Friday, February 24, 2012

baby bump or belly bloat?

Hopefully all of you are just as excited about baby Clute as we are, because I have a feeling there will be lots of baby related posts in the future! And for the first one, I figured answering the most common question I get would be a good start.

How are you feeling? Any morning sickness?

Well, no not really. I know, I am very lucky. I almost don't even want to discuss it because I feel like I might jinx myself and end up hanging over the toilet for the next 6 months. Eeek, here goes nothing....

We found out about baby Clute at about 5 weeks along. From then until week 7 I had zero symptoms. And my first doctor appointment wasn't scheduled until week 10! I was so paranoid and concerned that I ended up taking another pregnancy test around week 6. haha. It turned positive in like 30 seconds, no need to wait the full 3 minutes, I was definitely pregnant. That actually made me feel a whole lot better, so wasting $10 on the test was totally worth it. As soon as week 7 hit, so did the morning nausea. Every morning until about lunch time I felt awful. I didn't puke, but I felt icky and food did not sound good at all. I ate crackers as soon as I woke up, and continued with the carb theme throughout the day. My diet did a 180 at this time as well. Before getting pregnant I maintained a low carb diet. We would typically only eat a little bit of carbs during dinner, maybe a piece of toast during breakfast. And you can ask Matt, pasta was NOT allowed in the house. Now, my diet is all carb. Oatmeal or cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, pasta or rice with dinner. Needless to say, Matt is thrilled with the change! I'm sure he thought he would never see the day, and was probably afraid he would be banned from pasta forever. Lucky for him, it is back with a vengeance. I feel a little bad about it, but obviously my body and baby need it, so bring it on!

Thankfully, the morning nausea wore off around week 10. I haven't eaten a saltine cracker since and I am perfectly fine with that. My diet hasn't changed too much yet, but fruit is finally starting to sound good, particularly apples. I have always loved bananas, and now I can add apples to the list. But only the pre-sliced ones, I have no desire to actually eat a whole apple. Weird, I know. I am also currently obsessed with peanut butter. Ever since I heard the theory that you shouldn't eat peanut butter while pregnant because it can give your child a peanut allergy, I have wanted nothing more than peanut butter and honey sandwiches. I did ask my Doctor about it and she assured me it is ok to eat peanut butter. So I am. And I love it. I also love pastries. For a while I was on a salt kick, wanting nothing to do with sweets, but I am now finally starting to crave some deliciously unhealthy pastries. mmmm. So, review it, think it over, and use any random theory you like to predict boy or girl. :)

Today, at week 12, I am feeling pretty normal. I do sometimes get tired during the day, but overall my energy is good and I am able to hang in at bootcamp. I don't work out as hard as I used to and I get fatigued quickly, but I feel great after. They say if you were working out regularly before pregnancy, you can continue during. So I am. I will, of course, modify and cut back as the belly gets bigger or I feel different. But, so far, so good!

And now for the part you have been waiting for: week 11 belly bump photos!!

11w, 4d

It's not much of a bump, and it could easily be mistaken for belly bloat, but I am pretty sure it is our little one. How do I know? Well, it's pretty solid, not squishy. And, I can't suck it in. No matter what, it is always there. It does make my pants a little tighter, but not so bad that I need to upgrade to maternity pants just yet. And I am really looking forward to that. No really. I would love nothing more than to wear stretchy, comfy pants all day long! Soon enough.

Have a good weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

NYE surprise!!

Friends and Family.....I am proud to introduce.....First Baby Clute!

photo taken at 11w3d. 1.8 inches long. 158 heartbeat. Due date: 9/4/12
no that is not a penis, probably a foot or the umbilical cord. :)

I am so excited this day has finally arrived! We have been wanting to share the news with everyone but were patiently waiting until we knew baby Clute was ok and we had a beautiful picture to show off. We had our most recent appointment on Friday where we found out baby Clute is 1.8 inches long and looks perfectly healthy. We saw arms and feet and the most adorable little baby ever! We could not be more excited, and just looking at the picture makes me smile. I still can't believe there is a baby growing in my tummy!!

I am sure all of you are super curious about how/when we found out, how it has been going, etc. So, here is our baby story....

As you know our trip to New Zealand and Australia was our "babymoon". It was going to be our last big trip, just the two of us, before starting a family. We had always dreamed of going and we knew it was now or never (or maybe when we were really old). Before leaving I stopped birth control, thinking it would take a couple of months for my body and cycle to get going regularly again (especially after 10+ year of birth control!). During that time we were just going to have fun and not stress about it. If it happened, it happened. The day after we got back from our trip, December 23, I decided to take a pregnancy test. I wasn't late yet, but I was so curious and the box says you can take it 4 days before your missed period. It was negative. I wasn't too disappointed, it was still early and I figured I would test again in a few days. On December 26 I tested again, negative. At that point I was confident I was not pregnant. I was sure I would instinctively "know" I was pregnant. I figured my body would tell me or I would feel different. Matt, however, was confident I was pregnant. Very confident. 

By New Year's Eve I still had not started my period, and we were scheduled to go party and drink that night. I figured I would take another test so I would know whether my cycle was whack and I could drink, or whether I would be the sober driver. I took the test as soon as I got up and placed in on the tub while I went to brush my teeth and wait for the results. Matt went in a minute or so later to use the bathroom and came out yelling "I TOLD YOU SOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" Needless to say, Matt was right, I was pregnant. Oddly enough, I was still not convinced. I got dressed and drove myself to Walgreen's to get anther pregnancy test to be sure. Again I got a positive result.

Wow. I was blown away. I did not think it would happen so fast!!! Honestly, it seemed way too easy and I was sure it was a fluke. That night we still went out with friends but kept the news to ourselves. It was hard to pretend to drink and just tell everyone I was driving. At one point my friend Kim grabbed my "drink" and was like "are you drinking that or just holding it??" I think they were a little suspicious. :) And when the clock struck midnight, we had something big to celebrate....we knew that 2012 would be a very special year. Our lives are changing in the most amazing way and we are so excited for all the wonderful things that 2012 is going to bring.

Stay tuned for some symptom updates and baby bump photos later this week! :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day 3,000 Miles Away (by Allison Brooks, Guest Blogger)

Holidays away from a loved one are always difficult; but they seem even more difficult when that loved one is a soldier. The typical barriers of time and space can be overcome by plane rides and phone calls for civilians. However, soldiers' lives are dictated by the orders they receive, and maintaining contact with them can prove to be difficult. But husbands, wives, and significant others should not let this get in the way of showing them love on any holiday; especially Valentine's Day. While the men and women in uniform are serving their country, get creative to make Valentine's Day as romantic as possible.

Valentine’s Care Package Party

First, get your friends together that also have loved ones in the military and have a care package party! Enjoy some wine, beer, or food while making some fun, romantic packages for your loved ones. It will not only be fun to have friends over, but also to create gifts together.

Get creative and load the box with candy, toys, cards, or even cheesy Valentine's Day underwear. Candy will be eaten or shared with fellow soldiers, and he or she will get a kick out of the underwear. Letters and cards take up virtually no space, and soldiers can read them as many times as they would like. Just be sure to write as lovingly as possible so he or she can feel the love through the paper.

Make a Photo Album

Find pictures that include the soldier and write loving memories of that day underneath each one. Either take time and make one yourself, or if you have children together, get them to personally design a mommy or daddy page. It will bring a big smile to your soldier’s face. And with websites like Shutterfly and Pisca, you can make professional album for a good price.

Skype and Phone Calls

While they may not have much time (if any at all), try to sneak in a quick phone call with the soldier.  Though it might be long distance, the sound of your voice or the site of your face would mean so much.  When you hear your loved ones voice, the distance between you, disappears. If he or she cannot talk directly, record a video message and send it to his or her email address. Those are always cute and heartwarming.

Mixed Tape… or CD

A musical Valentine's Day gift will not only touch a soldier's heart, it will also keep him or her entertained. Create a play list of love songs and place them on a CD or iPod. For a romantic twist, be sure to send it extra early and attach a note stating that you will be listening to it at a certain time on Valentine's Day, and request that he or she do the same.

Valentine's Day away from a soldier is hard, but keeping the love alive is not impossible. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then the love that is shared will never fade.

Allison is a fun-loving, adventurous being. When her job doesn’t have her traveling she enjoys guest blogging, riding her horse, or hanging out with friends. She loves to write about natural health and healing, but ever since her brother got word he would deploy she likes to share ideas about how to still be you, manage life, and keep the love alive when a loved one is not around. She recently started a blog of her own, Musings of a Curious Mind. Be sure to check it out.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


It's hard to believe that I started this blog a year ago. It started off simple enough: I liked reading other people's blogs, and I thought it might be fun to start my own. I knew I wasn't creative enough to make it a business, but I thought a "journal" type style would suit my purpose. I gave it a test run, let some friends and family read it, and they all seemed to approve. Especially Matt. Once I knew he could access the blog from work and would be reading it regularly, I figured it would be a great way for him to stay up to date on all the things going on at home. As you may recall, last year at this time Matt was on deployment. It was the first time we had been separated like that, and the first time we were unable to communicate on a daily basis. It was hard on us both, but the blog quickly became my therapy during that rough time. Matt looked forward to reading it and seeing all the pictures, and I enjoyed writing for him and everyone else to read. 

And now, somehow, a year has already gone by! Happy Birthday blog! And on that note, I have decided to end the blog....jk....I like it too much. :) It has been a really great learning experience, about myself, writing, the blog world, etc. A big thank you to all of my readers....friends, family, and all the unknowns who stop by. It has been a lot of fun writing these posts, and I hope you have enjoyed following along with the ups and downs of life and love as a Navy wife.

I know this year will be full of all sorts of fun, exciting things. And I look forward to sharing them all with you!! Happy Wednesday everyone!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Service Dogs ~ More Than Just a Working Pair of Eyes and Ears (by Kristin Wells, Guest Blogger)

As most of you know, Harley is a certified Canine Good Citizen. He hasn't passed the Therapy dog test (that is a future goal of his) but the certification allowed him to go to work with my sister and spend the day with special needs adults. Just his presence helped them focus, have fewer behaviors, and enjoy their day. What he did every day was simple, but it had a huge effect on the happiness of those adults. All over the world, service dogs (like Harley, but way more talented), make a difference in the lives of people in need.

Today, guest blogger Kristin Wells put together a great article about Service Dogs. Enjoy!

Service dogs are the animal heroes of a dark, soundless and sometimes hopeless world for thousands of people suffering life-altering disabilities. They provide sight for the blind, sound for the deaf, and mobility for the immobile. They are a ray of light for those trapped in the darkness of depression and offer a small bit of hope and joy to those battling terminal conditions. For over 70 years now, service dogs have been helping those who can’t help themselves find a way to thrive in a world made harder by circumstances they cannot control.

The helpless isolation that plagues the impaired can be devastating. Service dogs help ease these feelings by providing assistance with day-to-day living. Hearing dogs alert their owners through physical contact when a sound requires attention. They are also trained to alert their owners to various danger signals such as smoke detectors, alarms and the sounds of a prowler. For the visually impaired, a service dog opens a whole new world. Where once they relied on memory and the assistance of others, the visually impaired are now more independent, going places they couldn’t before. A guide dog will help with everything from locating items around the house to safely navigating busy streets, shopping malls and other public destinations.

For those with autism, a service dog becomes an anchor, lessening the emotional trauma and alleviating the bolting behavior children with autism commonly experience in different environments. These dogs provide an increased level of safety for autistic children as well as a positive link between the child’s home and community environments.

Service dogs offer those suffering from debilitating medical conditions a life line in the form of trained alert responses to specific medical emergencies. Individuals suffering from conditions such as seizures and migraines are alerted before they experience an episode and can get help before it happens. Also, they help with various other terminal illness, such as Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma by giving them a loyal friend to be by their side and reduce their anxiety as long as possible.

Though more studies are needed to determine exactly how service dogs help the overall well-being of their human companions, national service dog organizations and individuals with disabilities around the world agree- the therapeutic value service dogs provide is immeasurable. They ease stress and anxiety, offer increased opportunities for exercise and social integration and improve overall psychological well-being. Service dogs offer more than just a working pair of eyes or ears. They offer confidence, comfort and a feeling of security and independence to individuals stuck in a world they cannot change.

Kristin Wells is a recent college graduate from The University of Georgia and an aspiring writer. She wants to make a difference in people's lives through her writing. Kristin also likes competitive cycling, running, and traveling as much as possible.

Even if you don't need a service dog yourself, you can make a difference by raising a puppy for those in need. Matt did this as a child. He helped raise a German Shepherd named Lynk for The Seeing Eye. Unfortunately the pup didn't make it to graduation, he enjoyed chasing cats too much, but the whole experience taught Matt a lot about dogs and how much joy they can bring into your life. I wouldn't mind raising a service dog again some day, but it sure would be hard to give him up!