Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Shoulder Tapper

Do you know that everyone feels lonely?  Everyone feels lonely at some point and time.  It's a deep sadness that sweeps over and no matter how you try to explain it, the explanation fails to reach the depths.  I don't feel lonely right now but I have been there.  It suddenly swept over me one day and I didn't know how to shake it.  I tried to blame it on Scott but that failed to make me feel fulfilled.  I tried to fill the loneliness with exercise, devotions, work, friends but it was hopeless.  I was walking around with a smile on my face and a pit in my stomach.  After about a week that felt like an eternity, I wrote in my journal, "Lord, I feel lonely lately."  I pretty much left it at that because I didn't know what else to do.  Never in my life had I experienced this bizarre feeling.  Usually, I don't mind being alone.  Being an introvert, it's easy for me to be by myself and usually more comfortable than being with a crowd.

One day after I told the Lord how I was feeling I was gently tapped on the shoulder at church by a woman.  It was during the time when you meet and greet for about a minute before the sermon begins.  We just shook hands and said good morning so why would the "shoulder tapper" want to extend our greeting?  During those meet and greets I prefer to say hi to people then turn around so I don't actually have to make small talk.  (Just being honest, don't judge me)  So, I smiled at her and she asked me what my name was.  She seemed nice enough so I told her and wondered what she wanted.  The woman proceeded to tell me that she believed God had a "word" for me.  UH HUH?  She said, "I felt like God was telling me you felt lonely.  I kept seeing the word 'alone' and He wants you to know that you are not alone, He is with you."  A huge lump in my throat appeared.  I didn't know if I was going to cry or throw up.  I was shocked as well as nervous.  Could this lady read my mind?  Did she somehow flip through my journal super quick?  How and why would God speak to her like that?  Scott was standing next to me when she said it in her sweet, calm voice but he looked confused.  Yes, I believe in prophecy, it's biblical but I thought you went up to the alter for that type of stuff.  Evidently, the altar is not the only place God speaks through people.

She asked me if that meant anything to me and I smiled and nodded my head, yes.  I turned away from her and opened my journal up to the last entry and showed Scott, "Lord, I feel lonely lately."  He raised his eyebrows in amazement and I sobbed.   I felt the arms of God wrap around me in that moment.  It was reassuring and comforting to know He was there no matter how I "felt."  It taught me not to get caught up in feelings or emotions.  We are truly aliens here on this earth and one thing I know for sure is that He will always be there no matter what I feel like.  Even in the darkest days, He's there.  I believe he allowed me to experience loneliness for a few reasons.  I needed to know what other people feel like when they say they feel alone, even the people that are always surrounded by others and look like they have it all put together.  I also needed to realize how much  I took God's presence and protection for granted.  From the moment I felt that big hug from God, I was at home again.

From time to time I am reminded of that day and the peace I felt.  Now, when other people tell me they feel lonely, I can reassure them that they are not alone.  We can not be led by our unsteady emotions, we must believe every second of the day that He will never leave us nor for forsake us.

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Friday, December 9, 2011

Baby Rhylan

Baby Rhylan Stats

Two teeth
A grin that's contagious
A small laugh but not quite a continuous giggle
Rolls stomach to back and back to stomach
Loves to chat
Can go from crying to smiling in 1/2 a second
Grabs her toys and immediately puts them in her mouth
Loves to stand with a little help from Mom and Dad
Will go to sleep only after being sung to and bedtime prayers
Sleeps 6-8 hours
Spends Monday through Wednesday with Grandma's
Still nursing
Size 3-6 month clothing
Travels much better in her car seat
Blue eyes
Sandy blonde hair
4 months young
13 lbs
25 inches long
42 cm head circumference

Brownie Points for Scott

I know I should be blogging about my beautiful baby and believe me, I will but I first have to brag about my Scott.  Scott has a the gift of giving.  He has picked wonderful gifts for me in the past.  He has been thoughtful and elaborate with his gifts for me.  Honestly, though, it's grown few and far between in the last couple of years. I'm not saying he has turned into a bad husband by any means.  He makes me dinner, drives me around in the winter, and will make a Ben & Jerry's run without hesitation.  These are all things that I ask for though.  I am a selfish lady and I want him to go beyond.  I know, I know, it sounds ludicrous.  I have never claimed to be a sane person :)

I have a friend that gets a love letter from her husband every year.  She asked for it a few years back and that's what she gets every Christmas.  I think it's beautiful.  It's easy to forget to tell each other what we love  about one another with kids, work, bills, and busy schedules getting in the way.  Who cares if she asked for it, that's what she wants and needs.  Imagine the moment he hands her the love letter...She eagerly, yet carefully opens it, knowing the contents are filled with sweet affirming words of his undying love for her.  Her heart skips a beat and rekindles a new flame in their relationship that lasts until the next letter.  It may not be what every woman needs but it speaks directly to her from him and that's what matters. 

Scott thinks extravagantly when it comes to gift giving.  Last year for my birthday he bought me a brand new snowboard.  It made me grin from ear to ear but then I got pregnant and couldn't use it.  So, over the year, especially after I BIRTHED A HUMAN, I kept saying I wanted him to think of me and do something special for me.  I know, ME, ME, ME. :)  I tell him all the time, "you know me, I don't need extravagant, I don't like jewelry or flowers."  He kept trying say he wanted to get me something big but I said no, I just want you to think of ME.  ME!  Who am I?  What do I like?  Come on Scott, I know you know this.  Hint: I'm frugal.

Finally, tonight, he was getting ready to go get us a movie and he says "oh yeah, I got this for you."  He pulled a little square paper out of his pocket that was from HyVee.  It had a QR code on it.  For those of you without smart phones, it's a bar code that takes you directly to the company's website when scanned by your camera phone.  It took me to a phone app where I could make grocery lists and keep up on weekly coupons and deals.  Coupons! Deals!  A man after my own heart.  He could have thrown that away so easily but he thought, "Krista would love this.  She loves making grocery lists and finding deals."  He thought of meee!  That's all it took.  You know when you are first dating someone and you can't help but see things and think of your boyfriend/girlfriend? Then, you get married and you just assume that because you said "I do" that it's a give-in that you love them.  NEWS FLASH!  It's never a give-in.  Women always need to know you think of us when you are out and about, even when grocery shopping.  As far as I'm concerned, Scott won some major points with that gesture.  He's still pursuing my heart, with coupons, no less.

This year, guys, remember who your wife is.  We may come off as complicated creatures most days but if you take out all the distractions of life, we are just women wanting to be wooed by our lovers from time to time.  

Examples of ways to speak to a woman's heart:
  • My dad picks flowers up for my mom while he's on a run.  
  • Scott's dad buys his wife sweet cards.  
  • My friend's husband takes her on a date once a week, no exceptions
  • My friend's husband buys her clothes, just because
The Five Love Languages is great book that every human, married or not, should read.   

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fight! Fight! Fight!

I feel compelled to talk about marriage. I have been down this road twice now. Scott is my second husband and this time around I have a different mentality about it. About 60% of Americans vow to stay committed to the same person for life. So, where does all this doubt and "growing apart" come into play when marriage originally starts out smelling like roses? I am not judging anyone that has been divorced because I obviously have no room to sound all high and mighty about it. Also, I am not for someone staying with another person  where abuse is happening. (Abuse comes in many forms)  This is just me speaking from my heart about what I learned through my experience and have been healed from.

Here is what I have learned...

Marriage is not for the faint of heart. It's not about making each other happy. It's about holiness, being sacrificial and committed 100% of the way.  As a kid I believed the fairy tales of the prince kissing his bride and then happily ever after happens. In reality, we are sinners, marrying sinners. When those vows are said, Satan gets his crew out ready to destroy.  He knows that there are great things that can happen when two people vow to love each other forever.  He is evil and brings misery into happy lives everyday.  Most people this day and age are looking for instant happiness, not expecting to fight for your best friend's life, even if it means you get a battle wound.  People get married for the wrong reasons all the time but still, the vows are said.
"Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned." James 5:12

These vows that are said are serious business. God takes them and seals them.
Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Mark 10:9

So, for these vows to be broken, it means humans have to mess it up. We have to be the ones that make that choice to separate and to break vows. "It was never right from the beginning," "we've tried everything," "we've grown apart," "he/she doesn't make me happy," "I deserve to be happy."  These are the thoughts that start running through our minds and if we don't get a grip on those thoughts it only gets worse.

When you entered into marriage with your spouse, you stepped to onto the battle field. You just told someone else that is full of faults, and they told you, that you would love them forever, no matter what.  It's a bold move.  Your husband/bride is the most beautiful person you have ever met and you can't imagine life with anyone else.  It truly is a beautiful thing.  It looks as though you have the perfect life ahead of you.  One big reason I always recommend pre-marital counseling is because your subconscious may carry expectations of what your marriage will look like.  Expectations set your spouse up for failure because they may not even know about these "requirements" you have for them until your vows are spoken.  Scott and I had pre-marital counseling and it helped us avoid those pointless fights about who does the grocery shopping or who takes out the garbage.  Expectations are great things to talk about at any point in your relationship.

Some expectations that we throw onto our new spouse may be:
You take out the trash
You do the dishes
You work on the yard
You take care of the cars
You stay home with the kids 
We will have kids by the time I'm 25
We will have only a real Christmas tree
We will have a savings account with no less than $$$$
 We will read books or do devotions every night together
We will go to bed at the same time every night
You will grocery shop
We will have sex at least 6 days a week :)
We will never fight like the "so and so's"
You will take care of the budget

I find my marriage to Scott to be the most rewarding gifts God has ever given me. We have had our share of struggles that led to me thinking "why did I do this again?" I have felt lonely at times. I have had broken expectations. I have thrown a remote control at him in a hormonal rage. I have bossed him around. I have belittled him. I have taken his sincere love for granted. I have said sorry.  I have forgiven him. We have hurt each other's hearts and that sucks. The good part, no the GREAT part is that the rewards of being committed to another person is the growth. If you don't like change, then marriage is probably not for you because it's all about change and growth. This person exposes our insides. Marriage wasn't designed for awesome cuddle sessions, though, I do love those.

This is how I look at it. Scott is a gift to me and I see his life (not just his life with me) as something worth fighting for. When I choose to say mean things to him I tear him down making it much easier for him to be defeated.  I want him to prosper in life, I want good for him.  I want to mature and grow as well.  "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ." Ephesians 4:15  Like Thumper says, "if you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all."

So, if Scott is struggling in an area of his life, I have a few options on how to handle it . I can pretend it's not happening and hope it gets better on it's own.  I can let him know how weak he is and make him feel like a failure because I think that it will challenge him to change.  I don't know a single man that loves a good degrading session from his wife but sadly, I have done that.  Finally, I can be his biggest cheerleader, prayer warrior, support, and inspiration. I know I can't change a person and the choices they make though, so that's where trusting God comes in. I trust Him with my whole life and heart. I know He's going to take care of me even if Scott can't in the moment. I throw all my eggs in God's basket, not Scott's. I choose to see Scott as God's child and He promises to takes care of His kids. "And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

It doesn't matter how long you've been married, it's a journey. Humans are never just stuck, you are either moving forward or backward. I know change can be scary and letting go of those expectations causes great anxiety but it's worth it. It's so worth it to watch someone grow and reap the blessings of being committed. In five years you will look back and have no regrets trying your best to love someone sacrificially. I don't mind knowing that I have fought for someone with no other intentions than a hope that they will know true joy one day.  That is why I married again.  I love Scott and I have a strong desire to see where God takes us.  I make the choice to love him and he makes the same choice towards me.  Praise God!
"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.  They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Parking Spot Prayers

Sometimes we pray for a great parking spot, don't deny it :) Other days we are down on our knees with a cumbersome request. A lot of my prayer time happens during workouts. I pray for people, thank God for who He is, and then, sparingly pray a much heavier prayer. These heavy prayers go a little something like this..."Lord, use me in someone's life, I want to share your love." "Lord, I pray for truth to be revealed." "Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours." If you so dare to let those words slip out in either thought or off your lips, beware.

1. LORD, USE ME..."Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." 1 Cor 13:4
You can pray this at any stage in life, even if you don't feel like you have anything to offer. A strange visual came to my mind when thinking about this prayer. Let's say you are a knife, your gift is cutting things. You can't do it on your own, there must be a hand that guides your gift in the right way. It's a joint effort and should be a humble effort. You can't just go around cutting the heck out of things. God's love isn't the type of love that flashes across a jumbotron saying "LOOK WHAT I DID!" In my experience He whispers to me and shows me who needs Him. His love is easy, quiet, gentle and selfless. The only effort is showing love without showing yourself.

2. LORD, I PRAY FOR TRUTH..."Then you will know the truth, and truth will set you free." John 8:32
This is a no fail prayer. Every time I pray this prayer He reveals the skeletons in the closet. His truth takes all of your insides and turns them out. Exposed in full color and 3-D! This is one of my favorites because the second I ask for it, I immediately regret it. "NOOOO!!" I scream in my head. I don't want to see my insides or anyone else's for that matter. *Deep breath* In through the nose, out through the mouth. Do I trust Him? Definitely! He has only ever shown me freedom in truth.

3. LORD, BREAK MY HEART..."Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God." Bob Pierce
A breaking heart makes my chest get heavy and my head tip back causing my eyes to look up. It's hard to look at what's breaking your heart without looking up at Him. "Why God, Why!?!" The burden you have may be towards a minority group, the mistreatment of other humans, kids, marriages, family, friends, the poor, etc. In my case, God has mostly used me in marriages and family. I know that in asking for this broken heart, it comes with suffering. Seeing people through God's eyes can be very revealing in your own life. It's the grace He has given me through tough times that allows me to realize I must be broken down to understand His Holy love. I know every time my heart is broken that it will be rebuilt bigger and better. I know it's not just for my good that He has worked in my heart but eventually I will be asked to share it. Asking for a broken heart could send you into the orphanages of Africa or to your neighbors house after a domestic dispute. You just never know.

Praying will no doubt cause inevitable growth. It may not come in the answer you expected but it will reveal something. You just need to listen to the sweet voice. When God says go, then go. He will give you all you need to get through these answered prayers.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Change is not bad it's just different, different isn't bad, it's just different

Three months in to this motherhood thing and I think it's been a success. I say that because my baby is still alive. She's not like my poor house plants that ended up dying off within weeks of their arrival. There was a moment where I saw a lady that was pregnant and briefly missed my baby belly. THAT'S CRAZY TALK KRISTA, CRAZY TALK! I'm just getting my body back to normal and can exercise like my old self. There's a new normal that comes with trying to get back to the old normal though. When I was in Montana we did the same fun stuff like hiking and going to the lake but it came with a bit more work. We could go after making sure Rhylan was fed, changed, clothed, safely in her car seat and diaper bag in hand. Then, when we arrived at our destination we had to make sure we remembered to take her out of the car. One night Scott and I were headed to the Walmart Redbox like usual. We got out of the car, walked through the parking lot and suddenly realized we left our quiet sleeping baby in our backseat. Both of us did a 180 turnaround and ran back to the car feeling completely inept. I opened the car door in a flash, Scott jumped in front of me and ripped the car seat out of the base to make sure she was still alive. We both apologized she really cared ;) Right then, I remembered what it was like before she was born. It was just Scott and I. Six years went by quickly and I cherish every memory of "just us." We use to grocery shop together and go out to eat whenever we wanted. I just had my first solo grocery run. I must say I did quite well and did the drive-thru grocery thing. It was so easy I might just do it again!

Going out to eat is doable but for some reason, the moment our food comes she wakes up and hates life. We use to sit down and devour our meal but now it takes us an extra 20 minutes to eat between diaper changes and passing her back and forth to each other. Then, there's always the random strangers that want to know all about her and some even ask to hold her. I suppose they're friendly middle-aged women so it's not that threatening. Maybe I'll be one of those women when Rhylan is older and I miss cuddling a soft baby.

Another change is living on a 3-4 hour cycle. She eats, plays, sleeps. So if we go somewhere, I have to time it all out. She eats before we leave the house. Then I get a couple good hours to shop before she wakes up and I have to go the nursing room to feed her again. It's diaper changing time then we go eat. After we eat we head home just in time for her to wake up to need to eat again. It's exhausting some days, really exhausting. It's a daily cycle, no matter what I have to do everything is planned out in regards to Miss Rhylan Jo.

When people say you can't remember life without them I can't agree. Of course I remember, it's remembering the fun times and challenges we've had as a couple that makes me appreciate where we are today. I think it's important to remember who you are and what steps God brought you through to get to where you are now. Rhylan has crazy in love parents that had too much love to share alone forever. She is our extra love, she is our new normal.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Reflecting on the last decade

Tomorrow I begin my week long celebration of my 28th year of life. Yes, I said one full week of me :) As a kid, I dreaded birthdays. I'm serious. I was probably the only 10 year old that cried when I hit double digits. Other kids loved the cake, friends, and some sort of paper crown but not me. My parents always had great parties for me but I couldn't help but think that one day I was going to get old. My mom says I was always an old soul, too old beyond my years. Birthdays were a reminder of a quick, inevitable road to old. I didn't see how it could slow down, it just kept speeding up and my memories were fading. Yes, this was me at ten years old thinking these thoughts. Each birthday was more disappointing than the last, not because I didn't feel special, it was because life was going by so fast. I knew one day I was going to be 30 then 40 then older and older. There's no stopping it. I now realize that this was a part of my controlling personality showing its ugly face at a very young age. How do you control the days passing and the seasons turning?

On my 18th birthday I sobbed. There was another milestone in life. When most 18 year olds are celebrating with cigarettes and partying, I was watching "Riding in Cars with Boys" crying my eyes out. I don't even remember what the movie was about but remember trying to figure out why I was so sad. At 18, I had just started cosmetology school and was living on my own while working full time. My life was busy plus I was in a serious relationship. It's weird to see how blessed my life is now and think back then that I was trying avoid my future at all costs.

During my 18th year of life I worked hard at finishing cosmetology school and worked at a coffee shop as well as gas station. My relationship with my boyfriend was all sorts of wrong but I hung on. That year he proposed to me. I didn't gush when I told people, especially when I told my mom. I wanted to wait it out for a while but he insisted that we only had a six month engagement. I graduated cosmetology school then immediately started a job. Wedding planning seemed to keep me busy outside of work so I didn't have much time to think about what I was really doing. Like every bride, I picked out my dress and picked my bridesmaids. I learned how to play the part of a gushing bride-to-be pretty well. The invites declared the date and time and secretly I dreaded putting them in the mail box because I knew, I KNEW, I was doing the wrong thing. My exact thoughts when I dropped over 100 invites in the mail box were, "there's no turning back now." This was going to be the rest of my life with a man I didn't feel safe with and didn't believe I should be with. That's the problem with being 18, even when you're an old soul, you make stupid decisions! Haha! Year 18 flew by and then it was year 19. With a wedding right around the corner I continued to feel hesitant about walking down that aisle. The aisle I imagined in my mind didn't seem long enough, I needed more time! It was a winter wedding and I was blessed to have some very good friends come from all over to be with me. When my bridesmaids joined me, I felt like begging them to take me home to Montana but instead I acted like I lived in a picture perfect world. My life looked good, glossy, like a 16x20 photo hanging on the living room wall of a couple with plastered on smiles, a white picket fence, and a puppy by their side. I didn't even know how to get out, I was so far in.

Our wedding day came along with a frigid Iowa blizzard. Guests were dropping off like flies because they weren't able to travel. I was determined to get this over with because I somehow convinced myself that things would change once we were married. The music started and with my arm locked in with my dad's arm, we walked down the aisle. I kept thinking I needed to be running in the opposite direction. I gulped back the tears and looked at each person staring at me as I used their faces as a distraction from what was to come. No one stopped me, not even myself. That night I cried, it was a mistake and I knew it. He tried to convince me it would be okay, I was just young and things would be great one day. I did my best to believe that and prayed for God to help me.

Less than two years later I crumbled. It was a shock to most and even to myself. It hit me one day, I was afraid of my future. In fact, it was like my eyes were wide open now. I was sad, I was terribly thin, and had acid reflux from stress. My mom and dad, though not fond of our relationship from the beginning, didn't know where this was all coming from. I spilled my guts about all of my thoughts from the beginning and what our actual marriage was like behind closed doors. I decided I wasn't going to be vulnerable anymore and a 20 foot wall went up. I separated from him mentally and physically. It was a whirlwind of emotions, insanity, and pain. We both hurt. I remember feeling my heart break in two. God speaks of vows and how serious they are. Whether I wanted to or not, I said vows and this intense pain was a repercussion of those vows breaking. I lost my first "love", lost friends, lost my mind. I continued to go to work and that seemed to be my hiding place. I could focus on making people feel pretty, chat with them, and grow in my career. I prayed and read my Bible but my relationship wasn't getting back on track. We both made poor decisions that ripped us further apart. It ended in a fury.

Lacking self esteem, direction, and hope I continued to press on. Finally I had a beautiful voice speak to me and through me. My God, My Savior who sent the Holy Spirit to comfort, said, "I gave you everything you wanted but did you ever ask Me what I wanted for you?" It was truth in my bones. All these goals, all these self reliant ways I had set up in my life only took me so far. I repented at that moment, fell to my knees and apologized for being so hard headed and controlling. I wholeheartedly gave myself to God at that point. I knew I only wanted to listen to Him from then on because His plan was better than I could ever imagine.

Shortly after I gave my plans over to God and decided to wait on Him, I met Scott. My 22nd birthday was my first birthday I celebrated with absolute joy. I had hope for the unknown and could care less about my plan because it was in His hands now. Here I am 10 years after my 18th birthday celebrating my birthday for a whole week. I don't wait for people to plan things for me, I celebrate my life however I want for a whole week. Now, I get to celebrate with an awesome husband, a beautiful baby girl, amazing family, and hilarious friends. I think back over the last 28 years and there are things that make me cringe a little but I can't regret them, I don't have time to maintain those regrets.

"For I know the plans that I have towards you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

With a promise like Jeremiah 29:11 how could you choose any other plan than His plan?

Praise God for His faithfulness and who He is.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Party animals

Where do I begin? My computer has been down for about six weeks which seems like an eternity when Rhylan keeps changing so quickly. I went back to work eight weeks postpartum. I was excited to get back to doing what I love to do. I was definitely getting use to being a mom all day, every day but like they say, It's not for the faint of heart. There were times I was so tired I just wanted to knock Rhylan out. That sounds a bit extreme, I know, but I was seriously so exhausted. No, I would NEVER knock my sweet baby girl out but her partying started at 10pm. Heaven forbid Scott give me attitude for having to rock her to sleep which could take upwards of an hour some nights. If he even grumbled an ounce about it, my delirious mind was ready to kick him out of the house because "I was practically raising this baby on my own." Granted, my hormonal wretchedness was nowhere near the level it was when I was pregnant but I was a bit over the top. Little by little Rhylan has managed to enjoy falling asleep and everybody's sanity has returned. I now know why it usually takes two people to raise a child... accountability. He talks me back into reality and gives me breaks when needed. Again, Scott proves himself a worthy husband :)

Rhylan has been a growing girl. We went to the doctor for her eight week check up and she grew a couple of inches and gained a few pounds. Her little noggin' has proved her to be her father's daughter. It's in the 80th percentile for her age group. It doesn't look abnormally large but it explains why tummy time has been such a tiring feat for her. Now I know why when she manages to lift that 80th percentile head off the floor it bobs up and down and her little eyes gaze up at me begging for a break. We cheer tummy time on by clapping and saying what a good job she's doing. She doesn't get why we can't just carry her for the rest of her life. Apart of me wants to keep her a "wittle" baby forever while the other part of me loves watching her daily progress. Does anyone else take mental pictures like I do? I blink my eyes like a camera shutter, quickly imbedding these moments into my brain to hopefully hold on to forever.

Coming back to work has been wonderful. Most of you that know me, know that I tend to be a workaholic. My first few weeks back were hectic. It's my drug, my escape and has been for about 9 years now. It took a lot of willpower to say no to working extra hours but I managed to stick to my guns. I realized my dedication/selfishness after a whirlwind day preparing for a fashion show. I was already 15 minutes late to doing prep work on models. The car was packed full of hair tools and my face was fresh with makeup so I hopped in the car. As I started the engine I looked towards my house only to see my sister in law holding Rhylan waving her itty bitty hand at me. My heart melted and hurt at the same time because I forgot to say goodbye and tell her I loved her. I drove off in a hurry and waved back. Once I started doing prep work I forgot I was a mom. The show started, models walked, we danced and the plan was as usual, go out dancing afterwards to celebrate. This time felt different though. A part of me was missing. Scott and I looked at each other and just knew where we needed to be. Without regret, we picked up our daughter and brought her home. Best after party yet!

Rolled over at 8 weeks old
Imitates voice inflections
Found her fingers and toes
Smiles on command
8 wk check up- 11lbs, 22 1/2 long, head 14 inches

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

road trips, foreign foods, and mustard poo

It's been a wild couple of weeks here at the Wrage household. Rhylan is 5 1/2 weeks old. In the last few weeks I have learned the patience it takes to pump so I can have a "break" from my new little latched friend. We have successfully taken her on a 22 hour road trip to Montana. It was quite an adventure since she's not one of those babies that loves her car seat. We admittedly took her out of her car seat on several occasions on the way there when there was no traffic and prayed for safety. I hesitated every time we took her our while driving, feeling like that infamous picture of Britney Spears holding her baby on her lap driving away from the paparazzi, but it's what we did. On the way home I figured out how to calm her down and keep her in her car seat. Soothing her was strange. It required me to tuck a blanket under her chin, blow air in her face, and put my hand on her cheek. I did that for 3-5 minutes and she passed out at least until we stopped at the next gas station. Our trip there was non stop 22 hours with a few breaks but the trip home took us three days because we wanted to take our time. We fully enjoyed seeing friends and family, I will never regret going.

Rhylan's great grandma loved her! We were out to eat one morning and I was holding Rhylan so she faced Grandma. We were all chatting it up and suddenly I looked over to see Grandma with a spoon full of whipped cream coming towards Rhylan's mouth. Down the hatched it went! Grandma was giddy watching Rhylan smack her lips and stick out her tongue from this new foreign food. Scott and I suddenly had severe anxiety about what the repercussions would be from Grandma's surprise breakfast treat. I nervously laughed and went along with it and Scott looked at me with terror in his eyes. I quietly mouthed across the table at him, "it's okay, she'll be fine." Secretly, I prayed that she lived through this. After our anxiety passed Rhylan started to fuss, letting me know she wanted some real food. I told Grandma I needed to go to her house to feed her and next thing I knew there was another spoonful of whipped cream in Rhylan's mouth. There she was again, smacking her lips and sticking out her tongue. Where's the waitress?!?! CHECK PLEASE!! It's time to go! Moral of the story...Great Grandma wins every time. Rhylan lived and Grandma had fun.

Every day I wake up and it's like Christmas morning. It's so fun to open my eyes and see her look at me with her puffy little eyes and then she stretches in a big human way. She has started to coo and make funny noises that entertain us more than watching any reality tv show. Rhylan sleeps in our bed most nights. We are slowly weaning her into her own sleeping space because I don't want to someday wake up and realize I have a 10 year old sleeping with us.

We are settling into this whole parenting thing pretty well I think. I have an excellent husband that never hesitates to change a diaper and loves to pick her clothes out for the day or more like a few hours until she blows out her diaper. God gave me an outstanding guy. Blow outs are almost a daily occurrence. She has had some loads that left all three of us covered in poo. She usually gives us a big smile and then puts her feet right down in the mess. We then try to contain her flailing legs which causes the yellow mustard to spread to our arms and hands. This is the new drama in our lives but I'm not going to complain. It's a beautiful mess.

New accomplishments for Rhylan:

Thigh fat rolls, cooing, neck getting stronger

New accomplishments for Scott:

Letting me hold her for more than the time it takes to breast feed her ;)

New accomplishments for Krista:

Ran 1 mile, can sneeze without peeing, getting into my pre prego pants that actually have a zipper and button

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Career woman turns into a mom in one day

Lately I have been going into work for a few hours here and there. It's what I love and so walking into the salon feels familiar and like my second home. I have a ton of pride for it and the staff that we have. It is growing and flourishing more every year. Today, I opened my bible and a bulletin fell out and I knew it was something I was suppose to see. The sermon that day was called "A Well Led Church." It was based in Acts 6 when the church was growing by the thousands on a daily basis and there weren't enough leaders to take care of all the needs that were coming up. The widows of the community were being neglected. Instead of stressing, the leaders realized what their calling was and was not. They couldn't just step out of their calling to do something that wasn't their gift so they accepted the change that was going on and appointed leadership to other people. They recognized others' gifts and delegated wisely.

Anytime there is success, there will be problems. It's not that success is bad but there will always be diversity, especially when people are involved. I think that is because people have so many gifts and talents, strengths and weaknesses. This is how we were created. Right when I start to think I need to go in and take over I am reminded that I am not called to do this alone. I am not gifted in all things... THANK GOD. In fact, right now, my job is to take care of my baby girl. I get about six weeks with her and this is right where I am suppose to be. If it wasn't where I was suppose to be Rhylan wouldn't be here with us. Scott is my husband and business partner. He's amazing at both and lifts a weight off my shoulders when I start getting overwhelmed. He is gifted in areas I am not and it balances us. After being a career driven woman for all my adult life I have to learn how to sit back and trust that God is taking care of everything He's given us. That means I have no other choice but to trust Him and the people He has put in my life.

I am proud of my husband, our friends, family, and staff that are in our lives. They make it work. They allow me to be a good mom and take care of her needs. I'm not perfect but I know that God is and He has put the right people in our lives at the right time.

So, thank you. Thank you for being great people who add so much richness to our lives.

Monday, August 22, 2011

After a couple of weeks

Rhylan is a couple weeks old now and she grows on an hourly basis. In one day I went from proud and sentimental to feeling wore out and uber tired. I find myself making faces at my crying daughter. The faces I make are immature and silly like a first grader sticking their tongue out and crossing their eyes. It's some sort of coping method I have taken on that was unexpected to say the least. By far, it's better then shaking my baby. She will have no memory of me rolling my eyes and telling her to get a grip...I hope. Sometimes I just mimic the strange faces she makes to entertain myself. My main reason for losing it these last couple of days is that Scott has been sick. I'm sleep deprived and feel like I have a leech on me. Up until now, Scott and I have been equally holding her and taking turns in responsibilities. Since he's been sick, I've been a "single" mom for a few days. I give huge props to my mom who did it alone with my brother for the first few years of his life. It takes a lot of strength and patience to get through each day.

I have managed to get her into the car seat and go to the salon for a couple of hours at a time. We take her out to eat with us and she sleeps right through the noise. We have gone for walks in her super sweet stroller. During one walk, she blew out her diaper and into the seat. Let me tell you that those tightly woven nylon seats are not easy to clean wet, yellow poop out of. The scrubbing was never ending. I kept taking towel after towel and it would still pull up yellow. I'll take advice on cleaning car seats if you have it :)

She really is an amazing baby, I can't complain. She only cries when she has an issue like a poopy diaper or when she's hungry. Instead of crying, she grunts obsessively. She smiles a lot and it melts her daddy and me every time. I think she has hit a growth spurt because, like I said, I feel like there's a leech on me. Today I cried and told Scott I just need to sleep. Well, you really can't tell a hungry screaming baby that so she wins every time. I think it's time to start pumping for my sanity and her's. I try to take moment by moment and especially take advantage of the few hours she sleeps at a time. What else can I do right now?

At the hospital

After this magical moment of meeting my baby the nurses and doctors have all these unpleasant procedures they must do. It takes away some of the magic but it's a necessity. First they had me push out the placenta. Then, the nurses pushed on my uterus to get the rest of "whatever" out. Since I had no epidural, the nurse was surprised when I complained about it hurting. She was use to people still being numb from the epidural but I could feel it. Since I didn't complain during labor I felt the right to complain. Sometimes it's just nice to whine, ya know?

Anyway, 2 1/2 hours had past and suddenly Scott spoke up. "When can you give her a bath so I can hold her?" The nurse and I both were in shock. He had been very so patient waiting for her thinking that she needed to be cleaned up before he could hold her. I about cried. All he had done was given her kisses and stared at her but he had not held her. I had him grab her and you could see the connection immediately. He held her perfectly, there was no hesitation. He watched intently while the nurse gave her a bath and changed her diaper. He has an amazing memory and I could see his brain taking pictures of how to bathe and change Rhylan. I could see pride in his eyes every time he held her.

While Scott held Rhylan I attempted to get up for the first time since my marathon labor. I had no ab muscles, all I had was a jello belly. It freaked me out so I carried it to the bathroom. The nurse laughed at me because I insisted on holding my stomach like a c-section patient. What used to be filled with Rhylan no longer had a purpose. Suddenly it was just me again! Well, me plus some jello belly. I think I was relieved but also couldn't believe I was holding my baby on the outside. The whole 40 weeks replayed in my head. It was over. This crazy process of pregnancy and labor was over. I felt ready for the unknown. God had given me peace. Scott and I looked her while she slept. He kept checking on her every time she coughed or moved though. We knew sleep was really important so we had her taken out of our room. Within a couple of hours she was back to eat. As beautiful as it was, I knew this would be the first of many, many feedings. We would have plenty of time to bond.

We were glad to leave the hospital with this new life in our hands. I didn't cry at the hospital which I found to be strange but when we got home with her that's when it hit me. We took her to her room and I sobbed. She was truly ours forever. I wanted her to share the same excitement. I wanted her to know this sweet little room was all for her. All these gifts were from people who were excited to meet her. She was the big deal now.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Random acts of Kindness-Scott

My husband Scott has a great heart. He mows the neighbor's lawn, he always stops if he sees people in need, he will give our savings out to a homeless person, and the list goes on. By no means is he a people pleaser though, if he doesn't want to do something he will most definitely tell you no. He does it because he likes to help and that leads me to this story...

It was a steamy 100 degree day with a 110 degree heat index. We were driving along busy Duff Avenue in Ames. It was an errand type of day but we were in no rush. We came upon a blue older vehicle that was stopped at an intersection. As we drove by we noticed it was an elderly man that was stalled for some reason. Without hesitation, Scott drove around the block and pulled up behind the car. The elderly man turned out to be QUITE elderly, like probably shouldn't have been driving elderly. Scott put our flashers on and approached the man. The elderly man, let's call him E-man, seemed to think he ran out of gas so we drove back home and picked up our gas can. When we came back, he was still in the same place and no one else had stopped to see if he was okay. Scott filled the tank with the gas that was in the can and asked E-man to start the car. No luck. Plan B was to push the car around the corner out of the busy road. I was so impressed with my husband's generosity that I got on my phone, snapped a few pics and posted it on Facebook. It took me less than a minute to document this event but when I looked up they were gone. I assumed they went around the corner as planned. When I got in the driver's seat and drove around the corner they weren't there. I drove around the block then around another block, then to a gas station near by, then circled the block again. I was concerned and dumbfounded at the same time. They were no where to be found. Scott was wearing a salmon colored shirt so I knew I didn't pass him by. I continued to drive towards our house thinking that maybe I missed him at some point. He wasn't that way so I drove back up Duff. Finally, there he was! Scott was drenched in sweat and quickly walking towards me. I felt relief and then I felt anxious because I knew there was a plan C had happened in the last 15 minutes.

Scott jumped in the truck and told me the unplanned plan C. Turns out, as Scott was pushing the car, E-man kept going straight instead of turning the car right at the next block. He told Scott he wanted to go up to Sinclair. Sinclair was about a mile down the road up a slight incline, past main street, and over bumpy railroad tracks. The Sinclair station is at the busiest intersection of Ames on the east side so that meant that Scott had to push E-man into the left lane and cross oncoming traffic. On top of that, the driveway into Sinclair is steep. With every last bit of strength he had he pushed E-man through the intersection and up the driveway to the final destination. Scott said goodbye and E-man said kindly, "I'll remember you!" After the long haul and people driving by him cheering him on saying "what a guy!" Scott turned around and headed home. He was completely exhausted and probably pissed at me for not following them. While leaving Sinclair, another old man in a little pickup truck accidently hit Scott. His pickup grazed his right buttcheek. Now, he was on a mad dash home.

When I picked him up he was sweating profusely, purple in the face, and irritated. He grabbed the water bottle and told me I wasn't allowed to drive. Apparently I lost my vision of him after about 40 feet and that concerned him. He drove us to the chiropractor then we continued our errands. We laughed about it later :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our first week home

I have concluded my pregnancy by sharing my labor and delivery story. Blogging through my pregnancy was, to say the least, healing. I know for my English major friends that it was a grammatical disaster but I've been journaling since I was 14 and I'm not here to impress. I know they forgive me for my poor grammar :) Blogging is another fun addition that I get to share with my friends and family.

Now onto to bigger and better things...Rhylan Jo Wrage. All eyes are on her as she grows daily. We have been blessed by her dimpled smile and her easy going temperament. Our television has been replaced with the watching her facial expressions and strange movements that evolve from day to day. We are fascinated by her gas and poops. For such a dainty little thing, she can make her daddy look like an amateur in the bodily function field. My favorite time is feeding time. Several times a day I get to be reminded of the first time we looked at each other. I know I have heard horror stories about breast feeding but I can't say that it's been even close to horrible. It's been a learning experience for both of us but very rewarding.

Scott is the diaper changing champ. He has had a few close calls of nearly getting pooed on but so far so good. As a dad, Rhylan couldn't ask for a better knight in shining armor. He's super protective and a little over reactive at times but it's for the best. Our first at home bath experience went a little like an ER episode. It was chaos and he kept asking me to grab him things and I couldn't seem to get there fast enough. Rhylan was of course a bit startled by the wetness but by no means was it going to scar her for life. Before she arrived I was under the impression that I would be the stricter parent but the tables have turned dramatically. Our team is tight though. We were definitely meant to be parents. It hasn't felt strange to me at all. The only thing that I try to avoid focusing on is the fact that she will get older. She grows every day and shows off her new skills like her strong neck, flailing arms, and new found vocal noises. I look forward to her future but I am definitely holding onto this moment.

We are working on tummy time! She's getting very strong :)
Big accomplishment this week- Losing the umbilical cord

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's nice to finally meet you

Thursday, August 4th, I started feeling crampy and sick. My stomach was contracting but that was nothing new. Scott told everyone that I would probably go the next day. That was my dad's prediction as well.

In the weeks previous, I was practicing all the things I learned about getting ready for delivering a baby. I ate well, walked, and relaxed as much as I could. I took deep breaths and visualized her moving on down. God made our bodies and we, for the most part, have control in how they function on a day to day basis. I had great family and friends praying that my delivery was easy and that we would both be healthy. I know you can't predict it but I'm never opposed to prayer and support. My focus the week of my due date was to relax and also have fun with Scott. Prior to my due date we ran through sprinklers, watched movies, and cherished our time together as "kids."

I tried my best to not look too much into it but when we went for a walk on Thursday evening and I began walking like a 90 year old with a bad hip. I had to stop and breath and couldn't even move my legs at some points on the walk. Scott was trying to walk our baby out of me and I believed it was working. I slept well that night, so well that I was sure my labor symptoms went away. We woke up at 6:30am Friday, August 5th and it was a perfect morning for a walk. It was my due date and my stomach was very tight but I felt really energetic, not like I was going to deliver a baby later that day. Our walk was purposeful, meaning, it was about trying to induce labor, even though we tried to keep the conversation light. At 7:30 I ate a bowl of cereal and then set my bowl down. It was within minutes of eating that I heard a "pop." I prayed earlier that day that if I was in labor that God would break my water because Scott had a meeting out of town and I didn't want him to leave if this really was labor. After hearing and feeling that pop I was 99% sure it was my water breaking. Within seconds came a gush of amniotic fluid! Scott immediately installed the car seat and I got ready for the hospital. This wasn't a rehearsal, this was the real deal. I called my mom and got weepy when I told her what happened because there was no turning back. All that we had prepared for, all that God had brought us through was about to come to fruition. It was going to be an intense journey and soon we would meet our daughter. Our lives would change forever.

Our bags were packed, our car seat was installed, and the contractions with cramps were getting fierce. We went right up to labor and delivery where they checked me internally. I was 2 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. In between contractions, which felt like my worst period cramps, they wheeled me down to my room. I was still leaking amniotic fluid and it grossed me out. So far that was the part that bothered me most because the cramps were something I was familiar with. Leaking a ton of fluid was not something that I could work with. When we got settled into my room I was working through some intense contractions. They were nothing compared to what was to come but I took one at a time and didn't dare look at a clock. My mom was there to relieve Scott when he needed a break and then when they both needed a break Scott's mom took over. At times they were all holding a hand or rubbing my back or legs. The room was always quiet and I barely opened my eyes. I managed to send a text out to my best friend who was two days over her due date saying, "dude, this hurts." We share everything even though we are 1500 miles away from each other. Looking back I probably should've said, "dude, this is easy!"

I had a lot of encouragement along the way from everyone in the room. Scott only made one mistake and that was eating spaghetti in the room and then telling me very closely, to breathe. EWWWW! My hand went up and I shooed him away letting him know that it was NOT okay to breath marinara sauce in my face. Needless to say, he came back with a fresh stick of gum in his mouth.

As 1pm approached the contractions stepped it up a notch and were one right after another. I remembered what someone had told me about the whirlpool refreshing them. Scott started the whirlpool and as soon as I got in I told the nurse that I think I needed something to take the pain away. She told us our options and said she would come back. I really didn't know how I was going to get through the pain. When she came back Scott asked her questions that I already knew the answer to. He knew if I heard the reasons that I didn't want drugs in the first place again it would give me strength to get through. Praying for comfort and strength I worked into a new pain level. After getting out of the whirlpool I knew that I had to meditate on something. I recited some Bible verses briefly and then for whatever reason, I started to count down from seven in my mind. Over and over and over, 7,6,5,4,3,2,1. I imagined her moving down and out, down and out.

At 3pm I was 5cm dilated and all I heard my midwife say was that it usually goes about one centimeter per hour and then one to three for pushing so we were looking at 5 to ten more hours. My thought was "I don't think so." I prayed and got into a whole different state of mind. I relaxed completely after each contraction and praised God for the strength to get through it. Within two hours I felt the urge to push. My cheerleaders were still there telling me how great I was doing. They checked me again and according to the average I should've been around 7cm but instead I was closer to 10 and she was very low. The nurses coached me through the pushing. It sucked. If you read through my blog "Stay classy: not possible in a hospital gown" then you knew that I had an issue with how immodest labor was. I lost all modesty, there was no turning back, I had to push her out. They corrected me several times on my pushing because I would give up and I seriously just wanted to cross my legs and call it quits. FYI...NOT AN OPTION. Suddenly, it was like a football stadium in there. Shouts of joy meant there was some real progress going on. It motivated me to move this kid out. Scott kept saying, "Oh my gosh babe, she's almost out! I see her head!" I couldn't believe it when the nurse told me to reach down and pull my baby out. As I looked down, I saw her little head and shoulders. With my last bit of strength I pulled the rest of her body out and put her on my chest. Exhaustion was on both of our faces. We looked straight into each other's eyes. She knew me and I knew her, more intimately then anyone ever before. I remember saying "hi, we did it, I love you." She was mine and I was hers.

Rhylan Jo Wrage
10 1/2 hours of labor
300 contractions
One hour of pushing
7lb 11oz
20 inches

Sunday, July 31, 2011

In da club

Go shawty, it's your birthday
We gonna party like it's your birthday!
-Famous words of "50 Cent"

Pretty soon I will join a club. It's the mamma's club. Before I was pregnant I knew there was a secret language these women spoke. I cared about their children and their lives but there was a disconnection between me really understanding what they were talking about. I played it off like it was no big deal but my thoughts were either, "I don't get it or I don't care." I wasn't trying to be shallow but the club talk was beyond me. Since I was 15 I was legally employed and paying taxes. That's what I understood, that's what brought me joy. Being apart of the club didn't interest me at all. It may have struck my curiosity from time to time though.

After finding out I was pregnant I realized that my business oriented mind would have to switch a bit. Now that I have successfully been allowed to carry our baby this long I have had time to bond with other moms who carried their children. My favorite part is how every woman I talk to, EVERY SINGLE WOMAN, remembers their pregnancy and birth no matter how old they are. I have listened to dozens of birth stories. All of the stories intrigue me. All of them remember what time their labor started, when it ended and all the in between. They remember the smallest details. I find it absolutely fascinating, all of it. There's no formula to it. Some had morning sickness, some didn't. Some cried, some rejoiced. Some were scared and some just felt at ease. Some loved it, some wouldn't ever do it again. Some were miserable, some felt better than ever. Some were in labor 30 hours and others 4 hours. I feel apart of something that is unique to everyone. It's like a bunch of puzzle pieces. Everyone is there for the same purpose but no one is alike.

I have found an incredible amount of support in the club. I cry when I get responses from my blogs from women who have been in my shoes and had the same feelings. It's like God wants me to write for the ones who have been there and the ones behind me. What would be the purpose of claiming I live my life for Jesus if I just shut my mouth and closed my heart. To me, it's utterly impossible to think about not writing or sharing about this experience, this gift. Every single emotion is poured out since I started writing. Every day I am inspired by moms, Scott's mom and my own mom. When she is born I suppose I will be amidst the ones that say, "It's a lot of work but it's worth every second." Anyone who truly knows me, knows that I love to work anyway :) There's such an intriguing smile behind the ones who say that.

My favorite part of being pregnant is going for a walk and seeing elderly women look at my HUGE belly and I can see beyond their smiling faces. They are remembering their personal story of how they became apart of the mamma's club. It was when maternity clothes were tents and 3-d ultrasounds weren't even thought of. They didn't know anything except a baby was growing and so was their love for it. From biblical times stretched forever into the future there will always be a beautiful story about giving life.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

another part of the process

I can't believe the end is so near! The nursery is done and I think we have most everything we need for this little bundle of joy. Thinking back to the day that I found out I was pregnant does not seem like a distant memory. I can still feel the shock and fear but the process has been a tremendous blessing that I don't regret.

In the past weeks fear came back into the picture. It was paralyzing my joy so I sought answers. I picked up my bible. I found all sorts of verses about fear and peace so I wrote them all down on a piece of paper to take with me to the hospital.

I also stumbled across a website called There was a part about fear that really spoke loud to me.

"Fear is also a powerful tool for Satan to use during pregnancy, labor and birth. Think about the fears that Satan has tried to teach you to live by. Satan tells us to be afraid because labor is so painful, and dangerous. Satan tells us to be afraid to eat because our bodies will remain fat forever. Satan tells us to be afraid to get more rest because others will think we are weak because we are pregnant women. Satan tells us to be afraid to give birth because the baby will have so many needs that we will always be exhausted. Fear that God is not in control. Fear that our bodies are defective. Fear that we are not adequate to the tasks at hand. You see, once you begin to believe some of these fears, you lose your faith in God. You can not believe that God created you adequate for the tasks he set before you and also believe that your body is defective. You can not believe that labor is so painful that no women can handle it and also believe that God is in control of labor. These fears are in direct opposition to the Bible and rather than build your faith, they will destroy it. Rather than encourage you to turn to God, they will encourage you to feel hopeless.
So you must decide now how you will live your life. Will you live your life in response to fear, or will you live your life based on faith in God. Will you be ruled by your worries or your Lord. Will you worry, or will you trust God. Will you live in fear or faith?"

These findings gave me a breakthrough in the fear, then came a third confirmation. After church this past Sunday a woman told me she believed that God wanted me to know that I have what it takes to be a great mother. Instantly, I burst into tears because I knew it was true. I was made for this! What is there to fear if this is what He made me for? He designed me to carry her inside for this long. He designed me to go through labor. He designed me to raise her. Trust in Him alone.

Of course I'm not saying that I'm alone in raising her, Scott will be an amazing dad, no doubt. It's just that Satan got his sketchy lies into my mind to distract me and suck the joy out of me.

We have at most, a couple of weeks left. In the mean time, we are cherishing every moment that is just "us", cherishing the fun of her growing in me, and cherishing the unknown future.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Maternity Pics

We have a video of some of our pics that we took. Our whole goal behind these pics was to show all sides of us as a couple. We took some pics that were silly and just for kicks. We called this the "white trash" photo shoot. For the record, I don't smoke and the bottle of stuff that Scott was hold was an unknown liquid. We really just wanted to be as silly as possible because we love to laugh at ourselves. In 20 years, our daughter will be like, "you guys are weird!" Our goal is to be just as weird and giggly in 20 years and raise our daughter to not judge others and love all as they are. I feel like some of the pics declare proudly, "I got my woman knocked up!" and "I love my man just as he is." If you know Scott and I we try to be as real as we can and we share our hearts and lives with anyone that cares to hear.

The other part of our shoot was a bit more serious because there is a side of us that loves deeply and is completely passionate about each other and life. We want her to live her dreams out and have goals. Life gets serious sometimes and that's when we love hard and hold onto each other. God gives us relationships and grows our faith through them. If it weren't for Him planning our daughter's life, I wouldn't have learned so much about myself and my husband. We are grateful.

There are pictures of just me in there that show a side of me that I NEVER show. If you have followed my blog than you know how much a struggled with body image. It still makes me cry to think back to that time where my heart, mind, and body were all over the map trying to grasp all that I could control. God has done a remarkable job at speaking truth into my life. These pictures are to show my daughter that our bodies are beautiful and God's creation is perfect. I'm heavier than I ever have been (yes, I know I am pregnant) but I have conquered that stupid scale thing, I have exposed myself as a baby belly baring mama. Before I was pregnant, I would have looked at these pics and gasped if I saw a roll of fat or if my thighs touched. Now, I cry because God's makeover is more beautiful than I could ever imagine.

Jacquelyn's photography team did a wonderful job at capturing us. Thank you.

Here's the video: copy and paste this in a new window to view

Sunday, July 10, 2011

This 4th of July

I didn't Facebook announce what I did for the 4th of July but I thought I should document this.

I may be vocal about my aches and pains but I also have a weird way of denying that this baby is actually going to come out. I know that they say that she will but really, I have no clue what that looks like or feels like. It's all hearsay in my opinion. I keep saying that I can't wait to meet her but who meets like this? Hey there! You just put my pain scale on a level 76, deformed my body for 9 months, tore through my vagina, and then screamed bloody murder after you took your first real breaths of oxygen in a polluted world. There's no shaking hands or even a cordial introduction. We will meet in a way that I have never met anyone before. Her poor little body, being forced through such a little tunnel and then exposed to lights, action, camera. It's all so beautiful and gruesome at the same time.

Last Saturday, I was walking around with my mom and I had the ol' Braxton Hicks (such a lame way to describe your uterus contracting). Along with it, I had some cramping so I briefly complained and then moved on. At 2am I woke up with stronger contractions and cramping. They were frequent so I did what anyone would do when presented with concerning pre-term labor symptoms, I googled it. Google told me to call the 1st nurse, so I woke Scott up and told him what was going on. He told me to call 1st nurse. I ignored both of them and tried to go back to sleep. At 7am the symptoms of pre-term labor woke me up again. I guzzled some water, convinced Scott to walk with me for a little while, then rested on my left side. They didn't go away so I asked Scott for the number to 1st nurse. She told me to rest for a couple of hours and call back if it continued. I rested, went to church, then took a nap, and ignored my symptoms and my husband's concerns. Finally, at 7pm Scott handed me the phone and it rang to the 1st nurse. I was forced to tell her what was going on. She advised me to time the contractions for an hour then call back. Scott started the timer. "Okay, I'm having one." One minute later, "Okay, it stopped." Four to five minutes later, "Okay, I'm having one." One minute later, "Okay, it stopped." We continued that for an hour and I called 1st nurse back. Apparently, it was a busy night because I was on hold for 15 minutes. In that 15 minutes I was suddenly in pain, not a little but a lot. There wasn't a warning of pain, it just appeared and I was hunched over walking around the house trying to get ready to go to the hospital. Scott was a maniac who was much less in denial than I was. He was writing lists of things we needed to take to the hospital, packing a bag, telling me that this could be for real and I needed to take it more seriously. We didn't have a car seat yet so I joked we could just walk her home since we live so close. He didn't think it was funny and soberly told me that he would pick one up while I was in the hospital. I hobbled to the car and wondered what the neighbors were thinking. I'm sure with Scott running around throwing things in the car, then me coming out of the house saying I wanted an epidural gave it away.

For the first time in my life I went to the ER for my own issues. I have been there several times with friends and family but never for myself and I took pride in that. It's a silly thing to take pride in but I guess I also felt blessed that I've never been an unhealthy person or had an accident that put me in there. They offered me a wheel chair to ride in to labor and delivery but I refused. I slowly walked the hall then tripped on my flip flop which scared Scott and the nurse but I recovered with a laugh and some joke about needing a wheel chair.

They put us in the observation room, of course told me to put that stupid gown on so they could examine my insides and hook me up to a monitor and IV. Within a second of putting the monitor on, we saw the heart beat and contractions. Contractions were every 2-2 1/2 minutes. Within 15 minutes a midwife came in and examined me. I wasn't dilated so she told the nurse to give me the shot to stop contractions. I have never been hooked up with an IV and it made me nervous. Then, they told me that the meds to stop contractions could make my heart race and that made me nervous too. I never take more than Tylenol for anything so I told the nurse I was nervous about all the side affects. She said, "yeah, I would be too but those are just symptoms that might happen." Thanks????? Not very comforting to say the least. It didn't make me feel any better that she was an employee at the cookie place just a year prior and now she was sticking me with an IV. I would rather take a cookie from her.

The first dose didn't work for more than an hour before the contractions were back to every 2 minutes. I was praying they would stop and Scott was praying that we would get to meet her soon. I asked him if he wanted to meet the healthy version of her that we could take home or have to leave her in the hospital for a while to help her lungs develop more. He agreed that it was a good idea to be able to take her home.

They gave me a second dose of meds that sure enough, made me jittery and my heart race. It stopped the contractions though. I really dislike being in the hospital. I couldn't eat, I couldn't get up without disconnecting the monitor cords, and taking my IV with me to the restroom while flashing Scott with my gaping gown. We were there for nearly 12 hours and then the midwife told me we could leave. After being disconnected and given discharge papers I told Scott to hand me my cloths and I was out of that place like a bat out of hell (I've never used that saying before but I feel it was a necessary for drama).

After that experience, I lengthened the list of things I need to bring to the hospital and added a few things to the "birth plan" that I have written up to make myself feel like I have control over how this is all going to go down. We both felt a little disappointed because it wasn't time yet but now I am cherishing the alone time with Scott as a couple until we become a three person family.

Happy Independence Day! I still have another human growing inside of me!

If It Were My Plan

If it were my plan...

I would not have been able to rely on my God in such a deep, humble way
I would not have appreciated such deep sacrificial love from my husband
I would not be able to relate to others who experience depression
I would not been able to see how much I can handle
I would not have felt true joy in the miracle of a growing baby
I would not believe that God's plan truly is better than mine
I would not believe that ALL babies are miracles
I would not have seen how selfish I was
I would not have experienced such unique support from family and friends
I would not be able to laugh at myself
I would not be able to feel so comfortable in such different skin
I would not be able to slow my roll to see life in a week by week perspective
I would not be able to use my stomach as a table
I would not have cried until my eyes had no more tears
I would not be able to feel completely out of control
I would not been able to appreciate a simple walk with my mom or dad
I would not have seen how much people care about someone they don't even know yet
I would not have been able to appreciate riding a bike
I would not have been able to see the sacrifices made by my parents
I would not have prayed so hard
I would not have shared my struggles
I would not have been able to see how strong mothers are
I would not be able to feel growing life inside of me
I would have taken for granted the ability to bend over with ease
I would have taken for granted the ability to run for miles and miles
I would have taken for granted the hours I could spend on my feet without aching
I would have taken for granted being able to hold my bladder for longer than 1 minute
I would not have seen how much love Scott has for our baby
I would not have seen how well Scott takes care of me

I know there are several other things that I have not mentioned but this pretty much covers most of it. I'm so thankful for God's plan, it's perfect, just perfect.

Monday, June 20, 2011

33 1/2 weeks

Baby Wrage is doing great! She moves all the time and has moved a little farther south. I can feel my hips stretching out and I have picked up the inevitable waddle. I knew that it was uncomfortable but someone sweetly made notice of how I walk. Dang! I was trying so hard to hide it but I have become a penguin, hips wide and short legs.

Scott and I have attended two birthing classes so far and we enjoy them. Labor and postpartum is something I think about on a daily basis. I research relaxation techniques, cloth diapering, and so much more. That's how I was designed, I like to try to be prepared as much as possible without actually going through it. When I take walks I practice breathing and then I do yoga. This is the first time in my pregnancy that I feel great! Praise God! For real, my mind is clear and I love this shapely body. We got maternity pics last week and for the first time in years I wasn't thinking about how fat I was. This body has given me an appreciation for what I use to have and completely took for granted. I strutted around in my underwear while the photographers wrapped me in sheets of beautiful fabric. I didn't think I would ever want maternity photos but they could have put me in a potato sack and I would have felt gorgeous. Early on in my pregnancy I struggled so much with my body image and now I'm free!

Obviously, the biggest blessing out of this will be our baby girl but it has taught me a lot about myself and the growth is amazing for both Scott and me. My selfishness has shown it's ugly head in explosive ways but that also showed me how accepting and loving my husband can be. My emotions have peaked higher on the scale than most mental patients but that gave me a reason to rejoice when I feel normal. I have had a lot of fear about the whole thing from the beginning but God has shown me who loves and supports me. The blessings are numerous and if I feel this grateful now, I CAN NOT imagine the moment I meet her.

We are less than seven weeks away and I'm just now getting use to this :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stay classy Sandiego- not possible in a hospital gown

Little girls are raised much differently than little boys. From the time we are itty bitty in sweet little sun dresses and swim suits we are instructed to "act like a lady." I wore a modest one piece swim suit and was careful to keep my legs crossed when in a dress. I have no regrets about this but as I read up on the stages of labor it has come to my attention that modesty is not an option. This may be one of the biggest obstacles for me as the "big event" approaches. Labor undoubtedly involves pain but immodesty I am not prepared for. I have been a fairly modest person my entire life and programmed to realize the importance and sanctity of my body as a temple and modesty honoring that temple and let's just say it...I ain't no hoochie mama. Some of you won't believe this but for the first 20 years of my life I was a long haired, no makeup wearing, corduroy pants, hemp necklace making, skateboarding, granola mountain girl. I didn't think about looking sexy or trendy until I met my sweet friend Matt who worked at the Buckle and he took it upon himself to take a somewhat homely girl and show her a few tricks to amp up the style. Even with all that help of getting a better wardrobe, I still wear sweatpants and a t-shirt to bed like I have since I was a kid. Scott thinks it's super sexy ;)

With the idea of natural childbirth in mind, I will prep for labor with relaxation techniques and envision getting through the transitions of each stage. I can't not, however, envision getting into that hideous hospital gown and then having to bare it all. I have worked too hard to look cute this entire pregnancy to just throw it all out the window by putting on a sheet they call a "gown." Can't I just go in my favorite summer dress with my hair in soft curls and push this baby out without a single moan/groan or awkward facial expression? In a society where image seems to be everything and celebrities look fabulous pre and post baby I just don't know where I fit into the mix. I know that somewhere in between pre and post there is some unflattering, unavoidable immodesty going on.

Occasionally, I get the "privilege" of watching a birth on TLC or in my birthing class and I think, "these are all the private parts that we are told to cover up our entire lives and then BAM!!! here they are, wide open for the world to see." It's way too dramatic for me. Where's the middle ground? Is this why so many fathers have a hard time at first with having a little girl and changing their diapers? I know as a girl I was told about having babies and all that jazz but are little boys educated on this as well? Are they prepped for child birth too? Scott's role is going to be huge in the delivery room and as level headed as he can be, I know that it's going to freak him out seeing me with all my parts out in a VERY non-sexual way and suffering in pain.

As far as looking back post birth, I know a few things for sure. I will have my toes painted pretty, I will have a spray tan, I will have my makeup kit with me and I will be camera ready :) It's not vanity, it's sanity!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

breast pumps and such

I'm a minimalist at heart. I hate clutter. I love simple spaces with a streamline look. It's overwhelming all the crap you can get your kid. Really, I could care less about about toys, it's about the car seat, the diapers, the BREAST PUMP, eww, the breast pump. I realize my baby can't go everywhere with me so you have to put that milk somewhere but it's just sooo unnatural to have some machine sucking fluid out of my boobs. I have friends that have used them and I hear the sucking/pumping noise and I think, "there's my future" followed by a cringe. I too will be in search of the nearest place of privacy to alleviate the pressure off of my rock-hard, fluid filled jugs. I am going to push a human out of a place that I don't ever push things out of, then it will followed by feeding another human with things that I have never thought of as a source of food.

I look at pics of my baby and see her amazing face and it's all so unreal to me. Some women, like my mom and Scott's mom never once questioned how things were going to work out. My mom knew from the beginning that she wanted to be a mom. Scott's mom was elated when she found out she was pregnant. They didn't even really get to see ultrasounds like we do now. I've seen our baby three times now and it's still not enough to prepare me for what's to come. Back then there weren't 70 different brands to choose from for car seats, diapers or breast pumps. Did they even have breast pumps? I'll have to ask :) I had a 70 year old client give me some advice about breast pumps. FOR REAL! She told me how handy they were and I could freeze the milk and whatever milk I didn't give my baby I could give to the premature babies. I replied, "so, what do you want to do with your hair today?" God bless her sweet heart for sharing with me about the fascinating world of breast pumps.

Oh and how do I find the happy medium of baby time, Scott time, me time, and all- three-of-us-together time with all this sharing of my body parts? That's a whole other blog right there :)

Ready or not here comes my baby and I know that it will all be okay but again, these are the things that I think about.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I'm in a glass case of emotion

Our baby girl is getting bigger. She finds it nice and cozy up in my rib area. I'm only 5 foot tall so her womb suite is more like a cot in a janitor's closet. Movements from her are no longer petite little kicks, they are large human stretches and rolls. I feel for her, I really do but I have gone 27 years without another human living inside of me so to say the least, this does not feel natural. I know that it would be so much sweeter if I was all sappy about this but coming from a realist, if you ask me how I am these days I will tell you exactly how I am. Lately, I'm back to the beginning where people assume that I am excited. Must be that "prego glow" that I have all around me. Yes, I am absolutely thrilled to meet this itty bitty human Scott and I already love to pieces. When I answer the question "how much longer do you have?" I always hear the following, "that's exciting right?" My mind doesn't just jump to this adorable tiny human on the outside of me, my thoughts take me step by step and month by month straight to delivery. It stops right there with the thought of dilating, contractions, breathing, epidural or no epidural, who should be there, and how long will it take, will I be calm, will I freak out, will I video tape some of it, will Scott be freaked out? I know I can't prepare for everything but it doesn't stop me from thinking about it.

My position right now on childbirth is...drum roll please...I'm nervous. Yup, that's about it. It's a whole other world that many of my friends have experienced in different ways but the end result is all the same. I have been researching natural childbirth. I don't idolize women that have done natural childbirth and my opinion of woman that have used drugs during childbirth doesn't make me think any less of them. Either way, we, moms, will somehow get a human living inside of us to the outside world. The options to see my baby are really vast as well as somewhat unpredictable.

We (myself, Scott, and baby) have endured 7 1/2 months of a lot of physical and mental distress equally mixed with overwhelming joy and growth. That's just apart of life. So, back to the beginning..."exciting right?" I have a really hard time giving a simple response to a question that I feel is fully loaded with emotions and thoughts. I would love to just give you a sweet smile, cock my head to the side, give my tummy a rub, and say simply "yes" but as of right now, this is not the case. I think way to much about things to skip all the laboring part of life and jump right to the good stuff.

If I say that I am excited about all this it's probably because I chose the epidural :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I started my career in cosmetology at age 17. I graduated a year early from high school because I knew exactly what my goals were in life. I wanted to be a cosmetologist, a beauty operator, beautician, hair stylist, hair technician, hair lady, cosmetologist, whatever you want to call it. I'm never offended by people giving me an outdated title or asking if I went to school for hair as I'm doing their hair. It seems like a completely foreign world to some people but for me it was a future.

The summer before I went to cosmo school I worked at a hospital cafeteria. A doctor came through and he asked me what college I decided to go to. I proudly told him I was going to school for cosmetology in the fall. He didn't hesitate for a single second before he replied, "so you aren't going to real college?" He was a jerk. Did it phase my decision? Absolutely not. I felt a calling so strong that no one could detour my future plans.

Immediately out of school I got a job. I made mistakes here and there that seemed devastating at the time. Once, after I botched a color on a guy he told my boss that he couldn't believe she would hire someone like me and asked if I even had my license. I was tempted to drop everything right there and head for a new goal in life. It's great bosses like the one I had back then that inspire others to live through their mistakes and learn. She had grace for me and it made me a better stylist. Ten years into my career and I still don't know all the tricks of the trade. I learn from my clients and my peers on a daily basis.

I think about my daughter's future a lot. I also think about my past. My mom and dad encouraged me to live out my dreams because those were dreams that God gave me and they said He would pave the way. It's a shame when I see parents force their own expectations of what their child's image should look like or what career path they choose in life. There have been too many times that I've seen parents make their children go to fours years of college because it's the proper thing to do. After all that time and investment their now, adult child, is still unhappy because they thought they would for sure find something to make them happy in what I like to call America's favorite pastime, college. I'm not dissing those who have gone to "real" college by any means. I am saying it's not a necessary life path like we are made to believe it is by the time we hit kindergarten. We go from happy, free children to serious students put in boxes by a system that leaves little room for children to grow into adults that love themselves just as they are.

Scott has attended college three times trying to find a proper title that he thought would define his future. He has worked in retail management, been in a band, been a phlebotomist, made websites, built a business that supports my dreams, currently a berry farmer, and possibly a stay at home dad in the future! We have found joy in all his job opportunities and when one ended another one came forth. He has taught me that a degree won't necessarily bring you joy and a salary doesn't mean stability. Our gifts and talents are easily stifled by putting ourselves in a box of titles. We live in America, land of the free! So why are so many people living for the weekend? Work shouldn't define us it should inspire us.

This one's dedicated to my parents who never put me in a box. Cheers to my husband who rocks a bunch of tattoos while talking with Ames professionals. Cheers to those who have tried to put a label on me because you have pushed me to see who I really am and my faith is deeper because of that.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The crying game

Here are a few of the ridiculous things that have made me cry while pregnant, not just a few tears but a full on sob-fest of snot and tears...

Garlic Pizza...

Scott has been a dear through this whole hormone circus called pregnancy. One morning he was cleaning out the fridge while I was getting ready. I asked him to make me a sandwich for work. I walked out of the bedroom on a very "gaggy" morning and immediately was doing everything I could to hold my stomach down. I searched for the culprit furiously. Spotted...2 day old garlic pizza on the counter! He took it out of the fridge to throw away but he didn't do it soon enough. The strong smell overwhelmed my senses and sent me to the front door for fresh air. I gagged, cried, and yelled all at the same time, "Why did you take that out of the fridge? It freaking reeks!" While gasping for fresh air I suddenly noticed he had not yet started the car. Through the gagging I managed to yell, "why haven't you started the car?!?!" He probably thought I was possessed by a demon by how quickly my personality changed. He replied with forceful confusion in his voice, "I was making your sandwich!" My anger turned into remorse for using such a disrespectful tone with Scott. It was my first acknowledgement of how unstable I was as a newly pregnant woman. I tried not to cry my fresh makeup off while I explained my behavior like this, "I know that you think I'm crazy but I think I am 100 times crazier than you could ever imagine." The look of confusion never left his face as he walked outside to start the car. I picked my neatly packed lunch up off the kitchen counter and cried all the way to work. Duty calls!

Want to do something?...

This particular Saturday night I had great intentions of doing something fun. I was resting on the couch and Scott was trying to get me pumped up for a night of excitement. He had all sorts of ideas for us and people we could hang out with. As much as my mind was there, my body screamed something different. It screamed, "if you take these sweatpants off of my swollen calves there will be hell to pay!" When my body and mind don't sink up I lose all stability. The tears started to well up, the big lump in my throat arrived and I was doing everything I could to fight what was coming. Madness took over. Our Saturday night was not full of fun but full of salty, makeup removing, snot provoking alligator tears. Scott listened to me cry off and on for two hours. He handed me a large amount of tissues and carefully sat on the other couch afraid that my sadness may turn into abusive anger because I blamed him for knocking me up. The next morning I acted like nothing happened and had a fresh smile on my face. Meanwhile, he was still walking on egg shells scared to look me in the eye. I hope the emotional drama and abuse he has endured throughout this pregnancy is like what women say about giving birth, "after it's all over you forget about the pain and would do it again."

That's my pregnancy food...

I haven't used the term "baby wants..." yet but this occasion was pretty close. We went on a two hour hike and I felt fantastic. My mind and body were alive and working together. I was so pumped up and our next stop was some much deserved food. Suddenly I couldn't wait. I grabbed a palm full of dried edamame to hold me over and Scott put his hand out for me to share with him. ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!! I snapped, "this is my pregnancy food!" He snapped back, "just give me a few!" Quickly I said in a mean baby voice "No, this is my my mine, I'm soooo hun" I couldn't finish my sentence. My age went from 27 years old to 2 years old. We've all seen a toddler snatch a toy from another toddler. I became the toyless toddler that stuck out my quivering lower lip and let out a wail of a cry while pointing to the guilty kid next to me. In that moment I couldn't believe how he could do a selfish thing such as ask for me to share our food. I wanted to sit in the car and cry until he was really sorry for the pain he caused me. My tears prompted Scott to tuck away any selfish desire to tell me what a lunatic I was. Gently, he coaxed me out of the the car and into the restaurant for some nourishment. The drama was laughable within five minutes.

I hope these stories have given you something to laugh about. I know I laugh about them after all is said and done. Scott will laugh about them someday after he goes to counseling for post traumatic stress disorder.

Vacation for three

Scott and I went on vacation for about 16 days. We drove to our destinations putting 4,000 miles on my car. I had my three page checklist all checked and my trip itinerary in hand. The plan was to take two days to get to Montana but instead we drove 22 hours straight through. We arrived a whole day early un-showered and poorly fed. Our friends welcomed us with open arms. I was at home in the mountains and with my best friend, that's all I needed. Some family threw me an impromptu baby shower which was so fun. It was then that it hit me...I'm having a baby! I held up these little clothes that I would eventually put on my child and I had a mix of emotions. Excitement, denial, and confusion. It was the next step in the reality of what is to come. Sure, this growing belly is suppose to give a good clue as to what's to come but it was hard not imagine trying to put these adorable clothes on our baby. I can imagine Scott and I staring at her little face after she makes her way into this world. The image of that is so foreign to me that it would only last a few seconds then be whooshed away by the present tense.

The rest of our vacation was a whirlwind of driving to our next destination. My itinerary was loosely followed. We detoured to Las Vegas so I could soak up some sun and that I did. Scott hates being in the sun for too long so I laid out by the pool in my bikini all by myself. It was heaven. Laying there I was reminded of the summer before when I was in my bikini with a flat stomach and now I had this bump of baby in my view. I couldn't help but take a picture of it. It's fascinating!

After Vegas we detoured into Zion National Park. It was beyond beautiful. We hiked 4 miles up and around canyons and switchbacks. It was refreshing and fed my soul. I thanked God for who He is and how perfect His design is.

The next stop, Moab, was on my itinerary. We rented a jeep and went 4x ing through some crazy fun terrain. The more adventures we had, the more we wished our daughter was able to see all the fun we were having. It suddenly felt like we were missing someone. My intentions for this vacation was to have a last chance getaway with just the two of us but with each day that passed we "missed" our daughter even more. It was like when you have a group outing but someone wasn't able to make it and you think, "so and so" would love this! Each time we took a picture of the scenery, I thought, "I can't wait to show her where we went and what we did."

At our last stop we stayed with some friends in Colorado. It made us even more anxious to meet our baby because they have a 1 1/2 year old boy. True, he doesn't allow for as much freedom as they use to have but life was full of something else. Life with a child gave them a whole new purpose with a new found joy. I can feel our hearts are being prepared for that.

I recommend a "baby moon" to anyone having a baby whether it be your 1st, or 4th! It was an amazing time of fun and reflection for us. We laughed a ton with our loved ones, and just ourselves. We hummed country songs to each other on our long drive in the night and made up ridiculous stories about how we invented string cheese and rap music. I hope we never give that up.

If you can't remember the last time you laughed out loud really hard then you need a vacation. Don't wait until you are too tired or out of money. Go explore God's world, seek out beauty, see the upside of things, and if there's no one to make you laugh, make yourself laugh.