Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year & Resolutions

We didn't get a chance to send out Christmas cards this year, so I thought I'd post the infographic that I planned to include with them.  (You can click the image to make it bigger if the fine print is a little too small).

For the past few years, I've tried to come up with some realistic New Year Resolutions for myself.  Things that I really believe I can do and that will help me be a better person.  This year is no exception, and I've had a lot of fun coming up with a few things that I hope to accomplish by the start of 2016.  

Most of my goals this year center around my anxiety & panic disorder.  If you know me well, or you've read this blog, you might know that I have struggled for some time with panic attacks and periods of anxiety of varying intensities.  Over the last year, I have made HUGE strides in this exhausting race to beat the anxiety.  My counselor (who experiences anxiety herself) has helped me leaps and bounds and taught me ways to keep it at bay, and with help, I've been able to finally get some relief from it.  I tell you all this, because anxiety and panic are silent problems that affect so many more people than we realize.  No one talks about these problems.  It took me YEARS to work up the courage to get help for my anxiety.  I was embarrassed that I was so terrified to do things that other people did everyday without thinking twice.  I was convinced I was crazy.  I was afraid people would say I needed to be "sent somewhere".  Anyway, I'm here to tell you, MANY MANY people struggle in the SAME WAYS.  Now that I'm in a place where I can think more clearly, I've become passionate about the continuous healing process that I'm in (it truly takes constant, vigilant effort to keep moving forward), and about encouraging others who are experiencing anxiety or panic, and helping people who don't to understand this disorder so they can learn to be more understanding toward the people who do struggle with it.

ANYWAY.  That was a bit of a deep bunny trail.  My resolutions for this year are all actually pretty lighthearted.  And that's kind of the point of them.  To lighten that 'heavy' pressure of the anxiety when it tries to creep its way in! :)

This year, I really want to focus on being more positive.  Positivity, gratefulness, and finding joy are so important for keeping the anxiety at bay.  :)  

This has become one of my favorite verses.  And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. - Philippians 4:8 (NLT).

It's one of those verses that I love to look at all the different translations of the Bible to understand better.  There are SO many (all happy and positive) things that the different translations command us to keep our thoughts on.  Whatever is: true, authentic, honorable, proper, gracious, noble, reputable, respected, worthy of reverence, honest, right, just, fair, good, clean, pure, holy, lovely, and loveable, the beautiful NOT the ugly, the best NOT the worst, friendly, amiable, admirable, winsome, gracious, excellent, commendable, worthy of praise, and virtuous.  Wow! How much better would I feel if I would dwell on these things? If I focused on the beautiful, not the ugly? The best, not the worst? If I didn't just jump to the negative conclusion, and instead focus on the positive in each bad, sad, or difficult moment?

So, I decided to use this verse as a guide to start "a-photo-a-day" challenge for 2015.  My goal is to take 1 picture every day of something that follows the qualifications of Philippians 4:8.  I hope to periodically have these pictures printed and combine them into some sort of photo journal of all the happy, quiet, lovely moments that happened around me in every day of 2015.  I have had my eye on some gorgeous Project Life albums and kits that I think would be an awesome outlet to showcase these pictures.  And it would help me with the second part of my 'positivity' resolution, which is about gratitude.

I saw this awesome idea on pinterest, to keep a gratitude jar and fill it with jotted down recollections of happy moments as they happen.

I think it would be more effective for me, though, to do it in journal form, and the Project Life albums will be a great outlet to jot down these moments to remember.  I love the adorable little cards that you can buy (or download) to jot these moments and memories and happy thoughts on.

So together, I think the photos and the journaling cards will come together to make a great 2015 gratitude album! :)

One last easy thing that I'm hoping to do this year (since I will be having a baby and will be home a lot more) is to keep myself busy (not that I'm expecting to just be laying around all day after the baby is born! haha!).  But I want to keep my myself distracted from overthinking (a big anxiety producer for me) by entertaining myself with other outlets.  For this I decided to make a list of books to read.  I LOVE to read, and I always say I want to read more, so this will be a good way to follow through with that!  I saw a similar idea of this on Pinterest, but I went ahead and made a category list of my own that was more suited to my tastes (and to staying positive). (I'm having trouble making this picture big enough to read, but to see it bigger, you can right click on it, and then click "view image".  You can then click on the picture again to make it even bigger.)

This list ended up feeling a bit ambitious, so we'll see if I actually get ALL this done!  I have a feeling, at least the Children's book portion of the list will fly by after the baby's born! ;). 

Here's to a lovely, beautiful, pure, and excellent 2015!!! Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Halfway There!! (Merry Christmas!)

It's been a month since we announced Baby Frey was on its way... here is a little update on what's been going on, just in time to wrap up 2014:

How Far Along?  20 weeks down, 20 weeks to go! I am so excited that we're halfway thru!  (I can't wait to be done and have this little one in my arms!)
Baby Size:  Banana - about 10 inches long from head to toes :) (and weighing in at about 10.5 oz)
Gender:  It's a secret!  We're planning on spilling the beans, though, sometime in January!
Movement?  I wish!! I thought I'd feel more by now, so I've been disappointed not to, especially since they tell us at the ultrasounds that this baby is really active!  Sometimes I think I feel something, but I just can't really be sure its baby.
Weight Gain:  About 9 lbs!  Which I'm pretty pleased with considering we just indulged in two very delicious and filling Christmas meals!
Maternity Clothes?:  I've been wearing maternity pants a good bit now (I feel like I got big so fast - ugh!), but some days my belly does seems smaller and I can still get away with my normal jeans.  Just bought a few maternity shirts for the first time, but I really don't need them yet. :)
Stretch Marks?  Nope! None yet.  Someone gifted me a jar of belly butter and I will probably start using that pretty soon to help things along.
Cravings:  Over the past month I've had some random ones including donuts, fun dip, and Chinese food.
Aversions:  I've been enjoying some sweet things again... for the longest time, I couldn't stand candy and couldn't even think of eating chocolate (which most of you know I usually love).  Carrots are the only food that still makes me kinda queasy to think about... (had a bad experience with those in my 1st trimester).  I've also started to drink coffee again occasionally.  That was another horrible aversion for a long time (and I really looooved me some coffee before that...).
Symptoms:  For the past week or 2, I have been ravenously hungry pretty much all the time.  It's not even really that I feel like eating, I just get soooo hungry and if I don't eat I get sick! /  My nose has been super stuffy ever since I got pregnant, I have pressure in my ears, and I sneeze a lot.  I found out that this is probably because of Pregnancy Rhinitis.  /  I have been having some pretty horrible headaches on an off over the past month. /  A little bit of heartburn, especially in the evenings... Tums have become my close friends :)  /  I have been tiiiired - I know they say there is usually more energy in the 2nd trimester, but I often get really sleepy throughout the day and need to take a nap. / My prenatal still makes me queasy sometimes.  /  My back gets really sore, usually when sitting, and I have pain under my ribs a lot - the doctor said that the top of my uterus is up there pretty far (I guess normally it's about even with the belly button right now... but not mine!)  And the poor ultrasound tech had such trouble getting to see the baby because it was curled up near my ribs the whole time.
Sleep:  Ugh... didn't sleep great before the pregnancy, I'm sleeping even worse now, and I have a feeling after the baby is born sleep will continue to evade me. It's been really difficult to get comfortable at night, and my hubby is constantly rolling me onto my side since the doctor says I shouldn't be on my back anymore.  I'm still sleeping on my stomach though :) My in-laws gave me a Snoogle body pillow for Christmas which I have been really looking forward to, so I'm hoping that will help me some now!  I also simply just wake up all the time. I joke with Chad that I'm already getting up for nighttime feedings... it's just me that I'm feeding! lol! I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night so hungry that I feel like I'm going to vomit.  That's definitely been a part of this pregnancy I didn't expect.
What I Miss:  I'm not going to lie, I miss having a drink now and then. :(  /  I miss just eating without questioning what's in things.  There are SOOOOO many things that the experts warn you not to eat when pregnant - deli meats, soft cheeses, store made salads, leftovers from restaurants if they don't get straight to the fridge, certain seafood, dippy eggs, certain teas... I mean the list just goes on an on and I feel like I'm constantly google-ing to find out what's okay or not.  I am pretty lax about eating some of those things anyway within reason, but it just feels like it's a constant job! Plus eating out has become more difficult!  Did you know that Carrabba's makes nearly ALL their salad dressings with raw eggs?!  Sigh. I can't have those (unless they are pasteurized). /  I miss the medicines I'm not allowed to take - ibuprofen, I wish you were here.
Favorite Moments So Far:  Working on the nursery.  We got a crib!  It's been fun to get everything designed and planned out.  /  Seeing the baby on the ultrasounds.  We had one at 16 weeks to find out the gender, and we had the official anatomy scan done at the hospital 2 weeks ago.  It took more than an hour and it was interesting to see the little one moving all around.
Least Favorite Moments So Far:  Our anatomy scan showed everything was measuring good and developing well, except they saw a bright spot on the baby's heart called an Echogenic Intracardiac Focus, usually caused by small calcium deposits.  It in no way hurts the baby's health or heart function, but they did explain to us that these are considered a "soft marker" of chromosome abnormalities like down syndrome.  So, because of that, they scheduled us to have a more detailed ultrasound at Maternal Fetal Medicine, which will happen next Friday, where they will check to see if the bright spot has gone away (it usually does eventually) and if there are any other soft markers present.  There's only a very small chance something is wrong - We're believing and praying that Baby Frey is completely normal - but it's a very nerve-wracking thing to find out!
Looking Forward To:  Friday's Ultrasound, and (hopefully) hearing great news that will ease our concerns! / Getting the rest of the nursery furniture, working on some DIY projects, and starting to decorate!  / The gender reveal get-together we plan to have sometime in January to tell our family (and the rest of the world, too) the baby's gender.

We hope everyone had a lovely holiday!  Chad & I had a fantastic time celebrating with our families the past few days (My sister and her boyfriend got engaged on Christmas!!! AHHHHHH!!!! So so exciting!!)  AND, of course, it was wonderful to officially make it halfway through this pregnancy as of Christmas day!  Baby Frey even got in on a little Christmas action this year.  Aunt Tanya & Uncle Brandon got us an adorable little onesie that I can't wait to see on this little one! :)