Thursday, May 31, 2012

Body Image

Warning, warning:  Another honest Nain post...

I've always struggled with body image.  I honestly don't know why, but I've never really been happy with the way I feel and how I look.  I look in the mirror and see a distorted version of myself.  It's sad, really, but I don't quite know what to do about it.  It is what it is.

It's really sad how it starts.  I always had a little baby fat on me as a kid, and I hated that.  And I was this pale little girl with these freckles all over.  I hated them, too.  It was as early as 4th grade when I was worried about calories and how I ate.  I remembered my 4th grade teacher teaching us in Health about eating healthy and low calories, and she made some statement about how healthy salad dressing with the fewest calories was dressing you could see through like Italian dressing.  As soon as I got home that night I informed my parents that I would only be eating Italian dressing from then on out. 

In high school, I went through a period starting my junior year into senior year where I barely ate a thing.  It started off as just from anxiety and nerves, and then once I started, I just had no desire to eat.  My parents would try anything.  They'd go to Baskin Robbins, buy me a cup of one scoop of ice cream, and that thing would stay in the freezer for a week as I would nibble at it, here and there.  I recall one morning when I made myself a Pop Tart for breakfast, but I threw away most of it, and my mom followed me out of the house confronting me about the fact I didn't eat a thing. 

I constantly compared myself to other girls in my class who I viewed as prettier than me, skinnier than me, and basically better than me.  I worried that I was too fat for any guy to be interested in me.  Even having a serious boyfriend in high school, I still had that worry.  Constantly in my head.  Why would anyone find me attractive? 

In college, I continued the struggle.  When I got mono my sophomore year, I remember getting down to a seriously low weight from being so sick, and yet, still...I thought I was too fat.  And in a sick way, I enjoyed people being worried about my weight being too low.

In law school, I hit a low with my self esteem and found myself desperately depressed.  I put on a significant amount of weight, and I beat myself up daily for it.  But I was so lost in depression that I didn't have any desire to do much of anything, and I found myself eating for comfort.  Grad school is a pretty lonely time, and unfortunately my body, as well as my health, took the brunt of it. 

I did manage to take off that weight, but over the past few years, as I get older, I find it creeping back up again.  Stress, lifestyle changes, medication and not eating as healthy as I should...I'm fighting it all in terms of keeping my weight off.  Not that it got out of control by any means, but still...I still look in the mirror and see someone I'm not proud of.  T constantly tells me I shouldn't and tells me how beautiful I am, just the way I am.  But that's not what I see.  I wish I could see what he sees.

Having a baby, it was hard for me to gain the weight, but I did.  I did manage to keep it in the healthy range, gaining about 30 lbs in the pregnancy, but now that Aubrey is here, I find myself hating my body even more. 

I'm probably much too hard on myself.  It took nine months for me to gain that weight, I certainly can't expect it to just fall off.  I try to remind myself I shouldn't complain because others do have it harder than me, and some people will look at me and say I'm crazy and that I'm just seeking attention when I complain about my weight.  My response to them is honestly, I'm not.  It's truly how I feel, and it's something I struggle with every day.  When I don't get the chance to exercise, for some reason I feel anything I eat that day is just going to cause me to gain a ton of weight, and I'll lose so much by taking one day off.  Why?  Because I'm crazy, I guess.

I'm not sure what has made me want to write this post.  I think part of it is therapy in a way.  Putting my thoughts out about my struggle with PPD a couple weeks ago lifted a weight off of my shoulder.  So here I am, the good, bad, and ugly - this is me.  It's about as honest as I can get. 

I do hope someday I'll find a way to end this constant battle in my head. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Recap

I love it when I get long weekends to spend with my family.  I miss T and Aubrey so much during the week, so getting that extra day to be with them is just wonderful. With all of the chaos from the last two weekends, we decided to just take it easy this past weekend.  Just the three of us.  We started it Saturday with T doing some yard work while Aubrey hit Target with me and hung out with me while I cleaned like a mad woman.  See, we  had the family over the previous weekend, and our house desperately needed it.  It was hilarious because I had her set up in her little bouncy chair and she just kept watching me go back and forth as I did my A.D.D. version of cleaning, probably thinking "what is this crazy woman doing?"  We went to church that evening, where Aubrey started getting fussy (a sign of things to come below), so that wasn't so fun.

Side note:  I get so irritated with people who give us dirty looks during church when she fusses.  We're not that family that refuses to take our kid out when she starts crying.  As soon as she starts fussing loudly enough, she's out in the narthex of the church with one of us so as to not disturb everyone else.  But this past weekend she just wasn't having it.  We had an elderly couple who came in after us and chose to sit behind us, but it was clear we were annoying them.  Um, hello...don't sit behind a family with a baby if you get annoyed with crying babies. And we had to leave directly after communion because she was so fussy.  T was struggling to get crying Aubrey into her car seat outside the church when a lady walked by, looked right at me, and rolled her eyes.  Seriously?  She's three months.  Babies cry.  Deal with it.

Okay, off my rant now...

So that fussy period at church was a sign of things to come...that night Aubrey had a terrible night sleeping.  She was up every two hours and seemed warm, but I attributed it to the fact that it was incredibly hot out this weekend and her room can get a little stuffy because of its location in the house.  However, she was still warm Sunday morning so we took her temperature, and the poor thing had a fever.  This was her first fever for us, so of course we were worried as most new parents are.  We cancelled the plans to go to IU that day and instead went out to breakfast and then out to Target to purchase a better thermometer.  We had one but seriously, this thing took about three minutes to give a temperature reading.  And the doctor wanted us to have a rectal thermometer...or as T called it "an anal thermometer," which later became "an anal probe."  Oh, T...

We took it easy during the day Sunday, but then Sunday evening, her fever got a little higher, and the poor thing got more and more uncomfortable.  By the time it got to her bed time, she was just inconsolable.  All I could do was hold her and rock her, just letting her cry.  And her cries weren't the ones we normally  here.  You could just tell she felt awful.  Both T and I were near tears at points, but when it got to time to give her more Tylenol around nine, she finally sent to sleep and slept until 5 a.m.  I actually woke up at 5 a.m., took one look at the clock, panicked and we immediately went into the other room to check on her.  She was just fine - probably worn out from feeling so sick.  Poor kiddo...this gets easier, right?

Luckily, Miss Aubrey was feeling much better in the morning.  She was back to her smiling and cooing...made Mommy and Daddy so happy to see her more like herself. 

We didn't do much on Memorial Day...I planted some flowers for outside, T put together my new running stroller, and we just hung out.  It wasn't a glamorous weekend, but it was nice...barring the whole Aubrey being sick thing, of course!

Hope you all have wonderful holiday weekends!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happiness in the little things

Second Blooming

Last week, Gretchen at Second Blooming chose "things I hate" as the Spin Cycle topic, and it only seems appropriate that this week's topic is "things I love."  Gotta balance that negativity with some positive, right?

To me, it's the little things in life that make my day and make me this is by no means a comprehensive list, and they aren't ranked in an order of favorites or anything.  I'm just listing things as they come to my mind.

1. Aubrey's smile - seriously, how could this not make you smile?

2.  Snuggling in T's arms - I always feel so happy and safe when I'm in his arms

3.  Spending the weekend just the three of us

4.  Days off - I am in desperate need of a vacation.  Luckily we have one coming up in July! 

5.  (Disclaimer:  I'm not an alcoholic) A nice glass of wine at the end of a long, stressful day

6.  T's honey chicken stir fry - YUM!

7.  A cup of coffee in the morning

8.  Cake Boss - watching this show always makes me smile, as does watching an episode of Hoarders (Hey, don't judge!)

9.  Christmas - I love the holiday season...the decorations, buying people presents, the music, all of it!

10.  Hearing T tell me he loves me - not just verbally but also in the things he does and the way he acts

11.  Staying in on a rainy, cold day - curled up with a good TV show, a blanket and cup of ho-cho

12.  Candles

13.  Chocolate of any kind, variety, you name it

14.  A nice walk with my loves

15.  The satisfaction that comes with cleaning the house and seeing the final product all nice and pretty

16.  My Mary Kay business - seriously, it empowers me so much and I just love doing it and making others feel good about themselves, too

17.  The blogger friends I have made out there - never in a million years would I think that just blogging would connect me with such wonderful people all over the world!  I love it!

18.  Guinness (Did you really think I wouldn't have this on here?)  A nicely (properly) poured pint of Guinness.  Preferably in an Irish pub. 

19.  Taking pictures and capturing memories

20.  Helping those in need - I love this part of my job.  Our mission is to give equal access to justice for those who aren't able to afford the resources or don't have access to them.  It can be crazy, but it's something about which I'm passionate, and I truly love being able to give back in this manner. 

Notice that my list of happy things out numbers my list of things I hate?   I surprisingly enjoyed writing this list more than I did the other list!  Thanks, Gretchen, for the awesome topic! 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Motivation Monday: Ready to Run!

Motivation Monday

Enough talk.  I'm going to do it.  I'm going to start running. 

God help me. 

I've been talking about this for awhile since Aubrey was born and even before then.  As you know, I'm already a speed walker, but I think I need that extra push to get me over that hump to losing my baby weight.  Granted, I don't have any high aspirations of being a super runner like my husband who chooses to torture himself with a marathon.  No, my goal would be to even just run 5 minutes without stopping.  Baby steps, people. 

I have several reasons for being nervous.  With my health stuff, I have to be super careful about it.  And take my inhaler.  That's something I have been too stubborn about in the past, and didn't end well.  A few years ago, T and I were running in a 5k on the canal downtown.  It was a muggy August day, and for some reason, I didn't take my inhaler beforehand or even with me on the run.  I thought I could be okay without it.  Big, big mistake.  I kind of pushed it a bit too hard going for my personal best time (36 minutes, by the way).  I could feel in that last mile like my heart was racing and I was having a hard time breathing.  But I was nearing the finish line, and I wanted to finish by running.  So I kept going.  I crossed the finish line, and T and the timer at the finish line could tell just by looking at me that all was not well.  The timer took one look at me and asked "are you okay?" I couldn't say no, so I just shook my head.  Needless to say paramedics were called, Nain got two rounds of oxygen and was almost taken to the hospital.  It was scary.  At that point in our relationship, T didn't know too much about my heart condition or what meds I was on, so when he mentioned it to the paramedics, they kind of freaked out.  And I got lectured by the paramedics, T, my mom, his mom, my sister, my friend Sluss, you name it about the inhaler thing.  So I never leave home without it now.  Lesson learned. 

I haven't run since that time.  So I'm nervous.  But I feel like if I start running on the treadmill only, I'm at home, so if I need to stop, I'm not far away from home by myself.  Right now, if I do run outside, I'm going with someone.  But I do want to do this.  I want to challenge myself.  (Within reason, of course) 

What about you?  What motivation do you need this week?  Write a post about it and link it up to my blog, leaving a link to it in your comment on this post!  I didn't get any participants last week (sad face) so let's see if I can get at least one!

Sarah @ Crazy Love Gamble Style

Happy Motivation Monday!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

God Bless You, Aubrey

On May 20th, the demon was taken out of our baby girl. 

Okay, I'm being dramatic.  She was baptized.  That is just the joke T and I had between ourselves. 

It was a beautiful occasion.  We bought her this adorable, long white dress, and she looked like a little angel in  it.  Both sides of the family were present, and we all went to noon mass before the baptism at 1:00 p.m.  The service was not in our church but rather in the smaller chapel that used to be the old church.  The building is gorgeous inside, and it's much more intimate which made for a nice setting.   They had three baptisms that day, another one being our good friend's baby, and the whole thing went surprisingly smoothly.

I'm proud to say that, out of the three kiddos, mine was the one who behaved.  Of course, she was the youngest, and it didn't hurt that she was fast asleep.  She barely even budged when the priest poured the water on her.  She just did her "hey man! what's the deal!" hands up in the air pose but otherwise remained asleep.

This is going to sound incredibly corny, but I was so proud of Aubrey as we stood up there.  Of course, she's three months old, and it's not like she actively did anything.  But still, it was the first "big" occasion for her, and I was just so proud to be her mother.  I teared up a little when the actual baptism occurred, and I just couldn't stop looking at her during the service.  She is just so amazing.

Now I just had to add this picture because this is the priest lighting the candles from the Baptism candle, and to me, it just looks like he's about to set Aubrey's head on fire.  Of course, that's just a camera angle thing, but it still makes me giggle.

Poor T's arm was killing him by the end of the ceremony.  She looks small, but man is she heavy when you hold her for any extended period of time.  (Note that she is still fast asleep.)

She's Mommy's little angel...what can I say?

We took family pictures in front of the chapel before heading home to have a party for Aubrey.  The ironic thing is we took pictures outside this same chapel when we were married almost two years ago.  Notice the similarities.

It's kind of cool to look at the two pictures and see our family progress.  In the wedding picture, it was just T and me, but in the baptism picture, our family now includes Aubrey.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

We had family and friends over for a cookout after the ceremony and pictures, and boy did we have a full house.  My family is big, and adding T's family to that makes for a ton of people.  Lucky for me, Mommy got to have a couple glasses of wine to help with that added stress. 

I had to include a picture of her cake in this post because it was so delicious and so pretty.  We got it from the same place that did our wedding cake.  It was good then, and it was just as good now.

If you look at the writing there is a little inside joke on the cake.  The right side says "You are the gift from God.  You are speacil."  (Yes, that is intentionally misspelled.)  When I was a kid in Vacation Bible School, we made these pictures from paper plates, and around a picture of yourself we were to write "I am a gift from God, I am special."  Well, I wrote "I am the gift from God.  I am speacil."  So ever since then my family has made this an ongoing joke.  As a surprise to my parents, I included it on Aubrey's cake, too. 

It was a beautiful day and a fun weekend, albeit exhausting.  I am happy in that we won't have another crazy weekend like this until her First Communion, but it did mean a lot to T and me to have our family there to celebrate this wonderful occasion. 

God bless you, Aubrey Leona!  Mommy and Daddy love you!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hate is a strong word, but I really really really don't like you

Second Blooming

This week's Spin Cycle topic, brought to you byGretchen at Second Bloomings, is one that I absolutely love.  "Things I hate."  T saw the title of the topic and said "this one is for you!"  It's not that I am a hateful person or am filled with hate in my heart by any means.  No, not that at all.  It's just that I should I put this nicely?  I have been known to be bitchy on a few occasions.  Just a few.  Now stop laughing, T.  Maybe just a little impatient and intolerant.  Known to be sarcastic every now and then. 
What can I say?  Things bug me. 
So when I saw the topic was "things I hate," I laughed.  Mostly because it's hard to eliminate that to just a few.  But I'll try.  So, here goes nothing...
The list of things that Nain just absolutely hates:

***Disclaimer - none of these are about anything on the blog!  Nothing about blogging or out in the blogosphere bugs me :-)  So don't think #1 or 2 relate to anything on here.   Far from it!  I love you guys!

1.  Unwanted advice.  Throughout my pregnancy and now that I have a little one, everyone and their second cousin Bob is giving me advice.  And I don't want it.  I never want it.  I never want advice unless I specifically ask for it.   So many times I've wanted to tell people that their unwanted advice has been filed away in the "I don't give a shit" file, but I bite my tongue.  But seriously....I don't like unwanted advice. 
2.  People saying they can relate to something you're going through.  I'm sure that you can relate to something I share with you.  But please don't tell me when I'm telling you something going on with me.  I got this a lot with my pregnancy with all of the scares we had.  Half the time the things that people said they could "relate" to were not even in the same ballpark to what I was telling them.  Just listen to me, that's all I need.  I need to vent.  Don't tell me you can relate, and for the love of God, don't give me advice. 
3.  Okay, onto something unrelated....people who chew with their mouth open.  Close your mouth.  It's gross and no one wants to hear it. 
4.  Slurping noises. 
5.  Movies that have animals talking in them.  And we're not talking cartoons because that's different.  We're talking those movies like Air Bud where they have dubbed a voice with an animals.  It's unnatural and well...annoying.  Dogs can't talk so don't make it look like they can.  It's just creepy in my opinion.
6.  Arrogance - No one is better than anyone else.  No one cares about your car or how much you make or how you've gone to so many vacation destinations.  Don't pop your collar and try to pretend your Mr. Big Shot.  I can usually see right through it, and arrogance just makes me not like a person even more.  In fact it makes me want to emasculate you, which was a hobby I had back in my single days in law school and on.  I actually had a guy brag about how he was in the "cool crowd" in law school.  No lying.  Needless to say, that was the only date.  Arrogance, while it's fun to tear someone down, is an ugly trait.  One that I hate.
7.  People who have stickers of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes peeing on some sort of logo. 
8.  Nickelback...enough said.
9.  Having to repeat myself.  I get irritated with T on this a lot.  I should probably be a tad more patient on it, but it's something that bugs me. 
10.  People who hurt those I love.  I'm pretty protective of my family and friends, and if you make them cry, I have a sudden urge to make you cry.  A lot.  I don't hate too many people or really anyone...except for one particular man who hurt someone in my family.  To me, he embodies all that is evil, and I just...well, honestly, I hate him. 
11.  Wedding shows - I wasn't a huge fan of wedding planning, and I didn't have all of these preconceived ideas of what I wanted.  I would have been happy getting married on a beach, just T and me.  So shows like "Say Yes to the Dress" bug me.  Some of these women are just too entitled.  Makes me want to remind them that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. 
12.  Lastly, this one is a serious one and one from my days working as a child abuse attorney.  People who abuse or neglect your children.  Under no circumstances is any of that ever okay.  People like that don't deserve to have children. 
So that's my list of things I hate.  Not a comprehensive list, but I figure 12 is enough, right?  Some of them aren't too serious, and some of them are extremely serious.  Thanks, Gretchen, for letting me vent! 



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dear 16 year old me

Dear 16 year old self,

I bet thirty years old seems like such an old age.  I bet thirty-one seems even older.  I write this letter to you after over thirty years of life experiences, of heart aches and challenges and joy.  I hope you will take this advice and carry it with you throughout the next twenty-one years.  Trust me, you'll need it.  So here goes nothing...

Try not to let the body image issues you have in your head right now control your life.  There will come a time when you have to be comfortable in your own skin.  Comparing yourself to other women who are thinner than you, prettier than you, etc., won't do you any good.  You're beautiful just the way you are.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

You're going to think your first love you have is "the one."   High school love is nowhere near the kind of love you will experience with "the one."  You'll have your heart broken, and each time it will feel like the end of the world.  Trust me, it's not.  This, too, shall pass.  Each time it happens, you will have a harder time trusting others.  Try to not let that happen.  You'll get to the point where you feel you will never find that person who makes you complete.  Each year that goes by, you will wonder when it will ever be your turn.  You will lose yourself along the way, but you will find that one person who will help you find yourself again.  He'll help you forgive yourself and forgive others.  He will put the pieces back together, and any hurt you had in the past will fall away.  You'll learn what true love really is, and the love you share with this person will make any past resentments or hurt you have fall away.  Just because you don't find this person when you think you should doesn't mean it will never happen.  Have patience.  God does have a plan for you. 

Speaking of boys, when you are in college, try to have fun with your friends and enjoy the experience.  Don't squander away those four years worrying about guys.  All it will do is make you regret those parts of that experience you'll miss out on.  It's not worth it.  Those four years are meant for exploration, for finding yourself, for having fun.  You can't go back so make the very best of the experience. 

You think you know what you want to do with your career now, but that will change just a bit.  You'll find that you are drawn towards a career that seems so out of your comfort zone.  You will develop a confidence you didn't think was possible.  And you'll be in charge of yourself.  It's hard to see that now, but you have no idea what your future has in store for you.  Don't give up on your dreams.

You will have children.  At this point, I just know of one.  But your heart condition will not be a hindrance keeping you from having a baby of your own.  I know you hold that fear in the back of your mind.  That fear doesn't go away.  It won't be easy, but your heart is strong.  And you are strong.  And you will bring a life into the world that will change your own life forever in ways you cannot even dream. 

Take care of yourself.  I know in the back of your mind you have your health as a concern.  Your physical health and your heart is something you should nurture.  It'll become more and more important as you get older.  Exercise, eat right, and try as best you can to keep that stress under control.  It does have some harmful effects.  Your mental well-being is just as important as your physical health.  Nurture that as well.  You'll need it in those dark times.  And unfortunately, there will be dark times.  Keep a support system around you, trust in those who love you, and most of all, trust in yourself. 

You have a bright future ahead of you.  You have so many blessings coming your way.  Live each day fully, love with your whole heart, and always believe in yourself.  The rest will fall into place. 


Your thirty-one year old self.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

You're not alone

Depression, just because it's an illness that can't be physically seen, doesn't make it any less real.  The scars it leaves are just as real as physical ones that can be seen.

I pride myself on being real and honest on my blog.  I don't like divulging too much in my personal life, but sometimes I think writing something to which someone else could possibly relate is important. 

So that's why I chose to write a post today about depression.  More specifically, post partum depression.  It's something that is out there, you hear about it, but it's not always understood or taken seriously.  I was one of those people.  I didn't think it would happen to me.  That is, until I experienced it myself. 

I've always struggled with clinical depression and anxiety.  Show me an attorney who doesn't.  I have my own ways of treating this, which I will keep to myself, but it has always been something that has played into my daily life and how I react to certain things.  During my pregnancy, it was something that was monitored, with the extra hormones, as well as the intense stress I had with all of my health complications, the doctors were concerned that I would regress into the depression.  They were even more concerned about what would happen when the baby arrived.  I brushed it off, assuring everyone that I would be just fine.  Once Baby Aubrey was here and the stress of the pregnancy was past, I would be doing so much better. 

I would like to say that was the case and that as soon as I had that little girl in my arms, I was happy all of the time.  I wasn't.  I felt so guilty that I wasn't.  I couldn't stop the tears forming at my eyes.  I couldn't stop that empty feeling that would come and go throughout the day.  I would be happy one moment, looking into her eyes thinking I was the luckiest person in the world.  Five seconds later, I would be in tears thinking I was the most inadequate mother out there, thinking there was no way I'd handle this.  Who was this little person I brought into this world?  Was I even worthy to be her mother?  I would have extreme anxiety at night wondering if I would be able to even let her get some sleep.  My heart would race as the night came closer and closer.  It got to the point where I simply dreaded evenings. 

Those first few weeks, T was there with me.  I knew he felt so helpless, not sure what to say or do to make me feel better.  I know he was scared to leave me alone, and as his paternity leave came to a close, both he and I were nervous about it.  I would never in a million years do anything to harm my baby, but we were more scared about me just being sad all day.  I have a hard enough time being cooped up in a house as it is, so I was nervous about being restricted, compounded with the feelings I was experiencing. 

Days were hard.  It was even harder because I chose to keep it to myself.  I didn't share this with even my closest friends.  I'm sure some of them reading this blog right now are shocked all of this was even going on.  But it was, and I had no idea why I couldn't handle it.  I handled nine and a half months of constant fear and worrying.  Why couldn't I just be happy?  I was so blessed.  I felt so guilty about the sadness that consumed me on a daily basis.  I was being ungrateful, selfish.  I should have been floating around on a cloud of happiness.  Instead I felt like I was falling deeper and deeper into this hole and couldn't get out. 

I started to withdraw from the things I loved, including blogging.  I felt if I had nothing happy or positive to contribute, then I probably shouldn't write at all.  It might not have been the best thing at the moment, but I didn't want to drag others down with me.  And I certainly didn't want anyone to know that I wasn't handling everything. 

I am happy to say that I am getting out of that hole.  It hasn't been easy.  And it's taken quite some time.  I couldn't have done it without treatment and the support of the man I love.  I relapse some days, but things are getting easier.  And I'm happier.  I'm getting back to doing those things I love.  I'm getting back to me. 

So many new moms out there experience the same thing I experienced.  And so many of them carrying around that guilt about what they are feeling and keep it all inside.  You may not see it, but they are suffering inside.  Suffering silently. 

I appreciate all of you for letting me be so open and honest on my blog.  I know it's not a positive and happy blog today, but I hope that my letting you all in can perhaps touch at least someone out there who is struggling with the same sadness.  And let them know that you're not alone.  And it will get better.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Advice from me to me

The other day on Twitter, I joined in on a conversation on what things we would tell our pre-mom self now, knowing what we know now that we didn't know then.  I liked the topic so much, I decided to write a little more on it.  Because believe me, I have lots of things I would have told my pre-mom self.  Things I possibly did hear, but I didn't take advantage of when Aubrey arrived.  Of course, it's easier said than done because once the little one arrives, you kind of go into survival mode, doing anything you can do to keep swimming.  But still...if I could go back and start over again, I would tell my pre-mom self this:

1.  Sleep.  Sleep as much as possible.  Because starting that first night, you won't be getting that sleep for a long time.  Three months later of maybe five hours any given night, you are going to look back and say "I sure wish I had slept more." 

2.  Sleep when the baby sleeps.  I didn't do this because I always worried about everything that needed to be done.  I could have benefited so much from that extra sleep. 

3.  Go with your gut.  So many people are going to tell you how to handle your baby and what to do.  So many people will have their two cents.  But go with your gut.  You're the mommy and you know best.  Don't allow others to make you question yourself. 

4.  Be prepared for your emotions to go on one heck of a roller coaster ride.  Sure, you read about post-partum depression or baby blues and think it won't happen to you, but it happens to all moms, some at different levels of severity.  This is another post for another day, but suffice it to say, I was caught off guard with this one. 

5.  Don't beat yourself up when you have a hard time handling those emotions.  You're not alone.

6.  Don't be afraid to call the doctor or nurse.  You're new to this.  You won't know everything.  If you think there's something wrong, call your doctor.  That's what they are here for, and if they tell you everything is okay, that's good.  You're not bothering them by calling. 

7.  Every baby is different.  Just because someone you know had a baby who did this or that, it does not mean that your baby will do the exact same thing. 

8.  Don't lose sight of your partner and your own relationship.  T and I have to remind ourselves of this, because we do get wrapped up in being parents.  We need to nurture the relationship that brought us together in the first place.  Because that's just as important as being parents.  Make time for each other and don't be afraid to go on date nights. 

9.  Take advantage of the help when it is offered, especially the help from your partner.  T and I split the duties of taking care of Aubrey at night, and I don't think I could do it without him.  I have no idea how moms who do handle it.  Definitely have a new respect for them.

10.  Finally - treasure every moment.  I miss the days when I could just snuggle up with Aubrey, laying her on my chest.  They do grow up so fast, so treasure each and every moment.  Take those mental pictures and carry them with you always. 

Those are just a few I could think of, and I know there are countless more.  It's not to say I haven't learned these lessons along the way and have incorporated them.  And I'm not sure even if I heard these ideas before her arrival that I could have any idea exactly what they meant.  What advice would you have told your pre-mom self? 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Glass half full

Motivation Monday

Back to another week, another Monday, which means another Motivation Monday!  To recap from last week, I'm afraid I did a poor job of staying on task.  I'm not sure if problem with keeping focus has gotten worse, but...I need to try that one again this week.  So that motivation will carry on from last week, but that doesn't mean I won't try to have another one this week. 

Last week, Jen at the Misadventures of Mrs. B wrote a wonderful post about having an attitude of gratitude. I have to admit, I don't always take time in my day to appreciate the blessings I have in my life and truly be grateful when I should be grateful.  You all know pretty well that I may or may not be a pessimistic person.  I'm certainly no optimist, and I often let myself get bogged down during the day by all the "crap" that gets thrown my way.  I don't take the time to think "yeah, that sucked, but what about this part?  That was really wonderful."  Usually the sentence ends with the word "sucks."  And maybe throw in a few expletives there. 

I really should work on changing that.  Sure, there will be parts of the day and of life that just suck.  But not everything is the end of the world, and if I let all of the bad cloud my vision of what is good in my life, I'll do nothing but make my life miserable.  And really, who wants to live like that? 

I'm so grateful for so much - my husband, our beautiful little girl, our home, my health, my family...but also for the little things like the first cup of coffee in the morning, the smell of freshly-baked cookies, getting into bed right after you wash the sheets and they are still warm, the satisfaction of accomplishing everything you want to do in a day, the taste of a properly poured Guinness, the feeling I get in my heart still when T holds my hand or hugs me. 

I'd like to take the time to notice and actually point these things out in my daily life.  So this week at least I am going to pick at least one thing for which I am grateful each day.  I won't write it in my posts, but I promise, I'll be accountable!  If you are on Twitter, follow me on #viewfromnain, and I'll post what I'm grateful for on there. 

What about you?  What's motivating you this week?  If you want to participate, write up a post about what is motivating you this week, link up to my blog in your post, and then leave your link in a comment, and I'll link you up! 

Lastly, I'm grateful for you guys!  I appreciate all of you who read my blog, especially those who leave comments!  Have a great day!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Welcome to my world!

Hi, there!  It's really nice to meet you all.  My name is Aubrey.  I'm pretty new here, but I think I have a pretty good life so far.  It's not easy being me, but someone has to do it.  Let me show you how I roll. 
So this is my crib.  Pretty sweet, right?  I have all of these cool monkeys all over my wall, and I love staring at them at night.  They're just so interesting.  I know Mommy and Daddy want me to stop looking at them and go to sleep, but why would they put them on the wall if they didn't want me to look at them?  Mommy and Daddy just don't make sense sometimes.
I've got it pretty good here.  My Mommy and Daddy play with me.  I have a nice bed, and cool stuff.  I poop, they change me.  It's a pretty sweet life. 

I don't have any big complaints.  Well, just one....

Every time I wake up, I'm SO hungry.  And it takes them at least five minutes to get my bottle.  I mean, come on!  Is it too much to ask that a bottle be ready at my demand when I'm hungry?  I don't think so!

But luckily they always know exactly how I like my milk.  Or we'd have problems.  But other than that, things are pretty good here.  I love my Mommy and my Daddy.  Sometimes they dress me up in weird outfits and make me dance (Mommy especially - she likes some weird music, and she's always making up songs.)

I love chilling out on my chair.  This is where I have my deep thoughts.

I like my good friend, monkey...she always makes me laugh....

I love playing on my play mat.  There's all this cool stuff and neat colors to look at.  I like it even more when Mommy and Daddy get on the floor with me and play.

But sometimes, though, they trick me and flip me over on my stomach.  I hate tummy time!  Why must they do this to me?  I cry and cry and they keep saying this is important for me or something.  But they don't make me do it forever.  I still hate it, though.

So that's my world.  It's pretty sweet, and I'm learning stuff every day.  I'm a pretty lucky girl.  I'm so lucky this weekend, too.  My whole family is coming just for me.  I get to wear a pretty white dress, and Daddy says something about the me no longer being a heathen.  Not sure what that means, but it sounds fun!

Thanks for stopping by, friends!  It's really nice to meet you all!  Mommy says have a good weekend, too! 


Friday, May 18, 2012

Picture that moment in time

Second Blooming

This week's Spin Cycle, brought to you by Gretchen at Second Blooming is on Pictures.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I couldn't agree more.  Some pictures tell a story.  You look at them and you can just see the pure emotion, the moment captured, and relive it.  I love taking pictures for that reason.  I prefer candid ones, because you capture someone in their purest moment of their true self.  Nothing fake, nothing planned.  You capture how they are feeling in that exact moment in time. 

Moments of true and utter happiness....

Moments of love at first site....

Moments of humor....

Bittersweet moments....

And moments you will treasure forever...

Pictures can truly speak to you, and I know these pictures speak to me.  What about you?  What moments have you captured in time?  Stop by Gretchen's blog and see what other spinners have to say.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Miss Shy

As a child and a teenager, I was always pretty shy.  I hated having to speak in class.  I dreaded being that student who had to work a math problem out on the chalk board for fear of making a fool of myself in front of my classmates.  I preferred to stay in the background. 

When it came time for us to do speeches in ninth grade, I remember making myself absolutely sick with worry the entire week before.  I was red in the face, sweaty palms, so nervous when I finally had to give the speech.  I can't remember what it was on, and I remember it was for only four minutes.  Longest four minutes ever.  Why did we have to give oral homework?  Why couldn't everything be written?  I was great at that.  But speaking in front of others?  Heck no.  Not for me. 

That's why sometimes I think it's humorous to those who knew me growing up when they hear about what I do.  I was reminiscing one day with my oldest friend, someone who has known me since fifth grade, and she laughed and made the comment that never in a million years would she have ever pictured me as an attorney.  Thinking about it myself, honestly, I kind of agree with her.  How could a girl who was petrified of speaking in front of a classroom for just four minutes possibly picture herself doing an all day termination of parental rights trial.  Or teaching a training in front of a room of about thirty attorneys?  No freaking way. 

I am honestly not sure when it happened.  It probably was my very first court hearing.  I had possibly the worst client ever.  It was a child support issue.  He was demanding, unreasonable, and completely difficult.  I walked in there not really prepared, and I was up against one of those types - the old, white man attorney in a small town who knew the judge, knew every attorney in town, was one of the good old boys, and here I was - a fresh, new attorney and a female one at that.  I was totally unprepared for it.  And trust me when I say the hearing was a massacre.  Baptism by fire is the only way I can describe it.  But it was my first hearing.  I ripped off the Bandaid. 

I didn't get too many divorce hearings after that before I was laid off.  My next job involved training attorneys on legal research software.  That was intimidating in and of itself.  I was training attorneys who had so many years up on me in practicing law.  Who was I to teach them anything?  But I did it.  And with each training it got easier and easier. 

But really, I think the kicker that pushed me over the edge of being petrified of public speaking was working with the Indiana Department of Child Services.  I worked in the biggest county in our state, and sadly, we had so many cases, it was like an assembly line of child abuse cases.  I had my own docket once a week where I handled 30 hearings at any given time, and I also handled a set of termination of parental rights cases.  My very first trial lasted me four days.  Eight hour days at that.  Again, baptism by fire.   It was shortly after that when I developed no fear.  You kind of had to when you were questioning a parent on the stand who did such awful things to their child.  You basically learn to do pretty much anything in terms of public speaking.  And somewhere along the line, I started to enjoy it.  (I'm not going to lie.  I got a great deal of pleasure from totally grilling a parent who abused their child and tearing them apart on the stand.)

It's amazing to look back and see that progression.  I'm no longer that scared little girl.  Honestly, if I went to my high school reunion, I would have no fear in talking to anyone.  Not even those "popular" kids who intimidated me so much in my younger days.  Because I just don't care what they think of me anymore.  They're just people.  No different than I am.  And if I can fight in the courtroom, I can do just about anything else.  No more Miss Shy.

I hope that, as a parent, I can give my daughter that confidence.  No fear.  You're as good as anyone else, and you shouldn't be scared of speaking up for yourself and presenting yourself in a confident and polished manner.  Someone asked on Twitter the other day what would be one of the best gifts you can give your child.  And I answered with the word "confidence."  Because that's what I hope to inspire in my daughter some day. 


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Happy two years!

Holy cow!  Two years?  I've been at this for two years?  That's craziness.  I did a little trip down memory lane for those first few months of when I started blogging.  One of the things that stood out to me the most was how much things have changed.  When I first started in May 2010, I was planning a wedding, living in an awful rental house with unwanted critters, and not sure what I wanted to write about or where I wanted to go with this blog.  Now, two years later (just two years, mind you!) and I'm married, we built our own home, and we have a baby girl.  How in the heck did all of that happen in two years?  Man, we move quickly.

One of the things I did notice was my posts were a lot longer and full of more content.  Granted, I had a little more time on my  hands to write back then, but still...I really put a lot of thought into what I wanted to write each day.  Not that I don't put thought into my posts now, mind you, but a lot of times I find myself just spitting out a random post here and there.  And when I first started blogging I tended to write on specific topics or thoughts I had.  I remember writing down ideas that came to my mind at random times so I could go back to them.  I'd like to get back to that. 

Granted, I know things change, and as time goes by, your focus changes, as well.  My focus isn't the same as it was back in 2010, and it sure won't be the same as it is now two years from now.  I do hope that two years from now I'll still be writing this blog, but who knows what will inspire my posts at that time?  Who knows where I'll be?

So this is a goal of mine with this blog is to get back to writing.  Creative writing, that is.  I want to get back to posts with substance, posts of which I can be proud.  I don't think it'll be a goal I can accomplish on a daily basis, but I sure would like to try.  

However, my first post is hilarious. I got some crazy idea to make this healthy recipe for brownies from a cookbook my MIL gave me. The recipe called for using black beans. She saw it on Good Morning America, and the hosts who ate the brownies swore they couldn't taste the beans. Well, they were big fat liars. Because the brownies tasted like black beans. And were gross looking. Check it out.

Here's to another year of blogging!  Thanks for being there for the ride!  I always love my readers and those who leave comments!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why I do pro bono

A lot of people believe that all attorneys do is make a lot of money, serving their own interests and working towards billable hours.  Not all people, mind you, but it's a stereotype out there.  It's one that couldn't be any more wrong.  Sure, there are some of us out there who are like that, but really, not the great majority by any means.  Many many attorneys choose to enter the profession of law so that they can give back and help those less fortunate.  Some of them start out that way and then steer more towards the making the big bucks ideal.  But many of them never lose that focus.  Helping others.  I know that's why I chose to practice law.  And to this day, it is still the driving force behind what I do.

I have alluded to what I do before, but my job is to run a legal services agency in an eight county area in Indiana where we provide legal services to low-income and disadvantaged Hoosiers.  I'm the director of this agency, and it's my job basically to keep the agency afloat in an ever-changing economic climate, recruiting attorneys to take cases, and educating citizens about pro bono legal work.  For those of you who don't know, pro bono legal assistance is when an attorney takes on a case completely on a volunteer basis with no financial compensation for his/her work.  Some states require it of every attorney.  Indiana encourages it in its professional rules, but it's not a requirement.  Our volunteers take cases for our agency solely for the reason of helping others.  That's one of the reasons why I love what I do.  It's what I've always wanted to do.

In my first year of law school, I was driving back to school from visiting my then-boyfriend.  It was a beautiful Sunday, and I had just gotten on the highway, ready for a three hour trip home, drinking a fresh Frappacino and listening to some good music.  It was then I came across him.  The aggressive driver in a beat up pick-up truck.  He was riding my tail, and we were quickly approaching a construction zone, narrowing down to one lane.  I didn't want to give him the satisfaction of passing me, so I made it certain he would stay behind me.  Bad idea.  I came to a stop at a stoplight, just shy of the Interstate, when I looked up into my rearview mirror.  As if in slow motion, I saw his truck coming straight  for me.  He didn't even slow down.  He drove right into the back of my car at about 60 mph.  I don't remember much from that other than seeing his truck coming at me, trying to steer my wheel away from the car in front of me, and the sharp pain at the back of my head that hit me at the moment of impact.  The man was drunk and coming home from a camping trip.  Probably enjoyed a few cold ones before he left.  Luckily he was insured, and we exchanged information before the police took him away.  I was in so much pain the next few days, and I still suffer from chronic neck pain from that day.  However, I had to go back to law school that day, as I had a few tests coming up, so I pulled through.  The next day his insurance company called me and offered to come to my apartment, since I didn't have access to a car.  Two agents came to see me that afternoon, and I was completely overwhelmed.  I recall one of them saying that "a lot of people think that they've won the lottery when they have gotten in an accident."  It had been one day since my accident, and I was getting the good cop-bad cop act.  The next few days I kept getting phone calls from the insurance agents trying to get me to sign the piece of paper waiving my right  to try their client.  It was too much for a first year law student already struggling with the new pressure of law school. 

So where am I getting with this?  I swear I have a point. 

That week, I looked up several attorneys in the area and contacted them with my problem.  One attorney wrote back and offered to meet with me for free and discuss my problem.  He had a daughter in college and he was more than understanding as I explained what happened.  After giving him the full situation, he offered to handle the insurance company for me pro bono.  Completely free.  I was shocked.  I offered some form of payment, but his response?  "If you want to pay me, be sure that when you are an attorney you help someone out, too." 

Sure, my situation problem took him a couple hours total to handle, but it meant the world to me.  And what he said really stuck with me. 

I dedicate my career to helping those who are stuck in scary situations, not knowing what their rights are, how to handle their legal problem and just wanting someone to reach out a hand and help them.  And my agency helps people in these situations by referring them to attorneys who are looking to do just that.  

The other day, I coordinated a fundraiser where we worked with a local restaurant for a "dine to donate" program.  People who gave a flier for our organization to their server gave 20 percent of their meal cost to our agency.   T and I gave our server the flier, and I asked her if I could leave several others for her to give her customers.  She told us about how much legal aid helped her with her own legal problem in the past in a divorce and how much she appreciated the assistance of her attorney, one of our current volunteers.  She said he was an amazing man and she couldn't have gotten through it without his help. 

That's what I love about what I do.   Helping someone in a stressful time where they feel so lost and overwhelmed, no idea what to do in the legal arena, it means so much to me. 

And that...that is why I do pro bono. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Motivation Monday!

Motivation Monday

 Hope everyone had a great weekend!  I hate seeing weekends go...I love the time I get to spend with my family and...well...not working?  But at least we're starting the week off with a little motivation?  Who doesn't need that first thing on a Monday morning?  Hope you can join in on the fun!  Super easy to do...just write a post about what is motivating you this week, link my blog somewhere in that post, and then leave a link to your post in a comment.  And I'll add you to the list!

So yes, I'm still working hard on my fitness and losing the baby weight, so it's a given that that will continue to be my motivation  But this week I need motivation for something else.

Stay on task. 

Must stay on task.

I'm not sure when it happened but I do believe I have Adult A.D.D.  Sure, it's not diagnosed, and I'm no medical profession, but man...I sure can't keep focus to save my life.  "Oooh, a shiny object!"  And I'm notoriously bad at starting a task, then losing focus and beginning another and then another and another until my desk looks like a land mine hit it and I've basically accomplished nothing in 8 hours.  I'm ashamed to admit that this does happen quite often for me. 

It's not that I don't have a ton to do.  God knows I do.  I think my problem is I get so overwhelmed with my list of things to accomplish and I can't stay focused.  So I'm a "to do" list necessary?  And not just any to do list because if I just say "these are things I need to do this week" I won't get to it until Thursday or Friday.  But maybe a list of things I need to do at work and in my personal life, breaking it down daily so that I can mark things off as I go along.  It'll give me a clearer picture of what needs to be done, and I might stay a little more motivated if I see that I'm actually making progress.  Sure, it might not be enough to conquer my inability to maintain focus, but it's worth a try, right?

Maybe this will help with my list of things that I have yet to accomplish?

How about all of you?  How do you stay on task? 

So that's my motivation for the week...what about you all?  I can't wait to read them! 

Side a few weeks I want to do a Q&A but with Miss if you have any questions you want her to answer, leave them in an email or comment!  She'll answer anything unless she needs to plead the fifth :-)


Sunday, May 13, 2012


This Mother's Day weekend, T, Aubrey and I decided to have a little adventure in downtown Indy...we had wanted to do this on my birthday weekend, but the rain and 50 degree temperature at the end of April (ugh) kind of ruined that for us.  But hey, the Saturday before Mother's Day was perfect - sunny, 70 degrees...we had to take advantage of it.  Aubrey was pretty stoked about it.

We went to lunch at RAM Brewery, enjoyed a delicious lunch, some cold brews and of course...dessert!  After gorging ourselves, we decided to walk it off on the canal.  I'll be honest, part of the reason for the walk, too, was to push our daughter into a nap.  She was quite excited with everything going on around here.  It was successful, and she got a good nap in. 

That didn't stop Mommy from taking advantage of a photo opportunity.

Or Daddy from joining in on the fun...notice that she didn't budge.

Saturday was so great, too, because she was in such a happy mood.  She hasn't really "laughed" yet, but she grins with her whole face.  And she also decided this weekend that she just loved her little monkey doll.  She got a good grip on it, and I swear, it looked like she would hug her.  So precious.  We did manage to capture one of those wonderful smiles.  It's impossible to look at this picture and not get a smile on your own face, isn't it?

She loves her monkey friend.  It was a pretty exhausting trip.  Someone was down for the count by the end of the day.

It was a wonderful day downtown, fun had by all three of us. We can't wait to come back for more!