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.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Moving Part II – WE ARE HOME!

(23 weeks pregnant)

Let me just say this again. MOVING SUCKS!!!!!!!

I can say I do NOT see myself doing this again for a LONG time. Moving is NOT even remotely fun. OK. There is a bit of me that enjoyed the sense of control I had over knowing what we have and what I can now throw out/donate, and the complete organization of it all. That part was cool. But moving and packing and unpacking...the lifting. GROSS. NO THANKS.

Also, I truly feel like there is a hole in my purse and wallet right now. Money is just flying out the window. That part scares me being the one who manages our finances. I don’t even know what’s coming in and going out anymore.

This too shall pass…

First of all, we could’ve NEVER done this without the help of our friend Brian and his HUGE trailer. We moved a big load the week before the movers came and that helped us tremendously. This SAVED us.

This allowed me to get SOME of the kitchen set up and focus on CLEANING, CLEANING, CLEANING! A DEEP cleaning was SO needed – same with a full carpet cleaning. And we have decided to purchase three new toilet bowls. My parents are helping with the installation. We know how much Gare-Bear loves his toilets! I honestly can’t seem to get the toilets cleaned, or past the grossness of them. The bath tub remains an issue too. The faucet was never fixed per our inspection, so we’re still trying to figure out what to do there.

Oh, the list is plenty long, let me tell you.

ANYWAY, secondly, we are SO thankful for Matt’s Moving. We went back and forth on hiring movers. We knew it was a large expense, but we also knew we had TWO town homes jammed into one, after selling Karl’s for a dollar shortly after we were married and the market took a beating. We had three young guys in college come and move the super HEAVY stuff. And if anyone has been in our town home, they know it was stair stepper HELL on steroids. Holy smokes.

Can you believe we filled up the mover’s ENTIRE truck? And we STILL had stuff left behind. Keep in mind I donated 22 HUGE garbage bags of stuff and we gave Best Buy two of our TVS AND we’re letting our renter have our kitchen table and grill.

Got junk anyone?

We are also SO EVER GRATEFUL for my brother, Karl’s uncle and our friend Mike who came and busted their butts packing last minute things and dissembling bed frames, the dreaded crib and the curtains and rods.  Karl’s uncle kept asking if the air was on… Poor guy. Yes, it was. It was just THAT hot and sunny. At least he left with beer and wine!! Oh, the things you find in the man cave!
As little time I had, I made sure to fit in FUN for Jackson. Tried really hard to keep things consistent and NORMAL

All I could do was say "whatever". I mean, WHATEVER! Muddy socks and shoes the day before the move. OH WELL.

My awesome brother provided lots and lots of beer. The movers left with three boxes all wrapped up tight with delicious beverages. They said that was the BEST tip they’ve ever received.

Yes, I was jealous salivating. November, friends. November. I will be ENJOYING my beer in NOVEMBER. Due in October. But I think I remember being in a coma those first two weeks anyway. So I’m just going to say NOVEMBER.

It took a total of 6.25 hours to get us moved out and moved in. This pregnant momma felt like a train had hit her by day’s end. That was ONE LONG HOT day. I still wish I wore a pedometer or something to track calorie burn and the amount of steps I took that day. Don’t worry! I still gained my weekly pound. Baby seems to be growing just fine moving and all, regardless of how many calories I burn!

We’re so thankful for Karl’s parents who took Jackson for the ENTIRE night!!! This worked out perfectly because my head was all over the place. I was at an all-time anxiety high. I was ready to jump out of my own skin. I didn’t have a TON of time to think about being away from Jackson for the FIRST TIME. I felt like an ulcer was growing in my stomach and had a lump the size of a peach in my throat (I say peach because I’m craving those).

It went really well. It did. I’m proud of us.

The transition into the new place was tough. I compared a lot. I bought our town home brand new and kept it in AMAZING shape. The more I cleaned our new house, the more flaws I saw. The more Karl started a new project, five more popped up. He was stressed. I was stressed. And Jackson was extra crabby. Ufdah.
The towel rack came off the wall. The toilets didn’t flush right. The base boards had all been painted over in white paint. There were scuff marks all over the walls. There was fur coming out of the vents. A caterpillar crawled over my toe (at least Jackson enjoyed peeing on it in the “tunnel” in the toilet).
YESSS!!! Found a park!!!!!!



We transitioned Jackson into his new bed. I was unable to fix up his room like I had hoped, so it was thrown together. I already felt I had failed. I can imagine he felt a loss of control too. Where was his beloved crib? Where was he? Why was his bed so big? Why was his mom such a ball of stress?


ANYWAY, I can say, he is sleeping GREAT in his big boy bed now and it’s SO fun to lie next to him and read his nighttime stories and pray with him. I LOVE this.
The START of Jackson's new bedroom. BIG BOY bed and lots of construction trucks and tractors! He LOVES this!

Karl went on-call for work, so his stress level jumped tenfold and mine too, but that’s OK. I had a couple more days off work and unpacked EVERYTHING and found homes for things! Projects started getting crossed off the list. Progress was made. I found myself smiling. The nursery and garage are all that’s left.

BUT, that doesn’t mean there aren’t windows to wash, decks to stain and valances to be taken down, a yard to be weeded, a microwave that just died on us, toilet bowls to switch out and a slop sink to buy. Like I said, the list is LONG. But we’re getting there. Last night was the FIRST night I was able to sit on our new couches and, well, simply SIT. I have yet to turn on the TV (still haven’t figured that out. Don’t tell Karl! He gets mad when I don’t take the time to read the manuals. Hello, like I even have time to poop by myself.)
Had a water table waiting for Jackson when he got back from staying over at Gma's and Gpa's. HE LOVES. I think the bunnies love this too... I could have sworn I heard them swimming in it last night.

Change is SO incredibly hard. However, I remember the biggest change of all was when I became a mom. Or even when I moved to Minnesota. I bawled my eyes out. Just as I did when I pulled away from the town home after Karl dropped Jackson off for his FIRST overnight stay. So many great memories. Where would I put them now?? UGH. I had NO control!!! There was NO going back. I couldn’t STOP change from happening. I wanted to run back to my old life. JUST like I did after Jackson was born. IT’S MUCH TOO HARD! MUCH TOO SCARY. MUCH TOO UNCOMFORTABLE.
Dad and Jackson having fun!

Dad having more fun, maybe?

But guess what? I came out smelling like a rose after giving myself some time to adjust to motherhood and that move to Minnesota, and I hung on to that memory – the hope – that CHANGE is REALLY REALLY GOOD. Amazing things happen when you don’t let fear stop you.

Guess what? It has been great. And it’s been less than a week. It can ONLY get better.

We met our neighbors. We found TWO great parks nearby. We’ve eaten dinner outside a bunch. We chased bunnies in the backyard. We’ve snuggled. We’ve laughed. We found out the preserve is literally just a FEW steps out of our front door!!!!!!!!!! I shaved 15 minutes off my commute to work. We have realized that having too much STUFF is suffocating. But best of all, we realized the things in life that are priceless are things you just can’t buy.
A HOP, SKIP and JUMP away!!! SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!

I can't wait to RUN this!!!!!!!!

This has been good. No. This has been GREAT. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Moving Day - Part I

Just a couple words…

MOVING SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!

Ahh. Now that I got that out of the way, I feel much better. Actually yesterday was a sad day for me. 

Thankfully I have an awesome friend and a husband who brought me back down to earth and knocked some sense into me. What I’m feeling is NORMAL. Change is HARD. I was feeling like a bad mom too because Jackson was at daycare while I was at HOME cleaning. But my friend reminded me that ROUTINE is GOOD for Jackson right now and I didn’t need the added stress of trying to chase him around and keeping him out of all the chemicals I’ve been cleaning with. TRUE. He KNOWS when momma is anxious and stressed. I mean, see photo below. It's IMPOSSIBLE to get anything done with Jackson around. He is all over the place!
It's CRAZY moving with a toddler. CRAZY.

Oh man, the deeper I clean the new house, the more flaws I see. Did we make the right decision?  However, I could look at it the other way. Brand new house and we’d have to spend LOTS of dollars on window treatments, paint, yard, building shelving for pantry, deck, fence, etc., etc. All the things this house already comes with.

This house just needs a little TLC and a facelift!
Jackson LOVES LOVES the backyard and so do we! We FELL IN LOVE with the yard and the privacy in the back.

Up and down the hill he ran. This is what it's about!

I know we made the right choice. It’s just SO many things are happening at once. There isn’t a whole ton of time to reflect, so I automatically think the worst. I’m exhausted and that’s where my brain takes me when I don’t know what else to do. I’m up at 3:30 every morning. I can’t shut my brain off. My body is literally screaming at me to stop. Just a few more days of heavy cleaning and lifting.
We have a lawn!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!

I know I’m pregnant. But if anyone knows me, I can’t SIT and WATCH. I’m not built that way. I try. But I can’t. I am a doer. So all this is my own doing and faultJ

Can I just say I'm TOTALLY impressed with Karl?? This guy KNOWS what he's doing. Hooking up a water softener and a washer and dyer, fridge and gas stove. Cleaning out the air conditioning unit. What? I'd never know to do this stuff or how to do it. He's bouncing back and forth from one project to the next. He's AWESOME. We make a killer team. 

I went to Home Depot today and got super excited about all the possibilities. Where the money is coming from to support all these ideas, well, that’s a different story. I’m SUCH a dreamer!

Anyway, when Karl and I first walked into our new house, we loved it. We still do. It’s just now I’m inches away from the floor and I see nail polish stuck to it and the stickers (and OLD FOOD) stuck to the cabinets. Of COURSE these are all easy to remove, but it’s just more work. It’s fine. It’s good for me. I know all the germs are GONE with my bleach obsession. Those toilets though….oh boy. YIKES. I’m ready to purchase all new ones and call it a day. Eesh.

I’m already seeing how my four days of deep cleaning have made a huge difference…and all those BEAUTIFUL new appliances add a lot!!! 
This is what I'm talking about. WHAT IS THIS STUFF and WHAT is it DOING HERE!??!?! BEFORE. 

AN ENTIRE HOUR spent on this. Yes, some stains but HELLO BEAUTIFUL SUSAN:) I figured out how to pull this sucker out all by myself!!! See...moving is good. You see what you're made of!! 

Baby steps.

That’s what I have to tell myself or else I get SUPER overwhelmed. I worry about Jackson and the change on him since he’s been SUCH a great sleeper. Will this continue? Or am I screwing things up on him? He talks daily about the “pink” park and “blue” park and the forklift down the way from us now. This will all change for him. For us. No more walks to DQ or Panera for a quick snack. Gulp. 

But HELLO. NOTHING EVER STAYS the same for long. And I can’t control a lot of these changes. I mean, Jackson loves his grandparents to pieces but we know they won’t be here forever. How will he handle that? SEE. WAY worse things to think about.

With that said, I’m going to try to STAY positive–dust bunnies and all–and keep on going. Every time I walk into the new house, I feel like it’s MORE and MORE ours. We haven’t officially moved in but will soon. It’s a weird transition right now and I’m ready for us to get settled in.
This was after cleaning THREE fans. Just three. Do I mention I did two sets of blinds and the water was just as bad?? 

WHAT HAPPENED HERE!??!?!?! I think it started to GROW INTO the furnace... And grew some fur... 

Just about the time we have everything put away in this new house, ANOTHER HUGE change is coming our way. And I know that. I feel that. And that’s what freaks me out. I know I’m headed for another couple years of tough stuff. The baby phase is just tough on me. I know this. Maybe not AS tough now that I know what to expect, but two Jackson’s running around???

Holy smokes. I have ME to thank for that. Damn endless energy!


See ya in the new house!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

20 Week Level II Ultrasound - Baby #2

A little scare

21 weeks

I forgot how AWESOME ultrasounds are! Oh wow. A level II ultrasound is beyond cool. The main reason we received the Level II was because of the heart defects on my side:

  • My dad had a quarter-sized hole in heart and leaky mitral valve, irregular slow heart beat and a pacemaker – had open heart this winter
  • Brother had a hole in heart (they think he was born with it) and had irregular, slow heart beat
  • Grandpa has pacemaker and pig valve and might have had a hole in heart, irregular slow heartbeat, clots in heart
  • Uncle now has a pacemaker and had open heart surgery for slow and irregular heart beat
  • Mom has the FAST heart beat and is on beta blockers
  • Grandpa (mom’s dad) passed away from congenital heart failure
  • Oldest uncle had heart defibulator and was on heart transplant list for a while. Still kicking it!
  • Second oldest uncle has the fast heart beat
  • Aunt has the fast heart beat
You get the picture, right? Now you all know why I try to live out the HEALTHIEST lifestyle possible! The odds aren’t totally in my favor but if I can eat healthy and exercise, maybe I can prevent certain things. 


As soon at the ultrasound tech put the goop on my belly, baby’s face popped up on the screen. INCREDIBLE photo. My heart melted. Karl grabbed my hand and squeezed it. SO SO SO COOL.

Everything seemed to be measuring GREAT. We were able to see how the blood was flowing through the heart. CRAZY. HEALTHY. Strong beat at 161 bpm. We were passing with flying colors left and right.

We had to turn away so we wouldn’t see the “private” parts. But then when we turned back to look and the tech arrived to the head, she spent some time in one area and became quiet. I was getting sleepy lying down so I didn’t think much of it. Until the doctor came in and had that look. Right away I knew something was up.

He of course was sweet and nice and introduced himself, but then we started getting into things. “When you walked in the doors today, you were high-risk being 35. You already knew your chances of having a baby with some kind of genetic defect were now at 1 and 300.”

I nodded. I knew that, but come on…I JUST turned 35 on Sunday!!!

“I don’t want to alarm you but it’s my job to tell you that the baby’s nuchal fold measured a couple times at 5.7 and once at 6.1. We couldn’t get the best measurements because baby doesn’t want to move for us to the area we want to capture, but the threshold for being at a increased risk for down syndrome is anywhere from a 6-10 measurement. You did have that one measurement at 6.1, so I need to explain what that could mean…”

Yes, my heart dropped. Yes, it was like a movie clip ran through my head in fast forward of the past two years and all we went through with Jackson. Would I NOT have that with #2? Would it be crazier? Harder? Would I only get what I had with Jackson ONCE and then have to relearn how to be a better/different caregiver for #2? My head was swirling with thoughts.

Then this calm washed over me out of nowhere. Even the doctor stopped and said, “You look really calm on the outside right now. How are you feeling on this inside?”

I seriously was OK. This crazy amount of strength and optimism came over me. 

How many of my friends have gone through something VERY similar? Doctor sees something, they worry and then baby is born healthy? A lot. I was sticking with that thought. Everything was going to be OK.

The doctor rambled off some statistics. I think my risk is at 1 and 100 now. BUT I hung on to the 98% chance that the baby would STILL BE HEALTHY. Basically not one other thing came up that put up a red flag. And he said because baby wasn’t moving in the right position for them maybe he/she had a serious neck fold the way he/she was lying.

I’m going with that right now. I can’t worry about this. Only pray. Baby is in God’s hands.

We visited with our doctor after and he didn’t seem too worried. We ended up talking about the usual - gas, peeing, and other weird stuff. He is the coolest. I felt much better about things.

I honestly can’t worry about this right now. I have to trust in God and his plan. But at the same time I kept thinking how lucky we all are for being able to walk and talk and breathe every single day. SUCH miracles. We all are. It's amazing how our bodies function every single day the way they do. 

Every second this baby is developing and growing into something incredible. How is that even possible? There is SO much more going on here than science. God. God. God. 

FUN Birthday Weekend - Wheel of Fortune Style

High-Risk Mama Here

Your baby now weighs about three-quarters of a pound and is approximately 10 1/2 inches long — about the size of a carrot. It may soon feel like she's practicing martial arts as her initial fluttering movements turn into full-fledged kicks and nudges. You may also discover a pattern to her activity as you get to know her better. In other developments, your baby's eyebrows and lids are present now, and if you're having a girl, her vagina has begun to form as well.
Just hanging with Pat and Vanna!

It’s been a super fun week over here, and a better weekend!!  Even with ALL the stress of moving, we’re still making plenty of time for fun! YAY! I have to or else I think my head would fall off.

I think picture-wise I have a couple weeks mushed together here, but oh well.

Of course we’ve been taking time to walk, run and ride over to all the construction zones around the area. All Jackson wants to do is climb up the steps and try to open the doors of construction vehicles so he can sit down and drive. He’s too cute. I found out though I can’t be in the sun and heat for too long being pregnant. I get SUPER dehydrated and worn out—I pretty much feel light headed and ill. So not sure how this summer is going to work out for me? I’ll have to figure out something though! The winters are WAY too long. I have to get outside!
Forklifts are called "Weave-Weaves" Did you know this?

You should have seen his shoes and socks after this "dirt" adventure:) 

Big boy!

Uncle Mike (my brother) came up for the weekend. Jackson ADORES him. He has no problem kissing and hugging him and jumping all over him. It’s WAY too cute. Makes me sad we don’t live next door to each other anymore, but we treasure his visits even more.

Uncle Mike’s friend Stephy J surprised us and mailed a super COOL John Deere tractor that Jackson is in love with. He was SO excited about this tractor. So nice and thoughtful of her to do this! We met Stephy J when Karl and I traveled to Greece a while back. Super cool chick. 

OK. Can I just say moving stinks and is SO stressful?? I’ve really started to take everything in and am getting pretty sad and anxious about moving to a new town and place. I’m going to miss this beautiful pond view by our house.  I run or walk by it ALMOST every day in the spring, summer and fall, even winter when it’s bearable. I know Minnesota is the state of 10,000 lakes, but I’m SO comfortable with where we live now.
Going to miss this. A lot. 

Change is coming! Change scares me. I also know it’s SO great too. There is SO much work ahead of us. So much. And we don’t always agree on where things will be going in the new place. Yuck. Seriously all I can do is let go. I have to. There is no other way right now. Must keep going and SMILE. Throw in some silly too. 
Time for a work out!

Friday came and Jackson and I spent the morning packing up boxes the best we could. We had a maintenance man come over and fix up our pantry. Then we went for a long walk and checked out all the bulldozers in action and then played in the park. Then we hit up Costco during the lunch hour so we tasted plenty of delicious samples, or “treats” as Jackson calls them. I was also co-hosting my friend’s baby shower on Saturday so I had to buy plenty of snacks!
SOMEONE surprised MOMMY at work!!!! He was PRETTY excited about this ride!

Jackson was ready for his nap when we got home. His naps have been getting shorter so we were soon on our way to a SPLASH PAD!!!!!!!! Holy smokes. Last year the splash pads were EMPTY when we’d go. This year it was INSANE. Maybe we went on opening day? I have no idea. All I know is Jackson was so excited he was bouncing everywhere and slipping everywhere too. But he also wanted to do everything the bigger kids were doing. I was one stressed out mom! I can’t get to the point where I sit back on a park bench and watch just yet. Just can’t do it.

Saturday was Baby Shower day for my dear friend. I drove all the way to Rogers and got lost. Ufdah. That was a haul. But the baby shower was GREAT. I was able to see friends I haven’t seen in forever. It was SO nice not to have to chase a little dude around and just BE an adult and laugh my head off with my girlfriends. Karl took Jackson to the Mall of America ON A SATURDAY (can I just say BRAVE SOUL!?!?!). I’m seriously SO impressed with him. Sometimes I get frustrated (not mad) that he can just drop Jackson off at his parents whenever. I don’t always get that option with my family being 5 hours away. I will say we are VERY lucky that his parents are generous with their time and will watch Jackson so Karl and I do get some time to do what we need to do. But this time Karl spent the WHOLE day with Jackson!!!!!!!! I was SO happy about this!!!! I didn’t get home until dinner time! This was something VERY new for me.

Sunday was my BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! I’m officially high-risk now when it comes to my pregnancy. Is that something to celebrate? Not sure. But hey, I’m alive and healthy!

Karl and I are HUGE Wheel Watchers and after catching a few commercials during our Wheel Watching last week, we saw the Wheel Mobile would be in Minnesota ON MY BIRTHDAY! Perfect! We made an entire day of it. We drove to the cabin and dropped Jackson off with Gpa and Gma. The weather was INCREDIBLE. Jackson was SO excited to be outside and in nature! I didn’t feel so bad leaving him AGAIN.
Call my name!!! Get me up there! (A little excited!)

Kisses for Pat!

Hey there, Vanna! Looking good!


When we arrived to Grand Casino, I was SO excited to have some adult time with Karl. I just had to share with the security people that it was my birthday! I received VIP treatment and we were able to cut in line at the buffet (we’re kind of a big deal) and I ate for FREE!!! We also were able to play with $10 FREE money. AND our names were thrown in a drawing to win some meat packages. OK. We SO need to get out more, don’t we?? LOL. We didn’t win, but our hearts were set on playing Wheel of Fortune. We had to fill out a card and stand in line. The line was NOT long at all and we got in right away. We dropped our cards in a huge basket.

Tractor fun for Jackson!

Lake is a little high these days!


He still talks about this tractor! And the CABIN!

A fake Pat and Vanna were on the stage and would call 5 names at a time from the big basket. Those people had to stand on stage and share some information about themselves. Then the fake Pat spun the wheel and the contestants won promo items like hats and t-shirts. Ohhhhh. Then they tried to solve the puzzle. We were hoping to get called (well, Karl wasn’t) but no dice. SHOOT!!!!!!!! It was still FUN! SO much fun!

We might not have gotten on the show just yet, but Pat Sajak tweeted the both of usJ That counts for something, right?
What's that Pat? You tweeting us? :) 

Karl and Jackson also spoiled me with chocolates and a sweet card. Karl also spent the night before preparing cold-press coffee. I guess it takes 12 hours to make. It was SO good. I only can handle about 5 sips of coffee these days but those were the BEST 5 sips of my lifeJ

Can you believe Karl did all this for me even AFTER I accidentally put cumin in our yogurt treat? SO every morning I pack our lunches (I do this so Karl doesn't stop at the gas station and get some NASTY $2.22 meal.). Usually our snack is PLAIN Greek Yogurt, a little cottage cheese, frozen fruit, a little honey and cinnamon. Let's just say cumin doesn't taste very good in this mix. Eesh. Karl is such a champ!

After all the fun, we headed back to get Jackson. We talked about work and moving and all kinds of things. We held hands. I almost forgot HOW MUCH I LOVE DATING MY HUSBANDJ We need MORE date nights.

It was a GREAT birthday! Feeling SUPER blessed!!

Now…off to our ultrasound! And to pack a few more boxes… 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Halfway There - 20 Weeks!

Halfway there! – 20 Weeks

You're at the halfway mark — congratulations! Your baby weighs about 10 1/2 ounces now and measures about 6 1/2 inches from head to bottom or 10 inches from head to heel (about the size of a banana). You may wonder why you're seeing two length measurements this week. Until 20 weeks of pregnancy, babies are measured from the top of their head to their "rump." That's because their legs are curled up against their torso during the first half of pregnancy, so they're hard to measure. Starting next week, you'll see only the head-to-heel measurement. Your baby is swallowing more these days, which is good practice for his digestive system. He's also producing meconium, a black, sticky by-product of digestion. This gooey substance will accumulate in his bowels, and you'll see it in his first soiled diaper (although some babies pass meconium in the womb or during delivery).

Well, that first half of pregnancy flew by. I can only imagine how this last half is going to go!

Perhaps at WARP SPEED? Summer always goes fast!
20 Weeks Today!!!!

I was finally able to get a solid good night’s sleep last night. YES! Today I feel SO much more like myself. I tend to feel great when I can get good sleep (one reason I’m scared for baby #2. I know what’s coming! Oh, the dreaded zombie phase.). I think my body basically shut down on me last night and was like, “OK! That’s it, lady! We’re crashing.”

Ahhh. Felt so great. I was still up three times to pee, but for the most part I can do that rather quick and in the dark! Mama has skills!

Holy smokes. Let me tell you about the dream I had two nights ago. Around 3:30 in the morning my grandpa visited me in my dream. I know he’s not feeling the best and he is in congestive heart failure right now (my dad went through this same thing earlier this year). I’ve been worried about him – praying as much as I can, but knowing that he is 87 years old. Trusting God has a plan for him and all of us because we love this man DEARLY. He tells me all the time that he’s lived his life and he’s ready whenever, but then I get mad at him. I like him in MY life!!!

Anyway, in my dream I was in my grandparent’s basement coloring with a red crayon. I heard footsteps. Then I saw my grandpa’s feet in his favorite slippers at the top of the steps. He shuffled down like he always does. Then he walked toward me in his favorite red flannel shirt. He looked over the picture I was coloring. Then looked at me with a sad look. “Christie. I’m not doing so well. It’s not looking good for me.”

“I know, grandpa.”

“First I wanted to see if you were thinking of me.” He looked at the picture I was coloring. There on the page was a photo of his face and my grandma’s that I had sketched. He smiled. “Remember, I told you I would come back and harass you when I’m gone? Don’t forget that!” 

I could barely see the whites of his eyes.  (He always teased us growing up that he’s from China since he has such squinty eyes.)

Then he started to walk away. I screamed. “Grandpa! Don’t go. I love you so very very very much.”

He kept walking. And then the BRIGHTEST LIGHT in the whole world shined in the distance. I felt my eyes pinching together even as I slept. It was weird. SO BRIGHT.

The light was beautiful. SO PEACEFUL. SO WARM. SO inviting. He kept walking. And then disappeared. It turned into the most incredible sunset and then was gone.

I woke up crying. I was shaking to the core. I had to wake up Karl. I could have sworn my grandpa had passed away. I wanted to call him, my parents, my brother. SOMEONE. But it was 3:36 in the morning. 

Instead I was up for good for the rest of the day, tossing and turning, contemplating life and death and love and the relationships we build during our lifetime.

In a weird way I felt like God was talking to me through the dream. Earlier that day I had called my mom in a panic. I was worn out and couldn’t find the motivation to pack ONE more box. I had a headache. I was all anxious. I was worrying about my grandpa. I had bought appliances earlier for the new house and had ten minutes to decide in order to get the best discount and wasn’t sure I thought them through. Did I make a mistake? I mean, that’s a lot of money! Then Karl went to Sears and found a couple of them cheaper. So I knew I’d have to cancel the order, but had to wait until the company opened the next day and knew I had a full day at work. When would I find the time? Moving day is approaching and there is still so much stuff everywhere. How will I get it all done in time? I hadn’t gone grocery shopping for the week. I didn’t have dinner cooking and Karl was on his way home with Jackson.

All minor things but totally big enough to consume my life at the moment.

Then that dream came. It put everything in perspective. WHO CARES about appliances and boxes and moving or the perfect meal. It’s all going to get done. It ALWAYS does. What matters is the people we surround ourselves with. LOVE. TIME together. JOY. Treasuring ALL the moments – as in the ones that eventually change and go away. The ones we can’t always hold on to as much as we WANT to.

The dream just made me realize once again how truly precious life is. How LUCKY we are to be here and have the chance to LIVE our lives to the fullest. NOBODY is telling us we can’t make the best of our days. We get to make the best of it all! Things ALWAYS get in the way. Stress is ALWAYS at the front door, trying to creep in. But the ones we love won’t always be there. It’s not like God decides, “OK, this one is going to get Cancer today. This one is going to get in a car accident.” I can't imagine he does that. 

It’s life. UNPREDICTABLE. It's all about our choices. Other’s choices. The environment we live in. Everything mixed together. With good, bad must follow. It sucks. ESPECIALLY when bad things happen to GOOD people.

But I still feel like there is no way God would make us fall in love with so many people only to have them disappear from our life for good. They are somewhere beautiful waiting for us – where there isn’t "bad" or a clock managing our days – only pure amazing. And we will go there too. That seems weird to me. I can’t imagine taking my last breath, but some day that will happen. I guess when my time comes and I lay there, I won’t be thinking about those stupid appliances or the big move into our new house. I’ll be thinking of all those I love and all those amazing things I did that made me who I am. And right now I get the chance to make the choice how I'm going to live. That is SUCH a GIFT!!!!!!!!

Oh yeah…getting back to the dream. I waited until 6 to text my aunt and she said she hadn’t heard anything, so all must be OK. We have a motto: “No news is good news.” So I went to my dentist appointment and called my grandpa as soon as I got out. My grandma picked up and giggled when I told her I had a horrible dream about my grandpa. She handed the phone to my grandpa. My heart JUMPED when I heard his voice, even more when he laughed. Ahhhhhhhhhhh! I got another chance to tell him how much I loved him. PERFECT.

·         Fruits & Veggies
·         I have been thinking a lot about Punch Pizza and Seafood!

I was doing really good at getting to the gym twice a week and walking at least once over one lunch break and then spending most of the weekend walking and playing at parks and running around outside with Jackson. Our weekends are pretty busy with adventures and activities but for the most part, I’m trying to get our house together for the BIG MOVE. This has been consuming me a lot. 

After 20 weeks I remember getting the WORST leg and foot cramps with Jackson. Let me tell you…I can FEEL them starting. I’m praying they don’t strike again, but I have a feeling… They are NUTS and SO painful!

Jackson and Baby
Jackson doesn’t completely know what’s going on, but he does understand there is a baby in my belly. He will sometimes crawl on my lap, rest his head on my belly and say, “Hi, baby!” It’s pretty cute. We also look through his photo albums and all the photos of me and daddy and my growing belly. We explain that was him in there. He’s talking SO much lately. He is ADORABLE.

160 lbs. Yep, I’m up about 15 lbs now. I get frustrated from time to time, but I know we’re eating clean, I’m still exercising and moving the best I can so I have a feeling it won’t be horrible to take off the weight again. And I’ll be chasing TWO kids around. I’ll be active! So yeah, I went to the pool with my bikini on. BOOM!

20-Week Ultrasound
We go next week! We’re getting a Level II to check out baby’s heart! We want to be safe because of the heart defects on my side. We are NOT finding out what we’re having. The surprise is just TOO much fun!

Life is too much fun! Get out there and LIVE IT!