What does this year look like?

Every January we see lots of “NEW YEAR, NEW ME” posts. People will make a list of New Years resolutions, goals, bucket lists, select their “quote” or “word” for the year, etc. and they usually mention how this year will be different than all the others. I’ve done some of those things in the past but within a few months, I fall short in all or most aspects and give up entirely.

This year I took a different approach and decided that I don’t want to be a new me, I just want to be a better me. I wrote down a list of things I’d like to improve on this year (because if I don’t write it down, I will forget) and I decided that I’m going to look at that list at the beginning of every month to not only remind myself but to also assess how I’m doing.

When February 1st rolled around, I pulled out the ol list and did some reflecting. There were some aspects where I’m doing great and other aspects that definitely need some work, but as I re-read all my goals I realized that they have something in common. They’re all centered around growth.

I’ve never chosen a “word of the year” before but this year it just seems appropriate. In fact, it almost feels like this word chose me.

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The 5 ways I want to grow in 2018 are:

  • as a wife
  • as a mother
  • in my faith
  • financially
  • stronger physically

I have a plan and resources that will help me advance and grow in all 5 of those areas but another big thing for me is accountability, which is why I decided to write this post. Making my goals public gives me the drive and motivation to continue pushing forward, even on the bad or hard days, because I’m not the only one that knows about them. So don’t be shy, friends! Check in with me and ask me how I’m doing.

Do you have a word of the year? If so, what is it?

♥ Cassie

It’s Fall, ya’ll!

It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year.
And no, I’m not talking about Christmas.

We are now in September and I am welcoming this month with open arms. Why you ask? Because it means that FALL is right around the corner!!!
Technically in 13 days, but who’s counting?
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………. Me……….
I’m definitely counting.
Seriously, I am SO excited. I don’t think I can fully put into words how excited I am for this season or what makes me love it so much… But I’m going to try.

My Favorite Things About Fall

The Weather
When it’s not too hot and not too cold. When all the heat and humidity is gone and we’re left with temperatures in the mid-60’s and crisp, fresh air. Can anyone say perfection?!
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The Leaves

I love when the leaves on the trees start changing from green to reds, oranges and yellows.  When they start falling from the trees and crunch under your feet as you walk. It’s beautiful.
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The Clothes
Oh my goodness, fall clothes are my FAVORITE. Scarves, long sleeved shirts, flannels, cozy sweaters, hoodies, cardigans, vests, jeans and boots are the best. And the colors! The warm colors like brown, burgundy, olive green, orange, mustard yellow,etc. Oh man, I LIVE for fall clothes.
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The Food and Drinks
Candy corn, caramel apples, chili, apple cider, hot chocolate and PUMPKIN FLAVORED EVERYTHING. Pumpkin Pies. Pumpkin Bread. Pumpkin Rolls. Pumpkin Bars (with cream cheese frosting, obviously). Pumpkin Cookies. And OF COURSE, Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Pretty much anything pumpkin flavored has my heart.
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The Activities. 

Going to a pumpkin patch, carving pumpkins, getting lost in a corn maze, going on a hayride, picking apples, roasting marshmallows around a bonfire, watching football.
These are a few things that I can’t wait to introduce to my daughter.
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The Holidays

Halloween
What’s not to love about Halloween movies (13 Nights of Halloween on ABC Family, anyone?), dressing up in a costume and getting and/or passing out candy?!
It’s especially fun for me now that I’m a Mommy. I get to dress my daughter up in something ridiculously adorable and take her trick or treating so that everyone can “oooh” and “aaah” about her cuteness. Which reminds me… I need to figure out what she’s going to be this year!
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Thanksgiving
One of my absolute favorite holidays. Spending quality time with family, acknowledging everything you have to be thankful for and eating  a ton of delicious food. Can anyone honestly complain about that?!
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The Sport
We can’t forget this one! I don’t know about everyone else, but football consumes a huge part of our fall each year. I’ll admit that I’m not a die-hard fan who has to watch every minute of every game but my husband is. We literally plan our entire weekend around what time his teams play football and I don’t mind at all. I love all the excitement that fills our home on game day.
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I could go on and on and into more detail about everything I love about fall but this post would end up being 12 times longer so instead I’ll just say:
Happy Fall, ya’ll! Go out there, enjoy this beautiful season and make some memories!

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My Couch 2 5K Journey

A few days ago I completed the Couch 2 5K program and that is definitely what it was, a journey. To those who don’t know, C25K is an 8 week program where you run 3 times a week and it “trains” you to run a 5K.

Here are some of the things that happened throughout this process:

  • I learned that I am capable of more than I imagined.

          For as long as I can remember, I’ve been whatever the opposite of athletic is.
          I was the girl in school who DREADED running the mile for P.E. because I knew I’d be one of the last ones to finish. In 5th grade I decided to play basketball (because everyone else was doing it) and it was a short-lived endeavor. My Mom tells me that all I did was run around without a clue to what was going on. And maybe that’s where my “I can’t” mentality began. If I failed at something, instead of persevering, I just slapped the “I can’t” on it and quit. I made excuses. I took the easy way out.

            I let that “I can’t” attitude hold me back from a lot of things for a long time, but those days are gone. Now when I see a challenge I say, “I may not be able to do it today, but I can and I will.”

    easwtdtt

        • I learned the importance of good running shoes.
          Seriously, SO IMPORTANT.
          1 week into C25K I almost gave up because my knees were KILLING me. Not like they were sore, they ached and hurt constantly. I consulted with my friends who were runners and all of them told me to go to a running shoe store and get fitted. I did and oh. my goodness. I put on those shoes and the angels sang. The difference was like night and day.
          rs
        • I learned that in order to succeed, I need accountability.
          One of my biggest motivators over the last 8 weeks has been my Misfit Shine which tracks my activity and sleep.  I had been wanting one for a long time so that’s what Matt bought me for my birthday. A few awesome things about the Shine are that you can wear it on your wrist or clip it somewhere (bra, shoe, pants, etc.), it’s waterproof, it’s battery-powered so you don’t have to charge it, and it’s only $40 on Amazon! Anyway, I put it on June 1st and have worn it every day since.
          My Shine helped me for two reasons:

          • It made me more aware of how active I was (or wasn’t) being
          • I have family and friends who also have Misfit’s so knowing that they were seeing what I was doing made me want to try and meet my goal every day.Misfit_Shine_Wine_Burgundy_Activity_Trackers_Aus__42712.1431494267.1280.1280
        • I learned that for me, good music is key.
          I tried making my own running playlists, I listened to Pandora, Amazon Music and Spotify but could never find music that “did it” for me for an entire run. Then my sister-in-law introduced me to Rock My Run. If you don’t have the app already, download it now. Seriously. It’s bomb diggity.
          You choose your favorite genres of music, what activities you enjoy doing (running, walking, elliptical, cycling, weights, group fitness) and what your pace is and it syncs the tempo to your steps. It is awesome.
          mowo
        • I learned that running is relaxing.
          When I started running people would tell me that if I could get through the first few weeks, it’d become addicting. In my head I was rolling my eyes and thinking “hahaha, you’re crazy, THIS SUCKS!” And until week 4, it did suck. I struggled to complete each day and some days I thought I was going to pass out and die by the end of it.
          But now I actually crave going on a run. I love how I can just disconnect from the world when I’m running. I love getting lost in my own thoughts. I love zoning out to the music I’m listening to. I love feeling the stress of the day melt away. I love how I feel afterwards. I love the “me” time.
          So… the rumors are true.
          Running really is addicting, relaxing and the best stress reliever.

          irbs

        • I learned to focus on gaining endurance before speed.
          In the beginning I thought that if I wasn’t running fast, I wasn’t really running. Halfway through week 5 my sister-in-law was in town and we went on a run together. She pointed out that I started out running way too fast and that’s why the last half of my run was such a huge struggle. After I learned to slow down a little and focus more on pacing myself, running longer distances wasn’t as daunting and my speed has increased over time.nmhsyg
        • I learned to celebrate the NSV’s (non-scale victories).
          Throughout this process the number on the scale has gone down, which is nice, but there was a time about halfway through that it plateaued. It was frustrating because I was eating well, counting calories and exercising almost every day. I became obsessed with the number on the scale and it was all I could think about; it consumed me.
          I had to take a step back and tell myself “Yes, the number on the scale is the same but YOU JUST RAN FOR 8 MINUTES STRAIGHT when you were struggling to run for 60 seconds at a time 4 weeks ago!” “Your clothes are getting looser!” “You have so much more energy!” “You’ve lost so many inches!” “You FEEL so much better!”
          When I started focusing on the positive things that were happening, I stopped caring what the scale said.
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    It’s an amazing feeling to now be able to run 3.1 miles without stopping. It’s crazy how much my body, endurance and strength have changed in 8 short weeks. I’d like to run a few 5K’s and then I plan to start training for a 10K.

    I haven’t run a 5K race yet (cut me some slack, I only finished C25K 3 days ago) but I’m on the hunt for one and plan to do so within the next few weeks.
    I am so excited.
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    So there you have it, folks. That’s what I learned and those are my thoughts.
    If you take anything away from my blog, I hope that it’s encouragement to try something that seems impossible. To do something that you’ve wanted to do but never done. To just be happy and healthy.

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Cassie’s back… Back again! 

My poor little blog as been horribly neglected. I can’t believe that it’s been almost a year since I last posted. I’m the worst! Life happens but I’m going to try and be more intentional about posting more frequently.

A lot has changed in the last year. In fact, almost everything has changed. I’ve had to rely on my faith and trust God and his plan more in the last 12 months than I’ve had to in my entire life. And ya know what? Everything fell into place beautifully without us having to force anything. That’s how I know where we are today has nothing to do with us.

If you would have told me a year ago that I’d be moving back to Iowa I would have laughed in your face. I had no desire to leave Texas. I was content where we were.

Six months later… that feeling changed.

And so, four months ago we moved from Lubbock, Texas back to good ol Sioux City, Iowa.

Let me just tell you, moving is stressful. Moving across the country is stressful and scary. Moving across the country with a one year old is stressful, scary and exhausting. But with a lot of help and prayer, we did it!

Shortly after moving, Matt and I both started new jobs, Makenna started a new daycare and we started going to a new church. SO MUCH NEWNESS!

At first, being home was really weird. Not weird in a bad way or like we regretted our decision, it just felt like we were visiting and would be going back to Texas soon. But we weren’t. We lived here now er… again.

Luckily, that feeling didn’t last long. Iowa has and always will be home and at this point it’s almost like we never left.

I will never ever regret moving to Texas three years ago. Moving there was the best thing that ever happened to me, my marriage and our little family. Texas changed us for the better.
There are things that I miss about it. I miss our church; it’s where I rededicated my life to Christ and grew so much spiritually. I miss my job; I know for a fact that I’ll never find better employers or coworkers. I miss the dry heat (grrrr… humidity😠) and I’m sure this winter when I’m surrounded by snow I’ll REALLY be missing the weather down there. But above all, I miss my friends. I met some of the most amazing people down there and I’m sure most of them will never know how much of a positive impact they had on me. Because of them, I’m a better person.

As hard as it was to leave Texas, coming back to Iowa has been equally amazing. I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful it is being close to our family and friends again. I’m glad that we get to see them more than once or twice a year. I’m glad that Makenna will grow up knowing them and vise versa. While my new job is different from my old one, I enjoy it. Matt likes his new job. Makenna ADORES her new daycare. I love our new church and can’t wait to get more involved there. After living in dry, flat West Texas I’ve found a new love and appreciation for all the trees and hills here. And most of all, I’m glad that I live somewhere that has Taco Johns again. Haha. Just kidding…. Kind of. 😏

All humor aside, if you take anything away from my blog, please let it be this:

God has a plan for you.
His timing is perfect.
Listen to him.
Trust him.

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Why I smile… 

I have started writing this post multiple times but kept having a hard time putting everything running through my mind into words because I have so much to say. It’s something that I’ve been wanting to share and talk about and I guess now is as good of a time as any. 

This past week I was reading through scripture and stumbled upon Proverbs 3. It’s always been one of my favorite chapters and I’ve read it more times than I can count but this time it hit me in a different way. 

I’ll come back to that more a little later. 

 

I want to start off by giving a little history of my life for those those that don’t know me well. 

I was raised in a Christian home. I grew up going to church every Sunday and Wednesday. My Papa was a pastor so God was a huge part of my life growing up. I loved God so much and I wanted the whole world to know and love him as much as I did. 

Unfortunately, during my high school years I really drifted away from God. When my parents divorced we stopped going to church and I stopped interacting with my Christian friends as much. I eventually found myself in a really dark place. I was really sad and struggled with depression, although most people would have never guessed it because I perfected the “fake happy” persona. I felt so lonely and just… lost. 

I started hanging out with people that weren’t good influences. I started doing things I knew I shouldn’t. I lost some true friends due to some temporary ones. And I made some decisions that I’m not proud of. 

While all that was happening, I felt like I was constantly searching for something or someone to fill the huge void I felt in my life. Deep down, I knew that the only one that could do that was God but I felt like I was too far gone. 

In December of 2008 I started dating my wonderful husband. We were both at a place where we were trying to separate ourselves from the negative people in our lives. During that time, we really leaned on each other and grew together.

Fast forward (almost) 2 years later, we got married. Life was good. We were happy. But I still felt like something was missing. I struggled with knowing that I needed to get back into church and get right with God and not knowing how. 

Towards the beginning of 2013, Matt and I started discussing the possibility of us moving. Far away from Iowa. To Lubbock, Texas. We made a pro’s and con’s list and the pro’s definitely outweighed the con’s. 

The thought of leaving all of his family, most of mine and all of our friends was terrifying but we decided we wanted to try it. 

Before we set anything in stone, we decided to make a trip to Texas over my spring break from school. It was Easter weekend and we went to church with my mom and step-dad. I remembering bawling my eyes out through the whole worship service because I felt God tugging at my heart so strongly. I knew that this was what my life was missing. It was missing a relationship with God. That day I rededicated my life to the Lord and 2 months later, we moved to Lubbock.

The last couple of years have been full of changes. At first it was really hard being so far away from our comfort zone but Matt and I grew so much in our marriage and became closer than we’ve ever been. 

The most exciting part of it all has been watching my husband grow spiritually. He didn’t have any knowledge of God beforehand so to see him now reading his bible and having such a strong passion and desire to learn and know more about God makes me so happy and proud of him.
Now that you know a little bit about my life, I want to go back to that scripture I was talking about earlier. Proverbs 3. Verses 5-6 were the ones that really stuck out to me this week.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6 NIV‬‬

Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart. 

I had to stop and ask myself, “Have I been doing that?”

The answer is no. 

I’m guilty of trusting God in certain aspects of my life while trying to remain in control of other parts.
Let me just tell you, I’ve learned that it just doesn’t work! You can’t expect God to be faithful to you if you aren’t going to be faithful to him. You have to surrender ALL of your heart to Him, not just a piece of it. 

And then it goes on to say “in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” I mean, how cool is that?! I’m the person that wants to try and plan everything out but I’m learning to just stop and trust God. He knows what he’s doing and his way is much better than mine ever could be. Plus, that takes a lot of pressure off of me.

Matt and I have done a lot of talking and praying over the last month and have made the decision to trust God and put him first in all aspects of our life. In our personal lives, in our marriage, in our parenting, in our finances, in EVERYTHING. I can’t say that it’s been easy. It’s taken us years to get to this point but now that we’re here, it is so freeing. All the anxiousness, worry and stress that was hanging over our heads is gone. For the first time, we feel completely at peace. 

And really, that’s what everyone in the world is searching for. Peace. Everyone has that void in their life that they’re constantly trying to fill. For some people it’s with drugs, alcohol, a career, a relationship, a hobby, whatever but what it boils down to is that you’ll never find TRUE happiness and contentment until you let God enter into your life.

I know everyone isn’t going to agree with us or understand why we’ve chosen to live this way. And that’s okay. We don’t worry about other people’s opinions because we were put on this earth to serve God, not man. I just hope that we can inspire our family and friends that don’t know Christ to want to learn more about Him and experience the joy and happiness that we have.

I don’t say all this to sound “preachy” I just want everyone to know how much my life has changed for the better and I want you to know where I stand. I don’t want to be a lukewarm Christian, I want to be all in! I want my life as a Christian to make non-believers question their disbelief.

If anyone that reads this has any questions or just needs someone to talk to, feel free to get in contact with me. 

Until next time. ❤️

  

I’m baaaack! 

Yes, you read correctly. I’M BACK! I kind of forgot about my blog for the last 8 ish months and for that, I apologize.

I had planned on doing month by month updates about Makenna and all of her milestones, things happening in our lives and stuff like that but that just didn’t happen. Being a mom has kind of consumed by life and I wouldn’t trade it for ANYTHING! 

There are a lot of things I didn’t know would happen until I became a mom. 

When I was pregnant everyone would tell me “Enjoy your sleep while you can because when the baby gets here you won’t get ANY!” No one told me that I wouldn’t really care. Not even a little. How could I be upset about getting woken up at 4 AM when I have the cutest little face smiling up at me? 

No one told me how much I would love being a mommy. Every motherhood cliche that I’ve ever heard is 100% accurate. “You’ll never do anything so hard yet so gratifying.” “The joy is in the journey.” “I never knew how much love my heart could hold until I became a mother.” It’s all true. I didn’t know this feeling existed. The love I have for Makenna is indescribable; it’s unlike any other. 

No one told me that I would fall even more in love with my husband. Watching Matt become a daddy has been so much fun. There is no denying that he loves that little girl and vice versa. Makenna’s face lights up and she gets so excited any time her daddy walks into the room. Nothing warms my heart more than watching their bond grow more and more each day. 

No one told me that I would be proud of every little thing that she does. From the first time she rolled over, to sleeping through the night, to sitting up, to saying her first word. I think everything she does is just wonderful and amazing. In my eyes, she’s perfect. 

No one told me that I’d be overprotective. I never thought I would be that type of mom, but I am. I want to shelter and protect her from all the hate and evil in this world. I want to make sure that I’m only allowing people who will be good influences as she grows older to enter her life. I want to do everything in my power to make sure that she doesn’t get hurt.

No one told me that I would no longer care about having a social life. I used to always want to get out of the house and go do something. Now I’m content in spending my nights and weekends at home playing with and taking care of Makenna.  

No one told me that I wouldn’t care about pampering myself anymore. I used to get my hair done every 6 weeks, now it’s more like every 6 months. I used to go shopping for new clothes often, now it’s next to never. I used to get manicures and pedicures, now I do my own nails. It’s no longer all about me. I would rather spend the time and money on Makenna.   

Lastly, no one told me that becoming a mom would make me strive to be a better person. I want Makenna to grow up seeing me love her daddy. I want her to see me loving and serving God. I want her to see me being friendly, confident and happy. I want her to see me being patient, kind, considerate and understanding. I want to be the best role model that I can be because that’s what she deserves. The best. 

Little Girl, Big Miracle

It’s been about a month and a half since my last blog post and I can’t believe how much my life has changed in such a short period of time.

As I’m sure all of you know, I’m a mom now! The process of becoming a mother was much more of a journey than I ever expected it would be. I’m a big planner so I had a very specific plan on how I wanted things to go and let’s just say things did NOT go according to my plan.
Let’s rewind back to the middle of October and I’ll bring you all up to speed.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, my pregnancy was pretty much flawless. I didn’t have any issues (aside from being anemic and having to take iron pills), I felt good and I really enjoyed being pregnant.
Then week 38 came along. I wasn’t feeling the best, but I knew that was normal towards the end of pregnancy. In the weeks prior to this one my blood pressure had been a little on the high side, but at this appointment it was even higher. My doctor was concerned that I may have preeclampsia so I had to have blood work done, do a 24 hour urine sample and then go to the hospital right after my appointment and have fetal monitoring done to make sure that the baby was okay. Two days later I went back to get the results from all the lab work and to check my blood pressure again. Thankfully, I didn’t have preeclampsia, but my doctor still wanted me to go to the hospital twice a week until delivery for fetal monitoring as a precaution.
She had also checked me that week and I was dilated to a 3. She had said that she wouldn’t be surprised if I had a baby by the end of the week, so that got me really excited and got my hopes up. Obviously, that didn’t happen so the last few weeks of pregnancy seemed to drag on and on.

By week 40 I was so ready to not be pregnant anymore. I’d been having some contractions over those last few weeks but nothing consistent. I was exhausted and uncomfortable 24/7 but I also didn’t want to be induced because I wanted to give my body the chance to go into labor on its own. I tried every trick in the book that is supposed to naturally induce labor but nothing worked so I just gave up.

At 8:15 on Halloween night, my water broke. I was suddenly overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions. I knew that after your water breaks, you have to deliver the baby within 24 hours, otherwise there can be complications. Knowing that I would be a mom in a few short hours made me excited, nervous, anxious and a little scared, but mostly just ready to get this show on the road!
Matt and I grabbed all my bags, hopped in the car and rushed to the hospital. They took me back to triage and when the nurse checked me I was still only dilated to a 3. I was a little discouraged because I’d been stuck there since week 38 but thought that since my water had broken on its own, my body was finally doing what it was supposed to.
My doctor decided to give it through the night to see if my contractions would pick up on their own so they moved me to labor and delivery and told me to try and get some rest.
That night was the longest night of my life. I was having some contractions that I could feel in my stomach, but mostly I was just having really bad back labor that kept getting worse. I had heard women talk about how horrible back labor is, but I never imagined it would hurt as much as it did. I can’t even describe it any other way than saying that it was constant excruciating pain in my lower back and no matter what I did, there was no relief. I couldn’t get comfortable no matter which position I was in so that whole night I think I MAYBE got a combined total of 2 hours of sleep.

By 7 o’clock the next morning, I still wasn’t having regular contractions so we didn’t have any other choice than to start me on pitocin, which was what I’d wanted to avoid. I REALLY REALLY had my heart set on doing everything all natural with no epidural and I knew that pitocin would make my contractions much more intense and that would be harder to do. Shortly after they started my pitocin, my doula arrived. She massaged my back and helped me get into some different positions to try and relieve some of the pain from my back labor but since my water was already broken, I couldn’t get out of the bed so I was limited with what positions we could try. Around 8:15 the nurse checked me again and I was still only dilated to a 3. I was so frustrated and discouraged because I was having all this pain but nothing was happening.
By 10 o’clock, the pitocin had definitely kicked in and my back labor was worse and my contractions were becoming more regular and painful but I was still bound and determined to just breathe through the contractions and deal with the pain. Shortly after that, my blood pressure spiked and then stayed high. My doctor said she knew that I’d wanted to go all natural, but suggested I seriously consider getting the epidural to help maintain my blood pressure because if we didn’t get that under control it could be bad for me and the baby. At this point I’d been in labor for almost 14 hours, I was beyond exhausted and had no energy so I decided to listen to her suggestion and get the epidural.

One of the main reasons I’d wanted to avoid the epidural was because we’d watched a video in our birthing class about it and the whole process of actually getting the epidural freaked me out, so I was a little nervous. Thankfully, the anesthesiologist I had was AMAZING and got everything done very quickly and painlessly. After the epidural kicked in, I FINALLY felt some relief from all the back pain I was having and I thought to myself “Why didn’t I do this hours ago?!”
At 11:15 they checked me again and I was dilated to a 5 so I was excited that things were finally starting to progress. My doula then got out the peanut ball and had me lay on my sides for 45 minutes each with that in between my legs to try and get the baby in the position that she needed to be. For those that don’t know what the peanut ball is, see below.
PeanutBallCollage
While in that position, I was able to get some sleep which was nice and VERY much needed.

At 3:15 they checked me again and I was still only dilated to a 5 and back to feeling discouraged and frustrated. They continued to increase my pitocin and decided to insert an IUPC (Intrauterine Pressure Catheter) to monitor my contractions better. As the pitocin got higher, I started feeling all my contractions and back labor again. My doula continued to have me try different positions on my sides and then sitting all the way up with my feet down to try and get the baby to drop but nothing seemed to help.
By 7:15 it was time to check me again and I had only dilated to a 6 and was 80% effaced. The nurse told me my doctor was going to come talk to me and it was at that time that I realized that the delivery I had envisioned and hoped for wasn’t going to happen. I knew my doctor was going to tell me that we were going to have to do an emergency c-section and that thought overwhelmed and terrified me. I never thought that this would ever be a possibility for me so I hadn’t mentally prepared myself for it and all I could do was cry. I knew that I had tried everything and done all that I could but I felt like a failure. This wasn’t what I wanted. I didn’t want to have a c-section but I didn’t have a choice.

As I was being taken back to the operating room my mind was racing. I was scared because I had absolutely no idea what to expect or what was about to happen. My mind was filled with a million different thoughts but the one that was louder than all the others was the voice screaming “I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS!”
They moved me from my hospital bed to the operating table and there were so people doing so many different things to me at one time. I remember someone putting the oxygen in my nose, two anesthesiologists getting my medicine ready and asking me all sorts of questions about what I could or couldn’t feel, someone putting the curtain up, plus my doctor and I don’t even know how many nurses behind the curtain prepping me for surgery.

Matt was so amazing through the whole thing. He knew I was terrified and did his best to help me stay calm. I was numb from the chest down but my body had some sort of reaction to the medicine they gave me and through the entire surgery my arms, hands and head were shaking uncontrollably. My teeth were chattering and I wanted so badly to stop but I couldn’t. It made this already scary situation a little more scary but Matt held my hand, rubbed my arm and played with my hair through it all and just having him next to me made it a little better and less scary.

Having a c-section was weird. I couldn’t feel any pain but I could feel things happening and it was a bizarre feeling. When they pulled the baby out of me it was like all the pressure I’d felt for so long was gone in an instant.

Makenna Marie Kellen was born at 8:38 PM on November 1, 2014.
She was 9 pounds and 20 inches long and absolutely perfect in our eyes.
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Hearing her cry for the first time was the most surreal feeling in the world. All I could do was cry. I was just so happy that she was finally here.

Right after my doctor had pulled her out she said “You had a toddler in there!” and she wasn’t kidding. I had a big baby! And she had a big head that would have never fit through my pelvis and that’s why everything we had tried in the 24 hours prior had done next to nothing.

As they were sewing me back up, the nurse put Makenna on my chest to do skin to skin, which was something that was really important to me in my birth plan. I was still shaking uncontrollably and I couldn’t even enjoy that time with her because I felt like I was going to drop her so Matt ended up taking her and holding her until they were done.

When I got back into my labor and delivery room, I was finally able to do skin to skin with Makenna and my doula was there to help me with breastfeeding.
Side note: Before I had gone into labor I started having second thoughts about having the doula. I thought that maybe it’d be better to just try and do everything on my own, but I am very glad I didn’t go through with that. My doula, Cara was amazing through EVERYTHING. She was so positive and uplifting, she brought me countless popsicles and ice chips since I couldn’t eat anything while in labor, and was so supportive and understanding of the emotional rollercoaster that I was on. I would suggest having a doula a thousand times over to anyone that has the opportunity to have one.

When we got to our recovery room I felt so relieved because I thought the worst was finally over. We finally got all settled and went to bed around 1:30 AM on Sunday. Makenna was in the room with us and only woke up a few times throughout the night.
Early Sunday morning they took Makenna to the nursery to have the pediatrician check her. The nurse came back and told us that her white blood cell count was high so they were a little concerned about her possibly having an infection but said it could just be because she had been under so much stress during labor. Her temperature had also been slightly elevated right after delivery but they thought that was just because she had been under the incubator. They told us they were going to monitor her white blood cell count but if it didn’t get better she’d have to go to NICU. We’d hoped and prayed that it wouldn’t come to that.
Sunday evening I had to get up and walk around which was not a fun time. Let me just tell you, you don’t realize all the muscles that you use to do simple things like standing up, sitting down, laughing, sneezing, coughing etc. until you have a c-section and they cut through all of them.

Early Monday morning they took Makenna to the nursery to be checked again. They brought her back and then shortly after the pediatrician came to talk to us. He said that her white blood cell count was down from the day before but her CRP (C-Reactive Protein) level was high. He explained that the CRP could be high due to her having an infection so they were going to move her to the NICU and start her on antibiotics right away and were also going to do a 48 hour blood culture to check for infection. He said she would more than likely be there for at least another 4-7 days.

I thought I was going to be okay with it all but after the NICU nurses came and took her away all I could do was bawl. I was overwhelmed and scared. I just wanted my baby to be healthy so I could take her home.
Seeing her in the NICU was hard. She was connected to all these different monitors and had IV’s in her tiny little hands so all that made it difficult to hold her and it was just hard to see my sweet little baby like that. It wasn’t how I’d envisioned my first few days of motherhood.

The following days were kind of a blur. A big emotional, exhausting blur. I had to be there every 4 hours to feed her and would spend as much time as possible there but any time I had to leave to eat or sleep either Matt, my mom or step-dad stayed with her.

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When we went to see her Wednesday morning they’d had to move her IV to her head because her hands had swollen up from all the fluids. Seeing that really bothered both of us. It was just so sad!

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Later that day they took her off the fluids, she’d completed her last round of antibiotics and we found out that her 48 hour blood culture had come back negative for infection and that she may be able to go home the following day but there was another issue to address first. She had a low resting heart rate (which can be normal for full term babies) but the doctor wanted her to have an EKG and echocardiogram done as a precaution. It just seemed like if it wasn’t one thing it was another. Thankfully, all of our prayers were answered and everything came back normal.

 

Thursday morning I woke up bright and early because was beyond ready to be discharged and to get my baby girl home. I got discharged around 10:30 that morning but Makenna didn’t get discharged until around 1:30 so it was a loooong morning for everyone. When we finally made it home we were all so happy. Matt’s parents were here from Iowa and his brother came from Missouri to see her.

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Boomer meeting Makenna for the first time.

 

Adjusting from the hospital to home was rough. On the first full day we were home if Makenna wasn’t eating or sleeping she was screaming and we couldn’t figure out why. It felt like she was an entirely different baby than I had at the hospital.
I’d scheduled Makenna’s newborn photos for the next day and I considered just cancelling them but thankfully she was in a much better mood when the time came. She ended up sleeping through the whole photo shoot and they turned out WONDERFUL. Here are a few of my favorites.
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The next day, Matt’s family had to go home and my dad, step-mom and brothers got into town. It was really nice to see everyone and I’m glad they were all able to meet Makenna.

 

Out of of everything that has happened, the one thing that has gone almost perfectly is breastfeeding. Aside from one night in the NICU when she wouldn’t latch on, we’ve had no issues. For some reason I expected it to be difficult but it’s the one thing that has been pretty easy for us so I’m grateful for that and I actually really enjoy it.

 

 

We had a little bit of a rough start to parenthood but everything is starting to get better. Everyone says the beginning is hard and even with our added hiccups we survived!

Makenna is such a good baby and she’s already changed so much since birth. She’s very alert and so interested in everything going on around her. She’s also a little wiggle worm who loves to lay on the floor and just kick and stretch out. Most nights she will sleep 6-7 hours without waking up which is AWESOME. I really hope that continues. Oh and did I mention that she’s ADORABLE!? I know I’m biased but how can you not love that little face?!

 

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I look back at the last few weeks and I can’t believe how much our lives have changed. It’s hard to remember what life was like without her. In a way it seems like she was just born yesterday yet in another way it seems like she’s been here forever. I just can’t put into words how much I love her. Her little smiles melt my heart and I love being her mommy.
Needless to say, our lives are definitely a million times better with our little blessing in it and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.

Until next time! ❤
 

Better late than never!

I know, I know… I’ve been slacking on blogging BIG TIME! I keep telling myself I need to sit down and update everyone on what’s been going in the life of The Kellen’s but we’ve been super busy. Sooo, now I get to play catch up. Here’s a fairly brief summary. 🙂

In my last post I was almost 25 weeks, I’m now 37 weeks so a LOT has happened.

Around the middle of August, Matt and I made a trip home to the midwest. When we had planned this trip in the spring, we didn’t really think about the fact that I was going to be 30 weeks pregnant at the time. The drive was definitely interesting. Let’s just say between me having to pee a million times and having to get out of the car to walk around every hour and a half to two hours to avoid blood clots, the normally 14 hour drive took a little longer.
We arrived at my grandparents house in Crofton, Nebraska on that Tuesday night. We were super excited to see them but since we’d been up since 3:30 AM, we were exhausted and my feet were super swollen from sitting for such a long period of time. So we went to bed pretty early that night.
The next day we just relaxed (which was wonderful) and spent some quality time with Grandma and Papa. That evening I had a mini baby shower with Grandma, my Aunt Jenny, cousins Jessica and Jazmin, Lifelong friend (literally) Micaela and her mom Madonna. We went to dinner in Yankton and it was so nice to catch up with all of them and then open some presents for Baby K. We’re definitely blessed to have all those ladies in our lives. 🙂

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The next day we went fabric shopping because my Grandma wanted to make the curtains for Baby K’s nursery. After a lot (and I mean a LOT) of searching, we finally found what I was looking for. Matt and I then had to say goodbye to Grandma and Papa and headed to Sioux City to spend the next few days with Matt’s family.
That evening I had baby shower #2 with all the Kellen ladies and a few of my friends. I hadn’t seen most of them since before we moved to Texas a year and a half ago so it was awesome to be able to spend some time with them and catch up. We got some amazing gifts and Baby K got SO. MANY. CLOTHES. She is going to be one well dressed little gal.
Check out the super adorable diaper cake my hostesses made me!
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The next day (Friday) we went to lunch with Matt’s parents, his Papa, sister-in-law and niece and then just relaxed. That evening my friend Codi took our maternity photos. Side note: I was super excited to go up north where the weather would be cooler, but the week we were back it was in the 90’s and super humid. SO that made maternity photos interesting. We were so hot and sweaty and there were mosquitos EVERYWHERE but despite all that, Codi took some awesome photos. Here are a few of my favorites.
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The next day was Baby Shower #3 with the other side of Matt’s family. Baby K was spoiled rotten yet again and got a ton of amazing gifts.
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Sadly, the next day it was time to head home so we made the long, boring journey back to Texas.

 

A few weeks after that, we had our last ultrasound. It was a growth scan to make sure Baby K was growing as she should be (and she is). At that time, she weighed around 4 pounds 10 ounces. We were really looking forward to being able to see her little face, but she didn’t feel like cooperating as you can see below.
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I will say that she has the cutest little ear/fist/arm that I’ve ever seen. 😉 AND she has hair!
At first I was really bummed out about not being able to see her face but then Matt pointed out that now the first time we see her will be even more special.

 

In the middle of September my Mom, sister and friend Paige threw me fourth and final baby shower. It was a wonderful shower and of course, all our Lubbock friends spoiled Baby K. Rachel set up a headband station so everyone could make the baby a headband and as you can see below, she now has a TON. I don’t think a girl can ever have enough accessories so if this little girl is anything like me, her collection will definitely be growing.
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Last Friday, everyone at Matt’s work threw him a surprise pamper shower! He was definitely surprised and I think it made him feel pretty special. They gave us a ton of diapers and wipes which we were very thankful for, so now we have a pretty big stock pile hanging out in her nursery.

We’ve been beyond blessed by everyone around us throughout this whole pregnancy and we really can’t say thank you enough.

 

 

A few weeks ago we went to birthing classes. I decided I’d rather be over educated rather than under educated so we went to Childbirth 101, relaxation and breathing and I went to a breastfeeding class.
I thought I knew what to expect when it came to labor and delivery but there was so much that I knew nothing about. Matt didn’t know what to expect at all, so we both learned a lot. Although I still have no clue what to expect when it comes to labor and delivery, I do feel a lot more prepared and I’m really glad we went to the classes that we did.
Oh and yes, I did make Matt wear the empathy belly so he could get a taste of what I’m going through. 😉 I was able to get one photo of him wearing it but he would not be happy with me if I shared it with all of you. Haha. So I’m sorry, but you’ll have to use your imaginations.

 

Another project we’ve been working on and have mostly completed is the nursery! I decided not to do a ‘theme’ and decided to decorate in different shades of turquoise and pink instead. Here’s what we’ve accomplished so far.
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Our family has really helped make my nursery vision a reality. The dresser has kind of been passed all around my family throughout the years. It was used by my mom and I when we were both babies, so I’m glad that it will also be my daughters first dresser. 🙂 The frames above the crib were given to me by Matt’s Great Aunt Jacki, my step-dad, Raul painted them for me and as I mentioned before, my Grandma Reva made the curtains. I’m still on the hunt for a few more wall hangings, but just haven’t found exactly what I’m looking for yet. Overall, I’m happy with what we’ve done so far.

 

 

I have to say, I’ve been very fortunate and have had a really smooth, easy pregnancy with no complications.
At my doctors appointment this week my doctor checked me and I was dilated to a 1. Everything is measuring good and baby’s heartbeat was in the 160’s. My doctor said she doesn’t anticipate Baby K getting here early, but things are definitely progressing.

This morning I met with my doula, Cara to go over my birth plan. For those of you that don’t know, a doula is a non-medical person who assists a woman before, during, and after childbirth, as well as her husband and/or family, by providing physical assistance, and emotional support.(Yes, I stole that definition from google. Lol) Anyway, she is totally awesome and I’m really excited that she’ll be there to help and coach me through everything.

 

It’s hard to believe how quickly these last 9 months have flown by. I’ve actually really enjoyed being pregnant despite not sleeping well the entire time (just preparing for what’s ahead!) and other small discomforts like back aches, heartburn, some swelling etc. She’s totally worth it all though. My favorite part of pregnancy has been feeling her move all around inside of me and even the numerous times a day she gets the hiccups. I’m going to miss that, but I’m ready for her to get here.

 

Our lives are going to change completely in a few short weeks and we can’t wait. 🙂
We’re ready for you, Baby Girl. ❤

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Oh my goodness. Has it really been 3 months since my last blog post?! We’ve been busy, busy, BUSY so I have lots of catching up to do.

June was a busy month for us. We had something going on almost every weekend, some planned, some unplanned.
To summarize, over Fathers Day weekend Matt, Rachel and I met my Dad, Brenda and the boys in Oklahoma City to celebrate Dad’s Birthday and Fathers Day. We hadn’t seen them since Thanksgiving so it was nice to spend some quality time together and catch up.
The following weekend my Aunt Jenny and two of my cousins, Jazmin and Josh were down here visiting from Nebraska. We hadn’t seen them in over a year so I was DEFINITELY happy to see them. They also brought my Great Grandma who lives in Amarillo down with them so we were able to catch up with everyone. We didn’t do anything spectacular, just shopped and hung out, but it was fun.
The weekend after that, we got some very sad news that Matt’s Grandma Helen had passed away so we made a super quick trip back to Iowa for the funeral. Although I wish it was under better circumstances, I’m glad that we were able to be there and it was nice to see our family and a few of our friends.

The last couple of weeks haven’t been quite as busy. We didn’t do much over the 4th of July weekend except start moving all our stuff into our new house. We’re still not 100% moved in but we should be by the end of this weekend.

 

Now for the fun part. Pregnancy update!

In my last post, Baby K was still an “it” but we found out on June 13th that it’s a GIRL! Almost everyone I talked to just KNEW it was a boy but I had a feeling it was a girl from pretty early on.
I had 5 different, super crazy dreams and in all of them I had a little girl. In some dreams she was a baby and in others she was a toddler but they all felt SO real. Even though I told him this, Matt was 100000% POSITIVE that Baby K was a boy so imagine his surprise when the ultrasound tech said “it looks like it’s a girl!” He was really shocked but after it all sunk in, he was super excited.
That ultrasound was really fun because she finally looked like a little person. I was really worried that we wouldn’t be able to find out the gender because our appointment was at 8 AM and at that time I wasn’t feeling her move much until the afternoon/evening, but she was definitely awake! She was being such a little wiggle worm to the point where it was hard to get very many good pictures. Luckily though, we got a few good ones. She also kept yawning which was THE cutest thing ever!  I’m pretty sure I didn’t stop smiling that entire day.

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For the question that everyone and their mom’s are asking: Yes, we’ve picked out a name but we’ve only told close family and friends. The rest of you will find out when she’s born. 🙂

 

I’ll be 25 weeks in just a few days and at this point, I LOVE being pregnant. Feeling her move inside of me is the most amazing, indescribable feeling. I will say that if she’s as active outside of me as she is inside, we’re going to have our hands full.

Before I got pregnant, I never fully understood what people meant when they talked about having a strong connection with their baby. I totally get it now. It’s crazy how much I already love her and I haven’t even met her yet. She’s a huge piece of me and it’s kind of weird, but I can’t even remember what it felt like before she was here.

 

For awhile I was feeling like a 90 year old lady because every time I’d get out of bed, my back and hips were KILLING me. I’d wake up and feel really stiff and achey; it was not a fun time. But then I discovered this wonderful invention sent down from heaven called the Snoogle which is my new best friend. Seriously, if you’re pregnant or plan to get pregnant, INVEST IN THIS PILLOW. You won’t regret it.

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One thing I’ve learned lately is that if I know I’m going to be on my feet for a long period of time, WEAR GOOD SHOES! If I don’t, my feet and back start hurting really bad. I need to invest in some flip flops/sandals that have better arch support than the ones I’ve been wearing but I’m sooo picky and everything that I find is just… not cute. The struggle is real, I tell ya.

 

I’m not going to lie, before I got pregnant I didn’t really believe the prego girls who would talk about how hungry they were all the time. I thought it was just them milking the whole “eating for two” thing so they could eat everything in sight without being judged. Well, to any of you non-believers out there, let me just tell you that they probably aren’t lying. Every 3-4 hours… I’m hungry, even if I’ve eaten a fairly large meal. It never fails. It actually gets kind of annoying because I’m normally a breakfast, lunch and dinner type of gal so I have to remind myself that I’m growing a human and I have to eat. I guess it makes sense.
Every time I go to the doctor, I mentally prepare myself for the worst because I’m always positive that I’ve gained 50 pounds with as much eating as I do and every time I’m surprised. As of my last appointment which was on June 23, I’d only gained 5 pounds. I DON’T GET IT, but whatever. I’m not complaining.

 

Last weekend we got our baby registries all put together. It was actually a lot harder than I thought it was going to be because there are SO. MANY. CHOICES. but it was also really fun. If there are any mommy’s out there that have any advice or suggestions on the must-haves or the things that aren’t really necessary or anything really, feel free to share! I’d appreciate it. 🙂

 

That’s about all I’ve got for now.

Until next time!

And then there were three…

As most of you probably know, I’m pregnant!
What you don’t know are any of the details so, I’ll start from the beginning and fill you in.

Around the end of February, I was experiencing some strange symptoms that I’d never experienced before. They weren’t any of the typical pregnancy symptoms, so I didn’t even think that was a possibiliy. After a few days of weirdness, I decided to take a pregnancy test, just to put my mind at ease. WELL! Imagine my surprise when that test came back positive! I tried not to get too worked up about it and took few more tests over the next couple days just to be sure before I told anyone (at this point, Matt didn’t even know.)

Three days and five, yes FIVE, pregnancy tests later I was finally convinced I was pregnant. Looking back, I see this was a little ridiculous, but I just wanted to be really really REALLY sure. 😉

That night I decided to tell Matt but wanted to do it in a cutesy way so I made a Big Brother sign and tied it to our dog, Boomer’s collar. (see below)
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When Matt got home, Boomer ran to greet him as always and Matt saw the sign. The conversation went like this.
Matt: Big brother? What does that mean?
Me: What do you think it means?
Matt: I don’t know…
Me: uhh… I’m pregnant!
Matt: …No you’re not.
Me: I promise I am! If you don’t believe me come look at my FIVE positive pregnancy tests!

So obviously he did and when he realized this wasn’t a joke his face lit up and I got a huuuge hug. 🙂

 

Our initial plan was to keep this a secret from our families for 8 weeks. Then we decided that we’d wait until after our first doctors appointment. But then we decided to just tell them the next day. (Matt and I are HORRIBLE secret keepers.)

I had wanted to buy all of the grandparents picture frames with a cheesy quote to announce it to them, but with Matt’s parents and my dad and step-mom living so far away, we didn’t want to ship it to them and then have to wait. So my mom and step-dad are the only ones that got the cheesy picture frame announcement.

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For Matt’s parents and my dad and step-mom, we just tied the Big Brother sign back on Boomer and Facetimed them.

 

At my first doctors appointment, I was practically one minute pregnant. Not really, I was 3-4 weeks, but it’s pretty much the same thing. Since it was still really early, I scheduled another appointment about a month down the road.

At my second doctors appointment, we met my doctor. I was a little nervous just because I had no idea who she was or what to expect, but she was so laid back and easy to talk to. We both really like her. We also heard the baby’s heartbeat on the doppler for the first time which was awesome. (Just FYI, the heartbeat was 180.)
Afterwards, we went to the clinic where my sister works and had our first ultrasound. I can’t even put into words all the emotions I was feeling, but genuine happiness was definitely at the top of the list. I mean, I knew I was pregnant but I didn’t really FEEL pregnant until I saw our baby on that big screen. It was being such a little wiggle worm, moving its tiny little arms and legs all around like it was dancing and we could even see it’s itty bitty little fingers. Ahhh! Seriously, that feeling is indescribable. And it was extra special to not only have my husband, but my sister there too.Fun Fact: Going into the ultrasound, we thought I was around 8 weeks. Come to find out I was 10 weeks!
Here are a couple of ultrasound photos.
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Anyway, so here we are.
I’m 11 weeks today which still kind of blows my mind. My due date is October 27, so October will be a very busy month for us with Matt’s birthday on the 21st and our anniversary on the 23rd.
At first I was really thinking that the baby was a boy, but then I had two (super crazy) dreams and in both of them I had a little girl, so I really have no clue at this point.

My first trimester hasn’t been too bad, I have just been really realllllllly tired. It’s a horrible feeling to wake up completely exhausted. Since I got pregnant, I haven’t slept through a whole night. Every. Single. Night. I wake up between 3 and 4 and can’t fall back asleep until around 5 or sometimes 6. Let’s just say it is NOT a fun time, but I guess I better get used to it.

I’ve been really lucky as far as morning sickness goes.  I haven’t thrown up at all, there were just a few days where I felt really really nauseous. Everyone kept telling me to try and figure out which foods were triggering my morning sickness (and I won’t lie, I thought that was absolutely ridiculous) but I was proven wrong when I discovered that eating a banana for breakfast was causing it. I stopped eating bananas and no more morning sickness.

I haven’t been craving anything too crazy, just fruit. Pretty much everything other than bananas, that is. Apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries, peaches, pineapple, I WANT IT ALL! haha.
Oh, and the mere thought of a hamburger absolutely repulses me.

I’m also starting to experience ‘pregnancy brain’. I’ve been forgetting little things and it’s like my mind just goes completely blank. Normally I remember EVERYTHING so this is weird and VERY annoying for me. haha.

 

I’ve been so overwhelmed by all of the love, kind words and congratulations that we’ve gotten over the last couple of days. We’re so blessed to have so many people out there that care about us. I really can’t say thank you enough.

Well folks, that’s about all I’ve got for now. I have an ultrasound at my doctors office this Friday, so I’m really looking forward to that. I’ll try to post fairly regularly to keep everyone up-to-date.

Until next time. 🙂