Ummm excuse me, friends - am I the only one completely flabbergasted that TOMORROW is 20-freaking-13?? 

I hope not. Anyway, thought I'd back-track a year and update you all on those lofty "goals" that I set for myself a year ago. And, just for fun, this was me a year ago:
Goals for 2012
1. Get up to 600 followers.  Done. Not sure when I hit that milestone... but yay! 
2.Eat a little bit healthier.  Also done. I've eaten at least one fruit and veggie approx. 6 days per week this year. That's good for me. I've also cut down on eating out and improved on how often I cook at home. 
3. Get back to exercising. I had a gym membership until about a month ago, and before I got pregnant/in my early pregnancy, I was exercising about 4-5 times a week. Now I go on walks and occasionally do a boot camp or kickboxing class, but let's get real - walking up and down 4 flights of stairs a couple of times a day at work is a freaking workout when you're pregnant.   
4. Be a little more patient. I think I have improved. I've learned to nag a little less, and that if things don't get done right now, it's not the end of the world. Key word in that goal was "little." That's what made it attainable.
5. Be more spiritual. How does one measure this? In any case, I'm not quite where I'd like to be (or need to be), so it's not getting crossed off. 
6. Read at least 12 books.... in German. Balls. I read... 9. Hey - three fourths isn't bad! 
7. Add at least 3 more countries to my list.  DANG IT! I only got 2 (Spain and Scotland). You know what, though? I'll take it. Both were amazing experiences. 

For 2013, I will direct you to my complete 25 before 25 list. Here I have put the top five from said list. And just for fun... this is me now: 
1. Participate in a triathlon. Not a big one - just a triathlon. I really want to do this, and I've been putting it off for years.

2. Go to a state that I've never been to. This is far more realistic than going to a foreign country I haven't visited, but I'd take either one.

3. Show my husband how much I love him. I'd like to be a little more active in how I show my love to Mike. Whether it's leaving little notes or making him his favorite dinner, I want to be better.

4. Read 100 books (children's books don't count).  Maybe three of them can be in German. I figure I'll have some time on my hands when I'm on maternity leave. Maybe.

5. Start a charitable organization or project. I'd really love to start some sort of organization that encourages (and helps) less privileged young women to not only graduate from high school, but to go on to college. So many young girls don't even get the chance to finish high school, whether it's because of abuse, petty crime, teen pregnancy, etc. etc., and I want to be there to encourage them to stay on the straight and narrow - to show them what their life could be if they really tried (and had positive influences in their lives).

HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!! What are some of your goals?

Sunday Confessions Link Up

Happy Sunday!!! 

As usual... grab a little button, link on up, and visit some other blogs while you're at it.
1. I've almost completely forgotten about Blog World this week. Did I take any pictures of my Christmas tree with the presents underneath? Nope. Did I take any pictures at all on Christmas? Nope. I  have found that (for me) life has been so much more enjoyable when I'm not thinking about the blog 24/7. It's too much effort to try and stage that "perfect" holiday photo.

2. I've been sick for almost a week now, and it is no fun at all. I came home from church early last Sunday because of a major sinus headache. I forced myself to go to work on Monday, felt like crap all day, Tuesday I got some pretty awful heartburn that led to puking (this baby girl better not be bald!), then I stayed home from work on Wednesday with an awful sinus/throat thing, and have been battling that ever since.

3. About 6 weeks ago, I posted on facebook that if baby was a girl, there was to be absolutely NO PINK. 
Yeah, guess who already broke that rule?! Me.
4. I never wanted a little girl. Now hold your freakin' horses before you go crazy on me and tell me I'm an awful person - that being said, I love this little girl more than I could possibly put into words. I think of holding her in my arms one day not to far away, and I'm overcome with emotion. I know it sounds cheesy and lame, but it's true. I know that, in approximately 14 years, there is a ridiculously high probability of her stomping through our house to our room, slamming her door as loud as humanly possible, and screaming that she hates me. I know that there will be days where I am at my wit's end and just want to break down and cry (or scream at the top of my lungs). You know what, though? I don't care, because I love her. I love who she is, I love that she is ours, and I love that it will be me bringing her into the world. I love that she will be my little girl. I also love that she will, someday, outgrow that horrible teenage stage (and that it takes time for her to get to said stage).

5. It's halftime!!! 
How Far Along: 20 weeks 6 days 
Size of the Baby: ONION!!! 
Maternity Clothes: I got a couple shirts and sweaters for Christmas! I am still wearing my pre-pregnancy jeans and using the hair-tie or my be-band. 
Stretch marks: Nope.
Weight gain/loss: 9-10 lbs 
Sleep: sleeping through the night... always take a potty break at about 5 a.m.
Best Moment of the Week: Okay, so this was actually last week, but finding out the gender!! 
Movement: She never stops!!!
Symptoms: Heartburn. OHMYGOSH. So. MUCH! 
Food Cravings: Fruity candy.
Gender: GIRL
Belly Button in or out: In.
Wedding ring on or off: On.
What I am looking forward to: Getting a big, round belly!
Nursery: I'm working on making some prints, picking out crib bedding, and saving the moolah for the furniture.

It's a....

Merry Christmas! 

So... our gender reveal video isn't finished yet, we're not sure we'll actually be able to do it, and I'm sick of keeping secrets, so without further ado...
I originally wanted a boy, but I am SO excited to have a little girl as the newest member of our family. I already love her more than words can describe, and Mike and I are so, so happy!

Sunday Confessions Link Up

Happy Sunday!! 

I hope you all are taking it easy and enjoying time with your families as we bring in Christmas. You all know the drill by now, so let's get on to the confessions, shall we?
1. I like guns. I'm never political on this blog, but you better believe that I will NOT be quiet if the government decides to take away my second amendment rights. And that is all I have to say about that. Feel free to disagree - we're all friends here, and we are all entitled to our opinions. I respect yours, so you will respect mine.

2. I do NOT want to go to work tomorrow. I mean, really. Who else has to work on Christmas Eve? Let's get together for a pity party - who's with me?!

3. I'm trying to convince Michael to let me reveal who baby is, but it's not working. I'm not sure why he won't let me tell, since most of our family knows. I'll let you all know if I make progress.

4. I know exactly what I'm getting for Christmas. I'm still excited to unwrap it all, though! Unwrapping presents is always fun.

5. I'm planning on doing A LOT of baking and cooking today. I hate baking and cooking. Hoping I don't die from spending too much time in the kitchen.

What do you have to confess? Link up below. 

Meanie-Pants Husbands

Make their wife keep baby's gender a secret till Christmas.

Don't worry, though - I've got a fun gender reveal video planned.

It involves snow-babies - don't hate.

Until then, here's a picture (or 50) of our little baby! I am SOOO in love with that little booger-face!

Books Turned Movies

Hey party people!!! 

Hope all is well with all of you. I'm doing all right, just a horrible procrastinator (what's new?), so I totally forgot to write my review, and now I have to go to work. You can bet your bottom dollar that I will be back this afternoon with some words.

Let me just start off by saying that the book I chose this month was awesome, and I'd recommend it to anyone. You know what?! I'd even recommend the movie.

Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen
Where should I even start with this book? First of all, I love the way it is written. The main character is looking back on his life, sharing his memories of his days in the circus. Occasionally, the reader is exposed to the narrator's life as it is now - he is all alone in a nursing home, where his family has all but forgotten him. Sara Gruen did a wonderful job with tone, language, and word choice - I really felt as if I was sitting next to this man, listening to him ramble about the "good old days." 

The story itself is a good one - it's got parts that make you laugh out loud, parts that tug at your heartstrings, and parts that bring a tear to your eye. Once again, Sara Gruen does a great job of capturing real human emotion. Nothing was over the top, and the story and characters were 100% believable. I don't want to spoil anything, so all I will say about the story is this - it is a must-read. 

My Grade for the Book: A

Now for the movie. I actually saw the movie before I read the book - I watched it on our way to Germany a year and a half ago, and I loved it. I'm not a fan of stupid Robert Pattinson, so I was a little hesitant to even watch it, but nothing else really looked good, so I settled. I'm so glad I did, because it is a fabulous movie. Every emotion that the book captures is also caught on the big screen - the director did a wonderful job of choosing the perfect people for each part, and the movie followed the story line quite well. There wasn't a moment during the movie where I was not completely wrapped up in it. 

I think this evolution from book to movie is one of the very few good ones. 

My Grade for the Movie: A- (because movies are never quite as good as books)

Now it's time for you to link up a review of yours from any book turned movie - even if it's a review of The Hunger Games that you wrote months ago - we wanna know what you thought!! 

Sunday Confessions Link Up

Happy Sunday!! 

As usual... grab a button, link on up, and make some new friends by visiting some of the other blogs here!
1. I still haven't taken 18 week bump pictures, and tomorrow I'll be 19 weeks. I'm so on top of things.

2. Pregnancy brain is in full swing. Like, I forgot to pack my underwear for this weekend. We arrived in Wichita on Thursday night, and when I went to shower, I realized that I didn't have any underwear. Awesome, right?

3. I want it to snow. There is STILL no snow on the ground, and that is NOT okay. It's mid-December, people! Why is it still in the 40's and 50's in NEBRASKA?!

4. I am seriously considering stealing one of my parents' dogs. And I think Mike would let me!! Muahahahahaha

5. I'm too lazy to get pictures for this post. Sorry if it bores you.

What do you have to confess? Oh, and I promise that if you've visited me over the past week or two, I will visit your blog, I just haven't been on the computer more than once or twice. I literally have about 200 emails to go through, too, so if you're waiting on an email, just know that I am WAY behind. I'm not being a blog snob! :)

What to Expect when You're Expecting (an extremely condensed and not at all accurate Representation of Pregnancy) Part One

... written by the furthest thing from a pregnancy expert you will ever meet (unless, of course, you meet Big Foot - I bet he knows even less than I do).

Because I have exactly a bajillion thoughts on the topic of pregnancy, I'm going to do this in parts. Today is part one of part one -

Things I wish People had Told Me about Pregnancy

1. Pregnancy is not fun. Let's face it - the side effects suck, you turn bat-sh** crazy, you cry about tacos, and you become a narcoleptic. Your husband begins to wonder what he's done to you, and every time you look at the scale, you think you're going to break the dang thing.

2. You should buy a dog. Seriously - you will need someone to blame for the smells that will exit your body fairly regularly. Note: a cat is not an acceptable substitute (cats aren't as stinky as dogs).
3. You are not superwoman. Don't try to be - it's hard to do everything when you're not pregnant, and things definitely don't get any easier when you're falling asleep on your piles of unwashed laundry.

4. You will turn into a crocodile. At least you will if your skin was already dry. I put lotion on at least ten times a day, and my hands still look like a pair of leather gloves that have been sitting in the sun for ten years.

5. Hemorrhoids - not just for old men anymore. TMI? Probably, but let's face it - it's just another ugly part of pregnancy. This stuff is real, and I'm telling you - EAT YOUR DANG FIBER. Twenty servings if you have to.
6. Sexy time is not so sexy. Umm, yes. I just said "sex" on my blog. I think we all know how that baby got in your belly (contrary to "Glee" belief, it was not from spermies in a hot tub), so let's get over the "s-word." SEX. Yes, you can still have it, yes, you will probably definitely want it (or maybe you won't). NO. You will not feel sexy. Probably. Your bra won't fit right, your belly will be bulging, you will be bloated, and that is all I have to say about that. But get it on, my friends - Get. It. On. Because you probably won't have as many opportunities for the next 30 years. And then you'll just be old and wrinkly. And that is the most awkward paragraph to ever grace my blog. You're welcome.

7. You are super prone to infection. Yes - everywhere. All sorts of infections - take care of yourself! Don't let a bladder infection (or something else) ruin your week!

8. You will become a freaking obese asthmatic just by walking up five stairs. Don't believe me? Ask the dude that shares my cubicle wall. I sound like I'm dying every time I come back from the cafeteria downstairs. It's only slightly pathetic (and yes, I have considered taking the elevator - too much pride, people - too much pride).

9. People will look at your tummy and wonder if you're eating 5 big macs a day. You will look like a chubby slob for a while. It's an awkward stage, and no one wants to point out that your belly is bulging, so instead they just stare and think something along the lines of, Man, she's really let herself go. 
does anyone know the original source?
10. You should expect exactly the opposite of what everyone tells you. Think you're going to spend hours praying to the porcelain gods? Nope - you'll just get migraines that would make a grown man cry. Think you're going to swell up like a huge balloon? Nope - you'll be wearing your wedding ring till the baby is born. Think you're going to run over your mailbox? Nope - your name is not Alyx Garner, so you've got nothing to worry about (except the fact that you'll put your cell phone in the freezer and spend three hours looking for it). Think your face will turn into a pizza? It probably will, so you're SOL there. You're welcome.

I have sooo much more to say, but that wisdom will just have to wait.

Better Late than Never, Right?

Happy almost Tuesday! 

Hope you guys are having a swell week so far! Before I bore you to death with a bumpdate that I should have posted last week, I just wanted to say, "THANK YOU." Seriously - thanks for the support, for reading my jumbled thoughts, and for being awesome in general. You guys are amazing. 

Now before I get all teary-eyed and crazy hormonal on you, let's talk about my ever-growing belly. Or you can just click away if you don't care (I won't be offended. HA).
How Far Along: 17 weeks 6 days (when these were taken on Sunday, Dec. 9)
Size of the Baby: ONION!!! 
Maternity Clothes: Nope, not yet. I'm going to have to cave soon, though. I do have a BeBand, and it helps SOOO much. 
Stretch marks: Nope.
Weight gain/loss: 7 lbs 
Sleep: sleeping through the night... always take a potty break at about 5 a.m.
Best Moment of the Week: Music Time with the baby... We started it about halfway through week 17, and by Sunday, baby started to respond and kick a little when we'd put the speakers to my belly! 
Movement: S/he moves quite a bit around 3-4 in the afternoon.
Symptoms: None! Okay, dizziness. But that's not bad, right?! 
Food Cravings: SUGAR. SWEETS. Someone tell this baby to CHILL.
Gender: Find out Dec. 21st. My guess is that it's a girl. 
Belly Button in or out: In.
Anything making you queasy or sick: I have to drive wherever we go - I can't be passenger, or I get REALLY sick.
Labor Signs: Nope.
Wedding ring on or off: On.
What I miss: Being able to workout harder.
What I am looking forward to: Finding out the gender!!
Nursery: It's pretty much completely done. Oh, except furniture. That might be important. I do have a crib, glider, and changing table/dresser picked out, though!
Emotions: MUCH better. Still not normal, but they have finally started to get under control.
Stupid things I have done: Running over our mailbox. Yes, that is baby's fault. 

Stay tuned for a list of things that no one tells you about pregnancy (from a total non-expert) sometime this week. I promise to scar you for life. 

Sunday Confessions Link Up

Happy Sunday!!! 

You all know how it goes - think up something juicy and share it with the world (the blogging world, that is). Link up and find some other awesome bloggers while you're at it!
1-5. I'm over it, and have been for a while (blogging, that is). This constant posting of staged outfit photos to make it look like you're always perfectly put together, these mushy love posts, the pictures of your "oh so exciting life" - I'm sick of it all. I'm sick of the giveaways, the fight for followers, the popularity contest... It is ridiculous.

I started my blog when we moved to Europe as a way to update my family and friends on my life. When did it turn into *actually* considering giving someone $150 of my hard-earned money just to get more people to like my blog? When did it turn into me wishing that I had hundreds of dollars of extra money just laying around to do giveaways to stores that I would never dream of stepping into? Why did I suddenly start to care how many followers I had?

Here's the deal, folks. Starting in January, I'm getting rid of it (sponsorship, not the blog... HA!). There is no reason for me to have sponsorship on this blog (at least not until I'm done working outside of the home full-time). Right now I don't have the time or energy (or desire) to make blogging my "job." I don't want to feel bad if I blog once a week instead of five times. I don't want to charge people money to put their pretty faces on my sidebar if I can't promise them my dedication to getting their blog noticed. I don't want to be part of this popularity contest.

My blog is mine. And right now, that's what I want. I don't want to feel obligated to share my space. I don't want to spend lots of money to get people to like me. I don't think that's a wise investment for me right now. I am working my butt off to save money for this baby, and when I come home, sometimes the last thing I want to do is try to think of a way to make my life seem interesting.

FACT: My life is boring. I work 40+ hours a week. I sleep about 60 hours a week (what, baby is tired!). I eat food. I drink milk, water, and Coke 0. I work out sometimes. I shower 5-6 times a week. I wash my hair 2-3 times a week. I pay my bills, student loans, and mortgage. I try to find the time to spend quality time with my husband. After all of that, I blog. Maybe when I have more time I will be a better, more exciting blogger, but right now, I am me, and I have other commitments.

I'm not going anywhere, believe me - I just won't be tied down to the blog or feel obligated to post something every day. I may still have giveaways, I may still feature bloggers. It's just that I refuse to punish myself for living my life instead of trying to make myself seem totally awesome, hip, and perfect in an online world.

Whew. Sorry for that novel - now it's your turn - what do you have to confess? 

I am one of THOSE People... but at least my Teeth are White? Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips

You guys. 

First of all, can I please get a freakin' AMEN that Monday is over? Oh, that horrible, awful day on which people like me run over their own mailboxes. 
Yes, you read that correctly. I would show you a picture, but I am so ashamed of myself it's not even funny. I mean, I have a friend who's hit five parked cars. I no longer have the right to make fun of her, because let's be serious... who runs over their own mailbox? Hits, maybe... but runs over? 

I'm blaming it on the pregnancy. I find that this baby is very easy to blame for all of my misdeeds. 

Dear Baby, 

If you are reading this 10 years from now.... I'm really sorry that you are my scapegoat. Really. I love you, you little rascal. 


Your scatter-brained-totally-absent-minded-mommy-who-needs-to-learn-how-to-use-a-rearview-mirror-and-wash-the-back-windshield-of-her-car-that-is-now-in-the-shop-getting-a-new-fuel-tank

On the bright side.... (pun intended) my teeth could blind a bat. Oh, wait... bats are already blind. You know what I mean, though - these puppies are WHITE, all thanks to Influenster and Crest 3D White Whitestrips.
Sorry for the webcam quality... :/
I've used whitening products before - mouthwashes, whitestrips, every whitening toothpaste there is - you name it, I've probably tried it. I think just about the only thing I haven't done is go to the dentist to get them bleached. I was actually on the verge of doing that, though, when I was notified by Influenster that I had qualified to receive and review Crest 3D White Whitestrips Professional Effects. I was so flippin' stoked. I think the thing I care most about concerning my appearance is my teeth and my smile.

Let me tell you what, folks - now that I've used these things, I would gladly shell out $30 for them. The cheapskate in me always avoided them at the store because I thought they were too expensive. I was wrong. They are amazing, and worth every penny. They don't hurt your teeth, bother your gums, or leave a nasty film. In only 30 minutes a day for 20 days, your teeth will be sparkly white.

I even saw results after 5 days. It's insane. If you're looking for a whitening product that works, choose this one. I give Crest 3D White Whitestrips Professional Effects an A because, as the good ole people at Crest say, "If you're not whitening, you're yellowing." 
No A+, because that is reserved for a laser that will make my teeth sparkly white for the rest of my life.

**The opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own. My words can't be bought, yo! 


Happy Monday, all! 

Hope you enjoyed your weekend - I know mine was way too short. They always seem to be, though, so that's not too much of a surprise. 

Today I wanted to share something with you all , and that is my uncanny ability to push myself too hard. I've always felt like I should be able to do anything, and I should be able to do it by myself. When things don't happen this way, I often get frustrated and discouraged. 

For me, one of the hardest parts about being pregnant has been learning that I am not, in fact, invincible. I am fragile, and I am carrying a very special life inside of me. I think, over the past week, I have had to learn this the hard way. 

I worked out on Wednesday, and it was great, but it was hard. I couldn't run or jump like I could before, and you'd be amazed how much of a difference these extra 7 lbs have made. It's hard for me to catch my breath, and I have to slow it down to keep my heart rate in the "safe" range. 

Saturday, I decided to spend the day painting, putting up the Christmas decorations, and rearranging our living room. I did all of this just like I would If I wasn't pregnant. No big deal, right? Wrong. I spent all day yesterday nursing the back pain that resulted from those activities

I learned the hard way that I am not invincible. I'm not 100% right now, and as a perfectionist, that bothers me. It bothers me when I realize that my hips no longer fit in my pants, and it bothers me when I look in the mirror and see a face covered in pimples. I'm bothered when I realize that, for the time being, my body isn't mine. 

You know what, though? I've realized that it's okay to be human, and that these changes occurring in my body are not just okay, they are a miracle. In a little over five months, I will be holding that miracle in my arms, and I have the feeling that I will look at that little baby with tears in my eyes and feel invincible once again. 
Okay, so this is actually my nephew, but you get the idea.

On a completely unrelated note... Does anyone know where I can print my custom Christmas cards?? I made ours for this year, and I just want to find somewhere that will print them for a reasonable price. :)

Oops. Sunday Confessions Link Up

Hi friends! 

Sorry I'm late. You know the drill.
1. I have not even had the chance to look at my blog since Thursday. I'm sorry if you're expecting a visit or a comment reply.

2. We're almost completely done painting the nursery. We spent all day yesterday in there, and it looks great! I'd show you pictures, but Mike says that's not allowed till it's totally finished. Anyway, here's a terrible instagram picture of the unpainted door that he installed.
3. I think I screwed up my back yesterday. I literally did not sit for more than a couple hours yesterday. I went out and bought our tree, came home and decorated it, then rearranged the living room, moved one chair to the office, brought a side table out of the bedroom, and then set up our Christmas village. All that's left is the nativity scene, but I'm honestly not sure where that will even go.
I'd put up the nice pictures I took yesterday... but I don't want to get up to get the camera. Sorry.

4. We missed church today. I know I slept through my alarm, and when I tried to get up, my back and head screamed at me to lay back down. Mike had to help me out of bed this morning.

5. I haven't taken a belly picture for 16 weeks. Oops. I'd better do it today, because I'm 17 weeks tomorrow. I'm a failure.

Link up your confessions here!!