Thursday, July 24, 2014

Life :: There's No "I" in Team

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I love these pictures. They're blurry and awkward, but I love them because I love us, and I love him.

I'm trying to cherish every moment with B before BL comes along. Not that we're dreading it, at all. In fact, I find myself wishing that the next two months will fly by. I want to fast-forward to October when we're settled into our new home with our new family member. Life is so strange and uncertain right now, and I'm longing for normalcy. I'm longing to seeing our son's face and know that it was all worth it.

But I know I'm going to miss these short minutes, these fleeting memories, especially the silent ones, when it's just him and I in the car before a date, or napping on a lazy afternoon. I usually end up just laying there, studying his face, with one hand on my belly, thinking of both my boys until my heart feels like it might burst with gratitude.

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The other day, one of our roommates said, "I never hear you guys fight." That's because we don't. We have had maybe three fights, ever, and they were more like arguments or debates, nothing major. We don't raise our voices, we don't yell, we don't accuse or insult. It's just not what we do, and I don't want to. There's no need. I respect him too much. We both had plenty of experience with the opposite sex before meeting, but neither of us had experienced a relationship this easy before.

I'm not saying neither of us has been hurt by the other, but it's accidental, and it's rare. I'm also not saying that there was something wrong with our exes, or something wrong with our former selves, but I do believe in The One and those other ones just weren't it. They weren't meant to work out.

People say, at some point, we'll get sick of each other. We won't be attracted to each other anymore. We won't get along as well. They say it'll be different after we get married, and the first year of marriage is the hardest. But, you know what? I'm not worried. Maybe we're doing this whole thing backwards, but I think that raising a kid together will bring us even closer, and our healthy foundation will be even more solid. I know it won't be perfect, but nothing ever is. Some might say we're doing it wrong, but we're doing it our way, and what could be more right than that?

I know he's going to be an amazing husband and father because he's taken care of me so well. Being pregnant has forced me to let go of my pride and allow someone else to lift heavy boxes, wipe my tears, and make 7-Eleven runs when I have a craving. If I ever feel like I'm alone in this, which I do, a lot, he gently reminds me "there's no 'I' in team." Sometimes it's not so gentle, sometimes it's firm, because sometimes I still don't understand why someone would volunteer to deal with a pregnant lady. I suppose that's what you would call unconditional love, and I'm so thankful that I get to experience it, with him.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Look Again :: May + June 2012

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The highlight of these months was when my sister Liz came to visit! It's always a blast. We went to Santa Barbara for a night, and my friend (and roommate at the time) Chris came with.

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Outfit shoots and selfies ensued.

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More outfits from May.

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And, I continued taking food photos. This was pre-Instagram, and I took my DSLR everywhere I went. Those were the days...

See my last #throwbackthursday post here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Life :: Learn to Love Yourself (Even When You Don't Feel Like it)

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Two weeks ago, I found myself crying in my car outside of Target.

Coincidentally, I had cried in the same parking lot almost a year before, in the same car, but in different clothes. I had come down with an excruciating UTI during a stressful work week and didn't have the money to pay for my prescription. Fortunately, my sweet roommate happened to be close by, and he was able to loan me the money. But this time around, I had no one to call -- because there was nothing that anyone could do for me. This time, the only person that could help me was myself.

To be honest, I hate asking for help. In fact, I don't even like to tell people when something's wrong. I don't want to be a burden or a nuisance. I prefer to feel invincible, in control, independent. That may seem strange because I speak so openly about my life online, but it's always been easier for me to express my emotions through writing. I used to tell everyone everything, but I've learned over the years to keep many things to myself. This invulnerability feels safe. It can also feel very, very lonely. I'm normally more comfortable helping other people than allowing them to help me. It's something I'm working on.

But on that day two weeks ago, I barely had the strength to do anything for myself. The truth is, I was exhausted. I had been so strong during this pregnancy, so positive and resilient. Maybe it was the negative offline comments I'd received from others that were starting to get to me, maybe it was the fact that I didn't have insurance for two months and issues with it are still popping up, maybe it was the stress of single-handedly expanding my business right before maternity leave, maybe it was post-vacation blues after seeing so many loved ones in Michigan, maybe it was the news I'd recently gotten about my health, maybe it was the fact that we don't know where we're going to be living next month -- but whatever the case may be, I was hit with overwhelm. Even a Loudmouth goes silent once in awhile.

I've never been properly diagnosed with ADHD or OCD, but I tend to take on a million projects at once, and I want them all done perfectly. Fortunately, at this point in my life, I've trained myself to remain happy and secure even when I want to feel like a big fat failure. Sometimes, though, it's easy to fall back into the same pattern of not believing I'm doing enough.

And that's when I know it's time to do nothing.

Yes, my friends, you read that right. When you don't feel proud of your life and confident in who you are -- because, duh, you should -- you need to stop what you're doing and focus on you. When you're emotionally, mentally, and spiritually exhausted, the worst thing you can do is keep pushing through. That's a recipe for anxiety, and you can't concentrate when you're stressed or depressed.

I took it easy for the rest of the week. I barely opened my laptop for four days. I had lunch with a friend, got my nails done with another friend, read a book, watched a movie, went out to dinner with Brandon and took a yoga class. I spent a lot of time just sitting and thinking and jotting down notes in my journal. I slept as much as I could, which is hard at this stage of pregnancy, but I made it happen with a heating pad, ibuprofen, and frequent trips to the bathroom. I continued to concentrate on what I have, and ignored the things I don't have yet. Those things will come, but until then, no need to obsess.

Usually, the biggest problems we face don't even exist -- they're figments of our imagination. Nothing bad actually happened that day two weeks ago; it was simply my thoughts that occurred. And when the voices in your head get louder than you, it's time to give yourself more love than ever.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lessons :: How and Why Should I Use Bloglovin'?

A bloggy bud recently asked me about Bloglovin' and though I can't find the email (oops) I wanted to talk about the site a little bit here. If you're not already familiar, Bloglovin' is a site specifically used for blog-reading that can keep all of your favorites in one spot! I used to use GFC sometimes and I'd also just go straight to the blogs when I kept them on my sidebar, but recently I've started using Bloglovin' exclusively. I love the layout and I love that I can click through straight to the blogs. Some readers force you to stay inside the site while reading blog posts, but I enjoy seeing them in their full glory. There's also a Bloglovin' app that I've found super helpful when on the go. Here are a few of my other favorite things about Bloglovin' and why you should get on board!

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My feed + Liked posts
Scrolling down my feed and clicking posts I'm interested in makes blog reading super simple. Most bloggers are already signed up with Bloglovin' and have an icon you can click on their blog, but if not, you can also use the search bar and find your favorite bloggers to follow them that way. Normally, when clicking on a post, the page pops up with a Bloglovin' frame, but I found it annoying and you can disable it under "settings". While perusing your feed, if you really liked a post, you can click on the heart icon and mark it as "liked". You can click "liked posts" to see all of them. It's a great way to keep track and revisit your faves. I also use this feature if the blogger doesn't have a comments section or if I simply don't have much to say. Bloggers love to receive feedback and this is a quick, easy way to give it!

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Blog stats + Social media connectivity
Both of my blogs are linked up with Bloglovin' and it's fun to be able to see their stats in one spot. The analytics aren't too in-depth but I love setting personal goals and watching my follower count grow -- yay for 8 at Baby Loudmouth! On this page, you're also able to connect Bloglovin' to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. That way, your new posts will be announced automatically and you won't have to worry about it if you're on vacation or just not around your computer when it goes up (most bloggers schedule their posts in advance).

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Popular posts + Recommended blogs
Finding new blogs to get hooked on is one of my favorite pastimes, and Bloglovin' makes it easy! You can view popular posts, either overall or by category, and also popular blogs overall or by category. Bloglovin' also offers recommendations (which are sometimes way off, sometimes on point). I love being able to discover new bloggy treasures with a few simple clicks. Fun stuff!

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The only thing I don't like is that sometimes my photos don't show up and there's just a plain gray spot where it should be. I should probably email the admins about this. Otherwise, it's a pretty perfect way to catch up on my blog reading! It's one of the first things I check in the morning. Feel free to follow The Loudmouth Lifestyle here and Baby Loudmouth here. You can also follow my personal profile to see what posts I've liked here. Happy reading!
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