Crock Pot Potato Soup

Now that it’s winter time, every one wants something nice and warm for dinner. Some comfort food. One of my favorite winter time dinners is potato soup. It’s yummy and it’s one of those meals that, as my dad would say, ‘sticks to the ribs’. That basically means it’s a good hearty meal that will fill you up and keep you full.  The best thing about this recipe, is that you can throw it in the crock pot and forget about it for a while until dinner time! Here’s the recipe that my mom and I have always used, but feel free to spice it up a bit to your liking!

Ingredients:

1 bag frozen hash browns. You can find them at almost any grocery store in the frozen foods section, but you could easily dice your own potatoes if you’d like.

28 oz chicken broth

1 can cream of chicken soup

salt

pepper

8 oz cream cheese

Optional:

Bacon Bits

Shredded Cheese

Chives for Garnish

Directions:

Combine the hash browns or your dice potatoes, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, salt and pepper in the crock pot and cook on low for 5 hours. 30 minutes before serving, add your block of cream cheese and stir occasionally to give your soup a creamy texture. You can top with shredded cheese and chives if you wanna make it fancy. My dad usually mixes in a generous handful of shredded cheddar into his for even more creamy deliciousness! I prefer bacon bits in mine. They could be store bought, packaged bacon bits, or bacon that you fried up at home and crumbled in. Either way, I feel like the bacon adds a different texture element and a nice flavor to the soup. Of course, feel free to make it your own, get creative, and stay warm this winter!

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Advice For New and Veteran Moms

Being a first-time mommy, I realize that there is a lot for me to learn. While of course I can learn a lot from my own mom, mother in law, and other moms in my family, but it has been quite a few years since they’ve had babies and things have changed over time, so having other mom friends of my own to share their experience and advice with me has definitely come in handy since I brought my little love into this world. Here is some of the advice I have gotten so far, and some advice other first-time moms have shared that may be a blessing to someone else too.

Cloth diapers. Yes, I know that’s what your grandma used on your moms and dads, but cloth diapering has come a long way from rags and pins. Modern cloth diapers are adjustable, snap-on diapers with absorbent cloth inserts to keep your little one’s hiney dry and comfy while saving mommy and daddy lots of money on disposable diapers. Just like the cloth diapers of old, just wash them and reuse again and again, even if you have another baby in a few years, you can use the same diapers on them, instead of buying all disposable diapers again.

Nap time for baby is nap time for mommy. I know that it seems like the only time you can get anything done around the house is when your baby is sleeping, but what good are you gonna do if you’re too tired to function and you accidentally start pouring coffee into the dog’s bowl and pour milk over a bowl of dog food because you mistook it for cereal? Mommies need sleep just as much as the next person, we just have different schedules on which we get it. So, snuggle up with that little munchkin and get you some rest! You’re gonna need it come dinner time, Lord knows.

No screaming over spilled milk. As your kids get older, you’ll come to realize that making messes and tearing things up is pretty much hardwired in their DNA. They’re going to make plenty of messes and break all kinds of things, they’re gonna break things you didn’t even know they could break. Just roll with it and use it as an opportunity to teach them. Maybe today’s lesson will be that cereal goes in bowls, not on a plate, or hold our cups with two hands. When they’re old enough, you can start teaching them to clean up their messes behind themselves. Granted, they may not get it all up, or they might just wipe their crumbs off the counter right into the floor, but at least their showing initiative and trying to help. That’s a big sign of maturity and responsibility. Help them, guide them, teach them, but don’t go yelling and screaming over tiny messes that can easily be cleaned up.

Not all advice is good advice. Everyone and their momma (literally) is going to be giving you advice and telling you all sorts of things that you should and should not be doing with and to your baby. Not all of their advice is going to be what’s right for you and your child. All of us women are pre-programmed with mother’s intuition on our factory hard drives. There will be times when someone is going to give you a piece of advice about the mothering of your baby and you are going to know in your heart and in your gut that it’s just not right, politely decline, disagree, or just smile and thank them for their suggestion, but you will know for a fact that is not something you should do. Always listen to your gut!

Photo ops are everything. Many moms feel like they’re constantly shoving cameras in everyone’s faces, do it anyway. You’re gonna want to remember all these little things because they’re not going to last forever. So take lots of pictures and have them printed to make albums, record videos and save them to a USB so your kids can watch them later down the road and reminisce on that little girl who used to live next door that always wore piggy tails and had that snaggle tooth, or the time they fell off their bike and thought it was the end of the world until daddy scooped them up and told them never to give up on themselves, or just those dress up tea parties that seemed to happen a lot more than occasionally. Whatever it is that makes your heart happy now, record it for the years to come. You’ll thank yourself.

Water and sunlight isn’t just for plants. A little H2O and some vitamin D can make a world of difference in both mom and baby. Health and mood benefits are definite pluses in my book! So, take that precious little human out in the stroller for a quick walk. I know it may seem like there’s no time, but I assure you the dishes can wait another thirty minutes. Grab a bottle of water for you, a bottle of milk for baby and go walk the neighborhood. It will make you feel a ton better, it’s good for baby’s immune system, and what a simple way to burn some calories and lose a little of that baby weight!

Don’t blink. It may be cliché but trust me. One day you’re going to be out shopping and see a child younger than your own and you’re going to look at them and say, “I remember when you were that little! What happened to my tiny baby!” Every stage they go through, every milestone and achievement is worth remembering, so take your time with them and really enjoy every moment.

We may be super hero moms, but we are still human, and humans make mistakes. Not everything you do or say is going to be right. Don’t spend too much time dwelling on something you can’t take back or change. Learn from your mistake, apologize or talk it out, and move on knowing that not everyone is perfect and you’re still learning just like your little one.

Sometimes babies just feel like crying. There are lots of moms who don’t pick their babies up every time they cry, and that’s okay. There will be times when their butts are clean, bellies are full, they’ve been burped and there’s nothing they could possibly be crying for. They’re just having a fuss. You don’t know why, they don’t know why, but stressing yourself out trying to calm them is just going to make it worse. Your baby can feel your emotions, your stress and your anxiety. If you’re frantically patting them and doing the freaked out “it’s okay, it’s okay!” they’re just going to freak out even more because they know mommy’s freaked out and that’s not cool! You can always put on some soft music and rub their little heads and talk to them gently to calm them, or just let them get it all out. Either way, you’re not a bad mom for letting your baby cry. I repeat, you are NOT a bad mom for letting your baby cry under these circumstances. The more you hold them and freak out with your frantic, anxious, mental and emotional overload, the more likely you are to hurt your baby and that’s definitely not good.

In all, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Nobody hands you a How-To Manual at the hospital when you have a baby and there is no real set of rules to follow, so if you need help, ask someone (Google and Siri included) for advice. Remember the smile and nod approach to the advice you feel doesn’t resonate with you personally, but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. We all need a new perspective every now and then.

If you have any advice of your own to share, feel free to do so in the comments! I know there is lots of advice waiting to be shared from one mom to the next. Let me know if any of this advice helped you and if you need more, you know where to find me!

8 Little or No Cost Date Ideas for You and Hubby

Needing a date night with hubby but neither of you seem to have the time, money or baby sitting resources to make a whole night out of it? When my husband and I first moved in together we had only been engaged for about a month and a half. We were both working full time jobs, taking on our fair share of financial responsibility, and trying to start a healthy savings account for our wedding. Needless to say, the hours wore on both of us. I would come home from 8 hours on my feet feeling completely exhausted with hardly the energy to wash the dishes and cook dinner. He worked lots of odd hours that were never set or regular, he’d be working night shift one week, then out of town for three days the next week, then no work at all for a few days, it was really exhausting for him and eventually our relationship began to feel the effects of it. We hadn’t been on any real date in ages and it started to feel more like living with a roommate than with my own fiancé. So, I had an idea; once a week we will try to do something, anything, that gets us to slow down and take some time with one another. We don’t have to go out on any expensive dates, we don’t have to go anywhere at all, we can sit at home in the comfort of our pj’s and spend time together one on one.

The first night that I implemented this, was really a spur of the moment idea. I was out grocery shopping one evening after work when I came across a little nook in the baking aisle with all the needed ingredients for make it yourself pizzas. So I bought the needed items for pepperoni pizzas and a bottle of sparkling grape juice (I was nineteen at the time so no wine for me yet) and went home to set up my sweet surprise for my sweet fella! When he got home he was excited to see what I had done, we put our pizzas together and danced in the kitchen in our pj’s while they baked in the oven, then we watched one of our favorite tv series while we ate our own personal pizzas and drank our sparkling juice. It really turned out to be one of the best dates we’ve had so far, and it didn’t cost much. After that night, we really tried to stay in the habit of doing something for each other at least once a week that involves the two of us spending quality time with one another.

Here is a list of a few things that we have done and some that other couples have suggested as well. It doesn’t have to be big or intricate or expensive, just a simple gesture to show you still care to spend time with your partner and keep your relationship from feeling so much like work.

  1. Have a Disney movie marathon. We both know you still love The Little Mermaid and can even sing along to Mulan. And don’t worry, Dumbo makes me sad too. And Netflix has most of them just a click away.
  2. Do a craft together. I know a lot of women are very crafty especially those of us with kids. So maybe come out of your craft room for once or invite him in, include him in something you’re working on, maybe just a small project in case he’s not quite as crafty as you. Show him how to press vinyl onto a surface or let him create a custom decal for his car or coffee cup or whatever else he’s interested in. Take some time to introduce him to the other love of your life, after all, if you’re anything like my mother and me, you could spend all day in your craft room with minimal interaction with the outside world and feel no remorse at all.
  3. Create a family original meal. I know that there are a lot of times when you check the fridge or pantry for dinspiration (dinner inspiration) and you have that, “I really thought I had more than this in here” moment. Well instead of ordering pizza or having cereal for dinner, invent a dish together. You have some random fettuccine noodles, some ground Italian sausage and some marinara sauce, well it may not be conventional, but I see an all new pasta bake waiting to be born!
  4. Family game night. Even if it’s just a game of Uno, you can still have fun with your honey and include the kids if they’re old enough! Even if it’s just you and the hubz, a deck of cards and some trail mix, I see an opportunity for some five card no peek. I’ll see your four peanuts and raise you two M&M’s.
  5. Movie comp. And by comp, I mean compromise. You want to watch Hope Floats, he wants to watch some football documentary and neither of you can come to agreeance on what else to watch. Go to Netflix’s genre section and choose a genre that is very broad and one that neither of you would typically spring for, flip through the titles and find one that stands out to both of you. You’re trying new things and even if you both hate the movie, it was a good experience in not always getting your way but listening to what your partner wants and coming to work together to find what you both agree on.
  6. Picture album excavating. Surely there are pictures of the two of you from the beginning of your relationship that everyone else has forgotten about. Find that old album on Facebook or an actual, real life photo album with pages and flip through some of the pictures together. Laugh at how crazy you used to do your hair and why did you think those giant earrings were cute. Laugh about that one time he tried to grow his facial hair only to be dissatisfied and shave it all off again. Find pictures from your childhood, ones that your mom drags out on the holidays. Compare your baby pictures to those of your kids, or if you don’t have kids yet, imagine how your kids may get your nose or his eyes and your hair color. It can be a sweet way to look back at how far you’ve come and where you want to go next.
  7. Bath time. We’ve all seen those neat bath bombs that fizz up in the tub with all the pretty colors and smells. Well order one. When it comes in get to work on setting up your atmosphere. You may need a preliminary shower to shave your legs and wash the baby food from your hair. When you’re ready, light some candles, put on some music, run your bath and go get the hubby. The kids are asleep or at grandma’s, and you finally have a moment to enjoy yourself. Bring him in and drop your bath bomb in the tub. If he’s anything like my husband, he’ll be more mesmerized by the fizzing little ball of suds than anything else. Lay opposite each other, get a foot rub and talk about your day, or sit with your back to him, get a shoulder massage and talk about the next family activity you would like to plan. However you choose to spend your bath time, do it. It’s so nice to just have a soak and enjoy the nice smells from your bath bomb and some nice time with your honey.
  8. Take a hike. Ok, not literally a hike, but just a walk would be nice. Get out in the fresh air and get some vitamin D. Stroll through your neighborhood or a local park. The kids can bring their bikes, skateboards, or scooters, little ones can have a ride in the stroller or wagon. Mom and dad can have some nice conversation while maybe refereeing a small stick sword fight. After all, that vile Captain Hook is always lurking around the corner and only Peter Pan can save the family. It’s good for you, good for the kids and nobody’s brains are being mushed by tv or video games.

Now that you have some ideas from me and a few other couples, and I’m sure you even have some ideas of your own now, go ahead and start making plans! Make it a surprise even, take turns alternating weeks on who gets to plan the date. Make it your own and make it special. This is about you and your husband coming together to share the love your marriage was built on. Make time for each other and be sure to appreciate the thought that goes into everything they do for you, big or small.

Some Cheese with That Wine?

 

Like many other women in the world, I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or at a casual gathering or even out on a date with my honey. I’m also not afraid to try new things. White wine is usually my go to as I don’t prefer bitter wines such as reds, but my aunt has introduced me to a few reds that I really do like just as much as my beloved Pinot Grigio. I decided that, as my own personal experiment, I could try a few different wines to see which I like best and which are just a little too bitter for my taste. First, I need to know what wines go with what food groups, so I can meal plan accordingly. According to WikiHow, pairing foods with wines is pretty much an art form that requires a very complex algorithm of steps and methods to finding the perfect blend for every meal. Many of the wines on this particular list are foreign to me as I have never tried them, nor can I pronounce them… so maybe that means they’re really fancy?

In my reading, I discovered that there are a few basic components of different blends of wine that you should take into consideration when trying to pair the right one with your meal;

  1. Acidity- Acidic wines have more of a tart flavor (calling wine sour means it’s gone bad). Acidic wines can be described by the fancy Nancy’s as “crisp” or “lively”.
  2. Tannins- Tannins tend to make your mouth feel dry, leaving you with a dry gritty feel like you want to brush your teeth. This feel does not mean the wine is dry, however, as dryness in wine is usually in reference to the sweetness (strange, I know). Tannic wines are usually described as drying, chalky, hard, or coarse.
  3. Sweetness- The sugars in wine can have a pleasant, slippery feel in the mouth. The sweetness in wines can negate the bitterness of acidity such as adding sugar to lemonade can round out the flavors from the lemon. Sugary wines are called sweet, syrupy, off-dry, or extra-dry.
  4. Fruit- Red wines use darker colored fruits like raspberries, blackberries or blueberries while white wines use lighter fruits like lemon, lime, peach, or apple. These fruity flavors are often paired with an aged wood flavor like oak. It’s usually not hard to differentiate these flavors.
  5. Body- Body is more in the weight and the way a wine feels in your mouth. A good reference I found on this was to compare it to milk products. Light body would be comparable to skim milk, feeling light, hollow, thin, or watery. Medium body is more like that of whole milk. Full bodied wines are similar to heavy cream, being described as heavy, full, fat, or substantial.

Now that we are pretending to be wine experts and somewhat understand the different characteristics of wine, we can look at some of the advice the real experts have on pairing different wines with different flavors of foods and what particular wine goes best with what dish. Keep in mind that these suggestions are just that, suggestions. There are no hard-set rules on what wine belongs with what foods or vice versa. A lot of the time, actual wine experts say to trust your own taste buds and go with the wines that you prefer with whatever meal you want. After all, only you know what you really like. So, lets jump into the good part, where I actually tell you what types of foods pair well with which wines and suggestions on what wines to have with specific dishes. Again, I haven’t even heard of many of these and can’t even pronounce a couple of them, but I plan on trying them at some point.

Salty Foods– Saltier foods bring out the sweetness, hides tannins, and increases bitterness in wine so sweet dessert wines or very fruity reds go well with salty foods.

Acidic Foods– Highly acidic foods are not ideal with wine because they tend to cancel out the wine’s flavors. Vinegars, vinaigrettes and dressings are an example of acidic foods that can flatten a wine and make it taste overly sweet. Acidic wines should be paired with less acidic foods.

Bitter- Bitter foods bring out the sweetness in wines while masking the tannins and acidity. Young red wines work well with bitter greens, wild herbs, and olives.

Sweet Foods- Sweetness minimizes bitterness and acidity in wine. Pair sweet wines with food that isn’t overly sweet. Having both food and wine equally sweet would cancel each other out where as you want them to play each other up. With chocolate, pair a liqeur Tokay or a Muskat rather than a sweet wine.

Umami- This is a Japanese word for the taste you get from brothy or earthy foods like soups, stocks, roast meats or mushrooms. Umami takes the edge off tannins and brings out the sweetness, making it a good match for high tannin wines.

So now that we’ve covered the different components of wine and how they interact with different types of foods, we can get into the best part! Here is a list of foods and dishes and their wine counterparts. As I’ve said before, this is not a rule book, nor are these pairings set in stone. You can always make your own choices and pairings of whatever your favorite wines are with whatever foods you want to pair them with, just be sure to rely on your taste buds to be able to distinguish these different components and decide what you like best.

 

With:                                                                    Wine:

Beef and lamb                    A full bodied red Shiraz or Cabernet/Shiraz blend,                                                               Barbera, Sangiovese, Cabernet                                                                                                       Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Pino Noir, and Zinfandel

Asparagus                                                     A grassy Sauvignon Blanc

Grilled or roast chicken                                                    Chardonnay

Chicken cooked in rich sauces                     Shiraz or medium bodied Cabernet                                                                                               Sauvignon

Fish and Seafood                  White wines like Chardonnay, Rieseling, Pino Grigio,                                                          Sauvignon Blanc.

Grilled firm flesh fish                                         Chardonnay or aged Semillon

Hearty fish stew                                                            Pino Noir

Flaky Fish                                                    Dry Riesling or Chardonnay

Spicy foods                      Riesling and Sweet Guwurztraminer (avoid Chardonnay                                                  as the spicy food can make it taste bitter)

Game (venison, bison or kangaroo)                           Spicy reds like Sangiovese or                                                                                                           Shiraz

Tomato (acid) based foods          Barbera, Sangiovese, or Zinfandel for foods                                                                           like spaghetti or pizza

Duck or quail                                                        Pino Noir or Shiraz

Hard Cheeses                                                Full bodied wines like Shiraz

Soft Cheeses                                            Dry Riesling, Marsanne or Viognier

Blue Cheese                                                              Sweet wine

Desserts                                             Sweet wines are good as long as the wine is                                                                           sweeter than the dessert


Finally! A comprehensive list of what wine goes with what specific food and how it’s cooked and prepared. I always knew there were different wines better for fish than for vegetables, but who knew there were different wines for the different ways fish is prepared as well? I guess you learn something new every day. Drink up my friends!

Four Easy Dessert Recipes for Couples on a Budget

Sometimes you want something sweet but don’t exactly have the coin to rush to the grocery store and pick up a bakery fresh cake or maybe you don’t have the ingredients to whip up a fresh batch of homemade cookies. Here are four tasty dessert ideas that I have used along my journey of young married life and motherhood on a budget.


1.  Strawberry Shortcakes

Get you some strawberries, a can of whipped cream, some mini shortcakes, and maybe even some chocolate syrup or hot fudge ice cream topping. Stem and chop your strawberries into four slices, place them in a bowl and top with sugar. Put your bowl of strawberries in the fridge. This should really be done well before dinner is started as it takes a while for the strawberries to caramelize. You may want to bake or toast your mini shortcakes until lightly golden brown. When you’re ready to make your shortcakes, take the strawberries from the fridge, they should be swimming in a syrupy red juice by now. Spoon some of the berries and juice onto your cakes and top with whipped cream and chocolate syrup or whatever else you think would be yummy! You could even serve with ice cream or cheesecake! Yum!

2.  Apple Pie Ice Cream

No, not pie and ice cream. We’re talking new and improved, all- in-one! Grab a can of apple (or any other fruit) pie filling, throw it in a pan and bake it up baker’s man! It doesn’t need long at all. Take it out of the oven, let it cool just a minute, and spoon it over vanilla ice cream. You can top it with chocolate syrup or caramel ice cream topping, even cinnamon! It’s so yummy and an easy-to-do spin on an American classic!

3.  Wannabe Sweet Potato Casserole

If you’re like me, you always buy one too many of most things, then after the holidays, you’re left with cans of yams and cranberry sauce that has no use for another year. So here’s and idea! Grab that can of yams, some puff cream or marshmallows, and some graham crackers. In a pan, layer the crackers, yams, and marshmallows and bake. Done! You could even crumble some graham crackers on top if you wanna get a little extra fancy! Then just dig in! It’s ooey, gooey, yummy, and it’s quick and easy to make, plus it’s so fun to eat!

4.   Not Quite S’mores

Something my mom showed me that her mom used to make when my mom was growing up. Salted Ritz crackers covered in mini marshmallows and baked (or nuked) and topped with chocolate and/or caramel syrup and bam! It’s sweet and salty meets crunchy and smooth. A great treat for cold days with hot chocolate and a movie, snuggled up in your pj’s and fuzzy socks with a warm blanket with your honey! There’s not much in this world better than that!

I Called My Doctor a Liar

Life seems to think it’s entertaining to throw us through some hoops here and there. Myself in particular can vouch for that first hand. I’ve had a pretty hoop-y life, and I’ve been through my fair share of hoops. The time I called my doctor a liar was, in fact, a particularly hoop-y time in my life. I had just recently been medically separated from the US Air Force, gotten engaged and moved in with my handsome new fiancé. But in order for me to tell the name calling story, I have to give you a little backstory, if not for your own understanding of the situation, then for me to justify calling this nice lady a liar to her face.

In the year 2011, I was a 15-year-old high school sophomore riding the bus home from school. Just like any other day, I was cracking jokes and laughing and carrying on with the other kids when I got a sudden sharp pain in my lower abdomen. It felt like I had been punched. When I got off at my bus stop I could hardly walk, but with no car, no cell phone, and a quarter mile between me and my house, I had no choice. So, I walked home and thankfully my mom was off work that day. I went inside and told her what happened, where it hurt, how bad it hurt, and showed her my swollen belly. And off to the Urgent Care Center we went. When I walked in, the receptionist asked me how far along I was, they thought I was going into preterm labor, I informed her that I was not pregnant, nor was it slightly possible for me to be. I was rushed in to see the doctor who said the only place for me was the ER. So off we went. To wrap this particular hoop story up, after a night spent in the hospital, lots of icky needles, a terrible experience with a particularly intrusive type of ultrasound, and one flirty male nurse it was determined that the pain I felt was the rupture of an ovarian cyst the size of a grapefruit on my right ovary. I was told that I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and that I was to begin a birth control regimen to, hopefully, help fix the situation.

The next relevant hoop that life tossed at me from left field happened in the year 2014, I was a 17-year-old high school senior with my first car, first real job, and first serious (yet also awful) relationship. I had been living with these cysts on my ovaries for just over two years by now, so I was pretty accustomed to the routine: feel the pain, take a pill, wait it out. So, one day at work I felt the familiar stab in my abdomen, I took a pill and waited for the pain to ease. The next day I started to bleed very lightly, I later found out that it wasn’t my cycle like I’d thought. For a week I bled and thought for sure it would end soon because the pain was unlike any other monthly gift I’d gotten. Then one Sunday night after work, I was laying in the bathtub trying to prepare myself for Monday morning, when I felt a wave come over my body that I could only describe as a sudden draining, I was about to pass out. I kicked the plug from the drain and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in a dry, empty bathtub. Well that wasn’t good. I got up and grabbed my towel, I knew I needed to tell my mom. The next second I was waking up on the floor of the bathroom, towel splayed across my body, leaning up against the door frame. I made it down the hall to my room and laid on the bed under the fan a while, got dressed and practically crawled down the hall to my parents’ room where my dad was in the shower, but my mom was in bed watching tv. I told her of what happened, and it was decided that I shouldn’t be driving in that condition, so my brother would take the bus and I would stay home… I wound up going to school the next day because it was exam week and I couldn’t miss my final exams of the year. I made it into my first class of the day, Spanish 2. My teacher took one look at me and sent me home. I had a friend drive me and again, by the grace of God, my mom was off work and at home. We went, again, to the ER and immediately I was being worked up. I was given my first blood transfusion and moved into a room. Many tests and scans were done to find out why, but all that was known was that I was bleeding into my abdomen from and unknown source. An emergency surgery was scheduled for that next morning. The final account is that I was bleeding from a ruptured fallopian tube. The reason the doctor gave me for this was that after years of giant cysts bursting on my ovary (and apparently my fallopian tube as well), there was some irreparable damage done and that the ovary and fallopian tube on my right side were no longer productive members of my internal society, so he cut them out. So, there I was, 17 years old, and I had just half of my reproductive system. And the other half wasn’t in much better shape. Great.

Fast forward one year. It’s 2015, I’m an 18-year-old college student working as many hours as I can to try and put myself through classes with not much success. I worked at a retail store and on one day, I got sick. Not just a cold sick or my tummy hurt sick, but I was ripping the collar of my shirt because I felt like I was being choked sick, and sweating while shivering because I had the cold sweats sick. What? So, I called my mom to come get me, told my manager I needed to go, and I clocked out. The diagnosis this time was Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. That just means that I had a thyroid disease caused by the stress my body had gone through the year before when I went through my semi- pre- menopause. So now, I have one ovary that hardly works, cysts that attack said ovary, a negative blood type which makes pregnancy difficult, and a potentially detrimental disease in the case of pregnancy. Cool.

Jumping ahead to June 2016. Here’s where I can pick back up with my name-calling story. I had recently come home from the military, started a great new job, and moved in with my new fiancé. Life was a little hoop-y but I was doing the best I could and making it work. I was happy and had lots of good plans for a wedding in the fall of the next year. One day I got this strange… shifting feeling in my gut. There’s no other way for me to explain it but it was as if I could feel my insides shifting. It wasn’t painful at first, but it did eventually start to hurt. About a week later, it was around midnight when I woke up in so much pain that I couldn’t breathe. So that handsome man in the bed next to me told me to get some pants on, we’re going to the ER. I wasn’t gonna argue. We were there for what seemed like forever. I had answered all the same questions a million times, told them all about my history, gave a urine sample and a blood sample, got an IV port started (yuck), but I had been given nothing for the pain. What was up? Around 4 o’clock, the doctor came back, she asked me a few more questions for the 5th time, then she hit me with a new one. Was it possible that I could be pregnant? I felt like being miss sassy pants and hitting her with a real good smart allec remark, but instead I just told her that, however unlikely, it was in fact possible. Let me tell you what she said. This girl looked me dead in my face and just says, “Oh, cool, cause you are.” Uhhhhhh, excuse me? That was a bit of a strange way to go about breaking the news to someone… but I guess she did her best? My fiancé and I looked at her, stunned for a few minutes, then, in sync, we both said, ” No I’m/she’s not.” “There’s no way!” I said, but she assured me that, yes, I was in fact pregnant with a little nugget all my own.

After she left, my fiancé and I sat in shocked silence. “What are we gonna do?” we kept asking. I just called my doctor a liar, almost hoping she was joking. I know that’s a terrible thing to say, but I was terrified. We were in no place to be raising a baby! We could just comfortably support ourselves on our two incomes. But, that was that. The longer the information marinated in our minds, the more we started to smile and laugh and enjoy the knowledge that in the near future, we were gonna be a real-life family. The wedding was moved to the fall of 2016 instead of the next fall, so we were married on the 1st of October, 2016, we had plans to move into an actual home of our own instead of our apartment at the end of November, and my whole life felt like, no matter what hoops life threw at me, I could jump.

 

An Introduction

Being an adult is not what we thought it was going to be when we were hiding in our bedrooms as a kid, angry at our parents and imagining how great it would be to finally be grown. It’s fairly common knowledge that being an adult is stressful at best. We have bills to pay, mouths to feed, and nothing comes for free… or maybe I’m quoting a song now, but it applies. Responsibilities lurk around every corner and it seems like I can catch every cold and bug that goes around but I can’t catch a break to save my life. This will be an outlet for me and hopefully a source for you, the reader, to laugh, cry, and rejoice with me at life’s twists, turns, failures and triumphs, and lessons learned along the way. Here are my thoughts and feelings and advice all buttered up and served with a glass of sweet iced tea. I hope y’all enjoy.