Friday, January 31, 2014

Jiggle in the Middle

Now that I am back into the grove of life and the postpartum fog has lifted, the weight of failed breastfeeding and carrying that beloved and immensely loathed black pumping bag has lifted a bit (I now pump just three times a day) I have started to shift my focus back to my own health and eating habits. Many of you walked with me towards my goal of losing weight in 2012. I got within seven pounds of my goal weight by the end of 2012. SEVEN POUNDS AWAY. And I was five months pregnant by that time. Not too shabby. With all the water weight gain from pre-eclampsia, I swelled up to an astounding 204 pounds. (Uh, ick) However, all of that was lost the first week or so post-baby. I was back in the lower one-sixties and loving life. I even took this lovely photo and sent to my sisters:

I snapped that quick photo on April 28, 2013. I looked good. Sure I had a belly, I just "had" a baby. And by had I mean, a baby was cut out of there twenty days before this picture was taken. I'm gonna call this one a win. Also, disregard the pillows in the background, I was changing out the old for the new! 

Ya'll know how the whole breastfeeding thing went so I'll skip over most of that. I put losing weight on hold. I needed to keep my precarious milk situation up and that meant calories. I have yo-yo'd the past eight months. Getting fat, eating less calories, losing weight, losing milk supply, eating more calories, repeat. Finally I shelved the weight issue and let things fall where they laid. 

Now it's time to blow the dust off the shelf and pick up where I left off. This time, I am much more acutely aware of every pound on my body. I can feel the heaviness when I breathe, my lungs work harder. I can feel the chub on my face, I wince at every jiggle in my middle. 

Last time I was all about changing habits. Being a more well-rounded, healthy person in general. Not. This. Time. 

This time I am aching for fast results. I want to shed this weight and I want it gone yesterday. I want to lose it in a healthy way, sure, but this time I'm going to attack it with more than just limiting my portions and eating healthier meals. 

I'm throwing in a healthy dose of yoga, walks and other physical activities. I went to yoga on Monday and for the first time in a long time I was excited to work out, not dreading it. I mentally called to my muscles to awaken from their too long slumber. I could feel the hum of my body, ready to stretch and to feel something. It is hard to explain but it was glorious. I definitely had to fold into child's pose a few times and I'm perfectly okay with that. I'm not trying to go balls to the wall and permanently injure myself. I want to find the right pace with my body and grow my activity level with it. 

My new goal is to lose at least twenty pounds by June 1. That's five pounds a month. If I'm super strict, I could potentially lose up to thirty-four pounds by June 1. I'm not going to shoot for that because I want to be realistic and I know the last ten pounds are a sucker to come off. Twenty is a good goal and if I exceed that then kudos to me. Plus, ice cream.

If you are local and want to work out with me, I am in need of gym buddies!   

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Three Blurbs about Life

In an effort to start writing again, I decided to take a look at some old pieces and see if there was anything worth adding too. Sometimes I just make up characters, write a bit and then abandon them for whatever reason. Most likely that I don't know where to take them. At a certain point my imagination stagnates and instead of powering through it I just let it go.

I'm sure that logic breaks a thousand writing rules but hey, to each his own. Some characters just don't work out. Whatevs. 

To be fair to my characters I decided to go back and read. See if there was anything I shouldn't have abandoned. As I was reading one particular story I was so involved in it that by the time that I got to the end I was upset that there wasn't more to read. That has to be a good thing, right? 

I'm going to start with this one story and see where it goes. I'm going to try to break my bad habits and ride it out until the end. It's kind of exciting and daunting all at once. 


In June we are going to Hawaii for a wedding so I really need to get started on losing weight. I was doing really well before Shepherd was conceived and even during pregnancy. After, I had so many issues with my milk supply and I just took a break from watching my diet and cutting calories. Now I am back on the hike to healthy and I'm worried. Last time I didn't have pressure or a deadline other than a goal. I was able to lose weight slowly by changing habits. This time I really need to kick it into gear and fast. That means coming out of the gate with better food choices, smaller portions and daily activity. On top of working full-time and trying to be a good mom in the few hours that I get to be with Shepherd in the evening, I'm worried about dedicating the correct amount of time to my duties as a person and my duties as a mom. 

I keep telling myself that being a healthy mom will help Shepherd out more in the end. But I can't help but look at the logistics of a typical day. It means I won't spend much time with him on a daily basis. By the middle of the week, every week, he is more attached to Rick than he is to me. Working out on the daily means being away from Shepherd for an extra hour and a half. Even with his bedtime being around 9/9:30, I would only get to spend about three hours with him. Within the three hours is making dinner, eating dinner, cleaning up dinner, bath time and other parts of his nighttime routine. That breaks down to what, like forty-five minutes of actual interaction time? 

I need to make sure that I am balancing a healthy lifestyle against a healthy home life. I guess I just have to dive in and see what works and what doesn't, adjusting and tweaking along the way. 


We are slowly starting to work on our backyard, getting things ready for when Shepherd is able to play outside. He's already walking so it won't be long before we will want to take him outside to explore and imagine life. I'm really excited to see this come together and of course I've been looking into what kind of equipment we can have in our small backyard for him to play with! I can't decide what style I want, but I suppose it really depends on where we want to put it. I'm thinking we would choose wooden over metal, but the metal ones are generally longer and skinnier sets while the wooden ones are long and wide. We don't have a pretty narrow backyard so we will definitely have to keep that in mind!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks (with spoilers!)

*Psst... Have you taken my survey yet?

Bryan and I love the movies. I love the acting, the sets, the production, even the music. I appreciate it all. We try to see a matinee every Sunday as a way to date each other.

Last Sunday we saw Saving Mr. Banks. I knew nothing about this movie other than it was about the making of Mary Poppins. I'm sure that is exactly how they wanted to market it.

It was fantastic. I loved it. And it hurt. A lot.

The story is about Mary Poppins, sure. It is also about the authors relationship with her father and how his alcoholism affects her life. Obviously, there were scenes in this movie that really hit home. I identified with the young girl and it was a heart wrenching movie. At times I would just flash back to my own experiences, even though hers were much different from my own, there are always similarities when it comes to families with an alcoholic parent.

While I do wish I had known that the father, Travers Goff (played by Collin Farrell) was an alcoholic so that I could have prepared myself for the feelings it would stir up, it was actually quite nice to be taken off guard by a movie. To feel it hit you like a truck and wash over you.

It's rare in these times that a movie actually resonates with you. More often than not it seems like movies are being made to shock you. It's like they ask themselves how far they can go with situations but there isn't much sustenance when it comes to characters.

Saving Mr. Banks has layered characters, funny situations, an amazing, talented cast. If you haven't seen it, do so. You'll enjoy it.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Setting the Tone

Before we get down to the nitty gritty, I want to apologize for the lack of posting the past week or so. Shepherd and I have been sick and we are both exhausted. Although he gets naps and I don't, so I am more exhausted. Bryan is up with us at night too and so the whole house has just been quiet in the evenings. Outside of the normal day to day errands we have to run and making dinner, we have just been chillin'.

Okay so here goes:

Part of my resolution to write more means that I need to eke out the following:

  • what I want to write about
  • what kind of schedule I will follow
  • who I want to write to
These decisions are important because normally, my blog is just all over the place. I am very... candid on this blog. I honestly don't filter very much. I write what is in my brain and tailor it very little. This, in my opinion, is good. My blog is real. My blog keeps you guessing. It is not pretty or produced or propped. It is a true reflection of my stress-case, imperfect self. I like that a lot.

However, this is also bad because my blog loses direction and focus. I often won't write because I haven't figured out my thoughts yet. Everything is convoluted in my head and until I sort it all out, nothing flows out of these fingertips. It's hard to build a community of readers when I'm a blogging roller-coaster. Ya dig?

What I want to write about and what schedule I follow directly impacts my readers. My audience, so to speak. Who am I targeting? Who do I want to reach? And more importantly, who do I want to be friends with? I want to interact with my readers and they with me. I would love to build real friendships from this blog. So, I need to make sure the content I'm putting out is attracting people that I would want to have coffee or go shopping with.

I'm working those things out and tossing some ideas around the ol' brain. Trying to fine tune some things and also work up the courage to maybe show different sides of me. You'll see what I mean. :)

So, I hoped that if you could spare a second to answer one question for me to help me figure out what you'd like to see from me, I would really appreciate it!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Other than that, I have a few posts in the works that I am excited about! Hope you guys have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Internet Realities

I grew up in a time where technology was blooming. I remember getting our first family computer, adding in a second phone line for a dedicated internet connection. I remember staying up late chatting on ICQ, AIM and MSN messenger. I remember napster, limewire, and the wonders of Lenny Loosejocks. 

Fast forward to today and I carry a computer a million times better than our first family computer in my pocket. I watch make up tutorials on YouTube from women in New Zealand. I catch up with loved ones and share precious moments of my life on Facebook and Instagram. I have twitter but never tweet because I don't have anyone to tweet to. (I do not understand Twitter. At all.) I blog and read the blogs of others. I'm so computer-y, I even Reddit from time to time. Watch out now!

I used to comment on blogs. And on YouTube videos. And news articles, but I don't anymore. 

The internet is a wondrous and scary place. In the past, when the internet was just birthed, it was a place to stay anonymous. Don't give out personal information! Don't talk to strangers! Don't meet up with ANYONE from the internet. Ever. They will most likely, and I mean a 90% chance here, kill you. 

Now, we live in a world where almost every website encourages (and some require) you to use your real name. To include where you live and where you work in your profile. Facebook has taken over so many website commenting systems so that your real name shows up. Disagree with an article about how to train your dog? All of a sudden, you are barraged with people writing to you and messaging you about how it's cruel to make your dog pee outside when it's snowing. 

They say that this keeps people from cyber-bullying. Maybe. But people say horrible things and their real name is attached. So I don't really think it's as effective as we are lead to believe. 

Now, it's gotten to the point where Facebook sells our information and Google refuses to let us chose what to post on our Google+ pages. Every YouTube comment is available for everyone to see. Not only that, but if I watch a video on YouTube because I'm interested in how the whole mama cloth thing works, people can see that I watched it. Or that I liked it. Am I ashamed that I am interested in learning about mama cloth? No. Do I want to broadcast for the world that I'm looking into a throwback way of dealing with Flo? NO.

There is no privacy on the internet anymore. 

I click on an article on Facebook about marriage health, like it, and all of a sudden I get a text from a family member asking if Bryan and I are okay. 

I comment on a blog post in which I don't agree (respectfully of course) and my full name is right there. In plain sight. This may not be a big deal, but what if some creeper sees my name, gets really angry that no I don't like the color of the year, and tracks me down at my work and bonks me on the head? Is it probable? Not at all. Is it possible? Yes. Crazy people react for any number of reasons. Anything about my life could offend someone else. Maybe that I'm a Christian? That we don't vaccinate? That I'm a libertarian? Who knows! 

I blog here and because it's blogger, you can see my name right up there, somewhere. Google it and my Facebook page is the third from the top. That gives you not only my last name, which you already have, but my maiden name. Click it and you'll find out more information from my profile, even though I try to set everything to private, private, private. Facebook undoes it with every update. The first two being an actresses website and IMDB page. Google my maiden name, find my ancestry profile (which, nope, I didn't put on there myself) and you see who my parents are. First, middle and last name. Keep searching and you'll find where I bought my wedding invitations from. It's amazing and terrifying. 

Let's not forget that it's not just creepy potential murderers that are accessing our information and full names. Report after report is coming out that our government is receiving our data from these websites and filing it away for future use. 

The internet is a wondrous place. It is filled with knowledge and potential. The sharing of lives. It connects people near and far that they may not have met otherwise. It is an outlet. A creative space. A treasure trove. But it is dangerous. It is scary. What you put into this world wide web is now attached to you forever. Everything you do, everything you say, everything you research is there for the taking. Many say "well, I have nothing to hide. I don't care if people access my personal information or if these companies or governments catalog it for whatever reason." 

To me, it's not about that I have everything or nothing to hide. I have nothing to hide in my house and yet, I keep my curtains drawn. I keep my blinds closed. Because even though I'm just a normal girl, living in a normal neighborhood, I still dance around and sing into a hairbrush when no one is looking. It's not bad, but it's not my neighbors business either. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Crock Pot Taco Soup

Remember that time I wrote about my Mom's Co-Workers Taco Soup?

That is one of my most loved posts. And I'm back-atcha with a variation of that. Because every good recipe needs a crock pot version.

Oh how I labored over this. Seriously. I was worried about the flavor. When you cook it on the stove you use the same pot that the beef was cooked in. All those little bits of flavor on the bottom of the pot are in your soup and it makes it so... layered. I worried that it wouldn't read well in the crock pot. So, I tried to kick up the flavor in a few different ways.

I added an onion. Tip! Don't cut the root of the onion off before you dice it. You'll cry less. This has helped me love onions more. I only generally despise them instead of hate them with the fire of a thousand suns. Yay for people that teach me things!

I added a can of Rotel tomato with green chilies. Yes. Mmhmm. It really adds to the flavor and overall kick. It was the right decision, I tell ya.

I omitted some water and added a can of beef broth. I think this made up for the lack of flavor bits on the bottom of the pan. I truly think that if I had left it out the soup would have been a little flat. No one likes a flat soup!

Without further ado, here is my recipe for Taco Soup in a Crock Pot!

1-1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 an onion
1 packet (or 1/4 cup)​
 taco seasoning
1 large can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato sauce (+1 ​can water)​ [you may need two]
​1 large can of beef broth​
​1 can of Rotel Diced Tomato with Green Chilies (Mild)​
1 cup of carrots (ish)
1 can hominy w/ juices
​ (use only half the juices)​
[Megan's Modification - White beans instead of hominy]
1 can black beans w/ juices
​ (use only half the juices)​
1 can dark red kidney beans w/ juices
​ (use only half of juices)​
1 can whole kernel corn w/ juices
​ (use only half of juices)​
1 large can sliced olives
1 small head of cabbage
​ ​

Brown your ground beef, add in onion and salt/pepper.  Turn off the flame, add carrots and let cool. Slice cabbage and put it in a ziplock bag or tupperware and put it in the fridge. (You'll put it in later.)
​Now the real work begins - grab that can opener! Open up the can of beef broth, the cans of tomato sauce, the cans of beans (empty half the juices of each can of beans) and corn (empty half those juices too)​. 

Put the ground beef in the crock pot. Pour in all of the cans in whatever order you decide. Feel like a mad scientist. Stir it up. Add in the taco seasoning. Check the consistency of your soup - it should not look like chili and it should not look like broth-y soup. It should be somewhere in between. Add water if necessary. 

Go about your day! Go to work, run errands, whatever!

Go home and die over the smells in your house. Go to the crock pot and give it a stir. Does it look too thick? Does it look more clear brown than tomato brown? Taste it. Does it need a bit more seasoning? Add some. Add in the extra small can of tomato sauce to get the right color and maybe a little water to get the right not-soup-not-chili consistency. Add in the olives and cabbage. Let that percolate for another hour/hour-and-a-half or so. (You can also add in the cabbage and olives on your lunch hour.)


sour cream
(fresh) shredded cheese
chopped avocado
sliced tomato
[Megan's Note: Anything you like on a taco could easily be put in this soup. Add whatever floats your boat.
​ You can even add some extra salsa on top, whatever. The soup is your oyster! ...You get what I mean.​

Here is my only deal: You could eat this soup without cabbage. You could eat this soup without a dollop of sour cream in the middle. FREAKING DON'T. Try it once the normal way and then if you dislike it change it up. But give it a shot. Seriously. (If you are worried about calories, get light sour cream. I do. It justifies the mountain of cheese and chips I put on top. Wut.)


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Getting Rid of Craptopia (& Other Nonsense. I'm in a mood.) GIVEAWAY

Hi. Welcome to my world of laundry.

You get a hanger! And you get a hanger! And you get a hanger!

We are currently in the process of washing everything we own so that we can do a large donation to the local Christian thrift store. Confession: I still have clothes from high school.

Suuuuure, I'll fit into that someday! Nope.

Question: Does the local Christian thrift store want this shirt? I'm thinking yes.

But probably not. Hey! I have an idea. Do you wear size Medium? Will you rock this shirt and send me a picture? The brand is American Apparel. It's a Lady medium though. Sorry guys. It is in like new condition, seriously. I think I only wore it out of the house like twice and maybe in the house like, three times. I might have slept in it though. Is that weird? Do you want it? It's washed! It'll be my first giveaway. Yay! Used clothing! Maybe, if I can, I'll throw something ya know, not used, with it. If I can get to a store. All you have to do is comment below or email me and I'll mail it to you. If there is less than five of you I'll pick the first response I get and if there is more than five I'll draw a number. Boomdigity.

Speaking of Mediums, I haven't updated on the weight-loss front because I keep yo-yoing. When I try to diet, my already scarce milk supply plummets. Then I over eat and guess what, chub city!

I'm getting to the point now that I need to just eat really healthy and if that makes my milk dry up, I'll be sad but I pumped for 9 solid months so I call that a win!

More on that later though.

When I am away from my house I'm all AH! I'M GONNA CLEAN STUFF! I'M GONNA GET RID OF EVERYTHING SURPLUS. And then I get home and I think wow. This is overwhelming. I'm gonna sit over here in this corner and eat chocolate. Maybe it'll all go away by itself.

It doesn't. In case you were wondering.

How do normal people find the desire to do normal tasks? Like...dishes? or laundry? What outweighs your desire to not do dishes so that you do them?

These are the things I need to know. These are the days of our lives.

That's really all I have for now. I'm going to go try to get something done. Maybe.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Brain-Dump Goals

Now that we know what my word of the year is, I need to actually list out some specific things I'd like to accomplish in the next year. Or at least start to accomplish.

This is going to be a glorified brain-dump. I didn't put too much thought into my goals, which is probably the way to go about it. Too much pressure and time to back out. These are in no particular order, they are just in the forefront of my mind as tasks/pursuits that are noticeably lacking in my life. My first task of 2014 was not to organize my list of things I want to accomplish in 2014. That would be muuuch too efficient. Shall we?

GET MY HOUSE IN ORDER. This one is in all caps, bold, italicized and underlined because I've been saying this for how many years and guess what is still not done! Or started, even! I am just gonna go ahead and admit that running a household is not my strong suit and I'm pretty much screwed for the rest of my life on this one. It's all so ridiculously overwhelming. I kid you not, if Bryan makes it to the big time I'm gonna live in a hotel. Processes already in place, no arguing with the husband about what the best way to organize the house or a specific room in the house. We, currently, have negative-forty processes or routines in our house. When we collect mail, where does it go? Heck...does it even get opened? Maybe 60% of the time, which is a generous estimation. We are that good at life.

Read at least five books - at least two need to be outside of my comfort zone. I don't want to read just five romantic novels. I want to read books that challenge me and my way of thinking. I want to be bother in some way. I don't want to read anything that is horrifying though. If you have recommendations, leave them below!

Save more money. From where I sit right now, we do not have any grand plans of getting big projects done on the house in 2014. The most we have talked about is getting our backyard up to snuff so that we can take our boy out there to play. There are far-off dreams of getting the house painted, redoing the kitchen and two bathrooms, and upgrading some of our furniture (like our mattress). In order to do these things, I need to start cracking down on frivolous spending and put more money into savings.

Write, regularly. I have short stories I haven't finished. I have blog ideas. I want to create better content, I want to grow my skills. I can only do this if I take the time to write. I have always had a vast imagination and I need to explore it more. Push myself beyond my limits.

Learn something new. Take a class to learn a new skill or refine an old one. Ask a mentor to teach me one of their skills. Anything. Just learn something new. Keep that brain fresh!

Let go. I hold back too much. If there was a meme for me it wouldn't be forever alone, it would be forever in the safety zone. I don't take enough risks, I don't like looking stupid, I don't like drawing attention to myself. I don't wear flashy clothes or sparkly high heels or even hats because I feel awkward in them. Like I'm trying too hard. This results in not trying hard enough. I would rather try too hard to figure out what works and what I like than to be a person that won't try at all.

Ask for help. I do not ask for help. I am often asked to help, which I do, but I do not often fess up when I am struggling with something and need help. I have people in my life that have strengths that are my weaknesses and I know that if I asked them to help me, they would. And yet? I feel like an inconvenience to them. Not cool. Ask. Be okay if they are unable or unwilling, but ask.

Do it. I am the laziest person I know. I hate things. Haaaaaaaate thiiiiiiiings. There is always freaking something! And I just want to watch The Good Wife on Amazon. I don't want to do all the things you have to do instead of watching The Good Wife on Amazon. I want to shop! and watch movies! and hang out with friends! and go to dinner! and ANYTHING ELSE OTHER THAN ALL THE THINGS I NEED TO DO. This, my friends, is not adult behavior. This is teenage behavior. As much as I feel like I am still a kid I am not. I need to do the things that I would rather not. Sigh.

Go to Vegas. See Britney. Yup. It's on my list. Cause I'm gonna go see her and I've never been to Vegas as a 21+ person and I want to go. It is happening.

That's all for now, folks. Along with my monthly challenges, I'll be working on this list. Striving to be better and greater than ever before.

What are your goals for 2014?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bandwagon? Yup, I'm on it.

I'm joining the rest of the blog-o-sphere in jotting down a few goals that I'd like to achieve in 2014. I feel like I specifically need goals because I tend to just coast around letting life knock me around instead of taking life by the horns and doing whatever you are supposed to do when you have something that has horns in your hands.

I figured my first goal would be to participate in another trend that's floating around. Setting my word of the year. This is interesting to me because sometimes I feel like the word comes after the year is done. For example, 2012 would've been "Wreck" and 2013 would have been "Survive". Putting a word on a year seems hopeful but I fear it might put a jinx on the year. Maybe that is just the Negative Nancy in me.

Negative Nancy be darned! I'm doing it anyways. Boom.

My word for 2014 is Strive

Strive for:

I want to Strive to be a better person. To manage my time better. To participate in meaningful activities. To actively engage in my life and in the lives of others.

As I contemplated this word and it's meaning I wanted to see what the official definition was, so I turned to the interwebs.

Google - "make great efforts to achieve or obtain something" and "struggle or fight vigorously".
Merriam Webster - "to devote serious effort or energy" and "to struggle in opposition"
The Free Dictionary - "to make a great or tenacious effort" and "to fight; contend"

This. I felt it, like a confirmation way down deep in my soul. This is my word. In 2013, I managed to tread water; just barely keeping my head afloat. In 2014, I will fight against the current. I will make great efforts in my life to make and repair relationships, to focus on my health and the health of my family, to organize my time and find a routine that works and supports my development as a Godly, hopeful woman.

It's lofty. I get tired just thinking about it... but I feel like the time is right. I need to start seeing some movement, some fruit in my life. I had a big, heavy year in 2013 and I need to see, to feel, that it wasn't all for naught.

Have you selected a word of the year?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Migraine woes and ETC's First Video!

My weekend was pretty good until Sunday night when I got a migraine from stupid hell and I ended up at the emergency room at like three in the morning and was there until five thirty and I threw up a lot. They gave me two shots and on Monday my entire body was sore because of all the pain and throwing up so I barely moved and then on Tuesday my migraine came back and I felt like a shaky drug addict.


So I'm behind on my blogging schedule. Not that I have one. 

For all of you that need a pick me up, here is a video I edited. It's my son laughing. What is a better pick me up than a kid laughing and chewing on Jenga blocks? 



Did you see all my fancy fades and stuff? Only took me like two point five hours to figure that mess out.

You're welcome. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 Wrap Up Post (with Pictures)

2013 was craptastic. I've mentioned it before. 

2012 was hell on wheels and 2013 was all about the fall-out from that. 2013 held my highest highs and my lowest lows. It's true. 


Best Moment: Shepherd. Hands down. 

Worst Moment: Having a cesarean. Being in the hospital at all. It's sooo invasive and most people are really rough. I'm pretty sure I'll be traumatized by that experience forever. Also, feeling them yanking Shepherd out of me and then closing me back up. You don't forget stuff like that.

Biggest Regret: Not taking maternity photos. Every time I see maternity photos my heart aches. Included in the photo steam below is the last picture taken of me with my bump. I sobbed so hard that I have zero photos that exude how happy and anxious I was for my boy. I tear up every time I think about it. I was robbed of so much the last few months of my pregnancy. 

Most Rewarding Moment: This is kind of a copout answer because it's ongoing but pumping. It was/is really hard. It is such a sacrifice and it's solely for the betterment of my boy. It is the most selfless thing I've ever done. 

Best Memory: I really liked having all of my sisters kids (and mine too!) together over 4th of July. 

Inspiring Moment: Watching Kari give birth, at home. A successful VBAC. It was very hard and very emotional for me because of what I had just gone through. It was painful to watch someone else having the birth experience I had so badly wanted and at the same time, I was so awestruck by my sisters strength and happy that she was getting to experience a moment that would hopefully lesson the hurt from her first birthing experience. She deserved to have that and own that moment. It was truly an emotional, layered moment for all of us, I think. 

Here is my year in pictures (with minor commentary):

The best appliance of 2013. I am sad that the carafe shattered while Bryan was cleaning it. Gotta get a new one!

My beautiful dining room step up. I need to paint the white trim though and install baseboards.

January was the beginning of my swelling.

This was in late March. Puffy everything!

The only shoes in the house that would fit me by April. This was on the way to Easter.

Kari snapped this of me after I showered and right before we went to the hospital. The last picture of me with my bump. I was swollen and completely distraught.

My malnourished little alien boy.

My best friend with my boy, my cousin, my love and my mom. Colleen stepped up and got me through one of the most trying, difficult times in my life. I don't think I would have made it without her.

I snapped this picture to send to my sisters after pregnancy. I need to get back there.

Two of my favorite women ever. 

Watching Bryan play at the Fox Theater was definitely a highlight moment.

Sweet Parker and Sassy Shepherd. These two are gonna be best friends.

Our first out of town trip as a family.

My brother in law. Spent a lot of time with him this year. I love this kid.

I was Marilyn Monroe for Halloween and I tried to do her stupid face. I look redonk.

I was a witch at work for Halloween, my go to!

Goodbye 2013!