June 18, 2018

Five Ways Pregnancy Has Changed Me

Back on Mother's Day, someone told me Happy Mother's Day! It took me back for a second because I have no physical children on this earth, but am pregnant with my first. Does that make me a mom already? I was leaning towards no. But I have had something on my mind recently ever since Mother’s Day and I wanted to share it with you. It feels like such a long time since I found out I was pregnant, but it has changed me. Here are the ways I feel like I’ve changed since finding out I was pregnant.
I Have A New Respect For Mothers
This one is definitely number one for a reason. I have a totally new outlook on not only my own mother but all mothers out there. It’s crazy what mamas go through and I haven’t even gotten to the giving birth/raising a newborn part yet. I cannot even imagine the respect I will have for them then. I guess you just can’t really understand until you’ve been there and I didn’t completely feel like a mom until I found out I was having a boy and he had a name. I grew more attached. Mamas are amazing and strong and I respect all of you!

I Have A New Respect For My Body
It is crazy what our bodies can do! I am seriously in disbelief at how hard my body is working right now to grow this little munchkin. Sure I am getting stretch marks and gaining weight and having more and more trouble doing some things, but I am going to respect and be proud of my body for creating a human life.

I Am Less Selfish
This is a big one. I have definitely seen a change in myself in this area in a lot of ways. Obviously when you are pregnant a lot of things change. No more alcohol, no more hot tubs, no travelling to places with risk of Zika. I would love to have a glass of wine with some raw fish on my sushi, but my son is priority numero uno to me, so no thank you!

But Also, I Am More Selfish
I think more about what will feel good or be good for me to do. Sure it is selfish, but all he has is me to carry him safely into this world and I do not want to mess that up. On a non selfish note, I am spending my time reading about things babies need instead of researching vacations.

I Am More Tired
Pregnancy hormones got me tired all day and up all night. And I am sure once my son is born, the tiredness is going to be a million times worse. But also 100% completely worth it. I never thought pregnancy was a walk in the park, but I wrongly thought, oh if young girls can do it, so can I. Boy, pregnancy is tough on your body so sleep is a hard thing to come by. But I will live with all the pregnancy brain, kicks, and middle of the night cramps for a happy and healthy baby!


I truly can’t wait to see where life takes us from here. 
Everything has changed, but I feel more myself than ever.

June 5, 2018

Using Greenery to Improve Your Space

I cannot believe that the next time I have Christmas I will have a little one. This means I have to prepare to make my home as comfy and cozy as possible.

Christmas, Lauren, really?! Thinking far enough ahead? Yep, I have dreams of sugarplums dancing in my head. Must be the hormones of being pregnant! 

I always remember as a kid having a real tree and my mom having decked our halls. Now as someone who loves the cozy look of greenery, but can't keep anything alive, that can be a problem.

Enter in artificial greenery. I love my collection and recently acquired some beautiful boxwood wreaths to add to my collection. They are going to look beautiful at Christmas on my living room windows.
Now that I have them, I am also thinking of my backyard. Most people utilize their backyards in the summer, but here in Arizona, fall and winter are prime backyard season.

I absolutely want to make my patio an area of cute and comfortable. In Arizona, my dream of grass makes my water bill uncomfortable so I am thinking of some fake palm trees and other plants.

Hopefully I can set up the perfect landscape outside as I do inside! Wish me luck!
And just for you guys here is a code to shop here BLOGGER10. Good for 10% off some artificial plants!

I was compensated to give my honest opinion of a service. All opinions are my own.

June 1, 2018

Venice

Venice was such a romantic dream. Venice is a place where just strolling around and enjoying the view is enough, and most of all, it is free! The food is where I loved spending my money. It was so worth it and amazing.

We stayed in the heart of Venice, but still quiet because it was located on a small street. It was cozy and great. Our Airbnb there was in the Dorsoduro neighborhood which is where the Academia is located. It was a perfectly central neighborhood but also gave us the feeling of escaping from the hustle and bustle.

My favorite thing to do in Venice was to get lost. There is an endless confusing maze of back streets and I felt safe the entire time. Do not be scared, go in there! Get lost and enjoy the experience! And go now, sadly, Venice is sinking. Venice is built over 100 small islands. You can island hop by boat. We chose not to, because my husband and I just love to walk as much as possible.

Lauren's List of Things to do in Venice:

Getting Lost
Like I said, walking is one of the best thins to do in Venice. It is really nice to put away Google Maps and just walk down beautiful little streets and get lost. It is truly like a maze. The city is built upon a no-road system and the bridges and piazzas connect neighborhood to neighborhood. No worries, maps will be there when you are done and ready to find your way, but getting lost and walking around Venice is truly a magical experience.
 
 
Rialto Bridge
Over populated, but I can say I saw it! It crosses over the Grand Canal. It is the most photographed bridge in Venice. I don't know why. My favorite was the Ponte Dell'Accademia (see below).
The Grand Canal and Bridges
This is the waterway around the city. All of the buildings were built in the 13th and 18th centuries by wealthy Venetian families. I loved visiting the Santa Maria Del Rosario right on the canal. There are four bridges across the canal: the aforementioned Rialto, Ponte Degli Scalzi (right next to the train station as you arrive in Venice), Ponte Dell'Accademia (not as crowded as Rialto and offers great views), and the Calatrava Bridge. The later bridge is kind of a controversy because it is way modern and does not match the Venetian style. I will say with a suitcase it was my favorite bridge to cross in all of Venice!
St. Mark's Basilica
My favorite place to go with all the rich history. It is located on Piazza San Marco which always seems to be teeming with life. It is amazing Byzantine architecture. It sits next to Doge's Palace which we did not visit. I recommend going to the piazza that St. Mark's is located in during the day and night. At night, you can listen to all the music from the restaurants. It brings a remarkable beauty. During the day, there are many tourists and tons of people watching if that is your thing. Otherwise, the Basilica is a must do. We downloaded Rick Steves guide to the Basillica and walked around listening to it. Rick Steves was our Italian lifeline. We followed his recommendation for bag storage and shorter lines into the Basillica and I highly recommend doing the same!
Dining in Venice
We ended up just wandering down a little alley way and picking a restaurant based on the view or how hidden away from crowds it was. We got decently lucky and all the food was great!

Muro: Some good pizza. Who doesn't love some good Italian pizza!
Pane Vino: We were up early coming to Venice and were very hungry early so we went to a restaurant that was open. Most restaurants open for dinner late by American Standards.
La Bitta: Small but good menu!
L'Archivio: Great little place to stop after walking and enjoy a panini and glass of wine!
Farini: We stopped here for lunch. Super modern, clean, and beautiful.


Venice, you were great! I think we packed in the perfect amount of fun in the 48 hours we had with you. Arrivederci (good-bye)!

May 28, 2018

Six Year Anniversary

Six years ago, Kevin and I were married. We were lucky to grow up with each other and then marry each other. From the second I sat next to the tall guy with braces and a good smile, I was full of excitement and anxiety. We fell in love with each other and I learned how incredibly intelligent and kind he is. I knew I wanted to wake up in his arms every single day for the rest of my life.

Six years later all of those things still remain true. There were things I would never have imagined we would go through together, but turns out they made me stronger and I love him more.

So Kevin, here are six things we have been through that made us stronger together:

We tested the "in sickness and in health" part of our vows. We immediately grieved the loss of my grandmother and your grandfather. I tore my ACL and you carried me in and out of the shower, you sorted and made sure I took my medications, and ran the household. Those times I was so thankful to be doing everything in life with you by my side.

We built a home together. It was a total team effort and we continue to run a beautiful home together. I could not be more proud and happy in our home.

Date nights may not be as often as they were before marriage, but I know we love each other even more fiercely. We work around each other's schedules to optimize our time. Both of us are strong and career focused at this point in our lives. I love seeing how your co-workers respect you so much. You work so hard and it shows.

We have explored together. We have and continue to travel to see different parts of the world. As we continue this adventure together regardless of what is going on, I will always love you. I am grateful for you and love completing life with you.

We found out we are having a baby together and I am ready and excited for this new chapter in our life!

Lastly, we have always put our love and respect of each other above all and therefore we have grown stronger together.

So here is to the next six years being a little more settled, but still full of new kinds of fun and adventure. I know they will be! I am so lucky to be married to someone so right for me. I can’t believe I have someone who loves me, puts up with me, makes me laugh, sleeps next to me, wakes next to me, rubs my back, zips up my dresses, tells me he loves me, compliments me, eats with me, listens to me, adventures with me, and creates a life with me. I know that there is no one in this world better suited for me. I hope I can be half the spouse and support to him that he is to me.

Happy Anniversary to truly the most handsome, hard-working, selfless, thoughtful man I know! I am so proud to call you mine and that I am yours!

Cheers to six years!

May 23, 2018

Marriage is Amazing

When we got back from our babymoon, I didn't think it was possible to love Kevin anymore. During the babymoon, I asked him: "do you still feel as excited to be with me as you did on our honeymoon?" We both agreed, yes, and even more so! Even though a babymoon isn't as emotionally exhilarating as coming off a wedding (with far less alcohol for me), it is special in its own way, because it is the start of a new chapter together.

I still feel like we are newlyweds, so when we got back and I realized our anniversary was in a couple of weeks, we couldn't believe it! I love my husband more than I did when we first got married. I am sure there are some married couples reading this and rolling their eyes. But I think when it is right, it is right! Every day is different and special. and what is great about blogging is that I can look back on all of this and learn from it!

In celebration of our six year anniversary, here are some of the things that have made our marriage successful (aside from the obvious good communication):
We Don't Go To Bed Angry
During my bridal shower, the ladies wrote in a tip book where they gave us some marriage advice. One of the best pieces of advice was "never go to bed angry". We always go to bed with a kiss goodnight and an I love you. It gives us both a peaceful nice sleep. 

We Keep Laughing
Kevin makes me laugh harder than anyone has ever made me laugh. We find the same type of humor funny, which is helpful, but regardless, we always try to find light in situations and get a laugh out of it. 

We Don't Keep Score
If you feel like you are putting in 80% and your spouse is putting in 20% most of the time, then maybe, yes, there is an issue. but as long as it evens out to around 50-50, it's all good in the end. We do have some defined rolls through and I love that. He pays the bills and I clean the home. We know where we stand!

We Don't Sweat The Small Stuff
He leaves the bathroom cabinet open and his socks and shoes around the house. I feel the need to organize and reorganize everything. Little things like that should not make or break your relationship. You just need to learn to live with it! Sometimes we give each other gentle reminders, and who knows, maybe one day he will close the cabinet!

We Give Meaningful Compliments
You can literally make someone's day by giving them a compliment. Sometimes, it is hard to think of compliments when you live with someone 24/7, but if you make the effort and say, "you look handsome today" it will make their day. Doesn't it make your day when someone tells you "you're beautiful?"

We Are A Family
From the moment you and your spouse are wed, you are a family! Family is #1, above all else - so prioritize your relationship and your time together. schedule it if you need to!

We Let Each Other Know That They're Needed, Wanted, and Important
I think this is one of the most important parts of marriage. let the person know you want them, need them and that they're important in your life and you couldn't live without them. If you can live without them, then why are you married? I'm not afraid to let Kevin know that I can't live without him. When he takes out the trash or irons shirts (my two least favorite chores) I let him know that I don't know what I would do without him.

We Respect Each Other
I think the second you lose respect for someone, the relationship is over. I respect Kevin so much and I am proud to be his wife. I will always trust and respect him and no one will ever see any different. Privately, you can build each other up and use that respect to make each other better people. If your spouse does something that is not honorable, speak up and tell them that doesn't fly. Tell them when you are disappointed in their actions. Then learn your lesson and become a better person because of it. It is amazing to be in a relationship where you learn from one another and become a better person.

We Have Fun
Travel, experience new things, dine at new restaurants, get out and do things TOGETHER. Fun keeps everything together!


That's it!
What are your biggest pieces of marriage advice?
 
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