Monday, February 23, 2015

The wait.

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I’m not the only one that would have a hard time leaving Sammer.

It’s that time of year for us again, or every few years, I guess.  We are due to find out our next assignment any day now.  When we moved here in March of 2013, they told us we’d be here at least 3-3.5 years.  Well, if you’re math is decent, you realize that was 2 years ago and we are already finding out our next assignment.  Liars.  Good thing we bought a house….

So the best possibility would be that Mark gets chosen to transition to the F-35 and we get to stay here for the next few years.  This would be amazing for many reasons – mostly because we’d get to stay and not have to move shortly after having our 3rd baby.  We finally have amazing neighbors right next door and the kiddos love running back and forth between our houses.  I could keep my real estate license active and continue working.  Abbie would be able to stay in a great school and not have to switch schools for the 4th time in 3 years.  Our house could appreciate more and we could do the upgrades to it we’ve been wanting to do.  Mark would pretty much be non-deployable and flying the F-35 would open up more possibilities for jobs after his AF career is over.  We wouldn’t have to try to find a place to rent with 3 dogs and 3 kids.  I could go on and on.  However, this could be a slim chance of him getting this.  I think quite a few people on this VML (Vulnerable to move list) put transitioning to the F-35 as their top choice.

The worst possibility would be that Mark gets assigned to Kunsan, Korea, and go there for 12+ months by himself.  It’s not really feasible to take 3 kids to Kunsan since they don’t have schools over there for Abbie and we wouldn’t be command sponsored.  Mark would be working a lot and he could have to live on base so he might not be able to live with us anyway.  When guys get stationed there and they just have a spouse, it’s a lot easier for the spouse to go as kids complicate everything.  I wouldn’t 100% rule out trying to go with him, but Mark has said if he gets Kunsan, he would prefer us to stay here than go with him.  He didn’t even put this on his ADP (his dream sheet) so he’s a non-volunteer for any Korea assignment but the most openings out of any move we could do would be to Kunsan.  They need pilots there and they said your best chance of staying in the jet is to go to Korea.  Luckily Mark doesn’t necessarily care if he stays in the jet.  He would like to but not if it means being away from his family for a year, including a newborn.  He’d miss pretty much the entire first year of this baby’s life.  And thinking about raising 3 kids, including a newborn that doesn’t sleep, along with 3 dogs for an entire year is enough to give me a panic attack.  I seriously don’t know how I would remain sane doing this for a year by myself.  I don’t have family nearby.  Most of my friends will be moving in the next year or so.  I would pretty much be on my own as a single parent and that scares the absolute shit out of me.  If this wasn’t at all a possibility, I wouldn’t be half as nervous about getting another assignment, but it is.  I am just praying to God he doesn’t get it.

Mark basically put after on his ADP that he is willing to go anywhere, as long as it’s an accompanied assignment.  Even if that means not flying the F-16 anymore, his preference is to be able to have us come with him.  A good possibility would be going to Holloman in Alamogordo, NM, which is in the middle of freakin no where.  The schools are crappy, the area has pretty much nothing except a Wal-Mart, the housing market isn’t that great, but at least we’d be together.  I could handle any place for 3 years as long as I’m with Mark.  I wouldn’t even mind going to Osan, Korea if he could get an accompanied tour there.  I’d just have a hard time leaving Sammer and the other dogs behind.  I’d just have to keep myself busy with crafts or something, but it would be do-able.

There are a bunch of other possibilities, although the chances of getting them are quite a bit less than getting Kunsan or Holloman.  We could go anywhere from Alaska to Nevada to Utah to South Carolina to Mississippi or Texas to Japan to Germany to Italy again plus more that I probably don’t even know about.  I would love to go back overseas but Mark isn’t so sure he wants to go back into the CAF (combat Air Force).

We found out months ago (November??) that we’re going to be on the spring VML and we probably won’t find out until March what our next assignment is.  I wish there wasn’t so much time in between when we found out we could move to where we’re actually moving because I get more and more anxious as time goes on.  Mark is usually the calm one about all of this but I think this time he’s just as anxious as I am.  I do love moving and love meeting new people and seeing new places and we’ve gotten really lucky with our assignments so far.  I just hope our luck hasn’t run out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day

It was really windy!

This weekend at church the sermon was about marriage and how to make marriages work.  Fitting for Valentine’s Day weekend.  The gist of the sermon was that men need to feel respected and women need to feel loved.  I remember talking to a few different people over the years about how much I respect Mark.  Obviously I love him more than anything, but I have always respected him too.  He’s kind and he’s smart and he’s open minded and even-tempered and he’s driven and I could go on and on.  I remember how I felt about him way back in 2005/2006 when these pictures were taken and I never could have imagined then how I would feel about him now. Markus n me

I’m on a few baby boards right now and I’ve seen a few posts about how girls are afraid their relationships with their boyfriends/fianc├ęs/ husbands will change after they have their baby.  If they only knew the half of it.  I think Mark and my relationship has changed a TON since we had our kids, but it’s 100% for the better.  Seeing Mark in the daddy role is amazing.  I could not ask for a better daddy for my kids, and his love for them is so obvious, and vice versa.  The sun rises and sets on Mark for my kids and they are his biggest fans (besides me) and I love it.  When I was in the hospital last month for the night, I didn’t give Mark one single instruction for the kids.  Not one.  I asked him to get stuff for me to pack in the bag, and I asked if he fed the dogs, but as for the kids, Mark is so involved with them and their daily lives and routines that he already knows everything having to do with them.  The church sermon also talked about typical roles husbands and wives play in the family and they had a few pertaining to kids and who cares for the kids and the pastor said that typically it’s the wife’s job to care for sick kids.  Yes, I do care for the kids when they don’t feel well and I take off work when that happens, but the kids often call out for Mark at night if they wake up needing something.  Sometimes Abbie comes in and says she has a bad dream and she crawls into Mark’s side of the bed and snuggles with him until he puts her back in her bed.  (That might partly be because I sleep like a rock – especially now that I’m pregnant.)  Even tonight, Mark got home after 8pm after working over 10 hrs today and the first thing he does is help get the kiddos to bed.  Ben hasn’t been feeling the best today so he checked on him and asked me what medicine I’ve given him and as soon as he heard Ben make a noise upstairs he went running back up there and took his temp again and gave him some more medicine to help him feel better.  And he also transferred all the pictures I took of the kids today from my phone to his so he can look at them whenever he wants.  This weekend was insanely busy for me and our Valentine’s Day consisted of me showing homes for over 10 hours and him taking care of the kids and cleaning the house.  He never once complains about having to do it all.  us at Caraba's

Sept 2006

I truly don’t think I could have asked or hoped for a better partner in life.  Mark is everything I imagined plus a zillion things I never imagined.  He is one of the most genuine people I know and he’s always quick to give someone the benefit of doubt.  There is this stereotype that fighter pilots have, or I guess many stereotypes, if I’m being honest, and Mark defies all of them, except for the one that most of them are pretty smart.  Being in real estate, I have met lots of different people and have helped many people find houses, including a few guys that work on the flight line as crew chiefs or maintainers and they all have less than ideal thoughts on fighter pilots.  I tell them about Mark and a few of them have met Mark and they ALL say that he is the least “fighter pilot-ish” fighter pilot they’ve ever met and that he doesn’t fit any of the stereotypes.  I absolutely love that he can almost single-handedly break through stereotypes people have built up over YEARS in a matter of meeting them once.  And I also love that he can be an amazing pilot and be voted the best instructor by the last class he taught and not fit the typical fighter pilot mold at all.  There has also been more than once where his students ask him questions or turn to him for advice that they probably wouldn’t ask other instructors for because they know he is so non-judgmental and easy going and he won’t make fun of them for it later on (which happens sometimes in his job).hot MarkApril 2006

Mark, I hope you know how much I love and respect you.  I could write an entire book about all the things I love about you.  For the most part, we’ve had a very easy marriage and I’ve never had to put effort into loving you.  I still get excited when you walk through the door after work or when we get to meet for lunch.  And part of the reason I write this is so someday our kids will be able to read this and know how much I love you too, although hopefully that is apparent to them from seeing us together also.  I’m excited to celebrate Valentine’s Day with you this weekend when we go see Dirty Dancing!  You make me feel like the luckiest girl alive.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Bumpdate: 28 weeks

 

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How Far Along? 28 weeks

Size of Baby? About the size of an eggplant

Maternity Clothes? Yup, still wearing them..  This question is irrelevant until I’m like 8 weeks post partum now because I can guarantee I’ll be wearing maternity clothes until at least then.

Weight Gain? Around 16lbs.

Stretch Marks/belly button? No change.  I have them.  They’re not going away.  Hopefully I won’t get too many more.

Baby’s Sex? Still a boy.  Still don’t have a name picked out which still annoys me.

Sleep? I tend to sleep pretty well right now – probably because I’ve been so busy that I crash when I go to bed.  Sometimes I get up to pee around 1-2am and sometimes I make it until 6-7am before I wake up.  However, whenever I do wake up, I’m roasting and have to kick off all my covers.  Still have pain, but it’s manageable.

Food Cravings? I still crave fattening food.  I need to start eating more healthy. 

Best Moment This Week? Hearing his heart beat again at my appointment last week, and feeling him move a bunch.

What I am loving? Nothing specific, I just like being pregnant in general.  Sure it has it’s not so fun aspects, but in general, I really like it. 

Movement? I’ve been feeling him more and more on the top of my belly and on the sides.  He moves quite a bit now.  When I get really busy sometimes I don’t notice him move much, but typically as soon as I focus on him, I feel him move quite a bit.  A lot of times I wake up and I’m kind of on my belly/side and he’s kicking away, kind of like he’s telling me to get off of him.  And if I wake up and don’t feel him kick then I worry and don’t fall asleep until I feel him again.

What I’m looking forward to: Having him.  And having the damn 3 hr glucose test behind me so I can quit worrying about it…  And starting to get his room/clothes together. 

Other Updates…I had my 1 hr glucose test this last week.  I was dreading it because I knew I got 139 at my last one around 28 weeks and this office’s cut off was 140.  So I figured it would be close.  I got 141….  Grrrr…  I’m really annoyed and frustrated and now I have to go take the 3 hour one and spend 3.5 hours at the dr’s office and pay for childcare and find the time to do that.  So I can’t even take it again until Friday, which is over 8 days from when I took my 1 hr one.  I’m too busy to deal with this stuff, and if I do end up having GD, that’s REALLY going to put a wrench into things.  I already have to start going to the OB every 2 weeks from now until 36 weeks and then it’s every week.  If I have to start going in for growth scans and fluid checks and NST’s all the time, I just don’t know how I’m going to fit all of that into my busy work schedule right now.  Not to mention taking Ben to all of those sounds like a special version of hell.  It stresses me out but I would put money on me flunking the 3 hr glucose test also.  I know this baby will be worth it but I just don’t have the time, ambition or desire to deal with sticking to a diabetes diet right now.  It was HELL for the 2 weeks I had to deal with it during Ben’s pregnancy, let alone doing it for 3 months.  Ugh.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Coulda, shoulda, woulda, maybe still will.

Mark n meThe picture above was taken 10 years ago – January 2005 – when Mark was finishing up his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and I was starting my second Bachelor’s degree in nursing. When I got my first Bachelor’s in Business Management, I chose business because I didn’t know what else to do and I figured it would go well with whatever else I wanted to do later on in life.  That much is true – it does and it will.  But business isn’t necessarily fulfilling to me.  I have no clue why nursing wasn’t on my radar at all when I went to college after high school.  I don’t think I ever seriously considered getting a BSN.  However, now it’s about all I think about.

marknmeJanuary 2005 

I have one year of a nursing degree done – probably more than one year if you take all my business degree classes into consideration also.  But I only finished one year when I went back to school because I met Mark, and I decided to quit school and move across the country with Mark when he commissioned into the military instead of being separated from him for 3 years while I finished my BSN.  I do not regret that decision one bit and wouldn’t trade my life with Mark for anything in the world.  But I REALLY wish I had my nursing degree.

ahh.. a good smile this time Mark n me3

February 2005

Oddly enough, spending the night in the hospital just fed my desire to finish my BSN even more.  My dream is to someday be an L&D nurse (labor and delivery).  I have a few friends that are nurses – some of them are in L&D – and I’ve heard it’s hard to get into because everyone wants to do L&D and once you’re in L&D you typically don’t leave until you retire.  One of my friends went back and got a BSN.  She has 3 kiddos and went to school full time through an accelerated BSN program and got her degree in a year.  They had to pay a bunch for a nanny for her 3 kids but she loves working now and is glad she did it.

Mark n me Copy of Mark n me1 

February 2005 

My main hang up is my kids.  I don’t want someone else raising my kids when they’re little.  After they’re a year or two old, I’m fine with putting them into daycare, but neither of my kids has ever been in daycare full time.  Abbie went to preschool full time when she was 4, and loved it, and we’ll probably do something similar with Ben when he’s 4.  Right now he goes 0-3 times per week depending on my work schedule for 3-6 hours per day and I’m fine with that.  But I’m not fine with putting my 3 month old into a childcare situation.  So that pretty much limits my ability to go back to school, especially if we want four kids after everything is said and done.  #3 is due in 3.5 months and we’ll probably start trying for #4 when #3 is around a year old.  So the EARLIEST I could technically go back to school to get a BSN with the time restraints I put on myself would be four years from now -  and that’s if we magically get pregnant right away and don’t miscarry and have to start over again.  So I will be at least 38 years old, probably closer to 40, when I could go back to school.  Is it worth it to go back to school that late in life and start a new career?  Would people even want to hire me at that age with no experience?

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Brenda and I were roommates for a little bit and met in the nursing program at MSOE

I’ve also considered just getting a lactation consultant certification.  I don’t think that would take more than a year or two and the classes aren’t too expensive and I would still get to help new moms figure things out.  But I think most hospitals hire nurses that are also LC’s, not LC with no nursing experience.  It’s an option, but I’m not sure if it’s a good one.

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Spring Break trip to Disney World 2005

This is all just stuff I’ve been thinking about recently.  I really wish I already had my nursing degree.  Not that I’d be using it currently, so maybe it is better if I get it later on and then go right into a nursing career vs getting my degree and then taking 8-10 years off to raise babies and then go back.  I’m not really sure.  Maybe some day I’ll finally figure out what I want to be when I grow up…

Mark n me me n Mark Markus n me

May 2005

 

On a total side note, I was looking back at all of these pictures when Mark and I were in college together and I found these two.  Little did Mark know that he’d be flying both of the planes that we took pictures next to 10 years ago and now he’s teaching others to fly one of them!  Seems like these times were just yesterday because I still remember the early stages of our relationship very vividly, but in actuality they were almost 10 years, 6 moves, 3 dogs and 2.5 kids ago.  I can’t believe how time flies sometimes..  Below, the one on the left is Mark next to an F-16 and the one on the right is us next to a T-38, which he flew in 2007-2009.

Mark n his f-16 T-38 and us

Monday, January 26, 2015

My unexpected hospital stay

 

This past Friday was quite exciting for me – and I use that term loosely.  I hinted in my 24 week bumpdate that I was having issues with a possibly UTI.  All last weekend I felt like I had to pee constantly, even when I knew I didn’t.  It wasn’t painful really, it was just annoying.  However, I was having right flank pain all the way down my right side, but I had thought that I pulled a muscle lifting a 40lb bag of dog food last Friday.  Monday I went to the OB and they tested my urine and said it was fine and she checked me and baby boy was so low she couldn’t even get a good feel of my cervix without pushing him up out of the way.  So I figured that’s why I had to pee constantly because he was on my bladder.  After she pushed him up my constant feeling of having to pee went away, but my pain in my side didn’t.  She thought that was muscle related also.

Fast forward to Thursday evening – I had a listing appointment that I went to and felt fine, but when I got home, I immediately fell asleep on the couch and even though I was sitting on a heating pad trying to get my back to not hurt and covered up with a blanket and sitting right next to Mark, I was cold.  I started getting chills and I took my temp.  My mouth one said like 99.5 and my ear one said 101.8.  I didn’t really feel like I had a temp, I just had the chills.  I took 2 Tylenol PM’s and slept really well.

Friday morning I got up to pee around 7am and had the chills pretty badly again, so I took my temp.  Again, mouth one was around 99.3 and ear one was 102 and 103.8.  ??  I knew something wasn’t quite right but I was fairly certain I didn’t have a 103+ degree temp.  When I got up I got really flushed and felt my face get red and hot so I called my OB who said to get to the ER asap.  I wasn’t all that worried so I took my time packing a bag of things to keep me entertained since I figured going to the ER would take a least a few hours and gave my BIL a few instructions for Ben, since thankfully he was here to watch Ben for me.  I thought I’d be back in a few hours.  I hadn’t eaten breakfast so I stopped at Starbucks on my way to grab a hot chocolate and a croissant. 

I called Mark to let him know I was headed to the ER at my doctors orders and he said he’d meet me at the hospital in a little bit.  When I hung up with him my professional worrying got the best of me.  I started getting the thoughts about what if this is something serious?  I didn’t give Ben a big enough hug goodbye.  I didn’t tell my kids I loved them enough.  What if baby boy had to be delivered because it was something serious?  I’m a pro at worrying and it was no different on Friday.

I walk into the ER around 10am carrying my purse, bag of stuff to do and my hot cocoa.  I felt kind of ridiculous to be honest.  They checked me in and then took my temp (no temp) and blood pressure (normal), but my heart rate was up around 125bpm.  (My normal is between 80-100bpm.  Pregnant normal is under 110bpm.)  They checked my urine and it came back showing I did have some sort of UTI or kidney infection and I was also dehydrated.  (Not surprising since I’d only had a few sips of hot cocoa at this point.)  At this point, Mark was there with me and they said they needed to put in an IV, take some blood and give me a dose of strong antibiotics and fluids to help with dehydration.  Mark left around 1:30pm to get a pork shoulder at Costco (we were having 40 people over for dinner the next day) and pick Abbie up from school and shortly after he left, the nurse came in and said that my WBC’s (white blood cells) were high.  They were around 15.5 and the normal range was 5-10.  She told me my OB wanted to keep me overnight.  I was SHOCKED.  I seriously didn’t think it was anything that serious.  I thought they’d give me antibiotics to take home and I’d be on my way in a few hours – it wasn’t even on my radar to spend the night.  We had a babysitter lined up for 5pm that night and I had a massage scheduled for the next morning.  I tried to get them to let me go home, but my OB was pretty adamant that I had to stay.  Basically they explained to me that it I either had the beginning of a kidney infection or a blood infection, which can progress pretty quickly and reach the lungs or the baby and has been known to kill pregnant women and/or the baby.  Yikes.

So I called Mark to bring me a bag of stuff and settled in for the night.  It was kind of a weird experience.  I didn’t like being there by myself with my family at all home, but it was sort of relaxing to be able to sit in bed all day and watch TV and have them bring me whatever food I ordered.  My back started to hurt quite a bit and they gave me Percocet, which is a great drug!  That took care of the pain quickly.  My family came to visit me and it was nice to have them around for a bit.  Ben wanted to get up on the bed with me and play with his cars.  Abbie was a bit more hesitant and she had TONS of questions about my IV and the medicine and the baby, and if the baby was coming out and when I was coming home.  When it was time for them to leave, Abbie completely broke down, which absolutely broke my heart.  She cried a lot and I cried too.  Mark laughed at us and Alex (my BIL) chased after Ben who was heading down the hall already.  We were a mess.  Mark said it took Abbie a good 20 mins to finally calm down after they left.  She didn’t want to leave me in the hospital at all.  After that whole ordeal I was a bit more emotional.

I really wanted to take a shower and that turned into an ordeal because they didn’t put a heplock on the IV, so I had to be connected to the bag the whole time.  They taped a bag around my arm to try to keep it dry and protected and I tried to keep it out of the water as best I could.  Luckily my friend Alana showed up after I got out of the shower and she was able to help me get the bags from the IV through my clothes so the wires wouldn’t be going through my shirt.  Kind of a pain, but oh well.  And Alana brought me a flower and a bag of popcorn which was so sweet.  I cried when I saw the popcorn.  HAHA!  The flower was very nice too but she knows how I like popcorn and that meant a lot to me.

I got kinda bored that night, but I slept pretty well.  My IV started beeping at one point so I let the nurses know and got up to pee and asked for more Percocet and then slept until my OB woke me up around 8:30am.  They came and drew more blood around 9:45am to check my WBC’s.  Around noon they got the results and they were down around 11.8 so they were okay with giving me one more IV dose of antibiotics and sending me home.  I ordered lunch while we waited for the antibiotics to go in the IV and Mark came to help me carry all my junk to the car and we were out of the hospital by 1pm the next day.  Two days later my flank pain was completely gone.  Guess it wasn’t a pulled muscle after all…

I learned my lesson for sure with this whole ordeal.  Luckily it wasn’t all that serious, but it very easily could have been if I hadn’t gone to the ER then.  I never did have a fever, which is relatively common with kidney/blood infections, but I knew something wasn’t right.  I just didn’t have a clue that it would warrant an overnight stay in the hospital.

Oddly enough, it made me really excited to have my baby at that hospital.  Everyone was very nice and I was comfortable and well taken care of and the food was pretty good.  I wish his birth was a lot closer than 4 months away.  It also made me really want to get my BSN (nursing degree), but that’s a whole other blog post for another day.  Bottom line is I’m fine and baby is fine and next time I won’t be so cavalier about things like that!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Bumpdate: 24 weeks

 

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How Far Along? 24 weeks

Size of Baby? About a foot long and around a pound and a half

Maternity Clothes? I just bought a bunch more.  It’s odd to me that clothes (specifically pants) I found comfortable last pregnancy aren’t comfortable this pregnancy.  I only had one pair of jeans that I really liked and Motherhood Maternity was having a 40% off clearance sale so I bought 2 more pairs, along with another pair of corduroys, a maxi skirt and a dress.  Should be set to go to NYC at the end of February now.

Weight Gain? Around 13lbs.  I wish it was less.

Stretch Marks/belly button? No change.  I have them.  They’re not going away.  Hopefully I won’t get too many more.

Baby’s Sex? Still a boy.  Still don’t have a name picked out which still annoys me.

Sleep? Sometimes.  It’s definitely getting a little more difficult.  I try to put a pillow between my legs to help keep my hips aligned, but it doesn’t help a ton.  My hip that I’m laying on starts to hurt after a while so then I have to roll over, which is a a challenge.  And usually I get up to pee when I wake up to roll over and that hurts like heck to walk to the bathroom from the bed.  Usually somewhere between my bed and the toilet my hips do this huge “clunk” that I can definitely feel and sometimes hear, and then I feel better.  The joys of pregnancy.  He’ll be worth it.

Food Cravings? Still no new cravings.  Nothing sounds good lately.  I don’t feel like I’m eating healthy enough and then I don’t know what to eat so I just don’t eat, which causes headaches.  I’ve been trying to eat more salads, but salads just don’t fill me up and so I get a headache almost every time I eat one, unless I eat a bunch of stuff with a salad.  I hope to God I don’t have diabetes this time around.

Best Moment This Week? Hearing his heart beat again.  I’d been a little worried because I hadn’t been feeling him much, but he was doing well and moving a ton when she was listening for his heart beat with the Doppler.  A close second would be finding out that the GD (gestational diabetes) cut off for the clinic I go to now is 140.  Long story short, my last OB in the States had a cut off of 140 also.  I tested at 139, so when I moved back to Italy at 33 weeks, they said that I hadn’t passed because their cut off was 130.  So they tested me 2 more times until I failed it at 37 weeks.  So knowing this clinic has the 140 cut off for GD gives me a little bit of hope that I could pass it.

What I am loving? The fact that Mark and Abbie have felt him move.  Abbie was pretty darn excited.

Movement? Yep, he moves quite a bit now.  Last week he started moving a ton and now I feel him all the time, mostly way down low, but sometimes up high also.

What I’m looking forward to: Him moving up a little.  Apparently he’s dropped a bit since my 20 week update and he’s directly on my bladder, which makes me feel like I have to pee ALL the time.  As in like 3-4 times an hour.  It is SO annoying.  I will take the shooting back/hip/pelvic pains any day over the constant feeling that I have to pee.  It’s horrible.  So I hope he rises soon so he gets off my bladder some.

Other Updates…Not really.  I feel pretty good, despite my back/hip pain and the having to pee constantly.  I’m excited to meet this little dude.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Looking ahead to 2015

 

Although 2014 was a good year, there are definitely changes I’d like to make in 2015, starting with this blog.  As of right now I have a whooping 19 blog posts done for last year.  That bums me out big-time.  I use this blog as my online diary and we print books out at the end of each year and we’re hoping someday we’ll have an entire set of the books with the story of our lives in them to pass down to the kids.  I have so many pictures from last year that I haven’t even looked at, but I am starting to go through my photos and edit them and it is my goal to get all of those pictures, at least, up on the blog.  I’ll write as much as I remember about the days I took them, but at least the pictures are better than nothing.  And then I hope to keep up on it much better this year, although with having a job and adding another kid to the mix and possibly moving God knows where, that might be tough.  But I’m going to attempt it anyway.  I’m bound and determined to get last year caught up too, but I’m going to be back-dating all of my posts so they probably won’t show up in your feeds.  If you want me to email them to you, let me know and I’ll add you to the list!

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Speaking of the blog and all my photos and editing, that’s another thing I’d like to work on.  I really want to improve in my photography, including the actual picture taking and figuring out my camera more and then editing in Lightroom.  This blog was a lot easier to keep up with when I didn’t know much about photography and didn’t edit any of the photos.  It adds significantly more time to the blogging process when I want to edit the photos before I put them on here.  This year I would LOVE to upgrade my camera to a full frame (preferably the 5D Mark iii), but considering that camera is about $2500 I’m not sure that’s going to happen.  Although, when we had Abbie, we got my first DSLR, the XSi, and shortly after we had Ben we upgraded to the 60D, so it would just be keeping up with tradition if I upgraded again with baby #3.  I love the 60D but I take a lot of photos inside and I have to bump the ISO up SO much to be able to have the shutter speed above 1/120, which I need considering I’m shooting kids or dogs (aka – moving targets).  But if the ISO is above like 800 the photos have a ton of noise in them and that bugs the hell out of me.  (See below for examples.)  I still get decent pictures, but I like crisp, clean shots and these are far from it.  

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I also would love to work on de-cluttering my house.  I am the queen of holding on to things I don’t really need to keep because I always think of the what-if’s.  But let’s face it, I’m not ever going to be the size I was in high school anymore and having some of those clothes is more depressing than motivating at this point so I could probably unload them.  We have so much stuff that we don’t use that I should just get rid of.  And my main motivation is our potential move this summer.  We were close to our weight limit when we moved from Italy to here and since then we’ve purchased another kitchen table (and I’m using the old one as one of my sewing tables), a solid oak antique desk for Abbie, a huge 3 piece sectional couch and lots of other little things that add up in weight.  I can almost guarantee wherever we go next we won’t be living in a 3100+ sq foot house and we’re not going to have room for all our stuff so we might as well downsize now.  I’m hoping I can put some things in my parents basement/shed for a while until Mark is out of the military and we’re not moving every 1-3 years.  This will be a tough one for me, but I’m going to try!

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I would also love to be more active this year.  Right now it’s a little tough with being pregnant and all, but after I have this baby, I would like to be more active.  I have dreams that I can actually run for any real amount of time.  I have never been good at running and I have never enjoyed it.  If I could get to the point where I could actually jog a mile without stopping and without feeling like my lungs are going to explode or collapse or both, I would consider that a win.  I’d love to someday do a 5K, but that is a long way in the future.  I have pretty much zero endurance and I would like to build that up by walking/jogging and maybe swimming.  This will probably be the hardest of all my goals because I tend to not make time to exercise and I can only imagine that might get more difficult with 3 kids.

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I would also like to have more patience with my kids and really work on the way I talk to them and handle them when I’m tired/stressed/busy/etc.  My kids tend to get the brunt of my pissy-ness and I hate that.  I want to learn to take a step back when I feel tension building and then handle the situation and my emotions the way I would like my kids to handle them.  They are little sponges right now and I really want to be the best example to them of how we should act and how to be kind and if I’m flipping my lid, I can’t expect them not to.  I’ve been reading articles regarding the way you talk to kids and how it affects them and I’m much more aware of what I’m saying now or how I’m coming across to my kids.  I’ve already noticed I’ve been able to hold back a few times and not flip out on them.  I’m far from the perfect parent, and I never will be perfect, but my goal is to become better and to bring myself up to a level I’m comfortable with and I’m not there yet.

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Last but not least, I love buying fabric.  I have a pretty healthy stash of fabric, but I never DO anything with it.  I have lots of plans for it, but actually sitting down and sewing something doesn’t ever happen.  I don’t make it a priority so it just doesn’t happen.  I love making things though and I love giving homemade gifts so I’m hoping to use at least some of my stash this year.  I haven’t even made my own kids quilts yet so if I could make them their own full sized quilts I would be happy with that.  And I think I’ve decided I’m going to pay someone else to quilt them for me since that part really stresses me out and trying to get a full sized quilt through my little machine sounds like hell.  I love piecing the tops together so I figure if I can at least get 3 tops done and then pay someone else to do the hard part it’s a win/win.  I get to use some of my stash and don’t have to do my least favorite part of quilting.

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Lofty goals for 2015, but I’m really looking forward to this year!  Big changes are going to happen for us as a family and looking forward to seeing what’s in store for us and meeting our newest addition!

PS:  All of these pictures were taken Jan-March of 2014…  Better late than never.