Dear Brain….we need to talk.

Dear Brain,

Listen…I appreciate your enthusiastic encouragement and all that business, but please stop being so darn hopeful all the time. I am just worried that it will only lead to disappointment in the end. Yes it is true that the past three mornings….calm down please brain…you have had an elevated temperature. And I know that seeing as it has been…..(recounting)…193 days since the start of our last period, that you are a little excited at the thought of a period finally. Although in all honesty, what are you thinking? I mean that just means we have to go to the store and shell out our fun money for pads and tampons…you do realize that means less fun money right? Okay well obviously the period would help with the whole getting pregnant thing…so I guess I can understand your excitement about that. And I know you have just been itching to finally unbox your fertility monitor that you decided to shell out mucho mucho mullah for about….six months ago…only to realize that you shouldn’t start using it until your period arrived. And I know you didn’t expect it to be so long before that happened, but seriously, stop jumping up and down for goodness sakes and stop eyeing the fertility monitor box toying with the idea of opening it and rereading the directions for the zillionth time, we’ve got a long way to go. Like at least 11 more mornings or so. Therefore I would like to propose a compromise.  I will allow you just one teeny tiny happy dance each morning when the thermometer shows that the temp is still elevated, but that is it! OKAY? You can’t spend the rest of the day picking out names and day dreaming about what your future nuggets eye color will be. That is just too much. Seriously. I need to be able to concentrate on work and reviewing for my exam. And Please! stop wondering if instead of a period in 11 days you will get a few more days of elevated temperature….because you and I know you are hoping that instead of a period we get a positive preggo test…me for the triumph over not buying feminine products for over six months and you so you can finally allow yourself to go Baby crazy!….okay okay..who am I kidding? We are both excited to go Baby Crazy. But listen. There is no guarantee that in 10-14 days we will get a period let alone a positive preggo test. Therefore please stick to the compromise and stop torturing me with your excitement! We need to be more realistic here. Otherwise we’re not going to make it through the next two weeks together. You are just being completely insufferable.  

Sincerely,

The Pessimistic  Realistic Side

Ode to a Best Friend

My bestie, Bret, is moving away 😦 After a decade of living in the college town where we first met and a lifetime in Colorado, she is ready to try something new. On the one hand I am super proud of her and I can totally relate to the feelings she is having about wanting to live somewhere else and spread her proverbial wings and what not. But the evil-selfish Natalie wants to kidnap her and chain her in my basement so she can’t go anyway…..what? Sure you’re all judgy now, but if it was your friend you’d want to do the same thing. Anyhoo, as of today we have just under a month to soak up all the time we possibly can….can you see the hick-up yet? Yep, Natalie is suffering from self-banishment for the next two weeks until her final exam. So, since I am an anal calculator (ewww that sounded gross and wrong….but funny so I am leaving it there) that gives me exactly 9 days from my test to when we go to Texas for Spring Break (had I known that she would be leaving before we planned the Texas trip I totally would have gone with her instead, ROAD TRIP!). So yeah. 9 days! That is like no time at all. Of course we are planning to get together at least twice before my test and then I decided that I am taking the day after my exam off to stalk her spend the entire day with her.

Do you think it would be too much to schedule a photo studio session for just the two of us? No…I am serious…okay well only half way serious, meaning the thought did come to mind. But what I am really thinking is we should spend the day in said college town where we first met and just relax spending the day together. I am imagining cupcakes and tea (Celestial Seasonings, of course, because we both worked for them in college) and just basking in the gloriousness that is our friendship. Now I know we’re going to be fine….mostly because I am making her sign a contract guaranteeing that on or before June 1st 2013 she will be back in Colorado (FYI she is moving to pursue a graduate degree in Occupational Therapy…she wants to become a hippotherapist working with children and people with disabilities or undergoing rehabilitation by putting them on horses or some bleeding heart helpful thing like that….what a girl scout…I guess I should cut through the angry sarcasm to note that we both volunteer at a barn here in Colorado that does just this….what freakin’ girl scouts we are). Anyway she PROMISED me that she would come back to Colorado after she received said degree  of course evil mean Natalie wants her back way sooner than that …But I have decided to be the uber-supportive and encouraging friend that I know I can be when I put my own selfishness aside and I am giving her a big ole push out of the Colorado nest! Plus, I know that it will only be a couple of months until I will be able to come visit her and there is already talk of a trip to Mexico in search of a rare and special elixar… I can’t remember what it is we’re in search of, I am thinking it is a tequila of some kind…anyway who really needs a reason to go lounge on a beach in Mexico? Not me!. We’ve spent WAY longer apart and this will be no different. Actually it should be better because we will actually have the means to see each other more and I have a whole list of places to visit in and around where she will be moving. So chin up buttercup!
I LOVE you Bret and I am so proud of you for taking this leap out into the world! I know you will be a huge success at all your future endeavors….but I hope your most successful endeavor will be moving back to Colorado in 2013. Go Girl!

6 Down One To GO!

The sickness is gone and after a weekend of skiing with a couple from work and hubby, I am feeling ready to face another week of work….okay maybe that is an exaggeration. BUT I did get home Friday to find the most magical type of letter awaiting me in the mail….the PASS letter for the exam I took at the beginning of February. For those of you who might just be joining us, I am working towards my architectural license….which involves taking 7 exams and forking over a whole crapload of moolah to the State of Colorado, the National Council of Architectural Registration Board, your husband for putting up with your stressed out craziness for another year despite the fact that when you graduated with your masters degree your promised him that now it was him and you time, and this homeless dude named Bob who said he knew all the secrets….okay the last one isn’t true…don’t give Bob money unless you want to. So anyhoosers, This is my 6th Pass and I am in the midst of studying for numero 7 which is to take place on March 10th, unless I have a flip out session and decide that I need more time to study, then I will gladly pay the $35 rescheduling fee and take a little more time. But as of now, I am feeling pretty good about it, I have been dedicating myself to this last one, despite that annoying procrastinator in the back of my brain that keeps telling me that there is other fun stuff to do besides study. Last night after about 7 hours of studying I got super excited and started making my “Post-ARE To Do List”, which, as the name implies, includes all the things I want to do once this last pesky test is behind me (I should have taken the time to come up with a cooler name like “When Natalie’s no Longer Crazy To-Do List” or “What to do with yourself after you’re done being a nerdy nerd List” But give me a break people I am working on very little free brain power). On the top of my list is to deep clean my entire house. There is nothing like spending several hours on the floor of your bathroom to remind you that you need to do some deep cleaning. Seriously how does the back of your toilet get so grody? Yuck! If I could have laid there and cleaned it would have at least made the hours I should have been sleeping more productive. There are three sections to the list: House Projects, Outside Projects (i.e. landscaping), and Other. Other includes the 900 lbs of fabric stuffed into my sewing room closet that is just aching to become pieces hanging in my wardrobe. The House Projects list could go on for days, but let’s just assume I get through the first 800 million items and get to “guest room”. Here is where we run into a kerfuffle. Do we spend the time, effort and money turning it into a guest room or do we just let that one sit out and wait for news of the impending arrival of our future spawn? Hey who am I kidding there is no way I am going to get to the guest room in the next 50 years, so no need to cross that bridge yet. My plan is to tape the list to my bathroom mirror and use it as motivation each time I brush my teeth….perhaps I will make a copy and put it at my desk at work….and one in the car. Anything to keep this motivation up. I CAN DO IT! So for the next two and a half weeks my butt is sticking to a strict regime. Work. Home. Dinner. Workout. Study until bedtime. Don’t worry there will be a shower in there somewhere. No need to gross you all out. I am pretty certain that I am taking March 11th off of work to lay in bed and bask in the gloriousness of no more tests (fingers crossed). Come on numero 7!

Nausea….but not the kind you hope for.

Yep I got sick Tuesday night…gross nauseated wish-you-would-just-die-to-end-the-pain sick. I hate that kind of sick. And it comes on so quickly and unexpectedly. Here’s what happened. Tuesday I get home from work, reheat some left-overs from the yummy meal I had made the night before then I sit down to watch a documentary with hubby. I thought I gave myself plenty of digestion time even after the three thin mints I allowed myself (FYI I did make it home without opening them and was able to limit myself to just those few cookies, YAY for my restraint!). Then I jumped on my elliptical and worked out for an hour. All was well and good, until I climbed into bed later that night. I started feeling a little sick to my stomach. Hmmm must not have waited long enough after eating to work out…or maybe I drank too much water after working out….or maybe…could it be? I tried not to get too excited at the thought that it might be possible that I was pregnant. Ugh stupid brain, get’s you all excited for no stinkin’ reason.
Anyhoo, so I get to sleep….for two hours, then I am up every one to two hours for the rest of the night. Suddenly I am thinking, if this is pregnancy maybe I was wrong about wanting it so badly. Surely some of you know the feeling, laying on the bathroom floor, hoping for some sort of relief…all I could think about was broccoli. The dish I had made the night before and had reheated for dinner on Tuesday was a chicken, broccoli and pasta dish and all I could think about at 1am, 2:30, 3:30a, etc. was how evil that darn broccoli was. It had to be the broccoli’s fault. And I love broccoli so much, how could it betray me in this way? It couldn’t have been the girl scout cookies….surely they aren’t to blame…it was definitely the broccoli!. So this is what I am thinking as I lay there hoping for my life to end.
All this might have been prevented….or at least the multiple times I had to get out of bed….if I didn’t have issues throwing up. Yes it is true, I have a horrible time throwing up. I don’t think I have actually thrown up since my age was in the single digits….don’t get me wrong I have spent several a nights laying on the bathroom floor, eyes watering, hoping for something, but nada. For some reason I can’t do it. It’s not for lack of trying, I tell you that much. So it is possible if I had been able to “take care of business” my first go-round I maybe wouldn’t have spent the entire night in and out of bed…but I guess that is just my theory.
So at 6am, what I figure is a respectable hour to leave messages, I call in sick to work and leave a message on my dentist’s voicemail about my inability to come in for a cleaning and I am sorry for the inconvenience. I maybe carried that message on too long….it is hard to say. I will probably show up for my next cleaning and the receptionist will say ‘Oh Natalie I am so sorry to hear you were up all night…and every hour…I think you are right about that broccoli!’.
Around 7 I climbed back into bed and was able to stay awake until hubby’s alarm went off at 8:30pm (slacker!…ahem). Hubby turns to me and says ‘you going in late to work today?’. Me: ‘no I am not going in at all, I am sick’. Hubby: ‘oh no what’s wrong?’. What’s wrong? What’s WRONG? I have been up all night, in and out of bed, talking on the phone while laying right next to you, what do you mean what’s wrong? I am starting to question his ability to know if someone breaks into our house to steal our TV. Anyhoo, not his fault…it’s the broccoli. So I take my temp. 101. Awesome…maybe not the broccoli after all.
Most likely, this is all due to the fact that I have been horribly bad about getting enough rest lately and with the stress of studying for my final exam I am to the point of over-exhaustion. I am not sure why I am ever surprised when this happens. It has happened more than a dozen times. This type of 24 hour flu business is my body’s way of telling me ‘hey stupid! You’re not going to do anything today….other than lay in bed or on the bathroom floor. hahaha. yeah next time maybe you will take better care of yourself!’. After my phone calls are made and a trash can is strategically placed next to the bed, in case my 20 year no-throwing-up streak is about to end, and I sit the bed up a little (genius of us to buy an Ergo-Motion frame i.e. an old people hospital bed that you can sit the head and foot up and put in zero gravity mode!), I am able to get about four hours of sleep (Aaahhh finally) and I spend the rest of the day either laying in bed studying or laying on the couch with the pups watching The Notebook. Needless to say I woke up today feeling quite a bit better, still woozy and a little sick to the tummy, but no fever. So off to work I went.
So the good news in all of this, I haven’t had any desire to eat another one of my girl scout cookies. The thought of them kind of turns my stomach. The bad news is I still have two tupperware containers full of the broccoli chicken pasta dinner and there is no way that is happening either!

The most celebrated and dreaded four words I could hear today…

“Your Cookies are Here”….as in Girl Scout cookies….as in oh so delicious chocolatey and mint morsels that will undoubtedly lead to expansion of the waistline….so you can imagine the excitement and then the instant dread as I realize how hard I have been working to make some progress with the weightloss business. But I can handle this right? sure I can. First step is to not claim them until tomorrow. I didn’t bring any cash or a checkbook. So rather than make a special trip out at lunch…right now…I am going to write this blog post and get cash tonight to bring in tomorrow. I am giving myself a cooling off period if you will. Time to gather my wits about me and devise a plan….so step one is not obtaining the cookies until tomorrow. Step two: DO NOT open the cookies! Not even for “just one” little cookie that “wouldn’t hurt anyone”. No definitely do not open the boxes. Step 3: Place the boxes of cookies in a opaque bag of some sorts and lock them in your desk drawer until the end of the day. It might be a good idea to hand the key to the office manager and say “don’t give me this until 5:00pm!”. At 5:00pm retrieve the bag full of “items” convince yourself that they are boxes of frozen, mushy spinach, ewww! See you’re going to make it! That was Step 4. Step 5: get home as quickly as you can. Try to avoid anyone you know who might ask you what is in your bag. If asked your response should be “boxes of frozen, mushy spinach, gross!”. Best to reinforce the lies you have told yourself to get this far. No sense in taking any chances here. Step 6: once in the door immediately throw the cookies, in the bag if you have to, into the freezer….probably best to put them in the freezer out in hubby’s garage…no wait, will he eat them if they are out there?……hmmm this might be a chance you have to take. Step 7: walk away. Compose yourself. Take a few more days to get over the idea that there are frozen cookies just a few feet away from your mouth at all times. Once you have mastered the control to avoid the cookies, open a box and have one cookie. Then repeat Step 7. At this rate, the boxes of cookies might last a whole year!….who am I kidding these cookies don’t have a chance with me. If they make it home they would be the luckiest cookies in the world…..assuming what constitutes a lucky cookie is a long survival period. We shall see though, we shall see.

Our Engagement

This week Mama M. is doing a really fun Valentine’s themed blog hop. I have been slacking so far, but I figured I would try to join in on this one. Today’s Topic is your engagement story. I read through a few of the other blog hoppers and some of them are so cute. If you feel like joining in, please do, or join in on one of her other topics this week.

I used to be a little shy about our engagement story because it wasn’t a storybook dream engagement that everyone always pictures. It was super romantic and special in my eyes, but I was always a little hesitant to explain it to everyone else. You’ll see why in a sec. But as I have read the engagement stories of so many other bloggers today I realized that everyone’s is different. Some sound amazing and perfect, some are totally hilarious and full of disaster. So here it is! Coming out of the vault after seven years (Yes I intended that to sound like a disney release of a movie)!
Andy was gearing up for his first deployment and came home for his leave in June. Background: we had already spent lots of time talking about getting married, I had pre-warned my parents that we weren’t planning to wait three more years until I was out of undergrad, and super freaky planner me, had already started sewing my “mock-up” for the wedding dress I had in my head. I had come up with the design in high school (not intending it to by my wedding dress…calm down people!…just thinking it would be a beautiful wedding dress) so I needed to make sure it would look good in real life..thus a practice dress before ever being engaged….all this boils down to Natalie is a freaky crazy planner. So anyhoo. The wedding was going to happen….sometime. He hadn’t popped the question and I was starting to wonder if he was going to ask at all since we had all but set a date during our phone conversations. He would have 30 days leave at the end of this deployment so we were thinking that would be a good time to do it. He would be home for the holidays, but we were thinking sometime in January so we didn’t have to compete with Christmas and New Years.
So I was a little curious if he would ask me during his pre-deployment leave or if he would just assume we were getting hitched in January and that was that. Well I was working while he was home on leave and I knew that he had some days planned to spend time with his dad while I was at work…nothing out of the ordinary. But things in Natalie’s life were starting to hit the fan. (Long story short: Mom, who was in remission at the time, finds out Dad has been having an affair….Mom and Dad’s marriage is what Natalie has based her whole idea of marriage on…now that it is in shambles, Natalie is having a freak-out session about getting married…is it the right choice?….is she insane?….Does Andy actually want to get married or am I pushing some sort of agenda upon him?…..you know basic crazy girl brain stuff). Anyhoo. I am over at his parent’s house and verbalizing said “freak out” session, i.e. crying about my parent’s failing marriage and worrying about our own future. I say something along the lines of “How are we supposed to get married when everything I thought I knew about a good marriage turns out to be a lie?”. Then Mr. Amazing puts on his cape, pulls me onto his lap, wraps his arms around me and says “Shhh (because I was sobbing) we’re not going to be like them. We’re going to be like us”. *awwwww* Then Andy kisses and hugs Natalie until she stops sobbing and starts smiling again. Then he says “why don’t you go grab a tissue from the bathroom”. I didn’t want to leave out any of the really romantic details here. Yes so I go blow my nose and shutter at the sight of myself in the mirror looking oh so beautiful with red puffy eyes. Then I return to his room where he is laying on the bed with his hand up behind him under the pillow. So I lay down to cuddle next to him and he starts in: “Well I wanted to go out to dinner and put on a big production, but for some reason I just really want to do this now…” me: blink blink ‘what?’. Then Andy sits up pulls out a blue leather box and says “Natalie do you want to marry me?”. me: “YES!”. Him: “You’re sure?”. Me: “YES!” then he pulls out the most beautiful princess cut diamond ring I have ever seen! *AWWWW*. There’s nothin’ like a big ole diamond ring to stop a girl from crying!
Here is the bling. Notice the position of our hands. Andy was covering up a cut on my finger from model building.  Architecture School can cause all sorts of problems the week before your wedding.
MckLinky Blog Hop

Have no Fear YakTrax are Here! and a little note to a random stranger

For Christmas this year I received YakTrax from my Dad. For those of you who are unfamiliar with YakTrax they are a stretchy rubber thingy-mi-bobber with spiral wire around the bottom rubber part (FYI this is the scientific description of YakTrax, they put it in laymen’s terms on their packaging). You stretch them around your favorite pair of  flat shoes (they definitely wouldn’t work with any kind of heeled footwear) like so.
And you are good to walk and/or run (difficult to do at the same time, you should try it…run with one leg, walk with the other…and take video) on any icy “I’m out to get you” surface. I have been wanting a set of these for a while and since I am trying to convince myself to train for a triathlon in the winter time, it just makes sense to have a pair for running outside (at least it makes sense if you are trying to avoid breaking your hips). So I unwrap them on Christmas, jump for joy, and then test them out one day on my way to work and wouldn’t ya know, all the ice melts away from all surfaces that I frequent (save for the 8 foot by 14 foot section of driveway where my car is designated to sit ….I sense a conspiracy that the neighbors are secretly filming me trying to get in and out of my car….keep your eyes out for a youtube video.). Well the snow and ice came back Sunday night and today I slapped my YakTrax back on for their second trek of the season! Sure the people on the train think I am crazy, but when I hit the often treacherous 1/4 mile path between the train station and the office building, I did so with confidence that today was not going to be the day that I would fall on my butt! Speaking of people thinking you are crazy on trains…
I was reading my newest book from this post on the train last week. When I stood up to get off the train, I noticed the cyclist standing behind me gave me a funny look. Once I figured out what was going on, I thought I should write him a little note…here we go…ahem.
Dear Mr. Cyclist-Standing-Behind-Me-on-the-Train,
First of all, you have a very long name and perhaps we should officially meet so I can just call you by your first name, until then I am just going to assume your name is John. So John, I am sorry I didn’t fully understand the expression on your face until I got off the train and walked away, but I now realize your expression was one of a person searching for some sort of embarrassment in my face. To answer a few of your wordless questions, yes, I was reading a book with diagrams of the male and female anatomy. No, this doesn’t embarrass me. In fact if you are at all confused about these diagrams, feel free to tap me on the shoulder next time and I would be happy to sit down with you, although preferably on a chair instead of a bike seat, and explain them too you. I think it is very important that everyone know and understand the parts and functions of the human anatomy, therefore I am glad that you were able to see them over my shoulder. Your welcome! By the way John, if I see you on the bike trail I will be sure to call attention to myself by shouting ‘Hey John!’. Happy trails, John, happy trails.
Sincerely,
Natalie
By the way, the TCOYF book is seriously awesome. Um WHY did no one tell me this stuff like 12-20 years ago? I seriously feel like the last woman on the planet that knows. But I am super excited that I know it now!