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2018: Discipline

 

Is it too late to talk about New Year’s Resolutions? Our Christmas tree is still up so technically my new year hasn’t started yet.

^^I know. It’s driving me crazy. I’ve taken everything else down but I can’t reach the top of the tree even with the step ladder. I have to wait for Ron and he refuses to take it down until after his birthday. Next year we will have a taller ladder and this won’t be an issue. (I say that every year. But I mean it this time!)

Anyway. My resolutions typically fall under the umbrella of a word. Each year I choose one word or phrase to shape my mindset for the coming months. It’s been a helpful little tradition and something I look forward to thinking about each January. It takes my mind off the post-holiday blues.

2017’s word was Decrease. I put my entire life through a sifter. Activities, possessions, projects, relationships, all of it. There were far too many things competing for my physical and mental energy. I was perpetually frustrated and wracked with guilt for failing to measure up across the board. I needed more margin, as Emily Ley would say. It will always be a work in progress, but overall I was successful. I feel lighter and breathe easier going into 2018.  

Now that I’ve given my life some elbow room, I want to work on discipline. When my schedule was overloaded, I could only focus on keeping up. As a result so. many. things. were left incomplete. Hanging over my head. Stealing sanity and sleep.

As I cut back, I took some time to enjoy the blank spaces. I found my groove as a mama and homemaker and I’ve enjoyed the heck out of extra sleep and a slower, minimally-scheduled pace. I’m ready now to reinstate a *little* bit more structure. Small things that I think will make a big difference. 

1. Daily bible reading. I have been working my way through the bible cover to cover. I’m over halfway through, but I should have been done a long time ago.  I struggle with motivation at times, it’s not an easy read! (Ezekiel, yikes.) But I want to read it in its entirety first (I’ve read the gospels and several other books, but not the entire bible) then go back through for in depth study.

2. Workouts before the baby wakes. I LOVE getting my workout in before Enzo is awake but I also LOVE sleep. A little too much. Once I am out of the early routine, it is SO hard for me to get back into it. The whole day just runs smoother when I get it out of the way first rather than in the afternoon.

3. Finish projects: 

  1. Pinterest the Pantry. 75% done
  2. Organize the Garage. Ugh
  3. Deep clean the house. Or save up and hire a crew. Because seriously, it’s impossible to get it all deep/spring/ready-to-sell (we aren’t wanting to sell just saying, that level of clean) type clean in one day or weekend without professional help.
  4. Get caught up on Enzo’s baby book. I bought one with a LOT to fill out. Next kid gets something simpler.

 

4. Stop changing my mind and make legit progress on writing a book. Start, Erase. Start, Erase. For years. I annoy myself so much. No erasing this year. I will forge ahead, even when I think it’s awful, and circle back to edit the bajeezus out of it once it’s complete.

5. Listen to at least 1 audiobook a month. I’m a super slow reader, so I am obsessed with audiobooks. I look forward to cleaning or running on the treadmill when I’m hooked into a story. Also I’m in a book club so I’ve been doing great with fiction books, but I want to do a nonfiction each month as well.

6. Listen to new podcasts vs. social media scrolling. Wayyy too many hours wasted on social media these days. I swear I can feel my intellect atrophying at times. Using my phone to stay awake when I was up feeding Enzo at night lead to overuse issues. I need a bit of a detox. 

None of this is very difficult or exciting but I like to lay it all out there, if only to keep myself accountable. I would love to be able to end the year with a post sharing lists of books read or listened to, pictures of spaces organized, etc. I have the time, it’s just a matter of being disciplined enough to say no to sleeping in or excessive internet-ing.

I also truly like hearing about other people’s resolutions or words of the year. If you have one, tell me about it! 

Happy New Year! 

 

Enzo Alan: Birth Story

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Enzo Alan Frederick was due September 17th, but I always felt he would arrive early. Even with all the anecdotals about how the firstborn is typically late…I just knew. That said, the closer we got to his due date, the more I hoped he would be late so we could finish the paint and carpet, if not the nursery. The way it worked out, we had 3 contractors scheduled to be at our house the morning my OB said I needed to be induced. (straight lipped emoji)

As I got ready for my appointment that day, I considered doing my hair and makeup, and taking my go bag…just in case…but there had been 0 dilation the week before and I felt nothing so I showed up with wet hair, no makeup, no go bag, and no clue of how my whole life was about to change.

After my weekly NST, the doctor came in and explained that I was contracting (I wasn’t feeling it yet) and each time I did, my cord became compressed, causing the baby’s heart rate to drop. It wasn’t an emergency situation yet but she didn’t want to take the chance of sending me home and having it become one. Especially considering I wasn’t feeling the current contractions. By the time I could feel them, the baby could potentially be in serious trouble. So she felt it would be best to induce and monitor both of us.

She gave me instructions on what to do next, then told me to eat breakfast since it was the last meal I’d be able to have for awhile. When she left the room, Ron and I looked at each other…stunned. We were having a baby. Like, soon.

Oh Jesus, take the wheel. Father come near. This is NOT what we expected to hear.

Ron went home to let the painters in (they were standing at our doorstep at this point) and wait for my older brother (who was conveniently in town from out of state, with nothing pressing to do that day) to come babysit the rest of the contractors in case he needed to leave in a hurry to get to me.

Meanwhile I went to the cafeteria and choked down a muffin, too nervous to eat more (unfortunate at the time, tragic many hours later). I called and text friends and family, then went upstairs to be checked in, at 11am.

By 12pm I had signed all the paperwork and been hooked up to all the machines. The nurse placed my first round of cytotec, an induction drug.

At 4pm, I had not dilated any further, so a second round was placed. After the second round back pain began. Our precious little babe was head down but facing the wrong way. A “stargazer” some call it. That is what caused the back labor and eventually lead to a variety of interventions to try and get him to roll over.

At 8pm the nurses said I still hadn’t progressed. They called my doctor for next steps. Meanwhile the back pain intensified, as did my hunger.

At 9pm my new nurse took pity on me and brought me chicken broth, jello, and water since I was nowhere near active labor or potentially having a c-section. I swear to you it was the BEST meal of my entire life. Not even kidding. I was that hungry. I hadn’t had a full meal in over 24 hours at that point.

At 10pm the doctor came in and said I had progressed to a 2 and was able to break my water. The nurses began aggressively pushing pitocin to try and speed things along, and I went ahead and got my epidural in anticipation of everything moving very quickly going forward.

Except it didn’t. Move quickly. It didn’t move at all.

From 10pm-5am the nurses rolled me into various positions in an attempt to get the baby facing in a more optimal delivery position. They also inserted a special device to monitor my contractions because they weren’t being picked up consistently by the outer machine.

And they did an amnio infusion because breaking my water without going into active labor was negatively affecting the baby and he needed a little more room to move around.

AND they kept messing with the rate of my pitocin because increasing contractions without an increase in dilation wasn’t helping the baby either.

In other words I wasn’t sleeping, strangers were constantly all up in my biz (literally) and I was once again starving. Also I had chills.

At 5am I began to feel contractions and the back pain was super painful. With each contraction I felt a ton of water leaving my body, until I was laying in a pool of it. I didn’t know if it was amniotic fluid or pee…embarrassing. But whatever. I was just praying it meant that I had finally started to dilate and we could get this show on the road.

At 6am my doctor came in and said I still wasn’t dilated past a 2, which made me want to cry. She said I felt warm so they took my temperature and I had spiked a fever. With a fever, there was a chance that if I continued to labor in hopes of a natural delivery, I could pass it along to the baby and he would have to spend the first two days in the NICU. The choice was Ron’s and mine, I could do a C-section now, or keep laboring. She wouldn’t let me go past 24 hours of my water being broken though so I only had until 10pm to deliver before a c-section would be necessary.

Ron and I discussed it and decided we’d much rather avoid a NICU stay for our little babe, than keep trying for a natural delivery. To be perfectly honest I also had sincere doubt about whether I could labor for an entire day more with no food. (When a c-section is a possibility you are only allowed to have ice chips.)

Once the decision was made, a team assembled and began working quickly to get me back to the OR. In a short moment of quiet, I turned to look at Ron and tried not to cry as I said,

I’m afraid I won’t be a good parent.

He didn’t miss a beat with his response:

You don’t have to be good. You just have to be marginal. No need to be extraordinary. Just keep him alive and I’ll be the good parent when I get home.

That made me laugh, and not long after I was wheeled back to the OR.

In the OR, I couldn’t stop shaking. They covered me in warm blankets but what I could still feel continued to shake uncontrollably. I started crying out of exhaustion and fear. Ron never stopped looking at me, holding my hand, stroking my hair and trying to keep me calm. When Enzo was finally out, he stepped away to take video (which is awesome to have, yet weird to see yourself on a table like that.) but quickly returned to me until it was time to hold our baby and bring him over to me.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016. 7:04am. 6 lbs, 14 oz, 19 inches.

He was here. He was healthy. Perfect, actually. And I couldn’t believe it. It felt surreal then, and it still feels surreal now at times.

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As my OB closed up, she told me my pelvis is very small. She made several comments about it, not believing how little space I had. Apparently it’s too small for childbirth, which is why I never progressed in dilation. If we have more children, I will have to have them all by c-section. That blew my mind, I didn’t know a pelvis could be too small to bear children. It makes me equally sad and grateful. Grateful for modern medicine, sad to think of what would have happened if I didn’t have access to it. Both Enzo and I probably would not have survived. 

I’ll share more about my recovery, these first few weeks, and Enzo’s name when I start the monthly updates. I just wanted to get the birth story written down before I forgot it all. Only two weeks out and I already had to go back through text messages to see what happened when. However, I will say that overall and so far, Ron and I have handled the transition gracefully. I give God all the glory for that for real. Because this parenting business is legit challenging.

We’re learning as we go, taking it one day at a time. We don’t know much right now, but we do know we would do absolutely anything for you, Enzo.

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Our First Home

It’s official.

After almost 11 years, 4 apartments, and far too many house-hunting tears…we finally have a place to call our own.

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Things turned around in a hurry after I wrote Summer of Slammed Doors. This is the short version of what went down between We Fold and Sold:

After walking away from the first home we loved we found a few others we liked, but none of them felt quite right. We started to feel detached from the whole process and were considering renting for another 6 months and trying again next Spring.

Then one Sunday we were late to church. So late we had to park in the back lot, and when we left for lunch we took a different route. As we were driving we noticed an open house sign in a nearby neighborhood. We wondered why it hadn’t shown up on our Mibor app (it didn’t meet our lengthy list of criteria), and decided to stop in.

10 days later we had a purchase agreement.

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The yard is smaller and neighbors are closer than we wanted but it is perfectly us, in so many other ways.

The exterior reminds us of downtown, and the canal condos we adore.

Best picture I could find.

Sorry. Blurry. Best picture I could find.

And the location, directly next door to our church and it’s amazing cross country course, is a throwback to what brought us together and continues to bring us so much joy.

photo-by-Chad-Jackson

Eat your heart out XC lovers.

There are just 40 homes in this little nook of a neighborhood. The residents not only look out for each other (when Ron & the inspector showed up to do the inspection, one of our new neighbors marched right up the driveway into the garage and asked Who might you be? haha), but they take turns hosting “porch or patio parties” for everyone to gather and hang out. (We already have a flyer for a progressive dinner party next month, woo!) So it seems like a tight knit community, which is something we were hoping to find after so many years of transient-style living.

Then there are the little details.

The first three numbers of our address, 126, matches our wedding anniversary, 12/6. And one definition I found for our street name is: An introduction to greater significance.

What a sweet and accurate way to describe this new beginning. We’ve finally arrived at a place where we are ready to lay down not just roots, but every excuse.

Because the tests have been passed, requirements met. Wedding paid for, home search complete. Crazy student loan debt aside, there are no hurdles left. Nothing to overwhelm our schedule or distract us from doing what we were put here to do: Use our God-given gifts to make a difference, and lift others up. No other house we had considered would have allowed us to give as freely of our time and resources as this one will (Very minimal updates and upkeep. The HOA even covers lawn care. I know.).

I’ve jokingly referred to it as Holy House a few times, since we’re so close to our church. But honestly there is some truth in that title. From abandoning our “dream home,” (we’ve been told multiple times since that we dodged a bullet with that neighborhood) to being late to Sunday service (it’s very unlikely we would have ever noticed this house otherwise), to the quick, painless negotiation with a sweet agent + seller (opposite of first negotiation, agent and sellers)…this whole thing was a God thing. He led us here, ending a Summer of loss with an amazing win.

And to that we say, time and time again, Amen.

Joshua 24:15

A few more pictures at the bottom.

This life is a journey we walk by faith
And there will always be the mountains in our way
But right here in this moment, may our strength be renewed
As we recall what God has done and how we’ve seen Him move

If there’s anybody here who’s found Him faithful
Anybody here who knows He’s able
Say Amen
If there’s anybody here who’s seen His power
Anybody here brought through the fire
Say Amen
Anybody here found joy in the middle of sorrow
Just say Amen

 

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That garage is really deep. It’s 3-car tandem, but we measured and if you had small vehicles you could squeeze in 5. Also there’s a plum tree on the side of the house. When the seller told us I was like Shut your face. A PLUM TREE. <3

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The fate of this room is to be determined. I would like to make it a reading/sitting room. Ron wants to keep it a formal dining area. We both initially agreed that no matter what the red has to go…but oddly enough it’s growing on us. Not for a sitting room but maybe if it stays a formal dining room.

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This will be Ron’s office.

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Be still my hospitality loving heart.

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This will become a theatre room.

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Ps. If you need to buy or sell, we highly recommend our agent! She’ll help you find a great home and make sure you have fun + don’t lose you mind in the process. 

 

2014: Worth the Wait

 

 

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Last week Ron asked me if I was sad it’s over. He was referring to the wedding, but he may as well have been talking about all of 2014. Because seriously. I don’t know how anyone could have had a better year than us. It was such an enchanting trip around the sun. Filled with overwhelming happiness, and the very best kind of madness.

So it would be understandable if I were sad to see it go. But honestly? I’m okay. When the clock strikes midnight tomorrow I will look back fondly, but not longingly.

Because we’re here. That place we were trying to get to? We made it.

And this life…oh man. It totally beats the pants off the glittery image I’d held in my heart as motivation while working and waiting.

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Sure. We want more.

Kids.
Pets.
A home.
Travel.
Adventure.

But even if all those things elude us, we could never complain. Even when the other shoe drops. When heartache kicks us off the cloud we’re floating on, we will still be filled with praise.

Because this year we stepped into the light at the end of a tunnel…and it. was. stunning. Bright and beautiful beyond our expectations. Everywhere we looked, we saw God’s gifts. In our relationship with each other, our family, and our friends. In our health. And in all the sweet, funny, long-anticipated moments.

It was a year in which our spirits soared so high, the memories will keep us afloat during any future lows.

Thank you for being a part of it. Whether you celebrated with us in person or just while following along with this little blog…we’re forever grateful for all the kind thoughts and well wishes. We’ll do our best to pay it back and forward any chance we get.

So….yeah. I guess that’s a wrap! There’s not much left to say but Hallelujah. And Amen.
What is done and yet to come…Amen.

***

Rather than do a written recap of all the major events from this year, I made a slideshow. It’ll probably bore most people but I ugly cry happy tears every time I watch it. Just like I do every time I go through my wedding photos we got back yesterday (to be shared soon!). I really need to get it together before my face freezes that way. ;)

Happy New Year to you and yours.

xoxo

Karen & Ron

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