Saturday, December 20, 2014

Celine Evelyn: 4 months

Dear Celine,

We are finally starting to hear some of your laugh, even though it's just a few chuckles at a time. Lucky for us, you are very ticklish.

Your hair is shedding now, which we were kind of dreading. They said babies lose their newborn hair, but yours was so thick and full and there was no sign of it going anywhere up to this point, so when we started to notice we were bummed. I'm excited to see what your new hair looks like! It doesn't seem to have hindered your confidence at all though... you're still eager to smile at yourself in the mirror.

Let's see, what are your interests at this point...cuddling, being upright, looking around, bright pictures, chewing/sucking on your fingers... probably most of all talking to people. You get bored and lonely if you're left alone; I think you get that from me. ;) You take a little bit to warm up to people, but you smile at pretty much everyone and you talk constantly. You always save your biggest smiles for Daddy (me too).

You can roll from your tummy to back when you're mad, which makes sense. It always seems like I'm stronger when I'm mad too... maybe that's why people work out when they're angry? You sure do. The rest of the time you can roll from your back to your right side, but not quite all the way. Something tells me it'll be no time before you're on the move.

You already feel like so much of a mini-me. I can't wait to see your personality blossom as you grow. In the moment things seem like they're taking forever, but looking at how much you've grown thus far, the time is flying by!

I love you Celiney!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Celine Evelyn: 3 Months

Dear Celine,

You are perfect! I can't believe how fast you are growing already. You bring your daddy and me so much joy. You smile whenever you lock eyes with us and you love to watch us as we walk around the room. You see yourself in the mirror and you smile... let's hope I'm not teaching you to be a narcissist.

You have been putting everything in your mouth and you drool like crazy. Tummy time is going so much better than a month ago but you still hate it. You hate it so much, in fact, that you kick and push so much you've taught yourself to roll over when you've had enough. Good for you! It's so much better than scooting yourself up over your arms like you had been doing. We're making progress!

I can't help snuggling with you every chance that I get, even though I know you're not always going to love it. You also love your car seat, which is great for Daddy and me. If you're not asleep in the first few minutes, you just quietly look out the window or inspect whatever is inside the car. You seem like you are taking everything in. Especially when we talk to you, you watch us so carefully and then mimic our expressions and try your darndest to talk back to us. I don't know what you're saying yet, but I pray you always talk to me about whatever you're thinking and feeling.

I love you so much baby girl!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Newborn Must-Haves

As promised, here is installment 2 of my maternity/birth must have lists. If you're curious about my Maternity Must Have List, you can check that out too! Many new moms will swear by tons of different nifty gadgets, pillows, toys, and whatnot, but these quickly became staples in our house. Therefore, I highly recommend...

Justine's Newborn Must-Haves:

1.Rock N Play - Not only can this easily-moveable cradle small and comfortable, but it also snuggles the baby at a 45 degree angle, which is really helpful for babies with bad gas or acid reflux like our little one. It stayed in the living room with me during the majority of the day and then I just slid it next to our bed at night for easy night feedings. She's sleeping in her crib now, but it's nice to be able to quickly set her down and let her startle reflex rock her back to sleep.

2. Lil Soothies Gas Drops - Celine had a lot of trouble burping at first. I don't know if it was Joel and me doing it wrong or if her body hadn't figured it out yet, but the gas made our little princess more of a diva. She was super fussy and the drops worked wonders. They lasted forever, especially given we used them at least once a day. Five stars!

3. Halo Sleep Sack - Newborns have a pretty intense startle reflex, so if they aren't bundled up tight and they fall asleep, it takes just about nothing to get that falling feeling and wake with a start. For sound-sleeping babies, I highly recommend investing. Celine was born in August so we went with a cotton sleep sack versus the warm fleece, but as the weather cools we'll have a lot more need for it.

4. Swadle Blankets - The aden + Anais swaddle blankets are absolutely perfect. They are HUGE, which makes them ideal for wrapping little ones up (especially when the Sleep Sack is dirty). They're thin enough to use the summer, but when wrapped snug, can keep a little one nice and warm... and we all know how nice it is to fall asleep touching something nice and soft.

5. Gerber cloth diaper inserts - We are not cloth diapering. Burp cloths are dumb. They're too small and not nearly absorbent enough. Solution? These cloth diaper inserts. They're soft, absorbent, perfectly sized, and relatively cheap. We have them strewn all over our house so we are prepared for anything. A-mazing.

6. Boppy Pillow - Most nursing moms I've met use these a billion times a day. I am one of those moms. Baby is easily positioned, snuggled up to you, and if you situate everything just right, you can nurse with both arms free. Hooray!

7. Sound machine - It's good for babies to have quiet time to sleep, but Celine must take after her daddy: some white noise in the background helps! It's also nice for me, as I can talk at a normal volume, watch TV, do the dishes, etc, without fear of waking her when I disturb the perfect silence in our house. And everybody knows bad things happen when you wake a sleeping baby!

Stay tuned for one more future installment of my must-haves!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Seven Quick Takes

It's time for a linkup with Jen again!

1. I've finally adjusted to the fact that it's fall and everything and their mother is pumpkin spice. Lattes, candles, smoothies, and my personal favorite: my brother's new beard oil. We're lucky to have the most beautiful trees on the block in our yard (that has yet to be raked), so before the leaves ALL fall, I'd like to share this beaut:

2. This week I got to knock something off my bucket list:
  • Make it through a life size maze
And I am so excited!! We found a corn maze not too far from my home, so our little family went off on a little adventure. And we were so excited my mom came along for the ride :) I thought it'd be way easier than it actually was, especially given it was an easier maze compared to others in this corner of the state. We were given maps, but hid them away just for the fun of it.

She was not as excited as us.

3. As much fun as we had with out fall fun day, it must have aggravated our previously dormant allergies. Right now Celine and I are super stuffed up, which is heartbreaking. This is the first time I'm having to deal with a sick kid and I am not a fan. I've invested in a NoseFreida, so when that arrives next week hopefully it won't gross me out too bad (I'm a mom now, I'd better get used to it) and the baby will be able to breathe freely once more.

4. I've recently acquired a Moby wrap on loan. I was nervous to use it at first because it didn't seem very safe or secure, but boy, does Celine like it. Snug as a bug in a rug! For other moms with baby carriers out there: where is your favorite place to use yours? I feel like I can do anything now without lugging the stroller, but I'd love suggestions on where to break this badboy in. :)

5. It's pretty quiet around my house for the most part, so I like to keep Netflix on in the background. Or to watch when I'm nursing. Or when Celine is sleeping. Or all of the above. And then some. And FINALLY, Netflix got their s*%& together and got some new stuff. What I care about came mostly from HGTV, DIY, and The Food Network. Property Brothers, Nicole Curtis, Chef Rob... I want to know everything you know!

6. We're still working on moving Celine into her crib. She's been sleeping in her Rock n' Play next to our bed since she was born, which has been great for nursing late/early, but I know the time has come. She's getting too big for it and we have everything all set in her crib, but I have no idea how to move her when she looks THIS CUTE in the morning.
You try and kick her out of your room!
I know she'll be fine and there will be a time when I don't even kind of want her in there, but she's got to grow up sometime, amiright?

7. ...Ok, so it turns out I can only think of 6 for this week. There's more happening in the next week or two, but I don't want to steal future takes... so I give up. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Five Favorites: Hair

First time linkp with Jenna's fave five! Also, I'd like to note that a couple of these pictures were shamlessly ripped form Pintrest. 

1. Hot rollers - These badboys have been lifesavers! I will admit, I don't have a ton of hair, but these great rollers can hold all of my hair and give me soft curls. They heat up quickly and I don't even have to wait for them to cool off to take them out. They're affordable and come in a set of ten and I have been using the same set for almost 10 years, so Lord knows they're long lasting.

Excuse the St. Patty's Day attire... it seems I hardly take pictures with my hair curled!

2. Dry shampoo - Props to my household sister Anne for teaching me to tease my hair and to hide oil and add texture to day-old hair using dry shampoo. Puff ponytails would be nowhere without you!

3. Headbands - Making messy hair look put together for decades.

4. Bobby pins (used correctly!) - Who knew that they go in with the smooth side up?! Before The pintrest correction I found, my thin fine hair could never keep them in. Nevermore! Now I keep 4.8 billion in the house (although I only know where 10 ish are) and I trust them daily to keep hair off my neck, bangs out of my eyes, both, or more.

5. Teasing comb - (see the above references to messy hair, bobby pins, and dry shampoo) Especially because my hair has basically nothing to it, when it gets greasy, day old, or heavy and flat, I'd be lost without some way to give it more "umph." It usually ends p looking sloppy, but I just count myself blessed that's the look now. And even if it looks more clean than the pictures above, it's retro!

I'm just realizing right now that as I finish this post, I have 2 day old messy "new mom hair" that is in desperate need of some sprucing. Staples 2-5, here I come! What are some of your hair staples? Until next time! :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Celine Evelyn: 2 Months

Dear Celine,

You are my favorite little person. I can't believe how big you're getting already! You're finally growing little rolls in your arms and legs and it's fun to see how much you've grown and changed since you were born.

We are constantly stopped by people commenting on your beautiful head of dark hair. We're still tying to figure out where you got it and I'm praying it doesn't go away. Your hair is adorable, soft, and so much fun for Daddy and me to play with.

You are what they call an "aggressive eater." You nurse like it's going out of style, and you get so wound up sometimes it goes down the wrong tube, making you panic and cough. You're fine, just chill out. I inhale my food too, so we can work on it together. Bonding experience? Maybe?

Your eyes are gray-blue and look GORGEOUS when you're wearing blue. We're not putting you in blue a lot now so people know you're a girl, but with those eyelashes it's not hard to tell. Your eyes close a tiny bi when you're about to smile, and boy, do we love your smile! Your big, gummy grin makes everybody around you giggle. You have your Daddy's smile, and I hope you continue to smile just as easily as him.

You love to talk and bat at your toys. You are still a fan of cuddling with us, and I plan to take as much advantage of that as I can while you still like it. When you're tired but trying to stay awake, your eyelids get heavy and close... and then without fail you open them again to peek at us and make sure we're still there. You smile, chuckle, grimace, and whimper in your sleep... which is adorable and a tad pathetic-sounding at the same time (actually, you're doing that now). It is SO HARD not to wake you with kisses as soon as you fall asleep.

You seem to sleep through every adventure outside of the house, but there's plenty of time to see and hear everything later. It's a big world out there, and you're still my tiny baby.

I love you little princess, and I can't wait to watch you grow.



Friday, October 3, 2014

Seven Quick Takes

Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary!

1. This week I had the privilege of officially joining MOPS International. It was great to join a community of other young moms to see in person (no offense internet friends)! I'm an extrovert SAHM in a tiny town, so it was exhilarating to get out and talk to some fresh faces. Here's to making friends!

2. It has been 6 weeks since Celine was born and I think it's time to start working towards retiring the maternity clothes. I have one great pair of jeans with a full panel that covers my belly, but I bravely ventured to the mall, baby in tow, to figure out how to dress my new body shape.  Hourglass to apple is a big transition and I have no idea how to dress it. I squeezed into jeans, but it'll be a while before they fit properly. Motivation jeans much?

3. Speaking of shedding post-baby poundage, I am recently on an exercise high. I'm not a huge fitness guru by any means, but after weeks of being forbidden to challenge myself physically, it felt AMAZING to get outside and go for a long walk with Celine. I am also directionally challenged, so I used Google maps to walk to the library and back (just over 2 miles) but hey, now I know!

4. Celine is finally starting to smile while she is awake, and it absolutely melts our hearts when she smiles right at us in the morning. I haven't snapped a picture yet, but I promise they're coming soon!

5. For those of you who gave me input on the haircut, the votes are in and the damage is done (or more like the damaged hair was removed). I kept it long and added bangs! IT's not that big of a deal and I know very few care, but not much goes on around here so I'll take what I can get. :)

6. The freezer meals are finally gone and it's time to get back in the game. Anyone have any favorite fall recipes they'd like to share?

7. And last but certainly not least: This week we celebrated the feast of my favorite saint, St. Therese the Little Flower! My household, the Franciscan University version of a Cathollic sorority or fraternity, was aptly named The Little Flowers after the beloved Doctor of the Church. It was fun to reminisce on or early Tuesday morning masses, dance parties, pearl obsessions, and celebrating traditions that go back 30-ish years (I've lost count since the last reunion).. I love you girls, past, present, and future!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Maternity Must Haves

Pintrest and blogs were incredibly helpful when I was figuring out staples I would need for pregnancy, my new baby, and for my survival as a brand new mom. I decided to put together a three part post passing along the items that I would not have survived without. So without further ado...

Justine's 10 Maternity Must-Haves:

1. Juice Plus and gummy prenatal vitamins - WAY more fun than swallowing pills and gave baby and me everything I was lacking in my craving-driven pregnancy diet.

2. Target maternity tees and tanks - Affordable, comfortable, versatile. What more do you need?

3. Comfortable sandals - Bending over became much more of a hassle, especially given I was 7-9 months pregnant during the summer months. Being able to slip shoes on and off became a big time and energy saver.

4. Decaf coffee - Even though I was trying to watch my caffeine intake, I still let myself THINK my morning routine was not changing. I've been a coffee addict for years and I wasn't ready to quit then (still not). I think it's more mental than anything at this point, but you've gotta do what you've gotta do. Venti vanilla latte, please!

5. Maxi dresses - Dress them up, dress them down... these are just as easy as the tee shirts. They say "Look, I'm still cool and fabulous and fashion forward even though I feel like a whale under here." The breeziness in the summer was AMAZING to boot.

6. Skinny belts - Making all the difference between the "I ate too much and I'm not ready to admit it and get bigger clothes" look and the "Cute baby bump! How far along are you?" look. Not bulky, and makes pretty much any outfit look cooler.

7. Body butter - I didn't get stretch marks until the last month or two but when they came, they came with vigor. They were tender where my skin was thinner, and the soothing butter made me feel better, even if it wasn't as preventative as I had hoped.

8. Water bottle - Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I'm normally TERRIBLE about drinking water, but carrying a sports bottle with me during the work day made a huge difference. I made more than frequent bathroom visits, but it felt good to be somewhat taking care of myself. Especially balancing out my 2 cups a day of coffee.

9. Purse snacks - My morning sickness was more afternoon sickness. I would get terribly nauseous between 4-6 ish, right when I was supposed to be running the after school care program. I felt like I constantly needed to have at least something in my stomach to keep it settled. Unfortunately for me, I worked at a school that frequently provided the faculty and staff with brownies, cookies, cakes, and donuts. I ate what was handy (I mean, desperate times call for desperate measures, right?) but healthy snacks stowed away in my purse (whole wheat crackers, nuts, fruit, granola bars) helped all the same.

10. What to Expect When You're Expecting - A lot of people use the internet (probably Babycenter in particular) now, but this book was a tremendous reference for me when I was worried, curious, or just needed something to flip through to accompany me along. I learned a lot!

Bonus: Blanqui or belly band - Lots of women swear by these, and they're definitely great for making non-maternity clothes stretch farther than otherwise, and the tight fit helps support the heavy bump. The biggest issue I ran into was getting it on and off as I grew, especially being preggo when it was hot. But it was comfortable on (and slimming too)!

To see my other pregnancy outfit inspirations, survival tip inspiration, and workout suggestions, follow me on pintrest and check out my pregnancy board! Keep an eye out for my upcoming posts on newborn and new mom staples!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Seven Quick Takes

I'm back for the linkup with Jen!

Pic stolen from my BIL's facebook :)
1. Celine is still only smiling and chuckling in her sleep, but Joel and I are trying everything we can to get a little more lovin' out of her when she is awake. She's making more eye contact, and in those moments I weirdly feel like she knows what I'm thinking. Hopefully that feeling reverses and she spends her life convinced I know what she's thinking. Let's see her get into trouble then!

2. My amazing husband bought me a polar fitness watch for my  birthday, which tracks my workout length, heart rate, calories burned, and my personal fitness stats. Unfortunately, I received it the day of my C-section, so I have been "breaking it in" with low-impact slow walks around the neighborhood. This coming Tuesday will mark my 6 week checkup, so here's to being cleared for exercise and going on a REAL walk!

3. I am incredibly thankful to the kindness we were shown after the arrival of Celine, especially for the food that was made/delivered for us. I have not had to cook a meal in over a month and it has been glorious. Although we are still slowly working through the freezer meals, I braved the kitchen to throw together chicken and rice (Riceroni with chunks of chicken and a TON of cheese). It was good, but not sure it was worth the cleanup.

4. My mom was in and out of town the past couple of weeks and she came by to help me get Celine's room decorated... we had done a little before she was born, but now it looks more like a girls' room!
The lighting is low because Cece is sleeping in her crib :) 

My favorite is the DIY glitter letter!
The frame contents that will stay are the two images of the Blessed Mother and the picture of "Joel, Justine, and Baby" (drawn for me by my niece as a baby shower gift) and the rest will change, as will the blank canvas. More pictures to come as those projects are finished!

5. I'm definitely one to get excited about little things and overthink decisions that are WAY too trivial... Right now it's what to do with my hair. I'm going back and forth between long layers (pros: variety of styles/updos, finally grew it out, hubby likes it, cons: takes a billion years to wash and dry, no fun style change in over a year) OR a long bob (pros: fast wash/dry, simple style, cons: losing my long-awaited longer hair, less options with updos). My inspiration board is here. If you have any suggestions, let me know soon! :)

6. It's already fall and I am so ready to bust out my boots and layering clothes, provided I can fit into them post-baby. Which reminds me... I need to find myself new skinny jeans!

7. I love cleaning my house with my 3 main ingredients of baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice, but I'm thinking of moving over into essential oils. Any ideas on how to get started? What oils do you use the most?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Baptism Sunday

Almost one month to the day after Celine was born, she was welcomed into the Church and we are thrilled! Joel's parents and brother made it all the way out to Iowa for the short weekend and we made sure to get as much quality time in as we could. Joel's father is a Deacon, and we are so blessed that he could share in this day with us by administering the Sacrament to her.

Such a beautiful moment!

Our little family with Celine's Godparents and 3 of 4 Grandparents

 After the beautiful ceremony, we were invited to a celebratory brunch hosted by my sister. We shared food, stories, and laughs. It was a blast to spend the day together and watching football with the family in town.

four generations! I will cherish this picture for a long, long time :)
Celine's first jersey with plenty of room to grow :) Go Broncos!
 Until next time!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Welcome to our world: Celine's birth story

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to my pride and joy, the newest love of my life,

Celine Evelyn Rauch!

This little doll officially joined our family on August 20th, 2014, four days before her due date. She loves intimate dinners, long rides in the stroller, and pacifiers. Her gentle personality lets Mommy and Daddy knows just what she wants without too much of a fuss (well, so far).

It has been a LONG road (more about our pregnancy woes later) but for now, here's how our princess joined us:

We could feel Celine's head at the top of my bump since maybe mid-trimester three. I kept hearing "You'll know when baby flips" and "once the baby flips, you know you're getting close..." and so on. I waited, poked my bump, and waited some more. I could feel her moving, adjusting herself, and stretching, but no obvious flip. Just in case she had and I slept through it or didn't know, around 35 weeks I asked the doc to double check.


He let me know the usual steps taken to flip babies in cases where they did not flip themselves. But it was still somewhat early.

Another week goes by, and she still hadn't moved. We talked about scheduling a version, an "uncomfortable" (painful!) procedure where a doctor externally lifts/moves the baby in the womb to turn him/her around. The whole thing is done in an OR, just in case something were to go wrong or the baby were to get exhausted/stressed, in which case an emergency C-section would be done. Versions are usually done at 37 weeks, with a 90% success rate for transverse breech babies (laying sideways) and 50% success rate for complete breech (head up, butt down, knees bent). An ultrasound was scheduled to double check her position before anything was put on the calendar.

A few days later, our suspicions were confirmed. Survey says: complete breech! A consultation was scheduled with the surgeon who was to potentially do the procedure. At this point, we are starting week 38. The consult went well, but he regretfully informed me that because in the last 3 weeks of pregnancy the baby is quickly gaining weight and the earliest he could get me in was the end of the week (just before we turn the corner into 39 weeks), our chances of success were steadily dropping from the aforementioned 50%.He suggested skipping to the cesarean, feeling rather uncomfortable attempting the version when it would potentially do more harm than good.

38 weeks, the day of my baby shower
Joel and I had discussed that of course, our preference was a vaginal delivery, but if push came to shove (ha ha) and other means were necessary, we would do whatever we had to do for baby and me to be safe. If that meant a C-section, so be it. At this point, the will we/won't we of the version, C-section, and vaginal delivery were starting to weigh on us. I'm a planner and Joel hates leaving big issues unresolved, so after a few weeks of this we were ready to have a decision made one way or the other. I decided that at my next weekly checkup, I would refuse to leave the doctor's office unless something was decided (and on the calendar, if applicable) either way.

My family doctor happened to be on vacation for my week 38 appointment, so I met with the next available doctor, who just so happened to be the head of the OB department. I explained the whole situation and when it came to his attention that I'd already been having contractions (Braxton Hicks... I felt them, but they didn't hurt and it was MAYBE 1-3 times a day so I didn't bother considering it a warning sign for labor), he told me a successful verison would be impossible (also taking into consideration how far along I was). I was gearing up to stand my ground and demand a solution when he said, "It looks like a C-section for next week is going to be your best bet. We don't want you to go into labor with the baby in that position because it's potentially very dangerous, and although it's not our first choice when a vaginal delivery is available, I am confident this is safest for the both of you. Our goal here is to end up with happy and healthy mommy and baby," (or something as confident and reassuring along those lines. I agreed, keeping my discussion with Joel in the forefront of my mind. "Now don't move until we get this on the calendar for you. Do you have a date in mind?"

It was a good thing Joel and I had half-hypothetically-half-jokingly picked out an ideal day of the week for baby to come. "Wednesday, please." I was shocked. This was so... simple! We were given the rare opportunity of knowing exactly when our baby was going to arrive. That meant I had about a week of not having a baby outside the womb. Days of cleaning the house, home-spa pampering, and sleepless nights later, Joel and I arrived at the hospital at 5 AM on Wednesday, August 20th to have ourselves a baby.

I was more nervous than anything else. We quietly listened to the introductions of the doctors and nurses and followed our instructions. We nervously made jokes about our anticipation and fought to keep our name choices secret for a few last precious hours. I was wheeled through what seemed like every hospital hallway before I entered the HUGE operating room, full of basically a billion people in scrubs. Joel joined me, I was given anesthetics, and after what I swear was only a minute or two after the "Can you feel this?" poke test, one of the anesthesiologists said gently to me, "They're about halfway there." My profound response: "So I am like, open right now??"

I hope she keeps her fabulous hair!
At 7:29 AM, Joel and I held our breaths as one of the surgeons pulled out the baby. "It's a boy!" she said, and we exhaled and smiled at each other, relief and excitement overcoming us. "No, wait, it's a girl!" The SAME doctor exclaimed. Apparently, because she was swollen and came out butt first, back up, the doctor was thrown off or something? I don't care. She was here!). A split second of confusion, and then the same relief and excitement followed.

Celine Evelyn was 7 lbs, 13 oz. and 18 1/2 in. long. It felt like an eternity before I could hold her! 
The painkillers I was given gave me the annoying side effect of being terribly itchy (petty, I know) but I couldn't much function or sit still. The exhaustion probably didn't help. I was given Benadryl to help the itching and as a result, I was incredibly drowsy for the first full 24 hours following surgery. I have little clear recollection of that time, but I remember it was awesome being a family, all together for the first time.

Stay tuned for more on her royal cuteness as I am finally energized and recuperated enough to pick up my old hobbies again, including blogging. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My attention span and I are not friends.

Honestly, it's a miracle this article was completed at all.

It's a real thing, it's a normal thing, it's an OK thing. Attention Deficit Disorder, more commonly known as ADD (or ADHD) is not just an overly diagnosed excuse for kids who have copious amounts of energy. It is not just something for college kids to fake in front of the campus doc to get a little pick-me-up during finals week. It doesn't only affect children. And there is nothing wrong with having it.

I was first diagnosed my freshman year of high school. I had no idea I was even being assessed. I had no trouble during class (except running my mouth when I had friends nearby or being a little bit of a space cadet some days) and I had no trouble sitting in one place for hours at a time (hello, TV marathons). I never completed my homework on time, if at all, but what kid really wants to anyways?

However, my grades did not reflect how much information I was actually retaining. I had no idea of how frequently I lost my train of thought mid-conversation, let alone while listening to a class lecture. When I had a thought or idea, I'd rush to blurt it out before I forgot, or because I had forgotten someone else was already talking. I didn't understand that when I interrupted friends to change the subject, it was really because something they said made me think of a related story, and then one related to that, and then a though about the second story, and then a question about that thought, and then I'd blurt out the answer to that question my friends think comes from somewhere out in left field. I didn't understand that I could go from station A on that train of thought to station Q in about 2.35 seconds, and that not everyone constantly thinks that way (which I now know is called "racing thoughts").

I knew I was impatient, but I didn't see that the severity of my impatience was leading to pretty significant anxiety. I didn't see that my impatience and apparent uninhibited lack of self control were not just vices, they were symptoms. I've always procrastinated, but I chalked that up to being lazy (as did my teachers, as early as 3rd grade). I hated big projects, but I hadn't yet learned that breaking them down, asking for help, and setting only small goals could help me at least start.

When the school staff brought my mom in for a meeting and put a name to my "extreme impulsivity and laziness," intervention steps were taken and I soared.

Disclaimer: Many people struggle with above issues I have identified as symptoms of an underlying larger problem in myself. I was individually assessed by professionals (and again in college and adulthood) based on the frequency, consistency, and severity of my issues in my personal, professional, and social life. This is not an extensive or complete list of symptoms of ADD, or even a complete list of my own symptoms. If you or someone you know can identify with any or all of these traits, it does NOT mean that person is also suffering from ADD, nor does it mean that because this person do have similar traits and you know he/she does not have ADD that must mean I am exaggerating or faking or was wrongly diagnosed. This information should come from a professional on an individual basis.

It comes as a surprise to some that medicine does not always provide a "quick fix." Many medications have vast and dangerous side effects, not to mention being expensive. It helped me at first, but after time off and starting again, the results were very different. I have recently begun cognitive behavioral therapy, which has been monumental in helping my to understand my disorder, how it really affects me & those around me, and how I can cope in a fast-paced, highly stimulating culture.

I know that it may look silly to have reminders posted in the doorway of what I need to remember to take with me before I leave, my nighttime routine listed in front of me, to-do lists and reminders EVERYWHERE, and always at least one huge project left perpetually untouched. I'm not afraid to ask for help when I need it and I am most aware of what I can take on at a time. So what if I can't sit facing a TV or busy walkway at a restaurant or bar. I'm OK with having a calendar attached to my palm at all times. It's all right that finishing a book is my equivalent to running a 10k. There's nothing wrong with the fact that sometimes I have to ask someone to repeat things because I get distracted (or try to focus too hard on listening and then get lost by their facial features, how I should be more focused, if they can tell I'm not listening, what they think I'm thinking about, etc).

It's still a daily struggle to slow my thoughts, wait my turn, build a routine, or organize anything. But, the first step to overcoming the obstacles is to admit that they are there. It's an uphill battle, but I've got this (...broken down into smaller steps, organized with outside assistance, on reminders posted everywhere, with my accountability man by my side... and I forgot what else).

My name is Justine, and I have Adult ADD.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Five Favorites: Fitness

Linkup for this Wednesday with Mama H! Pretty much my whole exercise routine has been put on hold (or just procrastinated) due to my pregnancy, but even so, I always have a lot of fun getting my blood pumping! These are some of my motivators when I want/need to get moving:

1. Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred -  I don't know if I ever went through 30 almost consecutive days of shredding, but my favorite kind of workout is short, intense, and a combination of strength training and cardio. I had similar workout routines when I worked with a trainer, so having the DVD at home is an affordable alternative if there's the space to do it and you don't mind the repetition. I figured out that the rest of her fitness DVD's all build off of the basics that she teaches in this one (and count on the endurance you've apparently built from sticking to it), so although I've owned 3 more of hers, they're way too much for non-committal me. Maybe someday, Jill.

2. Just Dance - Fantastic party game, fun way to burn calories that doesn't feel like work (except in your right arm. Holy cow!). Yes, it's possible to do most of the dances with your remote-holding arm alone (while you veg in a chair or on the couch), but party of not, it's WAY more fun when you get into it. And more calories are burned! And I like to think it makes me a better dancer... there's a lot of room for improvement there.

3. Pacer - Aside from designating time to work out, I'm doing my best to keep moving the rest of the day as well and make taking the stairs and walking the full length of the parking lot (or at least half) a priority. Once a habit it built of staying active, it's a lot easier to keep it up. This was a free pedometer app I found (someday I'll get fitbit!), and although it's not 100% accurate, it's pretty close. Just make sure you have your phone/ipod on your person at all times and the app is running in the background. Gotta make every step count!

4. Juice Plus gummies - Joel and I were introduced to Juice PLus my my wonderful mother-in-law and I don't think I'll ever go back to not taking them. The all-natural fruit and vegetable suppliments don't replace healthy eating, but they help make up what I might miss each day. Especially during pregnancy, I don't want to be cutting any corners when it comes to my health. And they come in gummies, so it's like a fruit snack!

5. Playing - By this, I just mean planning activities that get one off one's ass. For example, I have two adorable nieces in town who LOVE playing at the park. Chasing them around: cardio. Pushing them on the swings: arms (bonus: add squats for a better push and burn in the legs). Joel and I like frisbee, plain old catch with the football, swimming, and riding bikes. Get fresh air if you can; I promise your body will thank you and chances are, you won't regret it.

Until next time!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Real Talk: The Newlywed Game

This is not a post about the TV game show, but about actually figuring out life in the first year of marriage. Exhibit A: Man & woman who met online, dated for 7 months, engaged for 6, and thus far married for 7 months, and expecting a baby before the one year anniversary.... also known as us.

I mean, seriously. Babeatron.
This thought occurred to me after waking up in the morning and waiting for his Royal Cuteness to wake up as well. I savor the mornings with him: we're not rushing around getting ready, stressed about the workday, cleaning up after dinner, planning tomorrow's activities, or distracted by the computer or TV. Because I usually crash at night before Joel, that leaves the time between when the alarm goes off in the morning and when we are forced to get up as my guaranteed, uninterrupted time with the love of my life and 100% of our attention is on each other. My thought process each morning is usually something like, "He's taking too long to wake up, do I have to get up before him? What if he had a horrible nights sleep and it'd just make his morning worse to wake up without me there? Can I get ready without waking him up from the noise? How do I pick out clothes in the dark? Will he want breakfast? What if it's cold by the time he wakes up? ....I should just stay here and wait."

This usually ends in me running late for whatever I was getting up for, but I still can't force myself to get out of bed on time to save my life. I'm assuming this is a common thing and I'm not merely a sap.

Dilemma #2: Separations for more than the workday. With Joel's new job, he'll be traveling for a weekend or two, up to a week, once or twice throughout the month. It hasn't happened yet (he only started there a few weeks ago), and I'm already planning 6947694437 things to do to keep myself occupied in his stead. I'm still not totally used to being with him all the time, but that's a good thing! It's new, fresh, and special, especially with our duet becoming a trio in t-minus 8 weeks (give or take). Do I feel silly telling him I've missed him at the end of a busy day with zero communication since he left? Most of the time, yes. Does it matter in the end? No. He's still getting used to coming home to more than his pet rabbit... and he probably likes it (Update: I asked him, and he does).

I'm working on a list of budget date night ideas, but this post is more or less me sharing my side of what looks like mere sappiness as a result of watching a billion romantic comedies in my lifetime. There is a method to my madness people; I see logic here.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is there is a lot of pressure on us to hurry up and be adults. We're married, starting a family, looking into home-ownership, working at jobs with actual vacation policies instead of summer breaks (well, he's working, but you get my point). We're still newlyweds and kids at heart, and I think that's ok. I'm no expert for for all of you other young newlyweds with big grown-up changes in the first year, I think it's ok to still be newlyweds. Build your blanket forts with courage. Send flirty texts to your spouse with no fear. We're still trying to figure it out. Who isn't?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Five Favorites: At the Makeup Counter

Linking up with Mama H this week!

These are a few of my morning staples. I rarely leave the house without something on my face. Hopefully I'll be able to keep this routine up once the little one comes, but at least for now it's helping me feel put together in 5 minutes or less (3 min. 42 sec. this morning... I timed it). I'm not going to lie, most of these product I hooked up with by chance, but since then they've been tried and true!

1. Burts Bees Daily Moisturizing Cream - staple for all year round, no matter the skin type

2. Mineral Wear Loose Poweder (translucent medium) - Light enough for summer wear, covers enough to make me feel fresh, and stays on well enough for a loose powder, especially when it's put on immediately after the moisturizer.

3. Covergirl Classic Color Blush (soft mink) - Started as a hand-me-down from my mom, now helps me feel like I've been awake and full of energy even if I got out of bed 15 seconds ago (plus the time it took me to apply favorites 1 & 2).

4. Maybelline Line Stiletto Liquid Eyeliner (blackest black) - Turns out now I'm WAY picky about liquid eyeliner. A friend of mine showed me how to how to apply it in high school and I don't know if I could ever go back. I accidently bought the wrong brand when I couldn't find my own, and I did NOT get the smooth, crisp, black painted line I had grown accustomed to. When it comes to eyeliner, liquid is the way to go. And for you pencil users, I promise it's way easier to apply than you'd think!

5. Voluminous Million Lashes Waterproof (black) - Must have to feel fresh and wide eyed, especially for a pregnant lady who is already lacking in sleep. And waterproof... for the hormones. You get it.

Bonus! Mary Kay Nourishine Plus Lipgloss (cafĂ© au lait) - I received this as a wedding gift from my dear friend/former roommate/wedding pianist/Mary Kay rep. I was looking for something to wear on the big day that was natural looking, just pinker and darker than my own lips, and wouldn't be too much if it started to wear off (or show up on the face of my new husband). This is PERFECT! If you're interested, you can get some from her here.
Final product: (The lighting makes it hard to tell a huge difference, but trust me, it's there!)