The Ugly Truth About My Pregnancy

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When I see women with their cute baby bumps, I look back at my pregnancy pictures and wish I would have enjoyed it a little more.

I didn’t have the picture-perfect pregnancy. I became pregnant right before my college graduation, and my husband still had a year of undergrad to go. Once we found out, we frantically attempted to “figure things out”. I didn’t tell a lot of people at first. I’m not completely sure whether I didn’t because Evan and I weren’t married or what, but it definitely played a big factor. I was worried about what other people would say and didn’t really allow myself to be excited in the beginning.

Then came pregnancy issues. I woke up one day and couldn’t keep anything down. I was in so much pain and didn’t have a clue what was happening. Fearing something was wrong, I went to the emergency room later that night to find out that our baby was okay. As it turns out, I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. In short, it’s severe morning sickness that affects about 2% of pregnant women, and I just so happened to be one of the lucky few. So just when I thought about being excited, this severe morning sickness hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to take medicine every time I wanted to eat and even had to wear seasickness bands, which were very attractive.

As the months of my pregnancy went on, my friends at the time began calling less and visits became scarce. I couldn’t do the things we used to do and didn’t have the energy to go places, when I was invited. My family was an hour and a half away, so I couldn’t make frequent visits. I felt isolated.

I worked at a resturant, and I was there almost every day and night. During my second trimester, the weight started to pile on quickly. By the end of my pregnancy, everything was swollen. At that moment, I felt so ugly. I was miserable. But why did I let those things bother me? I was carrying a human life.

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The day Ella was born, I completely forgot about the previous 9 months. Beginning with that moment, I was exactly who I was supposed to be: her mother.

I look back now and wish I would have done it differently. I wish I would have put forth the effort to be happy, to not worry about what others thought and focus on having a healthy pregnancy. I wish I would have eaten healthier and enjoyed myself.

My point in sharing this is to say: enjoy every minute of being pregnant. There are couples that unsuccessfully try their entire lives to become pregnant, and God gave us that opportunity. Friends will come and go, but family is forever. Cherish this time. Live in the moment and embrace your beautiful pregnant body.

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One Year Down, A Lifetime To Go

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Today marks a year; a year since we read our vows, shed a few tears, and danced like no one was watching. It was one of the best days of my life, and I will hold it dear to my heart. Memories from that day will replay in my head for years to come. When times get tough, I think about the words we vowed to each other. When I need a good laugh, I think about the DJ playing techno music while making you crawl on the floor towards me to remove my garter. When I need strength, I remember the words Pastor Steve shared with us.

This past year has proven that our love for each other has no limit, and when faced with difficult times, I know it will always remain strong. I never have to go to bed wondering if you love me, and you make a constant effort to ensure I never go to bed mad. Probably in fear of your life, but i’ll take it.

You aren’t afraid to tell me when I’m being crazy, and you constantly tell me how beautiful I am. You don’t allow me to quit fighting for the things I believe in, and you’ve been my biggest support system.

We had a jump start into becoming adults, but you help me hold on to my inner child. You are always up for an adventure and hardly ever say no to my crazy ideas. I mean, I almost convinced you to be Peter Pan for Halloween. Doesn’t get much better than that. You are such a good sport and do whatever it takes to make me smile.

We may only be celebrating one year of marriage, but it feels like a life time. We are each others’ best friend, and I couldn’t image life without you. This year has flown by as I’m sure the next 20 will too. I thank the Lord each night for allowing me to be your wife. It has been an honor, and I can’t wait to see where life takes us. Never change, well maybe stop leaving your shoes in front of my side of the bed, but other then that, never change.

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To the moon and back.

XO

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If Life Were Easy

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Life being easy – isn’t that a funny thought? Let’s be real, no one has an easy life. If someone tells you they do, I can reassure you – they’re lying. At some point, we’ve all been through hard times. But think, what if life were easy?

We would go about our days with no cares in the world. We would lose sight of why we’re here in the first place. Life is hard, and it’s hard for a reason. We have to remember that. If we didn’t have difficult times in our lives, when would we lean on God? I strongly believe God has allowed us to struggle at times so we come back to him. He helps bring us through the hardest of days, all we have to do is believe and ask.

While reading the book of Genesis, I finished on a pretty powerful verse. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20.  Joseph told his brothers, who sold him into slavery, that he forgave them. He forgave them because God had a greater plan for him, as he does for us. Jacob suffered through many rough days, but he clung to his faith, and it provided him with the strength to conquer the sins of his brothers. We don’t always understand the plan during the storm, but when the rain ceases, it’s clear. We must hold tight to our faith and know that God keeps his word.

He waits for us with open arms. So when times get tough, remember: you have the Creator of Nations on your side. He is waiting for you, rooting for you, and there for you when you need him, even when you think you don’t.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
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Fallen, But Not Forgotten

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I know several men and women who have joined the armed forces, several of whom are family and friends. In their years of service, they have been to places I’ve heard only horrible things about. They put their lives on the line to protect mine, to protect this country. I could never say thank you enough to these strong and brave individuals. These soldiers are the real heroes.

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While in college, I met someone who always had the biggest smile on his face. He could light up any room and change your mood without saying a word. We worked at a restaurant together, and everyone loved him. He made work feel like it was my hobby. He never hesitated to extend a helping hand and lift your spirits. He didn’t have bad days. He didn’t sweat the small stuff, at least not on the outside. His name was Brian. I use the word “was” because he has since passed away.

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Brian was hurting, but he’d never show it. He was more concerned about making others happy while he was in pain on the inside. While on his tour in Afghanistan, he saw unforgettable things. I often think people, including myself, forget that when soldiers come home, their memories follow them. They might share with others some of the situations they experienced, but we can’t fully comprehend what these soldiers have been through while ensuring our country’s safety.

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This is the fourth year I will be running the Fallen Heroes 5K, a race I ran with Brian my first time. Today, I am running for him. I am running for awareness. I am running for every fallen soldier who bottled up the pain and didn’t get the help they needed.

Take the time to hug a soldier today. You never know what these heroes are going through.

In loving memory of Brian C. Elmore 

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Meet My Personal Trainer

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After beginning my healthy transformation last October, I’ve had numerous people reach out to me for more information, people wanting to know my “secret”. Well, here’s the secret: there’s not one! It’s a combination of hard work, dedication, diet, exercise, and an amazing personal trainer.

The personal trainer ties everything together. My personal trainer helped me create a diet plan and exercise routine specific to my body and personal goals. Then, she made me stick to them! Accountability – that’s the big factor for me. I have wanted to give up almost every week, but she hasn’t allowed me to do that. She pushes me to stick to it and reminds me of my results. Sometimes, it’s hard to see them yourself, but when someone points them out, you start to take notice.

I’ve never met a personal trainer who wasn’t passionate about what they’re doing. It’s the love for fitness and helping others that show through the results of their clients. You’re not the only one excited about your progress; they’re right there with you, encouraging you to keep moving forward.

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Lucky for me, my personal trainer happens to be my best friend. She knows my weaknesses and what to say to keep me reaching for new goals. She applies this same encouragement to her other clients. It’s always great to see the passion she exemplifies with her other clients, and she pushes them just as hard as she pushes me.

When we were growing up, I never pictured her being a personal trainer. Since then, she has has devoted countless hours to fitness, both her’s and others’, that I couldn’t see her doing anything else. She has not only transformed her body, but all of her clients are seeing similar results. I know I wouldn’t have been successful on this journey without her help, and I am so glad to have such a great role model to look up to. Did I mention she’s a figure pro? Yeah, she’s pretty awesome.

As I mentioned in previous blogs, I do a strictly online training with her, and we communicate via email and phone calls. I check-in each week. I send her photos, my weight, and updates on my workouts. I never have to use a gym because she has built special home workout plans for me, focusing around the use of dumbbells, kettle bells, and a newly added exercise ball to take place of a bench. She has designed a nutrition plan specific to me and is very helpful with suggesting foods.

Now, it’s your turn! Stop putting off your physical health and start to do something about it. Those fast food trips aren’t going to go away just by running twice a week. If you’re ready to get serious, I highly recommend seeking a personal trainer to hold you accountable, teach you target areas, and get you in the best physical shape possible. These results don’t happen over night, so don’t put it off any longer.

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For all of my readers, here’s a special for you: Mention my blog to lock in a special rate of $125 a month for the first 5 new distance training clients and join the Body By Bam team today. For all others, enjoy 25% off if you sign up in April. Follow them on Facebook to get other offers and discounts.

You can email her at bodybymrsbam@gmail.com.

For anyone who would prefer a male personal trainer, her husband, John, started the company and is pretty buff himself 😉 You can reach him at bodybybamllc@gmail.com.

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Chocolate Lasagna

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Where are all of my chocolate lovers? This one is for you, my friends. It’s the perfect after-dinner treat, and the whole family can pitch in a helping hand. My husband is always asking for this family favorite, so I had to share it with you guys. Besides, it was a friend’s birthday, so that always calls for a special treat.

Like any good lasagna, this chocolate treat is made of layers. To start out the bottom layer, crush a full package of Oreos. This job is perfect for a toddler. They love an opportunity to be destructive! I let her press the button on the mixer, and she went to town! After a little help from mom, toss the crushed Oreos with the melted butter. Empty the mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan, and press it into the bottom of the pan. Ella assisted with this step as well. Then, place it the fridge.

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Moving on to the next layer – the cream cheese layer. It’s a mixture of cream cheese, milk, sugar, and cool whip. Mix these items well, and layer it on top of the crust. Ella starts to lose interest here because it’s more difficult to stir than the previous layer. She quickly gains it back when she sneaks a lick of the spoon.

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The next step is as easy as making boxed chocolate pudding. In fact, that is the next step. Once the pudding has formed, spread that over the first two layers. The more Cool Whip, the better the dessert, so go ahead and add the rest of the Cool Whip for the next layer. Grab your toddler and allow him or her to sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the top, completing your chocolate lasagna.

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Now, the hard part. Place the lasagna in the fridge for at least four hours, allowing everything to set. Although, I have found that taking it out a little early doesn’t hurt. 😉

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Chocolate Lasagna

What you’ll need:

  • 1 package of original oreos (not double stuffed)
  • 6 Tbs melted butter
  • 8 oz of cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 1 container of Cool Whip
  • 2 small packages of instant chocolate pudding
  • 3 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips

What you’ll do:

Crush the whole package of Oreos using a blender and mix together with 6 Tbs of melted butter. Press into the bottom of your pan and put in fridge. Mix cream cheese in mixer till fluffy then add in 2 Tbs of milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Add in 1 1/4 cup of cool whip and spread this mixture over the Oreo layer. Combined the pudding packages with 3 1/4 cup of milk. Whisk until thickened then spread over cream cheese layer. Allow this to rest for five minutes before adding the remainder of cool whip for the next layer. Top with mini chocolate chips. Let set in the fridge for at least four hours, then enjoy!

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Want me to try out a recipe on the blog? Comment below with something you’d like to see featured. My family will thank you!

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This Isn’t Goodbye

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In college, you make a plethora of new friends. The difficult reality is that after school, people move away, whether it be to their hometown or to a new city to start their career. I, however, decided to stay put. While they’re out chasing their dreams, I’m in my college town living mine.

Working at a restaurant has provided me with an additional opportunity to develop a vast amount of relationships. Most of them move away shortly after college, and I can’t help but miss them. They have been such a significant part of my life and have helped me find myself, whether they know it or not. They have been encouraging, helped me through some of the hardest times, and are always there for me, and five hundred miles couldn’t change that. They will always be a phone call away.

Now that I’ve graduated from college, I’ve made new friends. However, this time, their families happen to be in the military or have various other responsibilities, and I am seeing the same thing happen again. Some times, it’s hard to get close to people knowing they will be moving after a few short years. However, I wont let that stop me from making lifelong friends.

While many of my college friends are now scattered across the country, we still check up on each other, and we catch up when our paths cross. In these moments, we realize what friendship is all about. You don’t have to live next door to be my friend and make a difference in my life. I am thankful for every friendship God has brought into my life. I cherish all of the relationships I have developed, regardless of the miles between us.

Don’t be afraid to get too close, distance doesn’t determine a friendship. It’s the memories you make along the way that hold the friendship together.

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