Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our Midnight Surprise

It's a Boy!!!!
Collin and I are excited to announce the birth of our son:
Keaton Bruske Konopacki
6 lbs. 5 oz.
18 1/2 inches long
Born December 30, 2008 at 3:37 am
I'll try to post a picture or two tomorrow and I'll write our short but sweet birth story when we get home. :) Let's just say I'm very thankful we made it the hospital in time!
Talk to you all soon!

Monday, December 29, 2008

36-week belly shot & a Game: Guess Baby Kono's stats!

I was planning on writing a post about our Christmas weekend tonight but we had our 36-week appointment this afternoon and got some exciting news. News that I have to share with you tonight!!

Today was my Group B Strep test and since I was having this done anyway I was hoping that our doctor would also perform an exam. I was disappointed when he said he wasn't planning on doing one since I'd likely only be 0 or 1 cm dilated, unless of course, I wanted him to. I never thought I'd say this, but hell yeah I wanted a pelvic exam!

And I'm so glad I said yes. Guess what?? I'm 4 cm dilated! Actually, he said he could probably stretch me to 5. That sounds gross. Sorry.

And since I'm this far along he told us that at our 38-week appointment (which should be on or about Jan. 12th) we can pick a date to be induced. I never thought I wanted to be induced, but when he said this Collin and I were both beaming. We are so excited. And the more I think about it; for the sake of my parents (who have a 4 hour drive to the hospital) and Collin's sister (who is flying in from Indy) being able to plan this a little would actually be very nice.

So we are pumped. We're both so excited to meet this little one that we were hoping that we might go early - and now it looks like that will be very possible.

As soon as I got home tonight I started two more loads of laundry and got out the hospital list that Jill sent me so I can get my bag packed. Collin got the video monitor working and put the base of the car seat in the car. Can you tell we are a little giddy?

So, with this news I thought it was about time to start a little game around here.

Guess Baby Kono's Stats:

In the comments section post your guess to the following:
  • Sex
  • Weight
  • Length

The winner(s) will be determined by who has the closest guess in that order. There will be some sort of prize; I'm just not sure what it is right now.

If you would rather email me your guess, I'll post it in the comment section for you.

I was going to also have a game for the date of birth, but if we do end up being induced than that won't be relevant. So I guess we'll just stick to these three.

For your reference I thought I'd give you our birth stats:

  • Kate: 6 lbs 6 oz; 19 inches
  • Collin: 8 lbs 13 oz; 19 inches

Let the guessing begin!!

And before I go - here are my 36-week belly shots:



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

32- & 34-week Belly Shots

Wow, I knew it had been awhile since I last posted, but I have to admit I didn't realize my Thanksgiving post was the last time I wrote. Life has been busy but I feel like things are going to come together okay. Bearing no major catastrophes I think I'm going to meet my year-end deadlines at work, our Christmas cards came 2 days earlier than I expected so I should be able to get those out by the end of the week, and with the exception of a few small things, I think our shopping is done. The only thing I'm slightly dreading is the "home made" item I'm putting with our Christmas gifts this year. I've never made it before and I'm just really hoping it goes smoothly.

Once Christmas preparations are done I HAVE to get back to Thank you cards. And one of these days I'm going to finish up our shower posts.


But, for now I owe you some belly pictures! I didn't mean go another 4 weeks again but I do have to admit I kinda like seeing two in a row. The funny thing is in the past couple of weeks I feel like I've gotten huge and changed so much, but these pictures don't look all that different to me.



32 Weeks


34 Weeks


Some updates over the last 4 weeks include:
  • I beleive my weight gain to date is now 27 pounds
  • The nauseousness is back, only it is different from the first trimester nausea. In the first trimester is was just this constant feeling of yuck. The nausea I'm having now comes and goes but when it is here it feels like a ball of vomit is sitting in my throat. Literally, it feels like a ball. For the most part it is just annoying however the other night I had to get out of bed at 2:30 am and come out to the couch to sleep sitting up because I actually thought I was going to loose it.
  • And speaking of sleeping. I'm still sleeping okay, but I'm now getting up about once every two hours to use the bathroom. So much for once or twice a night, I'm always going at least 3 times now, sometimes more.
  • The swelling in my ankles has really stepped it up a notch in the past week or so. By about 7 pm I have to force myself to sit down and put my feet up because they do not look pretty. Yesterday at work was the first time that the swelling was actually painful. I don't know if maybe I didn't rest enough over the weekend or what, but today they did much better.
  • I've still been having lots of Braxton Hicks contractions. Sometimes they are pretty strong and once in awhile they start to become pretty frequent, but overall they are still sporadic.
  • Lots of people tell me I am carrying low, but I have to tell you, if I were carrying any higher when I sit down this baby would be sitting in my throat. It seems to be most noticable in the car, but when I'm sitting the baby feels like it is lodged between my ribs. In fact, sometimes I actually think it is.

Last week we also had our 33'ish (it was more like 33 1/2) week appointment.

  • Heart rate was 145
  • Doctor told us that the baby is head down
  • After telling him that lots of people are asking for an estimate on size he said that my guess was probably as good as his, but if he had to guess he would say the baby is average size and about 4 lbs.
  • On the way to our appointment I was having contractions about 10 minutes apart. I have a feeling it was stress from work becuase they calmed down the following day, but he said at this point if we go into labor, he won't stop it.
  • Following our appointment we got to tour the labor and delivery ward. Once again, I was very impressed with both the hospital and the staff. I hope our labor experience goes as well as all of our other experiences at this hospital/clinic.

I hope that it won't be so long until my next post, but in case things don't work out as planned here's wishing you all the best of luck as you finish up your Christmas preparations.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thankful

I know this post is coming a bit late, I had every intention of getting online either on Thanksgiving or the day after to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, but those plans just didn't pan out. It has been a busy weekend but as I sit here on Sunday night, looking out at another week, I realize I have so much to be thankful for. The economy is tough right now and like alot of others we find ourselves struggling, but yet when I look beyond the bills and unrented duplex, when I look at the big picture, I know we are so very blessed. During the homily at mass today Father said something that resonated with me. He said that there are many things that are out of our control and if we prayed as much as worried we'd be in a much better place. Pretty simple really, pray more, worry less. I know for me it will be easier said than done, but I'm going to give it a shot.

Our Thanksgiving was great. For the third year now we celebrated with Collin's, Kira's and my family. The food was delicious and the company was even better. Getting ready for the guests wore me out but as I sat down to dinner I realized it was all worth it. Here are just a few of the little things I am so very thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend:
  • Family who helped us get the house cleaned and remodeled (we have a new guest room! Yay!)
  • All of the help with the side dishes for the meal and the dish washing after the meal
  • Justin's "Turkey Trivia" which made us all laugh over dinner (seriously, the boy knows entirely way too much about turkeys!)
  • A safe hunting season for the boys
  • A fun shopping trip with my Mom on Friday
  • Leftovers

I hope you also had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Notes from my 31-week appointment

  • Baby Kono is measuring right on target at 31-weeks.
  • Doctor asked to see my ankles and noted a bit of swelling but said that as long as my blood pressure stays down (it was actually a little low) the swelling is okay.
  • Doctor noted that I looked "serious" today - I know I have too much on my mind with getting ready for Thanksgiving.
  • Doctor had a little bit of a difficult time finding the heartbeat at first. Even though I knew there was nothing to worry about, I had just felt the baby kicking, it still scared me a little. When he did finally find it, it was very low at 118-120, which is the lowest it has ever been. I questioned this and he assured me that the baby is probably just in a sleepy/lazy state. Almost immediately after he uttered the words the heartbeat jumped to 160 and he said "opps, we just woke it up!" Sorry little one, didn't mean to scare you like that!
  • Doctor said he thinks the baby is head down
  • I was referred to a dermatologist to get a couple of moles checked out. There is one in particular that has been bothering me, but I just haven't had the time to do anything about it. I go in on Feb. 4th.
  • On my way out of the office I ran into Kira and Justin, who were waiting to be called in for their appointment. As I got in the car I couldn't help but think 1) I'm so thankful they live up here and 2) I'm so excited to have our children grow up together.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Opening Weekend & Birthday Wishes

Yesterday marked the opening of the 2008 gun deer season in Wisconsin. This has always been an important event in my family. My Dad went to college in Stevens Point and he and his buddies have hunting land about a 20 minutes East of where we now live. Each year the week before Thanksgiving my Dad would pack his bags and head North for the week. We'd spend the week at home with my Mom, going about our normal routine and waiting for a call from Dad to hear if he got a deer. I remember these weeks vividly; and I remember them being full of anticipation. Dad would always come home the weekend after Thanksgiving and if it was a good year, there would be a deer in the back of his truck.

Because I was raised by an avid hunter one of the things I looked for in my future husband was that he loved this sport. This may seem odd to some, but I could not imagine being married to someone that didn't hunt. In addition to hunting, one of my Dad's other hobbies is taxidermy. As anyone who has been to my parent's house knows, the trademark items in their house are the mounted animals. They currently have deer, geese, ducks, fish, rabbits, squirrels, and a coyote. When we were younger there were much, much more (including a sea gull....don't ask :) )

When I found out Collin was a hunter, I made a mental check by that qualification box and I knew for certain that he would fit into my family just fine. (My brother actually made reference to that fact in the comments to this post.)

But here's the thing about hunting and specifically about opening weekend, although it is not something I directly participate in (I used to beg my Dad to take me with to which he told me 'when you are 13' -of course 13 came and went and I was never able to go with. Years later I understand why....this is a guys thing. Not that woman can't hunt, it's just that they like their time with the guys) I get just as excited as the boys do. I can't wait to hear the updates as to who got their deer and how big they were. I love the stories about their drives or the one that got away. I'm thankful that my Mom was a good role model for me growing up. She always accepted that my Dad would be gone for the week, she never argued about the fact that my Dad wouldn't spend Thanksgiving with us, she just accepted this hobby for what it is and supported my Dad and his hunting trip. I feel like I can be a better wife to Collin, my hunter, now because of her influence.

So, I'm happy to report that Collin got a deer this opening weekend. It is an 8-point buck with a 14-inch spread. He plans to have my Dad do a European mount for him, which is a mount of the skull and horns. I can't wait to have it done and get it up on the wall because each animal we add makes our house feel more like a home.

*******************************************************

25 years ago today my Dad missed his first (and, to date, last) hunting season as he stayed home to welcome his son into the world. As soon as my brother made his debut, my Dad's hunting buddies were on the phone telling him he could come up now, the baby is here. Dad didn't leave home that year (I think my mom would have killed him) and I know that if he had to miss one season the birth of his newest hunting buddy was the perfect reason to miss. My brother shares my Dad's passion for hunting, so you can only imagine how he spent his big day. I was going to do an acrostic for my brother for his birthday but instead I'm going to direct you to Kira's, my sister-in-laws, new blog. She has a much better post up; one that brought tears to my eyes.

Happy Birthday Justin! I feel so lucky to have gotten you as a sibling. You are not only my brother, but my friend. Here's wishing you a wonderful year!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I fully expect to eat his/her Halloween candy too.

Yesterday I stole a gift that was given to us for our unborn child and used it for myself.

A couple of weeks ago at our Earlville baby shower I opened a gift from Gail that included, among other things, Johnson's Shea and Cocoa Butter Baby Lotion. As soon as I saw it the wheels in my mind were turning....cocoa butter? Hmmm....I'm out of pregnancy lotion (for stretch marks) and I bet this would work as a replacement, after all, it has cocoa butter in it.

When we got home I unpacked our gifts and, reluctantly, put the lotion in the baby's room. It's been there for almost two weeks. For two weeks I've been thinking about the cocoa butter lotion and for two weeks I've been refraining from digging into it. But yesterday I caved. My skin has been so taut this week that it has actually become uncomfortable and yesterday morning I realized the lotion I was using just wasn't cutting it. So I snuck into the baby's closet, found the lotion and indulged myself.

I planned on just using it on my belly, but before I realized it my entire body was covered in shea and cocoa butter baby lotion and it felt so good. I told myself that I would only use the lotion until I could get to the store and buy some more pregnancy lotion. Then I'd put it back on the shelf in the baby's room and no one would know the difference.

When I got into the office yesterday I went through my usual routine: take my coat off, log onto my computer, get my planner out of my bag, and then head to the bathroom. When I got in there I hiked my shirt up and slid the big 'ol panel down on my pants - man that sounds attractive. Even more attractive is the rest of the process, in which I throw my arms out in front of me in order to get the most control out of my squat to the toilet. If I had a personal trainer, I think he'd be happy with my form - and that's when it happened. As my hands made contact with my silky smooth, baby soft belly, I knew I owed Baby Madden an apology.

Sorry kid, but Mama's keepin' the lotion.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

28- and 30-week belly shots

Although I missed posting my 28-week pictures, I did actually take them. So tonight you are getting a double dose!


28 weeks




30 weeks



Holy Crap! I didn't realize I had changed that much in two weeks until I saw those pictures next to each other.

Also, I apologize for looking particularly crappy in this 30-week shot, but it is very depictive of the way I'm feeling these days. I'm tired and I'm stressed out. I feel bad mentioning this here; I would prefer to keep these posts limited to positive updates, but I can't really talk about things that are going on right now without mentioning these. We've been traveling the past 3 weekends now and the loss of sleep has finally caught up with me. My body is sore and dragging. Mentally I'm not at the top of my game and it has caused me to fall behind schedule at work. Our house is also a complete disaster because I haven't cleaned in 3 weeks and a week from tomorrow we are hosting Thanksgiving. I know everything will get done, it always does, but again I find myself wondering exactly how.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, how about a 30-week update?
  • Weight gain to date is 21 pounds (okay, technically it is probably closer to 21.5, but we're rounding down). I'm a little nervous to post this because my weight hasn't changed in the last week or two and I'm not sure if the days I get on the scale just happen to be good days or if I really am "slowing my roll" - I suppose only time will tell.
  • I'm still sleeping through the night for the most part. Last night I was up from 3 am to 4:30 am but it wasn't because I was uncomfortable, it was because I had too much on my mind. It was all important things of course, like what curtains are we going to use in the spare bedroom and should I put the nativity set on the entertainment center this year? (answer: yes, I think I'm going to try that)
  • In addition to my body pillow I'm also using another pillow propped under my belly these days. Doesn't matter where I'm sleeping, I need this additional pillow.
  • Tomorrow night is our final Lamaze class. I'm not sure that we've learned a whole lot from this class except for the following: I've learned I'm pretty much terrified of actually giving birth, however, I'd really like to do it naturally if I could. Now, that's not to say I will, I'm just saying that if the pain is manageable I'd like to. It really has less to do with wanting to be superwoman and more to do with the fact that I'm scared of an epidural. That needle creeps me out a little. I'm just hoping that if the pain is bad enough I'll overcome the fear of that needle being threaded into my spine. Either way, I'm not going into this with any expectations. Collin has learned that he has to bring snacks to the hospital :)
  • I've been having alot of Braxton Hicks contractions lately. They were actually scaring me a bit last night as they were getting stronger and were happening about every 10 minutes. I finally sat my butt down and put my feet up and that seemed to help.
  • The swelling has finally begun. I stopped wearing my wedding ring a couple of weeks ago. I could still probably force it on, but I'd rather not take the chance of it getting stuck. I've also been wearing tennis shoes as much as possible. My dress shoes just aren't very comfortable these days.
  • The baby is getting so strong. When he/she moves now it feels like he/she is going to bust right out of my belly. I typically feel the most movement in the upper right hand corner of my tummy. And I feel what I think are hiccups in the lower left hand. So I think (I hope!) Baby Madden is already head down.
  • A couple of weeks ago Collin woke up in the middle of the night and could feel something from my half of the bed. I was snoring so he put is hand on my belly and said the Baby was just rolling around like crazy.
  • We are both getting very very excited for January 25th to get here!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I passed! I passed!

Now pass me the cookies!

Last week at my 28 week doctor’s appointment I had to take the dreaded glucose test. All I really knew about this test going into it was that the purpose was to test for gestational diabetes and the drink was disgusting. I met Collin at the house before we headed up north for the appointment and I chugged the drink as quickly as I could so we wouldn’t be late. Surprisingly, it didn’t taste nearly as bad as I was expecting. No, chugging it wasn’t the hard part for me. Keeping it down on the ride to the clinic? Now that is a slightly different story. I could feel it sitting in my throat and although I didn’t actually throw it up, I would have forgone my fear of puking to have gotten rid of that feeling.

When we got to the clinic I went first to the lab to have my blood drawn and then headed up to see my doctor. The appointment went well, we were still measuring on target and I got my questions regarding episiotomies and drugs answered. You know, the important things….what kind of drug options do I have? When I left the appointment the results from my glucose test were not yet in. Before we even made it home, however I had a message from the clinic asking for me to return their call. I knew immediately that the results of the test were not good. And I was right. My numbers came in at 164 when they want to see your levels below 140.

Yesterday I had to return to the lab for a 3-hour glucose test. The test started at 9 am with a fasting blood draw followed by another lovely cocktail. This time I choose fruit punch, and honestly, it wasn’t half bad. I got it down in my allotted 5 min time frame and then I plunked my butt in the waiting room, which is where I’d spend the rest of my morning getting up once every hour to have another blood draw.

I was working on thank you cards and watching Henry Paulson make his speech regarding the financial bail out when the nurse came into the waiting room to call in another patient. She looked at me and asked if I was doing okay and right there, in the middle of a full waiting room I told her, “Yeah, but I feel like I might puke.” And I followed with a “Would it be okay if I puked?” By the look on her face I knew that no, it would not be okay if I puked, it would screw up the whole test. So I assured her that I’d be fine and returned my attention to the TV. Right at this time is when a man from the other end of the lounge said “Oh, too much information for me” and from the corner of my eye I could see him return to his book. I’m still unsure if he was referring to Paulson’s speech (it was kind of information overload) or the fact that I just told a waiting room full of innocent bystanders that I was about to loose last nights dinner.

Thankfully, the need to vomit passed after the first hour. During the second hour I came down off of my sugar high (which they told me would happen) and I felt dizzy and extremely tired. It was during this hour that I was certain I was going to have to call in sick for the afternoon. There was just no way I was going to be able to function at work like this.

But, by the time I made it into the third hour that too had passed and I felt like myself again. Actually, I felt really good. Better than I’ve felt for awhile, I think because I put myself to bed early the night before. By the time I had my fourth and final blood draw I was good to go. I treated myself to lunch and then went back to the office.

This morning I finally got the results to the test and I am so happy to say that my numbers are normal and for now there is nothing to worry about. Yeah!!

Wait. There is one thing I need to worry about. How quickly can I get a milkshake here? I’ve been craving ice cream - soft, creamy, full of sugar, ice cream - all week simply because I knew I couldn’t have it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bender Family Baby Shower

I told you guys that I was going to post more frequently during this last trimester and then I go and completely disappear on you. The past few weekends we've been busy traveling and because I haven't been getting enough sleep, it makes for an exhausting week. But we can not complain because we spent them in the company of family and friends who threw us showers for Baby Kono/Madden.

Two weekends ago Collin and I got up early and drove with Kira down to Rockford, IL for the Bender family shower. It is tradition in our family for the aunts to throw wedding and baby showers for all the cousins. They always do a wonderful job and this shower was no different.

The cake was beautiful, the mostacolli was delicious, and my cousin, MaLinda, made her famous sugar cookies, which I could eat by the handfuls. We played two games, the "baby animal" game and the "pass to the left/right" game. For the baby animal game my aunt read a list of animals and we had to come up with the corresponding baby animal name. I learned during this game that a sow is in fact a pig. Not a female cow.

Oh don't look shocked, it's an honest mistake :)

In the second game my Aunt Cindy read a story about "Mrs. Right" who went to a baby shower. Prizes were handed out around the circle and every time we heard the words "right" or "left" we passed the gift in that direction. It was pretty fun.

We got so many amazing gifts for this shower and we feel so blessed to have such supportive family and friends who care so much about us and Baby Kono. Here are a few pictures from the shower....

My mom, Aunt Cheryl, Me, Aunt Cindy, and Aunt Candy



The girl cousins: Kira, K, Me, E, Andrea & MaLinda






While the women in the family were doing shower stuff, the men in my family were busy doing things that guys like to do: eating and drinking.



At Hooters.
We've had two more showers since this first one....posts on those to come...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Recommended Reading

There are a number of situations in life that I do not believe we can ever fully understand unless we have been through them first hand. When we find a friend or family member in the midst of one of these situations it is sometimes hard to know what to do. Suffering from the loss of an infant or unborn child is one of these situations. Having not gone through this myself I am fully aware that I can not begin to comprehend the pain, but based on the knowledge I do have, I feel like this post is an excellent read for anyone who may be wondering what they should say or do for a loved one suffering from loss.

Go take a look, it is a really beautiful post.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Incontinence and heartburn....

.......the not so glamorous side effects of pregnancy.

There used to be a time when our Friday night norm consisted of going out to dinner and drinks after work and rolling into bed around midnight. Sometimes later. It's hard to remember those days now. Our new "norm" is to eat dinner as soon as we get home and then veg in front of the tv for the remainder of the night. Friday nights typically end now around 9:30 or 10 pm.

This past Friday we stayed up late...a whopping 10:30!! Can you believe it? Nothing about the night was out of the ordinary. My routine was the same as it is every night; wash my face, brush my teeth, take my supplements, and go to bed. So when I woke up at midnight, only an hour and a half after we had gone to sleep, soaking wet, I was alarmed. I shook Collin awake, Collin, Collin, get up, I just peed the bed! I was so confused by the whole thing...how did this happen? I always wake up at least 2 times a night to use the bathroom, not once have I been worried about wetting the bed. As I stood there looking at the sheets a frightening thought came over me, what if my water broke? Collin was pretty convinced it was pee and even suggested that maybe it was the dog (he's so nice like that, once after I gained weight and was complaining about how none of my pants fit he assured me it wasn't that I had gained weight, I must have shrunk them in the dryer), but I couldn't shake the thought that what if it isn't? I looked in my "What to Expect" book which noted that if you are laying down when your water broke it could be a gush, kinda like this. I called my mom and we decided I should call the doctor.

It happened to be my own doctor on call that night and after telling him what happened he said I needed to come in to be tested. At 12:30 am we got in the car and drove the 40 minutes north to the hospital. On the positive side, I got to see the birthing center, well, at least the triage room, which I was very impressed with. They hooked me up to the fetal monitor and the moment I heard that little thump thump, thump thump, relieve flushed over me. For two hours the nurse watched for any signs of contractions and ran the amnisure test to determine if it was my water.

Although they found I have a slight UTI, thankfully the amnisure test came back negative. I never thought I'd say this, but by God am I happy to find out that I peed the bed!!

I still don't have any answers as to why it happened. I had some flu symptoms over the weekend and all I can surmise is maybe this combined with pressure from the baby moving caused it? I don't know. I'm just hoping this isn't going to be a reoccurring event.

In addition to the incontinence, yesterday I started with the heartburn. People have been asking me for awhile if I've had any heartburn and I've been so happy to say NO! This has been awesome because before I was pregnant I dealt with heartburn all the time and can I just say that I really don't enjoy it. But yesterday it started with no warning at all. And guess what? I still really don't like it! I tried eating my lunch (1/2 a sandwich at a time) over a 2 hour period today and that helped, but I could still feel it.

In some more fun, positive news, I can tell Baby Madden (as we are now affectionately calling him/her) is getting longer. A couple of times today I could feel pushing on opposite sides of my belly at the same time. I can picture Madden in there with a look of frustration on his/her face has s/he tries desperately to stretch out and thinks...hey peeps, what's up with the cramped space, I thought I requested the luxury suite!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

5 years ago today*....(part 3)

(Click here for Part 1 and Part2)

It had been five weeks since our first date, six and a half since we meet, and life was good. No, no, that is an understatement, life was amazing; and I felt more like myself in those five weeks then I had felt in probably 2 years. We spent every weekend and as many week nights as we could together, meeting each others friends, going for drinks or dinner, and attending Admirals hockey games. We were having fun and it felt like I was wearing a permanent smile.

Even though our relationship was in its infancy, there was very much a seriousness to it. We both felt it from the very beginning and when we found ourselves alone the conversations always turned to the future. We talked about what we wanted for our lives and where we saw ourselves in 2, 5, 10+ years. They were the types of conversations that most people would avoid with a 10-foot pole, and for good reason. Talks like this could destroy a relationship, even if it had potential. But oddly, these talks didn’t scare us, in fact, they had the opposite effect, they were very calming.

On Friday, October 24, 2003 I called Collin from work and asked if he’d be interested in ditching our normal Friday night plans to go to a Milwaukee Bucks game. I had four tickets and told him to ask a couple of friends. By 7:00 that night we had piled into the car with Fluff & Mullins (the same two that were with Collin the night we met) and were on our way to the game. It was raining out so we ran as quickly as we could into the Bradley Center trying to avoid getting drenched. I hadn’t been to many Bucks games so it was particularly memorable for me.

Following the game we found ourselves at Club Brady. The bar was busy and what I remember most about that night was standing there with Collin, looking into his eyes as we talked and feeling like we were the only two in the room. He had this effect on me often in public. When I looked at him, when I held his hand, everything else around me seemed to disappear and it was just us. In those moments I felt like I could stand there, be there, forever and never get tired of it.

It had only been six weeks, but in that short amount of time I was certain of one thing. I wanted to spend the rest of my days with this man. So when we got home that night and he took me in his arms and asked me the one question that every girl dreams to hear:

“Will you marry me?”

I did not hesitate for even a second. “Yes. Yes, I will.”

Since it had only been six weeks we hadn’t yet met each other’s families. It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but one I will never, ever forget. That night we called our parents to tell them the news. Of course they were a bit shocked, but also very supportive. On Saturday morning Collin’s parents packed the car, drove two hours to Madison to pick up his sister, and another hour and a half to Milwaukee to help us celebrate. I should have been nervous about this meeting and I’m sure a part of me was, but mostly I was just excited. Everything about this felt right.

On Sunday we drove two and half hours south to have dinner at my parent’s house. We walked in the door and my parents were in the kitchen. My mom was smiling when she asked “are you guys sure about this?” To this day my Mom will tell you about Collin’s answer. It was only two words, but those two words set her completely at ease.

“We’re positive.”

It’s been five years; we’ve had some good times and some hard times, but when I look at Collin there is one thing that hasn't changed, I’m still positive.

* Okay, technically it was 5 years ago yesterday

Thursday, October 23, 2008

26-week Belly Shot

I can't believe it has been 5 weeks since I took the last belly shot. Its been on my to-do list for the past couple of weeks but somehow the weeks have come and gone and pictures have not been taken. My goal is to take them every two weeks from here on out.

Unfortunately it isn't just the pictures that have been lacking, I really haven't been doing a good job of documenting anything lately, so I thought I'd list a few things here that I'd like to remember:
  • As of 26-weeks I've gained 18 pounds
  • Two weeks ago I had some pretty horrible round ligament pain. It lasted for a solid 10 days and for that week and a half I walked around like a penguin, teetering back and forth, back and forth, because it hurt too much to put alot of pressure on my left leg.
  • The baby has been very active lately and has moved from little kicks to full body rolls. At night Collin and I play the "knock knock" game - he puts his hand on my belly and gives a little knock knock and the baby "knocks" back. It makes us laugh.
  • Last night I had another dream that the baby was a boy. In my dream we named him Madden. When I told Collin about it this morning he told me it was because as I was working on the computer last night he was watching the 1st game of the World Series and Joe Madden happens to be the manager of the Rays - apparently I overheard that more than I realized. Oddly, I kinda like the name, though we won't be changing from our originally picked names.
  • My mom came up and painted the nursery for us last weekend. I was so nervous about the color, but we're really happy with the way it turned out (pictures to come).

I'm going to try really hard to update more often around here during this last trimester because there are so many details I don't want to forget. So, on that note, more soon....promise!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Letter to the Baby

Dear Little One,

Today is the 1st of October, which means we have less than 4 months until we get to meet you. At the beginning of our pregnancy January felt so, so far away and now here we are, four months to go with a to-do list a mile long. Our goal for this coming month is to get your nursery painted.

Life has been busy and a bit stressful lately; last week in particular was a difficult one for your mama. Emotionally, physically, mentally, I was spent. Work is hectic right now and there is no sign of it letting up before the end of the year. One evening last week as your daddy and I sat at the dinner table I looked across at him with tears in my eyes and I told him that I hope the next few months aren’t as difficult as this week. I felt so down, so defeated, and getting out of the slump seemed nearly impossible. I don’t think it was any coincidence that that same evening I sat on the couch to relax and you started kicking. And I mean kicking. My tummy was moving all around and your daddy got to feel you kick for the first time. The tears that I had earlier in the night were gone and in their place was laughter as we watched you tumble around. You have been kicking and turning furiously since last week and each time you move I put my hand on my belly to feel you. I don’t want to miss a single movement.

Today we had our 23 week appointment and the doctor said you are growing nicely and measuring on target. He let your daddy be his assistant, having him find your heartbeat on the Doppler. As soon as he put the wand on my belly we heard your little heart thump, thump, thumping away at 162 beats per minute. I will never tire of hearing your heartbeat.

Even though we have 17 weeks left until we get to officially meet you, you are already filling our lives with joy. You turn the bad days into good ones and give me reason to keep trudging on. I love you little one, you are already the light of my life.

Love,
Mama

Friday, September 19, 2008

5 years ago today....(part 2)

(Part one can be found here.)

On the Thursday morning following our meeting I woke up feeling jubilant. It had been a long time since I had woken up even feeling happy so this elation was not lost on me. I knew my life had just changed, and even though I had no idea where all of this would lead, life felt so good. Though I knew very little about him, I could not stop talking about this sun-kissed man that I had just met.

That evening as I was settling into our apartment for the night I realized I had a missed called from an unfamiliar number. A quick check in my wallet and my heart was fluttering; it was him. He called. I listened to this message, hit save, and listened to it again. I would do this often over the next several days; listen to this message just to hear his voice.

Although we wouldn’t see each other again for a full week, we spoke a few times on the phone and by the following Wednesday, when we planned to meet at the same time, same place, I was very anxious. Despite the fact that I was excited and eager to see him again, I’m shy, and when I walked in and saw him sitting there with his friends, I clamed up. I could feel the uneasiness settling in between us and I wasn’t sure what to do. Thankfully I had friends there to make those obligatory bathroom runs with, which of course involve much more than simply using the bathroom, us girls, we like to talk, and they calmed me down. By the time the night ended he had asked me out on a date. An official date. Our first date.

On Friday, September 19, 2003 I rushed home from work to get ready. I had bought a new outfit for the occasion and wanted to look my very best. He drove the 30 minutes from the East side to pick me up and then we drove back towards his house for dinner at a small Sicilian restaurant.

On the way to dinner the conversation flowed and I felt like I had known him my entire life. We were less than a 30 minutes into our first date when this feeling washed over me. I know it sounds nuts; it is nuts, but during that car ride I knew that I was sitting next to the man that I would someday marry.

To be continued……

Birthday wishes for one very beautiful soul!

Empathetic
Maternal
Brave
Educator
Reflective

Thursday, September 18, 2008

If Men wrote Pregnancy Books

Each week I get an email from one baby website or another updating me on all things baby related. Inevitably these emails always contain reference to how big the baby is in terms of some sort of food, usually a piece of fruit. Among other things, the baby has been compared to a grape, a walnut, a lime, a lemon, and most recently, a large banana.

On Saturday night of Konopalooza, just before I was about to retire for the evening, I was sitting on the deck with a couple of guy friends when one of them inquired about how large the baby was now. Since we had just had our ultrasound I told them that the doctor had estimated that he/she was about 11 oz.

They both nodded and looked a little confused as they tried to fully grasp what 11 oz. would look like. Suddenly Joe's eyes lit up and I knew he had made an association.

"So" he says, "almost a can of beer."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

21-week photo shoot

I am 21 weeks along today; can we say POP? That is what happened shortly after I posted the 17-week pictures.

21 weeks


I'm not exactly sure what is bothering me about these pictures, but I think it is my posture so if anyone has any tips on how to make these look better I'd love to hear them!

In other baby news, two weeks ago (at week 19), we had our ultrasound. We were so excited about seeing our little one but I have to admit I was a little nervous that I wouldn't be able to make it through without asking the sex. For those that don't know, we decided long ago that we wanted to be surprised. Luckily, and thankfully, it was much easier than I expected to not ask. I was so enthralled with watching the little legs kick, the heart beating furiously, and the amazing shots of the brain that finding out the sex really didn't even cross my mind. The baby weighed in at an estimated 11 oz., which I thought sounded rather large, but the doctor said was "normal" or did he say "average"? I'm not sure, but I'm certain he put quotes around it.



Our ultrasound was 3 days before Konopalooza and I had told everyone that I'd have pictures to share at the party. I was so excited to get that cute little profile shot and the girls at work were looking forward to me bringing them into the office on Thursday. If we had any doubt in our mind that this was our child, it was washed away at the ultrasound. This little shit stood in a headstand for an hour and half, during the WHOLE exam!! The poor tech was trying so hard to get a good profile shot but our little one was having NONE of it. S/he was in no mood to be photographed that day :) They tried having me lay on my side, walk around, and have the bed in a decline position. Nothing worked! In the end they had to do an internal exam just to get all the head measurements that they needed. So instead of walking away with a small portfolio of pictures of our little peanut to share with everyone, we got this:



What the hell is that you ask?? That's his/her feet. And it's not even a very clear picture of the feet! I had this in my purse for a couple of days after our appointment and every time I pulled it out Collin and I would just laugh. We got a picture of the feet. This is definitely our child.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Konopalooza 2008

Last weekend was our annual party, Konopalooza. We had a really good turn out this year; I think my last count was 53 people at one time or another throughout the weekend. This party started when Collin was in college and all his friends from Milwaukee would spend the 3rd weekend in August up at his parent's house. When we moved up here and built our own house we moved the party location, changed the date to the weekend after Labor day, and gave it an official name.

It always begins on Friday evening and lasts throughout the weekend. Activities vary from year-to-year but a couple of things are always certain. Flippy cup game on Friday night, drunken wiffle ball at 3pm on Saturday, and a big bonfire Saturday night. Everyone brings their tents or pop-ups and sets up camp for the weekend. Our only requirement is that you relax and have fun.

During the 1st annual in 2006 as I was carting food back to the house around midnight I remember thinking there is NO WAY I could do this while pregnant. It was so much work, I was exhausted, my body was in pain, and I was practically in tears. Thankfully, we've worked out alot of the kinks from that first year and although I was still exhausted by Sunday I have to say putting this on while pregnant went much, much better than I could have planned. This is in large part because we have amazing friends and family that are always asking what they can do to help. So to all of you, thank you! So much.

I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked this year and after everyone left on Sunday we realized we never got our annual group shot, but I did take a few and I thought I'd post some here.

Here's one of the flippy game in action. I believe this was a 16 person game, but later in the night I think they got it to over 20. Note Justin, who is in the back on the left hand side, this is one of MANY pictures I have of him with his head in his hands in agony over the fear of defeat.

I love the look on every one's faces in this shot. This is serious business!

Each year we get shirts made that have a quote from the prior year. This year's winner was Mullins with "We don't come here to win; we come to drink beer."

Although it rained Friday night, Saturday's weather was nice, cool but sunny. Perfect for drunken wiffle ball.

Jenny at bat.


Fill 'er up! If the other team hits a home run everyone in the outfield has to drink and then hit the pitcher's mound (a/k/a keg) for a refill.

Here's a couple of action shots. Notice how everyone is protecting their cup. Everyone has to have beer in their cup at all times or your team has to drink.

Josh diving for home.


Marc making a diving catch.


A big thank you to everyone who came out last weekend! For those that couldn't make it, we missed you and hope to see you next year!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

5 years ago today....

September 10, 2003 started out much like any other day. I woke up, got ready for work, car pooled with my roommate into the city, and spent the day in front of the computer. I don't remember the specifics about work that day but I can guarantee one topic over our normal lunch discussion was the softball game I was going to play in that night. It was the second game of the co-ed league season. I got roped into playing after a friend from work was frantically looking for girls to fill the empty slots. He knew I had played in high school and so asked if I'd join the team. I reluctantly said yes. To be completely honest, I had no desire to mingle with people I didn't know. The rough months of the summer had left me in a slump and all I really wanted to do was sit in my room and sulk. But I agreed anyway because I have a problem telling people no. Little did I know that agreeing to play one season of softball would completely change my life.

My roommate agreed to attend the game with me that night, as did another friend from work. I was very appreciative. Amy and I hurried home after work, got changed, scarfed down some food and headed to the park south of the city for the 7 o'clock game. Although we had entered September it still felt like summer. I had on my black Nike shorts and a men's XL t-shirt that proudly displayed our sponsor's name: Judges Irish Pub. The shirt was so large it hung well below my shorts and my frizzy hair was pulled into a ponytail.

I played 2nd base, while my friend was at 1st. We joked around through the game and I felt my spirits lifting. When the team loaded up to go to Judges for our after-game celebration I was ready to attend. A night out with friends, it was exactly what I needed.

The three of us girls were sitting at the bar talking and starting a game of quarters when they walked in. He was wearing a blue Billabong shirt, khaki shorts, and sandals. He was tan and his hair was visibly bleached from long days in the sun. The three of them sat at the bar directly across from us. I immediately turned to Jamie and said "See the guy in the blue shirt? How old do you think he is? I'm so rusty at this, he could be 21 and I wouldn't know it."

It wasn't much later when the bartender came over and handed us a note written on a napkin. Just like in 5th grade. It read:

My name is Collin Kono
my phone # is 414-640-xxxx

Our note back simply said: How old are you?

I'm not exactly sure where the note writing went from there, but I do know that it went on for some time and remember laughing hysterically more than once. The bartender was fun enough to join in and happily took our notes back and forth across the bar.

Prompted by his friends, he finally made his way over to our side of the bar and properly introduced himself. We taught him our made up version of quarters and later played darts. We lost, but he asked me for my phone number anyway.

There have been very few times in my life when I have been absolutely sure about something. Following that Wednesday night in September 2003 I was absolutely sure that my life had just changed. I wasn't sure how this would all play out. I wasn't sure if this tanned guy in the blue shirt would be in my life for long, but I was sure that something had shifted. And I was absolutely positive that this shift was a good thing.

To be continued.......

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Return of the Fitness Challenge

As I'm sure you noticed, we took a small break from the Fitness Challenge this summer. I love summer for so many reasons, but for us it is always a very very busy time. This summer was no different and I could tell early on that I was not going to be able to stay organized enough to keep up with the Fitness Challenge. Thankfully everyone said they were fine with a small break.

But, today is the 1st of September and guess what that means? That's right, the Fitness Challenge is back! We're going to start off with an easy challenge this month just to get everyone back into the swing of things (and by everyone I mean me). For the month of September if you work out at least 3 times during the week you will earn 10 bonus points. It doesn't matter how long you work out or what activity you choose; the goal is just to get moving again.

Also, stayed tuned because the June Fitness Challenge winner announcement is coming soon!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Smitten

When we announced that we were getting a puppy about a year and a half ago some of our friends were surprised to find out that it was me pushing for the pup, rather than Collin. However, when we picked her up from the breeder that cool March day you wouldn't have known that this wasn't his doing. As soon as we got there and saw the hot pink ribbon around her neck he looked up at me with wide eyes and asked "That one's ours?" We had been looking at pictures online since the puppies birth (our breeder was located in Iowa so we didn't have the opportunity to see her in person until pick-up) and were so thrilled when we learned that we would be getting the "Hot Pink" girl. There were only 4 girls in her litter and our breeder was keeping one and the owner of the mother was keeping 2. Because of this we didn't get our choice in pups, but had we been given our choice we would have picked Hot Pink.

That night, on the trip home, Collin had me drive so he could hold her wrapped in a hot pink towel on his lap. So much for the kennel we had purchased especially for this ride home :) She slept for most of the drive and when she did wake up he rocked her back to sleep. I received an email from our breeder that weekend that said she would never forget the look on Collin's face when he first saw her.

Of course a couple of weeks into Maia joining our family things changed a bit. She was peeing and pooping all over the house and we were in the the thick of puppy classes and training that didn't seem to be going anywhere. This is about when Collin's attitude shifted back to a "she's your dog" mentality. As I was the one doing most of the feedings and potty breaks, especially over lunch, Maia became very much "my dog." She'd follow me around everywhere, have to sit right be me on the couch, and she listened to me better.

I'm not exactly sure when this all changed but it has become apparent to me in the last few weeks that Maia is no long my dog. Not at all. Without my even realizing it she has most definitely become a daddy's girl. She whines to be with him outside when he's mowing the lawn, sits by his side as he rubs her belly watching tv, and the one that irks me the most, she only listens to his commands.

A couple of weeks ago on vacation we were watching a Judge Judy (or something of the sort) and there was a case in which an ex-boyfriend was asking for his dog back. I jokingly said to Collin that if we were in that situation I'm taking the animals with me and he quickly gave me a dirty look and said, oh no, I'm taking Maia. Appears he is smitten with her again.



Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Requested Belly Pics

As I am flipping through these pictures getting ready for this post I realized I think I've committed every cardinal sin of the legendary "belly shots".

1) I am NOT wearing the same outfit in every shot
2) The pictures are taken at varying angles
3) I'm not even facing the same direction in all these pictures

As an extreme Type A I know seeing these pictures in a row, all disorganized like this, is going to drive me nuts. But I'll provide them anyway.

The other thing I noticed while flipping through these is that I really am getting pretty big. Last week we went out to eat for our anniversary and as the lady was seating us she asked if the table she picked was okay. I told her yes and then she immediately said "oh, actually, she's smoking here, so maybe you'd rather be over here...." as she walked to the other side of the patio she kinda gave me a little grin and touched my elbow. Collin and I were both certain she did it because she could tell I was pregnant. I guess I didn't realize that it was that obvious yet, I still just feel plain 'ol fat.

And speaking of getting bigger, why is it that my ass and thighs seem to be growing at a much faster rate than my belly? This is only mitigated by the fact that so are my boobs. You guys. I'm a C cup!! C. cup. And, I have cleavage. Score!

So where were we? Ah yes, the belly shots.....

9 Weeks:
12 weeks:


17 weeks (taken yesterday):

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Snippets of Recent Conversations

[Scene: Park in Stevens Point, the first time we’ve seen our friends from town since our news was leaked.]

Peterman: Hey Fatty!

-------------------------------------------------------------

[Scene: Out to eat with Jenny & Matt and our nephews.]

Isiah (age 8): Don’t drink a lot when you are pregnant. My mommy didn’t drink beer when she was pregnant with me and that’s why I don’t like beer now.

--------------------------------------------------------------

[Scene: Dinner table]

Me: The baby is 3 inches long now.
Collin: I know, and by the end of the month it will be 5 inches. (smiles and winks) I’m already through that chapter in my book.

-------------------------------------------------------------

[Scene: First doctor’s appointment, complete with physical.]

Doctor: Okay, if you could just slide down on the table….
Collin: (Hides in corner wincing as if he is in pain and doing everything possible not to look)
Doctor: (turns to Collin) Want to see her cervix?
Collin: Uhhhh, sure!

-------------------------------------------------------------

[Scene: Every morning while getting ready for work]

Me: Honey, could you help me with this shirt?
Collin: Ugh! Another bow?

--------------------------------------------------------------

[Scene: June 24th, at the clinic for an emergency ultrasound after blood work came back not as good as I would have liked.]

Ultrasound Tech: (turns screen to face us) See this here, this is your uterus and this here, this is the sac, and this, this is the little peanut causing you to be sick. And if you look right here, that little flicker? That’s the heartbeat. I couldn’t not show you guys that.

---------------------------------------------------------------

[Scene: In the car after the ultrasound]

Collin: When she said, "this is the little peanut," I thought she was going to say penis.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Happy Birthday My Friend!

Methodical
Integrity, full of
Computer whiz
Honest
Economical
Long-time friend
Energetic

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It’s 7 a.m., and I should be sleeping; it is, after all, the first day of a long 3-day weekend, but instead, I’m tossing and turning, nervous and excited, because I know today is the day. Collin lies next to me breathing deeply and the dog is snoring at my feet, both oblivious to the fact that I’ve been up for almost a half hour. At 7:15, after dozing off and having yet another dream about what is to come, I decide it is time. My heart is racing, and I need to just do this already.

I sneak out of bed, gently close the bathroom door, and like a mouse I rummage around in the cabinet, trying to be as quiet as possible so as not to disrupt those sleeping in the next room. If the news is good, I have a grand plan as to how I want to tell Collin. If the news is bad, I’m going to need a moment to collect myself before I head back to bed.

I quietly unwrap the package, say a quick prayer, and take the test. After I lay the test on the counter, I force myself to look away and I put my head in my hands. I know that I will not leave this room without knowing the truth. I know that when I look up in 60, 90 seconds I will have my answer. I’m deathly afraid. I rock back and forth asking God to give me the strength to get through this.

60 seconds in, I’m too overcome with hope and excitement that I put the worry aside and look up. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, two lines!!!!! I jump up, grab the test and examine it closer. Holy Shit, YES!!!! I pump my fist in the air and praise God. Thank you Lord. Thank you Mary. Thank you Saint Anne. I picture God looking down at me, a smile across his face, a giggle in his throat – he has made this child of his very, very happy.

I collect myself a tad, lean against the counter, and look into the mirror – you’re going to be a mother. This is happiest moment of my life.

My original plan in sharing the news with Collin involved making a run into town in the morning, but I grossly underestimated my excitement and there was NO WAY I could keep this a secret for even 5 more minutes. So quickly, I came up with plan B, which involved a sleeper I had bought 3 years ago for a friend that was too small for her baby. On it were two bears and the words “Daddy & Me.”

After finding the sleeper in the back of the spare bedroom closet, I creep back into our room. As soon as I slide open the door the dog pops her head up to look at me. “Hey Collin” I whisper…..he half opens his eyes and groggily says “yeah” – I showed him the sleeper and ask if he remembers it. I’m not sure I wait for an answer before I belt out “Maybe we can use it at the end of January, I’m Pregnant!!”

Baby Kono is due January 27th; we are so grateful for all of your thoughts and prayers over these long, hard months.

Here’s his/her first picture, taken on June 24th at 9 weeks. We are so in love.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

All grown up

It was early spring as we were taking the wreath off the door and the miniature pine out of the pot on the front stoop when Collin first noticed it. We were standing in the front entry way and he pointed up to the ledge above the door, “There’s a bird’s nest up there I need to get rid of.” I protested immediately, no, you can’t move that, what if there are eggs in it? He obliged my request and left the nest untouched. Over the next couple of months we’d watch as the sun fell and the momma bird would swoop back in for the evening, as if she was returning from a long day at work.

A few weeks ago I came home and Collin had a surprise for me. He brought me back to the entryway, pointed up above the door and said “there are babies.” I was so excited. Every day since then the first thing I would do after walking in the door from work is go look at the nest. It seemed I’d usually come home right around feeding time and I’d get to see momma swooping in, all four beaks would be pointed straight up in the air gaping open just waiting to be fed. I can’t tell you how exciting having these little guys right outside our door has been. Each time we saw movement we’d yell for each other to come look.

On Friday though, I came home from work and the nest was empty. It seems our little guys have all grown up.

On Saturday as we ate lunch we saw a momma and three babies traipsing around the yard and I asked Collin “Are those our birds?” No, he said, those look a little too big. But as we pulled back in the driveway after restocking our bird seed and getting a new bird bath, we saw them. “Those are our birds” Collin declared. I know our little guys are too big for the nest, but I sure hope they stick around a little longer. I’m not quite ready for them to be gone yet.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

May Fitness Challenge Winner

Congratulations Becky!!


A big congrats goes out to Becky, who is our May Fitness Challenge winner! Becky set and met two of her weekly goals during the month. Great job Becky and congratulations! Leave a comment or send me an email with your prize choice from the list below.
  1. Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss & Yoga Straps - I started doing yoga my junior year of college and I swear that my nightly routine was the one thing that kept me sane that year. I remember coming home for Christmas vacation and for the first time truly feeling relaxed. I did yoga for the first time in awhile tonight and afterwards I felt so calm. I welcomed the feeling whole-heartedly as I've been a little stressed lately. The other reason I love yoga is that I'm not naturally very flexible, but after even a few weeks of conditioning I can feel my muscles loosening and my ability improving. Although I've tried a few different yoga dvd's I've never actually taken a class in a studio, but doing so is on my to-do list. Of the dvd's I've tried this one was the first one I used and the one I've kept coming back to over the years. There are a number of props you can buy to help in your yoga conditioning and I have a mat, which has been very useful, but the one thing I wish I had (because I'm not as flexible as I'd like) is a strap, so I'm going to throw one of these in too.

  2. Timex Watch - One of my constant workout companions is my Timex watch. I use it most frequently when I'm walking or running outside in order to time my workouts and to check my progress during my runs. I can't find my exact style on Amazon, it seems to be out of stock, but I'm liking this Triathlon model. The one thing I'm not sure it has, that I use alot on my model, is the pulse option. However, I love that it is water resistant up to 100 meters, which allows you to use it swimming, and I really love the training log and total run format/synchro timer features. I think these might actually make up for the potential lack of pulse option. The other thing I like is the based on the reviews it seems like this watch should be pretty easy to set, which is always a plus for a technology challenged person like me.

  3. French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, and Pleasure - This is the sequel to French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure, which I absolutely loved and reviewed here. I haven't actually had a chance to read this second book, but it is on my "to-read" list and I hope to do it soon. If anyone else has read this I'd love to hear what you thought of it!






Friday, June 6, 2008

Fitness Challenge Bonus Points

I meant to tell you this in my last Fitness Challenge post and I was reminded of it again today. A month or so ago Aubrey gave me a great idea....award bonus points for participating in any sort of charity run/walk/bike, etc. These points won't go towards your monthly total, but they will go towards your overall points and will be useful at the end of the year.

So, for any event you participate in let me know and I'll give you 25 bonus points. And of course the actual run/walk/biking points WILL go towards your monthly workout points.

I was reminded of this today after my brother participated in the Torch Run for Special Olympics yesterday. You can read an article about it (which mentions Justin!) here. Good job bro and congratulations on your 25 bonus points!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Four by Four

A few days ago Kristin sent me an email with the following questions. I thought about responding by email, but since I'm in desperate need for some blog material and I'm not quite ready to announce our May Fitness Challenge winner yet, I thought I'd answer these here instead.

A) Four places that I go to over and over: The Bank, Target, Petco, Starbucks

B) Four people who e-mail me(regularly): This one is hard because I've been so bad about emailing lately that the reason I haven't been receiving alot of emails is because I owe all of you replies!! But most recently my emails have been coming from Ember, Aubrey, Michele, and CaSondra

C) Four of my favorite places to eat: Sky Club, Christian's Bistro, Toyoko Steakhouse, and Club Forest - these are all local joints that I love!

D) Four places that I'd rather be now? Sitting on the porch of a beach bungalow in Bora Bora, camping in the U.P., relaxing at our cabin in Rhinelander, visiting a new city - maybe Seattle.

E) Four people I think will respond: Since I'm not actually emailing this, I don't know who will respond. But, I'd love to read your answers if you want to post them or send them to me!

F) Four TV shows I watch all the time: This one is also really hard because following the writers strike I pretty much stopped watching tv and I can't say I watch anything all the time. I'm currently kind of liking The Bachelorette and So you Think you can Dance. Prior to the writers strike I used to religiously watch Grey's, Brothers and Sisters, and Desperate Housewives. Earlier this year I was also enjoying Dirty Sexy Money and Cashmere Mafia. What happened to those? Oh, and I also like all those CSI and related shows. Okay, so maybe I watch more tv than I thought :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

June Fitness Challenge

The problem with getting out of the habit of posting at least fairly regularly is that when you do want to write something again, you have no idea what to say. Lucky for me it is the start of a new month and so I have a new fitness challenge to announce. Later this week I'm hoping to get a chance to fill you in on what has been going on in our lives lately. None of it has been too exciting; our schedules lately have consisted of work, work, and more work, but we have some projects in the hopper that I'm excited about. Now, if we could only learn how to finish something we've started!

But for now lets talk Fitness Challenge. This month's challenge is all about improvement. I'll be sending each of you an email with the points I have recorded for you for January (or, if you entered the challenge after January then it will be for your first month), and the person who is the most improved over their first month will win the challenge.

Everyone will be eligible to be a prize winner this month, even if you were a previous month prize winner and for your prize you will have your pick of all the prizes previously presented. There won't be any weekly bonus points, but the winner, in addition to winning a prize, will also be awarded 30 bonus points. Second runner up will receive 20 and third runner up will get 10. Although the bonus points won't help for this months challenge, they will be useful at the end of the year because the winner of the 2008 Fitness Challenge will be based on total points for the year.

Best of luck to all of you and enjoy your workouts!

Also, I'll hopefully be announcing the May Fitness Challenge winner in the next couple of days. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Family Weekend

Despite the hysteria on here Monday, we actually had a really awesome weekend with my family this past weekend. On Saturday morning we piled into my car with Justin and Kira and headed south. Yes. All four of us traveled in my car. I'm really not sure how we did it either :)

On Saturday afternoon we celebrated C.'s 4th birthday in true Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fashion. Did you know my brother can still name all four turtles, provide their weapon of choice, and give you explicit details on their personality? I was pretty impressed. I mean, he was like our own TMNT reference book. As he was rattling through each turtle he came to the Orange one, which would be Michelangelo and stated "he's the partier." About 10 minutes later the little boy who was sitting at the opposite end of our table said "Mom, the orange turtle is crazy!" Kids crack me up. Don't ever think they aren't listening.

After the party we checked into the hotel where (because it was Mother's Day weekend) we allowed my mom to pick the programming and we watched The Princess Diaries. Kira and I thought this was a fine selection, Collin and Justin?? Ummm, not so much. But they sucked it up and didn't complain. Too much.

On Sunday more of my extended family came to town and we celebrated M.'s baptism and Mother's Day. It truly was a blessed day.

I have lots of pictures that I've been wanting to upload but my computer is so slow and it always takes forever to do it, so I've been dreading it. And procrastinating. But yesterday my cousin sent us a video he put together with pictures of the weekend and he said I could share it with you here. Just as a warning, it does have music....in case you are at work.

I've never seen this website before, but I just love this video. You can check it out here.

If I could just point out a couple of things....be sure to check out the TMNT cake. My cousin MaLinda made that BY HAND!! She is a cake making genius. And that's an understatement. Also, look at M's baptism gown. That gown has been in our family for over 100 years. It was originally my great grandfathers and has been worn by a number of us throughout the years. Unfortunately pictures can't really do it justice. It is beautiful.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

10 Reasons why I Love You

  1. You let me be me. At times I’ve been known to be loud, boisterous, crazy, and out of control, and not once have you tried to stifle me.
  2. When in a disagreement you always fight for our relationship even if I’m trying my damnedest to fight against it.
  3. You knew, without a doubt, early on in our relationship (okay, very early on) that we were meant to be together and this did not scare you.
  4. We may not agree on everything (you like Ranch, I like French; you like oldies, I like anything but oldies), but we agree on the big things.
  5. You remind me of my father. You are an outdoorsman, a handyman, and an athlete. These things may seem hollow or maybe even a little vain, but they are important to me as they were the core of my childhood.
  6. You always, always, always see the cup half full. You focus on the positive and encourage me to as well.
  7. You love children and are so good with them.
  8. When I complain about gaining weight you deny it and tell me that my clothing must have shrunk in the washer/dryer. You are not trying to be funny, you seriously believe this. I appreciate the fact that you don’t notice the extra 10 pounds.
  9. You work your butt off to provide for us. You love what you do and your enthusiasm for your work is evident in your success. Looking at you making your career dreams come true inspires me to work for the same.
  10. You are willing to take risks and you trust that together we can make it through anything.

Happy 28th Birthday, Hon. I can’t wait to spend the next 28 years together. I love you!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Like a freight train

There are times when it is expected, seeing a new baby, hearing a pregnancy announcement, attending a baby shower. In these instances you know the emotions are going to run rampant. You know that you may feel out of control – angry, jealous, sad, self-pity. But the knowledge that it might happen seems to lessen the pain. The blow doesn’t feel quite so hard.

But then there are instances when it hits you like a freight train going full speed ahead, destination unknown. It’s these times where the wave of emotions is truly unbearable. Where it burns in your gut and feels like a knife in your heart. I had no idea Mother’s Day was going to be so difficult. I simply didn’t see that train coming.

And as I went to bed last night I had no inclination that still today I would be such a mess. That my emotions would still be swinging all over the board. One minute I want to hit something, throw something, make something/someone else hurt. I’m so pissed off. The next I want to cry, maybe if I shed enough tears these horrible feelings will be washed from my mind and my heart. I’m so desperate and alone. And at still other moments my thoughts are consumed by possibility and hope.

The thing is the drugs; they might have actually worked this month. There is no way of knowing for sure yet and honestly, I don’t know when we will know. But I feel like the possibility, the hope that they did their job that should be enough for me right now, right? Isn’t that what I wanted? Just a chance?

But it’s not. And I feel guilty and sad and angry and pissed off at the world and depressed and scared.

I’m scared.

I’m scared that the drugs didn’t do their job and that I’m going to have to face the negative test result in a few weeks time.

But I’m also scared that they did. It sounds insane, but I’m actually scared of getting pregnant.

I’m scared when we announce our pregnancy that people will have a hard time mustering up excitement and joy – because lets face it, I’ve always had a quick temper, but these last ten months I’ve been a royal effing bitch. And that makes me full of anger at myself. And days like today I want to punish myself for my defective body and punish myself for letting my emotions get the best of me and punish myself for some of the thoughts and feelings I’ve been having.

And I’m also scared that if people are happy they may say things like “See, you just needed to relax.” Or “I knew it would happen when the time was right.” And the thought of those comments, well, right now I don’t think I’d be able to handle them. And that makes me mad at myself for not being able to control my feelings, my words, or my temper. And I’m fearful that if I were to hear these words I might snap. I might utter something back that is mean and degrading. And just the thought that I might do that makes me angry at myself.

And I’m also scared that if we do get pregnant that somehow this whole experience, these last 10 months will be discounted because I didn’t suffer long enough or have to endure enough. That I’ll feel like this depression I’m in right now is unwarranted, devalued.

But most of all I’m scared that regardless of what happens this month or next month or the month after that, that the damage of the last 10 months is already done.