Category Archives: Crazy Excited

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Here we are at nearly 39 weeks. The nursery is ready. The house is ready. We’ve read books, we’ve mentally prepared, we have bags partially packed, ingredients on hand to make homemade cookies for our labor team once it’s go-time, and I’ve got all my postpartum care supplies ready and waiting. Waiting. That is what we have left to do.

Since starting to practice yoga, I’ve been fairly in tune with my body and aware of any changes. This makes the waiting even more frustrating as I can feel all these subtle changes, but at the same time there is no precise sign that says “hey, this is happening today or tomorrow, or not until next week.” I’m noticing more of a pronounced waddle – which is my hips expanding and opening in preparation for birth, an observation which is corroborated by my fabulous chiropractor who has noticed increased movement in my pelvic region. I can feel Baby G has dropped. His feet, which used to jut out to the left when looking down at my stomach as he stretched out, now they stretch out farther up into my rib cage indicating he has more vertical room and his head has descended. I have to pee every. 30. minutes. At least!

What triggers labor is still a mystery, but apparently it is the precise combination of hormones from both mom and baby. I have to trust that when Baby G is ready, and even though I might feel ready maybe my body just isn’t quite there yet, that this incredible process will begin. So for now, I just need to keep busy and find a few new projects to keep myself distracted.

Luckily, I have my writing as an outlet. So, for the next few days I’ll talk about my experience with pregnancy, what we’ve found helpful, the birth we have in mind, the resources we’ve engaged, and anything else I can think to offer. That being said, pregnancy and birth is an incredibly personal experience. I’m sharing mine in the hopes others might find the information helpful, but not in any way from the view point that this is the “right” way. It is *a* way, and what has worked for me personally given my background, experiences, and values.

The most important thing to remember, and which I remind myself of constantly, is that I have to listen to my body and my intuition. Take what serves you, leave the rest. This is when it comes to advice from friends and family, from that expert in the book, and even when it comes to your care providers. Certain things are absolutely necessary, others can stand some questioning and may even be avoided if that is what you feel is right for you and your pregnancy.

If I were to impart only one nugget of advice, I recommend finding an experience that makes you feel involved, empowered and informed.

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On planning a wedding – Foodie bliss

After a two month hiatus from any sort of wedding planning, this weekend Brian and I jumped back into the game tackling flowers, decorations, entertainment, menu and wedding cake all in one Sunday outing. We are by no means done, but we’ve made pretty considerable progress and the fuzzy mental imaginings of my wedding day are starting to gain clarity. Let me start by absolutely raving over the staff at our venue. For anyone looking for a stress-free, warm, welcoming wedding planning experience, please look up Hidden River Events in Asheville, North Carolina. We absolutely love these people and their big, beautiful, friendly hearts. 

The highlight of our trip was of course the food. I can’t think of one single life activity Brian and I enjoy more than eating. Sometimes this shared love gets us in trouble (oh for the love of ice cream!) but more often than not we find limitless joy in trying a new restaurant or dish. Add in our appreciation for wine and craft beer, and well, let’s just say we wouldn’t be content with a pasta buffet line at our wedding. 

We were able to meet with two caterers on Sunday. For our first tasting we were treated to crab cakes, tomato and basil crostini and a Parmesan artichoke spread. For our second we devoured mini bacon and cheddar beef sliders on a delish pretzel roll, black bean and sweet potato sliders with avocado, mini BLTs, and crunchy tea-brined chicken.

After a first tasting, a BBQ lunch because we were still hungry, a pit stop for ice cream, and a second and markedly more robust tasting, we moved on to cake. I must say I was a bit disappointed I’d gotten so full up to this point, as this is what I’d most been looking forward to from the moment I said ‘Yes.’ I LOVE sweets. I have a second stomach dedicated to dessert. I don’t care if I can’t take one more bite of my delectable filet or my succulent salmon – I’m housing a whole chocolate brownie sundae or slice of key lime pie. When Anne set before us a tray full of cupcakes for tasting, I almost cried with joy. We sampled lemon, strawberry, almond, carrot, chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, red velvet, salted caramel, cream cheese with marshmallow fluff — it was ten kinds of heaven. I know everyone says their cake is going to be amazing, but then it ends up tasting like cardboard dust wrapped in a beautiful icing with has the texture of frozen Crisco and about the same flavor. In our case;however, our cake is going to be AWESOME. Really and truly.

And, because you know my tendency to completely change direction, we almost totally revamped our menu selections in preparation for our next tasting. So don’t worry, no spoilers here. Nothing about our wedding is traditional, and you can be sure the food most certainly won’t be either. 

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A joining of households

So there was that time I got engaged. Now, we are starting the process of officially joining households. This naturally begins with Brian selling all his stuff. Okay, that sounded pretty terrible. Y’all probably just texted Brian to ‘run for the hills’ and ‘get out while he can’ but in all practicality, my stuff is just more aesthetically pleasing. I’ve got better taste, ok? Alright, that’s unfair too. Brian has nice taste, but mine is a bit more eclectic and I’ve already gathered a motely array of furnishings that 100% fill my one-bedroom condo, so there just isn’t room for his. That, and Brian is amazing and knows how to pick his battles. We are going to totally ace marriage.

Oh – you want me to go back to the one-bedroom condo bit? Yeah… about that. Brian has this great three-bedroom house, but we are in love with the Dilworth/Southend area. That means we are going to jam into my little condo for the next year. It will be close quarters for sure, but we’ve agreed it’s worth it. For one, it will be a wonderful pre-marital test. If we can survive on zero closet space for a whole year, I’m thinking we can easily clear a lifetime together. (Did I mention the two cats and two dogs? Did I mention we all sleep in the same queen bed?) And secondly, our neighborhood provides ample opportunity to venture outside, and that’s why we love it. From our runs around the ‘hood, to the neighborhood breweries, to our yoga studio, and nearby restaurants, we just can’t let go. So tiny home it is!

What does all this mean? It means garage sale! I love garage sales. I love the haggling. I love that odd combination of sadness and relief. Sad to let it go, but relieved to shed all the stuff you’ve accumulated. And above all else, I love the people watching. You meet all sorts at garage sales, and I’ve got a feeling I’m going to have no lack of material for my next posting…

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The Ring

Everyone likes a good love story. Apparently I do too. This is the first time in quite some time I’ve felt words simply pouring out. No hesitation — no “a colleague might read this” or “save the whining” or just nothing. Now the words come easily. I promised you a story about a ring – my ring. Here it is.

Ever since that life-changing trip to Italy post-graduation, I’ve been obsessed with old. The ancient-er the better (yes I know that is grammatically atrocious. As a writer who knows the rules, I can break them for artistic effect.) Surrounding myself with and filling my mental photo book with old stories, old buildings, old jewelry – sigh – it just makes my heart happy. My one requirement for my engagement ring was that it be old. Some cool backstory would be a plus, but it had to be old.

Less than a month ago – about 3 weeks in fact – my ring found us.

We were on a weekend trip to Asheville (our favorite spot and likely wedding venue), and we stopped into a little antique shop. I’d kept hoping I’d come across the perfectly unique ring during one of these stops. I’d tried in Boone around our anniversary, and nothing. I’d taken a peek in Boston while on a work trip, and nothing. I looked hopefully into the sparsely filled display case on this trip, but saw little that caught my eye. In fact, I half-heartedly tried about three rings before I grudgingly asked the woman behind the counter to let me try what would become my ring. It was the last one after all. Might as well. It didn’t seem like much in the case. It was paired with a plain silver wedding band, and both were in desperate need for a cleaning. But something magical happened when I slid that dingy ring on my finger. It’s almost as if it woke up, for when I looked down I was engrossed by the sparkle. I’d never seen a ring catch the light so much. A bright luminosity fought back against years of neglect and won my heart. This was my ring. I had to have it. It was almost as if it was telling me – “Now. I’ve found you, now’s the time.”

It sounds a bit cheesy, but I swear I wonder if we’d be engaged now if it weren’t for me finding that ring. Not that it was the idea of wearing a diamond that decided me on marriage – rather I’d looked and looked and hadn’t found anything that felt right. My fear was maybe I just wasn’t really ready – wouldn’t ever be ready. Clearly my ring (and Brian of course) knew I finally was.

I was disappointed that the proprietor was unable to give us any backstory on the ring. I’d hoped for at least an age, but no luck. Brian; however, didn’t let me down (he never does), and when he took the ring to be cleaned and resized the lady at Perry’s gushed over his fabulous choice. “They stopped cutting diamonds this way in 1919,” she said – and my heart fluttered when he repeated. The setting, she continued, looked to be from about 1910 – and I was blissfully happy. What can I say? I’ve got good taste.

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And then there was that time I got engaged

I’ve long been a cynic when it comes to love and marriage. A brief lapse into a hopeful “I think I’d prefer a wedding in the mountains” was always quickly followed with a bitter “if I ever get married.” But I found a man who saw through my cynicism and knew that deep down I wanted marriage, and love, and all the romance — I was just scared. A child of divorce, I’ve always been skeptical that a marriage could last. I’ve had a gripping fear that I’d give my heart to someone and then one day, they’d just decide they didn’t want it any more. Better to be safe from potential soul-crushing heartbreak than to take the risk, right?

On our first year anniversary, Brian created a beautiful collage of our past year together. It had all our foster pups, our various races we’d run (1/2 marathon in his case, 5ks in mine), the trips to Asheville, Valentine’s flowers, etc. It was thoughtful, sweet – perfectly Brian. At the bottom of that collage he included a quote —

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It was then that I first realized Brian saw past my bullshit, past the hard exterior I’d learned to wear and into my heart. That terrified me. With my mask off I was vulnerable. And vulnerable, I could have my heart broken.

Another reason I love my husband-to-be (hope that didn’t spoil the story, it’s in the title after all) is his patience. He patiently waited for 5 more months until I figured out what he had long since understood. We fit. We were good together, and he loved me – that wasn’t going to change. And so on Friday, April 25th Brian asked, and I said yes.

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And I may be a little obsessed with my ring, I think it deserves it’s own story 🙂

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Greetings from Hawaii! (almost)

Greetings from Hawaii! I really, really want to say ‘Aloha,’ but I’m resisting the urge. I mean, how much more clichéd can you get than ‘Aloha’ from Hawaii? As a college freshman sitting attentively in Journalism 101 several principles were drilled into my head. Number one was to avoid clichés.

Number two was strict avoidance of the word very. Very adds nothing. It is very redundant, very bland, and very lazy. A wealth of other adjectives can be used in its place, i.e., extremely, abundantly, extraordinarily, ferociously, inarguably, etc., etc., etc.

And this one I may have made up, but I hold it to be just as true. Number three is to be concise. Too much verbiage clouds your message. Precise wording creates impact. After you have a final draft, reduce your word count by about 25%. Your message will still be there; trust me. (A related rule is to remove superfluous words such as ‘that’ – you’d be surprised what little difference it makes.)

As I’m typing this, we’re experiencing horrible turbulence. It’s quite unnerving. I lied when I said ‘Greetings from Hawaii’ – I’m actually several thousand miles up en route to Phoenix, and about ten hours from the islands. Maybe I’ll break out ‘Aloha’ once I arrive and am seized by an island spirit which will overrule my writer’s code.

A more appropriate title of this post would have been ‘Greetings from First Class!’ as my extremely generous father gave me his front row seat. This is my first time sitting amongst the hot shots, and it’s everything I hoped it would be. They gave me real silverware and a lady keeps refilling my water glass. Actual glass. Thanks Dad, I hope you weren’t too cramped back there in coach!

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30 Days? Pssh. How about 3 months?

So remember a little ways back when I said I was doing something that was really going to push my limits? Well, when I said that, what I really meant was that I signed up for something that may potentially lead me to die on the side of a mountain.

Let me explain.

I have decided to sign up for a 30.1-mile, single-day hike. That is 12 hours of hiking. 10 miles at elevations over 6000 feet. Hitting a trail at 4 AM and hiking for almost 2 hours in the dark.

Why might I do this you ask? Well, there are a few reasons:

  1. I need an excuse to leave my house.
  2. I only made it through 3 days of my 30 day fitness challenge, so figured I’d try for something a little more extreme.
  3. Go big, or go home.
  4. I am 25 and determined to get into the best shape of my life – this can only help.
  5. Oh and most importantly, it benefits a really fabulous cause. It’s for charity y’all.

The event is the Fall run of the EXTREME Hike for a Cure to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I got involved with the organization last year when one of my closest friends participated in an event. The people in the organization were incredible, and I could see the impact already made by their tremendous efforts.

Now is an exciting time for the CF cause, and I am so thrilled to be a part of the race to find a cure. In February Kalydeco, a drug which treats the symptoms of CF, was introduced onto the market and is expected to drastically improve the lives of those living with the genetic disease. Kalydeco specifically addresses the cells which line the lungs, helping to normalize lung function. Two additional drugs are currently in development to further treat the symptoms of CF and help those suffering lead healthy, normal lives. A cure has never felt closer.

So while I’m gasping through three months of daily training and weekend hikes so I can ultimately struggle a little bit less as I trudge up the steep incline of a mountain, what can YOU do? Support me and the cause! Visit my fundraising page and help me reach my donation goal. No amount is too little or too great, and 90 cents on every dollar goes directly to funding CF research so we can push these life-saving drugs into the market.

Here is a sneak peek of the view (hopefully I’ll be able to break for photo ops!)

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