Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Is our Perfect Home Out There?

House Hunting Part I

I know I need to do a monthly recap. This is more of a smorgasbord of thoughts. I plan on doing a recap once I get all the million pics off my cell phone. But just so you know, Jackson doesn't quite run everywhere anymore. He jumps. It’s funny. And he’s obsessed with bunnies. And The Wheels on the Bus videos. And he’s using the potty. I’m not going to write much about that because I’m scared to jinx things and I can’t believe this is happening…

Isn’t this a phase??  Don’t boys take longer?
Enjoying a healthy smoothie

I think Jackson is on his 15th haircut too. It helps when grandma cuts hair for a living!!!

We started looking at houses. Wow. Exhausting!!! Even more when you’re looking during the arctic blast and blizzard. [Insert frozen face.]  Why not move to Arizona?

We didn’t expect to find a house during our first run through. Problem is the location. It’s quite the distance outside The Cities. It’s like Roscoe back in the 80s (the town in Illinois I grew up in). Very country. Very little to do – no gas stations for miles away. BUT, that’s something Karl and I were hoping for in a weird way.
Isn't she pretty?

Houses are ON TOP of each other otherwise, unless we can fork over half a million or buy a house that was built over 30+ years ago and requires quite a bit of work. We’ve been living in a town home where we share walls with the neighbors and there is ZERO yard. We want SOME land. We want a garden. We want a yard Jackson can play in. We’re over our neighbors looking into our home.

Yet, we realize that our townhome IS REALLY nice. I bought it brand new and I have taken good care of it. I didn't realize how well until we started walking through houses younger than ours and noticing the destruction. And this is probably why we’ve subconsciously hung on to our townhome for so long. That, and we wanted to wait as long as possible to sell so we could get SOMETHING for it.

In the meantime I cleaned out our master bedroom last weekend. NINE garbage bags FULL of stuff. NINE. I have my work cut out for me. It’s PURGE TIME.
Just the start of PURGE FEST

Anyway, we found a house for a GREAT price (bank owned). The view is awesome. But the house would require a little work. Do we have time for repair work?? Can we fork over money for new appliances, carpet and paint from the get go? We can barely find time to keep up with our own place.

The kitchen is huge. There are custom closets. An unfinished walkout basement. A wonderful deck. A slop sink and a laundry area! But I’ve heard the commute (though same miles I drive now) isn’t the best. What to do? What to do?

I now see how this is going to be a little more difficult than I thought. I’m going to have to compromise some wants, aren't I?

I keep thinking something awesome will fall in our lap like it did for my brother and sister-in-law…

Also, my dad went in for his open-heart surgery and I can report he is AWAKE and gave us all thumbs up (via a text message my mom sent)! Can you tell I was trying to keep my mind busy with house stuff? I couldn’t stand the thought of my dad's chest getting ripped open.

Doctors went in and discovered the quarter-sized hole in his heart was even BIGGER than that. They also replaced his mitral valve with a pig valve. My dad looks young for his age, but he’s been breathing heavily and napping multiple times throughout the day. Seemed so odd. He’d walk up three steps and have to stop.
You think a massive hole in your heart might be the reason? BINGO!!! Let’s hope this surgery helps. I pray for a speedy recovery.

This is my reason for living out a healthy lifestyle. I know my family’s heart history. I pay close attention to what goes in my body and the amount of sleep and activity I get every day (sleep varies now that I'm a mom). I know it makes me sound psycho from time to time, but I know what happens when you don’t take care of yourself. Why not start from a young age and establish GOOD habits to carry on forever? Then it doesn’t seem so daunting and overwhelming.

I'm also going to try to blog about my weekly meal plans. Basically I rip out healthy recipes, write out a grocery list, search for coupons and hit up the store ONCE a week. We're good for the week. It's such a HUGE relief knowing what I'm going to make when I get home from work and all ingredients will be there. 

What I need to work on is stress. But I think that rings true with most people! This is why I’m trying to figure out a workout schedule. I feel SO GREAT after working out. But fitting it in is so tough!!! I did get one work out in last week. This cold weather is totally killer. Can’t even step outside for more than 5 minutes without my nose hair icing up on me.

Stay warm out there!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How to Get a House Ready for the Market

But We Have Too Much Stuff!

I’m in TOTAL organization mode right now. It’s so hard when you have the organization bug and you’re at work more than you are home. Or when you are home, you have a toddler to chase around. BUT, I’m getting things done, closest by closet and room by room.

This all started when our realtor came over to check out our town home a few weeks ago. We’ve been thinking about selling and buying a house with a yard and a basement for Jackson to run wild in! YAY! But after she left, I was so overwhelmed, I froze. I didn’t even know where to start. I even told myself maybe living in a town home forever wouldn’t be a bad thing. 

Bottom line: we have an incredible amount of stuff.

I think both Karl and I get emotionally attached to “things”, which makes it harder to toss or donate. I’m getting better about it though. “It’s just STUFF,” I tell myself. “You can’t take it with you.” 


I’ve been reading a really great book, “It’s All Too Much.” The author suggests walking into each room and visualizing the purpose of that room, and then going from there.


What happened was I bought my town home when I was 23. It was VERY empty then, but by 30 I had met Karl, we had multiple wedding showers, we were married, then sold his townhome and acquired all his stuff AND then had our son with multiple baby showers. We have a LOT of STUFF.

The plan is to sell. We just haven’t decided when. However, in the meantime, I’m downsizing room by room to get a head start. I can’t tell you how much BETTER I feel when I purge and I walk into a room that is clearly organized. I can breathe easier.  Ahhhhh. I don’t feel so overwhelmed by our stuff.

The big problem with our town home is there is ZERO storage, other than closets and our garage. Karl built me some awesome shelves in the garage when we were dating that helped a ton but they are filled to the top. I walk by and notice there are things on the shelves that we NEVER use so I think more storage space can be made.

The second issue is we plan on expanding our family (this part is exciting but it creates a predicament). We can’t get rid of any baby stuff unless we want to buy all new stuff and that just seems crazy. Baby stuff takes up a ton of space. It’s trying to find storage for this stuff but still allow our home to be sellable.

The biggest problem: do we really want to rent a storage shed for several months? To me, if you have to use a storage facility, then you have way too much stuff. If we’re storing it, then why do we need it? Get where I’m going here? 

The book I’m reading was saying how The Container Store is growing by 30% every single year and the storage business is a billion dollar business. I believe it. Americans have way too much stuff and WE are TOTALLY part of the problem!!

Below are a few images I would LOVE to follow to help me along: 
Love this boot idea since mine are all over the floor

We have all our stuff jammed everywhere. This is an excellent idea!

We need some sort of shoe rack in our garage or somewhere! Our shoe rack now is in front of the closet that houses our furnace and water softener. What a mess when we have to get in there. This would work slick!

Every time I cook I get stressed because our spice cabinet is a MESS. This would TOTALLY HELP!

Any advice on the best way to tackle getting a house ready for the market without overwhelming myself too much? 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Finding ME Time and Finding My Happy

Why does the word "Me" sound so selfish?

I wanted to write a post about “me” time. Because if you’re anything like me, you probably don’t get enough of it. And I’m here to remind tell you, “YOU DESERVE IT and YOU NEED IT.”

Being a mom requires a lot of you, not to mention being a loving wife, a good friend, a great sister and daughter too. I don’t care if you’re stay-at-home or if you’re a working mom—it’s nuts and busy and crazy either way you look at it.

It took me 21 months to figure this out but in order to be the best mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, employee, etc., I have to carve in time for me. And only me. It’s who I am and how I tick. I think I took a test once and as extroverted as I might seem, I’m actually an introvert. I recharge by spending time alone.

Shocking, huh? Seems so simple.

It’s not though.

This Christmas I participated in an online Elf4Health Challenge. Every day I was forced to do something healthy for myself and use the social media world to chat about it. I LOVED it. LOVED. I looked forward to every challenge and I found time no matter where or when to do every activity (OK, so I didn't go to work make-up free, but still…).
I AM POWERFUL! (really, I'm doing wall sits here...2 minutes 22 seconds)


My world. 

I knew if I could do this challenge for four weeks, I could do something like this every single day. We weren’t talking hours upon hours here. There was no more room for excuses. There was no denying that I was happier than I had been in a long time those four weeks and I knew the exact reason why.

I was doing something for “me” and was becoming healthier emotionally and physically because of it.

But the word “me” sounds so selfish, doesn’t it?

Let me explain in a way I know how. So I get asked quite often to play volleyball or to go to happy hours or to volunteer or to set up activities to bring people together—basically all the things I used to do before my son came along. I love doing these things, don’t get me wrong. But my life has changed.  My priorities have changed.

I have changed.

My epiphany?

I was doing all those things for other people. To make THEM HAPPY. As much as I love and live and breathe volleyball, I realized I was playing on volleyball teams that had a hard time figuring out how to even play simple defense. If anyone knows me, I played in college. I’m extremely competitive (so much so that my hubby refuses to play with me). I’d leave super frustrated and unfulfilled. I also knew what I needed was a friend to listen to me and understand exactly what I was going through, but instead I was listening to friends who were judging me and didn't have a clue what was going on. Or I’d volunteer but then go home feeling exhausted and crabby because I’d look around and my own house was a disaster. I’d set up activities so people could gather and grow but I left feeling anxious and alone and hungry for more. My schedule was so packed and loaded with so many great things, and yet I wasn’t satisfied. How does this make sense?

I knew if I cancelled any of these things, I would let someone down and I’d feel like an awful person. So I kept filling my day up and stressing myself out. It was a vicious cycle I could not get out of.

That was until I had my son. Everything sort of stopped for a while. I think the word "overwhelmed" takes on a whole new meaning. I wanted to simply be a mom. Really, I needed to figure it all out. I think “disappearing” freaked out a lot of people, but I honestly just needed to focus on how to be the best “me” for my son.

I thought if I threw myself into being the best mom, I would become the best.

Not so. I learned I definitely need breaks, lots of them. So I started saying “no” more often to others and "yes" to myself. I became very choosy with my time.

Does this make me sounds incredibly selfish?

But how could “me” being happy be a selfish thing?

I think one of the hardest things for me to accept and adjust to after becoming a mom was not seeing Karl (hubby) as much and getting the bulk of parenting work due to his crazy work schedule and schooling. We always did everything together. We made such a great team. And I missed him like CRAZY. Sure, I’d see him when he’d get home from work but I was trying to feed our son or clean things up or get everything ready for the next day while my son was wailing or screaming or repeating, “mama” over and over.

It gets challenging to take the time to ask “How was your day? How are you?” when there are a million distractions. Especially when my brain literally can’t form sentences anymore by the end of the day.

We eventually (14 months AFTER our son was born) started a routine of putting our son down for bed and then watching TV shows on the couch. We hit the sweet spot once that started happening. It was WONDERFUL to spend that quiet time together again, to snuggle on the couch.

I looked FORWARD to that every night.

But more times than not I was still anxious and worn out and full of emotions by the end of night. I'm telling you, parenting is HARD WORK. I told Karl that I needed to take one week night to go to the gym and one weekend day too – just for myself. And NOT feel guilty about it. That took guts to decide. But saying it out loud empowered me. I was going to do something for "me" and only "me". I had a date with myself!

Even if it was 8:00 p.m. and the last thing I wanted to do, I DID IT. I know how great I’ll feel and that wins every time. Let me tell you, I come back feeling AMAZING. I’m recharged and full of ideas and drive and energy and love, and everything inside me feels HAPPY.

My family benefits from this Big Time. I benefit. 

I make the simple choice to spend a little time with myself—no guilt allowed—and if pays off in a HUGE way.

So if you’re feeling anything like I was: unfulfilled at times, stressed to the max, exhausted, disorganized or looking for more, perhaps you need to spend some time with yourself. Remember who you are, what you’re capable of, what is it you want – what is it that makes YOU happiest?  Maybe it’s a trip to the mall or an hour-long massage or going to a movie by yourself, or like me, working out (and then steaming and sitting in the hot tub!!). Find it, find YOU and make the time. You are deserving to be the happiest you've ever been.

You will come out feeling amazing – something you owe yourself. Because YOU ARE AMAZING.

What do you do for YOU? 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Negative - Day 26 (Month 1 of Trying)

Until Next Month... 
Well, the first month of trying was a no-go. It’s OK. I think I was so psycho about it because I deep down knew I wasn’t, but wanted myself to believe I was. Make sense?

Deep down I knew when I took that test on Saturday and it came back negative that I wasn’t going to be by the end of the week. 
Sometimes I feel like this at home!

Also, I realized how anxiety can consume a person (ehem…ME) and how it totally affects the whole process. Throwing that out the window month two. It truly made me ill and NUTS!

I decided that I have another month of feeling like me, so I’m going to focus on getting our house ready.
I would love answers. Will we be putting our town home up for sale? Will we be renting? Will we be staying until baby #2 arrives? I can’t answer any of these questions right now and it drives me nuts. But instead of being frozen and doing nothing and putting the house off again, I’m going to purge and downsize.

There are things in our house we NEVER use. There are things in our house that have been there since I bought the place in 2002 and just don’t seem to reflect who we are at all. There are also dust collectors everywhere.

I can’t imagine renting a storage unit. To me if we have to store stuff, do we really NEED IT then? We also don’t have the $100 it costs every month to rent a unit. 

Regardless of what we decide, I feel a million times better when there is less clutter and each room has a purpose. I feel in control of my emotions. I feel happy. I feel free.

Right now, I’m not sure why we have 50 candles throughout the house (totally bugging me), or dying plants taking up space, tons of books I'll never read again clogging our bookshelves and a million photos hanging on our walls and framed pictures from my college days. I’m tired of the excuses I have for all of these things! 

Usually I look at something taking up space and I worry I’ll hurt that person’s feelings if I throw it away since they gave it to us. Or I feel like I’m tossing away money. OR I know I have to keep all Jackson’s toys because we will have number two. That doesn’t mean I can’t pack away and store in a closet that is now stuffed with things we NEVER EVER USE.


A few other reasons I’m OK with the negative results:
  • I also get to strength train extra hard this month and use the steam room and hot tub! Yay!
  • I also get to drink a beer whenever I want. Yay!
  • I also better get my sushi fix in too….

What did you feel and do when the test came up negative? 

Going Crazy - Day 26 (Month 1 of Trying)

I’m realizing that I’m kind of crazy
Does anyone else think this much?? Again, the reason why I write. I need to get it all out. And who wants to listen to me talk all the time about this stuff?

This is what I have for ya. Saturday I had an appointment to get a hitch on our new car. I’m excited because this means we’ll be taking our bikes somewhere COOL to ride other than the bike path down the way. Maybe even CAMP this summer!!!!! YIPPEEE. It’s a must. I think Jackson will love since he’s such a nature boy.

Anyway, as I’m waiting for my car (which was really nice – I actually made it through an entire magazine!) I started to feel gross again. Nauseous, light headed, dizzy. And then I became really hot. OK…my yellow winter coat was still on, but the last 10 days I’ve been freezing (yes, we were in a historic arctic blast. I get that.).  On the way home I decided to buy a home pregnancy test. Only after I paid $21.99 for THREE, I found out that the dollar store sells these and they are JUST as good. Oh…

I took the test at home. I was on day 24. Maybe too early? Not from what the box tells me though.
Results: NEGATIVE.

Looks like you'll have to wait another month.

Grrr. I remember with Jackson I peed and that stick changed the second it hit but I also took the test on day 29 or 30. Still, this tells me that I’m not, and all the things I’ve been feeling are in fact anxiety, which is CRAZY to me. Did you catch all that? In short, my brain is POWERFUL. Still, I can’t believe this though or accept it. Great.

I Google and it sounds like tons of women get the two lines (positive) even at three weeks. I can’t be then. Can I? I think back to my friend who a year ago emailed me on day 24 and took a test, negative.  But she swore she was. She had the symptoms. She took again on day 25—sometimes even taking the test twice—negative.  It wasn’t until day 28 when the two lines showed up. Is this normal!?!?! I can’t picture this happening to me. I feel like my body should know and it should show up already. However, I’m NOT taking another test until day 28 or 29. It’s like throwing $7 down the toilet if I take another! We’re on a tight budget here!

Seriously, I need to let this go.

So I still worked out. I ran my fastest mile yet (8:57). AND I burned close to 300 calories in 25 minutes doing stair stepper at level 12 and felt AMAZING afterwards. Sure, I was gasping for air more than normal, but I still did it. Granted, I’m in pretty good shape, but I can’t picture me doing these things if I was PG. I didn’t feel like passing out either.  So there’s that.

AND I got a killer headache yesterday. A clear sign my monthly visitor is coming. Right? OR it could be the fact that I can’t seem to drink coffee like I used to. Why? Karl told me it’s because the coffee has tasted gross. Oh. His simple explanations! He might be on to something since he brewed a different brand today and I drank a bunch. Now I’m on a caffeine high. Oops. Did I mention a cup of coffee to me is MAYBE 10 sips max? This drives Karl nuts. How can one be this hyper in the morning and not consume a lot of caffeine?  

OK. Back to the symptoms. There has been cramping.  I’m craving chocolate like crazy. BUT usually I’ll get a few Cyclops on my skin the week of my monthly visitor. Skin check: pretty clear… BUT we’ve been eating a lot of fish. I swear, the more often I eat fish, the better my skin looks. Again, could be in my messed up head.

I had these symptoms when I was PG with Jackson. I took Advil and Midol back then thinking my monthly visitor was coming because of the cramping. I wanted to stop the cramps before they became unbearable. I remember being VERY VERY VERY tired with him the week of finding out too, but I also played 8+ hours of volleyball in the HOT AUGUST SUN. I remember feeling like a truck hit me the next day. NOT feeling that this time… Or else it could be because I’m just used to that “tired” feeling chasing a toddler around???
The only odd thing is I’m sleeping AMAZING at night. And I’m having crazy weird dreams. Like Karl was trying to murder me by making these weird loud snoring noises. When I woke up, I realized he was snoring louder than he has ever snored. So weird how that all happens.

So yeah…now that I thought all this through, I pretty much thought my period was coming when I was pregnant with Jackson, so it’ll always be tough to know until I take a test, which I did. Hellloooo.
So basically I told myself I need to LET GO. God has a plan for us. He’ll know when the timing is right. We’re doing the work, but God knows best.  Right? It’s the only way!

I’m such a control freak though. Wow.

When did you find out you were PG? What day? 

How I'm Feeling - Week 3 (Month 1 of Trying)

OK. Definitely feeling nauseous. 
Is this in my head?? Am I really this stressed out right now?

I woke with ANOTHER headache and we even went to the chiropractor yesterday. Did I mention that Jackson LOVES going? He hops right on the table and says, “POP!” after each adjustment with the CUTEST SMILE. When we get home from daycare or on weekends, he makes us get on the floor and adjusts us. It’s way too cute. He did this over Christmas in Kansas too. So funny. Usually he jumps on me and walks on my back…then starts laughing. ALL BOY.

I bought a $5 bottle of essential oils from our chiropractor and am addicted. I have no idea what’s in it (coming soon), but I told the chiropractor that I thought I was fighting off something. She said to spray it on my lymph nodes around my neck. I have been and so far, so good!! I even squirted Karl with it. He thinks it smells weird. I think I was told I could even squirt it in my mouth on throat. I need directions!!
Is it weird that it might have helped me sleep better too? I sprayed it on my pillow. Slept GREAT until someone stole the covers. Won’t mention any names…
The bottle of essential oils I'm trying out. Smells like cloves and vanilla to me!

Anyway, I was hungry when I woke up and decided to have two eggs and heat up one of Karl’s super healthy pancakes, topped with flaxseed. This particular pancake has bananas and oats and blueberries in it. NO sugar. For some reason I could barely eat it. The smell. Eww.

Uh oh.

Then Karl came down and toasted two slices of bread he made from our bread maker (it’s REALLY good) and the smell of that got to me. I felt my stomach rise. Could this ALREADY be happening!?!? I didn’t mention anything to him because I’m thinking he’ll say, “It’s anxiety, babe!”

Could be.

I’m scared this is already a sign that there will be two pink lines next week. With Jackson, I was feeling off for three solid weeks –not until weeks 6 through 9. I never threw up, but there were times I was close and getting out of bed for work was HARD. I think that first trimester was hit or miss after those three weeks. I’d feel really good but then maybe a day I wouldn't feel the greatest. If this is a sign of what’s coming… and THIS EARLY… Oh dear. ESPECIALLY after yesterday’s work meeting. I will have a LOT on my plate in 2014. A LOT. I’m super excited about all the projects but feeling a titch overwhelmed. Thinking positive here though. I always get everything done! I’m going to be learning a lot. My resume is going to grow a bunch. Can you tell I’m super pumped about this? I like making myself invaluable. I’m also officially down to four days a week. I’m SO grateful my work is willing to let me do this as a manager. I feel like I WANT to do the best I can for the company and really make a difference in the company. I love feeling this way. Motivated. Driven. Challenged. Excited.

Just wanted to share some thoughts and how I’m feeling. I’m trying to get coffee down and that’s been hard too. I don’t want to jinx anything, but I guess I’ll be surprised if I’m not cooking a bun in the oven right now. 

Did you feel ill early on in your pregnancy? 

The Waiting Game - Am I, or Aren't I? (Month 1 of Trying)

Could I Be?

T-minus 8 more days until we find out if the first month of trying worked. I don’t even have any tests at home. I should buy some, huh?

I can tell you last week I had a rough time eating breakfast and couldn’t swallow down my beloved coffee. (We’re talking chocolate glazed Dunkin Donuts coffee too.) What is that about? Could be stress. Could be anxiety. I mean, that would be awfully early in the game, don’t you think?

Karl laughs at me when I say, “I know my body.” But I DO. Like nothing else.

Friday, I met with our Realtor who walked me through our townhouse and told me all the things I had to do if we want to sell or rent. Let’s just say I’m feeling VERY overwhelmed. VERY. Like, that frozen- state-of-mind-can’t-start-anything-because-i-don’t-even-know-where-to-begin.

I also feel like a hoarder. So I watched an episode of Hoarders. That sparked some motivation. And some serious itching.  

Last night I started getting pains in my left tonsil. I was also VERY crabby. My brain couldn’t think. I let Jackson dump the frozen carrots all over the floor because I didn’t know what else to do to keep him from whining. It is very very very cold out. Our freezer went out. I managed to cook a steak dinner. I cut everything up in bite size pieces for Jackson. I tried to listen to Karl’s day and answer his questions and process things he was telling me, but all the while block out Jackson’s whining. It felt like too much. Like my brain might spill over the information in it from my work day too. Was it really that much??

In the middle of the night I woke up a bazzilion times with my throat throbbing. Finally around 4 a.m. I took Advil. I know I shouldn’t take Advil right now but it’s all we had and I needed SOME sleep. When I stood up, the room started spinning. I couldn’t stop it. And it’s been like that all morning. Either I have vertigo or some kind of bug or maybe just maybe it’s another sign that something is cooking in me?? My ears do feel a little clogged.

One thing I remember that first month we found out Jackson was on the way was I ended up getting back-to-back colds in August. Simply getting sick with a cold was already really unusual for me. But twice?
Something was UP. I think I read that the immune system of a pregnant woman goes down. True? Not sure. 

My chest feels a little tender and I have been using the bathroom a lot, BUT I also drink a ton of water and have been drinking HOT HOT HOT tea since we’re in a historic arctic blast right now. A lot of this can be in my head too. The brain is SO POWERFUL.  

One thing I’ve been following is a little article I found in my Women’s Health Magazine. It lists some of the best foods to eat to boost fertility. I’ve also added quite a bit of fish to our diets. Why? I ran out of my prenatal fish oil vitamins and wanted the real stuff. It’s better anyway. But it’s expensive though. One pound of wild salmon was $37. That’s a quarter of our weekly grocery budget. The only thing I haven’t had is the buckwheat listed. I’ve never cooked with it so I guess it’s something that has peaked my interest and we’ll be trying soon even if this month works or doesn’t. It’s healthy, right?

That’s about all I have. A friend sent me a link that freaked the ba-jezzes out of me. I still laughed at it though because I’m almost positive it’s spot on. I guess I should just focus on #2 and NOT #3. I kind of have this problem of jumping ahead. Can you tell?

Growing the Family - Here We Go Again (Month 1 of Trying)

So we started trying for baby #2 yesterday. Woot! Don’t worry, I’ll save you from all the details. I’m mainly writing this post because I shared my first pregnancy and I need to be fair to this little love bug too.  Plus, I’m a writer. It’s what I do! (ehem -  Did you notice I didn’t call myself  just a “mom”?)
AND because I can’t believe that we’re at this point… 

I thought for a while there Jackson (20.5 month old son) would be it. That first year was a VERY tough and challenging journey for me. Yet, really awesome too. I think some of you parents out there will “get” that statement.  I look back at photos of myself before Jackson and think, you had NO idea what was coming your way. I was judgmental then. I thought I knew all the answers. I was focused a lot on things that were such small pieces of the puzzle and bigger picture, and man, I sure looked rested!!!

Then I was blinded by this thing called motherhood. 

I really think the transition was so hard because I was never around babies to start and I was never that googly goggly baby person. I was fine if I didn’t hold a baby or change a diaper. Friends never called me to babysit. I had NO clue what I was doing. I knew how to play volleyball though and cook and set up friends and write… Now I was sleep-deprived to the max and I had SUPER high expectations of how well I should handle everything and I wasn’t meeting ANY of them. I was totally off my game.


And to top it all off, my hubby was frozen in fear and working a bunch. We were once TIED to the hip before kids. We did everything together and traveled the world and came and went as we pleased throughout the day and weekends. Oh, the life! PLUS, I didn’t realize how much work (and painful) breast feeding would be. I was determined though. And then transitioning back to working full-time and all the pumping breaks and cleaning parts and toting bags around, and all the dishes…

Let’s just say that first year was the biggest emotional rollercoaster of my life. I’ve never cried so much in my life. Now, I see a stranger cry and I’m sobbing right beside them. What happened to me!?!

I feel. I feel for everyone.

After Jackson, our life changed in a HUGE way. HUGE. I still remember how alone I felt when Karl would go up to bed and I was downstairs rocking Jackson to sleep, praying he’d give me three hours of solid sleep. Five and I would actually function. I was so anxious before bed, sabotaging any good sleep by wondering just how tired I’d be the next day if I didn’t fall asleep in the next ten minutes, hour, two...  

I so wanted to crawl in bed with Karl like we did before every night, but I couldn’t, I had a huge responsibility crying in my arms. Things weren’t easy anymore. Or I still remember how isolated I felt when we finally gathered the courage to travel (on a plane!) and I’d have to scurry on downstairs every couple hours and find a dark room to nurse while everyone was having fun and drinking like old times. Clearly the list could go on here.

Well, well, well…wasn’t that short-lived?

I can’t even begin to explain how magical becoming a mom has been. Obviously it outweighs all the above. Jackson blows me away every single day. Can he seriously be this cute!?!?

Yes, I stare at him ALL THE TIME and yes, I literally feel my mind smoking and my heart growing ten sizes bigger when he says “Amen, mama!” after our prayers at night or he wraps his little arms around me or he walks up to me and kisses my lips. How is it possible I am this lucky to be his mom???? I pinch myself sometimes. Am I dreaming? Am I in some weird bubble right now? It’s so weird. So cool. So incredible. SUCH a MIRACLE.

The transition of “me” has been incredible too - a scared first-time mom (who wanted to hide in the clothes rack at Kohl’s Department store), growing into a confident, loving, strong mother who thinks she’s ready for another.

I never realized how much I could love someone, and have that love grow every single day. Weirdly enough, I’m not worried about loving another. I thought I would be. But I know it’s going to come and I’m going to fall fast and hard. That’s what has amazed me most about becoming a mom. How easy it is to love – how natural that comes (maybe not immediate but it floods your heart when the time is right) and how my instincts are spot on ALL THE TIME.  

Don’t get me wrong, there are fears! Ohhh, doggie, there are fears. The more you have, the more you have to lose. And yes, I’m scared of ALL the work ahead of me and figuring out ways to share my time equally while keeping my head on straight and not losing sight of myself. I honestly don’t know how it’s going to work out, but I’m trusting God on this one because my heart is telling me something else. 

Why another?

  • I want Jackson to have a sibling. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the relationship I have with both my brothers. I want Jackson to have that. He is going to make the BEST bigger brother.

  •  I want to grow our family. Some of my favorite moments are just hanging out. Walks, bike rides, time at the park, reading books, playing. Yet, I feel that we are missing someone. Is that weird?? Like, I can already SEE this little love bug in photos, in my heart in our life. It’s weird. I just know it’s time. I want those nights at the dinner table as a family and just those awesome moments I had with my family.

  • I want to soak up every last minute of this one. My guess is this will be our last since I’ll be high risk towards the end and Karl has pretty much put the kibosh on any more. And financially things are tight. Yeah. Yeah. I also think I’ll know a little more of what to expect and not be so hard on myself. I won’t be worried about every last thing (ha!). I will relax a little more on the nights I’m up rocking in the middle night, and NOT worry so much about how tired I will be. I will take things as they come and just BE. (This is a more rested mom saying this.)


Because I know now this stage ISN’T forever. NOTHING stays the SAME for long. They grow SO incredibly fast and change in a blink. I can’t believe Jackson is almost two. How on earth did that happen??? All I know is things DO get easier. I WILL get my evenings with Karl back and I will be able to sip wine again and cook and play volleyball and workout and run outside. I will get to do ALL THAT AGAIN. Maybe not as much and not right away, but everything evolves so quickly. I think this is why we moms forget about labor. It’s only the teeniest fraction of motherhood.

I remember someone posted on my Facebook wall after I had Jackson. “Congrats on the delivery, now the hard part begins.” I was like…HUH?? That labor sucked!! But they were right. Labor is nothing. Like I said before, it’s an awesome kind of hard though.

I’m ready for this beautiful journey ahead. And I wanted to be able to say that in my gut before we started trying. So heeeere we go!! Round two!  

Pray for us

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy 2014!!!

Welcome to 2014!

Hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and brought in the New Year right! We snuggled on the couch and were sleeping by 10:30 p.m. Karl has been on-call this whole week so we haven’t seen a whole lot of him and wanted to keep things low-key. I didn’t mind!
Haven't had a new car in 11 years!! Woot! We chose the one off the lot that had been sitting there the longest so we could score the best deal!

2014 Resolutions

I have a feeling 2014 is going to be a year of moving and shaking for us. I think I mentioned in a previous post that we’re purchasing a new car. I’m already trying to figure out how much money we’ll need to pull out monthly to pay off the bi-yearly car insurance payments. I always like to make sure we have enough saved up that when the “bigger” invoices come there are no freak-out moments on my end.  We get to pick the car up today! Yay!!! I haven’t had a new car since 2003!!

Also, just trying to figure out how we’re going to afford higher monthly mortgage payments once/if we sell our town home and find the perfect house for us. I’m starting to realize how much work is ahead of us. I’ve lived in our townhome for 11 years now. Just think of all that accumulation of stuff. Eesh. Maybe I have high (and too many) expectations for the perfect house.

This is our list:

·         Big kitchen (I love to cook and Karl loves making his super crazy, healthy pancakes!)

·         4 bedrooms (Growing the family sooner than later and my family visits a lot!)

·         A slop sink (You don’t realize how much you need one until you start painting a lot, have a child who throws up or poops…and you have a husband who hunts and brews and does all kind of strange projects…)

·         A basement (just want a lot of room for Jackson and other children to run wild and have a full-on play area for him.)

·         A bigger yard (as in bigger than a postage stamp). No houses on top of each other (again, we want Jackson and family to run wild AND we really want a garden to grow FRESH veggies and fruits!)

·         STORAGE (We have NONE in our town home other than the garage, and it shows.)

·         3-car garage (This will help with storage and I’m pretty sure Karl already has a plan for that third spot)

·         Lower property taxes. (Helps a lot with payments!)

This list kind of makes me think of one of the new favorite HGTV Canadian shows, Like it or List it. Have you seen? It’s kind of fun, but I totally freak at the prices of houses in Canada and how close they are to one another.

I’ve also been told come spring and we’ll be competing with other families to get picked as the next buyers for the houses we like. I guess you log-in to your account and the houses are sold within hours, sometimes minutes. And sometimes you have to make a decision within a few short seconds. Minnesota beat all states last spring as fastest growing housing marketing. Oh boy. Do I really want to play this game? Things are definitely picking up though and we for sure want to lock-in to the lower interest rates. Let’s just say the Realtor is coming tomorrow and we’ll see where we’re at. Like I said, moving and shaking here in the Koester household!

Next big thing is perhaps baby #2. Yes, I get nervous about this. I’m also a little worried this could take longer since I’m hitting high-risk come June, but we’ll see what God has in store for us. Can only give this one to the Big Guy, right?

Also, the biggest resolution is our health. I’m all about getting us outside for fresh air a little bit each day, but honestly this below zero temperature thing is making that goal REALLY hard!

I’m making more time for myself to get to the gym twice a week and then trying to fit in one “in-home” workout. Want to know what’s crazy? I’m closing in on my wedding weight and I feel really great! I just feel HAPPY, HEALTHY and full of ENERGY. This is MUCH needed!!!! SO needed.

I’m also working hard at making sure we’re getting enough wild fish (less mercury) in our diets and lots of veggies. Jackson LOVES his homemade smoothies which usually consist of kale, frozen bananas, blueberries, Greek yogurt, whole milk, mangoes and cherries and sometimes avocados. I just want to keep this up and I’m pretty sure I will. However, it’s no surprise that eating healthy comes with a hefty price tag. Does this make sense to you?

That’s about it! If you look at all that, one word comes to mind: EXPENSIVE.

After reflecting on last year and my huge 2013 Resolution list, I realized I have to let go of wanting control over a lot of things and just be - just go with things. I don’t have the time or space to be angry for long or worry too much. I’ve really been learning how to speak up more when something is bothering me (rather than holding it in) and live in the present, which has been a wonderful thing for me. However, for some reason this mindful thinking business has opened my eyes to how incredibly FAST time goes. Have you noticed this too?

Any 2014 resolutions you want to share?