Friday, August 26, 2011

New Music Friday

A few of my current favorites (sidenote: I did not watch any of the videos so I apologize if there is anything wrong with them--I just love the music):

The Civil Wars - Poison and Wine
Why I love it: It's gorgeous. Beautiful voices (especially his)!
Good for: When you have conflicting emotions and need pretty music playing in the background while you decide how you should feel (bonus points if it's a rainy day)

Frightened Rabbit - Swim Until You Can't See Land

Why I love it: They opened for Death Cab a few weeks ago and were so much fun!
Good for: Wearing a kilt and drinking a pint with friends

Awolnation - Sail
Why I love it: I don't have a choice--Michael listens to it 15 times a day. :) It's ok, I love it too. It's different than what we typically listen to. And I like that.
Good for: When you want to feel like a badass.

Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks
Why I love it: The chorus is so catchy. You have two options with this song: You'll love it or hate it. I love it. Michael hates it.
Good for: Driving with the windows down on a hot summer day.

Nicki Minaj - Super Bass
Why I love it: It makes me want to dance.
Good for: Making everyone question your taste in music.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm Starting With The (Wo)Man In The Mirror

Thanks for your positive feedback regarding my new jeans. Final verdict: I’m keeping them—hooray! Even Michael decided they looked ok. Also, thanks for the advice. I definitely plan on wearing them with a tucked-in blouse, just not sure I can wear it without something covering the bum. You guys are giving my backside way too much credit.

This ties in nicely with another topic I’ve been wanting to write about: body image.

Before you roll your eyes and click away, hear me out. I’m not going to preach about how you need to treat your body as a temple (you do) or that confidence = beauty (it does), I’m just going to write my own story.

I’m a funny one when it comes to body image. I think most girls start noticing their “flaws” in junior high or high school. I was blissfully unaware until boys made fun of me, which happened for a few years. Even then, they had to point it out to me—I wasn’t the one who noticed my flaws. High school? Not a clue. I’ve never considered myself a very confident person, but I don’t remember feeling insecure because of the way I looked. The only body image comment I made was when I told my mom, “If I press my arms against my sides my arms look bigger.” From that moment on, when someone took a picture I did exactly that: pressed my arms against my sides so people wouldn’t notice that my elbow was by far the largest part of my arm.

I went to college and you’d think that’s when it finally hit. Nope. I had more confidence in college than any other time in my life. When I looked in the mirror I was happy. I knew I didn’t have a perfect body, but I felt really good. And off I paraded wearing another backless top (gah, what I wouldn’t give to tell my 19-year-old self that those tops were never cute).

It was not until a year or two after I graduated college that my thoughts changed. I don’t know what triggered it, but one day I looked in the mirror and thought, “Where did these hips come from?” and “When did I get a big butt?” Fast forward a few years and add, “What can I do to make my arms smaller?” and most recently, “Why are my thighs so large?” It drives Michael crazy. More than that, it drives me crazy. But ask me what I’ve done to change any of it. Nothing. As I’m typing this I’m drinking a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks and eating my second glazed donut. I’m ridiculous.

It's time to make a decision. I have two choices: Accept that this is how I’m going to look and quit complaining or do something about it. And I’ve decided it is time I do something about it. I look at my mom and think she looks amazing, but I also know she takes great care of herself. She works out, eats right, and her hard work has clearly paid off. She has more energy than me, more muscle than me, and more confidence than me. So why have I, at the age of 29, given up? Dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Do I want to lose weight? It’d be a nice side effect, but not the point. I just want to be healthy. To get that confidence back that I had 7 years ago. To look at my thighs and realize they’re bigger because they’re stronger. To understand my arms grew so that one day they might be able to carry a kiddo.

So what am I saying?

Treat your body as a temple and confidence = beauty. (And sometimes I fib when I want you to stick around.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

How High Can You Go?

I need your help.

Let me preface this by saying I feel like a complete moron for what I'm about to ask. Let me continue by saying I hope you respond to this post more than any other post I've ever written.


I'm on a high waisted jeans kick. LOVE them. Can't get enough of them... on other people. College me would have bought them a year ago, worn the crap out of them, and never thought twice about it. I miss college me.

29-year-old me is a wee bit terrified of looking ridiculous. Not to mention my better half has ZERO appreciation for the jeans. His two comments when I told him I needed a pair: "...Like the ones Jessica Simpson wore?" and "Oh... mom jeans?"

A good wife would have extinguished the dream.

I bought a pair.

They are not ridiculously high waisted, but they do come to my belly button and for someone whose torso is approx 4 inches, that's pretty high. I got them for a STEAL (yahoo!) and can return them if you, dear reader, think I look ridiculous. So I had Michael take pictures. Mind you, I said "absolutely not" to a butt shot because if I do keep them I plan on wearing something to cover zee butt. No amount of confidence will ever convince me my ass looks good in these jeans. (Solution: Tucked in top worn with a blazer, cardigan or jacket.)

Here's the deal. I doubt any of you will say, "OMG, awful." You're too nice and I'm grateful for that, but I also really want you to tell me if I need to return them. Kind phrases such as "I just love straight leg" or "I think this fad is going to die very soon" are perfect.

Disregard the outfit, it was "grab a shirt and go" time. I think the jeans would look nice with a fun blouse and leather jacket but it's 105 degrees outside, people. Use your imagination.

Here we go! I'm leaning forward so they don't look as high as they really are. After I saw the pictures I mentioned we needed to take some more but we were both too hot to care. The side shot gives a better idea if you can get past my arm shadow.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

DIY - Storage

Oh you guys. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your kind words. Your posts, emails, and texts were so appreciated. I read each of them to Michael and we are both grateful for your friendship and support. After I published the post I experienced a moment of sheer terror. I paced, I cried, and I second guessed everything I wrote. But today? Today I feel good. Tomorrow I'll feel better, and I know it'll continue to improve as the days/weeks go by.

I'll share a related story before I get to the point of this post. Whenever one of us gets a new prescription, Michael always asks whether or not "anal leakage" is a side effect. SICK. After seeing it on a random commercial he thinks it's absolutely hilarious. Anyway, I read aloud the list of side effects for folic acid (FYI--anal leakage was not on the list, thank you very much) and we both had a good chuckle over "confusion." But I kid you not, I'm pretty sure I'm experiencing it. I haven't looked quizzically at Michael or Thumbs and asked, "Who the hell are you and why are you in my house?" but I've been a complete idiot and Michael thinks I've lost it. Oops. So next time you see me, don't be offended if I act confused. It's just a side effect. :)

Ok, I'd mentioned last week that we had a small project going on at the Haynes' abode. This one involves our closet. I fully admit that my stuff takes up 80% of the closet and is slowly creeping over to his 20%. I think Michael finally had enough of it and mentioned hanging my handbags on the closet wall to free up a large shelf. Fortunately, he has good taste and mentioned dropping by Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie to see what hooks they had to offer. Music to my ears.

We rummaged through their loot, picked our favorites and came home with 14 decorative hooks. We spent several hours today hanging up some of my favorite handbags, scarves, and hats. I wish I could say they're all on the wall but who am I kidding? It was a cheap and easy idea that helped us get organized and emptied a shelf in our closet.

Next on my list: Buy something to put on our newly pristine shelf. Just kidding, my dear. :)

(I apologize for the picture quality--taking pictures of a closet was very difficult for me!)

BEFORE: Closet wall (+ ugly alarm system box)
(Also--does your closet include a soccer ball? No? Just ours?)

Quite the eclectic mix!

Of course we had to buy one with an "H"

Hint: It's not necessary to measure/put the hooks in a straight line since the objects are all different sizes. We just hung the hooks/bags as we went and it worked pretty well.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Past Year

When I started this blog four years ago, it was a place for me to share our story. The highs, the lows, the once-in-a-lifetime moments and the everyday moments. December of last year, that stopped. I continued to share the highs but never published the lows. At first it was because I didn't think it was your business. It's still not your business, but it's a burden I have carried for almost a year and it is so, so heavy. Very few know our story from beginning to end, and I'm tired, so tired, of keeping up with who knows what and how much. And so today, I am going to share it with all of you. I don't know who will read this but I'm sure this will benefit me far more than you. If you click away now, my feelings will not be hurt. This post will be long because I refuse to break it up into more than one. I want to get it out, all of it, and then move on. More than anything I just want to move on.

To begin, below is a post I wrote several months ago.

On November 24, 2010, Michael and I found out we were going to have a baby. After I took the test, one line showed up. I threw it in the trash and took a shower. After I got out, I decided to give it one more look (no idea why) and noticed a very, very faint second line. I must have picked up the test 20 times. Dried my hair. Picked up the test. Put on make-up. Picked up the test. I finally googled "faint second line" and found out I was one of many who'd had the same issue. All signs pointed to "you're pregnant." With the test in my hand, I ran upstairs to tell Michael the news. He'd been very sick all week so we'd slept in separate beds the night before. I woke him and only then realized I wasn't wearing anything and he was staring at me like I had 10 heads. So much for a neat story. In his sick stupor, he smiled and lifted his hand to give me a high-five. Not the reaction I was expecting, but pretty impressive given his state.

Work was impossible that day. I couldn't think about anything but the test and our baby. I was preparing for busy season so I had a million things to keep me busy but only one thing I cared about. I called my doctor to let her know the news and then counted the hours until I could leave. When I got home that evening I took another test--one that said "Pregnant" or "Not pregnant," and we had our official answer in writing. We hopped in the car and drove to Fort Smith as it was the day before Thanksgiving.

Michael and I always thought we'd wait several weeks before telling our families but I knew I couldn't keep this a secret for 4 days so we told my family that night. Everyone screamed, hugged, and a few had teary eyes (including myself). It was wonderful. We taught Evan to say "cousin."

The next few weeks were a blur. Busy season really kicked in and I was forced to put my personal thoughts aside for the most stressful time of my life. For 45+ hours a week, I was working a mile a minute. I'm not sure if it was stress or I caught Michael's bug, but I got very sick the second week of December. I was so looking forward to the weekend so I could relax and not worry about work.

Sunday morning I woke up and noticed blood. It wasn't much but I remember closing my eyes and saying, "No, no, no, no." Over and over again. I called the on-call doctor and she told me to call my doctor the next morning. It was, obviously, a long day.

Monday morning I woke up to more blood. I called the doctor and she told me to come in for an ultrasound. Michael came with me and we watched as the technician searched my body for our baby. She was able to find the sac but there was nothing inside it. I look back now and am so grateful--somehow not seeing anything seems better than seeing something and then having to realize it's gone. They took blood tests just to be sure but Michael and I both knew there was no point.

Words failed me. One month later I can't express the absolute emptiness I felt on that drive home. I wasn't very far along in my pregnancy but the second you find out you're having a baby your life changes. You plan for that baby. You dream for that baby. You yearn for that baby. In the three weeks we knew, I grew attached to someone I would never meet. And that someone I will never forget.

I know how common miscarriages are. From the very beginning I had a cautious feeling about this pregnancy, which both of my parents noticed immediately. I never knew if it was because I'd had a rough year and was trying to protect myself, or if this was something bigger, preparing me for the news I'd soon hear.

One thing they don't really mention about miscarriages is you still have the ridiculous hormones after you find out the news. I cried, often spontaneously, for an entire week. I would be fine one moment and then inconsolable the next. Michael was wonderful. He never once tried to fix things, he just held me while I cried.

We'd told very few people about our pregnancy, and we were the same way with the miscarriage. It's not that we were embarrassed or ashamed, but it was a fiercely private matter and we had all intentions to keep it that way while we grieved.

August 7 was our baby's due date. I'm writing this in January with no intention to post until August. I have no idea where we'll be in 7 months. Will we be pregnant again? Will we have lost again? The only thing I know is that we will experience whatever joy or loss together, as we did with this. I know God has something amazing in store for us, and whether that be a baby now, 5 years from now, or perhaps never, I know that he is good, and he is sovereign. And I will thank him every day for the gifts he has given us, which are far too many to count.

While writing that post I remember thinking, "We will absolutely be pregnant again by August 7." And you know what? I was right. Within a few months after letting my body recover, I was pregnant again. Fortunately, Michael wasn't sick this time so after I told him the news we danced around the house. We knew we'd be seeing my parents the last week of May and decided we'd wait to share the news with both families. When I was 6 weeks pregnant, we went to Charleston for one of my good friend's weddings. I pretended to drink champagne and beer, made excuses for why I chose soup over steak (food completely disgusted me), and somehow made it through the weekend without sharing the news with my best friends.

5 weeks, 5 days (Written the day before we left for Charleston)

Today was one of the best days of my life. I called the doctor this morning with a small concern and she told me I needed to come in this afternoon for a sonogram. I was very anxious and sent Michael multiple emails with all sorts of terrible possibilities. My appointment was at 3p and when I walked into the room I broke into a cold sweat. This was the room where I was told I had a large cyst on my ovary. The room where a month later I learned the cyst had not shrunk and would have to be surgically removed. The room where I found out I'd suffered a miscarriage. The technician smiled politely and told me she was going to look at my ovaries first. After what seemed like forever, I quietly said, "Will you let me know if you see the baby?" She smiled and said, "I haven't gotten there yet, but yes, I'll let you know." Once she made a few notes she said, "Ok, I'm going to look for the baby but you're very early so if I can't find anything that doesn't mean...." Before she could finish her sentence we both froze as it lit up the screen. I looked at the technician and asked, "Is that my baby?" She laughed and said, "Yes and would you look at that strong heartbeat! What a little peanut!"

I found out later that the earliest my doctor’s office has ever seen a heartbeat is 5 weeks 5 days. If I'd come in yesterday I wouldn't have seen the tiny flicker that absolutely took my breath away.

I always thought I would cry. But I didn't. Instead, I sat in complete awe. This precious life with his or her 100-beats-per-minute heart was inside of me, and I was absolutely speechless.

After that appointment, we called our baby "Peanut." At that same appointment the doctor told me I had a small blood clot in my uterus but that many women had successful pregnancies with the same issue. She told me to lay low and to avoid strenuous exercise. I did and things seemed to be going well.

At 9 weeks I noticed more spotting. We were set to leave for Greenville, SC two days later but I had to see the doctor right then. They were able to get me in that morning and I'd already prepared myself for the worst. My pregnancy symptoms had diminished dramatically and I just didn't feel pregnant. Once the picture was up, we saw our baby. It didn't look like it did at our 5.5 week or 7 week appointment. We couldn't see any blinking, which signifies the heartbeat. The technician said nothing and then sighed as she told us our baby had died at 7.5 weeks. Devastated. We were both devastated. Michael held my hand and all I could do was tell him I was sorry. Over and over again. It was clear this was my fault, and nothing he or the doctor said would ever change my mind.

The next day we got on a plane and flew to South Carolina. I'd told the doctor I wanted to have the miscarriage naturally--I did not want to have a D&C. She said she'd give me through the weekend and if nothing happened she would perform the D&C the following week. I was "lucky" and had the miscarriage on Saturday afternoon in a foreign hotel room while Michael was away with the groom and groomsmen. I have never experienced pain that deep and I'm still not sure what hurt worse, the pain or my heart. I knew when it was finally over and I laid in bed and cried. After that, I had 30 minutes to put on a smile and get ready for the wedding.

Looking back, I am so grateful it happened in South Carolina. It was terrible, but I am glad I will never be in that bathroom in that hotel again. It was best to leave it behind.

A few weeks later I met with the doctor again and she discussed running several blood tests to see if there was a connection between my miscarriages. The first time she ran 12 tests and all came back normal. Two weeks ago she checked my chromosomes. She called me this week and said I had a heterozygous mutation on the MTHFR gene. Don't worry, when I saw it I thought it looked like a bad word too. She explained to me that the gene mutation can cause a lack of folic acid (something that is crucial during pregnancy) as well as blood clots, which I'd had with my second pregnancy. She was very positive--told me I would simply take folic acid supplements and blood thinners when I was pregnant again. I nonchalantly said, "folic acid and aspirin--no big deal." She paused and then said, "No, I'm afraid aspirin isn't strong enough. The blood thinner will be an injection--a shot you give yourself every day you're pregnant."

For those of you who know me or have read my blog for awhile, shots (needles) are my biggest fear. I loathe them. And now I'm told for me to have a chance at a successful pregnancy, I will need to give myself a shot every day for 9 months.

Apparently this mutation is somewhat common and many have it without having any pregnancy issues. However, since I've had two miscarriages, she is pretty confident it is the reason why. With the help of folic acid supplements and blood thinners, she believes we will be able to have a baby. (This article explains my condition better than I ever could.)

So that brings you to today. You now know as much as us. Hitting "publish post" might be one of the hardest things I have ever done. This is a huge step for me, however, I truly believe it's a step I need to take in order to move forward. Unless I feel the need, I do not plan on posting about this again. We still have a long road ahead of us before we start "trying" (ugh--hate that phrase), and the first person who asks how that is going will get a punch in the throat. No, I'm kidding, but it really isn't something I care to talk about. If you have questions about miscarriages or MTHFR, please ask. My hope is that this post might help someone besides myself--I know several miscarriage posts helped me.

What I've learned through all of this? It's ok to be mad. It's ok to crawl in bed and cry your eyes out because you hear someone is pregnant and you are not. It's ok for your heart to break when a healthy pregnant woman complains to you about how fat she feels. And it's ok to let your husband hold you up when you are so physically and emotionally tired that you just.... can't. I have yelled at God so many times and you know what? That's ok too. I know there is a reason for this and I know that he has given me far more than I ever deserve. All I have to do is look at my husband and I know I'm still the luckiest girl in the world. And one day, I hope we will be the luckiest parents. But if that day never comes, I will still thank God for every breath and blessing I've been given.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's Already August?

Note: This post is absolute crap. Forgive me while I re-learn how to write.

Whenever I take an extended blog hiatus it's always so hard to get back into it. Add several distractions and blogging ends up pretty low on the list (my apologies). Some of the distractions:

Pinterest (as mentioned in a previous post): A complete time suck that makes me so, so happy.

Hunger Games: Have you read this trilogy? I've asked anyone and everyone this question over the past few weeks. Incredible. Makes you think, makes you cry (or was it just me?) and makes you absolutely terrified of the future. :) Highly recommend.

Movies, Movies, Movies: It's too hot to do anything outside so we've stayed inside and seen a lot of movies. Some include: Captain America (good), Crazy, Stupid, Love (great), Midnight in Paris (love!), and Harry Potter (eh). I believe I've mentioned this before but I cannot wait to see One Day, which comes out in a few weeks. Adored the book and am hoping the movie is as good (let's be honest, I know it won't be).

Travel: Well first off, see below. Other than that, it's future trip planning that has kept me busy--San Fran/Napa this fall and we've recently decided (well, discussed) a trip to France for our 5-year anniversary. I'm in "Merd, Travel Planner" mode and am loving every minute of it. My mom and I have also talked about going to NYC for my 30th Bday so add that to the list and I'm in heaven.

Sanibel Island: My family traveled to Florida last week and had a wonderful time! We finally met our newest nephew, Braden, and I can't say enough wonderful things about him. He is such a happy, good-natured baby with the sweetest smile (unfortunately, the only time he doesn't smile is when a camera is in his face). I posted way too many pictures on Facebook so I'll share some here and include the link for the two of you who are interested in seeing more. We also got to hang out with his big (emphasis on BIG), handsome brother Evan and watch him fall in love with the water. It was such a fun week with the Besancon clan. :)

Next up:
-A fun, albeit small DIY project at the Haynes abode
-Pictures from the past 3 months that I am absolutely certain no one cares about but I refuse to ignore
-Exercise (or lack thereof) and what I plan to do about it

CLICK HERE to see more!


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