Thursday, July 21, 2016

20 Weeks.

Hello hello hello from the VERY HOT Kansas City!  This summer, y'all.  Phew.  This momma is melting.  I am feeling for all you ladies out there who are in your third trimester, waddling around in this heatwave!  Kudos to YOU!

Last time I blogged, we were heading out on vacation and what a BLAST it was!  I need to do a full recap, but I'll save that for another day when I have more time. 

I'm popping in for a quickie today, no pun intended. ;)

I am officially 21 weeks, but I took the photo last week at my official halfway mark.  I intended to type up a post that evening, but you know how that goes...

So let's just dive right in, shall we?



How Far Along: 21 weeks 3 days!

Due Date:  November 30th!

Weight Gain: 5-6 lbs but have slowed in the belly growth, which is a bit of a relief!  Don't get me wrong, I love showing off my growing frame, but I was large and in charge pretty early this time. Thankfully I haven't grown much since then as you can tell by the side by side comparison below.

Maternity Clothes: Oh girl, yes. 

Stretch marks: Please.  I was covered in them before I got pregnant.

Symptoms: THIS MOMMA IS TIRED!  This was one of my main symptoms with Lara, so I can't say I'm surprised at this one.  Naps happen on the regular these days.

Cravings: Sonic Cheddar Bites & Ranch!!

Gender: GIRL!!!!!!  I have to say, I was SHOCKED when we found out we would be bringing home another little girl...SHOCKED.  I was absolutely, 100% convinced it was a boy.  This pregnancy has been such a different experience,  I've had lots of anxiety this time around and overall, much harder on me physically.  So it had to be a boy, right?  WRONG.  My shock wasn't sadness, it was just that...total surprise.  I had to switch perspective of what life was going to be like.  Once I began to wrap my mind around watching our two little girls holding hands, running around the front yard together, it all became so much more real.  We could NOT be more excited!

Mood:  Anxiously excited to meet her!

Nursery: Farmhouse Chic--Can't WAIT to see it all come together, because right now, it's just a vision and a Pinterest board.  

Movement: Lots of jabs these days!  She is very active in the evenings...hopefully that's not indicative of her schedule once she arrives!  My placenta is on the exterior, which typically means you don't feel quite as much, but this girl is STRONG!

Sleep: Pee, sleep, pee, sleep, pee, sleep & dream!  Last night I dreamed I had twin girls and they were big 'ol babies!  One was 9 lbs 8 oz.  Lara was a tiny little nugget, at 6 lbs and 16 inches long....let's hope this little girl keeps with the trend!

Workouts: A few miles on the treadmill a few times a week and 21 day fix cardio here and there.  It's good to get moving again!

Names: Undecided and I suspect it'll stay that way until we meet her!


12/16/20 weeks

Hope everyone's having a great week!

xoxo,
Anne

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Vacation & A BumpDate!

It's super early, in fact the sun is just rising as I type this, but I'm too excited to sleep!  We're taking Lara on her first real vacation today!!  Growing up, my parents always prioritized family vaca's, so every single summer we'd all load up in our custom van and head somewhere fun.  

I'm so excited to be able to continue that tradition with our little one.  

We rented a lodge with Jon's parents, in the beautiful StoneBridge Resort near TableRock Lake & Silver Dollar City!  If you haven't heard of StoneBridge, click the link above.  They have tons of playgrounds, lots of swimming pools, a catch & release lake in the resort along with a championship golf course, all right outside of Branson!  If you're in the stages of planning a trip close to Kansas City, keep them in mind.  I'll provide a full review in the next couple weeks.  


We'll be there for the next 5 days and I plan to swim, boat, and amusement park the hell out of the time we have there. 

We've been on many vacations over the course of our marriage, and traveled to some pretty exotic locales, but I have to say, I'm looking forward to this one the most!  
And to think, next summer we'll be traveling with two little kiddos.... 

Which leads me into my 4 month (albeit a little late) 
BumpDate!!


How Far Along: 17 weeks, 2 days!  The photo was taken at 16.5 weeks.

Due Date:  November 30th!

Weight Gain: 4 lbs

Maternity Clothes: I cleaned HOUSE at Destination Maternity this week as Momma needed some shorts!  Listen, it's 125 degrees in KC right now and I have been dying. 

I've purchased maternity pants from many different stores, but nothing fits quite like their secret fit belly does! 
The sales are amazing right now, so hit them up preggo friends!

Stretch marks: Please.  I was covered in them before I got pregnant.

Symptoms: Lack of appetite these days, which is bizarre because I ate a cow about everyday of the first trimester

Cravings: SOUR SKITTLES!!

Gender: WE KNOW!  WE KNOW!  We found out at 12 weeks.  
Our Gender Reveal is just around the corner on the 4th of July!

Mood:  EXCITED!

Nursery: It changes weekly

Movement: Jabs here and there, and a few times it's felt like the baby was flipping totally over which was super cool!  Definitely one of my favorite parts of growing a tiny human, for sure.

Sleep: Wacko dreams.  Last night I was being chased by a 50lb tarantula.  Not sure what that's supposed to mean...

Workouts: Please.  I have a toddler.  

Names: We have about 3-5 that we bounce around between, but none of them feel like they're the one.  I have a feeling we'll be choosing once we meet....the baby.  Wow, almost spilled the beans there. ;)

12 weeks to 16 weeks



And, that's a wrap for today's post.

Have a great weekend everyone!  

Friday, June 17, 2016

Warrior Mom.

war·ri·or
ˈwôrēər/
noun

  1. 1. a brave or experienced soldier or fighter




I never really considered myself a warrior.  Funny?  Maybe.  Strong?  Eh, at times.  Wino.  Definitely yes. But Warrior.  Never.

Until I lived thru Postpartum Anxiety & Depression.  



Today, I sure as hell will wear that "Warrior" badge and will for the rest of my life.  Anything I can do to support the cause of raising awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, I will.  

Because no mother should suffer alone, in silence.  No mother should live in fear. 

I'm going to share an excerpt from one of my favorite websites, PostpartumProgress.com:  

A new study finds that death by suicide and homicide are more common than “traditional” causes of maternal mortality in the U.S., such as infection or hemorrhage.  So why is it that those traditional causes of maternal death are so much more likely to be discussed and reported?

By analyzing records from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), researchers at Georgia Health Sciences University found a total of 94 pregnancy-associated suicides — meaning women who killed themselves either during pregnancy or in the first year after birth — between 2003 and 2007.  This would work out to a rate of 2 suicides per every 100,000 births.  We don’t know whether any of these women were diagnosed with antenatal or postpartum depression, but we can guess it’s likely they were not, given the overall lack of awareness and screening for these illnesses.
The researchers also say there may be more maternal suicides of which we are unaware, because, as Science Daily reports, those numbers could be underreported, “… because the pregnancy or postpartum status was marked ‘unknown’ in the majority of female deaths in the CDC database.”

Ladies, mothers, girlfriends, OBGYN's, primary care physicians, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, pastors.  We have to get talking!  




The more we talk, the higher awareness of these disorders. The more we open up with eachother, the more comfortable society will be in talking about postpartum disorders.  As a mom, I've heard a million times, "it takes a village to raise a child."  And it does.  But Moms, use your village for you, too.  New moms, old moms, moms of toddlers, moms of teenagers, we all need eachother.  The more women open up about PPD/PPA, the less stigma there will be around the disorder, therefore moms everywhere will live in a community where it's acceptable to share the fears.  Share the intrusive thoughts.  And most of all, share the beautiful moments at the end of what feels like an endless dark tunnel!  Because there is a light.  

I've been quiet about my PPA experience here on this blog, but not quiet with those I love so dearly.  My support system that walks beside me everyday, including GOD.  I do intend to open up more about my journey with you all, but until then, please know I'm just an email away if any of you, my dear followers, want to talk.  (annedxenos@gmail.com)



Tomorrow is my very first #ClimbOut experience, Climb out of the Darkness, a day I've been looking forward to for quite sometime. I've struggled coming up with the right words to define why I'm climbing tomorrow, however, I came across  Jasmine's post and I have to say, she hit the nail on the head.  

Here is why I'm climbing:

June 18th, when thousands of women, their children, and their loved ones take to their Climbs and walks, they do so knowing that we live in a world that still doesn’t recognize the full humanity of their experiences. They do so, bravely, know that they can still be marginalized and judged. They Climb despite the realization that maternal mental health care is woefully underfunded and under supported. They Climb knowing that they must risk climbing out of the darkness in order for those around them to see real people with real suffering. They climb knowing that though they’ve seen some measure of light, there are still women dying by suicide because of the fear and stigma surrounding perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
So why raise money to fight stigma? Because the power of a story told, a woman seen, is the first step to transformation and change. We believe our Warrior Moms’ stories are worth every dollar.

Should you feel the need to donate to this cause, visit our Kansas City Climb Out team page at: https://www.crowdrise.com/tasharye-cotd2016

Where Does The Money Go?

* Free educational materials distributed upon request to obstetrician, therapy, psychiatry, support groups and pediatrician offices
* Programs like our award-winning blog, which had more than 1.6 million pageviews in 2014, and our private support forum for struggling moms, which supports more than 2,100 mothers around the world
* Annual Warrior Mom™ Conference which prepares survivors of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders to become local peer advocates for struggling moms in their own communities and to raise awareness
* Advocacy for better support, less stigma and increased services for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders

Xoxo,
Anne

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

12 Weeks.

My last post was February 27th.  
To say a lot has happened since then may be the biggest understatement of all time. 


We're adding a new addition to our front porch sittin' crew!

I think I needed the past three months to process the fact that we are actually doing this whole baby makin' thing....again!  In the spirit of being totally candid, I think I underestimated the emotional roller coaster I was jumping on when we decided to grow our family.

You know that rush of sitting in the roller coaster cart, slowly.....slowly.....slowly inching up the massive hill, looking straight up into the sky because your strapped into a metal cart inching upward, completely perpendicular to the ground?

Yeah, that's how I've felt these past few months.

Now just to be clear, we knew exactly what we were doing in those days leading up to visiting the theme park.  We knew what we were committing to when we stepped into the metal cart next to one another, strapped ourselves in and took off for the ride of our lives.  

As we inch ever so slowly up that hill....week after week after week, we know we're in for the ride of our lives.  

Just don't look down.  

I will admit, I have spent a fair share of this first trimester peeking over the side of the roller coaster cart, looking down into the scary unknown. Wondering what the hell I've gotten myself into.

However, now that the nausea has slowly subsided, the hormones have evened out and the fatigue has slowly released it's grip.  Finally, finally the excitement can now inch it's way in. 

And damn, it feels good.

Baby Xenos #2 will be here the end of November!


Now, onto my first BumpDate!


How Far Along? 12 weeks, 6 days!

Weight Gain: Does anyone really want to know this?

Maternity Clothes: I jumped on the strictly maternity pants ship around 8 weeks.  This baby isn't messing around!

Stretch marks: Please.  I was covered in them before I got pregnant.

Symptoms: THIS GIRL IS EXHAUSTED

Cravings: Mexican, mexican and mexican. But that's nothing new :)

Gender: WE KNOW!  WE KNOW! 
But keeping it a secret until our Gender Reveal on the 4th of July!

Mood: Sentimental

Nursery: I have a Pinterest board starting to fill up, but keeping it locked for now
Movement: None, but CAN'T WAIT!!

Sleep: Like a baby!

Workouts: Please.  I have a toddler.  

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not these days, thank the VERY GOOD LORD!


Until next time, my friends!  

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

All Aboard: How to Cruise Smart

Being that we just debarked our third cruise in 4 years, that totally makes us crushing experts. #notreally

Carnival Sunshine, Bahamas

But we definitely feel more knowledgeable than we did 4 years ago. We initially chose a cruise because we were broke. We had put aside every penny we had for our upcoming wedding. There wasn't much left after the DJ, flowers and venue were booked however taking a honeymoon was not something we were willing to sacrifice on.  So I did some internet surfing (does anyone still say that?) and found that the only way we we'd be drinking cocktails on the beach in Mexico was if we cruised there, so off we went, rookie cruisers all decked out in our aviator sunglasses & target fedoras.




We've found that people either love cruising or don't. There has definitely been some negativity in the media lately which has increased overall speculation about cruising.  Which hey, if you're absolutely terrified of hurricanes, then yes, cruising is probably not for you.  However, a hurricane can rip the roof off your beautiful Sandals resort just as quickly as the waves it would cause while at sea.  Where you'd feel more safe....well, that's for you to answer.   


So whip yourself up a Pina Colada, open your mind to the idea of cruising across the beautiful ocean and read what I've shared below!



 Things to Know Before You Book:

1.) First and foremost, are you within driving distance to a port? We have only cruised Carnival, however there are many cruise terminals scattered all over the US coast lines. For us, Galveston, Texas was the most drivable. Choosing this port also eliminated the expense and hassle of flying, which I would highly recommend if possible. Galveston's about 12 hours from Kansas City. We split the drive up over two days, so it wasn't bad at all!

Leaving Port on the Carnival Sunshine (Florida)

2.) Once you narrow down which port works best for you, you then choose the following:
  • Sail Date
  • Cruise Line
  • Destination
I would highly advise a cruise during the months of May-October. We just got back from a Jan/Feb cruise and it was not as warm as we would've preferred. The Bahamas were an average temp of 70-75 with high winds. When we've cruised in May & October/early November, the weather was FANTASTIC. Warm enough that you look forward to a dip in he ocean to cool off. Be sure and investigate weather temperatures for your destination prior to booking!!

Carnival Magic, 2012

3.) We have always cruised with Carnival. They have always been the most affordable and we've had a great experience each time.  Like the old saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Once we choose the port and month of travel, we then check out all the destinations that Carnival sails to from that port along with the different ship options.  If I were you, I wouldn't bother with the 3 day cruise options.  Pay the extra $100 and select at least a 5 day cruise.  It's the perfect amount of time!  We have tried a 7 day cruise, and honestly, we felt it was a bit too long.  We were vacationed out after 5. 

Drinking CayBrew in the Cayman Islands

4.) Our first two cruises we chose solely based on destinations. Our most recent cruise, we did a ton of research on the ACTUAL SHIPS. There are older ships that are great and there are newer ships with all the bells and whistles such as additional restaurant options, different bars inside the boat and some even have massive water parks on the top of the ship. Carnival calls these ships "Fun Ships." If your taking the kiddos, be sure and select a Fun Ship.  You can drop your kiddos off at Camp Carnival &  mommy & daddy can enjoy plenty of kid free cocktail time. We have not taken our daughter on a cruise yet based on a few reasons, but once she gets older we plan to bring her along.

Dinner at Cucina Del Capitano, AMAZING Italian Restaurant Featured on the Carnival Fun Ships


5.) Once you select your sail date, port, your ship and destination, you're ready to pick your room.  This is one of the most important parts of booking people, so  pay attention. You do NOT want to be in the front of the ship or the back of the ship. Pay a few extra dollars per day and select a room on a higher floor (floor 7 or above) and select a room MIDSHIP. This is for a few reasons, one being that you will not feel the motion at all.  Also, you want to be located close to all the action! These boats are WAY BIGGER than you can ever fathom, so if you don't choose a good location for your stateroom, you'll spend more time trekking back and forth from your room instead of sipping cocktails on the deck.


There are different room sizes. We have always gotten an interior state room, the most affordable option. Listen, you do not need a damn balcony. You have an entire cruise deck right outside your room with the most gorgeous views you could ever imagine.  Don't spend the extra money to get some fancy room. Save that money and put it toward an amazing shore excursion such as a dolphin swim or an all inclusive private beach party. Those memories are worth every cent. A private balcony is not.

We really love towel animals

Now that you've chosen your sail date, port, your ship, the destination and your stateroom, you're almost ready to book!


6.) One thing to remember to select during your booking process is ANYTIME DINING. Who the hell wants to be told when to eat? Not us. Its a common misconception by people that have never cruised, that you have set meal times. That is not true. We have chosen ANYTIME DINING and we eat dinner whenever the hell we want. Trust me, after a long day of vodka on the beach in Mexico, you'll be hungry for an early dinner an early bedtime. Who wouldn't?!

7.) Also, choose to pre pay your gratuities. This ensures that you take care of all the amazing staff that you'll come to know by name! It's added on automatically once you board your ship, that way you don't forget. We paid $120 in gratuity for our cabin staff and housekeeping team. This was for a 5 day cruise.


Your gratuity for drinks is automatically added on to each bar tab every drink you order, which is also nice. You don't have to stand there at the bar calculating each and every tip. Trust me, after a few rum punches, math is no longer an easy process. I believe the automatic gratuity is 15% for beverages.

8.) Trip insurance. We always choose to purchase the cruise insurance. That's totally your call, just our personal preference.


9.) Now that you've chosen your sail date, port, your ship, your stateroom, your dining experience and taken care of gratuities, your ready to book!  You can choose to put half down and pay the other half a month before your cruise or pay for all of it up front. Your choice.

The shows they feature on the ship are just as amazing as BROADWAY!


After I book a cruise, I utilize the ShipMate app so I can check the status of our cruise every month or so leading up to embarkation (boarding the ship). It has some fun little tools like a cruise countdown as well as a GPS locator for your ship at any time. You can even watch your ship coming into port to pick you up!



10.) Lastly, with regard to shore excursions, we never book in advance. Listen, no one does. We wait until we board the ship and we spend the first afternoon aboard the boat with a cocktail in hand perusing the shore excursion newsletter together. We choose our different excursions that first afternoon and go to the shore excursion desk to get our spots reserved. Spots fill up quickly for some of the popular options, so you'd want to be sure and book that first afternoon if you can. If you choose to wait, the cruise director will do a presentation during your first full day at sea outlining the details of the different excursions however you may not get a spot on the ones you really want.
Horseback Riding in the Bahamas, this excursion actually took you in the ocean on your horse.  So much fun!

Horseback Riding in Mexico
Jeep Tour on Grand Bahama Island

Again, I would recommend booking your excursions the day your board the boat. We do an excursion at every port. I would consider these our splurge for the trip, but a splurge well worth it. These experiences are once in a lifetime and led by companies that Carnival has partnered with, therefore we always feel safe. We have never ONCE been disappointed in an excursion. We've done horse back riding, we've done all inclusive beach parties (gorgeous private beaches with all you can eat and drink!) as well as the dolphin swim, our favorite excursion this far. Shore excursions range in price from $25 a person to $180ish a person. You can find them to fit any budget, but if you're going to splurge anywhere, SPLURGE ON SHORE EXCURSIONS!!

Swimming with Dolphins in the Bahamas.  BEST MONEY WE HAVE EVER SPENT!!
Make sure it's a Dolphin SWIM, not just a Dolphin Encounter.

Safari in Jamaica
 



 Things to Know Before You Cruise:

1.) Check with your doctor about motion sickness medicine called scopolamine. It's a prescription strength patch you put behind your ear prior to sailing. It's totally non drowsy and hassle free. You keep it behind your ear for the first few days and then remove. I would highly recommend going this route for first time cruisers.

Beach Day Shore Excursion in Nassau

For our most recent cruise, we chose to try the "less drowsy" Dramamine pills instead. If you've never taken Dramamine, TEST IT OUT BEFORE YOU LEAVE. We had booked a shore excursion to go deep sea fishing that ended up getting cancelled at the last minute and I had already taken 2 Dramamine pills. I was so sleepy I could barely enjoy the excursion we had that day. Had I taken it beforehand, I would've known that I had a sensitivity to it and therefore skipped it entirely.
Trust me, stick with scopolamine if your doctor approves.

2.) Swimsuits. You will LIVE in them, so if you want to invest your money somewhere prior to heading out on vaca, snag some cute suits and even cuter coverups because you'll spend 80% of the time in a suit. Virtually everyone on the boat does so you don't feel out of place.


3.) Tennis shoes and long pants. DO NOT FORGET THESE. There are a few shore excursions that mandate tennis shoes and long pants. Be sure and have those just in case!

4.) If you want to get extra dolled up one night, do not forget an elegant dress for you and slacks for your husband. I absolutely LOVE getting all fancied up from time to time and Elegant Night the perfect excuse! Sequins and stilettos, yes please!


Also, if you choose a Fun Ship, some of the upscale restaurants on ship requires that the men wear dress slacks, so don't forget a pair! One cruise we forgot and ended up scouring the streets of Jamaica to find Jon some slacks. Do they even wear slacks in Jamaica? The answer is no. We ended up with bright yellow khakis which I think are fun, Jon, not so much. He hasn't worn them since.

5.) Sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen. We go thru about 3 bottles of sunscreen each cruise. Listen, that Caribbean sun is NO JOKE. And if you think you're going to get all cute and tan one day by skipping the sunscreen, you're wrong. You'll look like a damn lobster. And lobsters ain't cute. I speak from experience.


And because I know you'll ignore my advice and "ease" into the sunscreen, just do yourself a favor and pack Aloe Vera.

6.) HATS. You can never have too many hats. They're great to throw on for an afternoon at the beach or to wear when you're flying across the ocean on a catamaran. I take a ball cap and several floppy sun hats. The ball cap I wear in the morning before we head out to the deck to enjoy our coffee. Listen, momma ain't doing her hair everyday. The sun hats I wear every single day, rotating out to match my suit of course. OCD color coordinators put your hands up! #handintheair


7.) Aviators. Because you're a badass.


8.) Flip flops, because hello captain obvious.

9.) And last but not least, FLOWY DRESSES. Unless you're a freak show that can suck down 10+ cocktails and eat shit all day and not bloat, you'll thank me later for this one. Do not, I repeat, do not pack anything that even remotely resembles a form fitting dress because it will never leave your closet. Ladies, do yourself a favor and think fun, flirty, FLOWY when packing evening attire.

10.) And last but certainly not least, throw in one of those massive bottles of Tums while your at it. Trust me, you'll need 'em.  The food is AMAZING and you'll want to taste everything. 


At the end of your cruise, you'll select your debarkation option (exiting the ship).  If you choose a port that you have to fly to, don't be scared to book a flight home the same day your ship arrives back in port. You will debark your ship as early as 8:00 am, if you choose the self assist debarkation in which you walk off the boat WITH your luggage. If you chose relaxed debarkation, you set you luggage in the hall the night before your get back to port. The next morning you'll have to wait on the people who chose self assist debarkation to exit the ship. If you choose relaxed debarkation, you exit the ship later as well as the added hassle of having to track down your luggage. No thank you!

Again, if you choose to fly home the same day your ship gets into port, choose self assist debarkation. You'll have more than enough time to get a cab, rental car, or shuttle to the airport and get home that SAME DAY. I would recommend doing so because if you're anything like us, you are have had more fun than you could ever imagine over the past 5 days and you are vacationed OUT. You will not want to hang around another full day prior to flying back home. If you drive to your port, you literally walk off your ship, load your luggage in the car and drive off! It's a beautiful, hassle free experience which we LOVE. Like I said, if you can drive to a port, do it. Save you lots of time and $$.

Sunrise from the ship