Saturday, November 23, 2013

Just about three weeks left...

So our little man (yes, we've named him, but no, we're not announcing on social media...) is set to arrive in about three weeks. I suppose it could be less - and it could also be more, though this mama sincerely hopes not!

It's not that I'm that uncomfortable (well, I am...but aren't you supposed to be at this stage?)...it's just that I don't want him to have a birthday too close to Christmas. How hard would that be? Though having a birthday AFTER Christmas would be worse.

I'm hoping for Dec. 11...seven days early (according to the due date the doctors have given me). That'd be perfect.

But we're so ready for him to be here. His nursery is all ready - furniture is set up, artwork is hung on the wall. He's got tons of clothes, toys, books and everything else a baby should have - thanks to our wonderful family and friends. Plus we have one shower left at the beginning of December. This kid is spoiled already!

And now that we have finally named him...and I hear my close friends and family use his name...it makes him so much more real to me. I don't even know why! Plus I can actually SEE him move, which is totally wild.

I am SUPER nervous for labor...but I'm trying to remind myself I'm a strong person and can do this...drug free! It's hard, though, when all I ever hear from anyone is their own horror stories and how crazy I am for wanting to bring him into the world drug-free. I don't know anyone besides my own mom and sister who have had their babies drug-free. Am I crazy? Probably...but I'm determined to do this. I have the most amazing doctor who is going to be there the entire time so I am not worried about anything going wrong. And my wonderful, loving husband will be there with me the entire time..thank GOD. And my mama, too! (Which I'm beyond thankful for.)

But I tell you this...I'm am praying for a relatively quick and easy labor. I pray this baby comes into the world strong, healthy and crazy mad (which the doctors like...shows they're healthy and they can do all the newborn tests on babies a lot easier if they come out screaming!).

I'm sure the next post will come after baby is born...so if you're reading this between now and about three weeks from now...please say a prayer for me, Kevin and our baby! Thank you!

XOXO,
MJ

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Baby registry

So we're at 28 weeks today.

Baby is getting bigger and bigger every week. I feel him kicking and rolling all over. It's pretty wild. I especially enjoy sitting in bed at night (when he's most active) and watching my stomach move. It's seriously as though there's an alien inside - ready to burst out! (Cue scary Aliens movie.)

I've noticed he really likes the sound of his daddy's voice. Whenever Kevin comes home and starts talking to me, baby starts kicking up a storm. Now I know how Elizabeth felt when baby John started moving as soon as the sound of her cousin Mary's voice reached her ears (it's in the Bible, I swear). It's heartwarming. He also loves Kevin's touch. He'll be moving around like crazy at night and Kevin will rub my belly and baby lays still...I'm not sure what it is. Is it Kevin's warmth or possibly the fact that his touch soothes me, which baby picks up on? Either way, I love it.

A couple of weeks ago we decided we'd put off registering for baby stuff long enough. So we ventured into Babies R Us...which is seriously the 800 pound gorilla of all baby stores. Holy crap. We didn't even know where to begin. Thankfully the nice registry lady gave us some good tips and a list of the "most important things you'll need." We did our research beforehand but wow...nothing prepares you for walking into a giant baby store with 12 different types of high chairs, strollers and car seats.

So we registered for what we thought was best (or a couple of high chairs if we weren't sure) and left. After doing more research (thank you Baby Bargain book...), we were able to go back - this time a little more prepared but still relatively overwhelmed - and finish.

And you wouldn't believe how expensive that place is. Wow. More than $150 for bedding. BEDDING! A tiny piece of fabric you don't even get to use in the crib, sheets, a bumper (which you can't even use anymore but they still sell them) and a crib skirt. I guarantee you the blanket, sheets and pillow cases we use on our bed aren't even that much! So we said no thanks. We're going another route.

The next thing I couldn't believe - the price of furniture. Cribs start at reasonable prices - $100 - and go all the way up to ridiculous - $1,000+. I don't even get it. And the dressers - don't even get me started on them. They're crappily made and I didn't see ONE that was less than $400. I don't even own a dresser worth that much. :/ I love this child more than he'll ever know and I haven't even met him yet - but I'm not buying him a $400 dresser. Especially one so poorly made.

And what's up with there being WAY more girl baby clothes than boys? It's so unfair!

Anyway, if there's a mama-to-be out there who is reading this...just be prepared to be unprepared. I don't think any amount of preparation can really get you ready for a baby. At least, not that we've discovered. It's fun, don't get me wrong. But holy cow you learn so much in such a little amount of time that it's tough to wrap your mind around it. We're just trying to let go and enjoy.

Next week is my birthday and we're taking a babymoon (haha) to Colorado for the weekend (Friday through Sunday) to celebrate a friends wedding but to also just get away and unwind - just Kevin and I. I can't wait.

Also, 12 weeks left! Wowza!

XOXO,
MJ

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The cicada's song

I am at work right now. But even from the inside of my building, as I sit listening to the police scanner, I can hear the rising chorus of the cicada...signaling the end of yet another summer.

Hearing the cicada every August was always a bittersweet sound to me as a child. It meant summer was coming to a close...that school was right around the corner. That chilly weather was inevitably on its way.

But now when I hear the cicadas...it brings me back to the warm memories of being a kid. Of running around at night, barefoot trying to catch lightning bugs. Of laying on the still-warm grass as the sun began to set. Of starting a fire out at the lake and roasting marshmallows for s'mores. Of just being a kid and having nothing in the world to worry about...except for school starting.

I don't get sad at the end of summer anymore. It's not the same as it was when I was a kid. I have to work every day. I don't get to go to the pool every day. I don't get to do whatever I want. I'm an adult with adult responsibilities...like paying the bills. Plus, I enjoy fall. The heat - thanks to being pregnant - is completely unbearable to me. I'd give anything for it to be 60 degrees out right now instead of 86 degrees at 8 p.m.

So hearing those cicadas is an almost welcome sound these days. Plus, hearing them gives me a nice chance to sit back and reminisce about those wonderful childhood days. And I look forward to teaching my son about the cicada's song. I hope he'll someday look back when he's my age and have just as many fond memories when they start singing at every summer's end.

XOXO,
MJ

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I'm going to be outnumbered in my house...

It's official. We're having a BOY!

I'm going to be outnumbered in my house! And I'm OK with that.

When the ultrasound tech asked us if we were ready to find out, I was prepared to hear, "It's a boy!" So when we did, I laughed. I was excited, of course. No, ecstatic! But I still laughed. I was right! I like that. I'm carrying on the "sixth sense" my aunts, mom and sister all had. Phew.

And we've produced, I feel, a little prince. Someone to finally carry on the Coffey name. I'm sure it makes my husband proud - since it's not really through me that gender is determined. But if I was married to King Henry VIII, I'd at least be spared from getting my head chopped off for not producing an heir. Haha.

Anyway, once we announced, the gifts came flooding in. A little blue onesie with robots and a matching bib. A Batman onesie. Little Yoda and Chewbacca slippers. This kid isn't even born yet and already he has a week's worth of clothes and two pairs of shoes. This mama is happy.

Next is the nursery. Not sure if we'll do something with a superhero theme or do something a little less...nerdy. But he's the product of Kevin and I so he really has no chance of being normal. So why not start early? ;)

We just moved to the new house a couple of weeks ago and right now the nursery is just basically a storage room for all the stuff we don't want to deal with quite yet or the boxes that haven't been unpacked.

But we have gone to pick out paint. We have to paint every single room in our house (since the house was built in the 1920s and really wasn't properly cared for the past 10 or so years, it needed some patching in the walls and some parts of the ceiling after the roof was replaced a couple of years ago). So yay for a giant painting party.

But once the nursery is emptied out and painted, it's going to get exciting. And then adding all the baby furniture, of course. :)

Let it begin!

XOXO,
MJ

Monday, July 22, 2013

A new family member...

I'm so bad at blogging. Really. It's awful. I guess, as a journalist who writes all day, the last thing I want to do is come home and write more. Which isn't good for my goal of writing a book someday.

But I digress...

In April, Kevin and I found out we are expecting our first child! He or she will make their appearance in this world on or around Dec. 18.

At first, pregnancy was bliss. Pure bliss...mixed in with the occasional, "Oh my God, what did we do?" You know, the idea of bringing a life into this world that we're going to have to be responsible for for at least 18 years is...well...it's scary. It's not like we can give the kid back to its parents once we're tired of caring for it. Nope, this one is ours. We're stuck with it FOREVER.

Once we got past that point...well, hell, no...we're still not past that point quite yet and I've heard we never will be.

But once six weeks rolled around...the sickness kicked in. Good God. Eleven weeks of that bullcrap. And it's STILL not entirely gone.

Imagine how you feel when you have the flu. Shaky, exhausted, the need to hug the toilet all day, right? Yeah. Now imagine having that all day long, every day, for eleven weeks. It was agony.
Why they call it "morning sickness" I have no idea. It's a load of crap....

I cried constantly...feeling like a horrible mom-to-be when I'd yell "I cannot do this anymore! I don't want to be pregnant. Can I just be done already?" Of course, I really did want to be pregnant. I just didn't want to be sick. It sucked.

I still have bad days...but more often than not I feel good. Just tired. Dog tired. Like I could crawl into bed at 7 p.m. and sleep until 8 a.m. the next morning.

The other thing about being pregnant...it's the most womanly thing I've ever done, while also being the most unlady like thing possible. All the changes and all the weird, unladylike things that accompany it. I won't go into detail...but your privacy really goes out the door. I hear labor is even more unladylike. The ultimate unladylike experience possible. Yay.

Also, you start to freak out about what's happening to your body. I'm almost five months along and am starting to show - which is awesome. I don't just look like I've gained a little weight in my belly. I actually look like I'm pregnant.

Though when people ask me how far I am and I tell them, they say, "No way! You're tiny!" I guess that comes with having your first kid...and being tall and relatively in shape before I got pregnant.

People also ask me what we're having. We don't know yet. We find out in a little more than a week. But I feel 95 percent sure it's a boy. Why? I have no idea. I've always asked that question to pregnant people...my mom, my aunts, my sister. How did/do you know? And they couldn't answer it either...it's just a motherly instinct, they said.

Some people I know have had no idea what they're having. My mom was right on all three of us. My Aunt Trisha was right with all six of hers. My sister was right with her daughter. I'm hoping I carry that "sixth sense," too.

One reason I can say I'm sure I'm right...is because I want a girl (though truly it doesn't matter that much...as long as he or she is healthy...I'll be ecstatic). I just think dressing a girl up in frilly outfits and shoes and ribbons would be fun. But I cannot get the idea of a boy out of my head...so it makes me wonder. When I picture Baby Coffey, all I see is a boy with dark hair, blue eyes and dimples like his daddy. I can only picture a super hero nursery.

Wouldn't it be hilarious if I'm absolutely, totally wrong and it's a girl? Geez.

I guess we'll find out on Aug. 1.

Also...we're moving into our first house on Saturday. I can't wait to be a homeowner. The idea of so much room and being able to do WHATEVER I want is thrilling. Saturday cannot come soon enough. I'm never, ever, ever, ever, ever living in an apartment again!

XOXO,
MJ

Monday, February 4, 2013

Goodbye Facebook...for awhile, anyway.

So I think the time has come to give up Facebook for awhile…maybe social media in general. That’s right - I am giving up Facebook for Lent. Will it be hard? Undoubtedly. But a few things have really made me see the light. I am just too dependent on the stupid thing.

For one, I thought I lost my Facebook this past weekend because it wouldn’t let me log in (no I didn’t forget my password). It told me my account had been locked for security reasons. What?! I think it must have been hacked (but I did get it figured out). Throughout this Saturday night debacle, I was positively freaking out. To explain this: I’ve had Facebook since 2005 or 2006. I can’t even begin to tell you how many photos I have invested in it. It’s also a way for me to connect with people I never see anymore – to see what’s going on in their lives. Especially my sister – who lives in California with her husband and baby. I get to browse through photos of them living their lives. That’s comforting.

But then more than half the time, I am just browsing, browsing, browsing and getting myself caught up in other people’s drama. Or somehow I am managing to cause drama for myself. And I hate drama. I mean HATE drama. I like seeing posts about the awesome new recipe a friend made for dinner (weird, yes). I like seeing photos of my friends’ kids. But I don’t like seeing posts about politics and/or religion (I am guilty of this…insert causing drama for myself). People are highly opinionated on things they’re passionate about – but why do we all (and we’re almost all guilty of this) feel the need to post it on the Internet where everyone can see? All it does is cause arguments and hard feelings.

So yeah, Facebook is the biggest waste of time. I bet, in one day, if you add up all the times I check Facebook on my phone or on my computer, it would equal hours. How sad is that?

It’s sad. You can say it – or think it. Whatever. Point is – it’s terribly, ridiculously, stupidly sad. I hate being so dependent on a stupid social media outlet. It’s frustrating. If I get even just a little bit bored throughout the day, I go straight to Facebook. That time could be spent doing so many better things! What in the world did I do as a kid without it? I managed. Somehow I managed and was a fun, lively, creative kid with an imagination as big as a freight train. I am going to manage again.

And hopefully, once Lent is over, I don’t have that big of an urge to go back to Facebook. Hopefully I get into the habit of reading a book when I have 10 minutes of free time. Or doodling. Or doing laundry. Or exercising. I’m hoping that, because of this, I’ll only sometimes have the urge to post pictures of my kids someday…or once in awhile feel the need to browse through what’s been happening with my close friends and see pictures of their kids.

Or a picture of that new, awesome, delicious looking recipe someone posted.

(P.S. I do plan to keep blogging, though. I am a writer and this is one of my many avenues to be able to do that. Writing is something I plan to do more of during my Facebook absence. I might even write about this upcoming experience.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Travels

Sometimes I just want to get in my car and drive.

I’d drive all across the U.S. – with no specific destination in mind.

Maybe I’d drive to New York City to shop, see the Empire State Building and take a taxi across the Brooklyn Bridge. Then I’d head over to Montauk to walk along the beach and see a lighthouse or two. Perhaps I’d meet a new friend there. I could really use a friend. We could talk about the weather and watch the waves crash along the shore.

Or maybe I’d go the other way and go visit the hills of San Francisco and take a ferry to visit the empty cells of Alcatraz. I think it’d be fun to run across the Golden Gate Bridge, too. Next I’d stop in San Diego to visit the animals at the San Diego zoo. Or maybe I’d just lie by the beach and feel the warmth on my face again. That would be nice.

Sometimes I just feel so trapped here in Nebraska. January is always cold steel and dreary gray. And February, which is quickly approaching, really isn’t much of a change.

I am just praying for a swift winter and that spring is just right around the corner. I think we could all use a little more sunshine in our lives right about now.

XOXO,

MJ

 

 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Serendipity

"Johnathan Trager, prominent television producer for ESPN, died last night from complications of losing his soul mate and his fiancee. He was 35 years old. Soft-spoken and obsessive, Trager never looked the part of a hopeless romantic. But, in the final days of his life, he revealed an unknown side of his psyche. This hidden quasi-Jungian persona surfaced during the Agatha Christie-like pursuit of his long-reputed soul mate, a woman whom he only spent a few precious hours with. Sadly, the protracted search ended late Saturday night in complete and utter failure. Yet even in certain defeat, the courageous Trager secretly clung to the belief that life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences. Uh-uh. But rather, it's a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite, sublime plan. Asked about the loss of his dear friend, Dean Kansky, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and executive editor of the New York Times, described Jonathan as a changed man in the last days of his life. "Things were clearer for him," Kansky noted. Ultimately Johnathan concluded that if we are to live life in harmony with the universe, we must all possess a powerful faith in what the ancients used to call 'fatum,' what we currently refer to as destiny."

Serendipity. It means a "happy accident" or a "pleasant surprise"...specifically the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it.

I watched this movie this morning. It reminds me, in an odd way, of my husband and I. It was funny, but I wasn't looking for him. I had almost given up on love. I was fed up. And then, by chance, he just kind of walked into my life.

But it's funny...looking back on how we were brought together...all the little coincidences. Meeting randomly at a newspaper. Having mutual friends without realizing it. Me living next door to his best friends in college. But always we seemed to bypass each other...until just the right moment. I like what Dean says in the movie, "Serendipity." Life really isn't "merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences. Uh-uh. But rather, it's a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite, sublime plan." It's like we were planned for each other from the very beginning. Every little thing in our lives had led up to each time we could have met...and it all culminated when we finally met for dinner that warm September evening.

When I talk with friends who just want to meet someone and fall in love, I just tell them that "it'll happen." And it really does. Love can't be rushed or sought out. It must accidentally fall in your lap. And that's the best kind of love...the kind where you're not ready for it, not expecting it. Because then you are wonderfully caught up in every little thing...every day is an unforgettable adventure. We must just let "fate" or "destiny" take its course - and stop worrying so much about what's to come. If we do that, we'll end up exactly where we're supposed to be.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A story about strength, courage and hope.

Hey everyone,

Recently, I was contacted by a woman who wanted me to help share her story about her fight with a deadly type of cancer - mesothelioma, which kills 90-95 percent of those who have it. She was only 36 years old at the time and had just given birth to her first child - a little girl.

To help her spread the word about this type of cancer - I decided to share her own words...words of strength, of courage, of love and of hope. It's my hope that her words might somehow touch someone else who is dealing with any form of cancer. If you are reading this, hopefully - whether by these words or by the words of family and friends around you - you realize you are not alone.

XOXO,
MJ


***


My Ordeal with Cancer as a New Mommy

There was a time in my life when I had to depend completely on the help and support of other people. I was only 36 years of age when things began changing for me. I had recently been celebrating the birth of my daughter, Lily, who made her introduction into the world on August 5th in 2005. My husband and I, along with our family, could not have been more excited to welcome Lily into our lives. It was at this very moment in my life that I felt complete, and it was almost as if nothing could possibly bring me down.

I went back to work shortly after giving birth to Lily, but things began taking a turn for the worse after that. I started to lose a lot of weight. Losing weight may have seemed normal after giving birth, but I was losing nearly 7 pounds each week. I started to feel tired all the time, and I hardly had any energy. This may not sound out of the ordinary for a new mother, but I felt like something was wrong. I decided to schedule an appointment with my primary physician, and after numerous tests, we found out what was going on.

Not long before Thanksgiving, back on November 21st, 2005, my physician informed me that I was suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma, which is a form a cancer. This particular type of cancer usually occurs after a person has been exposed to asbestos. When I was younger, I had been exposed to asbestos without realizing it. I had originally believed my symptoms were attributed with the fact that I was a new mother, but those symptoms were actually symptoms of mesothelioma. It is typical for the symptoms of mesothelioma to occur 30-50 years after exposure to asbestos. My case was no different. The cancer waited almost 3 decades before rearing its ugly head.

When I received the diagnosis, I immediately thought about Lily and how she was only 3 ½ months at the time. During the appointment, my doctor said that if I chose not to receive treatment, I would only have a little over a year to survive. I realized that this was serious and that I had to go through whatever it would take so that I could survive. It was February 2nd, right after the holiday season, when I headed to Boston for treatment, which I would be receiving from a top mesothelioma doctor who had plenty of experience. During the surgery, I had to have my left lung removed from my body. This is considered a very serious procedure, but I knew it was my only option. After the procedure, I spent over two weeks in the hospital to recover, and then another 2 months recovering my body until I got started with chemotherapy, along with radiation. I was going through a lot and still trying to be a great mom.

During my stay in Boston, my parents graciously accepted the task of raising Lily in their home in South Dakota for the time being. They received lots of support from the community and people who simply wanted to help. I was also able to make friends in the hospital, receiving plenty of support from others. While my parents were raising Lily, they continuously took pictures of her as she learned to do all types of new things. I was proud, although the pictures made me want to cry because I wanted to be there, but I knew I was doing the right thing, and had to be away from her then, so that I can be here for her now.

Several years later, we are all living in each moment. The cancer diagnosis itself was a very negative point in my life. However, the support and love I received from so many kind hearts was definitely a positive part of it all. I will remain thankful for the positive things. We as a family never take anything for granted, and that is how it will always be.


 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Women really ARE crazy!

Sometimes I feel bad for the guys who date or marry us women.

Guys are so much simpler to understand and deal with. They're not conniving, jealous beings at heart. Well, MOST of them are not.

But women are.

Now, I am a woman. I'm married to a great guy. He's the most easily understood person I have ever met. He is open and honest...he doesn't hide his feelings from me. He doesn't feel the need to lie or cheat. He would NEVER play mind games with me.

And I am thankful for that.

As a woman, I hate mind games. I hate playing mind games with people (of course I am human and it has happened) and I hate playing them with myself. That's the worst.

Today on Facebook, I ran across a picture that said, "When a woman says 'Do whatever you want,' do NOT do whatever you want." I won't lie, it made me kind of mad.

How is that not mean? And evil and conniving? I mean seriously. Who plays these minds games with their boyfriends or husbands? If I don't want my husband to do something, I will tell him straight to his face. None of this dangerously skating on thin ice with me. If I'm mad at him, I tell him. I don't play cruel games.

Most guys don't play mind games - or can't even begin to understand them. Most guys are straightforward and if you tell them to "do whatever you want," nine times out of ten they're probably going to do whatever they want because, well, "you told them they could." And then they're in "big trouble" without really understanding why they're in trouble. Of course, this is all depending on the tone of your voice. I think most guys will detect when a woman says something like that but has venom literally dripping from her words. It's still mean, though. Just tell him straight up, for crying out loud!

It's like these women are just LOOKING for a way to start a fight. And it drives me nuts. It also labels women as crazy, mind-controlling b****es. Not all of us are like that. Truly.

So to you women out there who DO play mind games - knock it off, will ya? It's time to grow up, be a WOMAN and talk to your man like an adult. Not only to your man but to other women as well. We're not children anymore. I think your boyfriend or husband will appreciate you more if he isn't having to dissect your crazy emotional jargon every other hour.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My, my, how life has changed...

It’s sometimes weird to think about how my life has changed since becoming an adult - especially a married adult.

I think how much it’s changed really struck me this past Christmas. I’m married now, so my family is my husband. I have to split family time equally with his family and my family. That’s really hard – especially for someone like me whose family is my life. It was weird having to miss stuff…or only make it to half the evening. And it kind of made me sad – but being married to Kevin is what I’ve always wanted since I first fell in love with him. And so I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Christmas now – with him and I never having to leave each other. But a part of me – the part that will always miss being a little kid and who overly cherishes my grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins – is sad that I might have to start missing things.

It was weird not waking up at my parent’s house – to my dad waking me up with the video camera, excitedly proclaiming, “Santa Claus came last night!” (Even though I quit believing in a real-life Santa Claus when I was a kid…he did it every year until last year – my last year before being married.) Those memories are what made Christmas for me. And I can’t have those anymore. Part of me knew this time would always come and, while I am OK with it, part of me will always miss it a little bit.

I also don’t like not having my sister, her husband and their baby home with us. That makes Christmas incomplete whether or not I was to spend every moment with my family. And I think Christmas was hard for my mom this year because my sister isn’t living here so she didn’t get to see Vera on her first Christmas – and they no longer have any kids waking up with them on Christmas morning. I could tell she was a bit blue this year.

I know every year it will get easier to not spend every moment of every holiday with my side of the family. Kevin and I will start making our own traditions…ones we can pass down to our children someday. And us having kids will certainly cheer my parents up…since they’ll have little ones to dote on again! If only Jessica and Bruce would move back…they’d have Vera here all the time to spoil and spend time with.

I guess that’s what life is…it’s full of uncertainty and change. It’s always a little bit scary but I think there’s beauty in adventure…even for those of us who aren’t fond of adventuring past our little Hobbit holes.

But however scary it is…I am so ready to embrace this first full year of being married to my wonderful husband. I look forward to the chance to cherish him and I as a family…even if that does mean missing things I’ve always done with my parents. It’s going to be a grand adventure and one I wouldn’t miss for the world!

XOXO,
MJ