Happy Valentines Day!

Saw this fun little “quiz” and thought it would make a fun blog post.

Relationship length: 3 years this past January
Married: 2 years in July.
Who’s older: Me
Age difference: 2 years and a few months
Who was interested first?  He says I reached out first (which I did), and I say he followed thru with keeping the communication going.
Who’s taller: Him.
Worst temper:  Probably him
Most sensitive: 🙋🏼‍♀️ – me totally!
Loudest:  Depends on the situation
Funniest:  both of us
Most stubborn:  Him (even though he’d say me)
Falls asleep first: 100% Jake.
Cooks better: S me
Better singer: Me!  But ask him someday to sing his rendition of Mercy (country song)
Most adventurous:  I think we are a good mix on this.
Most organized?  Me
Dresses the nicest:  We are about 50/50 on this one.
Most protective:  He is protective of me and the kids for sure.
Best driver:  I’m going to say me, and just let the 2 accidents Jake had the first 2 years we were together speak for themselves.
Has the most clothes: Him.  His t-shirt and polo collection alone equals more than my own clothing.
Most competitive:  Equal on this for sure!

Photo taken week before our 1st Valentines Day together.

blood, sweat and tears

Ok, so there was no actual blood shed during this project (at least not that I am aware of) – but sweat happened and tears happened.   Jake did the sweating (along with my parents) and I cried a lot over the last 4 months.

Remember back when I posted this:   http://www.vannclan5.com/2018/11/chaos-and-patience/

Our bedroom had severe water damage from a leak in the chimney that had been ongoing for years, and we were trying to figure out what to do, and the best course of action to take.   Well I’m happy to say that after 4 months exactly, we woke up this morning in OUR bedroom, in our bed, with everything intact.

After the realization that baby girls due date was coming in fast and quick, and the chimney repair just being completed last week, we knew we had to buckle down and finish.  Well, being 35 weeks pregnant – I’m kinda limited to what I can do heavy lifting/painting/etc wise.  So, we called in reinforcements.  Less than 24 hours after my plea for help, my parents drove down from NC to help.  Between Friday-Sunday morning they managed to knock out finishing up the drywall, then painting, then laying the wood floor.  The latter took the most time.  We were also able to move all the furniture back into the room!    Dad also helped Jake carry the baby’s dresser upstairs to her room, as it is has been “living” in our office since we got it in early October (before everything happened).   Now this week, Jake is going to paint her room, so that we can begin to get it set up and hopefully be able to “relax” some before her due date (if you know us and know our family, it’s sort of laughable that I say relax, because we are always busy!).

Here are some peeks at the process (I only helped here and there, as noticed by my socks in a few photos, I had to “stand in” certain places while they hammered or locked things in place.   Also, Chip and Jo got nothing on my mama & daddy.  They are rock stars for sure, and even my kids got in on the action!


Here is what it looked like when we went to bed last night:


There are still a few things left to put up, and items to find where they were stuck during the chaos;  But to be back in OUR space – I slept better than I had in months.   My only challenge was when I got up around 1:30 to go to the bathroom, I sat up and my feet didn’t touch the floor and I was a little confused for a moment.  Jake whispered “be careful” and I was good.  Going from sleeping on our mattress on the floor to our actual mattress on a bedframe while pregnant = so much better!

that’s not a real number

So two weekends ago, Jake and I packed up and drove to Michigan.  Yes, drove.  We left as soon as we dropped the girls off at school, and started an epic road trip.   First, let me say what a trooper my husband is, because 14 hours of driving on Friday only to turn around and drive home on Monday is enough to make anyone sick.   While he did get sick 2 days after we got home, he got us up there and back safely!   Only two mild panic moments from me, once when we hit the tunnels of NC and once when we hit this ridiculous bridge in Cincinnati (that town is something else to drive thru!).

So we knew going up there, the potential for snow was high, as was the potential for temperatures I have never seen in real life.  Friday we got there, and it was hovering around 18.  Ok I thought, this is fine – I’ve done 18 before (didn’t want to think about the windchill).  Our baby shower was on Saturday morning, and we woke up to snow on the ground and temperatures hovering around 8.  Again, did not want to think about the wind chill.   Saturday morning Jake went out in his carhart bibs, jackets, gloves and hats and ran the snow blower around the driveway.   I managed to get dressed and go out to take photos.  Let’s just say it took longer to get dressed to go out, than it did for me to stay out and take photos.   The baby shower was wonderful.  Baby girl got spoiled, and we got so much love from family that we hadn’t seen in over a year (since our wedding).

Sunday Jake had talked about going to Ann Arbor, to go to the Bo Store (Michigan Wolverines thing), and to go to Zingerman’s deli.  Wake up and look at the temperature and immediately started laughing – it was -8.  NEGATIVE EIGHT.   That’s not a real thing, nope – it’s not that cold out.   Fake news, I reject this.   So we bundled up with our coats, gloves and hats – and my heated car blanket and set off for Ann Arbor.   It was SO cold, I’m quite sure I have never been that cold in my entire life.  We visited the store, and the deli and then headed for home – after a stop at the Twelve Oaks Mall and of course Meijer for Jake.  From what I can remember, it never got above 0 (zero), and the wind chills stayed in the low negative numbers.   We had dinner out that evening at a local place that Jake and I love, and immediately came home for couch snuggles and warmth!

Monday morning, we get up to leave.  The temperature is now -11.  Again, what the hell.   Everyone kept saying it hadn’t been that cold there since February 2018, and that they had so far had a mild winter.  It was in the 50’s just a few days prior!   The truck had been parked in the garage all weekend.  Midway through Ohio, Jake went to  use the windshield wiper fluid and nothing happened.  We were almost all the way through Tenneesee (3.5 states from where we left from) before it thawed enough to come out of the sprayers.  We kept laughing and laughing about it, because what else can you do?  We had even poured 2 cups of hot water into it to try and help it thaw.  It didn’t help that it was in the negative numbers or hovering around 0 the entire way home.  By the time we got into SC, I was so excited to see 20 degrees and then 30 degrees!

I’m glad we went, but I am not sure I will be doing the trip in the winter anytime soon!   Photo below taken in my mother in law’s front yard in front of my favorite trees (that look so beautiful in the snow!).   It was 4* when this was taken, and again – not even sure I want to know the windchill.  It was a very quick photo op!

at the end of the day

I was scrolling back thru my phone and saw that I have saved this back in October.  Oh how did I know that I would need this back then?

Today has been hard.  Being given a diagnosis with just the bare minimum of instructions on how to handle it is one of the toughest things I have had to experience.   I got my gestational diabetes diagnosis on the 26th if Decemver and the only instructions I got were “no white bread, white rice or white potatoes.  No cereal, sweet tea or juice.  Limit fruits to mealtimes only, so no more than 3 per day.”

No instructions on where to keep my numbers, they literally called in a glucose meter and all the parts to our pharmacy and told me to start testing.   Thank god for my husband who had a general idea of how to use the meter.  I pretty much sat at the table sobbing because looking at all the testing stuff and instruction manual was incredibly overwhelming.   I got minimal guidelines again at my last doctors appointment on the 4th, just in terms of where she wants my numbers under.  The OB admittedly struggled with finding me a class and nutritionist to meet with, and I do finally see them on Thursday the 17th.

Today I went to find lunch for myself and while the kids and Jake ate nachos.  I took out eggs, cheese and bacon – 3 things I know are “safe” and I just couldn’t stomach eggs again.  I have eaten more eggs in the last 3 weeks than I have in the last 3 years.   I stopped what I was doing, went upstairs and laid down on my bed and just cried and cried.  The weight of making sure I am eating the right balance of carbs and protein, while staying under the numbers – but again having no guidance other than what I can google is so overwhelming.  It’s panic inducing – am I hurting my baby, am I hurting myself?   Since being diagnosed I have lost about 11 lbs, which my doctor told me would happen.  As long as the baby is growing how she should, I can keep losing.  I’m now at a lower weight than I was when I got pregnant.

I cannot wait until Thursday so I can “learn how to eat again”.   So far it’s been a lot of trial and error on what makes my numbers spike and what doesn’t.  What works for friends, doesn’t work for me and vice versa.  Case in point – I ate some French fries from Rush’s on Saturday and thought for sure “this is going to spike me”.  Ate it with some fried chicken, cole slaw and a few tiny bites of a roll.   I wanted the amazing sweet tea that Rush’s has – but I drank bottled water instead.   My numbers were the lowest they have been all day.   Our bodies are weird.

I struggle with the guilt of “what did I do to cause this”, knowing full well that there was nothing I could do to prevent this diagnosis.  Gestational diabetes is caused by the placenta and hormones, and there is not a damn thing I could have done differently.   

My husband is so patient with me, he keeps telling me that I’m doing so well with the minimal knowledge I was given.  He tells me he is proud of me.  He even tries to eat the things I can eat, even though I know he would much rather be chowing down on a baked potato.  I really could not do this without him.

I just have to learn to be patient with myself, that this whole journey is a learning process with the best gift at the end of it – our daughter.  

the one about meatloaf

My sister in law & brother gifted me the Magnolia Table cookbook by Joanna Gaines for Christmas.   I was drooling as I was flipping through the pages, picking out things I knew for sure we had to make.  Jake did the same thing, and actually picked the first recipe!  All the recipes are relatively simple, and she mentions specific national brands of things to use (Hellman’s & Pillsbury are both mentioned in different recipes).   We decided to pick one recipe at a time to have each week, and cook them together if possible.

The first one we picked was Meatloaf.  Seems simple enough, but this isn’t your mama’s meatloaf – not at all.  It started with saucing chopped onions in butter until they were translucent, then adding it to the mixture of spices, ground beef, saltines and egg.  Oh and cheese!  We used a Pampered Chef stoneware pan that I have had for years, but rarely use to make it.   It was out of this world delicious.   We only made 1 tiny change to the recipe, that really had no effect on the outcome or the taste.   The recipe calls for putting ketchup on the top, which usually has a high sugar content.  We had some leftover tomato sauce from the recipe, so we just poured some of that on top.  We did have to cook it longer than the recipe indicates, which I attribute to using the stoneware pan.  The stoneware pan made it crisp up on the sides & ends (I ate the end piece!) and it was so delicious!

I’m obviously not a food photographer, so hopefully these pictures give you a general idea of how the process went!   We actually made patty melts on Sunday with the leftovers and some rye bread and they were also so yummy!


things not to say or do

So I am roughly 7 months pregnant, with what seems like a few short weeks to go (about 10 now).   There are some things that people have said to me that have left me shaking my head.  And others that have made me want to run away crying.   There is something about seeing a pregnant woman that makes people completely lose their filter.

1 – Your birth story.  Don’t just volunteer that information.  Only tell me if I ask.  Medicine has changed so much in just the last few years, even things that happened when I was pregnant with Natalee 10 years ago are totally obsolete.

2 – Don’t tell me how big I am, how big I’m getting, etc.   “You’re getting so big” stopped being a compliment when I was 6 years old.   Instead say to a pregnant lady “here, have some XXXXX” (insert whatever she is craving).

3 – Don’t touch my stomach.  I am not a petting zoo or a lab experiment.  If you ask, chances are I will let you, however if I say no, please don’t take offense.  I have severe eczema at times, and there are times that I feel like my skin is on fire and I don’t even want my clothes touching it.  But then again, running around naked is frowned upon.

4 – Don’t ask me “are you having twins” or “are you sure there is only one in there?”   Literally, shut your face.  Whether it’s kid #1 or kid #4 – I am confident there is only 1 in there.

5 – Going back to #2, I am not a size 2, hell I’m not even a size 10.  However, telling me “oh I got back to my pre pregnancy size in 5 weeks” is NOT helpful information.  I’m super happy for you, but peoples bodies are NOT all the same.  For your information, I have only gained 6 lbs this entire pregnancy – which my doctor explained means I’m losing weight elsewhere as baby girl grows.  So, again – shut your face.


well that was unexpected

Well hello 2019, and hello first day back to work in the new year.

I’m kinda glad to see 2018 go – while we had some great moments, like finding out I was expecting and celebrating our 1st anniversary, we also had the hurricane (and subsequent damage), and Jake losing his job.   All that is behind us now!

The end of 2018 naturally brought about some doctors appointments.  I had my 1 hour glucose test on December 18th, and found out 2 days later that I failed it.  Boo.    Scheduled by 3 hour test for December 26th.  Immediately after finding out I failed the first one, I changed my diet, this meant – no sweets, no sweet tea, no juice (oh how i miss orange juice) and no soda.   I pretty much dropped 8-10lbs in a matter of days.  Go to the hospital to take the 3 hour test (which is 4 blood draws total) – their computer system is a mess, and I spend a bunch of time on the phone with my old doctor (who was helping out since my regular doctor was on maternity leave).   We finish up at lunch time and Jake takes me out to lunch at Cracker Barrel.   One giant plate of carbs (mac & cheese, hashbrown casserole & chicken & dumplings) – I get the dreaded phone call that I failed the 3 hour one.  Boo again.  Jake said “well aren’t you glad you ate all those carbs now?”   The soda was a hard one, because that was my main form of caffeine, so I weaned off that slowly by having 1/4-1/3 of one of the tiny 8oz bottles per day until my stash was gone (about 3 days).  Now I’m doing pretty well, the withdrawal headaches are gone.

Dr. H calls in a prescription for a glucose meter, lancets and test strips and tells me to test 4 times a day (wake up, and then after each meal).  No white bread, white rice or white potatoes, no juice, no sweet tea, no cereal and limited fruit.   Dude, I’m pregnant – fruit is life!  So I started testing the morning of December 27th.   I have the hang of it now, and it’s not as painful as it was the first few days.   I got some awesome tips on how to get a sample when your hands are cold from some nurse friends, and to just remain calm when doing it and don’t get overly anxious.   I have yet to meet with the doctor since this diagnosis, but based on the research that Jake and I have done – my numbers for the most part are relatively good.

But the diagnosis was certain unexpected.

Never Have I ever….

I saw one of those “never have I ever” bingo things on facebook recently, and thought it would be fun to share here!

Didn’t get a true “bingo” at all, but it was fun to see what I have done.   We used to ride horses off and on growing up at a church friends home.  I did once fall asleep in art history class in college.  The teacher was in her late 70’s and had a very monotone voice.  She would turn off the lights and show slides, meanwhile my assigned seat was in the corner against the wall with my back against the radiator.  Needless to say, when it was winter – i fell asleep once or twice.   I have traveled “abroad” to the Dominican Republic for a mission trip and I have also been to Mexico and Canada.   I had food poisoning when I was pregnant with Katie, and it was horrific.  I had it again 14 years later when my husband (now my ex husband) made sausage.  My son to this day refuses to eat sausage because of this!   I like most teens, had braces in high school!

I have been in an ambulance twice – each time because Natalee was being transported to the children’s hospital.  Once when she was diagnosed with RSV and required hospitalization that our local hospital didn’t have, and the 2nd time when she was transported due to a febrile seizure.   I’m 99% sure everyone in life has broken their phone before, or at least their phone screen (chances are Jake is going to say “I have never done that).  Of course I’ve kissed someone, haven’t you?   Failed a test – sure have, several times.  Been on TV – yes in fact!  Growing up, we played “extras” in several movies including JFK and Miss Rose White.   I play the piano, and I have played in the rain (on purpose and not on purpose both).  And almost died – unfortunately when I was giving birth to Katie, the doctors made Matt make the decision who he would like the doctors to “save”, because I was slipping in and out of consciousness due to my heart rate bottoming out.

What are some things you have done, or never done?