Before Baby Comes Check-List

I’m 16 weeks (4 months) along now and I recently sat down with my boss to discuss my maternity leave plan. After that meeting I started to feel a little panicked. There was so much to do at work before November comes and it suddenly seemed right around the corner. This of course led me to start thinking, “is there a ton of things to do in our personal life before the baby comes that we haven’t thought of yet”?

I scoured the internet for hours looking for pregnancy to-do lists and pre-baby prep lists. The more I looked through the more frustrated I got. List after list containing to-do items like “drink lots of water”, “get plenty of rest” and “pamper yourself with a pedicure”. That’s cute, and all well and good if you’re looking for a sweet list to remind you to take a piss every couple hours. I was looking for a serious pre-baby check list. One with actual necessity items not all this fluffy sh**!

I couldn’t find a single list containing the types of serious items I was looking for…¬†I was able to gain a few ideas here and there but no comprehensive list. Could I possibly be the first person to ever want a serious, no frills pre-baby checklist? I doubt it.

I decided to create my own list! I surveyed my friends, family and co-workers, looking for items I haven’t thought of yet. I am a first time parent after all, I can’t expect to know it all. Below is the list I have put together for myself, though I’m sure it will continue to grow a bit. Hopefully others find this helpful as well. If you have items I’ve missed please share!

  • Sign up for birthing and newborn care classes.
  • Plan the nursery space and take measurements.
  • Research daycares in our area.
  • Research baby products safety and consumer reviews.
  • Create a labor contact list.
  • Register for baby shower gifts.
  • Take a hospital tour.
  • Create a birth plan.
  • Paint and set up nursery.
  • Pack a hospital go bag. (Items for me, husband and baby)
  • Prepare our pets for the new arrival.
  • Buy and Install carseats.
  • Wash all of the baby clothes.
  • Deep clean the house.
  • Make freezer meals.

 

Of course if it’s important to you, don’t forget to get a pedicure ūüėČ

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Pregnancy Panic

We (Myself, my husband, and all of our family and friends)¬†released a collective sigh of relief once we made it past the terrifying first trimester of pregnancy. I naively expected to be able to sit back, relax and watch my belly grow…

If I had truly thought long and hard about it I would have realized that conforming your body to hold a whole new person inside an already pretty cramped space wouldn’t be easy or comfortable. But I was so relived that our baby lived through the first trimester I hadn’t thought about anything else.¬†We had learned to protect ourselves after the first loss, by the second and third we almost expected the losses when they came. So this baby was no different. We couldn’t allow ourselves to get excited, to get attached to something we couldn’t keep. We did everything we could to give this baby a fighting chance but we never let ourselves believe that it would be ok. Then, all of a sudden we were at twelve weeks. Our high risk doctor cleared us to be transferred to a regular OBGYN and assured us that our baby was still doing great…

The first few weeks of the second trimester were spent trying to wrap our heads around the idea that our baby was healthy and strong. The excitement and¬†sudden reality¬†of the future overwhelmed us. We are going to be parents… Our baby is going to live…

Then the sharp pains in my lower abdomen started… We panicked,¬†my husband was suggesting the emergency room but I decided to wait it out and call the doctor in the morning. My thoughts were consumed with “It’s happening again”,¬†“we got excited too soon”, and “please survive baby”. ¬†I called the advice line at my doctors office. I explained in great detail to the nurse what was happening. She asked me a thousand questions and told me she would talk to my doctor and call me back. That had to be the longest two hours of my life…

I got the call back and was immediately concerned by the chipper note in her voice. How could she dare be peppy while my baby dies inside me… Then she said the words I hadn’t even dared to hope for, “What you are feeling is perfectly normal”. She went on to explain “round ligament pain” and gave some suggestions of how to calm it. Stretching regularly, warm baths, plenty of rest. I was flabbergasted, could it really be that simple?

Once I got off the phone I researched round ligament pain and started laughing uncontrollably at my own fearful overreaction. The description of round ligament pain was almost word for word what I had described to the nurse. My symptoms were textbook second trimester ailments. “Round ligament pain is a sharp pain or jabbing feeling often felt in the lower belly or groin area on one or both sides. It is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy and is considered a normal part of pregnancy. It is most often felt during the second trimester”. It went on to describe what can bring it on, detailing the exact situations during which I had felt my own pain. I felt elated and like an idiot at the same time. My baby was fine! Still healthy, strong and growing. I couldn’t believe I had jumped to the worst possible scenario, I felt very foolish.

This experience opened my eyes to the reality I face for the next six months. Of course it will be painful and difficult to expand my body to make room for this whole other person. There will be a million new feelings and sensations I will be experiencing as my entire body changes. There is no good in jumping to the worst case scenario, though I will admit I will still probably call my doctor far more often than is truly needed. Better safe than sorry.

Pregnancy is hard. It should be, I’m making a person from scratch after all.

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Baby Fortner Announcement!

13 Week Ultrasound

That’s right! We are bringing a person into this world!

For those of you that don’t know our history here is a little background.
My husband and I have been trying to have a baby since we got married about¬†five years ago. We succeeded in getting pregnant three times each time ending in a first trimester miscarriage. In 2016 we starting seeing an infertility and recurrent miscarriage specialist. She made some suggestions based on weeks of tests. The last few months of 2016 and the first couple months of 2017 hit us hard in terms of house issues and medical emergencies. We followed the doctors suggestions but didn’t have the opportunity to put them to the test. We decided we didn’t know what our future held medically so we made an appointment for insemination¬†for June 2017.

That brings us to February 2017 when life calmed down a little. My husband was getting better and able to come home again and our newly purchased house was now safe to live in. I will say my birthday is in late February and my husbands birthday is in early March. We had been apart for quite a while at this point and had a lot of celebrating to do! Fast forward to March 17th, ST Patrick’s Day.¬†I was 1 day late for my period and I had a feeling I was pregnant. I took a test and low and behold!

Test

As I mentioned before we had been here before… This time we decided to not tell anyone until we made it past the danger zone (first trimester). We continued seeing the specialist through the first couple months. Where we were spoiled with weekly viewing sessions of our growing baby! Each week we dreaded the possibility of bad news and were ecstatic to see our healthy growing baby each time!¬†Finally the time had come… We were cleared as no longer high risk and were being transferred to a regular OBGYN. We could finally feel secure in the progress of our baby.

On Mother’s day (a day that has been very difficult and painful for me in the past) we shared our news with our families and friends!

Dog and Baby COLLAGE

The response was even more overwhelming than we had expected. For the last five years I had considered our battle to have a baby a strictly personal journey between my husband and I. I had failed to see how many people had been quietly but anxiously hoping and praying for us to succeed in our dream of becoming parents. While we felt so alone in our struggle, more people than we could have imagined were helping to hold us up.

We are extremely blessed to have a healthy baby on the way and such a strong and loving network to bring that baby into!¬† I will add more along that way as I can. here is a picture of my at 12 weeks, you can only image how big I am going to get before this is over…

12 week bump

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Project 365: March 2017

During the month of March what I learned most from this exercise is how much time I spend at work.

March 1st

March 1

March 2nd

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March 3rd

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March 4th

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March 21st

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March 22nd

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Our New Home!… Oops

I have lost count of how many times I have started and restarted this post over the last 7 months. Each time my outlook and feelings on the subject completely changed from the draft before. Seven months ago we sold our first house, our “Starter house” if you will and bought our second house. Days after we closed on the purchase I drafted a blog post that clearly shows my optimism and excitement. I held off on posting it only to take the time to add photos. Here is a snippet to give you an idea of how I was feeling…

August 2016: “One major change in my life recently has been the sale of our cookie cutter, ranch style home and the purchase of a quirky, 1940’s bungalow! Words cannot explain how over the moon I am about this new adventure. Since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of taking an old house and making it my own, piece by piece. The possibilities are endless and the pride of fixing it up, just my husband and I is unimaginable! I am going to spend far too much time on Pinterest… But in the end I hope to create something we will love and enjoy for many years to come! Of course I will share our DYI journey with all of you!”

In September we hired Lowes (they hired a 3rd party contractor) to build a cedar fence around our .21 acre yard. The contractor came and drew up designs for us and from that moment on came up with the most absurd excuses to not start the project. We requested a new contractor from Lowes and they provided one. He and his crew tore down the existing chain link fence and then proceeded to make excuses of why they weren’t going to show up or would only stay a short time. This contractor refused to talk with me and would only address my husband. Finally after weeks of waiting they finally finished and we were so desperate for them to be gone we ignored that fact that they didn’t fill in the holes they dug, clean up their materials or the work area. we found unused materials all over our yard and had to call Lowes to send a truck to remove it. We also found screws and nails all over the yard and drive way. At this same time Lowes sold the fridge we had paid for to someone else and informed us that the model was now discontinued so they couldn’t get another one. By the end of this I was still trying to be optimistic but was frustrated.

September 2016: “The fence is finally built after weeks of frustration and taking the dogs out on leashes several times a day. I have to admit though it looks fantastic! the cedar is beautiful and truly compliments the natural beauty of the yard. Our new appliances are in but Lowes sold our fridge out from under us so our fridge is not what we had wanted… We are working on painting the cabinets for the second time. Inexperienced as we are we forgot to sand them first!”

By October we had remodeled the kitchen and were very happy with the results. We were finally starting to get furniture and getting things unpacked. Then one Sunday morning we ambled down to our basement living room only to find the carpet sopping wet and no idea where the water was coming from. Eventually we discovered it was coming from the wall between the downstairs bathroom and one spare room. We immediately called our plumber and our insurance company. We managed to survive the few days our water was turned off and once the pipes were fixed they started ripping out the damaged walls and flooring. The pipes from our kitchen and bathrooms had burst, spewing water and sewage into our living space. A few days after this my husband was hospitalized for his chronic illness, (an episode worse than usually) this one lasting a month.  During the month of October we had scheduled a few other improvements as well. We had the dinning room rewired to include a chandelier at which time it was discovered that the electrical wiring in the upstairs was unsafe. He fixed it and completely rewired the bathroom as well. We also had a wood stove and new chimney installed. Our general contractor re-built the walls and installed the new bathroom vanity (the old one had to be thrown out due to sewage damage).  Keep in mind that during all of this I was trying to juggle Work, Contractors, my dogs and my husband in the Hospital. Most of the contractors were wonderful, only the wood stove/chimney contractors took advantage of me. My husband is the knowledgeable one in regards to home improvements so I assumed the contractors were doing what needed to be done in the appropriate way. When my husband was finally able to come home we discovered they had made the chimney too short and our house filled with smoke when we tried to use it. So he demanded they come back and build it to code.

October 2016: “I am seriously considering just burning it to the ground…”

In November the new carpet was installed down stairs by two very lazy installation guys. It was delayed and therefore got installed the day of my company holiday party and the day before my father in-law came to visit. They removed the steps from our spiral staircase to put the new carpet on then left without reinstalling them. Looking back now I’m sure it was an amusing sight to see me body slamming the stairs into the slots in a dress and heals, hair curled, makeup done up but at the time I was not amused. At this point we stepped back and took stock. Several unexpected issues came up and took immediate precedence. We had barely touched our wish list of improvements but on the upside the house was now safe to live in… Unfortunately we were also out of money.

November 2016: “What is wrong with societies work ethic? When did everyone start half assing their jobs? I would be unemployed if I treated my clients the way most of the contractors we have dealt with have treated us. At least it’s done! There is a lot more we want to do but we have spent all of the money we had set aside and then some… The cosmetic improvements will just have to wait.”

Little did I know the worst was yet to come. The house stayed as it was but in late December my husband lost the function in his legs. It was sudden and unexplained so he was back in the hospital but this time a specialty hospital 30 miles away from home. After the hospital he couldn’t come home because a wheelchair wouldn’t fit through our hall ways and he couldn’t manage the stairs. I had to tour and pick a nursing home for my 33 year old husband. It was a terrifying and depressing experience I hope to never relive. Eventually he was able to come home, through physical therapy he was able to walk again over time. My bitterness for the house that kept my husband in a nursing home was well rooted by then.

February 2017: “This house was a mistake. I won’t stay here longer than absolutely necessary. Denver (my husband) and I have decided to sell our house, buy land and build the house of our dreams. We never again want to buy a house full of horrible surprises and waste every penny we have trying to make it work. We will instead build what we want!”

I will still post the before and after pictures of the improvements we made. I will also be sure to blog the entire process of building our forever home! In the end the universe gave us sign after sign that this house isn’t right for us and we are going to listen. Wish my luck on our newest adventure!!

 

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Project 365: Feb 23rd – Feb 28th 2017

This gallery contains 3 photos.

6 days down, 359 to go. So far the hardest part is picking my favorite picture from each day. As you will see below some days I couldn’t choose just one. February 23rd 2017 February 24th 2017 February 25th 2017 … Continue reading

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Project 365: Photography Challenge

Today I turn 29 years old. As my twenties come to an end and I prepare to embark on the adventures that my thirties are sure to bring, I find myself reminiscing more than I do on most birthdays. During my twenties my life completely changed, many times over. Who I am changed, many times over. I doubt that any other decade of my life will be as transformative as my twenties. I have this one remaining year and I plan to make the most of it!

I have decided to participate in Project 365. If you aren’t aware, Project 365 is the challenge of taking one photo everyday for a year. Do you remember what happened to you¬†on November 10th 2016? I don’t, I barely remember yesterday. For my last year being a twenty-something I vow to photo document at least one aspect of my life each day until I turn 30!

I have a few reasons for taking up this challenge.

  1. I think it’s a fun way to close this chapter of my life.
  2. I’ve been looking for a new way to freshen up my photography skills.
  3. I hope it will motivate me to get out of the house more.

I will post my photos for the previous month¬†here on my blog on the first of each new month. I’m excited to see what this year holds for me and how it all comes through the lens.

 

If you want to start your own Project 365 challenge let me know. I would love to follow along through your pictures as well! If you want a more formatted platform here are some sites dedicated to the challenge.
https://365project.org/
https://www.blipfoto.com/
http://momentile.com/

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Everyday Mental Health

I have always believed that happiness is a choice. Bad things happen to everyone and life sucks sometimes, it is up to each of us to choose to find happiness despite what life hands us. Lately I¬†have been wondering, where is the line between choosing to find the good in life and pretending to be happy when you aren’t… 2016 (and 2015 and 2014 and 2013…) has been a very challenging year, and 2017 hasn’t started any better.¬†I have lost count of how many people have commented on how strong and positive I am despite¬†the circumstances in my life. On the outside I present a positive, bubbly, happy persona. On the inside I’m drowning in fear and solitude, chocking on stress and despair. I tell myself that the smile on my face is how I choose happiness but the smile is not for me, it’s an act for others.

Let’s be honest. When a co-worker or acquaintance greets you with “How are you?” most of the time they don’t really want to know. It’s not a sincere inquiry into your well being, it’s a hello.¬†A truthful response makes people uncomfortable. The response they want from you (if they even wait around to hear a response) is “I’m good, how are you?”. It’s easier to smile and provide the socially acceptable reply but is it healthy? What effect does the detached, self-absorbed society we live in have on our mental health?

Uh oh, hear we go with another rant about the mental health crisis in America… Hold on, before you click off to a¬†riveting¬†buzzfeed video about different types of spanx, let me explain. I’m not talking about schizophrenia or clinical depression. I want to discuss the everyday mental health of your average Joe (or Josie).¬†The idea of “Mental Health” comes with a stigma of crazy people screaming¬†on street corners or the need for padded rooms and straight jackets. In reality we all need to be aware of our own metal health. Stress is a fact of life, no one is immune and some stress is healthy. On the other hand chronic stress is not only damaging, it’s dangerous. Denying to yourself that you are overwhelmed by stress or the need to appear strong and self-sufficient to others can put you at risk for illnesses, diseases, depression, and damage to your brain. When you have a cold, no one judges you¬†for taking cold medicine and resting. Doctors urge everyone to eat right and exercise; to put effort into protecting a healthy body. No one expects physical health to be a natural given, requiring no effort or thought. We all understand the steps required to keep our bodies healthy and we all make our own choices about taking (or not taking) those steps. Mental health is the same but not viewed this way in our society. It is¬†subconsciously accepted and an incredibly unrealistic belief that if you aren’t happy and stress free with no effort, there¬†must be¬†something “wrong” with you. It only makes since that mental health requires equal attention and effort as physical health to maintain.

We all need to be aware of our own true¬†mental state¬†and be prepared with coping mechanisms to better handle what life throws at us. Whether that be a challenging job, an unhappy family life, loss, illness or a life altering trauma. We will all be faced with more than we can handle. Will you be ready? I still struggle personally with my mental well being but I’m taking steps to improve my coping skills and live a happier life.¬†If the suggestions here can help enlighten even one person, I will have exceeded my goal.

  1. Self Awareness – The first and most difficult step on the road to everyday mental health is self awareness. You can’t improve if you aren’t honest and open with yourself. Becoming self aware is incredibly difficult and can take years to truly accomplish. Each person will find themselves in different ways but here are some basic first steps.
    • Evaluation – Most of us have had to do an annual evaluation at work. Think of this step as that on a deeper level. Make a list of accomplishments, failures, positive personality traits, negative personality traits, strengths, weaknesses, desires, fears, goals, what you enjoy, what you dislike, etc. Gain feedback from people close to you if you feel comfortable doing so (or better yet step out of your comfort zone). explain your need for brutal honesty and add some trusted outside perspective to your list.
    • Analysis – look over your list. Analyze why you are who you are. Why you do what you do. Don’t make excuses or criticize yourself, just look at the facts objectively.¬†Find patterns and behaviors you didn’t realize were a part of you.
    • Meditation – ok, ok I can see the eye roll from here… Meditation is not a one size fits all practice. It doesn’t necessarily have to be sitting cross legged on the floor clearing your mind of all thoughts. Just sit quietly for a couple minutes to start out. Don’t try to think of nothing, try counting your breaths or evaluating how each part of your body feels¬†in that moment. As you gain practice and meditate longer and deeper start detaching yourself of your thought. Simply let your mind go as it will and observe where it leads you. You can learn a lot about yourself by simply observing your minds natural tendencies.
    • Acceptance – Don’t judge yourself. Accept who you are, good, bad and indifferent. Create realistic goals for self improvement but don’t dwell on your “flaws”. Self awareness is not so you can change who you are, it’s so you can accept who you are and be honest with yourself in all things.
  2. Take Control of Your Own Life – I categorize stress in two ways. Stress that happens to you and stress you create. Both are under your control. Stress that you create, you can change. Stress that happens to you can be dealt with and processed. For example, let’s say you have a decent job but never seem to have enough money. Living paycheck to paycheck is stress you create. Evaluate your spending habits, create a budget and eliminate the costs in your life that you don’t need. Stress that happens to you is not something we can avoid, but we can decide how to handle it. For example, imagine someone you love gets sick or dies. This isn’t something you can change but the choice to deal with it in a healthy way or not is yours. Don’t let stress control you. Evaluate the stresses in your life and take the control back!
  3. Find a Healthy Outlet – While acknowledging the stresses in life is important,¬†dwelling on life problems can¬†do just as much damage as avoiding them. If you find yourself overwhelmed, take a break. Do something you enjoy that relaxes you. It can be painting, gardening, kickboxing, cooking, cleaning, etc. Stay away from false relaxations like alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. these provide only a false suspension of reality that only steers you to avoidance of the issue. A healthy outlet is not a solution, it’s a break from the analysis of the problem. Don’t turn your outlet into your crutch.
  4. Talk to Someone – Don’t try to cope alone. Talk to a friend, a family member or a professional. Talk to someone who will listen and support you. Maybe they will offer advice and maybe they won’t. Don’t place expectations on them in regards to the response you want or fixing your problem. Simply talk to someone and let it be enough to say the words out loud. Don’t keep it bottled up. We are only human and we can’t do it alone.
  5. Take an Interest in Others – Sometimes perspective is all we really need. Volunteer¬†with a¬†charity for those less fortunate than you. Take a sincere interest in your friends and co-workers lives. Be the shoulder to lean on for someone else in need. I strongly believe that troubles in others lives in no way minimize the troubles in your own life or vice versa, we all have our burden to bare. But often times helping to lighten the load of someone else’s burden can add much needed perspective to our own lives.
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My Advice: Moving Day!

moving

No one has ever wished they had an excuse to pack up everything they own in boxes and haul them across town, the state or even the country… No One!

Moving can be stressful… Trust me I know! We are currently moving out of our first home and into our (hopefully) forever home! While we are excited to be taking this next step in our family journey, the process is less than appealing. Between a lazy loan officer, an unresponsive appraiser and impatient sellers, getting into our new house has been one frustration after another.

The process is rarely painless but moving¬†doesn’t have to be a disaster that causes you to rip your hair out. Focus on what you CAN control and hope for the best with the rest.

Here are my top 10 suggestions for making your move as enjoyable as possible!

 

  1. Start Early!
    It can sometimes be difficult to get started but don’t procrastinate! Start packing as soon as you decide to move. Even if you don’t know where you are going yet or when you have to leave. Start with the things you definitely won’t need, family heirlooms, d√©cor items, ect. The longer you wait, the more stressful it will be to rush at the end.
  2. Make Lists!
    I know not everyone loves lists as much as I do, but trust me this is the time to start! Some key lists to have are; Daily needs list, pack last list, two weeks prior list. These lists will help to remind you what NOT to pack so you don’t have to dig through boxes to find things you packed too soon.
  3. Beg For Boxes!
    You can buy boxes at any home improvement store… But should you? If you work in an office talk to the IT department and the person who orders supplies first. You can also ask your local grocery store for boxes. Don’t forget to ask any friends and¬†family members¬†that have moved recently for any discarded boxes they may have lying around.¬†These boxes will just be recycled if you don’t grab ’em up! Most places are happy to give them away so don’t be afraid to ask!
  4. Go Room By Room!
    Most people will tell you to start with the kitchen but I prefer to start with the least used room. I started with the guest room first and moved into our home office next. I packed as much as I reasonably could from each room before moving on to the next. Before you know it half of your house will be packed, with time to spare!
  5. Make A “Do Not Keep” Pile!
    What happens to this pile is entirely up to you but its inevitable that you will find things you don’t want or need as you pack. Don’t transfer clutter from one house to the next. If you had forgotten you had it, and never missed it, get rid of it! Make a pile for these things and donate them to the needy or pack them together in their own boxes to include in a garage sale at your new house!
  6. Label, Label, Label!
    Of course you have to label your boxes but as someone from a family that shares and reuses boxes from household to household, let me tell you writing on the actual box is not the best plan! Eventually it will be impossible to determine which label is the current label… Instead use a post it or any 5X5 note pad paper to write your label and then tape over it with packing tape as you seal your box. Also label inside the box! Label charges, electrical cords, and hardware removed from other items so you can easily figure out what goes where. Also don’t forget to label the sides of the boxes as well as the top! Once boxes are stacked on top of each other that top label won’t be much help…
  7. Don’t Pack It Too Heavy!
    It seems efficient to pack all like things in one box but it’s anti-productive to pack boxes so full of heavy dishes that you can’t lift it. Instead pack a box half full of heavy items and fill the rest with towels, sheets or clothes. Your back will thank you!
  8. Invite Friends and Family!
    This one¬†we learned the hard way… Don’t wait until the week before your moving date to ask people to help you move. If you decide not to hire professional movers be sure to give your friends and family plenty of warning. The typical fee expected for helping you move will be pizza and beer but it can also be a lot more fun to make a party out of moving with people you like than some moving company employees you don’t know…
  9. Give Your Service Providers A Heads Up!
    Of course you will need to call your cable, internet and utility providers to cancel current services and provide your forwarding address. Don’t forget to also forward your mail through the post office and inform all other companies billing you (car payments, credit cards, insurance company, ect). You should also make one last appointment to see your doctor and your dentist. At this appointment inform them of your move and sign a release waiver to have your medical records transferred to your new doctor and dentist. If you haven’t found a new provider yet, ask for any references they may know of¬†in¬†your new area.
  10. Don’t Forget Your Pets!
    Moving is hard and stressful for you but don’t forget that your pets have it even worse. They can sense your stress and they can tell things are changing but they don’t understand what’s happening or why. If possible take your pets to a friends house for a play date on moving day to keep them out of they way and occupied. When you bring them to their new home, give them time and space to adjust without pressuring them to move too quickly.

 

Don’t forget to have fun! You are moving on to your next exciting adventure, start it with a positive attitude! Don’t sweat the small stuff and avoid the big issues with a little planning. My husband and I are so excited to be starting this next chapter of our life and I can’t wait to share it all with you!

 

 

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It’s Ok to not be OK

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Over the last several months the universe seems to have¬†been against me. I had to focus on keeping my head above water and just trying to get by. I was dealt more than I thought I could handle¬†and I needed to put myself aside¬†to be the rock for my family despite what I was going through.¬†I had to put this blog on a shelf but the time has come to bring it back! I can see the light through the forest, though life is still very hard right now I truly believe it is starting to turn around. I also realize through all of this that neglecting my own needs doesn’t help anyone.

I am a firm believer in looking on the bright side. It could always be worse, other people have it worse. While I still believe we should try to find the good in any bad situation, I have also come to learn that it’s ok to feel bad for yourself. It’s ok to accept and grieve for the troubles you are going through. Don’t wallow in your self pity but¬†don’t¬†ignore your feelings either.

Self awareness is a valuable skill everyone needs to improve. I have strived for as long as I can remember to a be strong and positive person at all times. This is an unrealistic and unfair expectation. No one can bare the world on their shoulders alone. I pushed through and forced myself to be “ok” until so much built up that the dam broke and for days I could do nothing but cry. My initial reaction to this was embarrassment. My coworkers, my family and friends, strangers, had all seen my breakdown. I felt weak and pitiful for not being able to carry my burden alone. As I apologized for my weakness I learned that I was the only one judging me for my breakdown. I started to realize that trying so hard to be strong and pretending for so long to be “ok” were the stepping stones to my downfall.

It’s Ok to not be Ok! I urge you to learn from my mistake. We all have struggles but mine don’t make yours any less real. The¬†pain of people less fortunate than me don’t make mine any less painful. Sometimes life sucks, that is true for every living soul. Never feel guilty or weak for not being strong enough to carry your burden alone. If you could easily handle it, you wouldn’t learn from it. When someone asks if you are ok, be honest. If you feel like you are drowning, seek help. Don’t wait for your breaking point. Do what you need to do to get through it.

 

I know this post was a bit of a downer but it needed to be said. Now that I’m back, exciting posts are on the horizon! For those of you who love the DYI stuff, stay tuned! Big things are coming!

Have the day you’re going to have, but try to find the rays of sunshine hiding out there!

 

 

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