Saturday, March 31, 2012

purposeful pain

Last weekend, Ryan and I attended a one-day intensive birthing prep course. It was offered through a resource center of our hospital and taught by a friend. Ryan was my personal comedian throughout the day (e.g. wanting to switch off getting/giving back rubs during the birthing process, resting his own feet on the birthing ball*, etc.). He actually had me pretty entertained throughout our seven hour session. 

Even though this isn't our first child, it was a first for both of us to take a class and prepare for what we hope will not turn into a c-section. I found most of the course very helpful and informative. But one phrase has stuck with me all week. The instructor spoke about purposeful pain.

Childbirth is painful. Period. 

With or without pain medication, I have yet to meet anyone who has avoided at least some kind of pain or discomfort at some point during the labor, delivery or postpartum process. So, the thought of looking at the pain as serving a useful purpose could {and should} make it that much more bearable. 

For some reason, I haven't been able to get this phrase out of my mind. Purposeful pain. Of course it makes sense when it comes to childbirth. Although things don't always go as planned, if all does go well, the pain suffered results in a new, beautiful baby to bring home and hold in your arms. And, if you're even more lucky, that baby will be perfectly happy and healthy. 

But what about other types of pain? What about pain suffered that doesn't result in a tiny little blanketed bundle? What about pain you bring on yourself that could otherwise be avoided? What about pain brought on by others that ends up being unavoidable on your end? What about pain you cause for others?

I know this might seem a bit overboard, as it was a simple phrase meant specifically for this childbirth class, but I have been thinking about it all week. It's really had an effect on me. What can I do to make unavoidable pain in my life actually serve a purpose? And how can I work on ridding my life of pain that never will?

This idea isn't necessarily new information for me, but it was definitely a new way to think about it. What choices am I making and actions am I taking that are causing unnecessary pain for me or others? 

I've always been a rule keeper, so I don't think there is anything causing serious problems in my life that I can avoid, but what about seemingly small choices that combine to create a negative effect? My eating habits? {Even though I buy and eat plenty of fruits, veggies, fish, etc., I didn't really need to buy that bag of doritos this week. And I really didn't need to eat more than half the bag, myself, in two days.} Skipping a workout? {Although my body decided it is done running for the next few months, there is no reason to skip a daily yoga session or brisk walk.} Staying up too late? {Did I really need to plop down on the couch and watch an episode of Friends to wind down at 11pm? Probably not.}

These are all instances of pain that serve no purpose. They do me no good. And yet I cause myself to suffer day in and day out. This is obviously just a drop in the bucket of countless ways I'm inflicting small bits and pieces of pain on my body, my mind, my emotions or my spirit that result in a headache here or a heartache there. 

And what about the pain I inflict on others? How many times do I selflessly put myself first and end up inconveniencing Ryan or snapping at Leah?

As for pain that is unavoidable, I truly believe it can and should serve a purpose. I've talked about this before. It is hard to keep a positive perspective 100% of the time, but I truly believe trials placed in our lives are meant specifically for us and help us to learn and grow. Or help us help others. 

And sometimes when we can't {or won't} think of one good, solid reason for the pain {which I'll admit happens quite often}, a simple change of attitude is all I need. It's distancing myself from people and things who cause me to moan and groan and surrounding myself with the glass-is-half-full variety. It's snapping out of the poor me rut and admitting there is really no good excuse for my bad attitude or behavior. 

Honestly, I can always find someone who is worse off. Not that it's necessary to find someone who is ailing more than me to make everything seem okay, but it sure is a a fast fix to cause me to count my blessings. To step outside of my own world and see how much more there is to life than complaining. 

Perhaps looking for a purpose to the pain is a great way to actively look beyond my world and see who might be blessed by putting my pain to good use. Or at the very least, it's a way to get my mind off things. 

I wasn't planning to learn a life lesson at a birthing class, and obviously I have some more thinking to do. But, the simple act of thinking about what purposes my pain can serve has already helped me to identify the pain in my life I can simply kick to the curb. Painlessly. And that is a good feeling.

*so as to not give Ryan a bad rap, he only put his feet on the birthing ball because I didn't want it and it kept rolling away.

Friday, March 30, 2012

pinterest party

Ah, pinterest. How I love thee.

To set the record straight, I think I've only been on pinterest on my computer maybe five times. Ever. I do it on my phone, in my down time. So I really don't wast a lot of otherwise useful time. We're talking, sitting in the car waiting for Leah to come out from school or at night when I'm being lazy on the couch, but there's really nothing else I need to be doing. So I feel pretty good about my Ryan-dubbed Pinterest obsession. 

It's been a great place to keep all those ideas - some great, some not-so-much. 

My friends had a great idea to have a "pinterest party" where we would all bring a food dish we had pinned from pinterest. You know, so the obsession could actually be claimed as useful. 

And useful it was. Doubly so. Because we turned our pinterest party into a surprise 30th birthday party for our friend. 

Everyone knew but her. We still brought our pinterest dishes, and in addition, we also decorated with ideas found on the beloved site.

All in all it was a hit - except for that one part where we saw her pull up so we ducked behind the couch and waited. And waited. And waited. She's probably on the phone, we thought. She'll be coming through the door any second. What seemed like hours later, a friend looked out the window and she was pulling up again. Um, pulling up again? Yes, she had forgotten something at home, driven away while we were hiding behind the couch, and driven back all while we were crouched and at the ready.

It was kind of not very comfortable for my growing belly but we all got a good laugh out of it. And when she finally did walk through the door (with her pinned dish, of course), she was thoroughly surprised. 


I'm a lucky girl to have pinterest {okay, and these lovely ladies} in my life.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

t.p.p. at t.t.p.

Tuck Partner Painting at Tip Top Pottery, that is. 

And oh was it fun. Twenty or so Tuck partners crammed into one room, smooshed at a tiny table all painting pottery to their liking. I chose two vases. And, although it may have taken me a good hour staring at the wall of different colors, then at my blank pottery, then at the wall again, I did finally decide on a palate and I think I'll be happy with the outcome. We'll see. And if I don't, it was still a great night spent with some seriously fun people.


Wow. Time sure is flying, isn't it? I have a few blog posts in an almost-ready state. And after a few months of slowed brain activity on my part, there are even some posts that include  thought and insight. Imagine that. Hoping to get at least one of those up and running this weekend.

For now, let's post 32 weeks before 33 sneaks up on us this Saturday. 

Still growing steady. I think Billy did a somersault this week and turned from her former head down position to breach. If not breach, then definitely transverse. I'll have an update tomorrow. But if that's the case, we'll have a severe talking to. Poking and prodding may or may not be involved. And I may spend the next seven weeks standing on my head. 

Ryan and I also took a birthing preparation class last Saturday. A first for both of us. Definitely more on that to come. Ryan was my personal comedian for seven hours straight. Lucky, lucky me. 

No really. It was funny. 

Leah has been a patient girl each week as I take my pictures, but this week she just didn't want to be left out. Five year olds are cuter than their 30 year old counterparts in every situation, aren't they? - pretend pregnancy included. I just knew that plush soccer ball from IKEA was a good investment.

Friday, March 23, 2012

first in line

I'll admit I wasn't first to jump on the bandwagon of the whole Hunger Games craze. And really, I'm sort of just hanging on with one hand as I haven't even read more than the first book {I heard the other two aren't as good???}. But, I was interested in seeing the movie. So, some friends and I went to see it on day two of its release. 

We were trying to figure out how early to get to the theater. We knew all the shows had been sold out and we knew all 10 of us wanted to sit together. And, even though we live in a small town, I remembered this experience and didn't really want to relive it {at least the kinked necks part of it...}. So, we decided to get there one hour early and figured we would be fine.

When Michelle and I pulled up to the theater, it was packed. There were people everywhere. Since she had purchased our tickets earlier in the day, we wiggled our way through the ticket line and headed toward an employee to ask where the line was for the 9:35 showing. He motioned for us to follow him and, when we reached the velvet rope blocking entry to the hallway, he pointed. "The line starts here," he said. 

We just laughed. We were first in line. Two 30-somethings first in line for a tween movie. It was pretty awesome. So we took a picture {of course}. 

To our credit, almost immediately, the line began to form behind us and within 10 minutes it was pretty long.

After the theater was emptied and cleaned from the previous sold-out showing, they began accepting our tickets. Michelle was first, I was second. We joked that she should run into the theater like a crazed fan. So she did. 

Really. She ran

And as she sped off, the ticket taker said in all seriousness, "How old is she?"

Needless to say, we got great seats, we all sat together and, except for the super annoying group of girls directly behind us, we all enjoyed the movie. I think I'd like to be first more often.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I ran jogged slowly in the local Shamrock Shuffle 5k race. 

A perfect 3.1 miles for 31 weeks in which I didn't die or go into labor. Phew! And I got to wear super cool, matching socks with a handful of fabulous women. 

The weather was perfect and the most handsome man and adorable little girl were standing at the finish line to cheer me through the chute. 

Plus, I finished two minutes faster than my trial jog two days prior. The luck of the Irish was on my side. 

My only regret for the day is choosing to stand next to the cutest and tiniest 12 year old on the planet when we took this picture. You win some, you lose some.

{kristie, ashley, tiffany, michelle, elissa, jessica, maren}

Friday, March 16, 2012

31 weeks

I've always heard people say how much bigger they feel/are during any pregnancies subsequent to their first. And I have to admit that I kind of thought it was an excuse. I'm here today to testify, on behalf of my past stupid self, that I was wrong, wrong, wrong and these brilliant women were right.

I feel, and actually am, bigger than the first time 'round. Not to say this isn't a good thing in my case. I was abnormally small and carried abnormally high with Leah. And let's be honest, I'm praying for all things normal this time. So if that includes a grander size for me, so be it. 

I'm considering naming Billy "Jane" simply for the potential to call her Plain Jane for the rest of her life - in hopes that it will usher in day after day of boring-ness and normalcy. Nothing out of the ordinary. But for now, we're sticking with Billy. 

Billy is growing at a perfect rate and all is well, so far as the medical practitioners can tell. A heart murmur scare at week 18 was verified as null and void shortly after, and her constant activity is reassuring {not to mention super cool}. My stomach can grown inches outward in a matter of seconds. 

See? {28 weeks}:

At today's doctor appointment {31 weeks}, Billy was head down {hooray!} and as guidelines for counting contractions and when to come in were discussed, it all became very real. Because Leah came at 37.5 weeks, but they won't induce until 41 weeks, I'm preparing myself for delivery...any time during the month of May

It could be a long month. 

As contractions with Leah weren't felt until after my water broke and I was 7cm dilated, doctors are strongly suggesting I call when anything contracts after a certain week or even if I just "have a gut feeling."

A tour of the hospital's birthing pavilion {Ryan loooooooooves that, not really} has been scheduled for my next appointment in two weeks, and I'm making plans, backup plans and backup backup plans for rides to the hospital and care for the soon-to-be big sister. 

With nine weeks {give or take, remember...} to go, we still need a crib, a car seat, a stroller and all our baby items sitting in my brother's basement in we were certain baby #2 would not make his/her arrival during our two year stint in New Hampshire. But other than that...we're ready {which basically means we're not ready}. 

Now if we could just settle on a name. Poor Billy just can't be Billy forever...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

arizona sunshine

a couple months ago, my sister called asking if i was in need of a free plane ticket that had to be used by the end of march. she had a free voucher that expired before she could use it because she was very, very pregnant and wouldn't be flying anywhere before it expired. was transferable. i couldn't think of anywhere i'd need to go since we'd have to buy a ticket for leah too and that just isn't in our budget right now. ryan overheard our conversation and said, "i'll be on spring break for two weeks in march if you'd like to go visit your sister. i can watch leah."

i know.


that happened. ryan's the coolest. so is my sister.

so, march came and off i flew to sunny arizona. the forecast for new hampshire when we left our apartment to head to the airport at 4:30 am last monday morning was 5 degrees. when my plane touched ground 2,600 miles away, i stepped out into nearly 70 degree sunshine. i don't really have words to describe my elation.

the next six days were spent with my sister, her husband, their three year old daughter, one year old son and one month old son (and her sister in law, sil's husband and four kids who are living with them). their house is busy, busy, busy with those seven kids nine and under, but i had a blast.

i jumped on the tramp, blew bubbles, read books, baked, finger painted, put puzzles together, had makeup parties, changed diapers, bathed tiny bodies and cuddled to my heart's content. i also got a faint farmer tan and went to target twice. it was kind of awesome.

it was really great to see my sister in living color and how she spends her day to day. it's much different than my life, that is for sure. but i think we both have what is best for us, and that was great to see. it was a pleasure to watch my baby sister be a mommy to these three sweet, rambunctious, inquisitive, hilarious, energetic, loving kids. and to see her older two step right into their roles as big brother and sister to their new little brother who i will forever call "choc-o-late." they were constantly wanting to help with bathing, burping and soothing and were always looking out for his well being.

i did bring a regular camera, but it didn't make it out of my bag until the very last day, so i recorded my six day stay via my iPhone. thank you, instagram.

as much as i love our regular skype dates, it was so fun to see everyone in person and just be with them all day long. and to know i'm one step closer to making sure they don't forget their favorite aunt who lives all the way in new hampshire. thanks again to kelli and ed for the ticket. such a blessing. i miss them all already!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

pedicure in the snow

I was late in the game when it came to realizing just how amazing pedicures are. I don't get them often, but when I do, I always wonder why I don't frequent the nail salon more often. And today was no exception. Not only did we get to celebrate the birthday of a wonderful friend, but we got to unlace our winter boots, and let our feet see the light of day for the first time in months. It may not be the snowiest winter on record, but with lows below zero, it's not exactly flip flop weather, either.

The warm water, lotion, massage and polish definitely warmed my soul and beautified my otherwise hopeless feet and toes just in time to make their flip flop debut in arizona.

Perfect timing.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

snow march

Thus far, I've been a bit disappointed in what I thought would be hard core snow days for our school district. Since November, Leah has had school cancelled four times {even though there have only been three snow storms?} and maybe one was warranted. maybe. Another was just slush and another only rain. Rain! I grew up in snow, mind you, and school was never cancelled for conditions we've experienced here this winter. 

Now that it's March, Mother Nature decided she actually did want to blanket the northeast for at least a day our two and it did snow more than an inch. Albeit not enough to cancel school in my opinion, stuck for more than a few hours. So, we took advantage and finally got some use out of Leah's new sled, our warm coats and new boots. 

Leah is a trooper and loves being dragged all around our neighborhood. She's getting really good at balancing as we make quick turns and go over bumps and hills, but still thinks it's hilarious to fall back into a big pile of fluffy snow. 

We joined some neighbors for a great day of fun...before it melted in the next few days.
{leah, maren, sophie, liz, miles, michelle, brixton, nash and andrea}