Thursday, February 18, 2016

Pregnant & Out of Clothes

Haalp, I'm pregnant, growing, and my closet is shrinking!

How on earth am I supposed to accumulate a pregnancy wardrobe when I'm one size now, and soon I won't be that size, then soon after I won't be THAT size, and then I'll be bigger, and bigger, and bigger.

I might be a little dramatic, but it's true! All of it!

I didn't really have a system at all when it came to starting a new closet until recently, but having this system has helped a lot, and I want to help you not make the mistakes that I did and wait until the last second to buy anything until it's already overdue.

Ryian gets organized

So here's my system, which takes a little explaining first. I used to have a planner, but it really wasn't working. It was only organized by the day of the week, so it was hard to organize by topic, and if you're in college, it's hard to try and keep that all on the one page AND have it be even a little organized, so I trashed that and now have a new system.

Peter and I have on our fridge two white board calendars, a monthly one, and a weekly one. We have our class schedule on the weekly one, and I'll add my weekly small group meeting, Pete's accordion lesson, and other miscellanea. The monthly white board calendar is to write down when there is a retreat, a fishing trip, dinner with someone, or other random events. Every Sunday I rewrite the weekly calendar, and also plug necessary items into my phone calendar. 

Along with my phone calendar, I have a cute little notebook. It reminds me of what a journalist or a detective would carry. It's a couple inches wide and a few inches tall (I know, super specific, maybe 3x5 inches?). Because of its size, it is easy to switch from backpack to purse. (I also have a little zip bag with chapstick, lotion, hair ties, pads, etc. that I switch from backpack to purse.)

This notebook is so important. 

This notebook has a page for each of my classes to write down homework, projects, and whatnot. It has a page for groceries, a page for things we need at Target (such as shampoo or tin foil), and other to-do lists. When I finish a list I can just rip it out and call it done! 

NOW, back to the shrinking closet issue. One list that I have is for this purpose. As I see that a type of clothing will all soon be too small, such as jeans, I write it down. Then, once a month, with my list, we run to Target and find such items.

When to buy what (based on personal experience)

Here is a short version of what I did.

Tri 1 - All I wanted was looser clothing since my body wasn't exactly growing a lot yet (but definitely changing), and I was really hypersensitive to anything tight. I sized up on underwear. I wish got a belly band so that I could wear my pants longer and unbuttoned. I had to start making a pile of shirts and pants that were done for now (and possibly forever).

Tri 2 - I wanted maternity pants, and it was a good idea to get a start on maternity shirts as I ran out of my other shirts. I sized up on underwear (again).

Tri 3 - Maternity tops are getting to be a must. Luckily a lot of my shirts were baggy to begin with, so this isn't an emergency quite yet. At this point I have a new skirt and a dress, soon another pair of pants, and as always, underwear.

Ryian rants

I didn't think needing more underwear constantly would be as big of a problem as it actually is. Maybe it's just me. I have zero stretch marks on my tummy, but my thighs are definitely seeing those battle scars. 

In the second tri I got two pairs of jeans, (one boot cut and one skinny) and three nicer shirts.

I got a pair of leggings, a maxi skirt, and a maxi dress towards the end of the second tri to wear to Mass or whatever other nice events I have to go to. I pretty much wear the same outfit every Sunday, except maybe a different top.

I still have a lot shirts because I wore baggier clothing when I wasn't prego to begin with, but I just got some more v-necks, because the collars of my shirts have been bugging me. I think this is related to my underwear feeling too tight.

Soon I will need to go back and get a pair of shorts to go on walks at the gym and some sweatpants. (I KNOW, I HAVE GROWN OUT OF MY SWEATPANTS. WHAT IS THIS.)

A part of me wishes that when I bought clothes for myself the last couple years, that I picked on size larger. (I mean, if it's still flattering.) I usually bought a size medium or large before, but I felt better about myself buying the smaller. I had a couple pairs of jeans that I LOVED, but almost immediately couldn't wear anymore because they were skinnier, and tighter fitting. But hey, boyfriend jeans are in style now!

Something great that I took advantage of is the beauty of flannels and cardigans. My belly can be as big as the sun and I can still wear them (as long as my arms haven't grown too much, I've had to set aside two flannels already). With flannels and cardigans, v-necks and sometimes even t-shirts are perfect to wear.

A note on bras: this is a change that is really hard to predict. My band size grew and my cup size grew even more. They key here is measure measure measure. If you like things loose like I do, buy those beautiful bra strap extenders. I also really like those padded casual-sports-bra-things. I think they have an actual name but I'm not sure what else to call them.

Measuring. This is so important. You can't just guess that you need a size this or that. I think clothes have measurements on the tag (for sure underwear and bras), but you can always bring your tape measure. Measure your hips, rib cage, hips, cup size, and hips, and add an inch or two to the hip measurement.

Note: it is okay to live simply and wear the same pair of jeans three or four times a week. Especially when you can't afford a brand new wardrobe right now. It's scary to see all these clothes that you used to wear all the time and then suddenly they don't fit and you are running out of options on things to wear. (This is my vain self still a little upset about that.) 

For a while I avoided leaving the apartment because only sweatpants fit. Get thee to a thrift store!

Update on life

This baby is growing right on schedule. He/she likes to snuggle into my right side right under my rib. It's mostly really cute, but sometimes quite a bit uncomfortable. We're definitely entering the uncomfortable third trimester stage right now. It's encouraged to sleep on your sides as you get bigger because there is an important vein in your back that the weight of the baby will press on. So I roll over a lot now and will wake up because the hip I'm sleeping on is hurting A LOT, but once I find a comfy spot again I fall straight to sleep. 

My belly button is starting to pop out a lot more, but it's not fully there yet. There is also a dark line that goes down my tummy, so that's cool. 

As school has progressed, I've actually been throwing up and feeling icky in the mornings again. I'm miserable for about an hour or two, but then I'm decent the rest of the day. I still can't stand for long at all, which has been very humbling. If I do stand too long, it feels like someone hit my head with a hammer. I experienced that today at the doc's while standing at the reception desk to schedule my next appointment. I'm really glad I have managed to avoid fainting and being able to sit down before I get to that point. 

I am SO glad that th weather is starting to thaw outside! The ice has been so scary for me. If I fall, not only would it hurt me, but the two of us! I have not fallen once this winter, and boy am I grateful. I hope the sun keeps on shining and the snow keeps on melting. 

That's all for now. Yesterday started week 29, only 11 more to go!

By the way, I've added some links up top recently, so click around. You can check out what other social media I am on. I just got an instagram!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Keeping Lent Simple

***Short on time? Scroll to the bottom***

Happy Fat Tuesday! Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent.

I have a question. How would you respond if someone asked you "What is Lent?"

It is a season of penance marked by prayer, fasting and abstinence, and almsgiving.

Lent comes from "Lencten," which means "spring!" It is referring to the lengthening of days before spring approaches.

Lent is a journey that leads us to the cross. We grow closer to Jesus by making sacrifices like He did, and we can come to know him by sharing in that.

The act of applying ashes to our forehead symbolizes our mortality. Fun fact: more people show up to Church on Ash Wednesday than any other day of the year, even though it's not an obligation. So you might as well get your ash to Mass!

What do we do during Lent?

There are three spiritual disciplines during Lent to help us detach from the world and focus on God.

1. Prayer
2. Fasting and Abstinence
3. Almsgiving

1. Prayer

Reading more Scripture
You can text a different person each day asking if they need prayers for anything specific.
Stop by the chapel each day on your way home for five minutes. 
Do an examination of conscience each night. 
Go on a retreat. 
Join a Bible study.
While brushing your teeth you can say a Hail Mary. I usually get about five in. So by brushing my teeth in the morning and at night, that's a decade of the Rosary! 

2. Fasting and Abstinence

Fasting means less food. Abstinence means no meat. 
On Ash Wednesday and Fridays we abstain from meat. 
On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday we fast (one big meal, and two small meals, no snacks, liquids are allowed at any time).

Abstinence from meat means meat from animals that live on land, such as cows, chickens, or pigs. Birds are also considered meat. Abstinence does not include meat juices or liquid foods made from meat. So foods such as broth, gravy, and condiments are technically not forbidden. So yes you can have ramen that day. However, moral theologians have traditionally taught to abstain from all animal-derived products (except foods such as butter, cheese, milk, and eggs, which do not have any meat taste.) Fish are a different category or animal. Fish, amphibians, reptiles, and shellfish are permitted. I personally like cheese pizza, grilled cheese and tomato soup, or mac and cheese. I love cheese.

Catholics 14+ are obliged to practice abstinence form meat. Catholics 18-58 are obliged to fast. Those outside the age limits and those in such a state of life (pregnant and nursing women, manual laborers, those who are physically or mentally ill, even those traveling) may be excused, but are encouraged to take up some other form of penitence or acts of charity or piety. Personally, being pregnant with hyperemesis and anemic issues, I will abstain from meat, but I will not be fasting. No one should jeopardize their health during Lent.

On top of this, other forms of fasting can include sweets, alcohol, Facebook, television, and the like.
You can pick 6 shirts and wear them all throughout Lent. Talk about living simply.
Give up makeup. (You save money doing this!!)
Give away something in your closet every week.
Check your phone only 3 times a day.
You could give up the saltshaker. 
Instead of giving up coffee, give up cream and sugar!
Give up music, or only listen to Classical or Christian music, or just cut out explicit songs from your playlists. 

3. Almsgiving

You make a swear jar or a burp jar and donate the funds to a charity. 
Some donate their time volunteering at a homeless shelter or visiting a nursing home.
Every time you buy a coffee, you can pretend you are buying someone else a coffee and throw $2-$5 down for charity or the next person in line.
Leave a post it note with a kind thought in every bathroom you visit.
Write letters to family members and friends. 
Call you mom once a week.
Call your grandma once a week.
Call me once a week.
Shovel someone's sidewalk or driveway.
Surprise your roommate by doing their dishes.
Volunteer to read at Mass. 

Other thoughts

Christ spent 40 days in the desert praying and fasting to prepare for his ministry. We are imitating Jesus, with 40 days (not including Sundays) of prayer and fasting to prepare for the celebration of the Passion, Crucifixion, and most importantly, the Resurrection.

Fun fact about Fridays. All year long Fridays are penitential days that are to be marked by some sort of sacrifice or penance. Abstinence from meat is a traditional sacrifice, though Catholics in America can substitute a different penitential, or even charitable practice. Though during Lent, abstinence from meat is obligatory. I didn't know for the longest time that we were supposed to be doing something all year round on Fridays.

Also, it is okay to modify your Lenten practices if it isn't working out.


Right now you might be thinking, "I am already drowning and I do not have time for this." Sometimes the best way to grow closer to God is the simple way. I am a firm believer that sometimes smaller things (praying for five minutes) can bring one closer to God faster than by the big things (going to daily Mass). It is unwise to take bites you cannot chew. You will either choke or throw up or both. God understands where you are at more than anyone else. When thinking about what to do for Lent, think about what clears away the insanity of the world, not creates it.

So what are you doing for Lent? I'd love to hear about it!

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Back to School & Marriage

Wow, the first week of school went so well.

I was able to go to all of my classes without throwing up, I only had occasional potty breaks, and I have been keeping up with homework! This semester I am taking Old Testament, Shakespeare, and Cath 401, which is basically a theology on politics. I love Scripture and have been getting to know the Word of God much better this past year. Shakespeare is with one of the funniest and smartest professors I have ever had. Cath is very thought stimulating and I think it great preparation for this upcoming election. I am really lucky to have two of these classes with Peter. We can walk over together, sit by each other, and study together. We have really been enjoying having the other in class. I think we love seeing what the other is like in class. We haven't had a class together since Cath 101 freshman year, when we'd pass notes and he'd make me giggle, so this is a treat. I'm glad he will be there for when I am bigger and more awkward and he can help me. Also, as the month of May gets closer, if my water breaks in class, I will also have one less phone call to make...

I've been getting to the gym more to walk around the track or on the treadmill. I've been noticing that I can walk a lot farther and longer. It also doesn't hurt to walk to class anymore. After I walk for too long, my hip joints and feet get really sore and it makes it hard to walk easily, but it's getting better.

Last week we had a checkup at the doctor's and took a couple blood tests. It turns out my glucose is fine, but I'm very low on iron. This explains why I have been so faint and have had such a hard time standing for long periods (and short periods) of time. So I now take these pills called Blood Builder. (I feel like I have to say it in a Batman voice.) These pills have iron and other vitamins in them. They look like big pills made of coal, but they taste like nothing compared to those nasty prenatal vitamins that have fish oil in them. It's only been a couple days and I've already been doing a lot better. I was able to stand around and chat with people in the student center. I was able to stand and sing praise and worship at Tommie Catholic, and I didn't feel like I was going to tip over.

By the way, Baby apparently loves praise and worship. Hearing me and the hundreds of people singing made the baby dance and squirm and it was so cool to experience. Going to Tommie Catholic was great. I was not able to go last semester because I was so sick, but I plan on going every week this semester. There were so many people that greeted me with open arms and were so excited to see me and I felt truly loved by this community. I believe we can do great things in numbers. 

It's been so interesting seeing what I used to take for granted. It's kind of like when you have a stuffy nose for a week and you just wonder what it was like to not have this problem. What was it like to eat whatever you wanted without getting sick? What was it like being able to walk miles and miles with no problems? What was it like to be able to stand and kneel at Mass? I've realized how vulnerable we really are, and that we are literally floating on God's grace. Otherwise we'd be dropping like flies.

Right now, I am very tired and have napped a lot this weekend. This was a big week for me, getting back on my feet and being "normal" again. I'm not worried about this new week, but I'm definitely feeling worn out. I might have to start napping during the day. A friend of mine was a pregnant student and had it in her schedule to nap after class, and I might do just that too.

Oh! Yesterday, Peter and I were invited to attend the Archdiocese Newly Married Retreat. It. Was. Awesome. This retreat was for couples who have been married for 7 years or less. We have now been married for 6 months. There were so many babies and pregnant women. I felt truly comfortable in my pregnant body for the first time. We heard talks on parenting, the primacy of marriage in our culture, and communication and conflict resolution. We were able to break off a few times to discuss as a couple, and I think we found the most fruit in that. There was an opportunity for confession. The food was delicious. I ran into someone I went to school with and we shared a table with my high school math teacher and her husband! She is also pregnant and due in May!

These are some random notes that I thought were important to write down.
"Marriage is like a plant, it will always need to be tended to."
"We need to spend more time at the dinner table."
"Children change us immensely."
"God is simple. People are complex."
"Earth isn't home, it's the pilgrimage."
"It's hard to be on the same page because everyone is different."
"Agree on broad strokes, and don't fuss about the little things."

The very last thing we did on this retreat was renew our vows. I have to admit, I did not cry at my wedding. I think I was nervous and very aware that there were many people watching me. But today, while renewing our wedding vows, I cried so hard I could barely whisper the words. Peter was really touched, and it was a beautiful moment for the both of us.

Speaking of marriage, today is our six month anniversary, and our school wrote an article on the two of us. It is called "Seniors tie the knot before tossing the cap."

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