Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Precious Moments

We've moved!!! With baby #3 on the way, I am finally making the transition into one blog for the entire McFamily! Keep up with all things McMillen at www.allofthepreciousmoments.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Change is good. Well, that's what I keep telling myself!

I am in the long, tedious process of going through all of our crap and deciding which pile to put it in: Garage Sale, Storage, Apartment. Yep. We are moving in the next couple of weeks! A bit of the story if you haven't yet heard it....

We started off our marriage in Clearwater, the town my husband grew up in. In fact, Clearwater is kind of The McMillen's town. His Grandad, Parents, and all of his Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins grew up and went through school in Clearwater. It's also no secret that I hated living there. I am from a small town myself, but this was just extreme. Total Mayberry run by a bunch of Barney Fifes. People would stop me in the grocery store to talk to me and I would have NO idea who they were, yet they knew me because I was a McMillen. *cue Twilight Zone theme song*

So, what has changed that makes me willing to go back? Several things. For starters, I am now a Mommy and suddenly Mayberry sounds kind of nice. I have grand visions of being super involved and active in the community, making friendships that have certainly escaped me in my current town (possibly the most un-friendly town I've ever been a part of and I'm sooo excited to make my exit!), and being an advocate for my kids and what I expect for their education. Oh, and then there's also the whole part that my in-laws are giving us 5 acres to build a house on. Across the street from them. *cue Everybody Loves Raymond theme song*

The land was first offered to us years ago, and at that time it was 10 acres. Our answer was immediately HELL NO. But thanks for asking. Neither of us wanted to move back there, and we certainly weren't interested in living so close to the parental units. His parent's sectioned off 5 acres and sold half of the land to some of their friends and Ryan's brother had plans to build on the remaining 5 acres. About 6 months ago, his brother decided not to build there afterall and the land was again offered to us, this time as a last chance offer as they were going to sell it if we didn't want it.

We had been looking for land for quite a while in various small towns in the area and were not finding exactly what we wanted. We were getting frustrated. Our initial reaction to their offer was again, HELL NO. But then we stood back and looked at it a bit more logically. First, the land is FREE. Hello? Second, it is beautiful! One of the problems with the land we had been looking at elsewhere was that it was ugly, or next to a busy highway, or with terrible views, etc. It wasn't until I actually walked back onto the property that I knew that it was Home. Totally gorgeous!

So, here's the plan: Ryan's parents also happen to own a six-plex in Clearwater and they rarely have a vacancy because the rent is so affordable. We were stressing about having our house on the market and keeping it "show ready" at a moment's notice with having two kids and two big dogs. When the in-laws had a two bedroom apartment become available, we jumped at the opportunity! We will be moving out over the next couple of weeks, leaving our house for the most part "staged" with our belongings, taking the essentials with us and storing or selling the rest.

We are hoping to have our house listed by August 1st. There are a lot of good selling points to our house (4 bedroom, 3 bath, backyard backs up to a pasture, nice neighborhood, small town, etc.) so we are really hoping it moves fast because paying rent and a mortgage won't exactly be fun. After the sale of our house, the plan is to remain in the apartment until next summer or fall and then begin building our home. We have been following Dave Ramsey and will be following his advice of saving, saving, saving and being able to close on the house with only a 15 year mortgage.

Is it going to suck to have two toddlers and a newborn in an apartment? YES. Am I crapping my pants that there is no dishwasher? HELL YES. Will it be worth it when it's all over? YES. Short term pain for a long term payoff.

Monday, June 20, 2011


We like to give our kids names in utero. We never revealed their actual names until they were here and famly came in the room and through tear filled eyes, I got to say, "this is Tucker Shay" or "this is Chloe Noelle." I loved that part of it, even if it drove eager friends and family crazy. It's special to me.

Tucker's name in utero was Hanky, named after South Park's Hanky the Christmas Poo. I don't even know how it came about, but it stuck so well, we accidentally called him Hanky a few times after he was born, too.

Chloe's name in utero was Tater. I had a hard time coming up with her nickname and Tater was suggested by my sister, Jill. We didn't refer to her as Tater nearly as much as we did Hanky, but it was still fun to have a little nickname.

So, when I got a positive pregnancy test in May (surprise!), I started to think of nickname possibilities for this baby. As silly as it sounds, I'm gonna go with Gravy. I kind of figure, I have my sweet boy, I have my sweet girl so this baby is just, well, Gravy.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Heaven is for Real

by Todd Burpo.

This is the book I read for May, even though I actually read it in April...or was it March??? Doesn't matter....

I first heard about this book from one of my online friends and then one of my clients talked about it during her massage. She had recently lost her dog and it impacted her greatly and I could tell how much this book had helped her. I decided to go to Barnes and Noble after work to buy it.

I walked around Barnes and Noble looking for the book, having no idea what it looked like. I am so not the type to ask for help in a store and I was about to give up. But then I said a little prayer of, "God, if I am meant to read this book right now, show me where it is." I kid you not, I literally lifted up my face and it was right there. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I tend to think it was a little bigger that that. :)

This book was written by a father, who also happens to be a preacher. His son had a near-death experience and this book is about what the little boy revealed to his family about visiting Heaven. (I just got goosebumps when I typed that!).

I am not going to give any specifics here, because my client pretty much revealed the whole book to me during her massage. It didn't ruin the book for me by any means, but I definitely would have preferred not knowing all about it beforehand.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wherein I Make a Decision

So, as you know, I have wanted to be a doula for a long, long time. I have been debating for years now whether or not I should actually take the steps to become a certified doula (which is not required, by the way).

I have rolled this idea around in my head for so long that I almost couldn't distinguish between an actual desire to doula or just wanting to check something off of my list.

Although I am extremely passionate about natural pregnancy, labor and birth, at this time in my life I am not going to pursue a career as a doula (I am on a different path that is even more exciting!). I have many factors that helped me reach my decision, none of which are particularly insightful or interesting so I will spare the details.

That being said, I am opening my door to accept a handful of clients each year. I have the knowledge and practical skills and experience to help guide me, but I will also be extremely choosey in the people I will support because I have decided to provide this service free of charge. Yes, you read that right. Free.

Most doulas in this area charge $400-500 whether they hold a certification or not. Many women cannot afford that. There is no way I would have been able to hire a doula for Chloe's birth had she not been willing to do a partial trade with me. Because I am so passionate about unmedicated birth, I want to reach out to those women who want to do it, but need that extra support they may not be able to afford.

So, there you have it. If you (or someone you know!) has the desire to experience the power of birth, send me an email! katy526@gmail.com

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Prayer Request

We received some very heartbreaking news this weekend. Ryan's Aunt Becky, who had been in remission from breast cancer for a year and a half, has found out she has Stage 4 liver, rib and lung cancer. Her bloodtests in January were fine so this is obviously an aggressive, fast moving cancer. Her biopsy is tomorrow but the prognosis is poor, regardless of type of cancer. Depending on type of cancer, they will either treat in an effort to prolong her life or treat to keep her as pain-free as possible.

This family is the same who lost Grandpa suddenly in November from a ruptured aneurysm, which is also the last time we saw Aunt Becky, as she lives in North Carolina. Rather than talk about how this will affect the family, I'd much rather tell you little bit about Becky and ask for your prayers for her and her family as they face the news.

First of all, Aunt Becky is probably my favorite in-law. I say that here because I know that no family members on that side of the family read this blog. She is such a genuinely nice person who is honestly interested in every single word you have to say. She is a very special person, who happens to give the tightest, longest hugs in the history of mankind. And to watch her love on my children, oh, there's just nothing better. She's the one who introduced me to "getting their sugar" by feasting on their little necks, which is one of our favorite things to do. I had never heard that term until Aunt Becky came to town.

Aunt Becky is in her forties with three children, Brandon, Lindsey and Nicholas. Lindsey had a birth injury which resulted in Cerebral Palsy. Lindsey is in her twenties now, is non-functioning and requires 24 hour care. Becky is the perfect mother for Lindsey and her challenges and needs. She has devoted her life to her family and has taken a backseat to everybody without complaint. She only started working outside of the home about five years ago.

Aunt Becky, Grandma, and now my Mother-in-Law (Terry) are going on a cruise the first week of May. Originally, it was just going to be Grandma and Becky to celebrate Becky's remission but with the recent development, Terry will be joining them. Becky's oncologist advised Becky to go on the cruise, which to me was very telling of the prognosis.

I am heartbroken for the entire family, in many ways Becky is the breath of fresh air that everyone on that side of the family needs. She's the one who always thinks positively, whereas everyone else can have Doom & Gloom personalities. I am heartbroken for Becky, as a mom I just don't know how you prepare to say goodbye to your children who are so young still. I am heartbroken for Grandma and Terry who have suffered so much since Grandpa died. I'm not sure Grandma will be able to function with this stress as she has many health issues herself.

I would ask you to cover this family in prayers, they all need strength and comfort in the following days, weeks, or months. Please also pray for all of us who will have to make the horribly painful goodbye phone call. Pray that we will find the words we need to say and that they will bring Becky comfort and peace.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Can I Get An AMEN?

April's book (that I actually read in March) was Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It is half nutritional information/half cookbook. It has so much information, in fact, that I am having to re-read it because the first time around I went on brain overload.

This book completely sums up why America is fat and sick, why our grocery store food is so unhealthy (even our fruits and vegetables!), and how scary our basic survival is becoming given the poor state of the foods made available to us. Our food is soaked with pesticides, has been genetically engineered, is injected with antibiotics or given hormones (and really, this list could go on and on) and we all need to be made aware of what is happening. Just look at cancer statistics from 100 years ago, compared to now. Our food is killing us, people, and unless we force change to happen it's only going to get worse!

As a (basically) single income household, we simply cannot afford to eat 100% organic. I wish that we could, but it's just not possible right now. We do have plans in the next few years to have a 3 acre organic farm, but for the right here, right now, I just cannot shop 100% organic. But I do the best I can and I do a fairly good job of it.

For anyone local, here are some great resources for local and sustainable farming, as well as reasonable packaged goods:

Faye Farms, Udall, KS. This is where I buy our raw milk, local honey, farm fresh eggs and some fabulous smelling handmade soaps. She also offers frozen pork, chickens and ground beef. You may call her to set up a farm tour where she will show you around and show you her sales room, which is an "on your honor" system. You can find her on Facebook under Faye Farms or you can just call her at (620)782-3840.

Schenker Family Farms, McCune, KS. Although this is definitely not super local, they do deliver to the area. They offer all kinds of meat products and jams/jellies! You can find them on Facebook under Schenker Family Farms or visit www.schenkerfarms.com. They do provide grass fed ground beef at Kountry Kupboard (see next listing).

Kountry Kupboard, Rose Hill, KS.A small shop just outside of Rose Hill, Bonnie stocks everything from vitamins, gluten-free products, bulk grains, skincare, green cleaning products...you name it, she either has it or can get it for you. And her prices ROCK! Think Green Acres, but much smaller and much less expensive! She's a little off the beaten path, but so worth it! She only accepts cash or check, so be aware of that when you go. She is not on Facebook but you can visit her website at www.kountrykupboard.net or call at (316)733-2544.

Back to the book....
This book can be a great resource for anyone wanting to take baby steps to boost their family's nutrition. You will also learn a lot about things you may be feeding your family that are unhealthy and perhaps even dangerous. I know a lot about nutrition (remember, I am the nerd who reads for information, not pleasure), probably more than the average person and I learned so much from reading this book! Highly recommended if you want to change some things in your life!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Wow! I'm not talking to myself afterall! I recently changed my settings for the comments section and didn't realize I had several waiting for my approval! Made me feel good, I was getting paranoid about spilling my guts without any kind of feedback from anyone. So, thank you if you have left a comment for me in the past month or so, I just now found them all tonight! On Tucker's blog, it notifies me via email when I have a comment waiting for approval so I need to do some poking around on this one and fix the problem. I am so not computer, or blog, savvy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Answer.

Now that I have managed to blab about this over several posts, I do believe this will be the last. If anyone is still hanging in there, thank you for reading my verbal diarrhea. I didn't purposely drag this out, my intention was to make one post but I just kept thinking of more things I needed and wanted to say.

I reached my "OH, HELL NO" weight last summer and I remember trying to figure out what I was going to do. I love eating low carb, problem was, I wasn't sticking with it long enough for it to work for me. I needed to do something more strict, something with faster results because I am a total instant gratification junkie. Patience is not a virtue of mine.

I want to preface the unveiling of what program I am doing by saying that I researched the hell out of this before I started. I had multiple online friends who were successful on this plan, and come to find out, a handful of relatives as well. I have been doing the homeopathic version of the hCG (aka Simeon's Protocol) diet. Please be aware that there are all kinds of imitation versions of this diet out there, most of which are a complete debacle of the original program. Other than taking the homeopathic supplement rather than prescription, I have followed the original program written by Dr. Simeons in the 1950s.

In a nutshell, it is a low calorie, low fat, low carbohydrate diet in conjuntion with taking a homeopathic hCG supplement (it can also be done by taking actual hCG, which is prescription medicine).

I am a skeptic by nature, and a large part of me didn't believe this was going to work for me. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I was going to try it to prove it doesn't work or that I would feel like crap on it. When I asked my mom, who has her doctorate in homeopathic medicine, if she could obtain the supplement for me, she was skeptical as well.

The program works in "rounds", meaning you follow the restrictive diet for approximately three weeks and then maintain your new weight for six weeks and then you repeat until you have reached your goal weight. My first round I lost 20 pounds! That was enough to convince my mom to start the diet as well. To date, I have lost nearly 50 pounds and my mom has lost nearly 60! I am closing in on my goal and I am thinking I should be there around June. I feel fantastic, even when I am on the restrictive/weight loss part of the program.

We have been so excited about our losses and how great we feel that we decided to start offering this at our clinic. I don't want these weight loss posts to be misconstrued as advertisements for our business, but if anyone would like more information about the program we offer, you can email us at hhcgquestions @ gmail dot com.

For the first time in years, I feel hopeful and confident that I can be thin for a lifetime. For me, this was the answer I had been searching for and I am so glad I decided to try one last time to succeed. I am still in the process of losing, but I will post some before and during pictures soon!

Friday, March 18, 2011


For the past twelve years (has it really been that long?), I have carried around a disclaimer for my weight. I have worked a casual "I haven't always been this way" into conversation more times than I care to admit when talking to new(er) people in my life. For some reason, I have found it necessary to let people know I haven't always been an obese, out of shape person.

I used to be thin.
I used to run on a regular basis.
I used to be a size four.
Used to be. Used to be. Used to be.

As if that would somehow make things different. As if that disclaimer would make me exempt from judgement. The truth is, if I was talking to someone who didn't care to know me at my size, then I shouldn't care to know them at all.

That's easy to say, but it's hard to do. I do care what people think. Sure, it's easier to write somebody off if they are shallow enough to judge on appearance alone, but that doesn't mean that it won't affect your self esteem to be rejected in such a manner.

Yet, I continued to try to validate myself and excuse what I had become. I continued to seek others' approval and I continued to place blame where it didn't belong.

Blame my age.
Blame my job.
Blame my hormones.
Blame my stress.
Blame my happiness.
Blame my lack of willpower and self control.
Blame the fact that I'd rather watch Food Network than do Yoga Booty Ballet.
Blame, Blame, Blame.

But things are changing and I am excited. Once my goals have been reached, my disclaimer will remain the same, although the intent will be profoundly different.

I haven't always been this way.

I haven't always been this motivated.
I haven't always been this excited.
I haven't always been this hopeful.
I haven't always been this healthy.

....to be continued.

Monday, March 14, 2011

We Interrupt This Saga....

with a quick post about my latest read. Yes, it's only March 14th and I've already read March's book! Well, I skimmed a lot of it because I found out it really wasn't what I was looking for. The book was The New Strong-Willed Child by Dr. James Dobson.

I wanted to read it to help shed light on Mr. Tucker Shay's stubborness and strong willed nature. Come to find out, my definition of "strong-willed" and the type of child the book addresses are world's apart. I did pick up some helpful general parenting tips, but otherwise I didn't really feel like the book pertained to us.

I know that was a really crappy synopsis and book review, but there it is. Just didn't really get into it, but I am totally excited about my next read!

The next chapter of my weight loss journey coming soon! (if anyone is even reading, haha).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mind Chatter

So, after reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, I decided that one of the parts of my life that needed to be rewritten was my physical health and appearance. If I changed my outward self, I was certain my inner self would follow. I would flourish and grow. I would inspire and teach. And you know what? It's happening and I love it.

But let's go back to the beginning, shall we? And as a reminder, Donald Miller says in his book that we have to do things that are uncomfortable in order to grow, and this post most definitely fits in that category.

I have done countless diets in the past. It all started in high school when I stopped playing softball. It was okay to be 160 pounds when I was playing a sport, sometimes it's nice to have a little weight to throw around (I am 5'6", by the way, in case you don't know me in real life). But it was not okay with me to be 160 when I was done playing and had retired my cleats.

Cue Jenny Craig. I started going to Jenny Craig on a weekly basis. At your weekly appointment, you weigh, talk with your counselor and then choose your prepackaged menu for the week. Aside from the enrollment fee, you have to pay weekly for your foods. The average price per week (and remember, this was circa 1995) was probably $90. The food was okay, there were some things I really loved (French toast with berries, yum!) and there were some things that were vile (oatmeal raisin bar). It took me five months, but I returned to school for my senior year at 130 pounds. I accomplished this, by the way, at the same time I worked at the snack bar at Crestview Country Club. How is that for determination?

Knowing what I do about health and nutrition now, I would never advocate someone going to Jenny Craig. Why? Their foods are largely (genetically modified) soy based (very bad for you, despite what some manufacturers claim) and packaged in plastic containers that are often meant to be microwaved. Plastics leach into foods and are toxic to our bodies, mimicking estrogen and causing a host of health problems. I never microwave in plastic and I have replaced all of my food storage containers with glass. There is some seriously scary stuff going on with our food and food products out there (non-stick pans, plastics, soy, high fructose corn syrup, etc.), but getting on my soapbox about that is not really related to this post, so I will step down until another day...

Ahem. Where was I?

Oh, yes. I was finally skinny and going back for my senior year. I went to a small high school, a whopping 96 kids in my graduating class. I had always been what I would call a floater (no, this is not a poop joke). I fit in with a variety of cliques and just kind of floated between groups. I was friends with the popular girls, I was friends with the nerds, I was friends with the average Joe's. I was just everyone's friend, plain and simple. But I was almost never noticed by the boys. Until I came back skinny.

One would think that would be awesome, right? The whole bad teenage movie of the nerdy girl turned total hotness and homecoming queen happening in your own life? Okay, not total hotness and homecoming queen (however, Snowball Queen nominee, is that close enough?), but you know what I mean. I was finally noticed. And I hated it.

It made me feel resentful and jaded. Why in the world would I give some jerk the time of day just because he is suddenly interested now that my size is smaller? Seriously? How shallow! That Marilyn Monroe quote comes to mind, "...if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." I didn't hear that quote until I was an adult but it definitely sums up how I felt.

Enter, stage left: my first boyfriend. Long story short: we dated for a year, we broke up. Should have been end of story, right? Wrong. His parents said horrible, horrible things about me that got back to me (small town, remember?) and their words affected me very profoundly. Remember the girl I was? I was a nice, naive girl and always rooted for the underdog. I did not deserve the hateful things they said. As an adult, and especially as a mom, I can see how they were huge jerks and it was their problem, not mine, but the 18 year old Me couldn't see that. Present day Katy would have told them where to stick it.

Curious as to what they said? I was 145 pounds (had gained a bit back) and as they were convincing their son to end our relationship, they decided to hit me below the belt and attack my physical appearance. The phrase that affected me the most was, "she's fat and she's just going to get fatter." Yep. That was their entire case against me. Kudos to them.

Hearing that crushed me more than I can really explain. I was so fortunate in school to be in the role of "everyone's friend," that I never had to deal with being teased or picked on. This was really my first experience with anything bad being said about me, and it was hard. It was very hard. Their words became my new inner dialogue and I began to believe it. I let those mean words become the thing I would repeat to myself several times a day.

Those words kept me from eating a morsel for two entire weeks. I dropped weight. Fast. My parents threatened to hospitalize me if I didn't start eating. So I would pretend to take bites, scoot food around on my plate, cover it with my napkin, etc. I lost twenty pounds in two weeks. Anytime I felt hungry, I would just think about what they said, and would instantly lose my appetite.

And then the town started talking again. "psssst..Katy Schrag is anorexic, have you seen her?" And you know what that did? It fueled my fire. It kept me going down that path, I never wanted to be called fat again. I did all kinds of messed up things including drinking mouthwash and syrup of ipecac to make myself vomit (which it didn't work, it just gave me an upset stomach for an entire day), handfuls of diet pills daily, diuretics, starving myself for days at a time, not sleeping because of the ephedra in the diet pills, hours upon hours of exercise...you get the idea.

And that, my friends, is how I became the overexercising, eating disordered person I referenced in my previous post. To be continued, yet again......

Monday, March 7, 2011

Worth the Weight?

I really don't like talking about my weight. It's uncomfortable and embarrassing and obsessing over it has consumed way too much of my brain activity. For the past twelve years I have really struggled and I am excited that I am finally making progress in the right direction, and for the first time in a long time, I feel like I can meet (and maybe even exceed) my goals.

When I met Ryan, I was a size 4, 126 pounds, and ran on a regular basis. To the outside world, I appeared to be extremely healthy. Except I was exactly the opposite of healthy. I was starving myself for several days, and when I would finally eat, it would be total crap like Cheez-Its and Dr. Pepper. Then I would overexercise (we're talking like 3 hours on the treadmill) to compensate. I also took evil little diet pills called Diet Fuel and diuretics daily. Oh, and passed out in the shower on a weekly basis. Oh, and lest I forget, I was a bitch more often than I was nice.

(Katy-Food)+Diet Pills=Not A Nice Girl

The Skinny Bitch

After I met Ryan, I didn't want to be the annoying girl who only ordered salads or who picked at my food on dates so I started eating like a normal person again. And then before I knew it, my portion sizes were mirroring his. My weight was increasing at an alarming rate. I'm talking like thirty pounds in a year. Over our dating years, my weight continued to creep up and even though I was aware of what was happening, it was almost like I didn't care and was powerless to stop it anyways. Maybe in a sense I was testing our relationship to see if Ryan would love me fat like he loved me skinny? Hmm....

One year of dating, up about 30 pounds. I remember feeling so fat that weekend, I had just gone up another size in pants.

Apparently he did, because he proposed at my heaviest and I immediately began planning the big wedding weight loss. I decided what size I wanted to be at my wedding and ordered my dress five sizes smaller than what I was. What? I work well with deadlines.

I lost 50 pounds in 5 months by doing a low carbohydrate diet. I felt fantastic! I fit into my dress and even had to have it taken in a little bit! Booya!

Wedding weight loss success!

After the wedding, I promised myself I would never go back. But I did. The weight crept up a little at a time and soon I was back to square one. Seven years of marriage and two kids later, my weight seemed to hover at the same place, not getting worse but certainly not getting better. After weaning Tucker, my weight shot up about twenty pounds very quickly, I guess because I didn't adjust my eating habits when my milk production decreased. When I stepped on the scale last summer and saw that I weighed what I did at delivery with both kids, I knew something had to change.

A week before Chloe was born, I weighed the same last summer in a non-pregnant state. Really, Katy? Really?

....to be continued.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

by Ina May Gaskin

First, NO, I'm not pregnant.

I am, however, really trying to think through some things and where my path is leading and one of the options I have before me is to become a certified doula through DONA. It is something I've wanted to do since college but I've never taken the time, or budgeted for that matter, to make it happen. You don't have to be certified to be a doula but I love to have the appropriate credentials behind anything I do so it just makes sense to me.

Since I feel like I want to sit and think on following through on this path, I decided to go ahead and read some of the required reading for the certification. I am passionate and interested in natural labor and childbirth anyways so I was hoping to learn more about the process and techniques for coping for my future labor(s).

The first half of the book is a compilation of natural birth stories. Ina May is a midwife and she lives on a kind of hippie compound in Tennessee called The Farm. These people are, um, different. I have to admit, I didn't really enjoy the first half of the book. Although I am more natural minded than most in my area, some of these stories had components that totally made me think these people are part of a cult. Seriously. I am still wondering.

The second half of the book, I really enjoyed. It was about the mechanics of birth and how and why things happen when birth is left in a natural, organic state. I won't step onto my soapbox about medically managed pregnancies, births & labors, but I would encourage every woman to read, research and decide on her own and to never have blind faith in the medical community. Doing so is irresponsible, regardless of condition or disease (pregnancy is not a disease, by the way, and shouldn't be treated as such). Doctors are not gods and they do not know all.

After reading the book, I was no closer to making a decision on becoming a certified doula so I'm going to let the thought marinate a bit longer. I have another idea I am considering too that I will post about soon!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

by Donald Miller.

One of my (many) resolutions is to read one book per month this year. I am not a reader, I don't particularly enjoy it, but I recognize its importance so I am making an effort.

I first heard of this book on one of my favorite blogs (Enjoying the Small Things by Kelle Hampton). I am so glad I decided to start with this book, the chapters are very short, from a page and a half to three pages. James Patterson does the same thing and I think it's a trick that entices you to keep reading "just one more chapter." The book was an easy read, and I chuckled quite a few times.

The whole premise is that we should all view our lives as a screenplay and we should write the characters we wish to become, and write the stories that are worth living. So many of us get caught up in the daily grind and more often than not, we are just going through the motions without anything interesting or exciting happening to us. If you were to ask yourself if an audience would be bored with your story, what would the answer be? My audience would be asleep in five minutes, or out at the ticket office asking for a refund!

Some of my character flaws that I need to challenge this year?
1) I am not adventurous at.all. Period. I am a creature of habit and the unknown makes me super uncomfortable.
2) I am shy, which I just recently discovered during my RAK challenge and in Target the other day when a simple conversation with another mom in the baby aisle gave me sweaty palms.
3) I have been told by many, many people that their first impression of me is that I was intimidating. I think that stems from me being shy, coupled with the fact that I don't smile a lot. Damn braces in my teen years made me paranoid to smile and it became a habit.
4) In high school, I was voted two things my senior year: Best Sense of Humor and Most Inspiring. Over the years since high school, I feel like I have lost touch with those two qualities. I need to find a way for those attributes to rise to the top.
5) I need to lose weight. I am well on my way (down 36 lbs. so far, woot!), and I know myself. Once I am back to my PR (pre-Ryan) weight, I know that my confidence will increase which will take care of smiling more and being less shy.

I am going to work on making a list of things that I want to do this year in order to develop my character and write a different story for myself. Exciting thing just don't happen, you have to make them happen.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rock Stars!

So, I have been following Kelle Hampton's blog, Enjoying The Small Things for almost a year now. The link to her blog made its way to me via my mom, who warned me to read it when I had time to sob like a baby. I went to the site and immediately closed the page. Not knowing what the blog was about, all I saw was that the blog post was about a birth. Being a Mom to a new baby at the time, I feared the the blog was related to fetal demise and I just couldn't bring myself to read it.

After my mom and sister reassured me that the post was not about a loss, I agreed to read it. Holy crap. Not only did I sob, I was nearly inconsolable. Not only is Kelle an amazing writer, she has incredible, emotional photography to help her illustrate her words. From the first post I read, I was hooked. Chloe was still a little peanut at the time and I would lay in bed with her at night while she nursed, with my netbook propped up on pillows. And I read. And read. And read. Every night I read until I had read the entire blog, from beginning to end. You can read about Nella's Birth Story by clicking here .

I have fallen in love with this family over the past year. Kelle's creativity helps me foster my own, and her girls are just precious! Nella turns one a a couple of weeks and there is a fundraiser in her honor. If you are touched by this family like I was (and still am), please consider making a donation. You can read about donating by going to today's post on the blog, or just click this link. For a mere $5 donation, you can help Nella's Rockstars make a huge impact on children just like this sweet little punkin'! I know I don't have a large readership, and that's on purpose, I am a pretty private person, but if anyone out there is indeed reading, please consider making today a charitable one!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Schwety Starbucks.

So, I failed miserably at my whole "32 Random Acts of Katy (Kindness)" this year. My first goal was to complete all 32 acts in May. Didn't happen. I extended my deadline to the end of the year. Didn't happen.

I would normally say "I suck," and obsess over my failure, but I have to remember that I still did more nice things for strangers than I would normally do so I guess it was a mediocre success? What I didn't expect to discover is that I'm still painfully shy.

My mom and my sister are laughing right now because I doubt either one of them would describe me that way. Let me rephrase: I am painfully shy when I am not in my own element.

I tended to commit random acts that were "faceless." Buying a drink in the Starbucks drive thru is easy because you have driven off before the person knows what you did. Collecting grocery carts is easy because the grocery store employee is probably never even going to realize you did it. The acts I committed that required direct conversation or interaction with others made me extremely uncomfortable and schwety.

I definitely learned something from this. Before trying this, I *might* have described myself as outgoing. Now? Definitely an introvert. Definitely.