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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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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Learning To Say No

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Let’s face it: I’m a people pleaser. I hate to disappoint people, so when someone asks for my help, I’m all over it. I rarely say no, even when I know I’m stretching myself thin. I’ve been like this my whole life. I would rather juggle than turn someone down.

Time and time again, friends and family have told me to slow down. In fact, it’s become a typical conversation topic. The more I’ve thought about it, they’re right. I need to learn to say no and stick to it. I constantly find myself trying to squeeze every last drop out of an already busy schedule. Sometimes, things just won’t work out. Accepting that has been a hard concept for me.

I say yes to one thing and then another; before you know it, I’ve said yes to 20 things that need to be done by Friday, and it’s already Wednesday. When I see that my own family and house are getting pushed to the back burner, I get stressed out. All of which could have been avoided if I added less items to my agenda.

Here recently, I have come to realize I can’t do it all, and that’s okay. No one is going to hate me for it if I’m honest and upfront. I have to allow time to simply relax, which is something I don’t do well but greatly need in my life. Learning to say no won’t always be easy, but I plan to start now.

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Transformation

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My church launched a campus-wide bible study with the book, “Transformed” by Rick Warren at its center. I absolutely love this book and the change it has inspired in my life. It focuses on seven key areas of life: spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, relational, financial, and vocational health.

We have all struggled in these areas of our lives, creating a barrier between us and our creator. When reading this book, I realized I struggle with my physical health the most. I took for granted the fact that my body is not mine to keep, it’s borrowed. In the second week of the study, something pulled at my heart and cultivated my desire for physical change.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corintians 6:19-20

This verse speaks volumes as to why I began my fitness journey. Jesus paid the ultimate price for my body. Why would I not treasure it as he has commanded? Physical health is a form of obedience to God, and I’ve let years go by letting myself think this body was mine to keep. After completing one of the weekly lessons, I decided I wasn’t going to wait any longer. That day, I gave my body back to the Lord.

I struggled when I first started my fitness journey. I wouldn’t stick to my diet; I would miss workouts; and I just felt like I couldn’t do it. When I was close to throwing in the towel completely, I remembered why I started in the first place. God has yet to give up on me. He has granted me salvation, and all he asks in return is obedience to him. So I adjusted my attitude and continuously come back to scripture on the tough days.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

When I feel like I can’t push any further, I always remember I can’t do it alone. There is nothing my God can’t push me through. He is the unseen strength that gives me motivation to continuously reach new goals. He has started great works in me and continues to change areas of my life I never knew were a problem.

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The Importance Of Dating My Husband

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This past weekend, I had the opportunity to join my husband in the windy city of Chicago. This was my second time making the trip, and just like before, I had an amazing time. Being young parents, we don’t always get quality time to ourselves. Vacation is usually a full family trip, which we enjoy, but I think it’s important to take time for ourselves. Not only one weekend out of the year, but on a regular basis. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you should stop dating your husband. Remember why you fell in love in the first place and continue to grow on that. There is no reason to stop falling deeper in love.

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Change date night up! It can be as simple as a new restaurant or even go the extra mile and plan a fun weekend getaway. I believe this is a  key component to a happy marriage. Be willing to step outside of the box and get creative.

Surprise dates are the best. Those least expected tend to mean more. It shows you put time into planning something without needing a reminder. Ladies, this applies to you as well; don’t wait for your husband to make the plans!

It’s easy to get caught up in everyday life and fall into a routine. Don’t be that couple. Continue to learn about your spouse and things they enjoy. Stay in constant communication and be willing to go on an adventure together, often.

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  1. If you know me, you know going to a trampoline park is my favorite Friday night activity. It’s silly and makes me feel like a kid again. Evan enjoys it just as much as I do!
  2. Evan’s favorite would be bowling. From time to time, I let him have his way. I am probably the worst bowler alive, so it’s nice when I beat him every now and then.
  3. A picnic in the park is always a win. Scooping up your spouse for a surprise lunch date is a sure way to win some points.
  4. Game night. Wait till the little ones have gone to bed and pull out those old board games. You can even use their games. I promise you’ll never be too old.
  5. Workout at the house together. My husband and I did the insanity intro video together once. We laughed so hard we cried. We didn’t accomplish a workout, but had a great time together.
  6. Go a little old school and head to the drive-in movie theater. We don’t have one close by, so the drive gives us time to catch up on the week and enjoy each others’ company.
  7. Go to a Paint and Pour. Another date that is sure to bring laughs, unless you’re married to Picasso.
  8. Take a cooking class. You could also do a dancing class, but my husband is beyond the point of helping.
  9. Go camping in your backyard. It takes the pressure out of actually planning a camping trip and still lets you enjoy the night sky with an actual bathroom close by.
  10. Take a trip to go apple picking. This gets you away from the busyness of life and lets you enjoy the fresh air with a yummy snack.
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*Can’t decide on just one? Grab a jar and write down the dates you want to go on and take turns picking one each date night. Now get to dating!

Always come back to the things you used to do when you first fell in love. If it was bike riding, then dust those off. If it was fancy dinner dates, than dress up and head out. Don’t be afraid to act like a kid and get messy. Enjoy each other every second of the day because life is too short to do anything less.

 

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It’s not me, it’s you

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I get it: everyone is busy these days, but at what point do we cut ties with our friends? After having a child shortly after college, I saw a dramatic drop in the amount of friends I had, but I was okay with it. I get that peoples’ lives change and sometimes you just drift apart. I don’t, however, understand how someone is so busy that even a simple response to a text message is just too much.

I am constantly working and trying to keep my ship afloat, so if I take the time out of my day to send you a text or an email, have the courtesy to do the same. I am not asking for a lunch date next week or to hear every detail of your life, but I honestly do care how you’re doing and would like some sort of feedback. By the way, a “like” on Facebook does not count!

I know life can get tough and sometimes you might not want to share what’s going on, but I don’t think that’s a reason to shut someone out. To me, this would seem like a good time to grow closer to the friends you have instead of pushing them away.

I truly value all of my friendships, that’s why it’s so hard for me to let go. Thus, why I keep bugging you in hope of a response. However, I can’t continue to invest in a friendship with no return. It’s not fair, and quite frankly, its exhausting.

No one wants to be the friend on the outside looking in, so today, I am breaking up with you. It’s not me, it’s you. I wish you no harm, but I can’t continue to waste my time on someone who can’t even spare five minutes. As hard as this is for me, I know it’s what’s best. I am over driving myself crazy wondering why you don’t have the time. Who cares? You’ve made it clear you are busy, and I will respect that. I won’t, however, continue to inquire about what is going on in your life. I will always look back and love the times we shared and laughs we had. Enjoy life, just know it goes by quickly.

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Do you even work?

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Today, one of the little girls I nanny, Kameron, asked me, “Why don’t you work as much as mommy?”. After having a good laugh, I responded with, “I do. Probably the same amount”. She then asked me where I worked and what I did all day, all while sitting in my classroom after my students left for the day. At first, I was taken back. Do people really think I don’t work? However, the more I thought about what she said, the more reassured I became: I am doing the right thing with my life.

I have always believed if you have a job you truly love, you’ll never work another day in your life. While that might not be true for all of my jobs, it is for most. I love what I am doing. How many people get to say they wake up every morning to play with kids. When my kids enter the classroom in the morning with arms open wide, I know I am in the right place. When I see their smiling faces light up after I tell them how well they wrote their name, there’s no place i’d rather be. It really is the little things that make such a big impact on my day.

So maybe it doesn’t look like I am working, who cares. I truly think I am making a difference in their lives, even if it’s just for a short period of time.

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Luck or Love

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Almost everyday I hear someone say, “good luck”. However, I am not convinced that “luck” is anything more than a placeholder when offering words of encouragement to someone. A good friend once told me his take on the word, and it made sense. He pointed out that God isn’t one to just let things play out; he has a carefully crafted plan. Why would he leave our lives to chance or luck? The more I thought about what he said and the deeper I dig into God’s word, I’m convinced that luck isn’t real.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

Before breathing life into me, God mapped out my life. He has preplanned everything that is going to happen, so how can something happen by luck or chance? If I win the lottery, that was God’s plan, not luck. It is by God’s love that good things happen to us.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

I try to avoid saying things like, “good luck”, not because I think something bad will happen to me for using it, but to keep myself aware of the fact that nothing happens without God already setting it into motion. Through God alone our lives unfold, and we need to give him back the credit.

I constantly hear people questioning God. “Why would God let this happen?”. When things go bad, we are quick to “blame God”, but when good things happen, we want to say it’s luck. If you think he allows the bad, why would he not be in control of the good? You can’t have it both ways. If he controls one, he controls both. God’s plan is always greater than our own, and we have to remember that, when times get hard especially. I believe God allows the hard times so we remember to lean on him. Don’t forget that our God is a loving, omniscient God. He knows what is best for us and has a plan far better than our own. Our God loves us. It wasn’t by luck that he created us.

 

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