Saturday, December 28, 2013

I love being pregnant

I love being pregnant.

I sit here looking at my round belly, feeling my sweet girl moving around inside of me, and I love every minute of it. During this time I can pretend like I'm a normal lady whose only worry in two months will be to adapt to life with a newborn- to deal with late nights, unconsolable crying, and disgusting diaper changes.

However, in two months I won't be the normal, new mom. The day that I finally get to meet my daughter, to hear her coos and smell her sweet scent, is the day the countdown begins. The clock will begin ticking to remove this tumor, forcing me to deal with cancer again.

I was told by doctors to "enjoy the pregnancy," as there is nothing to do until I deliver. However during this waiting game, I've actually forgotten that I have cancer. Isn't that weird? That I've pushed this disease so far out of my mind that I forget that I'm sick. Then I'll randomly touch the lump on my neck or look at the pile of medical bills and remember. I'll remember that I'm not healthy and that our newborn-baby experience won't be typical.

How do you prepare for life with a baby with cancer hanging over your head?

Sometimes I let the worry overwhelm me. It takes over my thoughts and emotions. It debilitates me into thinking about nothing else, keeping me up at night.

As we wait, is it spreading? What if something goes wrong during surgery? What if the cancer is more aggressive than we thought? Will I be physically able to nurse or hold my baby? How am I going to deal with this emotionally?

But a friend's words convicted me the other day.

"We only worry about things we haven't given to God."

I'm trying to give this to Him. Trying.

And as God continues to refine me, I'll enjoy these next eight weeks. I'll cherish each pregnancy symptom, kick, and punch and try not to worry about tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Love, Josh Alex and Baby C

Monday, December 23, 2013

Week 31: D-day plans

We are now in the single digits until Baby C arrives. I can't believe in 9 weeks we will be holding our baby girl, maybe sooner and hopefully not later.

How am I feeling this week? Pretty darn good! I have been intentional about my nutrition, increasing my intake of green juice, salads, fruit, and all that other healthy stuff people tell you to eat. With this whole pregnancy and cancer thing, I've felt less in control over my body more than ever. Refocusing on  healthy eating has given me a boost of self confidence and a sense of control in this crazy, awesome time.

Of course with the holidays come lots of goodies, and what pregnant lady can turn down a second helping of pumpkin pie? It is a little embarrassing how much I can eat. I swear my stomach is now a bottomless pit.

In preparation for D-day, last week Josh and I attended a birth class and hospital tour. The class was more for Josh's benefit than mine, but it was still helpful to hear what other women are experiencing and what is typical practice for our hospital. While the birthing video was Josh's favorite part (kidding, obviously), I loved seeing the labor and delivery room. While the hospital setting tends to be a bit more "medically involved" than I would prefer, I think we made the best decision for our family and current situation.

I'm trying to be realistic about D-day, aka pushing baby out. I would love to labor at home for as long as possible and have a medicine-free birth. I'd also love to have an easy nursing experience without milk-supply issues and a happy baby that sleeps through the night. As much as I can prepare, I know from recent experience than things don't always go as planned. Surprisingly, I've never actually experienced child birth before so I'm trying to be realistic and not set myself up for disappointment. So, while I plan for a low intervention birth, I really just want Baby C and myself to make it out alive.

Baby's size: 19 inches, 3.9 pounds

Total weight gain: No clue! My scale broke. (Please note: I did not break the scale, it just happened to break as I stepped on it. Total coincidence.)

Symptoms: My back is so achy. High and low, it just hurts. Luckily baths and Josh's massages help tremendously. And baby loves to push and punch my diaphragm; I am constantly short of breath and gasping for air. Also, I rarely see past 9pm. I wish it was acceptable to eat dinner at 4:30 and be in bed by 7:00.

Things bought for baby: Josh and I, both separately, stopped into Baby Gap during recent shopping excursions. Being cheap and like-minded, we both stuck to the sales rack and with an additional 40% off got some pretty good deals. Who can say no to a cute Gap dress and leggings?

Most excited about: Our maternity photos got rescheduled, again. With last week's snow/ice storm and this week's flash flooding, I'm hoping for good weather next weekend. Granted, I'm liking how I look in photos less and less. I know I should love my growing bump, and I do, but not necessarily how it looks in photos.

Also looking forward to: Christmas! Two straight days of family time and I can't wait. I seriously have the most loving, generous, and funny family in the world. I don't know what we'd do without them.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 29: Third trimester fun

Holy Moly, it has been a month since I last gave a fun pregnancy update. Aren't you guys itching to see how big I've gotten?

Here I am at 26 weeks, a few pounds lighter and a whole lot warmer.

Seems like only yesterday that I was wearing short sleeved shirts. Oh wait, it practically was!

As most of you are well aware, we had some winter weather over the weekend that gifted us with sleet, ice, and 8 inches of snow. I would like to say it was all fun and games, but I still had to work, our maternity photos were postponed, and I couldn't go sledding. Boo. But the snow sure did look pretty!

29 Weeks

Please don't mind the awkward photos. 
It felt like -3.
Not exaggerating.

I am now well into the third trimester, which means that we are in the official home stretch. Only 11 more weeks until Baby C gets here and that seems WAY too soon, yet not soon enough. As time creeps on I feel that my to-do and to-get lists are only growing longer. How is that even possible? 

What is Baby C doing this week? "Her muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and her head is growing bigger to make room for her developing brain." In a nut shell, Baby is working on getting big. And I can tell.

This ever growing belly is slowly interfering with day to day activities. Getting out of bed and off of the couch is requiring much more effort, putting on my shoes and socks leaves me breathless, and picking things up off the floor, ugh! It does provide a nice shelf for books and bowls of cereal, however.

The breakdown:

Baby's size: A butternut squash, about 17inches and 3 pounds.

Total weight gain: 15 pounds. 

Running update: I really thought that I was going to be a pregnant runner and had very good intentions to keep trotting along. But alas, last week's terrible run might have been the last of it. I was fine cardio-wise and my legs begged me to pick up the pace, but my bouncing stomach and straining ligaments called the shots. I've tried again since, but running just isn't comfortable  anymore. Now I just need to convince myself the walking is actually a "workout" or the next three months might feel that much longer!

Baby's name: After "When are you due?" and "What are you having?", the next question is always "Have you decided on a name?" And when I say we haven't, that must translate to "Please, tell me what I should name my child." So to clarify. No, we haven't officially decided but we have a few top contenders; no recommendations needed, but thank you. We probably won't decide until we see that sweet face.  

Symptoms: Growing belly. Increased appetite. Lots of rumbling and tumbling from Sweet One.

Most excited about: The rescheduled maternity photos, and for getting lots of family time during the holidays!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

An Overdue Update

This post is loaded full of random photos that make me smile. 

Lots of things have taken place since I last checked in. Doctors appointments, holidays, shopping, dog vomit- you know, the usual.

Most importantly, I'm in a much better place. Time and prayer really do heal the heart. And there is something about bubble baths that put the world in perspective.

Last week I met with specialists in Little Rock at UAMS to get some answers and a plan. Dr. Stacks is my ENT surgeon who loves removing people's thyroids. Well, he probably doesn't like that he needs to take out people's cancerous thyroids, but he is one of the best in the country so he must get some amount of joy from it. If you're going to have someone remove an organ, might as well make it someone who is really, really good at it. And Dr. Stacks is just that. 

I also met with Dr. Bodenner, an endocrinologist who specialize in thyroid cancer; he's a brilliant, kind man with way too many initials after his name. He is my no nonsense, plan-man. He confirmed that the cancer has not spread to my lymph nodes and that it is Stage 1. Good news.

He also gave me a time line: For the next three months I am to enjoy and relish my pregnancy with no need to give this stupid cancer a second thought.  Upon delivery I will give my team of doctors a call and surgery will be scheduled for one month post baby. Then, with a little begging on my part, they agreed to postpone the radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment until baby is 4-5 months old so I can breastfeed during those precious first months. 

The only disappointing news I received (besides the fact that I continue to have thyroid cancer, will have a thyroidectomy, and be on a thyroid replacement hormone for the rest of my life) is that during RAI treatment I cannot be around baby, or anyone, for two weeks. Two weeks of partial confinement- no hugs from family, no comforting my crying baby, no snuggles from Josh. It is going to be lonesome and sad. But it is only going to be for two weeks, and I'm telling myself I can do anything for two weeks. 

So, there's the update. A little bit of sour with a lot of sweet. Kinda like me. I'll keep you posted, but promise not to turn this blog into a medical drama saga. If you know me, I'm not a fan of drama. Or medical sagas. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Thank You Note

Dear You,

I want to say thank you for encouraging me, lifting me up in prayer, and sharing your own stories. I read each comment, post, and message.

But going against everything I know about etiquette, I didn't call back, respond, or hit "reply". To be honest, I didn't have the emotional energy. But I want you to know that I took each one to heart.

Someone sent me a beautiful flower arrangement and it literally made my day. Looking at those beautiful flowers honestly made me feel better (and I'm not usually a flower person, so this is strange for me). After my initial reaction of joy, my southern upbringing immediately had me thinking, "I should send a thank-you note." However the simple thought of writing a thank-you note completely exhausted me; I dreaded writing that note. Then I realized, I don't have to write a thank-you note. That person didn't send me flowers just for me to turn around and send a note. They sent me flowers to bring me joy and to lift my spirits; they would hate for that to be taken away by a stupid note.

I like to use an analogy that a close friend of mine used while she was grieving. She explained that we all have a "love bucket" and when the bucket is full, which mine has always been, we can give all our extra love away. We can be thoughtful friends, generous co-workers, and loving spouses. However during hard times, like what I'm going through now, our buckets feel empty making it hard to pour our love into others.

My bucket is drained.

I feel like I have nothing to give. I only have energy to take, in hopes of filling my bucket again.

I'm tired of crying. I'm tired of being sad. I'm tired of not feeling like myself.

It is strange to feel so tired that I don't have the emotional energy to write a note. Some days I feel really strong, just to come home to collapse in Josh's arms and cry. My goal is just to make it through the day, with as many distractions as possible.

I say all of this to say, I am feeling my bucket start to fill again. And that is because of you. It has taken hundreds and hundreds of prayers, calls, and messages but I think it is starting to work. Each day is better than the last. God is slowly giving me peace and comfort. I'm sleeping better. I'm laughing again.

So thank you. Thank you for everything you've done and will do.

I love you dearly.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Biopsy Results

"It's not good news."

That is what our doctor said as he walked into the room on Monday.

I can still hear him so clearly like he is standing right beside me. It made my heart stop then; it makes my heart stop even now.

As compassionate and gentle as he was, the word "cancer" is never easy to hear.

I remember intentionally reminding myself that I needed to breath. I needed to focus on what he was saying so I could remember it later. I had to think clearly so I could express my concerns and ask questions.

But I broke down when he told me that the baby should be completely healthy and unaffected.

And for me? I think I'll be okay too.

Papillary Thyroid Cancer. A term I had never heard of before that day.

Prognosis is good but being pregnant complicates things. Treatment is removal of the thyroid, but being 26 weeks pregnant that might not be an option right now. Surgery may have to wait until a few weeks after Baby Girl arrives.

Next would be radioactive iodine treatments to kill any remaining thyroid cells that might have spread.

This would mean no breastfeeding and no contact with Baby Girl in the days I'm taking the treatment. It may seem crazy, but those are the things that concern me the most. Those precious moments I won't get back. That bond between baby and mommy that breastfeeding provides.

The emotion comes in waves, alternating with periods of numbness.

I am thankful for the amazing support system I have in friends and family, for the countless people lifting us up in prayer.

I am thankful that God is constant.

I am thankful that Josh has been a rock. That he has cried with me, has been strong for me, and seems to know the exact words I need to hear.

Please pray that I find comfort and peace in God. Pray that the cancer is contained in my thyroid and it has not spread to my lymph nodes or anywhere else in my body. Please pray that I will not need iodine treatments.

Pray that God completely heals me.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

25 Weeks: A prayer request

Ladies and gentlemen, we are at the 25 week mark. If you have a hard time doing simple math, that means only 15 more weeks until we meet our little bundle of joy. Unreal.

A lot of exciting things have happened over the past few weeks. Baby Girl is growing strong and steady with a heart rate of 150bpm, according to our prenatal appointment last week. At this appointment my sugar glucose was taken to check for gestational diabetes. The doctor said, "No news is good news" and so far we haven't heard anything. So, I guess I don't have gestational diabetes? 

Our big Little Rock shower for all our friends and family was last Saturday and we were blown away by everyone's love and generosity. While most of the people that read my blog were there, it will definitely get a post all to its self. (itself? its self? it's self? Josh and I had a long discussion and I still don't know which is correct. Jennifer?)

Outtakes: Thanks for the close up, hun.

Unfortunately it hasn't been all good. Over a week ago I noticed a rather large lump on my throat. Due to some urging of coworkers, I quickly called my OBGYN to make sure it wasn't my thyroid acting up. That next morning, my doctor quickly confirmed that it was definitely my thyroid and I needed to see an ENT. 

Several hours later I was sitting in another doctor's office, listening to the ENT say he suspects I have a nodule on my thyroid and they would need to do an ultrasound and biopsy. The words "benign versus malignant" were mentioned along with "but you shouldn't worry," but all I could focus on was not crying in front of everyone.  

All this news came so suddenly. On Wednesday I thought I might have a swollen lymph node and by the next afternoon I was scheduling a biopsy. Being a speech therapist I know just enough about laryngeal cancer to freak myself out. This should be the last thing on my mind when I have a nursery to decorate, right?

The biopsy is scheduled for the 13th and I'm asking for you to pray that, whatever this is, will come back benign and harmless. I'm hoping by the end of the week I'll feel silly for worrying so much over nothing. I pray that I can breath a sigh of relief and focus on getting ready for this baby.

But now, lets get back to the fun baby stuff...

Baby's size: An eggplant or about 2 pounds and 9 inches

Total weight gain: 11 pounds and feeling every ounce.

Workouts: Uh, terrible. I've seen the gym only a handful of times in the past two weeks, totaling only two or so runs, a yoga class, and some improvised "at home" workouts.

Symptoms: The past few days I think I've been having sciatic nerve pain. It's not debilitating but it certainly is uncomfortable. I'm not sure if a massage will help, but I'm sure going to find out. 

Best moment: The baby shower was by far the highlight over the past two weeks. Not only was it wonderful to see loved ones but it's now evident that Little One has a crowd eagerly waiting her arrival. 

Most excited about: Getting this biopsy over with. Ugh. I also can't wait to enter into the 3rd trimester. I say this about each milestone, but I think things will "get real" in those last months.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week 23: Maternity pants convert

My what a difference 10 weeks will make! 

According to my weekly emails, here is what Baby C is up to this week: 

"Your baby is practicing her "breathing" on the amniotic fluid—sucking it in and out of her lungs.  Fat production is in overdrive at this point… Your baby will basically double in weight over the next four weeks! Her body is looking more proportional now and her facial features are fully formed. "

I'm glad she is looking more "normal" and proportional, as I definitely don't want an alien baby (although, let's be honest, newborns aren't that cute anyway).
Outfit credit to my generous mom who took me shopping.
3 pairs of pants, 2 dresses, and a shirt later, I was one happy pregnant lady.

My belly has expanded so much since I last checked in. A mere three weeks ago I was still buttoning my jeans, but I am now fully converted to maternity pants. While I'm sure I could still wear a few pre-pregnant pants, why would I want to? Maternity pants are WAY more comfortable; I don't know what took me so long. 

Besides stocking up on new clothes, Josh and I were also busy in the nursery. My sweet and perfect grandmother bought Baby C a crib (and mattress) and we couldn't wait to put it together. It took me a long time to find a crib that not only matched my style, but also came in white. In the future it can convert to a toddler, day, and full-sized bed. Score!

Now for the deets: 

Baby's size: The length and weight of a Harry Potter book.

Total weight gained: 8 pounds.

Symptoms: I think my abs, particularly my obliques, are slowly becoming affected as it is getting harder for me to roll around in bed or on the couch. It also harder for me to get comfortable sitting or laying down and I find myself tossing and turning at night. Getting up multiple times during the night is now considered normal; I've been told to expect this for the next 10 years of my life. 

Something new: Baby Girl has been moving so much this week, and her movements are getting stronger and more predictable. About 30 minutes after I exercise or after I lay down for the night she'll start kicking away. I can even see and feel it from the outside. 

Best moments: Besides feeling her move around (which of course are Best Moments #1), I really enjoyed going to a breastfeeding/newborn care class with Josh. The free class was held at Terra Tots, a local natural parenting store in Fayetteville that not only has amazing products but is a wealth of information to the community. Since we are planning to cloth diaper, they have been our go-to source for information (Yes, I will blog more on cloth diapering at some point). I am so thankful we have access to such amazing and knowledgeable people.

Most excited about: Our Little Rock shower is next weekend and I can't wait! I am so eager to see all our friends and family and celebrate our Sweet One. 

Things bought for baby: We purchased a humidifier since Baby is due during the cold winter months, but really Josh is congested and we needed it now. Let's just say we are "borrowing" it from Baby for the time being. My mom bought me some maternity clothes and a beautiful glider and my grandmother bought a crib and mattress. This is one loved baby! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Still quite feisty

I typically shy away from writing about my job, the main reason being privacy issues and the big scary legal threat of HIPPA. These sweet old people that I work with everyday have a right to keep their identity and life private so who am I to share their daily activities with the internet world.

That being said, I work with the funniest people in the world. I laugh constantly to myself when interacting with these innocent (and not so innocent) grandmothers and grandpas. It's not depressing working in a nursing home and rehab; I love seeing these people smile, hearing of their families and listening to events of way-back-when.

Everyday I have stories I could tell of what Mrs. D did or what Mr. L said. But in light of sharing personal tales, these will have to suffice as a small glimpse into my day-to-day job:

Oh, how my job makes me laugh. Just because you're old doesn't mean you've lost your spunk.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sister Sister

This past weekend I was blessed to spend time with my oh-so cool little sister. Even though I'm sure she has never watched an episode of Sister Sister, or any other 90's staple, she is still pretty rad. 

At the Women Razorback Soccer game.

You know how they say kids of this recent generation act spoiled, entitled, and only care about TV and iPads? Well, this little squirt is none of the above. She is selfless, sweet, and woke up at 7 Saturday morning to read. Basically, she is just like her big sister.

Playing an educational game of Quelf.

We spent the weekend cold, wet, and wind burnt. I thought I was miserable in the 45 degree rain, but poor Jaden was out playing soccer in it. Good thing she is young and resilient. 
Perfect soccer weather.

Warming up between games with hot chocolate and books!

As I live 3 hours away, we rarely get to spend quality time together. I wish I could watch all of her soccer games. I wish I could pick her up from school and get ice cream every day. I wish we had our own little secrets and traditions. But more than anything, I just wish I could be around more to pass on all the things I have learned in my 27 years of living. 

So I've compiled an ever-growing list of things I wish I knew during my pre-teen and teens years (you know, because I am so wise and knowledgable now) in hopes that she doesn't make quite as many mistakes as I did. 

Don't worry about the style of your clothes. 
No matter what, you will look back and hate it.

It is okay to have boyfriends (when you're much older, of course) but make your friends more important.
Your friends are probably cooler anyway. 

Don't be afraid to fail. Try everything. 
Sports. Art. Music. Drama. Quiz Bowl. Whatever.
When you're a kid you can fail at everything and no one really cares.
It only matters that you're trying and having fun.
The adult world doesn't work that way.

Don't dumb yourself down. 
You're smart and talented.
Be proud of that.

School can be hard. Kids can be mean. It's life.

While you're trying so hard to be like other people, they are trying to be like you. 

Mom and Dad will annoy you and make you mad. 
Their rules can seem unfair and stupid.
But give them a break- I had the same rules and look how cool I turned out.

Remember that you will have a little niece looking up to you. 
And you're going to be the best aunt ever.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 20: Registered?

Ladies and gentleman, we have made it to the half way mark. It is completely mind boggling than in 5 months we will be holding our baby girl. I imagine those cold February days sitting by the fire, reading a book, while Sweet One sleeps away in my arms. That's a realistic view of life with a newborn, right?

Since Baby is due in February, deciding on dates for baby showers was a little awkward due to the holidays. So far we have decided to do two showers: one in November in our hometown and one in January, if weather cooperates. 

Now, I obviously registered for wedding showers when Josh and I were engaged but registering for babies is a whole other ballgame. Who knew babies "needed" so much stuff! How many choices of high chairs, nipples, and spoons does a person who can't even talk need? 

Registering at Target: The smile on my face is deceptive; I'm actually thinking, "What the heck is a receiving blanket?!"

So, I am begging you for advice. What did your baby need? What brands do you swear by or avoid? Does it really matter what type of bottle warmer I ask for? And more importantly, if your baby doesn't use it any more can I borrow it? 

20 weeks
 Man, I look tired.

Baby's size: An American dollar, and is the weight of 50 quarters. My little money baby.

Total weight gained: 5 pounds! Since I've been in the 2nd trimester I've averaged about 1 pound a week, which I think is right on target. Sad to say, I don't think it has all been healthy weight gain as I've indulged in practically every want and desire.

Symptoms: My appetite has easily doubled and my sleep is consistently interrupted. I'm getting up at least twice at night to pee and drink a gallon of water.

What I've been eating: Chocolate: check. Cheese: check. Extra helping of bread: check. I definitely need to say no to more cravings and yes to more salads, but it is oh-so hard!

Workouts: Not so hot in this area either. I've only been to the gym a handful of times in the past few weeks, but I am determined to do better. Something that came so easily before now seems so hard to make a priority. My goal is three days of activity this week and that should be very obtainable!

Wearing: I am still buttoning the majority of my pants but there are a few pairs I need a rubber band to make them more comfortable. My shirts are fine as well but I hate the way I look in most of them. I feel thick, not pregnant. And it doesn't help that someone pointed out my "growing love handles"...that's how you make a pregnant girl feel good.

Best moment: Seeing our sweet girl for the first time and hearing from the doctor that everything looks perfect.

Most excited about: Feeling her move around. I have felt a few things and have just assumed it was gas (I mean, come on... I pregnant!), but now I'm thinking it may actually be movement. They say before bedtime is the best time to feel flutters, but once I lay down I'm asleep in 5 minutes leaving little time to concentrate on the movements in my belly.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's a....


Last night's sleep was lousy, as all I could think about was getting to the doctor's office to find out what our sweet one was going to be. Sitting in the waiting room, Josh and I couldn't talk about anything else.  We have been wondering for so long, it was surreal knowing we were about to finally find out.

Besides finding out very clearly that this was a girl, seeing all her sweet body parts and movements was amazing. I found myself saying, "Oh! Look at that sweet elbow!" or "Her kidneys are so cute!" Only a mom can love her kid's abdomen and extremities, right? 

The doctor confirmed that everything looks healthy. Little Miss is measuring on the smaller side for 19-weeks but they aren't going to adjust my due date. The doc is happy with my weight gain and my seemingly easy pregnancy (knock on wood!). 

So, it looks like about half of you were correct- congrats! To the other half, Derek was sure hoping you were right; he was counting on a boy who he was determined was going to be named Derek Jr. 

Thank you for all your prayers, thoughts and well wishes. Josh and I are completely in love.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Now Accepting Predictions

Josh and I have spent the weekend prepping and painting the soon-to-be-nursery for our little nugget, which is actually now the size of a precious mango.

Side note: I don't think there has ever been a time in my life that I thought a mango, much less any fruit, was "precious". But I guess pregnancy will do that to you...

We are not quite done, but I am thrilled with the "Nimbus Cloud" color choice. So far it seems like the perfect and gentle shade of gray I was going for. But what other colors will we be using in the nursery? Well, if Baby Clark cooperates, we will find out come Tuesday morning at 8am.

I have a guess at what it might be, but I'm curious what YOU think we are having. Here is some (probably pointless) info via old wifes' tale to help you make your decision:

  • Baby's heart rate at 12 weeks was 170, and at 15 weeks was 162.
  • I prefer things sour and salty.
  • I haven't noticed a change in my skin's condition or emotional mood swings
  • Hanging my wedding ring by a string over my belly, it swings in a circle (which indicates a boy).

Boy or girl? What do you think?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Week 18: Making Room

My computer is currently out of commission, so I am unable to upload all the pictures I want to share. Thus, awkward formatting and iPhone snap shots must suffice this week. And I must say, writing a post on the Blogger app sucks!

Lordy mercy, can I feel a change since our last update at 16 weeks. The bump is most definitely there, resulting in slight discomfort in my jeans. I even did the rubber band trick to give myself a bit more room; surely this will give me a several more weeks of wear. But who knows- I am shocked at how quickly my body can change in just a few short weeks.

Not only is my body making room for our little squirt, but things are changing around the Clark Abode as well. Remember my big to-do of switching the guest rooms? Josh and I were able to check that off the list Saturday morning. 

(Insert before and actions shots, and better looking after shots.)

Next on the list: painting! 

Now for the fun facts...

Baby's size: A sweet potato

Total weight gained: 2lbs, which seems low compared to the recent belly growth. 

Eating: I'm not experiencing aversions or cravings. Unless you count the fact that I saw Sour Patch Kids at the grocery store and I can't get then out of my head! If it persists, I might let myself indulge in a few... or the whole bag. 

Best moment: Making progress with the nursery. I keep peeking my head in the room, looking at the change and imagining our sweet one in there. 

Most excited about: Our next appointment is slowly approaching and I can.not.wait. Is everything healthy? Am I as far along as the doctor thinks I am? Will we be accenting the nursery with blues or purples? Hopefully all these questions will be answered bight and early on Oct 1st. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 16: To Dos

As of this past weekend we are officially four months deep into this thing, which means only five more months until we meet this little bundle of joy. I know I said this pregnancy is creeping by, but it is a little scary to think Baby C will be in our lives forever in just a few short months. And that huge to-do list definitely overwhelms me.

First up on the list of "to-dos" is to clear out the back guest room for the nursery. We then need to paint over that hideous orange color. Who would ever purposely choose that shade. Just terrible.
All that furniture is actually moving into the now game/junk room, which will get re-sorted or moved up to storage. (We've already moved the futon and bikes.)

I visited home this past week and my mother and grandmother took me around local baby stores "just to look" at nursery furniture and baby gadgets.  Can I just say that there are way too many options- and none that I seem to really like. Sigh. I know I'll find something, but sheesh, it can all be a bit much.

Baby's size: A grenade- a fun and comforting thought.

Weight gained: 1.5 pounds

What I'm wearing: I'm still wearing my clothes comfortably, but I notice that the slack in my waistline is slightly less.

Eating: Everything, good and bad. Like a responsible momma I'm trying eat everything in moderation, but I don't really deny myself anything. I've had no real cravings or aversions lately, and I hope it stays that way. Ice cream with a side of carrots, please.

Workouts: In the past week I've run twice, cross trained twice, and lifted weights once. Sweating a bit makes me feel so much better and I know it's good for baby too. It took me quite a while to feel confident running again, being too scared to elevate my heart rate or nervous about every little pain. Just the past two weeks I've been letting myself relax with my cardio and simply do what my body wants. And right now, an easy 3 miles with little walks seem to be the key.

Best moment: Josh and I heard the heart beat last Tuesday and it was just as magical as I remembered. The beat was a strong 162 and we were grinning ear-to-ear listening to it thump away.

Most excited about: Seeing our baby for the first time at the next appointment. We haven't had an ultrasound yet so we are very eager to see that little sucker- to make sure everything looks healthy and hopefully find out if it is a Miss or a Mister.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Are you ready

...for some football?!

Fantasy football team set: check, x2
NFL Sunday Ticket and Red Zone: check
Favorite team picked for the Superbowl XKVIII: check (Go Packs!)

The Clark household sure is. 

Tonight we welcome the pro football season into our house and we couldn't be more excited! While I'm very sad I can't crack open a bottle of pumpkin ale, I'll treat myself with some extra snacks and desserts;  I'm sure that will suffice. 

My pick for tonight's win is Denver. Manning is a beast.

So, tune in folks. It's gonna be a great show!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Week 14: Second Trimester

14 weeks! Yay for the SECOND trimester. How did that happen?!

Baby's size: A lemon or, my personal favorite, a cupcake!

Weight gained: According to my scale, zero. I definitely expected it to go up this week though.

Workouts: Plenty! My energy is back which means my gym membership has finally become worth my while. I've been switching off between the treadmill, elliptical, and weight lifting and it feels oh-so nice to sweat again. Also, Josh and I played kickball two nights this past week, which I'm totally counting as work-out days.

Symptoms: Zero. Zilch. Natta. My nausea and fatigue flew the coop several weeks ago and it has been glorious. I can kinda see a baby bump but basically, I don't even feel pregnant.

Wearing: I can still fit into all my clothes with ease. Fingers crossed I won't have to wear maternity get-ups for quite a while.

Baby buys: Josh and I haven't bought anything for Baby (although friends and family sure have) but I did get myself five maternity shirts at Rhea Lana's for a steal- just preparing for the cold and big winter months.

Craving: Beer. But don't worry, I'm not giving in to that one.

Aversions: None. Anything and everything sound good!

Most excited about: Hearing our baby's heartbeat at the next appointment! The time between these doctor visits seem to drag on. At this rate, this pregnancy is going to take an eternity.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Currently {August Edition}

Wearing... either scrubs, gym clothes, or pajamas. Fashion blog, here I come.
Reading... What to Expect When You're Expecting, and it is the most boring book ever. Any other pregnancy book recommendations?
Trying... to work as much as I can and save, save, save!
Eating... pretty much everything. Hello appetite. Nice to see you again.
Drinking... orange juice. I just can't get enough of that citrus-y goodness.
Going... to the lake in a few weeks and can't wait! I need some relaxing friend-time like nobody's business.
Loving... this weather. I mean, come on people. When has August ever been this splendid in Arkansas?
Hating... that we live in a rent house, but that is the season we are in right now. I'm trying to come to terms with it.
Discovering... that all this baby stuff doesn't need to cost half my paycheck. Consignment shops, I think we're going to get along well.
Enjoying... any time I can get with my hubby. Between school and working full-time hours, he isn't home near as often as I'd like. We soak up every moment we have together, and it's glorious.
Ruminating... on God's faithfulness. He is constant, despite the storms. He loves me, despite my sin. How crazy amazing is that?
Feeling... itchy. During our hike this weekend, I got several bug bites.
Hoping... it is just a few bug bites and not poison ivy. Josh and I are highly allergic and that stuff eats us alive. Finger crossed.
Listening... to A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin on audiobook. Game of Thrones is my favorite show and the novels are proving just as intriguing.
Thanking... my friends and family for already loving on this baby. Between thoughtful gifts in the mail  and loaning loads of baby gear, I feel that Josh and I may actually be able to afford this child. Jen, Jess, and Rach...I'm looking at you! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Wondering... if 10pm is too late for a snack?
Finishing... the week's laundry. Sunday is laundry day and I actually look forward to it. There's something relaxing about folding towels. Worst part: putting it all away.
Starting... to eat "healthy". Now that my appetite is back, I can see how weight gain can easily get out of control. Now that I want to eat a variety of foods (and not just peanut butter crackers), lots of veggies and lean meats are being added back into the diet.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 12: How we found out

*Gush* Thank you everyone for all the well wishes. We didn't expect such an overwhelming reaction and I can already tell Baby C is going to be loved so much! Every sweet comment put a stupid smile on my face.

Finding out

It happened on an unassuming Thursday morning. I woke up, having a knowing feeling that something was off. My monthly visitor was almost a week late and I figured it was probably time to see what a pee-stick would reveal. I ran past Walgreens that morning and took the test unceremoniously in the bathroom at work. I got the fancy digital kind, leaving little room for error. 

After three looooong minutes...bam! Pregnant 

After seeing one more patient, I left work early and headed straight home, as Josh had just finished school for the day. It is sort of hazy, but I remember walking into the door and straight into the kitchen where Josh was standing. I handed him the test with tears in my eyes. He asked repeatedly "Are you serious?" and all I could do was nod my head yes. To say we were in shock is an understatement.

5 weeks pregnant

As surprised as we initially were, it didn't take long before everything felt so right. See, I love to think I'm in control- that my plan for my life is just as it should be. But God does this cool thing where he shakes your boat, wakes you up, and makes you realize that He is the Master Planner. He knew we were ready for this sweet baby, even if we just spend tons of money in Europe and Josh is still in school. Yes, I have waves of doubt and uncertainty, but I am confident that everything will work out. 

12 weeks pregnant

Stop photo bombing all my pictures Sully!

Thankfully, this pregnancy has been uneventful so far. There is no obvious change in my belly and my clothes still fit the same. According to my scale, I've had no weight gain, which is normal during the first trimester. 

My symptoms have been pretty mild. Between weeks 9-11 I experienced slight nausea and fatigue all day. Luckily, I haven't gotten sick once. The past few days are the most normal I've felt in a while.

Beside feeling nauseous, I often questioned if I was even pregnant. But that was finally confirmed Thursday when we heard the perfect heart beat of 172bpm. I immediately feel in love. Luckily, Josh recorded the session on his phone, so we can relive the moment as often as we'd like.

Since knowing the heart rate, friends and family are already predicting the sex. Some say high heart rate means boy, others say it means girl. Well, I did my own research and found a study that completely bunks everyone.


Come to find out, it is still a 50/50 chance of being a boy vs. girl. Obviously, we will be thrilled either way!

So, welcome to our next big adventure. We can't wait to find out what the next 6 months (+18years) will hold!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Crush

I don't know if you have seen the stupid 'likes' and 'updates' on Facebook from those weird friends regarding Candy Crush, but avoid this game at all costs. It will take precious time and even money (if you are one of those poor souls who is desperate for extra lives).

Candy Crush is an addicting Bejeweled- type iPhone game that sucks time away and frustrates the hell out of you, specifically me. At approximately noon on Friday, July 12 I was intrigued by a friend's status update expressing his utmost anger at this seemingly irrelevant game. I then proceeded to download said game and have been consumed ever since.

The most antagonizing part is running out of the given 5 lives and having to wait 20+ minutes for your next one. I mean, come on?! I have never considered buying anything for a app game, but one could go crazy waiting for that stupid timer. I am currently writing this post just to pass the time. Sigh.

So, this is not an advertisement for Candy Crush. Instead, this is a warning. Don't do it. You will get no reward but only stress-pimples in return.

Friday, June 28, 2013

{European Travels} Florence Days 4&5

We finally made it -
the last {European Travels} post.
You are probably jumping for joy, as these went on for quite some time.
But I'm kinda sad. It went by way too quickly, just like the trip. 
Now lets continue...

During this entire trip I kept a journal to document all the fun and interesting details of our days; that is how, over a month later, I have been able to recall everything in these posts. I was very proud of myself for recording diligently each day, until the last day where I completely slacked. I didn't write one thing about our last day and a half in Florence and it makes me so sad. So now I just give you general information and lots of pictures:

The night before, we decided at the last minute to go on a wine tasting tour. We were in Tuscany for heavens sake. Of course we had to go on at least one wine tasting adventure (even though we had done plenty of wine tasting at lunch and dinner times)! We randomly found Tuscan Wine Tours and quickly signed up. The tour group was small, just us and another family of five. The tour was informative, yet quite personal. We learned, in detail, how each owner made their wines, but in meeting and visiting with the vineyard owners we got to see their love and passion for each bottle. It made each wine that much better, knowing the intentional love behind it. We were simply fascinated.

The first winery we visited was Solatione Winery, a small, family owned vineyard. The owner, Francesca, was full of information and passion for her wines. We loved the wines at this vineyard, buying three to take home with us and having six more shipped once we returned home.
 Learning about the production of wine.
 Enjoying the wonderful Vin Santo, the most heavenly stuff that I've ever had. No lie.
 The Tuscany region is so beautiful!

After saying goodbye to Francesca we traveled further into Tuscany, stopping in a tiny medieval village. It took about three minutes to walk the entire town. I can't imagine living in a place so historic. However, since I didn't write down the town's name or any of it's interesting history, we only have pictures to remember it by.

Next stop: another town. Again, I don't know the name, but the square was adorable and the specialty shops were inviting! This is the kind of place I would love to stay in next trip- small and no tourists (besides us). This is were we had a wonderful three course meal with lots of amazing wine!
All the meat you could want!
 I love cheese!
 Group lunch.

Our last stop on the tour was the Fattoria di Bagnolo with good 'ole Marco as our host. Marco is actually an Italian noblemen and was quite the character. Being your typical Italian man he was loud, eccentric, and full of tales. He shared with us stories of his family, which date back to the 11th century, and this vineyard which was passed down from generation to generation. Marco also pointed out that Sting lived close by and Gerard Butler comes by to buy wine; too bad neither were stopping by for a visit that day.

Our time with Marco was filled with laughing, eating, and enjoying his great wine and olive oil. From here we bought a bottle of wine and the best olive oil we have ever tasted. I must say, we Americans do not even know what olive oil is!  
 Us with our amazing guide Olivia and best friend Marco.

The wine tour was probably my favorite thing that we did on the entire trip. If you go to Tuscany, you MUST treat yourself to this! 

On the next day, our last day, we had to catch a 2:00 plane back to London (which they almost didn't let me on - stupid passport). We made reservations at 9am to see David at the Accademia, which was extremely impressive and was definitely worth the last minute trip. We then had a quick lunch, grabbed our bags and headed to the airport. 

We arrived in London by 4:00 and got a hotel room next to the airport. We had dinner in the city then caught the morning plane back to the United States. Sunday, May 19th we arrived in good old Northwest Arkansas. Our trip was officially over and we just had the time of our lives!

Thanks for sticking around for all these posts.
I hope it has inspired you go create your own traveling adventures!