Sunday, December 16, 2012

my love/hate relationship with my vagina.

so i started writing this a few weeks ago, but got sick in the middle and just didn't have the heart to finish. i can't really remember where i was going with all of this, but it has to do with why i was so scared to have a pap smear at my 14 week dr app. 

i have a love/hate relationship with my vagina.
maybe it's more, "i fear my vagina."

either way, my vagina is not my friend.

as a kid, i didn't know i had a vagina. i can remember sitting in front of a mirror in my bedroom and examining "down there" and wondering what all that equipment was for. i knew boys had a 'penis', and suspected what i had was called a "china" but i didn't know for sure. i didn't worry about it too much.

then in 4th grade my mom sat me down with a book and showed me pictures of all my sex organs, (although i'm sure the clitoris wasn't present) explaining that i would bleed every month when i started my period. this concerned me, but i hadn't started my period yet, so i put it out of my mind. and of course 5th and 6th grade introduces the maturation program, the most embarrassing hour of the school year, if not your entire life. it wasn't until 7th grade sex ed that i knew that sex was how babies were made and that the vagina was quite important with that whole process.

i was raised in a very conservative religious culture that teaches sex outside of marriage is a sin. and let me get this straight, i'm not angry at my religion. i'm not blaming anyone for my vaginaphobia. i think it's great to teach kids to wait until marriage. (and here i'm opening a huge can of worms- teaching abstinence is all well and good, but kids are going to do what they're going to do so i also think we should be teaching kids how to protect themselves, blah blah, also we should teach kids how much of a drain on our economy teenage pregnancy is etc etc etc whole other topic here and it you are/had sex outside of marriage i am not judging or condemning you in any way etc etc bases being covered.) 

we should teach kids about how emotions are involved in sex too, and how important it is to feel ready and what true consent is, etc. but in a religious context, i really wish they would teach in a different way than i was taught, that my body was somehow a sexy temptress, that boys wouldn't be able to help themselves and it was up to me to help them be "gentlemen," and that i had to somehow evade all sexual anythings until i was safely married.

i can remember sitting in a church meeting listening to a man, who was someone i considered to hold authority, speaking about a rattlesnake. how if you got too close, the rattlesnake would bite you. how you had to avoid the rattlesnake at all costs. how it was almost impossible to come back from a snake bite.

i was in 5th grade. he never said "sex" but i knew as well as anyone else in that audience, that the rattlesnake was sex. and to my 5th grade understanding, sex meant anything having to do with sex, including those strange body parts i was always cautioned not to share with anyone. i felt that even just asking about sex, would mean i was interested and therefore, getting too close to that rattlesnake. i can remember sitting in that audience vowing to never get bit by the snake. i had no idea that sex was anything besides dirty and wrong.

meanwhile, i was starting to notice more and more that boys were interested in sex. a boy i sat next to in class always looked up the definition of sex in our webster dictionary, which only defined sex as being a male or a female. it seemed there were no clear answers to be found. and i felt dirty when he showed me the word on the page, like my curiosity was a sin. i remember listening to britney spears and seeing how she dressed and how all the boys in my class liked her. it seemed so opposite of what i had been taught. and i didn't know exactly how my vagina fit in with all of this, but i knew that it was a part i was supposed to protect and control.

i can also remember watching videos in school about protecting yourself, not ever letting anyone ever touch you "down there" or anywhere else you weren't comfortable. i even remember the name of the man who tried to touch the boy in the video, "uncle rico" and that at recess everyone made jokes about it. again, the message was that i had body parts that gross people might want to see or touch, and that i was to guard them.

all of this discouraged any self examination as well. if gross people were out to touch me, why would i want to touch myself? i didn't learn what masturbation was until 9th grade, and even then the boy who explained it to me was very vague. how awful and gross, that someone would touch themselves! i thought. i had no idea that someone might want to touch themselves for pleasure.

fast forward to the end of 9th grade, when i was sexually assaulted. by 9th grade i understood that boys only liked you if you were attractive and that a big part of being attractive is being sexy, and being sexy had something to do with having sex, except that i wasn't allowed to have sex, nor did i have any interest whatsoever in doing that dirty thing i wasn't supposed to do until marriage. something i was keenly interested in, was kissing. the movies made it seem so romantic, and i had this grand idea of being kissed in the rain. trumpets would sound, there would be a camera panning around us from all angles, and i would be a great kisser, even on my first try. i hadn't connected sex with kissing in any way.

(i should also mention that

yeah i have no idea what i was going to mention, because that was as far as i got. 

the first time i went to a gynecologist, i was almost 18 and just out of high school. i went alone, because i didn't think it would be a big deal. when the doctor began the exam, i couldn't believe how painful it was. he couldn't finish the exam before i had passed out, fallen off the table, and banged my head. when i came to, he told me to stay there while he got the nurse. instead, i put my pants back on, grabbed my keys, and got out of there.

because i hadn't had enough scary things happen to my body.

at the 18 week dr appointment, dr barton came in to do the pap smear and i started crying when i had to put my feet in the stirrups. he asked me what was going on and i told him i was afraid of the pap smear and that i hated having things done to my vagina. he said we didn't have to do it, but that because i had never actually had a pap smear, (as the only one i'd started had ended in fainting.) it would be smart just to make sure everything was healthy. he was gentle and used lubricant and i survived, but it was awful. it's not even that it hurts that much, it just brings up a lot of old wounds and terrifies me. oh PTSD, what would i be like without you?

anyway, dr. barton told me he suspects i have a condition, and i can't remember the name, where my vaginal area tissue is extra sensitive, making it difficult to have exams and in many cases, sexual activity.

okay, i don't share that many personal details about my own sex life, but i will tell you, i have an amazing sex life, or i used to before getting pregnant and sick and becoming a born again virgin. (celibacy, how i have not missed you.) but it took a long time before i could trust travis and before i felt pleasure instead of sharp pain down there. it wouldn't have ever happened if travis wasn't so patient, sweet, and giving.

so i think where i was going with this had to do with giving birth and how terrified i am of anything having to do with my vagina. i've been considering a C section just to avoid having to deal with vagina stitches, tearing, etc. i'm more afraid of having my legs up and people poking and prodding down there than i am of the actual pain of child birth. i don't know what to do. i've always felt that i should go natural, and forgo the epidural, but maybe that would help? would a C section be so bad? i have a small pelvis, so if remy is over 7 pounds i would probably need one anyway. if you have any thoughts on this, please share them.

also, we need to change the way we teach our children about sex and their bodies.

i don't know how it can be that i am so fearless when it comes to discussing a clitoris and how education about our bodies needs to change, but when it comes to my own body, i am a crying mess. well, yeah i do.

let me know if you have any advice.

:) xo





15-19, mood swinger, vomit pee-er, and vagina fear-er

so tomorrow is my 20 week mark.
the halfway point. 
i was so sure i'd be back to "normal-ish" by now. by that i mean, able to eat and have it taste good, not be puking, have a little more energy, surely enough to go to kickboxing a couple times a week, and back to showering and grooming on a daily basis. 
oh, how naive and clueless i was. 

my last post was about week 14 and how i was starting to feel a little better. i'll give you the brief summary of the past five weeks. 

migraines, colds, vomit, sinus infection, peeing in my pants. 

no really, i started vomiting so hard that i peed my pants, multiple times. if you want to talk about adding insult to injury, it's laying on the cold tile of the bathroom floor with pieces of puke stuck in your nose, splashed on your face, the worst migraine you've ever had, and your underwear and sweatpants being soaked with your own urine. this was when i felt i had hit rock bottom. 

until an hour later, when it happened again and i had to borrow some new sweats from my mom. 

you lay there in all your filthy glory, sobbing, your husband stroking your hair and whispering, "collette, i'm so sorry." and you just wish you could die. 

instead, you get back up, change your clothes, brush your teeth, blow the chunks of throw up from your nose, and force yourself to eat a bowl of cereal. 

that pretty much sums up the last month. 



these pictures are all so deceiving. i put the sunglasses on so that you wouldn't see the purple bags under my bloodshot, unmade up eyes. the hair is just my natural curl, not fixed whatsoever. the outfit is cute, though! 
this week, i caught a terrible cold, tried to drink orange juice to combat the cold, ended up with crazy sores all over my tongue from throwing up the orange juice. but the belly also started to poke out a little bit. 

i think this was the week i ended up inviting 6 strange men over to my house to hang out while i wore nothing but a bath towel. 

it was sunday morning. travis was at the fire station. i got gotten up, eaten breakfast, thrown it up, and hopped into the shower. a normal morning. but while i was in the shower, a strange thing started happening to my body. i started getting dizzy and dry heaving. then i lost almost all the feeling in my feet, legs, hands, and arms. tunnel vision started kicking in. i'm going to pass out in here and no one would come looking for hours, i thought, so i crawled out of the shower, hoping it would pass if i got my head between my knees. i felt nauseous, so i bent over the toilet, but there was nothing left but bile. everything was blurry, i was so dizzy and numb and weak. i scooped up my phone and clumsily dialed travis's number. no answer. i was panicking, not knowing if something was going on with my baby, or why i couldn't seem to stand or make my body do anything. i dialed 911. 

there are few things more surreal than laying on your bathroom floor (why am i always laying on my bathroom floor??) the 911 operator jabbering away to keep you conscious, (seriously you want me to give you my phone number? i barely know my name at this point.) hearing sirens in the distance, growing louder, and realizing, oh, they are coming for me, aren't they? 

then the paramedics come inside and you are dripping wet, clutching a towel around your naked body, barely able to stand up on your own. 

for weeks after this incident, i cried every time i thought about those men, the 911 operator reassuring me on the phone that help was coming, and those six paramedics who made me feel so safe. they took my blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate, etc. everything was okay, it was just my low blood sugar and blood pressure that made me almost pass out. i felt a little silly that i had called 911 and nothing was seriously wrong with me, but the paramedics reassured me i had done the right thing. when they came in through the garage, they noticed the fire plates on our cars and asked if my husband was a fireman. they called his station and let him know i was okay and that they had been there. those men really did feel like family, and i was thankful for that firefighter family love. 

later my dad teased me, "did those paramedics ever send you a thank you card? i bet that was a call they won't forget." love my dad. 


here's a more honest picture. this is the week of thanksgiving. my mom and grandma got me out of the house, but i had to bring a blueberry pancake to snack on. this week i added the drug pepcid to my zofran routine, and it has really made a difference. i'm not exactly sure how it works, but it settles the acids in your stomach? anyway, ask your doc for a prescription if you have a pregnancy vomiting problem. 

thanksgiving was nice enough. we drove up to idaho falls and travis was able to go goose hunting with my grandpa. dinner was a huge let down. i had really been sure i'd be able to eat normally by week 16, keeping thanksgiving dinner in mind as the finish line. i was thankful that i had a pretty good day thanksgiving, no vomit at all, but i was still nauseated and unable to eat anything but mashed potatoes and gravy. 

this picture isn't a lie at all; i felt amazing that sunday. travis and i went to church, i did my hair, and i even ate a few pieces of fried fish for dinner! (strangely fish has been the only meat i've been able to eat sporadically during this pregnancy, sporadically as in three times in the past four and a half months.) it was a wonderful day, and i was convinced i had finally turned that corner and that things would be better from here on out. and then the next day was the day i started peeing my pants while vomiting. so not really. but for this one day, it was incredible. 

oh i think this was the week i had my first public puke, in harmon's parking lot. travis and i decided from now on, whenever i vomit publicly, he is going to tell passersby that i can't give up the drink. 

it's the little things, right? 


this was an exciting week, because we had our ultrasound and discovered bean is a boy! (which i was pretty sure of all along.) 

a couple of weeks into "trying" to get pregnant, i was feeling nauseated and told travis, "i'm pretty sure i'm pregnant, and i'm pretty sure it's a boy." he was like, no way, it's too soon, and why do you think that? i just did. 

so when the ultrasound tech announced, "yeah, there's the penis!" i wasn't surprised at all. travis was floored, like for 20 minutes mouth gaping open because he had been sure it was a girl, but i was like, duh there's the penis, he's a boy. 

then dr barton saw the ultrasound pictures and said, "whoa! that's a weiner!" 
hahahahahahahahaha!
i'm kind of in love with our doctor. 
so he's a well endowed fetus. 
props, remy, props. 

but you know, i helped grow that giant fetus penis. so props, me, props. 

also, side note about weight gain: 

at our 14 week appointment, i was freaking out after finding out i had gained 9 pounds overall. (the whole impeding pap smear thing played a huge roll in the freaking out, no really, this was me the whole time waiting for dr barton to come in the room.

crying. "i suck at being pregnant. i puke all the time and somehow i've still gained too much weight. and i have to have a pap smear! i don't want a pap smear! i told that stupid nurse and she is guilting me into it! plus she had the nerve to ask me if i'm exercising. i can barely walk down the stairs! and if i'm this freaked out about a pap smear, how am i supposed to push a watermelon out of my vagina? i hate my vagina! i hate being pregnant, i'm never doing this again, i suck at it, and i'm a fatty fat fat!" 

travis: "..." probably thinking, good holy heck (sorry i'm still not swearing) what have i done what have i done??!???! no, he tried his best to be reassuring and all, but i was out of control. 

then the stupid guilting nurse comes in and tells me it's going to be a while longer. 
i sniff, "well i'm getting hungry. so do you have anything to eat?" 

it's okay to pity the poor soul who has to be in my delivery room. i do. 

anyway, long tangent, so at the 18 week appointment, i was terrified to see how much weight i'd gained. and then it turned out i hadn't gained any. still at 9 pounds. so then the nurse was like, okay, well try not to lose any weight. 

geez. 

moral of the story. don't worry about weight. i'm pretty sure the reason i had gained those 9 pounds at 14 weeks was because i had gone up over a cup size in the boob department. seriously, these things are out of control. but don't read those stupid pregnancy apps about how much weight you are supposed to gain and then hate yourself for a month if you have gone over. just listen to our body and eat when you're hungry. if you gain "too much weight" it's okay. you can lose it later. 

(also, this was the week my sis in law delivered her baby at 29 weeks. my new nephew is a champ! to read their story, go {here} and then say a little prayer or send some positive thoughts their way?)


sorry, this is turning into the longest post known to man. this was last week. feeling a little rounder these days! got to spend a few hours at instacare to find out i have a sinus infection, which was awesome. because you can't just be pregnant and sick. you also have to just be sick. went christmas shopping for remington and found the CUTEST coat and boots. i have become that woman at the store who goes, "ahhhwhwhwhhw look at this coat!!!!!! omgomg the cutest thing ever!!!" 

how embarrassing right? 

kind of like this. 

OH LOOK AT THE BABY! 

but yeah, i'm hanging in there. travis has been a real champion, waiting on me hand and foot, cooking for me, cleaning the house, kissing my belly every night. seriously, that man is a hero and i couldn't imagine doing this with anyone else. (hopefully not, right?) 

pregnancy is hard, so use protection unless you really are ready. 
and then say goodbye to your life as you know it and just hang in there. 

remington, i love you. i don't simultaneously vomit and wet my pants for just anyone, you know? 

xo

Sunday, November 11, 2012

weeks 13 & 14

week 13 was a giant tease.
here, feel pretty decent for three days in a row and then go back to throwing up every day. also i somehow tweaked my back in the same place i sprained it last spring, which put a super fun twist on everything.

kneel over the toilet retching. OUCH MY NECK! OH MY BACK! puke, puke, puke, body convulsing uncontrollably. SHOOTING PAINS. then travis saying, "that looked really painful!"

haha.

thank goodness that week is over!!!


also, travis was at the station on halloween, so i hung out with my family and hit up his family's halloween party. luckily halloween is my least favorite holiday, or maybe a tie with new year's, but anyway, i wasn't too chuffed about it being low key.


this last week was week 14. most amazing week of my entire life.

started getting some energy back.
started feeling SO much better. still queasy at some points during the day, but NOTHING like before.
started exercising again. starting slowly, but better than nothing, right?
started being able to eat more foods, like clementines, bananas, oatmeal, pretzels, and even some rice and beans from red iguana! still can't eat meat, but i'll take what i can get.
started being slightly less sensitive to smells, which meant i could burn my cranberry mandarin candle!
had a doctor's appointment, which was awful and scary and had me crying through the entire thing. no worries, baby is great, i'm just afraid of my vagina. this dr. appointment requires its own post.

one thing i will never do again, is take my good health for granted.

the day before it snowed 34523 inches, (which was so exciting!) i took a walk around daybreak. the sky was so blue, the trees were so colorful, and the feel of sun on my face was intoxicating. i had my pandora feist/hem station playing in my headphones. and the wonderfulness of the moment, that i was outside, walking around, feeling good, it all just hit me. and i cried and cried. (i was glad i was wearing sunglasses, because there were other people out walking and i didn't need a scene.) that moment was a good one.

then, a few days later i was able to go back to the gym. another emotional moment for me. (don't worry, i kept the crying in check this time.) walking through those doors was like remembering myself, a person who was strong, not the sniveling, puke mess i have been the past several months. going back to the gym was a little like coming home. it's the same gym i started going to when i was so homesick for hawaii, the place that helped me lose 35 pounds, and also shed emotional baggage, the place i went the day before getting married, the place that was there for me when marriage was scary and i was unsure of everything else besides what was inside that gym. going back after my longest absence in almost three years, was incredible.


decked out in gym attire that still fits but is stretching a bit. 



anyway, the second trimester so far is much improved from the first. 
we find out if baby bean is a girl or a boy in three weeks! 
and i felt him/her move this morning! felt like really exaggerated butterflies in there for a split second and then it was gone. so crazy. 

happy new week everyone! thanks for all the love and support through everything. 

xo




Thursday, November 1, 2012

week 12

week 12.

sucked.

i don't have a more colorful way of saying it. especially because i gave up swears the day we got the positive pregnancy test.

(if you are sick and tired of hearing how about how sick and tired i am, don't worry, week 13 has taken a turn for the better. hopefully this is the last vomit post. knocking on wood.)

week 12 was the week i was too sick to leave the house for three days straight. i couldn't drive myself anywhere, because driving and puking simultaneously doesn't work.

the small list of foods i am able to manage eating shrunk to extra sharp cheddar cheese and cinnamon toast crunch cereal.

by the way, something i wasn't expecting to have to deal with are my extreme food aversions. i expected to have wacky cravings, but i haven't even really had much of that. it's not that i'm craving a certain food, it's that i can't seem to find any foods i can stand to eat, or worse, smell. i have a sensitive schnoz anyway, but since becoming pregnant, i can't handle the smell of anything. i bought a pair of new black boots a few weeks ago and the first night with them in my room, i couldn't sleep because the new shoe smell was making me gag. i had to get up take them out of the room. i'll walk into my parents' house and the smell of whatever they are cooking sends me straight to the toilet to retch. i haven't been able to cook for months, because whenever i cook, something about the heat of the stove/oven plus the smell always makes me throw up. travis's deodorant makes me sick. anytime travis comes in from working anywhere, the smell of gasoline, or fire station, or wood shop makes me gag.

the ironies of pregnancy make me so angry.

at a time you actually need the extra calories, you can't eat anything, which makes you sicker. yeah, the old me who was slightly fatter is seriously peeved about this. 

or how about, here, enjoy having the nicest, perkiest boobs of your life. oh but sorry, they are going to ache and be far too sore to enjoy them. in fact, don't plan on ever being intimate with your husband ever again.

oh also, what's up with all the lower back pain i'm feeling? isn't that supposed to come later when i'm lugging a bowling ball around? and i'm really enjoying the sciatic nerve pain shooting up my butt cheeks, the pain i only used to feel when i pushed it too hard running. yeah, i haven't been able to exercise like that in several months either, which is making me crazy.

week 12 is the week i discovered my least favorite food to puke, which is boiled eggs. tiny vomit flavored egg chunks stuck in my nose, yummo.

i have to document all these details for myself because a few months after giving birth, my brain is going to release hormones that will actually make me forget how awful all this was. and honestly i'm not sure i will ever be doing this again.

please don't tell me that i will because my rage is a scary thing right now.
no really, just ask travis.

week 12. i was so exhausted that i sneezed green all over my arm, stared at it, and decided it was too hard to get up to clean it off. so it dried there, all crusty. this exhaustion is like nothing i've ever known. after puking your guts, kidneys, and liver out, and having vomit splashed all up in your hair, you don't even care. which is bad because the smell makes you sicker. but showering is pretty much the hardest because you have to stand the whole time, plus the hot air makes you throw up more into the shower.

i am so thankful that all our family planning, all $700 worth of IUD worked for us, because if this had happened while i was in school, i'm pretty sure i would have quit. i couldn't have handled the two hour a day train commute, (seriously, where would i have thrown up?) trying to find something to eat on campus between classes, plus the enormous stress of coursework.

i am so thankful for my mom, that she lives twenty minutes away, and how wonderful she has been through all of this. while working a full time (plus some) job and taking care of her own life, she finds time to come to my house, clean, and i mean scrubbing toilets and vacuuming clean, cook for me, bring groceries, and comfort me through my vomit fits. i've lost track of the number of times i've cried on her shoulder, her stroking my back and reassuring me that everything will be okay again. she is the most amazing person to me, always always giving to others. i hope i can be a piece of what a wonderful mother she is.

i am so thankful for travis. pregnancy has been really hard emotionally on me. i've had a hard time opening up to travis about it all, partly because i'm grossed out by how gross i am right now, and partly because he doesn't understand and he never totally will, as he has never been through this. i am thankful for his patience and willingness to do whatever i need. i'm thankful for how hard he works, especially because i'm not working and i'm not sure i could handle working right now. he has probably seen the worst of me during all this, being angry, saying awful things, crying, yelling, giving up, and being weak. anytime i head to the toilet to puke, he's right behind me, encouraging me, holding my hair, and trying to make me laugh. he's gone to five different stores to try to find something i could choke down. he hasn't even slept in our bed for over a month, because i am such a light sleeper now and he was making it impossible for me to stay asleep. so he sleeps on the couch. he makes it a point to kiss and hug me every day, reminding me i'm human, an amazing feat, because i'm about as cuddly as a rabid porcupine right now.

i'm thankful for prayer. if you could hear my mind, it would sound like this every few hours. heavenly father, thank you that i made it through the last few hours. please help me to get through the next few. the times times my stomach was rolling with hunger, but i've been too nauseous to eat. heavenly father, i need to eat something but i'm too sick. please either let me throw up, or feel better. and seconds later, i'm doubled over puking. and then i can eat. i'm thankful to have faith in a god who cares about my hour to hour physical suffering and gets me through it all.

as much as the last few months have sucked, i'm trying to find that silver lining, and i've found that i am loved, even at my worst.

here's the 12 week picture, the one day i got dressed. 
a little belly action going! 



peace out week 12! 13 is already looking up. 

xo

Thursday, October 25, 2012

snow day.

oh hey. 
there is snow on the ground this morning.
i'm listening to my feist/hem pandora station.
it was a rough night. throwing up (yeah, the zofran isn't working so well anymore), trying to choke something down so i could go to sleep, then waking up 18767634 times to pee, then having a nightmare at 3am, being convinced a man was hiding somewhere in my house to torture and kill me, freaking out that i left the oven on, wandering around looking for the killer, and the word "looking" being used lightly because i'm blind as a bat and don't own any glasses. yeah, that's going to work, wandering around in your underwear, no weapon, and legally blind. what would you do if someone actually was there? get owned, that's what. 

i called travis and asked him to say a prayer on the phone with me because of how freaked out i felt. he fell asleep during his prayer a few times, bless him. oh the joys of being married to a fireman. 

all night i tossed and turned and  gagged and tried really hard not to throw up in bed. woo, i didn't. 
morning came and i began my daily countdown. 13 hours until you can go back to bed. 

then i put my contacts in, looked out the windows, and saw all this white fluff on rooftops and lawns. on my way down to the kitchen, i walked by the baby room and caught a glance of the yellow onsie we bought right after the positive pregnancy test. and the rocking chair my mom found secondhand. and i remembered that by christmas next year, we will have a seven month old baby scooting around, playing with decorations, and demanding all our attention. how exciting it will be hold that baby up to the window, point outside and say, "see that white stuff? that's snow!" 

mostly, i spend my days in survival mode. figure out something to eat, force myself to eat it, stay close to the toilet because i'll probably be kneeling over it soon, and trying to hold as still as possible. emotions like excitement, love, hope? yeah those are pretty dulled by nausea.  i forget that there's a reason i'm doing all this surviving. forget that in six months, the yellow onsie we bought will be all filled up with a newborn. 

i'm thankful for the snow today, reminding me i won't be stuck like this forever, and that something wonderful is coming. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

11 weeks

week 11 was a big week. 

the zofran is a huge help. while it doesn't completely "cure" me, it makes life so much better! i only threw up once all week, and that may have had more to do with the giant migraine than actual nausea. also, though the zofran has eh hem, backed me up, i've at least been able to have some small bowel movements. just drinkin' a butt ton of water and trying to eat fiber. totally worth it to not be a vomitus mass. 

this was the week i sprung for maternity pants! while the picture may not show it, i have a pretty nice little belly going on. i definitely don't look preggers, just more like i have eaten cafe rio every day for a month. anyway, i can still button my jeans, but they press uncomfortably on my bladder and end up making me nauseous. so i took the plunge and bought a few pairs of prego pants. 
they are amazing. 
it's like wearing sweats, only they look like jeans. pretty sure i'm just going to keep wearing them even after i'm done being pregnant. 

here's the 10 week picture, after our doctor appointment. 



 and 11 weeks, in my grandparents' house. 



last week my mom and i drove up to idaho falls, idaho to have a "girl's weekend" with my grandma. travis was out of town for the deer hunt, gotta love being married to a hunter, and my dad and grandpa were on a fishing trip. so us girls had fun shopping, crafting, and digging through my grandma's storage room for buried treasures. we found love letters from my grandpa while he was in the navy, a wooden rocking horse i used to love, antique dishes, and christmas decor. my generous grandma sent us home with tons of presents. my mom and grandma also took such great care of me, cooking whatever i felt like eating, which included what us mormons call "funeral potatoes" which are just potatoes au gratin, and fried eggs. felt great to get away and be pampered.

my cute mom with all her crafts.
she has been my rock through this pregnancy. 
wouldn't have gotten through it all without her.



grandparents at smitty's pancake house, which you should visit 
if you ever find yourself in IF. 



the german pancake i ordered was twice as big as my face. like it didn't even fit on the plate.
 i ate the entire thing, no shame. 

happy monday! 

xo


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

telling.

i hate keeping my own secrets. i can keep yours, no problem. but keeping a big secret about myself, that is something i can't do. although you probably already figured that out, what with all the personal things i can't help but share here.

so being pregnant was a huge secret! the thought of keeping this to ourselves for several months was more than i could take. so i pestered travis for a few weeks and we ended up telling everyone at ... now i can't even remember, either six or seven weeks. don't worry, being sick kind of just wipes your memory of anything besides misery.

when we told my family, my dad was outside grilling up sunday dinner and i had my camera out, nonchalantly, because i'm a superb actor, and i asked travis to take a picture of us, just having family time.
travis had us all gather round and then said, "one, two, collette's pregnant!"
(ps missing brothers reed, on his mission, and chad, out skydiving. no seriously, it's his new thing.)


my dad was pretty confused. "wait." he said. "are you happy about this?" because of how vocal i've always been about how i'm never having kids. then it started to sink in and he couldn't stop grinning.
then of course, he had to ask, "do you know who the father is?"
nice, dad.


here's the moment my dad asked, "well, how are you doing?" and tears welled up in my eyes. once last summer, my dad told me he thought i would be a special, unconventional mother. this was part of the journey that led me to want to try it out.

and how hilarious is my mom??


okay, so these pictures are staged. i actually told my mom two days after we found out. i was over at their house about to eat with them. they were making fried rice. i had just talked to the nurse on the phone about how pregos aren't supposed to eat deli meat or bean sprouts, both of which were being washed and prepped for the rice. i was freaking out.
"mom, could you guys maybe not put sprouts in mine?" thinking in my head, how am i going to ask them to take out the ham. i love ham! they know this.
"no, collette, you can just pick out the sprouts like you usually do." my dad said.
he left the room for a second and i stared deeply into my mom's eyes.
mom, i can't eat this. i'm pregnant. please read my mind. i am pregnant. 
suddenly her eyes lit up. "are you???? you're pregnant???" she squealed! tears filled her eyes and she started hugging me. "mom! shhhh!" i hissed. "dad's going to find out! i'm not supposed to tell anyone!" and her face really did look pretty similar to these pictures.

so then later that evening we went over to travis's parents to share our news. we had asked that everyone get together to play games, in honor of travis's sister and her family moving back to utah. luckily travis is a much better actor then i am and had everyone convinced.

we brought apples to apples and travis had the cute idea to write, "collette's pregnant" on one of the cards and then play it on his mom's turn. we got her pretty good.


julie was screaming so loud she scared poor little amelia! 


love that we answered, "collette's pregnant" for something that means "delicious" 



(thanks liana for taking pictures for us!)

it feels great to finally have the secret out. we are thankful for our families and all the support and love we have felt from them. 

xo

discovering the baby bean / first (un) belly picture

an amazing thing has happened.
after talking to several other pregos, i was advised to call my doctor and get hooked up with some zofran.
from what i can understand, and this is really simplified, zofran blocks the transmitters who tell the part of your brain that controls nausea. so your brain doesn't know it's supposed to make you sick.
i started taking it last night and i was able to eat lasagna! two servings! and pie! and this morning, i'm feeling pretty dandy! i guess zofran also blocks your poop from coming out, and if you remember my IUD experience, that is something i have a hard time with, but i'll take constipation over vomit any day.

so anyway, now i'm working on clearing off my memory card and doing some edits for the past few photo shoots. (!) i wrangled up these pictures taken the day we found out i was preggeroni. which is similar to pepperoni, but less processed.
... 

love how excited we are. 




of course i had to take some belly shots.
 this is between 4 and 5 weeks. and pretty much i still had my 4 pack back then. 
and i haven't tried on these jeans lately because i don't even want to know if they still fit. 
plus that would involve changing out of my sweat pants.


so there you have it. 
zofran is cool. 
pregnancy is wild. 

xo

the colors of peach harvest

my parents have a beautiful peach tree in their backyard. i know it's fall-time when there are buckets of peaches laying around and fresh peaches are sliced up and served with vanilla ice cream.






Monday, October 15, 2012

on being pregnant. intimate details included.

 two years ago i wrote {this post} about how i keep ending up doing the things i never thought i'd do.
(thank goodness i didn't end up going to massage school. so glad i went with my psych degree.) 

reading back on that post, it's pretty amazing how little i knew about the future and what would come next. 
a year ago right now, i was positive i'd be in grad school this fall, working on becoming a therapist. 
and here i am. 
11 weeks pregnant. 

and happy about it. 

you know those moments when you step back and examine your life. 
you ask yourself, "who is this person i have become?'
um, yeah. pretty much. 

one of these days, when i'm done throwing up and being miserable, and have room in my mind for being emotional, i'll tell you how i came to want to get pregnant and that whole journey of being ready.

because yes, this happened on purpose. 

but until then, i'll fill you in on the past several months. 


on "trying" to get pregnant

while still working as a counselor, i made an appointment to get my IUD taken out. if you've ever had an IUD shoved up your cervix, you probably understand the panic i was feeling waiting to get that sucker out. something that painful going up, had to be just as awful coming down. so imagine my delighted surprise when, feet in the stirrups, staring at dr. barton's handsome face looking up my hoo haw, encouraging me to "relax. and relax. wow, you have some strong pelvic floor muscles, don't you." to just feel an uncomfortable pinch! and then it was all over. 

and a week later i was knocked up. 

can i just say how much i love the phrase, "we are trying to get pregnant." as if the word 'trying' takes all of the sex out of it. no, pretty much trying to get pregnant means having so much sex you are sure you'll never want to have sex ever again when you finally do get pregnant. which is ironic. but more on that later. 

as a general rule, once i've decided i want something, i go after it full force. i think travis may have been a little shocked at how ...aggressively i pursued this particular goal. the goal, body permitting, was to get me pregnant by sept. (and know that i know how incredibly blessed i am to have the fertility i do. the joke on my  grandmother's side is that she was already pregnant by the time the man hung his pants on the bed frame and apparently i inherited that too.) anyway, we were trying in full force. and remember, travis is gone two days a week at the fire station. we didn't let a little thing like that get in our way. 

also, trying to get pregnant is the craziest mind game ever played. after our third time trying, i woke up, on my birthday, feeling a little sick. "travis, am i a crazy person? it's way to soon, right??" i spent the entire month googling symptoms, calculating ovulation dates, and obsessing over whether or not i was pregnant. one night, travis had already fallen asleep and i was awake, reading up on heartburn and early pregnancy, because i had the heartburn of a middle aged, obese, cheeseburger eating man. "travis, wake up!" i shook his shoulder. "mmmhmm?" he mumbled. "travis, i'm pretty sure i'm pregnant, because i have heartburn and this thing says-" he rolled over. and i layed awake for another hour reading forums about getting pregnant. 

for those of you who tried or are trying for multiple months or even years, you have so my respect from me. you are so strong. because if you are dealing with the crazy mind games on top of the hopelessless of waiting, i can't believe how strong you are. it's enough to make you insane. 

i took two pregnancy tests way too early because i was too impatient. i cried looking at the negative sign. and then tried even harder to make that positive sign show up. i don't do well when i set goals that aren't completely in my control. (see every single post about trying to sell our house.)

so then the weekend before taking the pregnancy test that gave a positive, i was a mess. my family was taking a trip to island park, idaho, and i decided to go with them, since travis would be working and i needed a distraction. i was due to start my period that weekend and i went through several rolls of toilet paper obsessively checking to see if i had started. i'm not exaggerating. every half hour i was in the bathroom, praying i wouldn't have started. as we motorbiked all over, me on the back of my dad's bike with him going off jumps and popping wheelies, and then later kayaking in a very dangerous lightning storm, i wondered if everything would be okay if i was pregnant. wasn't even sure yet and i was freaking out about the possibility of harming a tiny life hypothetically growing inside me. trying to get pregnant will turn you into a crazy person. 

on peeing on a plastic stick and shoving it in your spouse's face 

i hadn't started my period by the time i got home from island park. we drove home early monday morning. the first thing i did upon arriving home was run upstairs and head to the toilet. travis was hot on my heels. "maybe we should wait until you're a week late." he suggested.but  i had had enough waiting. except that while splashing pee on the test, i started to doubt. maybe i had just been so exhausted all month from worrying and working out so much. maybe i hadn't really felt sick, it was all in my head. maybe the heartburn was from stress. i realized i wasn't ready to face the test. so i finished peeing and then left it on the floor and shut the door. "i can't look yet!" i wailed to travis. "you look!" he determined we would wait five minutes and then face it together. i brushed my teeth. we layed in bed for a sec. and then when the suspense was at the killing point, we ran into the bathroom, banged the door open, and saw. 

double lines. 
pregnant double lines. 

which led to travis grinning in disbelief, me grabbing the test and shoving it in his face, him telling me that thing is covered in your pee, get it out of my face, me screaming over and over I'M NOT A CRAZY PERSON SHUT UP SHUT UP I'M NOT A CRAZY PERSON!!!!!!!! us running through the house, kissing, me yelling at travis, who kept saying, stop telling me to shut up! and then us laying on the bed together, crying. yeah, one of those moments in your life you remember forever with all those funny details. 

the rest of that day was a crazy blur. we went to the bookstore. we went out to dinner to celebrate. big dopey smiles on our faces. having no idea what was coming next. 

on being a vomitus mass 

ahh, those early weeks of pregnancy. feeling only a twinge of nausea a few times a day. constant heartburn. overwhelming exhaustion. daily headaches. how i long for those days. up until six weeks, i was hitting the gym regularly, eating my usual meals, and going to bed early and sleeping through the night. then at six weeks, the realization of first trimester struck. 

i've always been blessed with great health. even as a kid i was hardly ever sick. my body has always been healthy and worked correctly. the longest i have ever been sick was a three week stint with viral meningitis my first semester at byu hawaii. i never get carsick or airsick. i could count on one hand the amount of times i've thrown up since i was a kid. other than regular migraines, i don't have much to complain about. so when i started feeling nauseous every second of every day, and then started throwing up on a daily basis, my world was kind of turned upside down. i missed a few days in a row of gym time. then a week. then three. all the sudden food lost its appeal. i started waking up in the middle of the night with this gnawing starvation that terrified me. it was all i could do to walk down the stairs to lay on the couch. the house became a disaster, the laundry piled up. two weeks into this, i started to panic. how much longer was i going to have to live like this? when would i be able to stomach meat again? when would i be able to sleep more than four hours in a row before waking up nauseous and starving? how could my body survive the violent vomiting fits that brought me to my knees, puke spewing from my nose, dry heaving stomach acid, splashing myself in the face, leaving me gasping for air, and my legs shaking for an hour afterwards? at first, i just cried a lot. i would cry when i felt so nauseous i was sure i was about to die. then i would cry while heaving over the toilet for five straight minutes of gagging and heaving. then i would cry afterwards about how terrifying it is not to know when/if this will ever stop and you will be you again. 

then some more weeks passed and i began to adjust to my new lifestyle. i started talking to myself a lot in a soothing voice. "you're okay, once you puke you can go back to eating your breakfast." or "hey at least all those calories don't count against you now, right? just eat more!" i started laughing at myself when i got vomit in my hair or noticed i hadn't shaved my legs in weeks. or worn a bra or brushed my teeth all day.(it's a battle every time because the act of putting the toothbrush in my mouth makes me gag.) i learned some tricks of survival, like breathing out of your mouth so you never smell anything. or going outside and letting cold air blow on your face. or listening to your body so you know if you should eat now or wait ten minutes to throw up, and then eat. because there is nothing worse than forcing yourself to eat, an enormous accomplishment, and then all of it coming back and up and knowing it was for nothing. 

something that does not help, is being told that you will want more kids, that you will purposely subject yourself to this torture a second or third time. because at this point it just feels like i have had the flu for months. i don't know the good part yet. 
something else that doesn't help, is all of the "advice" about keeping food in your stomach, eat small meals, don't drink water with meals, etc. all of that is crap. i tried it. nothing helps. 
knowing why you're sick, that it's your hormone levels being wild and free and jumping all around in your body, doesn't help. all you want is to go back to being your old self. and not having to stake out all the garbage cans or exits anytime you go anywhere because you might need to vomit. 

and while writing this post, i had to get up and puke, which is kind of funny. 

but now that i'm 11 weeks, i'm really hoping to start feeling better soon. that hope, it's a strong thing. and my dad says that if it were easy, we probably wouldn't care for our offspring as dutifully as we do. all of these theories will be infinitely more interesting when i'm done being a vomitus mass. 

on seeing a little jumping bean living inside your body

i've done crazy things in my life. i've felt a lot of emotions. i wasn't prepared for how utterly wild it is to see inside your uterus (and that in itself, is a crazy thing to see.) and see that a little creature is living there. for one thing, i never thought i'd be in a doctor's office, laying on that weird bed thing, waiting to have cold gel smeared around my stomach, searching with that wand that reminds of a the tool used when you ring up merchandise with the red beeping, (you know?) for a fetus. so being that person was crazy. then the fact that it's travis bodtcher's baby, cute travis bodtcher from 10th grade, growing in my body, is kind of insane. dr. barton was so nonchalant about it. "here's your pelvic bone, oh here's your bladder, looks like you emptied it recently, here's your bowels, here's your cervix-" at which point i had to interject, "wow, that's a good looking cervix!" because when i'm nervous i say things that are strange. (i also may have told dr. barton that i wish the baby could keep it's little tail, to which he responded with, it would be tough to change diapers with a tail. in complete seriousness.) 

then finally, he finds my uterus and we see this little mass inside. moving around! he shows us the head and the legs and the heartbeat, which is beating at 163 beats per minute! i have two hearts beating inside my body. i grew that tiny heart beating at 163 beats per minute. can i just say, HOW AMAZING IS THE FEMALE BODY! travis is standing next to the bed and grinning and staring at the screen. i have another ah hah! moment of, i'm not crazy, i really am pregnant. 

everything is healthy. everything is growing according to plan. i'm really as far pregnant as i thought i was. then i go have blood drawn and we leave with a cute picture of our mexican jumping bean. who isn't actually mexican at all. travis is the father and he's pretty much white. but i digress.

we didn't cry. mostly i think we both felt relief that everything was healthy and growing. it's a pretty abstract thing to believe at first, because i'm not really showing much and travis hasn't felt any of the symptoms personally, so you just kind of hope it's all really in there. quite amazing, our bodies. 



i have a few pictures somewhere showing my nonexistent bump and us finding out i was pregnant, but i'm way too tired to post them right now. maybe tomorrow, now that i don't have to hide out from this blog. 

life really doesn't go where you think it's going. and a lot of times, it's better than way, huh? 
being pregnant is tough and i don't believe men could do it. 

i'm going to go lay down and watch desperate housewives. and keep eating. all day. 

love you.

xo












Monday, September 10, 2012

what happens when you're told you are only valuable if you're beautiful.

i'm going to warn you, this post is going to contain trigger warnings for pretty much everything. well not, everything everything, but i'm going to talk about sexual assault, low self esteem, rape, possibly every sad and awful and inexcusable thing ever. read at your own discretion.

where to begin. 

in the beginning of july, i went to the gym one afternoon after work. i enjoy the gym in the afternoon because most of the tools who like to take up a bench watching themselves lift 70 lb weights incorrectly, aren't off work yet. (or venturing out of their mom's basements yet. but i digress.) it's nice to be able to work out and not fight the crowds or be someone's eye candy. and okay, being someone's eye candy actually feels nice sometimes, but that is another part of what's wrong with the story i'm going to tell. 

so i've staked out my bench and i'm doing my workout. i've gotten a few glances, being one of the only women who isn't working out in the "women's workout" room, because i don't enjoy working out in a cramped, stuffy room short on equipment and space, but no one has really said anything to me. then a man takes a bench right next to me and wants to chat. i'm not sure if he's just being nice or it's he is trying to flirt. then when we winks at me i'm pretty sure i'm being hit on. i don't wear my wedding ring to the gym because it's a pretty big rock and i only really wear it when i've showered and dressed up. i don't know how to tell this man that i'm married and i also don't know if i am supposed to tell him or if that's presumptuous of me. maybe he's just being nice. maybe he's staring at my backside because he's admiring how fit it looks. maybe he flirts with everyone and it means nothing. part of me feels awkward, part of me feels uncomfortable, but another part of me is thinking, way to go, you've still got it! 

and okay, this is the part that is really hard for me to admit. if he wasn't hitting on me, i'd spend the entire workout telling myself i'm not pretty enough, not fit enough, not worthy of someone's attention, even if the attention is making me uncomfortable. because i've been told my entire life, or at least from the time i was in second grade, that i'm only valuable if i'm physically attractive. there was a boy in my second grade class who "liked" me. he told me i was cute and that he had a crush on me. this had never happened to me before. then i found out i needed glasses and was so excited about the purple frames i'd chosen. i told this boy about my glasses i'd soon be wearing and he told me, "when you wear glasses, you won't be cute anymore and i won't like you." bam! no one likes you if you're not attractive! that was the first of hundreds, thousands of times i'd get that message. and even though i'm 24 years old, in a loving, committed marriage, and i'm an educated adult, i still believe that message. even though that message goes against everything i stand for. even though i hate that message. for the most part, it's still with me. 

okay, back to the story in the gym. i ended up going into a different room to finish my workout and leaving in a different way where the guy wouldn't be able to see me leave. i didn't want him to think i was encouraging his flirting. as i'm shutting my car door, there he is standing in front of the car. this man followed me out to my car and came out of nowhere. he's saying something to me, making a phone sign and holding it up to his ear, i see him mouthing, "you should call me." i'm still shocked and a little freaked out that i was followed out to my car. without rolling down my window, i point to my ring finger and say, "sorry, i'm married." then, i can hear him yelling a very rude swear word and saying, "are you serious??" 

he walks away and i sit in my car in disbelief. and i lock the doors. 

then i spent the entire night, obsessing that i hurt his feelings. that i was giving off signals i wasn't aware of. i should have rolled down the window and explained things to him instead of acting so weird. 

i was freaking out that i'd hurt some guy's feelings. some random guy who hit on my and followed me to my car in an empty parking lot and startled and scared me. i felt like the bad guy. 

how does this happen, you may wonder. 

this is what happens when for one thing, we live in a culture that teaches this. 

saw this in my first women's studies class at BYUH. 
yes, they are allowed to talk about this at BYU. 
if you're interested, look up the full version on youtube. 

another reason i think the way i do, is that i was raised around a group of boys who were constantly reminding me my only value was in my looks. one of these boys would go on to sexually assault me and my best friend, and tell me parts of my body weren't as nice as hers. and i would feel that i wasn't enough. wasn't enough for a guy who was sexually assaulting me. but even before all that, this group of boys had a game they played. they rated girl's bodies with three numbers, on for her face, one for her midsection, and one for her legs and backside. they would rate all the girls in front of me. once, they realized i was a girl too and rated me. it wasn't a very high rating. i didn't feel upset at them for treating me that way. i was upset with myself for not being beautiful enough. i was also raised around many boy cousins who talked about girls in a way that assured me, you're only valuable if you're attractive. 

i grew breasts early on, and i grew breasts larger than most of my peers. the boys in school made comments, to my face, about my growing breasts. i lost track of the amount of times i was asked to flash boys. they asked me what cup size i was. they told me that's all they saw when they looked at me. once boy told me his name for me in his phone was "ginormous gizunguz." in my yearbooks, there are so many comments about breasts and "hey call me so we can make out." i was terrified my mom would see and think i was a slut. this all happened the year i was sexually assaulted. over and over and over i was told my body was the only important thing about me. 

my second year of college, i worked at the mall during the summer. there was a verizon wireless booth near where i worked. the guys who worked at that booth would often try to talk to me and the other girls as we walked by for lunch. one day we stopped and said hello. one of the guys working there, who had to be five years older than me, literally asked me if i would go out to the parking lot and give him a blow job in the backseat of his bmw. literally those were the words he said to me the first time he spoke to me. did i spit in his face or even tell him what a pig he was? of course not. because i had been well trained by now to know that if some stranger wanted me to give him oral sex, that was a compliment. never mind that it triggered terrible things. never mind that i was uncomfortable and embarrassed. hey, someone thought i was a worthy sexual partner. i just laughed it off and walked away. that is only one of many, many experiences like that. 

this isn't even covering what happened with the first boy who assaulted me. how i bought my first thong because he kept asking me what color underwear i was wearing and i was embarrassed to be wearing such "little girl" undergarments. the undergarments that covered my backside and weren't "sexy." i'm not going to go into the things he said and did to me, but i will say that they still haunt me. that i still feel the need to be "hot" and "sexy" or i'm not valuable in any way. 

so fast forward a few years. i've moved away and gotten away from those high school boys. i've learned and grown and started figuring out that i have more to offer than my body. i'm married to a man who loves me for  my mind, my brain, my heart, and my body, a wonderful combination i've never really known until now. working as a counselor was one of the hardest things i've ever done. it was pretty much a trigger finger for my PTSD. but i was really good at it. then there are a few of my co workers who begin to make those comments. so and so thinks i'm hot. so and so has a crush on me, and is telling everyone about it, even though he's married. then an older man makes comments to me about my breasts. i'm having panic attacks and remembering how terrifying it was last time i "told" on the boy who assaulted me. (i said that it was all consensual, not that i'd been assaulted.) even then, his friends peed on my house, harassed me at school, yelling, "whore!" every time they saw me in the hall. i blamed myself and still do sometimes. there was no way i could report these men at work. i was going to just deal with it like always. 

until i found myself emailing my boss and telling her i needed to talk to her. 
and we sat down in her office and i started sobbing and apologizing for sobbing. 
reported those men, called the head boss and reported them again. 
quit my job because i felt unsafe working there. 
stood up for myself when my employers tried to convince me to stay on for the rest of the month, assuring me the guy would work different shifts than me and wouldn't bother me. i told them i wouldn't work there after he knew because it wasn't fair for me to be in that position. 

went home and cried a lot. did the whole lock myself in the bathroom hiding from travis having a panic attack. but once i was done with all the shock of what had happened and i realized no one was going to harass or bully me or pee on my house, i realized i had stood up for myself. i hadn't let the cycle continue. 

and that was empowering. 
terrifying, too. 

i kind of always feel it's my fault for being sexually harassed because i have large breasts. 
this is absolutely false. 
my outward appearance is never an excuse for someone to ask me to give him a blow job.
being attractive isn't the only thing women have to offer. this is something i think i'll have to spend my entire life trying to believe of myself. 
if a man follows you to your car and then swears at you for not giving him your number, that's because he is a creep, not because of how you look in your gym clothes. 
and sexual assault is never the victim's fault. it doesn't matter what you are wearing, if you flirted, if you wanted him to be your first kiss. sexual assault is one hundred percent because the perp made a choice to assault you. these are things our culture is constantly reaffirming the opposite to us. we need to remind ourselves these things all the time. 

my friend alyssa sent me this article and it was spot on. go {here} to read about mormon culture and what needs to change. 

knowledge is power and that's what changes the world. our world needs so many things to change. please believe you're worth more than what you look like. please believe that rape is caused solely by rapists. please challenge the system and make those small changes that will lead to bigger changes. 

phew, i'm exhausted. 
as always feel free to email me. collette.charles7@gmail.com 

xo


an annoying amount of bikini pictures, summer catch up, and avoiding talking about "things that matter." plus it's getting late and i'm feeling goofy!!!!

so i haven't posted in a while. mostly because the computer has been in the shop, aka travis's genius brother generously cleaned it up for us. running like a champ-a-roo now! so the whole, not having a computer thing has gotten in the way of the posting, but also because i'm up to my old tricks of avoiding. avoiding thinking about what happened at work and the rough month i had PTSD-wise. avoiding thinking about how angry i am that i don't see those kids i fell in love with anymore and how much i miss them. but now that i've avoided for a comfortable amount of time, i'm ready to confront. well, in the next post. ... haha.  how about for now, i do a quick catch up on our summer.

don't worry. i don't just have panic attacks and avoid thinking about tough things. or just be caustic and sarcastic about it. i also do fun summer activities! see!

went to the daybreak community pool.
spent time working out and eating shave ice with my mom. 

went to the pool some more with liana and amelia. 

made some pretty enormous payments on my student loans. 

went on a random mexican food kick. and yes, i cook more meals than i take pictures of.
yes, i'm a freak who overthinks social media and wants to reassure you that i don't always
post pictures of what i cook. i promise i cook more than two times.
stop explaining yourself. 

took a family trip to our cabin in island park, idaho. went kayaking in a lightning storm,
which was an amazing and terrifying experience.


oh hey, went to the pool some more!
are there enough bikini pictures in this post?? 

finally hung pictures and added a bookshelf to the front room.
LOVE our new house. 

hit up daybreak's "fizz fest" with travis and enjoyed one of the last clear summer nights.
went to gourmandise to celebrate my dear friend roxanne's 25th birthday! ate a lot of chocolate.
this is the face she makes when we tell her what we love about her. so excited this girl moved to utah!



so there you have it. even though i'm unemployed, i'm finding ways to keep busy. i've also had some photo shoots that i'm pretty stoked on. can you believe it's almost the middle of sept?? where does the time go, i ask you!? 

hope your summer was wonderful and that you got to spend at least half the amount of time i did in a bathing suit. hey, i worked most the summer, so i had to cram the tanning in, right? 

best wishes. 

best wishes, what? 

xo

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

self promotion and advertising.

hey all.

i'm offering a back to school mini session and the details can be found {here} at my photography blog.



all that mad men i've been watching may have influenced the wording in my little ad. seriously, can't stop watching that show.

if you have a sec, would you mind sharing that link somewhere, like on your facebook or what have you. or if you know someone who has 12 kids (or just 1) and would be interested, pass it along. and hey, if you are interested, call me up 801.664.5383 or shoot me an email. collette.charles7@gmail.com.
and hey, thanks.

hope you're having a great day and enjoying the last little bit of august.

love you. xo

Saturday, August 18, 2012

charles bodtcher family pictures

as i have mentioned, there is a lake by our house. i go running on the trails by the lake and one night found the most perfect spot for family pictures. i have had this image in my head for months and this week, liana helped make that image into our family pictures. the lighting wasn't quite what i hoped for, but we had a great time and liana did an amazing job. i gave her a very quick dslr tutorial, fiddled with the settings, and let her creative genius take the reins. all editing was also done by moi.








i can't believe how handsome he is. takes my breath away!




this one was probably the best.


or this.


going to blow this up and put in in the bedroom.

i love looking through these and seeing how much fun travis and i have together. you can really tell how much we love each other!

also. the dress i'm wearing? totally a second hand buy.
and can you tell i've been watching mad men lately? slightly obsessed with the sixties.
thanks for taking our pictures, liana!

if you want yours taken by the lake, give me a call.

xo

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