscarriage is such a hush-hush topic, no one knows what to say the next time around.

For me, personally, these are the things that get to me. And yes, they've been said to me.

1.) How's baby #2?
I know this is never said in a way meant to be hurtful, but in my mind and heart, I am not carrying baby #2. I'm carrying baby #3, while baby #2 resides in heaven. I was careful in all my announcement pictures, in everything, to never number this baby, because I no longer really know how to count. My pain, grief and love assure me that the one in heaven is and will forever be my baby #2. But to the world? Well if they never saw it, not even a bump, then to everyone else, it never really existed.

2.) So this one's legit? You're for real pregnant?
I was for real pregnant last time too. That baby just stopped developing too soon for me to even have ultrasound pictures. Having a miscarriage wasn't me crying wolf, it was me going through a tragedy.

3.) Again? Already?
Is there ever a "good" time to have a baby? A perfect or a right time? I don't believe there is, and I definitely don't think there's a perfect time to try for another baby after losing one. In fact, if I'm being very honest, I was actively not trying to get pregnant out of fear and uncertainty. That's where I firmly believe God stepped in because the plan for this baby, for its' whole life, does not lie in my hands.

4.) Do you think this one will be okay?
I have no idea. I fervently pray daily for baby Kouris' health and growth, but I prayed for the last one too. The bottom line is that whether this baby arrives perfectly healthy or not at all does not lie in my hands, no matter how religiously I take my prenatal vitamins and drink 64 oz. of water daily. Reminding me of that does nothing to help.

Otherwise I'm happy to talk about this baby: its' fruit comparison for the week, the strange cravings (pasta at 9:00am), and to image rocking her in my arms or nursing him to sleep. As I said before, I'm battling fear, but determined to win over it. I just wanted to point out some of the less helpful things that have been said to me because if I don't make it known that they bother me, how would anyone ever know?

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In April Fools Day miscarriage not funny

Before You Post that April Fools Joke

I distinctly remember my first real, true heartbreak. It was in high school, I was 16, and he ended it, completely blindsiding me, at a football game. I cried myself to sleep that night, but when I woke up in the morning, for about 30 seconds I felt normal. Then my thoughts caught up with me and I remembered the embarrassment, the hurt, the humiliation, and shocking pain. It all hit at once, temporarily crippling me.

I'm sure not everyone is that dramatic at 16, but when I was young I felt emotions in a much stronger way. Now that I'm older, I'm more used to them and don't feel nearly as strongly. Except one emotional punch that repeated for weeks last November.

In October, completely unexpectedly, I lost a baby. It shattered me in many ways, but nothing was worse in the weeks after than seeing the ultrasound pictures of Facebook. No matter how happy I would have normally been for the couple now expecting, each image now felt like a sharp punch to the gut, each one crippled me momentarily. Every image was an undeniable reminder of what my ultrasound had not shown. For weeks afterward, nothing felt worse.

Except when those ultrasound pictures weren't real. When they were something like this:



Yes, it's a turkey, but when you're scrolling social media on your phone you don't first see the turkey, you see the setup for the ultrasound, and the punch settles in. Then when you see it's a joke, something laughable to everyone else, the fury begins.

I don't have the right words to describe what it feels like to lose a baby. I don't care if you call it a "failed pregnancy", a "spontaneous abortion," or a "miscarriage," if you lose someone that you wanted and that you prayed for, it is a hurt that you cannot understand unless you experience it.

So with April Fools Day here today, think about what you're planning as a joke. I implore you not to be that person that cripples a friend because you don't know she's just miscarried or that she can't conceive. Every year I see it, and every year I've hated it, Not everyone is as open about their pregnancy issues as I have been, so even if my opinion means nothing to you, remember that 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, and out of the hundreds of friends who may see your April Fools joke, that means dozens of them could be hurt by it on a very personal level.

There are literally thousands of brilliants pranks out there, just search Pinterest and I bet you'll find dozens to do, but telling a lie and making pregnancy a joke is not an April Fools prank. 

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In birthday learning link up monthly learning Refit Things I Learned

Candlelight Makeup, Rocking ReFit, and a Quarter of a Century Old! (March Learning)

Photo Courtesy of Holly Korb (http://thehandkchronicles.blogspot.com/)
1.) I cannot do makeup by candlelight.
Thanks to an awesome city-wide power outage, I got ready for work one morning in the dark. I attempted to put on just some basic makeup by candlelight, and I don't know what I was thinking. I can barely put together a decent look with a lit makeup mirror, but next time I think I may just opt for a plain face.

2.) No matter how good of shape I think I'm in, there's always an experience to remind me how far I can still go.
Earlier this month I went to an incredible master class in Lexington with the founders of ReFit. It was an AMAZING night, a ton of fun, and it completely kicked my butt. I almost never miss Monday night ReFit with Nicole, I dance, run, swim, walk, and generally tend to be an active person. But after 90 minutes of intense, no break in between songs working out, I was feeling it like none other.

3.) Everyone should get to stretch their birthday out over multiple days!
My birthday fell on a Sunday this year, which isn't a bad day for a birthday, but somehow I ended up lucky enough to have people want to celebrate with me throughout the whole weekend, and even beyond! It was a perfect weekend, and an amazing way to commemorate turning 25 (a whole quarter of a century old!).


As always, a huge thanks to Emily at Chatting at the Sky for hosting this linkup!

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In Jace Jace quotes kids say little moments mom life toddler two year old life

Mom Moments (Part 2)

Attacking Daddy with help from Luna.
As expected, Jace continues to be adorable, which allows me to continue writing cute little snippets.

Toddler Dictionary:
Glubs = Gloves
Pea Butter = Butter (any kind, nut or not)
Say-yi-ya = A baby. Whether or not it's actually baby Celia, that's what he names all babies.


Singing Itsy Bitsy Spider to himself:
Itty bitsy pider, wash pider out.
Itty bity pider, wash pider out.


Jace is helping me cook mac'n'cheese for lunch.
Me: The water is starting to bubble.
Jace: *Gasp* Pop it!


Taking a walk outside.
Jace: Windy.
Me: It is pretty windy.
Jace: *Pauses for about a minute* Go away windy! Go away!


Luna is laying on the floor, tail wagging.
Jace: Dancing.
Me: What's dancing?
Jace: Tail dancing.
Me; Well, I guess it kind of is.


City-wide power outage. Jace wakes up and tries to turn on the light.
Jace: Broken?
Me: It's not working right now baby.
Jace: Broken. *Moves onto a different light switch* Broken too??
Me: They're all not working.
Jace: Mom, house broken!
Me: Pretty much, yep the house is broken right now.

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In 2 years strong blogging planning

Happy Second Year Blog!

That's right, two years strong, check out that commitment! But really guys, let's just take a minute to appreciate that I have posted at least once a month, every month, for two whole years. That's a lot of writing, editing, and work. Oh and remembering, let's not forget that I have to actually remember to log on and work on this little corner of the cyber-world.

Last year I was all excited to share my most popular posts, the ones that had made their way around Pinterest and just kept growing with views. This year I haven't really had posts go "viral." Some are still popular, but mostly what this blog has been is just my place to think things through. It's still where I'm able to post yummy recipes, or rant when I just need to get it all out, but it's also been where I've been able to process what is way too lengthy to put in a Facebook post.

So, now to think about some goals. What do I want to do here in year three?


  • Continue to post at least once each month, whether it's a link-up, a rant, a recipe, or sharing personal life stories.
  • Post at least 4 creative writing pieces between now and next March 25. Whether a poem, a piece of flash fiction, or an excerpt from a longer piece, by posting it here I have accountability to be doing more creative writing.
  • Enjoy it! This has never been a "job" for me, this is joy, and I want to always keep it that way.

If you're still reading, you're awesome. And thanks for sticking around through the rambling, the strange, and the hopefully little moments of good writing that make their way to the "publish" stage.

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In going out kids eat free parenthood toddler life

Kids Eat Free (Berea and Richmond)

When Jace was about one going out to eat was simple: unless Nathan or I got something extremely spicy or strange, Jace could just share with us. We didn't worry about ordering him a separate meal because he just didn't eat that much at one time.

That's no longer the case.

But I remember growing up that my parents loved going to Lone Star on Tuesday night because with the purchase of an adult entree, one kid ate free. Two adults, two kids, one significantly less expensive night out.

So I thought I would try to round up some of the restaurants we enjoy that offer such a deal and share with my other friends (and ask for their help finding other places that I don't know of!).

Sunday:
Old Town Grill - Berea
Steak'n'Shake- Richmond

Monday:
McAlister's Deli- Richmond from 4:00-9:00pm

Tuesday:

Wednesday:
Applebee's- Richmond
Buffalo Wild Wings ($1.99)- Richmond

Thursday:

Friday:

Saturday:
Steak'n'Shake- Richmond

Any restaurants you'd like to add to my list?
Particularly local places that might be harder to find online?

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In being a mom Birth childbirth

Being a C-Section Mom


*Disclosure, this rant is talking about birth, so if squimish, you have been warned!

My mom had C-sections with both my sister and I, her body just wouldn't allow her to birth me vaginally, and back in 1992 the VBAC was unheard of. She warned me after my first exam that since the doctors noted the same issue in my body that she had, that it might make birth more difficult for me.

Fast forward to me at 22 years old, preparing to go to the hospital to have my baby. I wanted the epidural, but I also wanted to push. I wanted to experience birth in that way. However, in the back of my mind, I knew that there was the chance of a cesarean, and I was okay with that as long as at the end of the day I held a healthy boy (or girl if the ultrasounds were wrong) in my arms.

The choice was mine to make, but when I wouldn't dilate further, when Jace's heart rate elevated, and when all the circumstances came together, I made what I know was the safest choice for both of us: I chose to give birth via surgery. 

I don't regret it for an instant. I know it makes me no less of a mom, and I know that I still gave birth to my baby. There is so much out there right now that is negative about C-sections, but mine was and continues to be a wonderful thing because it allowed safe entry for my little one.

Based on my specific set of circumstances, when it is time for my next baby to be born, I will be having a repeat C-section. But as often as I see "Natural Birth Advocates," talk about how women are scared into having C-sections, pressured into them, and fear tactics are used to coerce them, I see their fear tactics too.

I read a blog post about birth statistics, and saw this:


Oh, well thanks so much for letting me know that since MY body needs a C-section I'm three times more likely to die. I mean really, there's not enough to worry about with growing and birthing a human being.

As a c-section mom, I feel like I see and hear it everywhere: from other moms, from women planning their births, and of course from social media where a week doesn't pass without seeing some link to a blog uplifting the glory of vaginal birth and tearing down the option of surgery.

"It didn't go exactly as planned, but at least I didn't have to have a C-section!"
Because having a cesarean is obviously the worst case scenario.  

"Well maybe next time you can have a vaginal birth, there's a VBAC!"
Because clearly the goal should be to have a vaginal birth, not just a healthy baby.

I can't and won't keep my mouth shut anymore. Would I encourage every woman to have a C-section? Absolutely not! But I'm certainly not going to say nothing while a valid and sometimes necessary option is treated as a bad thing or less of a birth.
I am a proud, strong, C-section mom.



And look, that picture shows my cute, healthy C-section baby.

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In fitness healthy

Spring Cleaning has Struck

I get rid of clutter fairly well. I'm not a pack rat. But when it comes to my clothes, there were some items living in plastic totes in my closet that have been there for nearly a year. Why?

Well it's been one year and four months since I started my fitness craze. When I began in October of 2013, I wore size Large in tops, size 12/14 in jeans, and that was what my entire wardrobe was made up of. Piece by piece, items became too large for me to wear. The cheap items that I had collected at Goodwill easily went back to Goodwill. But the pieces that I spent money on, that had a designer label, or that were a favorite still in fantastic condition, stayed on the hanger. They slowly made their way from the hanger, to the aforementioned plastic bins.

Every time I went through them, a nagging thought hung out that I couldn't shake, "What happens if you gain that weight back Camille? You never thought you would be that size, but it happened. If it does again do you want to have to fork over the money to buy things you were naive enough to give away?"

Yes, my mind is a cruel little thing.

So they continued to live in my squished little closet. They hung out there as my safety net that I could stop being so active and calorie-conscious and still have something to wear. But this past weekend I was going through clothes to sell to Twice for store credit so that I could get some new items. Twice only accepts certain brand names, so after going through all the items they would accept, I looked at what I had left. And I made a choice.

I don't want the safety net if that makes it okay for me to go back to being lazy.  

So I packed up all the clothes, and found them a new home. I thought it would be hard, instead it was cleansing. It was me declaring that this "fitness craze" is not a fleeting fad. It's not a temporary thing that I'll soon leave behind. I'm declaring that being healthy and fit (which, for me, seems to be at this size) is who I am and will continue to be.

Plus, making some space in my closet is a wonderful added bonus.

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In link up monthly learning professional life snow snow days snowmaggedon Things I Learned winter

Snowpocalypse, Sleepovers and Snow Cream (February Learning)

1.) Snow Cream is awesome!
Despite growing up in an area that was known for canceling school when the snow was taller than the shortest kindergartner, I had never had or made snow cream.
I was so missing out; it is awesome!

2.) A broom, a baking sheet and small trash can can dig you out of snowmaggedon if you were too in denial to buy a snow shovel.
Okay, at first we figured it was an exaggeration, we've never seen this much snow in Kentucky, so we assumed rushing out to buy a snow shovel wasn't needed. By the time we realized that this was a serious storm, everything that resembled a snow shovel had been purchased. So, much to the amusement of our neighbors, I tackled the snow with a broom (that was sacrificed to the cause), the small trash can, and a baking sheet (that bent in the middle and therefore was also mostly sacrificed to the cause).

3.) Sleepovers with your bestie are just as exciting when you're in your 20's as in your teens.
I remember that around age 13 the most exciting thing you could possibly do on the weekend was have a sleepover at your best friend's house. That doesn't change when you get older. Tomorrow night I get to have a girly sleepover that will involve eating Thai food, having a glass of wine, and probably not going to bed till 2 or 3am. I can't wait!

4.) How to Take a Head Shot
Work contacts (read: College presidents, CAO's and other fairly important/intimidating peeps) have started to add me on LinkedIn. Until a week ago, my picture was a selfie. A flattering enough selfie, but still, not exactly what I wanted my profile to convey. So I pinned some tips, took one of the snowed in days, and took some pictures that I could feel more confident using in my professional life.
They're far from perfect, but they work!


As usual, my mishmash learning is linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky, feel free to do the same!

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In dedication determination don't give up fitness Weight loss

Getting Back to Healthy

Not losing weight when you've worked out hard is quite discouraging. I mean, let's just be honest. If you do the workouts, count the calories, and the scale shows you nothing for your effort, it is so much easier to say forget it and grab an extra slice or two of pizza with dinner.

That's what I've been having a tough time with lately. I haven't really gained back weight, but I know I'm not in the same shape I was a couple months ago.

The new work schedule, the cold, the tight money month, the vacation,  I can give a million excuses why I've slacked off instead of picked up the pace at this plateau. In the past, when I couldn't move past a weight, I simply stepped up my game. Added an extra workout, did something different to tone new muscles, but lately I've just been in a slump.

This morning, I'm wearing an older pink  sweater (hello negative a million degrees) and remembered taking a selfie in it a little over two years ago. On a whim, I took a current selfie and compared the two.


There's my lightbulb moment. My "oh yeah, that's why I'm not giving up" realization.
I have come so far over the past year. Even though it was hard, even though the day to day was hardly noticeable, and even though the temptation to avoid the cold/eat the doughnut/ stay in bed was always present, I worked hard to get to this point.


So even with the impending bad weather, the excuses that will come so easily when I'm stuck in the house to avoid freezing temps, I am going to hold myself accountable and keep going. After all,  I was able to do it 40 pounds ago, so really, what excuse do I have now?

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In have to laugh Jace quotes kids say little moments mom life toddler toddler life

Mom Moments (Part 1)

Parenting a two year old means I sometimes string together sentence I never imagined I would say. I have some conversations and moments that my pre-mom self could never have dreamed up. My toddler tends to respond with some interesting phrases that are worth a laugh.

This all leads to some pretty entertaining moments, so I thought I'd share, and I'm naming it part one because, let's face it, parenthood is only bound to get more entertaining as time goes on.

Me: Jace, what do you want for dinner?
Jace: Applesauce.
Me: Applesauce is not dinner.
Jace: Applesauce!
Me: Applesauce is still not dinner.
Jace: Applesauce?


*Me cleaning fruit in the kitchen*
Jace: Grapes?
Me: No grapes right now, would you like a strawberry?
Jace: Straw-baby!


Jace: Snowman!
Me: We can't build a snowman baby, there's no snow.
Jace: *Gets snow boots.* Boots, snowman.
Me: Just because you put your snow boots on doesn't make it snow.


*At the library playing a Sesame Street computer game.*
Me: Jace, look what I found for you (A VeggieTales CD).
Jace: Beggietales! *Looks at Elmo on the computer screen, holding up CD* Look Elmo, Beggietales!

*I'm in the kitchen, Jace in the living room.*
Me: Sneezes.
Jace: Bless you mommy! *No response, so he gets off couch, marches to me in the kitchen.* BLESS you mommy!

Whenever Jace hears the theme song to Big Bang Theory: "Knock knock, Penny! Knock knock, Penny!"


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In being a mom Choose your hard life mom life working mom

Guilt Both Ways

I live by the philosophy of "choose your hard."

Being overweight is hard.
Maintaining weight is hard.
Losing weight is hard.

Choose which version of hard you want to live with.

Being a mom that works full time away from home is hard.
Being a mom that works from home is hard.
Being a stay at home mom is hard.

I've chosen my version of hard, and it's to work a full time job.
But there are some days when hard seems a little harder, and that's where I was yesterday.

Yesterday morning I was supposed to have a meeting at work at 10:00 am. I had a full checklist of tasks to accomplish because we are entering our busy time of planning, adjusting to a new building, and have fewer employees than usual. I was ready for a full and busy day at the office, until a sweet toddler boy got out of his bed at 5:45 am with flushed cheeks, a congested cough, and a singular goal: to cuddle.

I take my job seriously. I take motherhood seriously. So sitting at home watching Veggietales and filling sippy cups with orange juice, I couldn't help but feel simultaneously complete in my motherhood and useless in my role as employee.

It's amazing to me how much being a mom and being an employee do not go together. But as I continue to navigate my dual roles, I know I have it a lot better than some. I have it better than even my husband, because though I felt guilty about not being at work yesterday, and knew I would go back to extra work on Monday, I was able to take a paid day off. If Nathan had called off, he wouldn't have been paid and would have been at higher risk of losing his job.

And if the worst of my hard is missing a meeting to cuddle my boy, I really can't say it's that's hard.


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In

When You Know You're the Sore Thumb

In so many ways, I do not fit into the world I find myself in. I love my friends, I love my church, but I stand out in my beliefs.

I'm not a stay at home mom. Beyond that, of all my close friends locally, I'm the only one that works a full time job with a small child who isn't yet school age. 
I'm not gearing up for homeschooling, because even if I weren't working full time, I would still choose to send my child to public school.
I support gay marriage, and I am pro-choice.

That last one is by far the most mind-boggling (or shocking) to my friends.

To clarify, I am not pro-abortion, and I want there to be fewer abortions, which is why I am pro-choice.

This article sums up very nicely why I, as a woman who doesn't want to see the number of abortions rise or even stay the same, am firmly pro-choice. I don't agree with everything written (the no 5k for Zygotes sounds silly, I know), but her facts are sound. The fact is that making it illegal isn't going to cause abortions to stop happening. Not in America or in any other country in the world.

"Overturning Roe, I realized, would not make women stop having abortions. Instead, it would simply punish women who have abortions by requiring them to risk their health to do so. This is all well and good if the goal is to punish women for seeking abortions, but if the goal is to keep unborn babies from being murdered, this is extremely ineffective."

I hope to never have an abortion. Losing one baby to miscarriage seems like as much grief as I can possibly bear in my lifetime, but I will always, always stand by a woman's right to choose, because I know in a dire situation, one with a baby incompatible with life or that would leave me to die to carry it to term, I would want to have the option of a safe and medically sound abortion, not to be left without a choice or only dangerous alternatives.

A social media friend of mine recently posted a lengthy status that she is a devoted Christian, and also a firm believer in making gay marriage legal. She stated, quite eloquently, that she was willing to be bold in her beliefs, and I want to do the same.

Even if you disagree with my thought, could I convince you to at least think through the other side of the argument?


And even if you think I'm insane for my stance, I don't believe that that stops our ability to be friends. One of my closest friends in the world disagrees with me on this issue and on many others. But it does not affect us being dear friends. In fact, she tells me often that one of the reasons that she loves me is because I bring a different perspective into her life. I make her think about why she believes what she does and she is also the one that is quick to remind me that even being a sore thumb, I still absolutely belong and am loved where I am in my church and with my friends. 

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In bath paint learning link up monthly learning pinterest Things I Learned trains two year old life

Bath Paint, Trains for Days and Letting Go (January Learning)

1.) How to make Bath Paint.
   This is brilliant. January was a lets-be-frugal-because-December-was-expensive month, so the fact that I had all the ingredients and we could make bath paint for free was amazing. I asked Jace which colors he wanted and then he was able to paint the walls, the alcoves and himself with blue and green soapy paint. Here is where I found the recipe in case you're interested, and I halved it, which still made plenty to last a few baths of fun.

2.) I'm really not great at working from home.
We were supposed to move into our new office on January 5. The old office was cleaned out, but the new office wasn't quite ready (read: no internet or phone and construction workers still wandering the halls and painting). We all ended up working from home, complete with hooking up our phones. But the problem I have with working from home is that it's really hard for me to stay focused on an office job when my mind is constantly going but I should really run the vacuum, and unload the dishwasher, oh and the dog needs to go out. Needless to say, I was really happy to get into the office and settle into my new work space and routine.

3.) Change is hard. Change involving your child is harder.
With Nathan's new job, we decided to enroll Jace in daycare. After much searching and checking out, I found one that I liked and that had an opening. His mornings are now set up like preschool where he is learning letters and numbers, and getting ready for the all-too-soon day when he will start school. The logical side of me knows that this is a good thing. But the emotional mom side of me sobbed like a baby the first day (okay, the first week) every morning after I dropped him off.

4.) Walking over train tracks in every room is worth it for the smile.
For Christmas Jace received trains. Lots of trains. Enough trains to take over my entire living room and hallway out to the kitchen. There are still more coming from Ohio that we couldn't fit into the car to bring down with us. But you know what? Walking over and sometimes on train tracks every day is just fine with me because I have never seen a toy bring so much joy to Jace, and hey, they hurt a lot less to step on than Legos!

5.) Audio. Books. Complete. My. Life.
I've never really listed to audio books, preferring to actually hold the book and feel the page turn (not big on the e-readers either). But with my new commute meaning that I spend over an hour in my car daily, Monday through Friday, I went to the library and figured I'd give the book on CD option another shot. So very very worth it, because now my drive in rush-home-at-5-traffic is bearable. Almost enjoyable. And listening to audio books on my phone while jogging, or taking Luna out, means I keep going longer because I don't want to turn off the story!


This fun post of learning is linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky, check her out and (if you blog) share what this month has taught you as well!

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In marriage parenthood parenting relationships

Kids and Marriage

Having a kid changes the relationship you have with your significant other. There's no way around it, no way to deny it: the relationship you had before you became parents is not and can never be the same.

It is dangerous, but also wonderful. Because when Jace entered the world, he became my priority. Nathan was important to me, of course, but Jace needed me. There were times (like the months of up-every-two-hours-for-feedings) that our marriage fell to the wayside a bit, but then there are also so many times now that Jace makes sure our relationship stays strong. Jace loves to share his experiences with mommy and daddy. He wants to hold both our hands, be hugged and cuddled by us both, and there are few things he enjoys more than going out for the day all three of us. This weekend after giving him a kiss on the cheek, he looked at me, pointed to Nathan and instructed me to "Kiss, mommy." He's not yet three, but he knows that he loves to see the two of us love each other as well as love him.

Which is also why I find it funny to think back to the times and reasons that Nathan and I have been told we wouldn't "make it," and how those things have changed.

I was told (mostly in jest) that my relationship with Nathan would never survive because we are simply too different. First, I am not a sports girl. So much not a sports girl that if football is on TV, I find a book. I mix up baseball team names with football teams (sometimes even claiming the wrong city for a team) and cannot hold a conversation about any sport with a ball to save my life. It's not that I'm incapable of understanding sports, I simply choose not to because it doesn't hold my interest.

Nathan, to the contrast, loves sports. His idea of a perfect Sunday is to spend the entire afternoon on the couch yelling at the players on TV for doing something wrong with the ball. He's tried to engage me in conversations about the players, but it simply doesn't work.

When it comes to food we were also told (again, mostly just joking) that we were going to drive each other nuts when it came to planning dinners because our food tastes differed so drastically. Nathan's history of illness means he doesn't eat much cheese, canceling out some of my favorite things to eat like mac'n'cheese. He can't stand meatloaf, and didn't like spicy (that one is changing slowly.) I, on the other hand, detest pork unless it's sausage or bacon, don't touch eggs unless they're baked in something like a cookie, and am completely unadventurous when it comes to trying new dishes.

But here's the funny part in all this, the difference in thinking that those things would drive us apart, and knowing now otherwise, is Jace. My boisterous little toddler ran around the house yesterday saying "football, football, football!" while he and daddy watched a game.

I still don't like pork, and won't touch scrambled eggs, but Jace loves both and will happily eat them with daddy. The truth was, Nathan didn't need me to watch football with him, he just wanted someone in the house to share it with. Jace may not understand the game yet, but he certainly loves to jump up and down and yell excitedly at the TV when daddy does.

Since Nathan has someone to share his football love with, when Nathan and I have time to ourselves we can do something together that we both enjoy. We can make the most out of being with each other without one of us sacrificing our joy.

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In crafts creative parenting parenthood parenting two year old life

When the Routine Needs Some Color

Sometimes I find it so easy to get caught up in routine that I actually forget that my child is growing up.

That he can do and enjoy things that he couldn't last month, let alone last year. I realized how much he had changed when I was off for two weeks in December and was able to spend days on end with him. And I also realized how much I haven't kept up with him.

While I was home with no worry about getting to work the next morning, we did crafts and activities I found on Pinterest. We played play-doh, made bath paint, took a trip to the library, and did fun things that I will get to hold onto the memories of forever.

And then it hit me: there is no rule that says I can only be that fun mom on the weekends. There is no reason we can't paint the bathtub on a Tuesday night, or make a spaghetti collage on a Thursday before dinner. The only reason we haven't is because I bought into the idea that after a full day of work I should be able to have dinner, relax and then put him to bed.

Now sometimes I'm sure I will need to do that after a stressful day at work, but the reality is that my evenings are the only time of day I have to make memories with Jace. Working full-time means, for me, that if I want to have experiences with him, then I have to be willing to shake up the normal routine. Because Jace doesn't yet understand what I do when I'm away from him for eight hours, what he does know is what we do when we're together. So I think it's time for me really enjoy being a toddler mom, and embrace the messiness that comes with some good and crafty fun.


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In accountability Christianity goals learning

Shedding My Excuse

Starting a new year always leads me to analyze my life and see what I would really like to change. In the past it has always been a goal to figure out how to change my lifestyle to a healthier one, but not this year. This year is something that hits a little deeper.

I am a cowardly Christian.
I am. I'm afraid to actually get into deep discussion about Jesus because I am always afraid that I do not know enough to hold an intelligent conversation. I use the excuse that I didn't grow up in the church. I didn't learn the books of the bible by age five and say a prayer before meals.
Actually, I more than just "use" that excuse: I cling to it. I define my life by it. And I am finally tired enough of it to stop.

So this year my one resolution, my single achievable, sustainable goal, is to stop hiding behind the excuse of not "knowing enough" and  instead focus on just learning more. To start I am into a reference book that is designed to help me understand the Bible and it's framework so I'm no longer as intimidated by it.

It's called "30 Days to Understanding the Bible" by Max Anders. (No, I am not being paid to promote it or asked to review it, this is just the book I happened across that looked the most promising for me to start.) The idea is to spend 10 to 15 minutes each day working through each chapter and learning. For me, that's perfect, because it is a structured plan that tells me exactly what to do, which means I am able to follow it. Thus far, I've learned a lot from it. Once I finish it, I want to move forward in bible studies (something I have never been able to do because I was too intimidated by the bible to have any idea where to begin studying it).

I think this is the best goal I could work toward this year, and by being open about it I hope to hold myself more accountable.


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