Sunday, April 8, 2018

Weeks 8-12

Week 8 
Week 8 is when my morning sickness got a bit more intense and all day. I still never threw up, but there was a noticeable difference. I had to give a talk at church and was super nervous, not just to speak, but that I would get sick on the stand. My talk went just fine though which I was thankful for.

The chickens hatched at the library and it was a mazing to watch. I coaxed one out while playing it the remix of Spooky Scary Skeletons because it liked the bright lights. I wasn't as excited about them as the previous year, partly because they were stinky and it was making me sick.

On the last day of week 8, we had our first doctor's appointment. I was so nervous going in that we weren't going to see a baby, or a heartbeat. After some crazy schedule rearranging, Sammy was able to come with me which I was so thankful for. When the nurse took me back, she said it was refreshing to see a couple my age who was actually excited to be there. The midwife who did my exam was awesome and I really liked her. She was straight up with me and whenever she had to do something uncomfortable, she would ask me a very technical question to try and distract me. It only sort of worked.
As she moved the ultrasound wand around, I was getting so nervous that there was nothing there. But finally, there was the baby, and I could see it's heart beating. It started wiggling around as we watched. I looked over at Sammy who was in awe and it was a really special moment. 
Everything looked normal, and we got our pictures to take home. We went on a little date afterwards to Chick-fil-A and everything felt surreal. After talking it over, Sammy and I decided to announce that day. Partly because we couldn't keep it a secret anymore, and partly because Fast Sunday was coming up and I'd need to eat during church and it would be obvious then something was up.

I really wanted to do a Stranger Things reveal where I dressed up as Eleven and held up an Eggo box while Sammy held up a PR, but I was too tired to try and put together the outfit, so I went with this with a caption saying "Spooky Scary Skeletons, Kylee has two spines. We'll be parents this October and we're losing our minds." Only a few people thought that I was having twins. I was like, come on people, I still have a spine myself. ;)

When I shared the news on my Twitter, surprisingly none of my regular friends commented, but one of my favorite authors did! She's a local writer and we met at a bookstore last year and she's just so encouraging and amazing. :)

Week 9
Week 9 was a struggle. The nausea worsened, so I started taking Unisom and Vitamin B6 for nausea like the doctor recommended. That first night of taking medication, I slept better than I had in weeks. I'd had no idea just how tired I'd been. Getting more sleep was both good and bad. After I had one good night's rest, I seemed to feel more what I was missing. I had a really hard time focusing and dealing with people. Everyone and everything annoyed me and I just had zero patience.

There was a surprise snowstorm this week and it took both Sammy and I two hours to get home. It was awful and stressful because I didn't feel good. Thankfully I had enough snacks in the car to get me through the drive but I'm just so tired of getting stuck in snowstorms.  

A book I'd been waiting for for years came out and I read it in a day. It was not what I'd been expecting, so that only added to my bad mood. Sammy was really patient with me which I was grateful for.

I had a gut feeling that the baby was a boy this week. There was a super awful Saturday where I was hungry and Sammy wanted to get Costa Vida for dinner and I figured I'd be eating soon enough so I went with. I started feeling really sick in the car and asked to go home, but gave in when Sammy said we'd have food soon enough. Well, the Costa Vida down the street from our house closed so we had to go ten minutes farther, and then they only had one person working on a Saturday so a ten minute wait turned into forty. I was sick the rest of the night for waiting those forty minutes to eat.

This is also when the panic of holy cow we're having a baby this is going to be expensive there are going to be so many changes ahhhhhhhh set in and put me in a funk for a bit. I'm just so worried that I'm going to lose myself and not want to do the things I enjoy or go on dates or hang out with Sammy. Plus there will be a lot of changes all at once, trying to find a new job, dealing with a new schedule and it's just overwhelming. I know everything will work out, I just don't know how.

Week 10 
I ended up taking a day off because I couldn't deal with anyone and it was just what I needed. Pizza from the zoo still sounded delicious and I was telling Sammy about it one night before bed. That night I dreamt that I had my baby and had no idea what to name it, but then had to leave it at the hospital while I ran away from zoo animals on the loose. When I came back my boss was there and I asked where my baby was and she told me I was a horrible mother. When I woke up, I was grateful that none of that had happened. That dream while weird was good for me because it honestly doesn't feel like I'm pregnant or that I'm going to get an actual physical baby at the end of this. That dream and seeing the baby made it a little more real. In the dream the baby was a girl, and I've felt like it was a girl since then. 

Sammy and I went grocery shopping together and he was laughing the whole time because I would get so excited about everything. We left with cheese crackers, fruit snacks, granola bars, poptarts, and other treats we hadn't had since we were kids. I bought some tiny pickles because they sounded delicious, but they ended up being sweet pickles and were nasty. I was pretty upset about it. Now the smell of them hasn't left my fridge for weeks and I smell it every time the door opens and I have so many regrets. 

I can't eat in restaurants. The combination of smells and waiting for food just doesn't work and I end up sick every time. I really tried to go to a restaurant with Sammy's family, but I ended up just dropping him off in the parking lot and going home.

The chickens at the library started getting bigger, and all of my coworkers were fighting over them. I honestly stood there and wondered if I was the last sane person on earth for how much they were fighting.

Week 11 
We were busy this week! After not going out with friends for weeks, we went out to dinner with my old Young Women's leader and saw Black Panther with them. Then we went to a St. Patrick's Day party and ended up getting stuck in the middle of a surprise snowstorm. The party was fun and I tried corned beef for the first time which was delicious and I was glad to spend time with so many friends. But driving in that snowstorm brought up so much anxiety from all these other times of getting stuck in the car for hours and I just cannot wait to not work so far away from home next winter (hopefully.)

Week 12
The littlest baby bump appeared this week, and honestly I'm not even sure that's what it was because it disappeared the next day.

I tried the Crystal Ball Frappuchino and it was amazing and I'm honestly disappointed that it was a one day only thing because I just want to eat it all the time.

I had a major craving for some Salsitas, these chips they had in the vending machines at my high school and after going to multiple stores and gas stations, Sammy was able to find some for me.

One of Sammy's old coworkers is leaving their branch so we went to his goodbye party in a karaoke bar. I was a little nervous but I had so much fun! The people who go there take it very seriously and were such great performers. The food was delicious and I sang 'Zombie' by the Cranberries with my friend Kirsten.

I pet a snake when we had a Harry Potter Animals day at the library.

When we were grocery shopping, I saw the cutest stuffed llama. I convinced Sammy that we should buy it for the baby, but it was actually for me. :) I carried it through the whole store under my arm. I wanted to get a stuffed sloth too that had bunny ears, but Sammy said we couldn't because it wasn't anatomically correct and then our kid would think all sloths had bunny ears.

We're getting ready to move and I found my My Little Pony collection tucked away. I have so many ponies, and I hope my kids like them. That's if I let them play with them. I'm kinda protective of my toys haha!

It still doesn't feel real that I'm pregnant most of the time, besides not feeling great which comes and goes.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Weeks 4-7

The first few weeks being pregnant have been so weird, and I definitely want to remember all of it. 
Week 4 

I had planned to keep it a secret from my friend's at work until a few of us were going out for dinner later in the week, but I had a major case of pregnancy brain and couldn't form a complete sentence all morning. My best friend asked me over and over if I was alright, and I just couldn't hold it in any longer so I showed her the picture of Sammy and I holding the tests. She was so shocked and happy and it was a great moment. Minutes after I told her, a patron pinched me and then shoved me while yelling at me, something that's never happened before. I was pretty shaken up by the incident but ultimately okay. The next day I was screamed at by a drunk man we'd been trying to get trespassed by the police and just stood there while he screamed at me. He was ultimately arrested because he refused to leave. Those two days in a row had me seriously questioning where I need to be, not just for my safety but the baby's as well. Right now I feel like that's where I need to stay, but it wasn't fun to be stressing about that.

We shared the news with my family by tying this on their dogs collar. She is an attention hog and I know that she will not be happy when Baby G arrives, at least at first. They were completely shocked. 

Week 5 
I went out with two of my best friends and told Katie the news. She was shocked but so excited. I had two empanadas from my favorite place that night, and that was my last real meal. I felt SO sick when I was driving home late that night and was terrified that I was going to throw up on the forty minute drive. I hit every single red light and Sammy talked to me on the phone the whole way home. I was beyond exhausted and had a hard time going to sleep. I woke up and had a panic attack around midnight, then was up the rest of the night feeling so hungry I was nauseous. I nibbled on saltines all night long but they weren't helping. 

And so began the morning sickness. 

I was so sick on Thursday, but thankfully my mom came over and stayed with me, making sure I kept eating even though I didn't want to, and took care of me. I started feeling a little better that evening, and slept okay that night. When I woke up the next morning to go back to work, I was soo sick. I was pacing around making weird noises, trying to calm down and Sammy was a little freaked out. I made it to work though and everyone was very supportive. I had a bag of snacks at the desk and just ate all day. I started feeling better by the afternoon and was craving KFC SO bad when I drove home. I called Sammy and he directed me towards the nearest one, but it had been closed so he gave me directions to another one. When I got home I took five delicious bites of a Famous Bowl, and then I was completely full. I had some cheese right before bed, then slept gloriously. 

On Saturday I felt amazing in the morning and we told Sammy's family the news. It was his dad's birthday so we got him a card that said Grandpa all over it. It wasn't until he read what was inside that he fully comprehended what it meant. He asked if we were serious, then burst out crying. Sammy's mom started sobbing which shocked me, and then his brother was crying, and everyone was hugging me. It was great. The second we finished the reveal and then headed out to dinner though, I felt SO nauseous. I was sucking on Preggie pops, eating graham crackers, doing everything I could to try and feel normal as we waited for dinner. It was not a fun dinner and I have no idea what people were saying because I was focused so hard on not throwing up. I was sick the rest of the night and Sammy rubbed my back until I fell asleep. 

When I woke early Sunday morning, I was dizzy and felt so sick. I went to grab a smoothie from the fridge but I couldn't get it open. I went over to Sammy and woke him up, asking him to open my smoothie. He told me he was dreaming, he heard his name called, and there was a glowing skeleton standing in front of him handing him a smoothie. I'd worn this skeleton shirt to bed, and apparently it glows in the dark. He opened my smoothie though, so it's all good. :) 

That morning we watched an SNL skit that had chili in it, and even though it was 8:00, I really wanted some chili. I heated some up, had five bites, and then was done. I ended up skipping church that day because I felt so poorly, and because it was fast Sunday. I was eating every 45 minutes to feel normal and it's kinda obvious when you're eating while everyone else is abstaining from food.

Week 6

As soon as I hit week 6, my morning sickness got a bit better. It honestly freaked me out and had me convinced something was wrong. I talked with a few friends and they helped me calm down, and I tried my best to just enjoy feeling better. Isn't it weird how feeling good can be a bad sign?

I had SO many cravings this week. Taco Bell was kind enough to make cheese fries and Sammy brought them home and they were the best thing I've ever had. So good I wanted cheese fries all the time. Sammy has been so sweet and has made/gotten whatever I've wanted to eat. The day after taco bell I wanted tacos again, so he made some. I put together my perfect burrito for work the next day, and Sammy made his own. Here's the thing about Sammy; he REALLY loves sriracha and he puts it on everything. He put together his burrito and smothered it in it on the inside.

At work the next day I wore my tacosaurus socks and thought about my lunch When it was finally lunch time I pulled out my burrito to warm it up and noticed it was folded funny. I knew I would never fold a burrito like that, and that Sammy had taken mine. I warmed it up and prayed that he hadn't doused it in sriracha, but when I took a bite the spicy truth hit me. I hate sriracha, and I cried a little bit.
Sammy was SO sweet and apologetic about it though, and didn't treat me like I was overreacting for being upset. He sent me gifs of Mr. Darcy apologizing, and got got me Panera for dinner to make up for it. I freaking love him. 

One day I had a huge craving for Doritos and couldn't stop thinking about them, so I went and found some. They tasted so good in the moment, but afterwards sounded disgusting. I also really wanted fried pickles from a restaurant, but by the time they got there I didn't want them anymore.
Smells really started to bother me this week, making it the perfect time to work in a public library where people with a plethora of smells come and sit all day. There was a scary incident where we were giving someone a ride and a smell started bothering me and I was pretty close to puking in the car. 

Sammy and I went apartment hunting this week and applied for a new place with two bedrooms and two baths. It also happens to be the apartments my parents first lived in in Colorado which is really strange. 

At work I was craving brownies REALLY really bad. It was a particularly bad day, so I decided to order in some brownies and some cheese bread from Dominos. It was amazing while I was eating, but as soon as I finished I felt sick. It was fun while it lasted. 

Week 7

The first day of week 7 was Valentine's Day. I started it off with a horribly vivid nightmare where I stabbed Sammy and couldn't remember the address of where we were to get help. It was horrible and the only explanation I have is pregnancy dreams. I woke up Sammy to apologize immediately, but felt horrible about it all day. Sammy was so sweet and got me flowers and chocolates. He told me all he wanted were Krispy Kreme donuts, so after work I went to get some. Well, the one nearest us was closed down. One of the potatoes we had for dinner was rotten on the inside, and the smell of the pasta Sammy made was making me gag. I was so exhausted that we were in bed by 8:30 and I just felt so frustrated with myself. Valentine's Day has always been one of my favorite holidays and we just couldn't celebrate it like usual. 
Sammy cheered me up though and we spent a good hour just giggling together. I'm so thankful to have him and that he makes me feel so loved every single day. 
This week was the beginning of going to bed at 9:00 every night, and the return of morning sickness. I'm so exhausted after work that it's all I can manage. I made the mistake of running to the store after work and then cleaning up the apartment one night and fighting through exhaustion. I was so sick that night and the next morning and wasn't able to sleep. It's been hard to accept what my limits are and stick to them. After resting, I feel better so I want to do a million things. When I do them though, I get sick. I've also eaten so many things that sound good, and then immediately after finishing them, they sound like the most disgusting thing in the world and every time I think about them I gag. RIP nachos, I can't wait until you sound good again.

I got a cold this week too. I haven't had one in quite awhile so that was fun. I went home from work early one day and hung out with my mom and brother. They decided to have a bake off, so I made them watch The Great British Baking show. I got to try two different cakes and my brother made me some Kraft mac and cheese.

One of Sammy's favorite places to eat is Noodles and Company and it isn't my favorite. On a day off, he said that we could go to one of my favorite places to eat, but I was craving potstickers from Noodles so. bad. So we went there. 

We saw Black Panther and I was feeling a bit nauseous during the movie, so I got a soda to sip on which I usually don't do. The movie was SO GOOD that I refused to go to the bathroom during it. That was a mistake. Let's just say, the automatic toilet flushed twice because I was peeing so long. I won't be doing that again.
Sammy's taken such good care of me with my cold and morning sickness. Thankfully it hit during President's Day weekend so I had a few days to just rest. He's made sure that I'm fed, have enough to drink, rubbed my back, and watched movies with me. He even drove out in the middle of a snowstorm to get some pizza for me. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

We're Having a Baby!

2018 is going to be a whole lot more exciting that I ever could have hoped. 

Baby G is arriving this October (approximately.)  Sammy and I couldn't be more thrilled. 

Okay now story time. If you don't like personal details, you should stop reading now. 

Sammy and I are both fall babies, and I always wanted a fall baby because, well, it's the best time of the year. Plus, you get to be older than all the other kids and do everything first which is fun ;) So I always wanted at least one fall baby. 
Earlier last year when we were trying to decide what to do with our family, Sammy always said he wanted to have a baby next year. I always replied that it takes almost a year to grow them, so we might as well get started earlier. We knew that Sammy would be graduating in December and hopefully starting a new job. I thought it would be smarter to try for a baby during his last few months of school so that if I was feeling super sick during the first trimester, he could just miss class or hang out with me between them, instead of being stressed learning his new job. The months went by though and no baby. Every month I analyzed each little sensation in my body, wondering if that was a sign I was pregnant. Instead I got to experience my old extremely painful periods because I'd stopped taking my birth control which was just so much fun. 

On January 21st, I wanted to try brussell sprouts, something I'd never had before. So I whipped some up, then decided that they would taste much better drenched in vinegar. I did that and they were pretty good.  On the 24th when my period should have arrived, I started feeling cramping along with some back pain. I figured Aunt Flow would be arriving any minute and just shrugged it off. My period didn't arrive though, but the cramps and back pain continued. My body had been doing lots of fun new things since getting off the pill and my cycles were very irregular, so I figured my awful periods would now start hurting even earlier and now my back would too, even though it's never really hurt on my period before. 

That day at work I couldn't stop thinking about food. Luckily, I work with a lot of foodies so we were discussing food all day and I decided that I just HAD to have a gyro, even though I had never had one before. It sounded like the most delicious thing ever, so I convinced Sammy we should go there for dinner that night. It was delicious, until I remembered it was lamb mid bite.
 The next day, I was still obsessed with food and couldn't stop talking about it with my coworkers, so I made Sammy take me to a burger bar, somewhere he'd been wanting to go but I'd been hesitant about. I really don't like going out to eat too often, but that week all I wanted was to try all these new places.
The night after, Sammy made waffles for dinner and I ate that, then had my hamburger leftovers as well, and didn't feel sick. I thought it was a miracle, and started to wonder about those very light cramps I'd been feeling for the past few days. My period was four days late, but besides those cramps and wanting to try all these new foods, I felt pretty normal. I kept getting annoyed with Sammy, but I figured that was normal PMSing. That night Sammy told me he'd borrowed my soap and I got so upset that I started crying. He was super sweet about it, and I went to sleep.

On the 27th in the morning, I started googling if you could be pregnant without having tender breasts. Each of my friends who have had kids told me they instantly knew they were pregnant because of how intense that symptom came on, but I didn't have it. I was trying to keep my hopes down because I didn't want to get disappointed again. While I was googling Sammy asked me a question and I ignored him, so then he tried to see what I was looking at. Bad mistake. He got super interested and wouldn't leave it alone. I finally distracted him though, then went into the bathroom to take a dollar store test.

The test came back with the faintest pink line, barely visible. I went to grab my phone and google what that meant, and Sammy really wanted to know what was up with me since I was acting so weird. I showed him the test and asked if he could see the second line. He said no. I had one expensive test under the sink and decided to try that, but I didn't have to pee. So we went to the gym together and I tried my best to keep my hopes low. We saw a Panda on the tv eating cake and I felt so much love for that little panda I almost started crying.

We got home from the gym and Sammy hopped in the shower. While he had the water running, I took the second test. I covered it up so I couldn't see it while I waited and brushed my teeth for the full five minutes. When the time was up, I uncovered it and there was a second line, bright and clear. 

I went into the hallway and took a picture with it (needing a filter of course since I'd just got back from the gym.) I'd always thought about this moment and how I would tell Sammy, but all of the cute ideas I'd had over the months flew out of my head. I stood up on the toilet, looked down at him still in the shower, and said, "What's up Daddio?" holding up the test. He was so shocked, it was priceless.

We went to Target afterwards to get more tests, and a lot of snacks for when I started feeling morning sickness. It was one of the funnest trips through Target because we were both just so shocked so Sammy didn't mind when I looked at everything. Then we headed over to Barnes and Noble and bought each of ourselves a book. I went home and took another test, and it lit up just as quickly. 
It was real, we were having a baby! 

I took a few more tests after that on different days and they were all positive as well.

That day was fun because we had plans to see Sammy's parents, then go to see the Greatest Showman with our best friends.  The whole time we were with Sammy's parents, we kept giggling to ourselves because we had a secret. At one point Sammy felt faint and dizzy because it hit him for real that he was going to be a dad. I just felt extremely hungry. 

The timing couldn't have been more perfect. Our lease is up for our apartment this May and we were trying to decide whether to get a one bedroom or a two bedroom apartment. I was feeling lost and like I had no idea what to do with my life too, and once I found out the news, everything is starting to fall into place. We're so excited and feel so blessed and can't wait to meet our little baby in October! 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

2017 Review & Favorite Things

It's February, so naturally it's time to do a review of my favorite things about 2017. I thought that 2017 was going to be a dumpster fire of a year, so I was actually pleasantly surprised by it. Here are some of my favorite memories of the year, in no particular order. 

Going to Mexico! It was my first time leaving the country, and such an amazing vacation. 

Watching all of Anne of Green Gables with Sammy. I loved how much he loved them all, and forgot how much I loved those movies. 

The library chickens!

Seeing Wonder Woman. This movie changed my life and will forever be one of my favorites

Going to the Cheyanne Mountain Zoo with Sammy 

Spending the Fourth of July with our best friends, playing games all day.

Making a murder dollhouse with my siblings and all our old toys. 

Going to Utah, catching up with tons of friends, and checking out this beauty.

Bingeing Stranger Things all of October with Sammy. Sometimes I wish I could completely forget about it and rediscover it all over again.

Dying my hair purple 

Sammy's college graduation. A day we've both been waiting for and that was so special. 

All things Porgs and The Last Jedi

Our fun Pokemon/My Little Pony/ All the keychains I could find Christmas tree 

A perfect New Year's Eve spent with some of our best friends, playing games and drinking apple cider all night. 

I grew a lot in 2017 as well, some of which I shared in my birthday post. Some other ways are 

My writing has grown in the last year. I entered Pitch Wars and wasn't picked, but I got this sweet note. Afterwards I revised my book two more times, started submitting to agents, and got my five manuscript requests!!!! I never thought I'd be here last year. (Now in 2018 I've realized I need to fix some things majorly and I'm hurrying to rewrite the book before some agents ask for the rest.)
I also gave myself permission to write the Maya inspired fantasy I've always wanted to write. I had a bad writer's block for months but once I 'gave myself permission', the words started flowing.

I finally realized that something that has been bothering me for years was sexual assault, and that it wasn't my fault. I was letting it eat me up and decided one day to tweet about my story. My story was liked and shared about 400 times, and I talked with and made friends with so many people who'd gone through similar things. Hearing all of their stories and talking with them honestly helped me in my healing process, and I'm thankful for it. 

I also had to navigate a lot of changing relationships in 2017 with family and friends. It was honestly really rough at times and still isn't perfect, but it's something that definitely grew. 

I had to learn to just let things go at work and what I can and can't control. Still working on that, but I made a lot of progress last year. 

Now for my favorite books of the year. 
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Saints and Mistfits by S. K. Ali
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir 
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (I also met her this year at my local bookstore and we talked for thirty minutes. She's the sweetest.)
One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake (I also met her, and she is utterly hilarious.)
Warcross by Marie Lu
A Crown of Wishes by Roshni Chokshi
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
Now I Rise by Kiersten White 
One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus (Breakfast club, with murder!)
There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins 
Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
Far From the Tree by Robin Benway (Won the National Book Award)
La Belle Sauvage The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman
Geekerella by Ashley Poston 
Follow Me by Sara Shepard 
Little Monsters by Kara Thomas 
Real Friends by Shannon Hale (A graphic novel I can't recommend enough)
This is Our Story by Ashley Elston 

2017 was a great year, and I can't wait to see what 2018 holds! 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Goodbye Twenty-Three

Tonight is my final night being twenty-three. If you would have asked me back in January how I felt about this year, I would have told you it was my worst yet. From my birthday, all through the winter, I was a hot mess. I was burnt out, I was anxious, I was sad, I was angry, and I just didn't care. I felt hopeless and spent so many nights crying my eyes would swell up. I told so many people that looking back at who I was the year before, and who I was now, I was so disappointed in myself. I felt that I'd gone backwards. 

But tonight, I'm so proud of who I've become, what I've accomplished, and the person I am. Twenty-three was not the worst year of my life. It might actually be one of the best. I want to remember the things that I've learned in this past year. 

Friends- You need them.
Image result for anne of green gables kindred spirits
First off I wouldn't even be writing this post about how this has been a great year without the help of great friends. Back in February when I felt utterly hopeless, I invited two friends out for yogurt to introduce them since they were both pregnant and could help each other. After we'd been there awhile I finally admitted that I was feeling hopeless with the world. Immediately one friend asked if I'd changed birth control recently. It was an out of the blue odd question, but she was right. My insurance changed the brand I'd been using for four years literally three weeks earlier. She told me that might be the problem and how a similar thing had happened to her and I should go to my doctor right away and get it switched. I did, and it was a night and day difference. I stopped crying every night and the world didn't seem so bleak. I truly feel she was inspired to say that to me, and I share this experience with everyone I can because birth control can be a taboo topic, but it can really mess with your head and body. 

The first years of our marriage, I didn't go out with friends often. I felt that I didn't need too many, that Sammy and my family was enough for me and I should focus on that. That was so wrong. This last year I've made a real effort to make new friends and spend time with them and it's made my life feel full. I need that time with with other women, good women who uplift me. Whenever I have an issue or need to talk with someone, I have someone to go to. I have my friends who I tell silly jokes to, friends to discuss Taylor Swift with, friends to tell my hurts to, friends to talk about writing with, and friends to discuss church. Making friends I've felt my relationship with Sammy grow as well. 

I've also learned that friendships change. Some friends truly are in our lives for a season, a reason, or forever. I've had to accept that, and decide which friendships truly uplift me and help me grow as a person now. I've learned to be okay with that and where to prioritize my time. 

To Speak Up For Myself 
I was able to go to therapy again this year through my work which was a huge blessing and is another reason that it's been a great year. This therapist had a very different approach and instead of talking through everything that was bothering me, we spent a lot of time getting in tune with my body and paying attention to where I was uncomfortable when I became anxious. I can't remember the correct lingo, but the places that would hurt when I was anxious had to do with being able to speak and self actualization. 

A month into therapy a conflict came up with my therapist and I felt betrayed. I wanted to stop going and just avoid everything. However with some coaching from Sammy, I sent her an email explaining everything I felt. The next morning my therapist called me and apologized for the mix up, and then complimented me on speaking up for myself. She said that the person she met a month ago wouldn't have done that and it took a lot of strength to speak up for myself and be true to what I needed. 

Since then, I've had so many situations where I was able to speak up for myself and do what was right for me instead of staying silent and suffering or staying angry. Sometimes I would be on the verge of tears but I was able to do it. It took strength and I've felt myself grow each time.

I am Strong 
I have dealt with so much crap this year at my job. I could write an entire book just on all the weird experiences I encounter daily. This year I've been on the phone with the police more times than I can count, calling for help when someone is threatening our guard, reporting missing children, and more. I'm able to stay calm in emergency situations and am not afraid to raise my voice. Heck, when a man followed me to my car to beg for money and wouldn't leave the window, I just started driving, not afraid to run him over. 

I don't want to jinx myself and have the worst week in the history of ever, but I am so much stronger mentally than I was a year ago. I'm not scared every time someone comes through the door. I deal with people going through the hardest moments of their lives daily and it doesn't bring me down like it did before. I've learned that it's not my fault, they are struggling and I don't need to take things personally. I'm learning to let go of everything that happens and move on. Sometimes it takes awhile but I do let it go. 

I'm also strong physically. This last year I've lost thirty pounds and gained a lot of muscle. I love going to the gym and feeling my body work. At one point I was able to run for three minutes straight at a decent pace, but after a major panic attack and almost passing out at the gym, I'm slowly working my way back to that and through that fear. I know I'll get there. 

It's Okay to Treat YoSelf and Feel Pretty 
One of my biggest regrets from my wedding is not taking care of myself. I felt like I didn't deserve money to be spent on me or people to help me, so I didn't get my makeup done or my hair. I didn't try too hard to get a professional photographer when ours couldn't do our date. I didn't celebrate with my bridesmaids or have a bachelorette party because I didn't feel like it was too much trouble to ask. 

Back in June I finally convinced Sammy to get professional anniversary pictures taken of us, I decided that I was going to get my makeup done as well. I'd never had it done professionally and I wanted to look my best for our pictures. I almost cancelled minutes before the appointment feeling like I shouldn't spend money on myself and it was a waste, but I'm so so glad that I did it! I absolutely loved the way I looked, and our pictures. 

For my birthday I decided that it was finally time that I get a pedicure and a manicure since I'd never had one before. I spent two weeks debating whether I should actually do it, and if I should do both, or if I could ask my sister to go with me. Thanks to awesome friends and Sammy's encouragement I finally went and I got both done and it was wonderful! I had a great time with my sister and I felt so pampered and love my nails.  

I've struggled with justifying buying new clothes for myself since losing weight as well. Part of it is fear that I'll gain all the weight back if I get something new, and part of it is feeling guilty for spending money on me. I've been slowly getting new items though and trying not to feel bad about it. Progress. 

My Faith is a Journey and it's All Mine 
I've spent a lot of this year struggling with my faith in one dimension or another. Whether that be with how to balance church responsibilities with everyday life, how to serve more, or how to better rely on my Savior. Every time I feel like I've mastered one aspect, something else gets thrown at me. My faith is a journey though and it's all mine; people can help me on it but I'm the one who has to do it which is a beautiful thing. I cherish the things I've learned and I'm not going to give up on learning. It's totally okay if my pace isn't the same as others. I'm learning that everyone is human and makes mistakes and we have to accept that. The truth that Christ is my Savior and that He atoned for me to be better isn't going to change no matter what someone else says or does to me. 

Marriage Rocks but Takes Work, I Am Not and Never Will Be a Perfect Wife, and That's Okay
 Being married to Sammy is awesome. We've had so many fun times giggling this year and done so many fun things like swim with dolphins. I'm learning that he's my best friend more and more and getting more close to him. At the same time, I've realized that my perfectionism is a major stumbling block in getting even closer. For some reason I expect myself to be perfect. When I'm not, I spend hours agonizing over my mistakes while Sammy has already forgiven me for them and most of the time forgotten them. I sit there in the past while he's moved on. I'm learning to forgive myself and give up all hopes of being the perfect wife, but of just being a better one and drawing closer to Sammy and God. 

How to Take Rejection
I've had quite a bit of rejection this year. I've sent two books out into the publishing world, along with entered a huge writing contest. So far, all I've gotten are no's on my writing. I've realized that I can take rejection in three's, the first two I can brush it off but the third is when it really hits. I've questioned whether I can be a writer so many times this past year. Yet, I keep on doing it. I have to. No amount of no's is going to make these stories stop begging to be written, and then revised a million times. No amount is going to take away that small ounce of hope that maybe, just maybe, this will be the time.

Sweet notes like the above also help me keep going. 

Those are a few of the things I've learned this year. There have been so many more, but this is what I was able to dump out before falling asleep. Tomorrow, I wake up twenty-four and super excited to see what I've learned a year from now. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Life Updates

It's been forever since I've written, so I thought I would give a little life update on Sammy and I. 

Sammy is going to graduate from school in December, and is currently studying for the GRE to go to grad school. He's thinking about getting his MPA, Masters in Public Administration. He's so excited to get his Bachelors since it's been a rough journey. I know he'll do great this last semester and can't wait to go to his graduation!

He's finishing up an internship with Congressman Perlmutter on Wednesday. He's learned so much in the office and has loved every minute of it. He was able to take pictures at Veteran memorials, visit farmers to talk about water conservation, visit schools implementing new programs, and take phone calls from constituents. He received some pretty funny phone calls, one man was worried the the world was going to turn into Terminator. 

Sammy was set apart as the Elder's Quorum president yesterday. I know that he's going to do great and learn a lot. It's crazy to think that he was only baptized three years ago, and now where he is. Sammy has been so humble and ready to serve and it's been amazing to watch. Everyone was so loving and supportive yesterday and it really helped ease my fears. We're not alone in this and we have our ward family.

We actually thought he was going to get this calling a few months ago and we were both freaking. out. When he was called to second counselor, a high councilman gave him the calling, but a few months ago the Stake President himself called. When he said it was first counselor, we were both so relieved and President Moon asked us why. We explained we thought it was the president and he gave us a funny look. 

Two months later, Sammy and I sat in his office again and President Moon said President this time. I know that it was the right time for Sammy to receive this call because I felt no nerves going into President Moon's office, where the previous time I'd been a mess. President Moon laughed saying he wasn't sure what Sammy would say since we'd been so relieved to not have this calling two months ago. I know that Heavenly Father prepared both of us in that two month span though to be ready for this. 

The last month was hard with everyone asking Sammy if he knew who the next President was going to be. He did, but we couldn't say anything. I was able to keep the secret from my parents for two weeks though, which is pretty impressive for me. 

As for me, I finished editing my teen murder mystery last week and submitted it to the contest PitchWars. In this contest you submit a summary of your novel along with the first chapter to six mentors. If one of the mentors picks you, they'll help you tune up your novel for a month, then help you send it to agents. A lot of people get book deals from this contest, so I'm really hoping that I get picked. I won't know until August 25th, so the waiting is driving me nuts. 

If I don't get chosen, I still have a pretty decent draft of my book. I'll do another round of edits and send it out to agents myself. I've been re-reading the Harry Potter books in the meantime because my writing brain is tired; I've written four drafts of this book in eight months. 

Work is going alright. I'm not too shocked by what comes in the door anymore and I've learned to let go of things that I can't control which has really helped. 

I found out I have IBS a few months ago and I'm working on figuring out what makes my stomach upset so I can avoid those things. So far, it's been frozen yogurt and ice cream. Since cutting those out of my diet, I've felt a lot better and have had less panic attacks. The only thing that is difficult is going out with friends, since everyone wants to meet up for those foods. ;)

I've been working out and eating better the last year and I finally fit back into my wedding dress, something I had honestly given up on. When I started working out, it wasn't even for weight loss, it was to help with my anxiety. Now, I have less anxiety and am finally back at a healthy weight. I totally want to do a photo shoot in my dress, but Sammy is all photo-ed out from our anniversary shoot a few months ago.

A few weeks ago Sammy and I were driving to the temple, blasting Imagine Dragons with the windows down and I just realized how happy I feel. I did not feel like that at all the beginning of the year. Things are definitely not perfect and I have rough days, but I'm really happy. Life with Sammy is great, I'm chasing my dream, we have great family and friends, and we're just doing the best we can.