Thursday, August 21, 2014

To Baby or Not to Baby?

Oh, hello.
It's me, Amanda.
I write on this sleepy ole blog when something comes to me that matters. :)
As I get older (and boy, have I been feeling it) I find myself exploring the idea of having kids more and more seriously. '

Truth be told, this whole "talking about having kids" thing is completely weird territory for me. It's no surprise to my close family and friends that growing up I knew two things. I wanted to be a wife and a mother.
I was positive I would be married young (I was hoping for like 17, but...21'll do.) and almost as positive that I would have babies shortly after.

The first year of marriage was killer.
A word to newlyweds- give yourself that year. Because it's amazing to me that once I lived as a wife a little while...man. I kind of enjoyed it just being me & my husband. Although, I have to admit...being a Nanny is excellent birth control. So, maybe, I'll recommend that everyone should be a Nanny to 1 or 2 small children full-time, before considering children of their own? Yes. That's my recommendation.

...but as I was saying.
I clearly recall within that first year, gushing every time I saw a baby. If someone was pregnant, I was green with envy. If there was a baby nearby, my eyes were glued to it and I was nudging Kyle to adore that little blob of cute as much as I did.
I remember being in church one Sunday and saw a mom holding her new baby boy- I started crying. In the middle of Church.

But oddly, as the years have gone on- I have gone through other phases of thinking maybe, just maybe, being a mom isn't for me, after all.
I seem to be through that phase now and in the..."Maybe in a few years.." phase.

Aside from the constant pressure of keeping up with all of my baby making machine friends (and I mean that kindly!)- I'm also feeling incredibly insecure about my age. If we follow our tentative plan, I'll be almost 30 with my first.
My Mom was 29, and I always swore I wouldn't wait that long.
And here I am.

I struggle with finding a contentment and peace with where I am RIGHT NOW. There are so many things I want to do before kids- and so many things I don't want to wait for, in order to have them.
Does that make sense?

The most common advice I get is, "Enjoy your time with your husband."  "You're young. No rush."
I know, I know!

The flip side of this topic is a hard one for me to write, mostly because I don't want to offend anyone.
But, another thing that has held me back from pursuing children more seriously is the constant (and I mean, constant..) flow of articles, photos, studies, and personal opinions regarding birth and breastfeeding.

I have to say, and I may not be speaking for any sort of mass, but those articles? Those about what doctors did to so and so and how midwives are better and how breastfeeding hurts so bad but also that "breast is best" and also about the epidural and how horrible it is and that you need to go all natural....THOSE. Are the articles that scare the crap out of me.

I appreciate openness and honesty.
But I respect women who do what works for them and their families and in return, respect other women who do the same thing.

My only request here, I suppose, is that when those of you who are already mothers- are sharing your wisdom across all of facebook, please remember that not all of your friends are mothers.
New mothers aren't the only ones who may be feeling alone in whatever situation they may be in- it's those of us, too, who are thinking about getting pregnant but have constant, awful scenarios rotating through our minds of ...what exactly IS best? Is that going to happen to me? What do I choose?

I know, I know. Then why am I friends with you, right? Or why don't I just *not* read the articles?
Well, because I like you as a person, probably.
And also, I don't read most of the articles.
But the one liners, the photos? That's often all it takes for me to be like...jaw on the floor, eyes bigger than you'd think humanly possible....and doubtful.

I don't really know what this post will do for anyone. Maybe something good somewhere. I hope so! Regardless, I feel pretty relieved to get all of that out there and not just through frantic texts to friends.

High five friends.
It's the weekend!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Getting Fat.

My Husband approached me the other day and let me know that he was speaking for everyone when he said, "I'm going to quit following your blog soon if you don't post something new."

Alright, then! New blog post it is.

I've really gone back and forth (as I usually do, even over the simplest topics) about whether or not to write about my weight loss, adventure, we'll call it. I feel like the majority of my Facebook news feed is either about Hobby Lobby, World Cup, or losing weight.

Losing weight is great and I love that others are sharing and inspiring others, myself included. But I feel like after awhile it becomes a broken record. "Yayyy, another pound! Good job!"

So this blog is for me to kind of check in and let you know where I'm coming from, where I'm at, and where I'm hoping to go. And then, with the exception of close friends, kind of leave it at that.


 
(End of 2009 vs Mid 2012 when I was reaching my heaviest)




I've always been a fairly typical girl in looking at my reflection in the mirror and feeling like it could look better. But, until I was married I never really cared or stressed over it.

I've become one of those people that you see in a photo and think, "Wow! What happened there??"

 So, let me explain what happened "there".

When I got married, I blissfully moved to Connecticut with the intention of new friends, new family, new life...and everything would go smoothly and perfectly.
Wrong.
While I had a job set in stone- it didn't begin for 3-4 months after we were married and moved into our apartment. I didn't know my way around and had to wait for Kyle, who was working 9:30am-11pm every day except Sunday, to take me to the DMV to get my license straightened out and change over my plates on the car.
So, I was out of transportation for a good while.

I remember deciding to be brave and explore my neighborhood for the first time. Back in Michigan, when you see someone outside- you wave or say hello. Sometimes, you even stop and have a full on conversation.
But not in Connecticut.
Instead of a polite wave and hello back- I received a weak smile and someone turning and walking back into their house as if I were about to rob them.

That set the tone for a whirlwind of anxiety, doubt, depression...and weight gain.

Late night eating-  because I felt like it was my only time with Kyle. So we'd eat big meals at 11:30 pm. Anxiety over fitting in with my new family, starting a new job, having trouble finding a Church and new friends...all the while trying to be a good, new wife- took it's toll big time.

I never really watched my weight, obviously.
Every once in awhile I would see a photo and think "Hm! I can't allow myself to get any bigger."
But literally every time I acknowledged bad eating habits- I'd tell myself  "I deserve this because..." or "Just one more night of this and then I'll start working out tomorrow..." and two handfuls of other excuses I would make for myself.

It started at the beginning of this Year when I tried a 7 day cleanse. I lost 5lbs and only made it 4 days into the cleanse. But, that 5lb start was enough to motivate me, albeit slowly, to make small changes.
I started using our stationary bike 4 days a Week and going on walks with Kyle in the evenings. I noticed some differences- but I was still really struggling with my food intake because I was so focused on working out.

I did an App on the iPhone that was helpful- but I hit a two week slump. Right after the slump, I sprained my ankle.
Panic set in because I wouldn't be able to work out. And so in the days where I sat with my leg propped up, I began to search Youtube for healthy lifestyle videos and ending up finding several channels that had lots of healthy recipe ideas.

So although I couldn't workout- I was able to take the other problem, food, and start to focus on what I was doing wrong and where I could change. Turns out, there were a ton of ways I could change.

I've been doing little things- avoiding a lot bread, eating smaller portions, using more olive oil instead of butter, I drink coffee rarely and have focused my diet on fruits, veggies, and proteins with some grains thrown in.

It's been a slow process for me, very slow. My Mom had warned me several years ago that I have a similar metabolism/body type as she does- and losing weight would not be easy. She was right.

I've gone back and forth about whether or not to do WeightWatchers because I have several friends who have had excellent results in a short amount of time. And while I'm not closed off to any sort of programs- as of this Morning, I've lost a total of 22 lbs since December.
I feel like, while it's going slowly- I'm proud of myself for making these changes on my own. No program, no special diets, no gyms....just working out from home and making consciously healthier decisions for myself. But, if I hit another slump, I'm definitely open to changing things up.

I have a long way to go yet- and a lot of the causes for my weight gain are still present- but I'm learning how to manage those things differently.

I still find myself in these states of "How did I become someone in this position??" Because I never saw myself being this weight. I never saw myself being looked down upon because of my looks. I never thought I'd see the day where I would cry because I couldn't fit in any of my clothes that had fit only months earlier.

As a small part of the bigger picture here, which is living a healthy lifestyle, I want to encourage you to stop looking at people's bodies and judging them based on their weights. Because, I have found myself in a position where people have stopped getting to know me- because I don't look like I used to. And it really does a number on even the strongest person out there.
You don't know what got them to that point.
You don't know what they have or haven't tried.
You don't know what they're still going through.

So thank you to the family and friends who have supported and encouraged me thus far- and to those who haven't treated me any differently than they did- when I was 40lbs lighter. 


(If you have any questions about how, why, when, or where....shoot me a message!)





Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fries.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that I have had a lot of extra time on my hands over the past Week.
I sprained my ankle while at the park with the children I care for. I went down a slide (cue laughter) and landed really....wrong. So an ER trip, crutches, ice, and some motrin later- I'm still on "bed rest".

While I wish it were for other reasons, resting has been good. I am able to spend more time on my devotions and I've been able to put more thought into what I want to implement into my lifestyle to make it healthier. Food is hard for me (and right now, so is working out!)- I love flavor and I love to eat good food. Up until the last few Months I haven't really considered food..."fuel"- as ridiculous as that sounds. It was all about taste and how it fulfilled wants and cravings. So, slowly but surely (emphasis on slowly) I'm rearranging my thoughts and habits when it comes to eating. I don't want to deprive myself, but instead teach my body to crave other, healthier, things.
So below I have a recipe for "Carrot Fries"- it was a great addition to my lunch today and would also be a great, family-approved side. So much flavor!



I originally found the recipe for "Carrot Fries" on this youtube channel. I added my own little twist to the ingredients and made a scrumptious side to my lunch.
I was pretty apprehensive about the taste- but they were soft, a bit sweet and slightly savory with the addition of the pepper and garlic. Delish!

You Need:

Full-size Carrots
Oil of Choice
Seasons of Choice

To Make:

Cut ends off the carrots- and then continue to cut the carrots in halves until they're "fry size".
Toss them in oil and seasonings.
Place them on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 450' for 20 minutes.

* I used one large carrot, small amount of olive oil, garlic salt, pepper, and sesame seeds for crunch.




Hope you give these a try and enjoy them!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Impossibly Content

My blog has been quiet for quite some time now, I'm sorry about that. I've been trying to only blog when I feel I have something worth saying. I tried doing the every other day posts to keep my readers around, but it wasn't me and it began feeling more like a burden. Who has time for that?!


Do you ever get into those ruts where you feel completely unhappy, lost, doubtful....?
I'll just go ahead and assume that everyone has been there, if not just for my own ease. :)

A few Weeks ago I had a bit of a meltdown. And "a bit"- could be putting it mildly depending on who you ask. It's really not my style to admit that to all of you, but I feel like if it could speak to someone out there, it's okay.

I was feeling very much like....I need to move. I need space. I need change. I need...I need...I need...
Looking back on those three tear-stained days, it could have easily been translated into...I WANT.

Once I pulled myself together and allowed myself to think more clearly,  I was able to see that my wants will always be my worst enemy if I don't start looking at things differently.

Deep down, I would love to accomplish and do other things in life.
But, I know that God has K & I here for a reason. Doing the things that we're doing, with the jobs we have etc...
I'm not sure what that reason is, but it's there. And God knows it. And so, my job is to be content. Here. Tomorrow. Next Week. A Year from now.

And honestly, it's not as hard as I thought it would be.

I've been reading the Word, praying, and allowing myself to be happy and content, even though sometimes I truly think it's impossible.

Even though I still have rough days, my key to getting through them is having hope & trust in the Lord.

I just wanted to let you know, it's okay to feel lonely. It's okay to feel doubt. And it's okay to wonder. It's okay to have a bad couple of days. Being a human is a tough gig sometimes.

But only you can allow yourself to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's always there- but I think we choose to put on blinders and ignore it. Because feeling sorry for ourselves is easier than changing our mentalities.

Take off those blinders and allow yourself to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You and those in your life deserve to be happy and content wherever life is right now.




Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Be Selfish. See What Happens.

I have a "guilty pleasure" of watching Bravo TV Shows, especially "The Real Housewives" series they have out.  While browsing, I caught a headline about one of the Wives filing divorce from her Husband of 27 years.  The Woman herself has always been a bit wacky, in general, but her marriage has been televised as being pretty steady. Her husband always seemed accepting and supportive of her.

As I was reading the article, the part that specifically stuck out to me was this;

"Shifting her body to directly address the audience, she told the crowd, "Nothing is written in stone, life is an evolution. Again, ladies and gentlemen, as long as you feel good about yourself you can handle anything."

I'm pretty sure it was a shake my head moment because it immediately reminded me of an important truth.



Marriage is completely about two people.
 It's not about you- feeling good about yourself. It's about you working together within the promise you've made by law & to each other.  You're vowing not to be selfish anymore. You're vowing to take care of someone and be with that person through all of life's adversities...and my friends, those adversities will surely come.

 
 
Marriage is one of those things we all kind of know is a BIG deal.
That's why we're advised to discuss God, Family, Money, Sex...before we commit.
But the moment we decide we're better off as friends. Or that marriage isn't for us. Or that your sex life isn't as hot and heavy as you expected...or maybe, surprise! Your spouse isn't making the millions you had previously suspected they were making-  society tells us it's just fine to give up.
Afterall, our personal happiness is most important.
.
You cannot marry anyone, if you think that nothing is set in stone.
When you do or when you did- make those vows- you were setting something in stone.
You were understanding that we're human & no one is perfect.
Depression happens. Losing jobs, happens. Death, happens. Physical changes, happen. Personality changes, happen. Sometimes, we say things we don't mean. Sometimes, we don't always understand each other.
It's life! It's being a human! And it's part of every marriage.

Do yourself a giant favor and understand that because we're human, we "get" marriage. We don't "get divorced" because we're human.
Does that make sense?
I've heard, "Oh, we got a divorce. We made a mistake. We're only human".
No. You stay married, because you're only human. Because you understand that humans change and grow and yes, evolution happens there. You grow and adapt to that evolution. Not give up when it shows its sometimes, scary force.

Stick up for your marriage, even when it means going against yourself.
Because selfishness when it's brought into nearly any situation- specifically one that is all about two people, is just plain ugly.

Ain't nobody got time for that.




{Disclaimer: If you've been divorced or experienced divorce in some capacity, I am not calling you a horrible human being. I simply believe that marriage can withstand anything when it's put on its rightful pedestal by both.}




Thursday, March 6, 2014

Intention.

This word has been shooting into the furthest corners of my mind and with a quick burst-sprinkling down to the depths of my soul.

Intentional.
{adj. Done on purpose. Deliberate}



I purchased my first issue of Darling Magazine.
It's specifically for women. It celebrates women and all that we are. It has no ads. It's full of poems, original paintings and photography and short- wonderful- articles on topics as fun as food photography to the seriousness of anxiety or eating disorders.



I'm not sure if it was preconceived but throughout the 165 thick paged magazine- the word intentional is used a dozen times, at least.  And unlike the magazines you quickly pull off the rack at WalMart for a quick makeup tip or the latest gossip, this magazine makes you revel and really contemplate you're daily decisions.



I want to be intentional in my life. Because I feel like it will bring such fullness throughout every aspect of my life.

I want to pray, intentionally.
I want to conversate, intentionally.
I want to hug, intentionally.
Really live in every moment and soak up the details of life that get swept under the rug.

My first goal is to take Sundays off from social media.  We came from a place where social media was not an active part of our daily lives- now, it takes up more time than any of us would like to admit.
I want to intentionally make my Sunday about God. About my Husband. About prepping myself physically and emotionally for a new Week.



Think about how much more you'll get from life- if you do normal, everyday things with intention.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why my Husband is the Best. (for me)

Birthdays are pretty big between K & I.
We really enjoy celebrating the day that marks another year of life for the other. We try our best to soak up these days and make them special.



When we got married and celebrated our first birthdays as spouses- we were still really getting to know each other. What would he like? What can he use? Does he want something expensive? Handmade? (visa versa). 
And I think we're definitely getting better at figuring these things out- but this year. This year, Kyle really impressed me.

A bit of back story, recently, I found out about the whole Michael Vick debacle. I'm not a sports person or a news person- and I guess somehow along the way I missed out on the story. I did a bit of research, learned more of the story, none of which helped the boiling anger that I felt over this man.
I won't go into all the details of that now, but I will say I have been looking into ways of contacting those that are directly connected to him. But that's for another time.

It was 10pm and Kyle appeared in our bedroom doorway and told me to follow him to the office. I was completely nervous. What could he have possibly gotten me?? I expected a big box sitting in the middle of the room waiting for me.

Instead, he lead me over to the computer and told me to read the article.

Kyle gave me an allotted amount of money so that I could choose a dog to sponsor.

Even now, typing that line, brings me to tears.

I have this heart that aches to help homeless, abused, and needy animals. But I really don't have the means to be able to do all the things I'd like to do.  So by K giving me this gift....I'm able to do something that quite honestly, means the world to me.

I browsed the dogs briefly, searching for the one face that would call my name.  And there he was, a big beautiful guy named, Tug.




It was after I decided he was the one that I read the description of this fellow.
He is one of the 22 dogs rescued from Michael Vick's property.....how ironic is that?!  It confirmed that Tug was the one- and even more so- he really dislikes loud noises...same as me! :)

My heart is soooOoOOOooo full of love right now.
K picked a gift that I'll remember forever. A gift that he knew without the shadow of a doubt- I would appreciate and cherish.

Tug & I are two happies right now.

Birthday Wonders

Thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes- the day was honestly, super great.
26 feels "okay" so far :)

I felt like my birthday primarily revolved around food, which if we're being honest, is fine with me! Husband planned the whole day out by himself and I thought it was sweet.

The day began promptly at 12am with a hug, a kiss, and a birthday wish. Cupcakes, the BEST store bought cupcakes, I've ever had.  An itunes giftcard waiting in my email and a good, solid sleep.

 After Church we picked up my favorite feta and onion pizza to eat on a scenic drive to a small Town called Kent.  They have lots of antique shops along with our destination, a small chocolate shop.  We each picked out three truffles- my favorite being the Chili Truffle, surprisingly.








K made reservations at an Indian Restaurant- which if anyone knows him- you know he's not adventurous with his food.  So it was really big of him to take me to try a new food- because I love to do that type of thing.


...Luckily, the food was really delicious- we may even go back!

We went to see The Lego Movie- it was cute...and we weren't even the only adults in the theater! :)

.....see the next post on what K got me as my "BIG" gift :)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Babes & Birthdays.

My blog has been a bit quiet this past Week- it was a busy one at work. I'll tell ya what, two kids is no joke!




( Baby Husband and Baby Me )




Tomorrow is my birthday.
I will be 26.
Even seeing that number is so strange and a bit mind boggling to me. It truly kind of smacks you upside the head with a realization that time does fly.

I'm curious- if you have kids, when did you decide it was the right time?

Growing up, I always thought by this age (because 26 is soooo old)- I'd have at least two kids. And the first year and a half or so of our marriage I had the baby bug something fierce. I'm talking, glancing over a few rows at Church to see a newborn...and bawling about how beautiful it was. (Yes. this happened. Hubs may have been mildly concerned...)

But as the Years have gone by, I've gone through stages of thinking...I really don't desire having children like I used to. Or, sitting in an "iffy" phase. And also the, "Hey. Let's just do this! We'll never really be ready!"- scary phase.

The reason I bring this up is because 26 is officially closer to 30- meaning...AHHHHH!
And it really does freak a person out. I'm starting to feel a bit of that urgency to make things happen and get things rolling so that I don't miss out or regret later.

I do know, a big part of life changes, are dependent on God's timing. I truly believe that. And I want to honor and respect that. Because, I know from experience that doing things when I want or how I think it's right, usually ends up going far different than I anticipated.

Anyway.

Tomorrow is my birthday.
I will be 26.


I'll let you know how it goes. :)


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine HubBub

I'm sure it's been said before, but up until the last few years I hadn't really heard (seen) so much of the whole "Valentine's Day should be 365 days of the year" .... blah blah blah.

In general, I agree with the concept.
You shouldn't show someone you love them, JUST on Valentine's Day.
True.
But, you also don't have to be a stick in the mud because other people enjoy making the day special.

And I have to throw this out here too, because I've noticed these kind of comments coming from people who A) are single. or B) are in bad relationships.
....Not to say EVERYONE is in either of those situations- but the majority seem to be.

Basically, my thought is this: Love isn't to be displayed on Valentine's Day only- I think everyone knows that would just be ridiculous.
But being as Valentine's Day has been around for a long time, whether it's origins were originally about love or not, it is what is.

If you don't have a lover- go for a friend to grab a pizza with or a movie. If you don't have either, go find some family. A pet. Or just enjoy a cozy night by yourself with some chocolate and a favorite movie.

I really despise how people get so depressed about not having a "proper Valentine".
There were times I didn't have a boyfriend and so I grabbed a friend and said, "Let's do this." And we had fun and made the most out of this tradition.

Celebrate that there IS Love. All kinds of it.

That being said, I had a lovely Valentine's Day with my Husband....besides the people in the booth next to us discussing their Waiter's arm veins and how great they were....

So here are a few shots of our Valentine's Day.
I hope you had a good one, no matter what you did and who you were with.