The Baby Story

Not many stories of adventure start out with a dying need to pee, but this one does. I ran inside after purchasing a pregnancy test from the grocery store as to not waste any of the precious liquid in my bladder threatening to burst. I gave that pregnancy test a good soaking and promptly put it on the window sill only to pace ten feet away. I glanced at my cell phone and promised myself not to look before five minutes had passed. I stood by nervously convincing myself that I surely was not pregnant as to dim the sting of inevitable disappointment. 

My self-imposed five minutes were up, and I cautiously looked over onto the test as one would peer into a chemistry beaker with unknown ingredients. I saw a line. I grabbed the test and stared- to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. It seemed real to me. I looked at the familiar face in the mirror holding a piece of plastic that would change life forever. I smiled, cried, and told myself, “You’re going to have a baby.” I then proceeded to jump around and have a mini mental meltdown as one would expect. 

I quickly chugged more water, peed on another test and watched as the line barely showed- knowing I wasted all that good hormone on the first test. A “barely there” line is still a line. I was convinced enough to jump in the car and find a baby gift to surprise my husband. This should reflect the forethought and planning into the following story of how I broke the news to Justin. 

I came home with the cutest and smallest set of onesies I could find to really drive home the “baby” of the baby announcement. Justin walked in from mowing lawns, and I casually said, “Hey, I went to Marshall’s today and bought you something.” Since I purchase all of Justin’s clothes from Marshall’s, Justin had no other inclination but to think I bought him another half-price Hurley T-Shirt from the discount store. I told him to close his eyes, which I’m sure he thought was weird but obliged as I am frequently weird, and I placed a onesie on his chest that read, “Hi! I’m new here!”  He opened his eyes and quickly realized that this piece of clothing was not his size. I can only describe Justin’s reaction as one of shock as it is so rare to see a disruption in his constant calm, cool demeanor. It took a solid five minutes of me staring at him with my “dumb yet happy” face before he was able to express real sentences of excitement. The rest of the day we just walked around the house with a cheesy grin plastered across our faces like conspirators in a really great inside joke. 

Technically speaking I was four weeks and 2 days gestation so that gave me about a week and half of solid bliss before the tidal wave of nausea, vomiting and exhaustion hit. The first trimester has not been nice to me, and I have a new appreciation of women all over the world who are able to function in normal society when they feel like I have felt (or worse) for a solid 9 weeks. It has been difficult to think about baby shoes, nursery colors, and the like when my one and only focus in life is, “Am I going to throw up now or five minutes from now?” Also, “I’m so tired I could lie down and die.” As a result, I still have SO much to look forward to and focus on like the actual having a baby part of pregnancy.  

Despite a barrage of fears and anxieties, I am inching toward the realization that I am going to be the mother and Justin will be the father of a precious new life. I am also more humbled each and every day over the blessing of health, development, protection and what it takes to make a life in my body. My hope is my heart and my marriage will be prepared over the next six months to welcome a child with the love God has poured into my life. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a mother. I know this will be an amazing adventure unlike any other, and our child will surely be a Wild One.

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Sprinkles of Love

Attending a wedding is like signing up for a free seminar on how to be smitten with your spouse. I was recently a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding and had the front row seat to a reminder in sweet, blissful, young love. Ironically, that’s the way humans work, we forget why we did things in the first place, the kind of life we wanted, and how to enjoy the one you love- you know the important stuff. It seems easy and simple when you witness it firsthand, such as in a wedding with two people who are oozing with love for one another, but somehow 1 year, 2 years, 5 years in, the reminder is a shock in how much your own marriage has drifted from the days of constant smiles and affection.

Since I was a part of the bridal party, my husband of three years attended the rehearsal dinner in addition to the ceremony and reception. The rehearsal dinner was a parade of love. Toasts and speeches from friends and family depicted the individual bride and groom as the wonderful, faithful and loyal people they are and how their love for each other is the perfect juxtaposition of character. I know my husband heard and saw at least some of the expression of love, and I was hanging on every word. I could practically feel the palpable love swelling in the air. I wanted to hold hands, cuddle by a fire and write a poem…in that order. I’m not sure if my husband felt the same, but I did notice more physical touch and an attention that felt distinctly romantic.

Of course all these feelings are due to immediate circumstances and whatever chemicals in the brain are responsible for the feeling effect of the “lovey dovies.” But I don’t think they are without value! Marriage is built on the foundation of choosing to love your partner day in and day out, unconditionally. That’s how marriages survive through the hard times, but the feeling of romance, affection and bliss are a great addition to a strong marriage. It’s like having a dense chocolate brownie of marriage with years of ice cream on top and then adding sprinkles. Sprinkles, like sweet displays of affection, are infectiously happy things.

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I know my husband and I at times become complacent and comfortable after nine years of being a couple. I’m living with my best friend and sometimes I forget that he’s a friend that I get to have the deepest, most intimate relationship with (what a gift). I want to feel that treasured young love my whole life and what better way than to attend weddings and absorb the love from the newlyweds themselves, similarly making the commitment of marriage. I can also choose make the “lovey dovies” a priority in how I demonstrate my love. I’m learning to believe that the human need of a little romance and affection can sweeten marriage over time as the deepest feelings of love and commitment grow.

So, to you and yours: More Sprinkles Please! (both literally and figuratively)

Summer Whims

This summer my husband and I have really been embracing the idea of “YOLO”. No, we are not going out and doing irresponsible things and claiming justification because, hey, you only live once. Rather, we are just saying “yes” far more frequently than normal. I often don’t say “yes” because my couch and backyard hold a great, affordable appeal for me.

Since my husband and I have opposite schedules during the school year, we are being very intentional about enjoying time together for the summer break. Already we have been to Indialantic, Englewood, and most recently, Chassahowitzkah (yea I didn’t know a place with that name existed either).

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For my birthday, I was able to see my college besties at the family beach house in Indialantic, Florida. It was the first year we all had significant others and it was one heck of a couples retreat. Even though I was turning 25 (gulp), it was awesome to celebrate old fashioned birthday party style with friends I don’t get to see often enough.

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And we discovered that my German Shepherd who is literally afraid of everything (like he barked at a new weed in the yard one day) loves the ocean. Our older lab/pit is obsessed with chasing the waves. Please ignore my high pitched annoying baby dog voice.

A couple days later the hubs and I repacked our packed bags and headed to the opposite coast for Englewood, FL. I quickly celebrated the 4th of July before my weekend work week began with boating, lounging, and ocean floating in the most beautiful of sandbar inlets. The travel turnaround in 48 hours was worth a memorable holiday and mini vacay with old and new friends.

The next trip I just brought my already packed bag. Our friends in Englewood told us about this awesome little place on the river where we could bring our dogs and stay in a cabin for 60 bucks per night. I’m down for any trip that includes my furry babies. Tuesday morning, still groggy from waking up after an exhausting run at work, Justin asks, “so you want to go to that place.” In a mood of spontaneity, I responded “why not!” We called and booked a cabin for two nights and left for an area outside of Homosassa Springs within 30 minutes. During the ride over, I secretly smiled approving of myself for keeping up with my husband’s adventurous spirit.

The trip to the cabin was new and intriguing. I’ll be honest the accommodations were just shy of disgusting, but it kind of made the whole thing more exciting. We had canoes to rent, the river and springs to explore right outside the door . I conquered some major fear and climbed up a slippery tree with nails jutting out of it to swing off a rope swing into a chilly river. Who am I? We also found a secluded area of cave tunnels to swim through which I thought was just plain magical. Justin fished and I read my book and lounged in the canoe (all while not paddling). And just like last time when we went in a canoe down a river, a tree suddenly fell down right next to us! I don’t know what the statistical probability of that happening twice is, but I’m pretty sure we beat the odds. We even enjoyed two romantic home cooked meals inside our shabby little cabin and played very intense games of Jenga (all of which I lost, of course).

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Even if we do nothing else this summer but stay home and fix up the yard (please let us finish before summer is over), I will cherish our mini trips as the times we just went. One day (God-willing) Justin and I will have children and, although I hope we could continue to be yes people, I know traveling with kids can be more cumbersome, to say the least. I am thankful for these summer trips with just the two of us doing off the cuff things because, “hey, why not.” At least in my quarter life crisis I can live vicariously through my husband as a school kid and still celebrate summer breaks with my equally unwilling to grow up other half.

So, #YOLO #Thisismepainfullytryingtoholdontomyyouth #Hashtag

What Married Me Learned from Single Me

As a twenty-something, semi-newlywed, curious-minds often ask, “How is married life!?”
My response is usually some version of, “Great! I don’t know why people complain about it so much!” I’m not being sarcastic- I actually mean that.
In today’s contemporary society, marriage, especially marriage at age twenty-two, can be viewed as the ultimate roadblock to fun. My generation has come to accept self-satisfaction and “YOLO” as the meter by which we measure our value. These values are only able to be fully realized in the single or dating phase of life which effectively removes me from the “young and fun” cohort. I am no less susceptible to the pressures of youth, beauty, and adventure as the peak of existence, and it wasn’t without adjustment that I settled into my new role as “wife”. Fortunately, though, my experience in marriage has altered my envy of the single me.
So instead of second-guessing my choice of marriage while my counterparts are out mingling, I have reached a point of satisfaction with my life of marriage.

Here are my reasons why:

1. Peace. Whenever I pledged to spend the rest of my life to my husband, I meant it. A resulting sense of peace moved into my heart as a replacement to the worries and doubts my single life entailed. Thoughts resembling, “Will I live alone and turn into a cat lady?” (I don’t even like cats), and “I’m not worthy of a man’s love,” were the all too common lies whispered in my ear by the evil one himself. Marrying my husband did not stop the whispers of discontentment, but it did bring me to the acceptance that my husband has promised to love me forever. The peace brought forth by the acceptance of unconditional love in marriage far outweighs the conditional parameters of dating which so often preoccupied my mind.

2. Control. This is the big kahuna. I am a control freak, and I drive myself crazy. Single me was obsessive and moody because I felt the weight of caring for myself emotionally, physically and financially. Married me has been taught a divine lesson in the beauty of weakness. Marriage is truly an image of the gospel, and it is all the more defined when you experience it for the first time. After my first year of marriage, I had appendix surgery which left me virtually helpless (did you know you use your stomach muscles for Everything!?). My husband cared for me in my most literal moment of weakness. He picked me up to pee, washed my hair in the bathtub, and cooked every meal. I have been blessed to have had control taken away from me and given to my husband. In my single life, I struggled to give control away to God and He has taught me how to loosen the reins through marriage.

3. Fun. Bet you didn’t see this one coming? Marriage can be really fun, especially when you’re married to your best friend. I never thought I could top my crazy college nights of spontaneity and impulsivity, but I have a rediscovered a child-like fun in marriage. Growing up, I often spent many nights laughing with my friends while daring each other to eat gross combinations of food or making up dances to N’Sync songs. I can remember the purity in all the hysteria, and now I experience the same pure joy with my husband. Even though I attend far less parties and curl my hair next to never, I have just as much fun as I did pre-marriage. Whether my husband and I are doing something random like speaking in accents or witnessing each other at every clumsy moment, we are always together to laugh and enjoy the moment. I truly gained another “partner in crime” when I married my husband.

I guess I write this to not only explain what I’ve learned to my own psyche but also to reflect on the meaningfulness of every life phase. As I grow into my role as a wife and mourn the loss of single me, I come to terms with the gifts of marriage and my place in life. All this to say, enjoy where you’re at and appreciate where you’re going because you’re experiencing something uniquely wonderful that  will one day be your past.

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One Year of Marriage

As May, 19 2013 quickly approached, I could Not believe it had been an entire year since I walked down the aisle and promised to spend my whole life to my boyfriend of already five years. Since we are still, in my mind, newlyweds we were broke and simple in our anniversary celebration. As it should be. My in-laws rented a condo on Little Gasparilla Island, and we decided to celebrate by… going to visit our in-laws on Gasparilla Island. 🙂

Our anniversary began with the most fitting card I could find to describe my marital relationship.

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I mean those dogs embody us. I’m even wearing yellow goggles! I drew a pretty accurate re-creation of our wedding ceremony inside the card. It’s okay to be jealous of my artistic skillz.

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For our first year, I gave Justin a gift in which he would think of our sweet memories together… an electric fish filet knife. Wait, that doesn’t really apply. He loved it nonetheless. We eventually made our way to the island,  woke up the next morning and hit the waters. Unfortunately, Justin wasn’t able to use his gift due to the lack of girthiness in our catch. E.g.

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I thought all the fish we caught were cute. Justin said I was missing the point. Whatevs. All of the sudden, Justin said, “I mustache you a question!”

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After spending the day in the sun with the in-laws, we eventually took the boat out on our own and celebrated our anniversary in pure romantic splendor

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Justin fished and I read my book on the boat while we both basked in a perfect sunset on the open water. This may sound weird, like we were ignoring each other, but I’m convinced Justin and I are one of those old couples who enjoy each other just by being in the same boat (literally and figuratively). We were both enjoying our favorite pastimes together in our favorite setting. It doesn’t get much better than that.

But then it did.

I woke up the next morning, the day of our actual anniversary, to go on a morning run on the beach. Justin woke up with me and said he would walk me down to the beach. First shocking thing, Justin woke up voluntarily before 8 am. Sacrifice. As we approached the bridge, I said, “I feel like you’re about to propose to me again.” About 30 seconds later Justin led me to a spot in the sand where he had written:

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He is just all boy and all sweet. I later received an e-card on my phone as I finished my run. He just really outdid himself, that boy.

All this to say I am just as much in love with my man as the day I walked down the aisle. I mean can you blame me? He’s such a hunk.

9 Months

You know when you look at your life and all of the sudden 9 months have passed by and you are a wife? No? Well, one day you will. Between receiving a Masters degree, moving back to my hometown and planning a wedding, the past nine months have been a blur. And since it’s all said and done, I feel obligated to share tidbits of my beautiful and joyous day.

In case you missed it- the cake was really good. It was almond joy cake. We are trying to make it to our one month anniversary before eating the, currently and unfortunately frozen, top tier.

Seventeen days into marriage I have some very profound and life-changing advice for all couples. Okay, not really. Like I said to a friend, “Marriage is so fun! I don’t know why people complain about it all the time.” So, obviously, my experience is very limited. I keep waiting for our first fight or for the realization that I live with a disgusting slob. Neither of those events have occurred, and I think I should stop waiting for them. I am currently enjoying the newlywed, unemployed, cheap duplex life. In the wise words of McDonald’s, I’m lovin’ it.