I Have an Idea

So I have an idea, but it would need your input to be anything worth while.

Growing up, I loved reading Dear Abby in the newspaper. Which is interesting, because among my friend group, or just people in general, I tend to play the Dear Abby role. Maybe it’s my background in counseling. Maybe it’s my no bullshit approach to things. I don’t know. But people come to me with their problems or situations asking for advice.

I sometimes wonder if I have TELL ME YOUR LIFE STORY tattooed on my forehead.

tell me

Just this week, as I was checking out at the grocery store, the bagger said “Paper or plastic?”

A simple question, to which I replied, “Whatever’s easiest for you, man!”

And then, out of nowhere, he started telling me about how he almost died as a child, but was saved by a great team of doctors. He knows though, that God was the main saving grace in that scenario, and he just can’t stand it when people only attribute his survival to modern medicine. How’s he supposed to deal with people like that?!

And I’m like, Should I have just said ‘plastic’? 

Instead, I quoted Sweet Brown and said “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” To which he gave me a high five and said “Amen, sister!”

Things like that happen more often than I can even tell you. It’s probably because I’m always so serious and composed…

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The bridesmaids watching Bobby & Whitney’s “first look.” Photo by Leslie Maron Photography

So here’s my idea.

Rather than doing a Q&A about me, I’d love to do a Q&A about you. A Dear Abby with a twist. An irreverent, no bullshit, humorous twist that only a Dear Colleen series would provide.

It could be serious questions, relationship questions, random questions, questions you’re too afraid to ask your friends face-to-face. It’d be anonymous. And it’d be fun.

I’m just putting it out there. It’s up to you if you want to play along. I’m thinking I’ll give it 2 weeks to see if it’ll be anything. If I get some emails, I’ll do the series. If not, I won’t. Simple as that.

What do you think? Send your Dear Colleen email to lunchboxdiaries[at]gmail[dot]com to play along!

Behind the ‘Gram

I love Instagram. It’s probably my favorite social media app. Facebook can be too whiny or braggy and Twitter can be kind of boring, but Instagram is fun. It’s probably the voyeur in me, but I just love looking at other people’s personal snap shots.

My biggest IG pet peeve (and I’ve done it myself) is the no-caption picture. Or the emoji caption. Only because I’m so nosy and want to know the story. That’s why I love “behind the ‘gram” type posts. So, if you’re nosy and voyeuristic like me, enjoy…

As a recovering orthorexic and body hater, you’d think I’d totally fear the physical changes that come along with pregnancy. Truth is, I’ve always thought that pregnant women are the most gorgeous people! Not that I feel like the most gorgeous thing, but I’ve been so ready to actually look pregnant. So when I woke up on Saturday and there was that little bump, I was overjoyed.

belly

I’ll be honest with you – right now, I hate the smell of Penny. My beloved fur baby is the foulest stench I’ve ever encountered, and it permeates my entire home! If I were you, I’d invest in Bath & Body Works, because I’m keeping them in business with the amount of wallflowers that I buy on a regular basis. Cory thinks our home smells like a wonderful apple orchard, but all I can smell is that damn dog. Hence, why she’s no longer allowed on (the majority of) our furniture. Still, when I’m not looking, she sneak up on even the most uncomfortable pieces of furniture. Also, this is more evidence of her not knowing her own size.

penny

I didn’t do a birthday recap because, after 21, who really cares? While my birthday is very exciting for me, it’s just October 5th for you. Basically, Cory and I went out to a nice dinner. As I was ugly-crying over the cocktail menu, the waitress offered to bring me a mocktail. Good, fine, whatever. I appreciated the strawberry kid drink of a gesture.

Someone told me before I got pregnant “Oh, when you’re pregnant, you don’t even want to drink!” This now sends me into PTSD-like flashbacks of me believing my uncle Danny when he told me right before my First Communion that the Host tastes like pepperoni pizza. Lies and disappointment, my friends. Lies and disappointment.

mocktail

At the end of August, I was depressingly ill from all the “morning” sickness. I say “depressingly” because it was absolutely starting to affect my mental health. If you’ve ever thrown up all day, every day for two months, you know how thin it wears you. Cory is a saint, hands down, for dealing with me, but it got to a point when all I wanted was my mom. (He totally gives me shit for that, but I really don’t care.) I was so thankful that my mom made the trip down for the day to be with me. While she looks nice and cute and smiley, I was on the other side of the camera pale, puffy-eyed, and looking like death.

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So there you have it! Some stories behind the ‘gram. Now, go have a great day and be a good person who captions all of their Instagram photos ;)

Virginia Wine Expo

The tickets for one of my favorite events of the year are now available, and I’m a little conflicted. The Virginia Wine Expo is by far one of the best days of the year. Cory and I have gone with friends for the past several years annnd it never disappoints. But the fact that it takes place roughly one month before my due date gives me a new, unfamiliar pang of parental sacrifice. So close, yet so far. 

Damn it, guys, I love wine.

I’ll be the DD this year, which seems like it may be the most masochistic thing I could do to myself, but Cory is filled with glee, because he’s always the driver. (He knew he was marrying a lightweight, so I carry no guilt.)

Here are some of my quick tips for enjoying the Virginia Wine Expo

1. The main-event: walk around grand tastings is the only ticket you really need. It’s on Saturday and Sunday (February 21 – 22) and I feel like it goes without saying, but: go on Saturday. You will, without a doubt, be hungover that evening and/or the following day.

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2. Get there early. I know brunching is very popular in Richmond, but guys, doors open at noon. I’ve normally had at least 2 and a half meals by then (important for any day drinker.) The longer you wait to get there, the longer the tasting lines. I like to play the game “let’s see how many tastings we can do in the first hour” and Cory normally ends up hating me 40 minutes in. I LOVE WINE.

3. Go with a small-ish group. There is a time and place for going out with a group of 10 friends, but this wine expo isn’t it. Remember – you’re there to do tastings. The bigger your group, the more difficult it will be for you to all get into a tasting at once. Time to get selective with your friends, people.

4. Taste them all(ish), then purchase. Unless you have an unlimited wine budget (can we be friends?) you can’t afford to buy your favorite bottle at each winery you visit (because you’d be picking from approximately 450 bottles.) My first year, I made the mistake of buying bottles at the first three wineries we sampled. An hour or so later, when I’d tried other wines I liked better, I was drunk bummed.

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5. Look up the vendors list beforehand. This is something I do because it’s not possible for me to taste every winery there; I’d end up in the hospital getting my stomach pumped. I like to have an idea of which of my favorites will be attending, so I can make sure to visit them. The rest of the time, it’s a fun free-for-all!

I’m obviously not a wine connoisseur, but the Virginia Wine Expo combines my love of day drinking and discovering new Virginia wineries (but mostly day drinking.) I want you to go this year and enjoy it for me. I’ll be the lady trailing behind her drunk husband, eight month pregnant and asking to smell the wine samples. I’ll probably be eating fries out of my purse that I smuggled in, but that’s neither here nor there.

 

just FYI: I was compensated by the event for writing this post, but clearly, all borderline alcoholic wine-loving opinions are my own.

 

3rd Annual Trip to Belvedere Plantation

This past Saturday, I was a pretty basic bitch with my basic bitch friends (and amazing husband) as we had our third annual trip to the pumpkin patch and corn maze out at Belvedere Plantation.

cornmaze

We played games and (they) went down slides (I don’t do slides) before tackling the corn maze. It’s the same every year. Cory and Emily take the lead and share flag-carrier responsibilities while I follow along. This year was Jamie’s first trip with us and she quickly became a follower like myself. Direction are not our strong suit by any stretch of the imagination. If it weren’t for Cory and Emily, being in a corn maze might be something along the lines of my own personal hell.

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This year we sort of needed an attitude adjustment, but it was our poor planning of entering the corn maze AT lunch time that threw us off. Being lost + being hungry (+ me having to pee every five minutes) = us being over it about 20 minutes into it. 

 jamieemily

Thankfully, we made it out alive and enjoyed Mexican food for lunch. Then, I came home and slept for the remainder of the weekend. Walking. It’s hard work, man.

And now, I have a cold and can do nothing about it. If any mamas out there have suggestions on how to deal with a cold while pregnant, I’ll love you forever!

Welcome to Crazy Town

Last week, Cory had a conference out on the West coast, so I used it as an opportunity to take a week off work and nap. God, I love sleeping. I can’t get enough sleep.

I digress.

I was talking to my mom the day before we left, and she said, Don’t forget to pack a bathing suit!

Woof. That was the LAST thing I’d ever think of packing.

My response: Mom, there is no fucking way I’m putting this hot mess of a body into a bathing suit. 

Let’s remember, my body doesn’t yet look pregnant. I don’t have a cutesy baby bump. I have the body of a collegiate binge drinker and boobs that are monstrously large. Like, not cute. Not cute at all. 

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But, because my mom can guilt me into doing just about anything, I headed to Target to find a bathing suit. My regular bikinis would not do. My cute one piece looked a little porn-y. It’s with great disappointment that I tell you this, but I bought a mom suit. A one piece with extra fabric around the tummy, a deceitful cut that makes us think it’s flattering, but it’s clearly just a fat disguiser.

And no, I will not be posting a picture of it.

You’re welcome.

But there I was, walking to the pool and noticing all the hot bodied girls, feeling like I looked 47 and needing to declare: I’M WITH CHILD! I DON’T KNOW MY OWN BODY! I USED TO BE YOU!

As if anyone in the place even noticed me.

Welcome to Crazy Town, ladies and gentlemen.

Pregnancy Fitness

LOLOLOL at this title.

Prior to actually getting pregnant, I had told myself that I was going to have a “fit pregnancy.” I had pinned what seems like tens of thousands of “pregnancy workouts.” Some were even broken up by trimester! Oh, the convenience.

I was going to eat the healthiest I’d ever eaten. Kale, spinach, organic protein – spare no expense! I was going to pop out an organic, lean, mean fighting machine.

foods

 

gag me. source

Then, I actually got pregnant.

Anything “healthy” makes me gag. Veggies? Chicken? Lentils? FUCK NO. I can’t, dude. I literally cannot.

Not long ago, I ordered THREE double decker taco supremes at Taco Bell. Double cheeseburger meals from McDonalds give me life. I made a pan of box mix brownies, and asked Cory if he wanted me to make one for him. Because yes, the entire pan I made was just for me.

And because I puke so often, I’ve only gained one pound! (And lost all my muscle definition, but let’s not focus on that part, mmkay?) Oh the joy.

During my first visit with the OB, I was so embarrassed to tell her about my diet. I had such grand plans! But in reality, I’m eating fast food and brownies – foods I enjoyed in moderation (not weekly) in “real life.”

I thought she was going to call and alert CPS or tell me that I was ruining my unborn child’s life, but to my shock and awe she said “At this point, I just need you to eat whatever you can keep down.” I wanted to weep and kiss her at the same time.

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source

This made me think: maybe this is what parenthood is like. Constantly worried that you’re not doing it right, or not good enough, or that someone is going to find out that you haven’t done dishes in two weeks and that you didn’t make your bed.

But as someone dear to me said, “If you’re worried about doing it wrong, you care enough to get it right.” And I think that’s right. I have a subpar veggie intake –  it’s not like I’ve picked up a crystal meth habit.

So maybe this hasn’t been the “fit pregnancy” that I planned, but it’s teaching me how to give myself grace and to let go of tight plans. Things are going to happen that I have no control over (terrifying for a Type A like myself) and that’s okay! It’s the ability to roll with the punches that really matters.

Let’s Talk about the First Trimester

Guys.

Pregnancy is no fucking joke. Maybe it’s because I’d been more focused on the outcome (a baby) that I didn’t really spend much time considering the process (pregnancy) but I feel like I’ve kinda sorta most definitely been blindsided.

For the most part, women don’t talk about how much pregnancy sucks. That’s right, I said it. I’ve heard women talk about how birth is scary, because…DUH, but people fail to mention how miserable pregnancy can be. Women tell each other it’s beautiful and wonderful and the best time ever. I’m calling bull shit right here, right now.

penny

Maybe the first trimester was a bitter stage for me because all I did was vomit and sleep, but where was that “glow” everyone talks about? The only glow I’ve got is the random sweat I break into when I do things like, oh, I don’t know – walk up the stairs or fold laundry.

I literally had to take a break from folding laundry the other day. I was standing in my bedroom at the foot of my bed, folding clothes when all of a sudden my body was like, “Whew! This is really hard work, standing here and kinda moving my arms. Maybe a nap is in order.” 

A nap was in order.

Followed by a 7:30pm bedtime.

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When I voice my displeasure to other moms, what’s the (well-meaning) response every.single.time?

“Don’t worry, it’s soooooo worth it!”

Don’t worry? It’s worth it? (God, I hope so.)

Do you know how difficult it is to puke in an automatic flush toilet at work?

Do you recall how terrible it feels to not yet look pregnant, but like a Taco Bell enthusiast?

What about the “enhanced” sense of smell? When everything in life becomes the foulest stench you’ve ever encountered and it takes everything in you not to lose your shit every five minutes?

Or how about crying for no reason? (Well, at the time, a burnt bagel seemed like a legitimate reason for tears, but looking back, I know better.) I’m not a crier in real life, but in pregnancy life, I cry every day. Not because I’m sad (sometimes because I’m sad) but because I feel ALL THE EMOTIONS.

Oh, the miracle of life.

I’m convinced that minutes after birth, the guys from Men in Black come in and erase your memory. Because, to my shock and surprise, people do this more than once.

 

Our Big News!

Hello, hello! If you don’t follow me on any forms of social media, you might have missed the BIG baby news.

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I’ve seen so many cute birth announcements on Pinterest, but I’ve also seen most of them on my own Facebook newsfeed (because everyone is pregnant), so I just went ahead with the good old tried and true truth in our life: our obsession with our alma mater, Longwood University. It’s simple and gets the news across, right? Check.

I’ve had several people say, “I can’t wait to read your perspective about pregnancy on your blog!” and I really hope that those people were serious. While I have no intention of making this a mommy blog, this pregnancy is a big fucking deal (yes, I will continue to use the fuck word) and I’ll be talking about it.

Because I’m so excited! And it’s been a secret for what feels like an ETERNITYYYYY.

God, I hate keeping secrets.

fake

I’m in the second trimester now, as I’m due in March.

We will not be finding out the gender.

I will not be posting weekly updates with belly pictures. While I enjoy reading those types of posts, I am not that coordinated.

will be honest, and honestly, that may come across as bitching.

I have been puking my guts out for three months straight (TMI, get used to it), and it’s been the toughest thing (mentally and physically) that I’ve ever had to deal with.  It’s also a HUGE reason that I left out of this post. I just have not been able to do anything productive.

This baby was planned for and is so, so wanted; but I know many people who struggle with infertility, and I am hyper-sensitive to that struggle. I know so many people who would kill to feel as sick as I do if it meant they were pregnant with a healthy baby. My heart bleeds for those people, which is why I feel the need to make this disclaimer of sorts.

I never want anyone to misconstrue my sense of humor and bitching nature for ungratefulness. Cory and I are beyond thrilled and I thank God every day for what’s happening.

That said, let’s get real. Pregnancy has been anything but beautiful and I kinda sorta definitely feel like a sideshow freak. I pee when I sneeze, I’ve literally puked while driving (which, is as easy as sneezing with your eyes open), and I miss alcohol. My sense of humor is what’s kept me sane (a relative term) thus far. I hope you will enjoy the journey as I document it here!

For your viewing pleasure, a video I’ve wanted to show everyone for months now: breaking the news to my best friends as soon as we found out. It makes me so happy.

An Unintentional Break

Confession: I don’t know how to start off a blog post after taking an unintentional month-long break.

Hi! 

How are ya?! 

Boy howdy, it’s been a while! 

Do I just ignore it?

I don’t know.

But, like a good friend, blogging just sort of falls back into a natural rhythm, picking up exactly where you left off.

I’d be lying to you if I said I took a month off from blogging because my life has been fantastic, and I was too busy with all the goodness of it all to find time to blog. That I was preoccupied with world travel, an influx in freelance work, or volunteering with needy children/making the world a better place.

Because none of that happened. Not even close.

I have a day job, and it’s been busy.

My weekends have not productive, as they majority of them have been spent on the couch watching Criminal Minds and The Killing (I swear I’m not a sick bastard, but I do love those types of shows.)

My aunt ended (I refuse to say “lost”) her battle with leukemia; it’s unreal how you can see death coming from a mile away, yet are still knocked out by grief when it finally arrives.

My mom made a visit to Richmond, I had dinners with Jamie and Emily, and we’ve finally trained Penny to stay off the new couches. We bought a new comforter, and have grand plans of painting our bedroom, but I have serious doubts. I got back on Facebook, de-friended the shit out of people, and now I know what’s going on in the world ;)

And last but not least, I wrote a blog post.

 

 

 

Fact: I Collect Mugs

I sorta kinda have a problem.

A mug shot problem, that is. Whether it’s my favorite university, my favorite animal, or something weird [like cow udders] I just can’t pass up a good mug. We have plain, boring white ones in our cabinets, you know, in case the President comes over for coffee – but they’re pushed to the way back.

collection

If you collect anything, you know that each item tells a story or has some kind of significant meaning. While I don’t think the Lancers mug is all that attractive, I am wildly obsessed with my alma mater, and seeing that mug reminds me of the place where I made life long friends + met my husband. It also reminds me of pure debauchery, but that’s neither here nor there.

One place I routinely find the best, funky, oh-so-perfect gifts is Uncommon Goods. From when I posted a picture of my new mug on IG, it seems like I’m not the only one who loves that place. (For my fellow blog lovers: please check this out – who knew?!)

mugs

Our anniversary was earlier this month, and while I was poking around their site for gift ideas, I knew these mugs HAD to end up in my possession. So yeah, maybe I picked out an anniversary gift to myself, from myself but…whatever. Happy wife, happy life. AMIRIGHT?!

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Because I’m curious: Do you collect anything?

Disclosure: Uncommon Goods provided me with my choice of personalized item. All thoughts and expressions are genuinely my own.