Saturday thoughts and reset


Sometimes I have to start back at the beginning.  That's where I am today.  Working on trying to make my thoughts more positive. 
Source: via Liz on Pinterest

Have you entered my 16x20 photo canvas giveaway yet?  If not, enter here!

GIVEAWAY- 16x20 Canvas Photo


A little while back, Canvas 4 Life sent me a beautiful canvas photo of B and Eva. 

It is hanging in our playroom downstairs.
It is gorgeous.  The colors are vibrant and true to the original photo.  I couldn't be more pleased with the final result. Also, their website is easy to navigate and simply walks you through the various options you have for printing the final product  
Canvas 4 Life creates a fantastic product and their rates are really competitive.  I was surprised at how affordable their rates are.  They are kindly offering a 16x20 photo canvas to one lucky Handling With Grace reader.

For everyone who doesn't win, they are offering a 25% off code.  The code is JAMIE.  Go check out their rates.  Let me know if you make a purchase from them.  You won't be disappointed.     

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday Walkabout + Gender reveal party


Guess who is going to know her baby's gender before the birthday bbq? (remember yesterdays post?)  ME!  How, you might ask?  Genetic blood test.  Boo yah.  We will know definitively.

Now here's the big bummer.  My husband is forcing me to be surprised with the rest of our guests at the party.  The only person who will know ahead of time is the cake maker.  You guys know that my husband pretty much NEVER tells me no.  Ever.  That's why I am giving him this one.  Even though the suspense might kill me.

Here is some pinspiration for the gender reveal party...

What is a Walkabout?
It's a blog link-up party, every week here and with our co-hosts! Simply put your blog address or a specific post in  the linky, visit some other people, and make some friends. Easy as that! I can't wait to talk to everyone!

PS: You only have to link up with ONE of the co-hosts, it will link to all four!

The Rules
1. Please follow at least ONE hostess, and let us know you're a new follower and how you follow!
Jane - Taingamala
Sarah - G.I. Joe's Wife

If you're a new follower of Handling With Grace, let me know so I can follow you back!

Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)!  

What would you do?


Ok, I am in a bit of a conundrum and I want to know... what would you do?

Here's the situation.  I am going to find out my new baby's gender early at an early detection ultrasound facility.  I did the same with Eva and found out at 15 weeks which is the standard for early detection ultrasounds (ie, the earliest they recommend).

This particular facility's website says that they do them at 16 weeks at the earliest.  Because I am desperately impatient, when I set up the appointment, I lied and said I was a week further along so that I could get the appointment at 15 weeks (like I did with Eva) instead of 16 weeks.   I set the appointment for Monday, October 22nd (15 weeks 2 days).  It happens to be B's birthday on that same day.  Since then, I've decided to have a birthday party for him on that Saturday, October 20.  I want to tell all of our friends the baby's gender at the party.

I emailed the ultrasound lady to see if she will do it earlier and she said fine, I could do it anytime that previous week (when I am "15 weeks" pregnant). Th problem is that I will only be 14 weeks!

If I go before the party, I would go Friday, making me 14 weeks 5 days. That is pretty darn early.

What would you do?  Would you give it a try and see if they can tell gender?  Wait until Monday which is my husbands birthday anyways, making it special too?  Anybody find out gender at the end of their 14th week?  Honest opinions, please!

Update: Company policy is that if they can't be sure, they will reschedule for free for a week later. Also, I will have a second opinion between 18-20 weeks with my normal OB/midwife techs. 

And ps- we're not going to have a special gender reveal party a week after his birthday party :)

Advice for friends of the dying


I haven't written about grief since the one year anniversary of my Mom's death a couple months ago.  It has been weighing on me a lot lately.  A friend from Hawaii's Mother is passing right now.  She is dying of breast cancer and is has gotten to the hospice stage where they are denying food/drink and essentially just waiting for the body to stop.

I email her daily.  Sometimes I have something to say; sometimes, I don't.  Sometimes I just write her and say, "I am thinking about you".  Sometimes I send her specially marked emails (so she knows they are unpleasant before she opens them) with things that I wish I knew about the process of dying before it happened.

Watching your Mother die from cancer by starvation/dehydration, when her body was just healthy and strong, has to be one of the worst possible life scenarios.  They don't just fall asleep and die.  It is violent and it is long.
Unfortunately, as we get older, more and more of us are going to be watching our loved ones and friend's loved ones pass.  Most of you probably haven't gone through this yet but please listen to this piece of advice...

Do not disappear.  

When people go through tragedy, some want to talk about it, some don't.  Some want to be surrounded by their friends and family, some want solitude.  Some want to remember and reminisce, some can barely stomach their memories.  This is not the point.

For some reason, in times of tragedy, it seems to be human nature for people to disappear.  They might email once and then feel weird about following up.  They don't know what to say.  They aren't comfortable with sadness.  They don't feel like they are close enough to the family to butt in.  Remember that, this too, is not the point.

Email your friend.  Send a note.  Drop off a meal- don't try to stay to talk unless you're invited in.  Follow up.  Check in.  Send a text.  Drop a line.

Your friend might not answer.  She might not respond.  She might not even answer questions when you ask them directly.  She probably won't send a thank you note.  Again, this is not the point.

Send messages so she knows that you are silently supporting her from behind.  Let her know you are available to talk if she wants.  Don't be pushy.  Just don't disappear.  

Grief at 

**comments are turned off but you are welcome to email me directly**

Beer belly


Wondering where I am in this pregnancy?
This pretty much sums it up.

Happy Saturday people. Enjoy your day!

Gripes and Gratitude 9.21


* Why does pregnancy take so damn long?  I need to know what this baby is.  I am finding out early at 15 weeks but that is just not soon enough.  It is eating at my soul.  I need to know...
{they promise me that this is, in fact, a human baby and not an alien blob in my belly}

* Husband wants to sell my car.  He has a bad feeling that we are going to start having problems with it, despite the fact that it has low miles, and it is really expensive to fix.  The problem is that I love my car.  He doesn't want anything smaller- not ANY smaller.  I don't want anything bigger (i.e. Suburban size).  The one I have is the 7 seater Lexus.  We only have 2 kids and we don't pull anything.  I don't know what to get and I hate car shopping.  I hate haggling.  I get super anxiety about spending big money.  
{my Christmas present when I was pregnant with Eva}

* When people who don't have kids have an opinion about anything child related.  You don't know.  You don't get it.  You CAN'T get it until you have children.  It's not a put down, it's a fact.  You don't understand.  Mind your own business and stop being nasty.  

* Our kitchen tile backsplash is getting installed and I love it.  It's the perfect compliment to our gorgeous granite.  I love what we chose.

* Crazy pregnancy hormones.  Sometimes a gripe and sometimes a gratitude.  Today it's a gratitude.  The pendulum swings both ways.  Today the hormones are making me ooze with joy.  I am so happy with life right now.  My Eva is perfect, B and I are happy together, and everything else is easy.
{if this doesn't look like true happiness, I don't know what does}

*Speaking of B, it's our 5 year anniversary tomorrow.  5 LONG years.  We've been together so long, I can't really remember life without him.  He truly is my other half even if sometimes he is the annoying, stubborn, wrong half.  

Happy Friday, ladies.  I hope you have a great weekend.

Again, thanks for the idea, Raven :)

Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)!  

A fairy tale and Wednesday Walkabout 9.18


Today I would like to share a little story highlighting the beauty and wonder of being a Mom.  Oh and being pregnant.

Once upon a time, there was a nice little family who decided to head out early to run by a garage sale in a very nice part of town because the Mom is pregnant and nesting and stressing about a long winter in the house pregnant and alone with a high-energy toddler.  After packing up said toddler and her patient husband, they headed out.  The little family sort of got lost and definitely didn't find the sale but they laughed it off and decided to go to Home Depot to look at kitchen back-splash tiles for the twentieth time.  The couple drove around in circles and got lost once or twice on the way to the Depot but brushed it off.  They smiled at each other and said, "Oh well, at least it will give Eva the baby some time to sleep" since she was contentedly asleep in her seat in the back.  

Eventually the couple found their way to Home Depot.  After parking, the Dad clumsily opened the stroller while the Mom joked, "What?  Are you new?!".  The Mom gingerly lifted the sleeping toddler from her seat and laid her in  the stroller.  The sweet angel didn't make a peep as the couple entered the store and began argue about look at tiles.  After a couple fights, heated discussions, compromises, the couple began to make some concrete decisions about the back splash.  They were about to start counting tiles when all of a sudden they noticed a strange puddle gather under the stroller... drip... drip... drip...

Yes, the sweet toddler peed her panties in her sleep and a puddle is growing on the floor of Home Depot beneath her.  The aisle is bustling with fellow customers.  The baby wakes up and starts crying about it.  The couple is thoroughly embarrassed and the Mom rushes the toddler to the bathroom- with no spare panties or pants because said toddler has been potty trained for 7 or 8 months.

The Mom pretends that she isn't thoroughly horrified and reassures the Dad that it's no biggie.  They head a couple doors down to Marshalls where the Mom buys a new outfit for the toddler.  She makes the purchase and then heads over to the dressing room to change the toddler.  As she pulls up to the attendant, the stroller tire gets stuck on a hanger, jams stopped, and the unstrapped pee pee toddler falls out of the stroller head first.  She screams bloody murder, obviously. 

Eventually the toddler gets cleaned up and changed and the couple heads back to Home Depot to make the purchase.  After counting and counting, they realize that this store does not have enough of the tile so they have to head over to a different store for the rest of the tile.  

Eventually the family gets all of the supplies and begin to head home.  

What began as a quick, pregnancy induced trip to a fancy garage sale during breakfast time ended up being a day long excursion that ended at dinner time.  

Moral of the story?  Don't let the pregnant lady dictate the plan for the day.

In happier news, today is Wednesday so it's time for the Wednesday Walkabout.  

What is a Walkabout? It's a blog link-up party, every week here and
with our co-hosts! Simply put your blog address or a specific post in
the linky, visit some other people, and make some friends. Easy as
that! I can't wait to talk to everyone!

PS: You only have to link up with ONE of the co-hosts, it will link to all four!

The Rules
1. Please follow at least ONE hostess, and let us know you're a new follower and how you follow!
Jane - Taingamala
Sarah - G.I. Joe's Wife

If you're a new follower of Handling With Grace, let me know so I can follow you back!

Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)!  

This is why I am crying right now


I am pregnant and hormonal.  I should not be bumping into pictures like this on the internet.
Seriously.  How cute, sweet, heartbreaking, and tragic is this?

PS- I tried to find the source of this picture to verify it's validity (there is nothing more annoying than those fake facebook stories) but, unfortunately, I could not find the original source BUT apparently this slogan has been used bunches so even if this picture is fake, the story/idea isn't.

See here or here

Why we're not going home for a while


This is a sensitive issue but it is something that I has been weighing heavily on me and I have discussed with many military wives.  Living away is hard on most of us and I have yet to meet a woman who lives away from their family who doesn't struggle with this topic.  In case you're wondering, this is not intended to be a passive aggressive post towards my friends and family.  They know me better than that- passivity is not my style ;)

We made a big decision after our trip home last month.  Here goes... we are not going "home" for a while.

We moved out of state 5 years ago.  Since we first moved away, we have spent thousands of dollars flying "home".  I flew from Hawaii, Florida, and Maryland back and forth to California at the VERY minimum twice a year (often up to 4 times).  We have put off taking trips, vacations, and getaways so that we would be able to visit our family and friends.  The pressure to make these trips became even stronger since having a baby.  I want my family and friends to KNOW my Eva.  Not know who she is, what she looks like, and how old she is but really KNOW her.

We made the joint decision after this last trip that we are no longer going to carry 100% of the responsibility.  I am lucky that my husband doesn't say anything when I purchase ticket after ticket to fly back and forth.  He  knows how important it is for me to maintain these relationships and to allow my daughter to foster relationships with her Aunties (by blood and love), Uncles, cousins, and Grandparents.  He is kind enough not to mention that I force him to spend all of his vacation budget and vacation hours from work visiting family.

Things are changing.  I have decided that I am not going to carry the responsibility for everyone any longer.  I am not one to count other people's pennies or vacation days but everyone else we know goes on vacations.  Whether its grand vacations to resorts, attending weddings out of town or state, or weekend getaways, our friends and family are enjoying their vacations.  I am happy that our friends and family are going away and enjoying themselves.  It's time for us to join in on the fun.

When I had this conversation with my Dad, he scoffed, "Oh, so you expect 10 people all fly out to Maryland for Christmas because you're not going to fly here?".  Nope.  No, I don't.  I don't expect anyone to do anything.  I would hope that our friends and family meet us half way and come visit us in Maryland when their time and money permits.  I hope that they care as much as we do about having a relationship with my daughter.  I hope...  I don't expect.

We are not going on vacations because we are flying home.  That's been a fact.  This is going to change.  I am no longer carrying the whole burden for maintaining the relationships.  We are going to take vacations to new places.  We are going to explore new cities.  We are going to spend some time alone sometimes.  We are going to make some memories on real vacations.  It's time for our friends and family to get a little more comfortable with the airlines and share in our burden.

Do you live away from family?  How do you manage maintaining relationships with your family and friends at "home"?

Have you entered Jane's Erin Condren Gift Card Giveaway on my blog yet?

Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)!  

Just a little random


1. 4 items you can't live without on a daily basis (water, food, shelter, and clothes don't count). 
I feel sort of pathetic saying that my iPhone (internet) and TV are my must haves but let's be honest, they are.  Add that to my sugar addiction and the result is that I am pretty lame.

2. All time favorite book? Why?
1984.  It's the only book from school that I have re-read.  Read it while thinking about today's privacy concerns and big government and it should resonate deeply.

3. Something you'd like to accomplish before the end of 2012
Gosh, my goals are sort of small.  I hope to not be a total cow by then (I will be 6 months pregnant), I hope Eva can recognize all her letters, and I want to go on at least one out of town, overnight trip with B (and probably Eva).  Actually scratch all that.  I just want my kitchen to be completed.   

4. If you could go back and relive any year of your life which year would it be? 
Any year that my Mom was alive.  The year we got married (2007) was a good one.  She was so happy and excited for us to start our new life together in Hawaii.  We were so happy, things were so easy, and I could call my Mom everyday.  Life was good.   
Or maybe when I was pregnant with Eva.  My Mom was over the moon waiting for her first grandbabies.  
{all my sisters and my Mom 2010}
5. What do you wish people knew about you without you having to tell them?
I think every single person that I encounter knows more about me than they probably want to.  The only thing I can think of is that I wish people knew that I was looking for more friends here in Maryland.  Making friends here has not been super easy since our neighborhood is "well-established" (read that as nobody under 45).  Coming from a big family of all girls, I like having girls around.  I like people.  I need more of them in my life.

Have you entered Jane's Erin Condren Gift Card Giveaway on my blog yet?

Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)!  

Gripes and Gratitude


Biting Raven's style again today and doing "Gripes and "Gratitude".  If we do a "Gripes and Gratitude" link-up next week, would you join in?

*Lowes doesn't have the kitchen back splash tile that I am picturing in my head.  I am not sure why the silly Lowes people don't just read my mind and create exactly what I am dreaming of but they should.  How can I finish my kitchen if I don't have a back splash?  Yeah, I cant.

*Fall.  I promise this is officially my FINAL complaint about the fall season.  I am sure I will begin to complain again once winter arrives and I freeze my chi-chi's off but as far as fall is concerned, F you fall and the cold weather that you bring.  Gripe done.

*When people call blogland, "blogland".  Also, when they say "hubby".  And hipsters.  Especially hipster guys.
{I was looking for the illustration of that says to guys in skinny pants, "you took get in my pants too seriously" but I couldn't re-find it.  Anyone have it?}
*The Jeff Probst Show.  It's no wonder the the ratings suck.  It's because the show sucks.  I watched for two minutes today and heard the word "man-some" AND "man-scaping".  No thanks.

*My daughter.  She is the light in my soul.  There are not words to adequately explain.  I lucked out.  She is silly and sweet, smart and cute, and friendly and outgoing.  She is everything I could ever want in a child.  
*Krista from Army Wife Style has peer pressured me to go to the gym a whole bunch over the past week or two.  I am feeling good.  Today I left the gym drunk as a skunk off endorphins and Eva cuteness. 

*Being able to delete people who annoy me on twitter and facebook.  I have no time and no energy for annoying people.

*Yoga pants.  I am thankful for them right now since my rear (oh, and my belly) is growing.  Thank you yoga pants for being forgiving on my pregnant body.  I am not giving up on looking cute completely yet, but in this in- between, chubby all over stage, yoga pants make me feel normal.   

Have you entered my Erin Condren GIVEAWAY yet?  Click here!

Introducing Taingamala + GIVEAWAY


Today I want to introduce Jane from Taingamala.  She is a fellow military spouse currently stationed in the land of Aloha.  Her blog name "Taingamala" is similar to the word "aloha" in that it envelopes a feeling of warmth, love, greeting- it's a made up word that she and her husband made up.
Jane blogs about her two pups Koral and Kimo, food and recipes, Hawaii, military life, and crafts.  She is an Erin Condren addict and to thank you for visiting her blog, she would like to offer you a $25 gift card to Erin Condren.

Go spend some time with Taingamala and enter the rafflecopter giveaway below.

**you must be a follower of Handling With Grace? to enter**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday Walkabout 9.12


In bizarro news for the day, a fitness studio in Canada is starting to offer....
wait for it
The studio states that the classes are not sexy or provacative but instead are a good form of cardiovascular exercise for children.  What in the blippity blip?  

Would you pole dance for your Dad?  God, I hope not.  Stories like this skeeve me out.  How about instead of  taking your daughter to learn to writhe on a pole, you take her to the park and kick around a ball?  Or ride horses?  Or play baseball?  Or pretty much ANYTHING on Earth.

In happier news, today is Wednesday so it's time for the Wednesday Walkabout.  

What is a Walkabout? It's a blog link-up party, every week here and
with our co-hosts! Simply put your blog address or a specific post in
the linky, visit some other people, and make some friends. Easy as
that! I can't wait to talk to everyone!

PS: You only have to link up with ONE of the co-hosts, it will link to all four!

The Rules
1. Please follow at least ONE hostess, and let us know you're a new follower and how you follow!
Jane - Taingamala
Sarah - G.I. Joe's Wife

If you're a new follower of Handling With Grace, let me know so I can follow you back!

Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)! 

Taking a step back


I was going to post a silly, vapid, self-centered post (as per the usual) but decided to give it a rest today, in honor of 9/11.

It's an election year. Get informed. It doesn't matter to me which side you're on but in honor of all of the people who have died for our freedom (including the passengers on 9/11 who were killed to make a statement against America and the freedoms it provides), do some reading.
If I weren't all knocked up, I'd be wearing an extra short skirt while drinking a beer and BBQ'ing in honor of all of those who have fallen for my freedom. Instead, I will be giving my grumpy two year old extra long snuggles and spending some extra money at the mall.

Take that Al Qaeda!

Bless America.
Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)! 

9 week bumpdate


Due to the overwhelming positive response, I will be doing every couple week bumpdates.  I am going to do them on Sundays.  Please feel free to skip them if seeing a weird alien belly gives you the willies.  I have every couple week pictures from my pregnancy with Eva also so I will post those along with my current pics to see how different (ie bigger) my belly is the second time around.  I am 9 weeks pregnant today.
How far along? 9 weeks
Size? Grape
Weight gain? +2 pounds (less than when I was this far along with Eva) 
Sleep?  Not great.  I have been taking Unisom most nights to sleep.  
Best Moment of the Week? Coming home from vacation and getting settled together again.
Miss anything? Wine.  Beer.  Wine.  Bloody marys.  Wine. 
Movement? Nope.
Food Cravings? Just food in general.  I am HUNGRY.  I get full- meal, stomach- growling hungry every 2-3 hours or so.
Anything make you queasy or sick? Nothing specific.  I am sort of queasy all the time but not actually sick.
Gender? I cannot wait to find out.  I found the place that will do our early ultrasound at 15 weeks but that is still forever from now.
Symptoms? I feel pretty crummy and tired all the time.  I was really tired with Eva but I didn’t ever feel bad.  I feel just sort of yucky all the time.  Add the first trimester exhaustion, and I am having a tough time not whining.
Belly button in or out? It’s still a halfy.  It never went completely back in after Eva.
Looking forward to? Those four and a half seconds when I have a cute baby bump but before I turn into a cow.

Here I am today (9 weeks)...
{Here's a fun little story.  B just took this picture for me.  I said, "Oh my god.  I look huge.  Do I look this big in real life?".  He looks at the picture for a second and says, "Yeah, that's what size you look.  Kind of big, I guess".  Umm, thanks babe.}

Here I was at 9 weeks when I was pregnant with Eva.

Want to see the 5 week bumpdate?  Check it out here.

Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)! 

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