Monday, July 20, 2015

10 Ways I'm Planning to Enjoy my Pregnancy




     In my last post, I wrote about how hard it has been for me to really feel like I've gotten "into the swing of things" in terms of this glowing, magical pregnancy. ;)  I can honestly say, this has been the most stressful time for Tim and me in terms of home-projects, careers, and organizing our finances, and NONE of that has to do with my pregnancy.  It all just happened at once.  Because God trusts my threshold for sanity way way too much. Ha.  


     So, in true "elementary teacher fashion," I made a list.  A plan of attack, if you will.  

We've got roughly 9 weeks left, guys, and I'm planning to make these last weeks count- the funnest, most joyful, memorable weeks are yet to come.  Someone please remind me of this when we are having a 98 degree, Indian summer in September and I am 4 days past my due date, weeping openly.  Heehee...


1. Do "all the things."  


I've had several "errands" hanging over my head.  Most of them just require a five minute phone call. In less than 20 minutes, I could be free and clear and feeling SO MUCH BETTER.

I need to reschedule one of my pre-natal visits.  Noel is in desperate need of a trip to the vet (allergy attack / ear & skin issues),  I need to schedule a dentist appointment.  You know the drill.

How hard is it, guys?  How hard is it?

Jen Hatmaker wrote a post called "Stuck in the Doldrums: An Attack Plan," and her first suggestion was to "Make a List of Everything you are Behind on."  

She says, "Unbelievable the weight that rolls off when the Behind Pile starts to shrink."

Ain't that the TRUTH!?!?  

Um...I am supposed to be working on my Behind Pile and instead, I am blogging.  

Sh. Don't tell.  

2.  Make a list and throw it away.  (Kidding).  I've been so bad about getting ahead of myself during this pregnancy. You know...RESEARCH ALL THE THINGS.  I've obsessed over everything from diaper bags to breastfeeding positions to what to pack for the hospital.  

When I get too far ahead of myself, it makes me feel really overwhelmed.  (i.e. I could probably wait a few more weeks before I really have to get serious about picking a diaper bag).

     Also, I have ALL THESE LISTS.  For example, I worry that we will both panic when it's time to leave for the hospital and forget to like, feed the dogs or something.  I'm working on a small list to refer to when it's 3am and I'm having contractions, screaming in my living room (haha).  And then, I'm going to just tuck it away in my calendar and NOT THINK ABOUT IT until September (feed the dogs, take out the garbage, put some cleaner in both toilets). 

 HELLO CONTROL FREAK!

Also, it must be noted that on my list, I wrote, "Let dogs out to potty.....Let dogs back IN THE HOUSE."  Haha...cause when we're in crisis mode, I'm sure the BACK IN part will be easy to forget.  

3. Cuddle my husband. I just want to sit in our bed with his hand on my belly and snuggle the heck out of him!  That's actually one of the first things I picture when I think about enjoying pregnancy. 

Watching the clock until he gets home.  :)  

4. Make a playlist and listen to it regularly- I'd like to make a labor playlist- just something that will feel like home and possibly relax me.  I'd like to listen to it and pray at night so my brain automatically goes to "that place" when I plug it in on The Big Day.

FYI I am open to song suggestions.  

5. Date night!!! I want a full-blown date night.  We're talking dinner.  Some kind of entertainment & dessert.  I'm actually hoping we can squeeze in a few of these before Ella comes.

6. Intentional rest/read/ hobbies.  

     It is so easy to get distracted by so many meaningless "time fillers."  For me, that looks like too much Netflix, HGTV, and social media browsing.  I LOVE to read and craft, but it has been SO LONG since I have finished any sort of non-technology related hobby.  How sad is that?  I'd love to be intentional about working on some crafts and finishing a few "easy reads" before I make the long-term move to Baby Town.  

On that note, anybody need some peppers?  :)  I spent some time in my garden the other day, and I couldn't shake the nagging feeling that "I should be doing something else more worthwhile."  

Sigh. Trying to find the balance between productivity and intentional rest.  (It always comes back to the "Behind Pile," doesn't it?)  


7. Splurges- I would love to splurge on some baby and/or self-care things.  Ella needs Sophie the Giraffe and this unreasonably expensive baby book, and mama needs some Starbucks-for-no-reason.  This is certainly a time to celebrate.  I wanna say YES to a few small splurges.  At 31 weeks pregnant, they just feel reasonable, yea?*



     While we're on the subject of splurges, this is a brownie flavored cake pop from my friend and fellow-blogger, Courtney (owner of the small business, Bondbons). You'll find out more about this Queen of All The Everythings in a future post of mine. 

When I get to heaven, I think Jesus will be holding a bouquet full of her cake pops.  

Chocolate mint, please!  



8. Put Away Pinterest- Pinterest is KILLING ME, guys!  There are 58 different opinions out there and even MORE ways to flip yourself OUT!  I read a VERY graphic breastfeeding article the other day like...whoa!  I wanted to put my laptop in the freezer.  (Do you remember the episode of FRIENDS where Joey gets scared and puts his book in the freezer)?  :)

Scary Pinterest articles aren't doing me any favors right now, guys.  I love Pinterest just as much as the next gal, but Mama needs a break.

9. Walk it out/ Dog Park - I would love to get some sunshine with "The Girls" and head out for a walk around the neighborhood or our favorite nearby dog park (conveniently located near a Starbucks...two birds, one stone, guys).

10. Photographic Evidence - I'd really like to be more intentional about taking some pregnancy photos. I get extremely self-conscious about it because I worry that selfies are silly and my body just looks weird (actually, there are times when I feel really GREAT! My doctor and I are pleased with the amount of weight I've gained, and I feel like I'm carrying it mostly in my chest and belly- which is fine by me).  

     And then there are days when I'm like, "WHAT IS HAPPENING!?!?! I WILL NEVER BE NAKED AGAIN!!!!!"  If you've ever watched the show, Arrested Development, the thought of Tobias Funke as a "Never Nude" is probably running through your head. I am cracking up at the thought.  Some cut-off jean shorts should do the trick.  



On that note, This Ella Belly is in the house.  This was taken last Wednesday in the dressing room at The Gap Outlet.  Yes. I now own that tank top, in case you were wondering.  



Are you struggling to enjoy your season right now?  Has your new house got ya' down?  Is it raining everyday of your long-awaited beach vacation?  Tell me all about it?  What's the plan, guys.  

Let's put in the effort it sometimes takes to enjoy our seasons.  

*I feel incredibly silly/guilty writing this post knowing that there are many pregnant women out there who are scared, alone and don't have access to modern healthcare.  And I'm all, "I WANNA GET SOME STARBUCKS"  I'm working on reconciling that in my heart and in my brain. It's times like these when I pray for open eyes, hearts, and loose hands around our wallets.   I truly believe Jesus meets us where we are whether we are crawling through war-torn cities or weeping in our brand new SUV's.   I pray He brings hope, comfort and joy to all of us...in many different forms.

Love & thanks for sticking with me guys,  


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Do Unicorns Bite? A post about unmet expectations

Why, Helloooooo.  

    Have we talked on here about me being pregnant, yet?  Oh. my word.  I can't even remember.  I wrote a whole heck of a lot about me NOT being pregnant and then my body was apparently reading my blog...because one post was all it took and then lickety split...BABY.  

It's a girl.  We are naming her Ella Marie.  

We are thrilled.  

     Tim is so incredibly lovesick.  Spent.  Over.  He is so so in love with our girl. He is going to be SUCH a good "girl" dad.  He truly has the heart for it.  Tough and Tender.  Bless him. 

 I'm fully prepared to be the "third wheel" for the rest of my life. ;)  

I wanted to post 58 selfies of me standing all dainty in front of a chalkboard. 

I wanted to tell you All the Things.  

     But I decided to just get a million things down and then choose what seemed most important.  How pretentious does THAT sound? 

 THIS IS THE WRITING THAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT! ;) 

The other day, I confided in a few of my friends that I have not really "enjoyed" this pregnancy. 

Hear me now. 

     Eight months ago, if I would have read a post from a pregnant blogger saying she wasn't "enjoying" her pregnancy, I would have promptly unfollowed her and then broken every single window in my house.  Not kidding. 

     If you are reading this, and you want to break the windows...just know...this is a post about the sin in MY heart.  Not yours.  You have every right to be mad.  Because I am pretty much a terrible person, and you, my friend, are a peach.  

     Our lives this year have pretty much been chaos. There have been days when my pregnancy has kind of been a (happy) afterthought.*  We SIMULTANEOUSLY tackled lots of home improvements (which have been great), but they took longer than we expected. I spent weeks feeling so tired and sick, climbing AROUND our oven in the dining room and making coffee on my living room end table.  

OUR KITCHEN CEILING WILL NOT STOP LEAKING. It. will.not.stop. 

Two of our cars are currently un-drivable.  (Is that a word)? #brokenradiator  #powersteering

     We unhooked our old heat/AC unit with the intention of replacing it and the weather heated up FAST. After several cancellations from the guy we hired to hook up the new one, we spent almost all of June with NO AC.  Ohio temps. reached the mid 90's just FYI.  

I feel like hell is a kitchen with no air conditioning and your only job is to keep microwaving Chinese food. 

It was that bad.  

     And we've faced some other huge, really scary/hard obstacles that I'm not going to share here (they are not health/baby/marriage related). 

   I try really hard not to share the stories that aren't mine to share.  And I sure as shoot ain't asking for permission to tell this one. Ha. Maybe a story for another day, yea?

But right now, we are facing The Impossible.  It's so fun! ;) 

     I knew getting pregnant would not "fix all the things," but...come on, guys.  Part of me really did think that getting pregnant would do the trick. 

 I would be kind.  I would be gracious.  I would lose every jealous bone in my body.  

     In so many ways, our baby has brought peace and joy and healing...especially in our marriage.  This has been a really sweet season for us. One that I wish I could write about in more detail. Again.  Maybe someday. 

In other ways, it has just heightened all my badness.  

Anxiety.  JEALOUSY.  Fear.  

     In the past, I've written about unicorns. I've said it once and I'll say it again.  Whenever I get All The Good Things, I feel like it's God's way of sending  a unicorn.  

And it makes me incredibly ANXIOUS at times.  In this little scenario, Baby=unicorn, you feel me? 

God was like, "Here.  Here is this unicorn and it is awesome."  

And I am like, "Do unicorns carry diseases?  How long do they live?  Do unicorns BITE!?!?!" 

(For the record, I'm not super worried about getting bitten by my baby..ha).  

Maybe it should read more like, "WILL MY UNICORN GET EATEN BY A BEAR?"

(Because I am totally afraid of my baby getting eaten by a wild animal.  HOW DO YOU PEOPLE GO CAMPING? HOW DO YOU DO IT?) 

And God is like, "I will take care of the unicorn. YOU JUST ENJOY THE UNICORN." 

But, it's still hard.  

Is this the part I should have erased? I feel like I should have erased all that. ^^^

Any post that mentions unicorns is a good post, in my book.  

Oh, that's right. Also. I am jealous. 

And it is stupid. 

Oh, you want examples of my badness?  In the past, I have felt jealous because...

People felt comfortable sharing their news earlier than we did (we waited until 12+ weeks for work, church and social media).  

People found out gender sooner than we did.  

People's bellies are cuter/smaller/bigger/rounder than mine.  

Their nurseries are finished already.  

Their ultrasound pics were clearer.  

Shall I go on?  

     All this to say...

     I decided to tackle planting a garden this summer...while pregnant.  I purchased everything and got it unloaded and was like..."I really don't have the energy to do this anymore."  Ha.  

But...garden stuff is expensive and I felt too guilty just leaving everything to rot in the sun and die. 

So I prayed.  And I tilled (by hand) and I dug and I planted.  

I had every intention of leaving a large, blank space for seeds.  SEEDS!  

Aaaaannnnnd the seed planting didn't happen. 

So I would wade through the tall, itchy grass and fight with the hose and dwell in my own discontent.  

Weeds.  Dry dirt.  Barren land.  

And the seed-planting would hang over my head.  Like a mid-term paper I hadn't written yet.  

And one day, God said my name.  

I can always tell He Means Business when he reaches out with those two, abrupt syllables.

"Holly."  

...

"When are you going to get to the point where ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?"

It is a good question...one I don't really have an answer for. 

So.  I relent.  

"Alright, already." 

Oh and isn't that agreement just so full of grace and gratitude?  

"Alright, already." 

Yes. There you have it.  The most humble-sounding surrender ever. 

But it is a surrender nonetheless. 

So...maybe it counts?    

Love and this is not the year for carrots, 


* A couple things...by "happy afterthought" I mean...you unpack your newly remodeled kitchen with no air conditioning in the house and you get in bed, sweaty and exhausted and finally think, "Oh. Hooray. I forgot I was pregnant!"  I really do love being pregnant and we are so so so fortunate for our daughter's excellent health.  I am looking for some practical ways to be able to say I've enjoyed being pregnant.  I don't want to take this time for granted.  Please don't misunderstand anything I've written above.  Ella- if you are reading this in the year is 2030...I love you dearly.  You were my dream come true.  Now get off the internet, and go play outside.  ;)