Waiting

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I started my blog as an opportunity to share my journey growing in to my new role as a wife early this year. The goal was to always be transparent, share the blessings and the struggles in hopes of inspiring people along the way. I have always connected to women who are upfront with how they got to where they are. I have always admired women who are honest, made me feel like we were life long gal-pals, even if I was reading their blog from my couch thousands of miles away.

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Nick and I have been married almost a year. A moment and blessing I will never take for granted. Leading up to engagement, everyone wanted to know when we would get married. After we were engaged, everyone wanted to know when the wedding would be. Beginning the night of our wedding, the questions about when we would start a family started to come. Although sometimes frustrating, it is always to be expected.

You imagine announcing your news of pregnancy very similar to the pictures you see on Pinterest. “We are expecting!!”… “Brielle is going to be a big sister!!” I have a whole Pinterest board full of those day dreams, “How and when am I going to share this on Pinterest?” But God had other plans for us, for now.

We found out we were expecting on July 2nd. A March 2017 arrival date. An overwhelming emotion seeing 2 pink lines, as I am sure any mother would tell you. Who am I going to tell? When do I tell my Mom? You try your hardest to not blow up Pinterest, because you know, there is always a chance this isn’t God’s timing. I quickly called the doctor, scheduled appointments, and in we went July 7th for a “confirmation appointment”. Which really is just a series of questions, a ton of blood work, and another pregnancy test in the office with more double pink lines.

Waiting… more waiting… and trying to not blurt out the news to everyone I encountered.

Our 8 week appointment took forever to come. Our first ultrasound was scheduled July 28th. I waited what felt like FOREVER. I will spare the details of where we parked, how long we waited, what I ate, etc. There was excitement, there was emotion, and I couldn’t wait to have a selfie of my little one. 

The Doctor started the ultrasound, but it wasn’t as I had dreamed all the weeks leading up to that day. I knew as soon as she flipped that screen around, something was wrong. She started to stumble over her words a little, I think even she was surprised. We had just talked about how healthy I was, no medications, no preexisting conditions. You know, all of those things I feel I work very hard for. It’s easy to think you’re in control of everything, but we cannot forget everything is in His timing. Her delivery was a little choppy, “O, okay, Anna. Well, you see, there on the screen is a sac, but there is no baby… it’s okay. let’s keep checking!” She placed her hand on my knee to comfort me and continued to give me an ultrasound tour of my body. “There is your bladder…..” and then she centered the camera again, “there is the sac.” Empty.

She began to explain to me what could be going on.  I am sure I had zombie face, deer in headlights, because she went and got Nick. She began to explain to us both that this could be one of three things. The positive, maybe it’s just too early to see anything and I am 2 weeks off on my calculations of my last period. The second, this could be a Blighted Ovum (later put in simple terms a missed miscarriage). The body stopped reproducing the baby because something went wrong, but the rest of the body hasn’t caught on and naturally miscarried. The third and worst, the baby is growing outside of the sac, possibly in your tubes. To know for sure we would need to do a series of blood work every other day to watch my pregnancy hormones and go back in a week for another ultrasound. 

using Proverbs31 during the time of miscarriage

I prayed and prayed for option #1, I am just too early. I had seen a woman post on Facebook months ago that this EXACT thing happened to her and 36 hours later there was a baby with a heartbeat. I prayed! The blood work levels started to come in though over the next few days, revealing only a tiny increase in HCG levels. Waiting that week for an ultrasound was long, still experiencing pregnancy symptoms, watching my HCG levels just come to an abrupt stop.

Fast forward, August 4th would be the big day for my next ultrasound. With my blood work not being encouraging, I expected the news we got. There was no progression. Still a sac, still no baby. My tubes looked clear, the only positive news we got that day. BUT! They wanted to wait another week before diagnosing me formally with a missed miscarriage.

The RN, who got to be the deliverer of bad news, explained missed miscarriage. The baby stopped developing, most likely a chromosome issue, but the rest of the body hasn’t caught on to naturally miscarry. They have assured us, this was nothing we did wrong, nothing we could have stopped, it happens. 1:4 women experience miscarriage of some kind, it’s just something we don’t really talk about it. Most women go on to have healthy pregnancies after a miscarriage.

So this is where we sit today. Blood work showed again a 6% increase in levels over 3 days, which should have been 75%. Waiting is hard, it’s like slow torture. I have morning sickness symptoms, vivid crazy dreams, thoughts about what’s ahead, and emotional pain. There is a lot of praying, asking God to make sense of all of this, mixed with trying not to worry.

In the mix of all of this, I experienced my first “you guys need to start trying to have kids!” from someone, too. A statement we hear often as couple, but it never hit as hard as it did that day. I have always been surprised, okay maybe a little irritated by the “should” and the “need to” opinions we receive from other people about starting a family. This time was much different of course. Quietly holding back tears and just trying to not make the other person feel awkward, “yep, we will soon!”

Sometimes the strongest among us are those who smile through silent pain and win battles nobody knows about

We sit, we pray, we wait, we hope for the best. Opening up about this journey was a tough decision. I have prayed over it for a week and here I am taking the plunge Friday morning, writing. Sharing personally with some women, I have received some incredible support AND I have been surprised by the women that say “I went through the same exact thing before I had (insert their child’s name here!)” HOPE! Pure hope and feeling understood. I pray to God I can give that same hope to the next woman who feels this pain.

We are praying for a positive journey. The most incredible thing said to me this last week was from another mom. She said, “Anna, God has a baby for you!! I know this is difficult and hard to understand, but trust that God has such a huge plan for your life and something great will come out of this crazy time.” That’s what keeps my feet moving. Sometimes we don’t understand in the moment why God chose us for the struggle, but we rest on knowing He has a plan and He is good.

I choose to continue to pray for strength and comfort. I choose to continue to pray for positive people to encourage me. I choose to pray to love those who tend to stick their foot in their mouths, whether they know or not.

We choose to pray for peace. We pray that the same incredible grace that’s been extended to us when we feel hurt, be also extended to our family during this time, too.

I choose to be transparent, not for sympathy, but for prayers and to help other women know they aren’t alone. I choose to be the one who opens up about being a part of this 1:4 statistic we face in the world to ignite a feeling of support.

Do not lose hope quotes for encouragement

There’s no true way of knowing what the future holds, but we have such assurance knowing there is a plan. Life is a journey, trials present themselves in various ways. For some people, it is miscarriage or trouble starting a family. For others it is health scares, accidents, or financial burden. There is no one trial greater than the other. It truly is just all a part of a greater plan that sometimes, we don’t understand.

Right now, praying through the waiting. 

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What a “joke” taught me about my worth!

Proverbs31.25
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I’m currently starting to write this blog post from a spin bike at the gym. It’s 3:00pm in the afternoon and way outside my routine. Normally, if only make my way to the gym around 6 in the morning. Before work, before the rush of gym goers, & with enough hours in the day to allow my pre-workout to burn off.

So why am I here and WHY am I writing this post? Well, because I have a lot of heartache about the reason why I’m here at 3:00PM. In no way do I regret being here. In fact, I’m happy I’m here because I truly is one step closer to my goals. However, like everyone else, I’m sometimes motivated by things that don’t deserve my energy. It’s necessary to acknowledge that I am here not because I WANT to, but because I feel obligated to.

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I’m pretty open about preaching women empowerment and self development. It’s my main purpose in life, to empower other women to find the beauty in themselves and live life with intention.

I’m here today, later than usual because of an insecurity someone brought up in me yesterday by telling me “Woah, you better get to the gym!”. Insecurity central, right? A little history, if you haven’t read, last week we adopted a new dog. Basically we adopted a new routine. Leading up to last week, I’ve found myself lost in personal development in the morning. Strengthening my faith, reading books, enjoying some time to reflect. I will admit, my gym attendance has been anything but consistent, but some days I become lost in reading. Before I know it, it’s time to get ready for work and the gym doesn’t fit my schedule that day. My inner mean girl has done a lot of negative self talk about “you should be at the gym? You have failed.”

Yesterday I was told, after a reference to my bottom, that I better get to the gym. Another woman told me this and I’ll tell you the last 24 hours have left me in a tailspin. Why?!

Well, because I’ve already beat myself up a little for the lack of consistently getting to the gym. I didn’t need another critic, my inner mean girl does enough of that for me. Why did it bother me so much, is the real question? Welp, because it immediately surfaced that “I’m not good enough” inner mean girl. I’m finding my balance and while I haven’t totally mastered it yet, I was comfortable with the give and take. Until yesterday!

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There’s a reason I write this post from a spin bike in the gym. The reason is to ask YOU a question I’m having to ask myself, who decides your worth?! Words have the power of life or death, remember that before you answer this question.

Really… Who are we allowing to take so much energy from us based on their negativity and judgment? Let’s take the passive route. Maybe let’s call it a “harmless joke”. We tend to do that a lot in our current culture, brush off the adult mean girl words as “just a joke”. Ever been there? Ever heard someone justify their negativity as a “joke”. That “joke” can sometimes impact our whole day… Our whole week… Our whole lives! WORDS create a cycle of insecurity, self doubt, unhealthy obsession, hurt, you name it, WORDS can cause more harm if used irresponsibly.

WORDS can also leave us empowered, inspired, motivated, and change lives. WORDS, when used responsibly can give LIFE!!

I want to point out what it means to be empowering… What it means to be a part of a movement our world desperately needs! It means, lifting people up! Lifting people up with positive reinforcement, not snarky”jokes” or negative, passive comments. It means empowering other women to continue on the quest to finding their best selves.

So I ask again, who decides your worth?! I’m thinking as I write… God and I decide my worth FIRST! My God created me in HIS image. He doesn’t look and me and say “Wow, Anna, booty is getting a little deflated! Better up the squats and protein!” He looks at me and says, ” My Daughter, I’m so proud you’re working to become a more faithful, empowered you!”.

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I’ve been HERE before, guys! I’ve spent months… Maybe even years KILLING myself in the gym to create an image that was acceptable to someone else. Former perfectionist. I’ve given up sleep, become obsessive over an “ideal body”… An idea body defined by someone else. I have sought out validation from other humans almost my entire life. Smart enough, fit enough, strong enough, liked enough. I have been there! When really, God is who decides my “enough”, it’s up to me to live His purpose for my life.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love the gym, exercise, or having confidence in my physique. What I’m saying is, I LOVE self acceptance. I LOVE women who can make a decision about what is more important at any given moment. Some days reading a book is more important than a calorie burned. Sometimes a cupcake with a friend, is more important than worrying about what it will do to my butt. Some days, finding your own balance means learning a new routine. I’m here to say, stand up against the adult bullying and instead build one another up.

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Be supportive. In our world, we need MORE women to lock arms together and fight for discovery, not destruction. Who CARES what YOU think I look like in pants… We’ve become so concerned about what “she” looks like in pants or that top… Or what “she” should or shouldn’t be wearing on her vacation… Or what “she” decides to do as a career goal. Be the change and stop the criticism. Cheer her on! Use words responsibly. You don’t have to understand it. You might not even believe in it… But we need to shift our thoughts and words to say “you go, sister! You dream as big as you want! You be who God has called you to be! Let’s change the world!”

22 min on a spin bike and a whole lot of my heart left lying on this blog post! Be the change you wish to see in the world, Sister! Life is too short to judge and criticize. Let’s empower one another and support one another! Amen?!
Xo, AP

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Summer Fling:: Guest Post, Glitter It Gold

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I have asked Amanda from GlitterItGold to share a post this week with you all. Amanda is sharing a summer cocktail using my favorite, grapefruit! Take it away, Amanda!

Hey there! I’m Amanda from over at GlitterItGold. Today I am sharing with you one of my favorite summery cocktails. I’m calling it the Summer Fling because Grapefruit, St. Germaine and Gin Cocktail is a mouthful. I never used to be a gin lover until recently. No two gins are the same, so if you don’t think you like gin, just keep sampling new brands because you never know if you’ll find one you will like. The gin that changed my mind was Martin Millers, but I also love Hendricks. If any of you are gin lovers and have a brand you love please tag me in the comments so I can try it! AmandaGlitterItGold4
This particular cocktail uses Hendricks because it is made using rose petals, cucumber, and elderflower for an extra floral taste. This cocktail is floral and herby, yet spirit forward and still light. It gets its sweetness from St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, one of my absolute favorites. If you haven’t tried it, please buy a bottle, I promise you will want to put it in everything. I had three different cocktails I was debating sharing with you and two of the three have St. Germaine. I settled on this one because it is easy to make and the ingredients are not hard to find. If you like your cocktails a little sweeter you could easily add some simple syrup, or increase the St. Germaine. If you like your drinks not so strong just top with a little extra soda water.AmandaGlitterItGold3
Let’s talk about bitters. If you haven’t used them before I urge you to invest in a bottle of it. It helps to balance and round out the flavors in a cocktail, it’s like the umami quotient but for cocktails. Start with Angostura bitters, the most common, and branch out from there. I used Cardamom bitters in this cocktail to add to the herbal quality, but aromatic bitters would also be great.
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This cocktail is perfect for summer, and has a fancy, refined flavor that will impress your guests but lacks the sugar and artificial flavors of many other summertime beverage options so it won’t mess up the healthy diet and workout program Anna has you on. You could even make a large pitcher of it and just add the soda water after pouring for summer brunch or barbeques, or Father’s Day Weekend!

Recipe:

2 oz Hendricks gin

1 ½ oz St. Germaine

3 dashes Cardamom bitters

2 oz Grapefruit juice

Splash of Soda Water (about 1-2 ounces depending on your preference)

2-3” Grapefruit peel for garnish

Directions:

In a shaker or mixing cup place add all ingredients except the soda water and garnish. Stir or shake and pour into serving glass and garnish with grapefruit peel, twisting it over the top of the cup to release oil and aroma of the peel.

Don’t forget to follow Amanda over at GlitterItGold or if you are an Insta fan like me, you can find her @GlitterItGold!

Until next time!

xo, AP

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Our Newest Addition

Our New Addition
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Our New Addition
If we are Facebook friends, SnapChat besties, or Insta-Pals, you know Nick and I have a new addition to our little family. Miss Brielle is a 3 year old toy poodle we adopted on our 8 month wedding anniversary, May 25th. Timing, right? This is a one-week side by side photo of when we brought Bri-Bri home and her one week adoption-versary. She improves each day! image
We adopted Brielle from the local animal shelter. She was brought in to the shelter on May 2nd. Someone found her on the side of the road *heart break emoji here*. They think she was attacked by a bigger dog and hit by a car before she was found. Our little girl is recovering from a collapsed lung, separated rib, and trachea damage.  She was also spayed during her stay at the animal shelter, which explains why she looks like a naked lamp in her first mirror selfie!

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It has been quite the adjustment for the two three of us. Morning feedings with a plethora of different prescriptions and trying to find a harness small enough to fit our girl. I am certain Brielle is adjusting to lots of snuggles and human kisses constantly and she might be a little tired of an iPhone in her face, but I cannot help it… she is just so darn cute! image
Our tiny girl gets her name after Brielle Milla, the SUPER adorable, ridiculously smart four year old girl, Brielle that has been featured on the Ellen show. The real Brielle, slightly less furry with pigtails, teaches Ellen about the periodic table, human body, and Biology. If you haven’t seen her yet, I recommend you search for her on YouTube. I want one just like her when I have human children! For now, Brielle is my little girl and I love this furry little baby!image
Brielle is still recovering from her traumatic month at the shelter and now an ear infection and inflamed eye tissue. This crazy dog mom took Brielle to the emergency vet center on Memorial Day because I thought she had ear mites. Nope, turns out she just needed her ears irrigated and more antibiotics, eye drops, and ointment for her ears. We are hopeful and say daily prayers that this will be the last battle our little furry girl has to endure. She had her ears irrigated on Monday at the vet. Let me tell you, the dirt, gunk, and grime that this little one was walking around with was heart breaking. It is safe to say Brielle’s new, overly protective, overly kissing, overly snuggling human parents are just the parents she needed.image
Brielle has certainly brightened our little home! Who knew four little legs would only enhance and brighten our home. My morning reading and prayer time now has a snuggle partner! We are excited to grow with Brielle and document our journey along the way. image
Thanks for reading, everyone! Say a few prayers for our little champion pup that she will fully recover soon and be ready for more trips to PetSmart and HomeGoods! 🙂 image

xo,
AP

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A Table That Tells a Story

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I love sentimental things! Things that have meaning… things that tell a story! I love to think that one day I will have children that will ask me about our early years as a married couple. I do my best to document our beginnings.

On my 101 in 1,001 Days List, #18 is “Start a table runner documenting each year of our marriage”. The goal was to complete this table runner in December, around the Holidays representing 2015. My ideas is, every year for Christmas we will put it on our table for our family breakfast or dinner. Each year Nick and I… and eventually our children, will pick a memory to represent the year. I imagine a table runner filled with little hand prints, paintings of stick figure drawings, and doodles of first missing teeth or a baby foot print labeled “MistleTOES”. 🙂

I picked up this table runner at Hobby Lobby for $12.00. I wanted something that was a smooth texture, neutral, and light. I also didn’t want solid white or any type of bold design. It has a faint zig-zag stripe and from far away, it looks like one cohesive color. This table runner is now the canvas of memories that will become our legacy.

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September 25, 2015 was our wedding day, so it was only natural to start the table runner with something to represent the start of our marriage. I found the center on the table runner first! I chose a dark purple and lavender, they are not only our wedding colors, but they are the leftover acrylic paints I had from wedding crafts. ta-da! At first I didn’t put enough paint on our hands, and it dried very quickly. So if you are going to take this craft on yourself, I suggest putting a thick layer on  your hands. I used our left hand, for obvious reasons and hand drew the ring and diamond with a silver paint pen. I outlined them in black to make them pop!

The wording is fabric paint… I do wish I would have gotten a new black fabric paint at Hobby Lobby, but this did okay.

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For now it is simple, but like I said, I imagine it one day a hodge-podge of doodles! As we add to it, it will create a piece to display that tells a story.  I considered a table cloth, also as I am sure this will fill up sooner than I expect. I have no idea what type of table we will have when we buy a home, so it is possible we will start a table cloth version the first year in our home. Although, I do love the idea of using every inch on the table runner to the point where it cannot be filled anymore.

I am considering putting some scotch guard over it, but I wasn’t sure what it would do to the paint. Afterwards I also thought it probably would have been better to use fabric paint on our hands rather than acrylic? I use a question mark because I am not too sure.

Anyways… If you take on this cute little project yourself, I suggest you learn from my mistakes. 🙂 Use enough paint on your hand, use fabric paint/pens whenever possible, and maybe look for some type of sealant to seal the runner beforehand.

Thanks for reading! If you decide to start this tradition for your family as well, please let me know! I would love to know I am inspiring someone out there!

xo, AP

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