Friday, October 31, 2014

Terrifying Five

Happy Halloween! 

In lieu of an end of the week roundup, I thought I'd share five things that are terrifying to me. 

Do you see their eyes reflecting on the door? Creepy!

1. Living a life without Dave, Nibbler, and Squishee. 

2. Being buried alive.

3. Being forced to eat pickles and/or peanut butter for the rest of my life.

4. Spiders.

5. Not living my life to the fullest and wasting the one shot I have at it.

What are some things that are terrifying to you? 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Fair warning, this post is a big pile of word's just on my mind and I feel like I have to get it out there. 

It's been right around four months since I learned I miscarried. Losing a baby you never met gets easier but it also doesn't. I can't explain it but I'm not a big pile of tears and mess sitting in the corner somewhere wasting my life away but at the same time, I walk around everyday with a small piece of me that feels lost and sad. There are times where I still think about where I would be at if I were still pregnant. What I would know by now, like the gender, maybe the name, what our nursery would look like. I won't lie to you, it makes me sad. I see other pregnant women and it hurts. I see babies and I feel a yearning in my stomach for the baby I lost.

A few things I've learned along the way after losing my little "Fry" (which is what Dave and I called her for the brief time we had her, and side note for the sake of not having to do him/her this whole post, let's just say her since technically all babies are female until the sack drops to determine gender):

1. Just because I didn't announce my pregnancy doesn't mean that I'm going to hide my miscarriage. I'm glad I didn't tell the world that Fry existed before we lost her because then I was able to tell people I lost her on my own terms. There were no awkward "oh hey how's the baby doing in there" and whatnot.

I had an argument with an in law a bit back and he tried to throw in my face that since my miscarriage was posted on Facebook (not by me by the way) that it was appropriate to discuss it in a public and very embarrassing setting. Long story short, he was trying to make fun of me hanging out with little ones as a sign of being pregnant again, less than 4 weeks after I had lost Fry. When I called him out on it, he claimed he was justified since I clearly was asking for it by making it public. For starters, he's an a-hole, but more over, I don't mind people knowing I lost my baby and I feel like I need to share that. It's okay to talk about it, and it's okay that the world knows, I just expect people to be respectful of my feelings.

I bring this up because a co-worker (who works in a different department) asked me when I was going to try and have children. He said he knew that I was going to try after I completed my bachelors degree and wanted to know why there were no babies yet. I told him that I was pregnant and had lost my baby in July. He got very quiet and looked like he was going to cry. He said I'm sorry I don't know what to say, I'm so embarrassed. And that's the thing, he should't have been. I wasn't and it was kind of him to care enough to ask about my life.  Some of you may disagree with me, but I feel like I would do a disservice to Fry if I didn't tell people about her. We don't hide memories of loved ones we've lost or pets, so why should we for babies we've never met?

2. You think after getting over the miscarriage and waiting for your period to arrive that getting pregnant again would be already did it once, right? Well no, it's not easy. 

3. I don't know if it's just me, but no one tells you about the weight you gain after a miscarriage. Four pounds. Now that may not seem like a lot to you but that four pounds just put me in the "my pants are too tight, all I want to wear are leggings" category.

4. After I lost Fry, I felt like everyone around me was either pregnant or had a baby. That wasn't the case but in fairness, I had to shop for four different baby showers in the past three months. Do you want to know how many I've had to in the past 28 years prior? Maybe four. Thank you Murphy's Law?

5. I'm dreading February 6th. Is it a day I'll ever be okay with again? How am I going to be on that day? Something tells me I'm going to have to curl up that day with a good book and a lot of cupcakes.

6. Does anyone else really talk about the aftermath of a miscarriage? I feel like I read a lot about the moment it happens but nothing else after. Luckily, I've got Ashley to talk to about this and commiserate with, but where's all the blog posts about the aftermath? If you have one, please share it in the comments section below, Sharing stories may be therapeutic for everyone.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Little Women

I'll be honest, I can't remember if I've ever read Little Women, but I do know that one of the themes of the book is the strong sisterhood between the girls. I think that every woman needs a close knit set of women, whether it be sisters, friends, aunts, whatever, a woman needs other "Little Women". 

I've got so many things to be thankful for in my life, but one of the biggest things is the relationship I have with my mom and aunts. They are all such strong, intelligent, independent women that are each great role models to look up to. I think back on all the things they've taught me and just how much they've each shaped me as a person. I would not be who I am today if it weren't for each of their influences.

A few things my "Little Women" taught me (because we'd be here for years if I listed everything):

1. The perfect marriage doesn't exist, but no one knows that. 

From an outsiders perspective, my Aunt Steph's marriage is one for the fairy tale books. I've never seen her openly angry with my Uncle Bob. I've never seen them fight, disagree or be anything but loving towards each other. I can honestly say that those two seem to love each other more and more every time I see them, which seems impossible to fathom since they already seem like they love each other to the max. A long time ago I asked my aunt how she made it seem so easy, and she told me that they never publicly disagree and always support each other when others are around. I'll never know if they have ever fought or not because they've never done it in front of anyone.

2. Sometimes you need to hear things you don't want to hear and you need to listen and learn from it. 

My Aunt Penny seems "tough" on the outside, but inside she's a soft, loving woman. Dave tells me I act more like her than any of my other family (and everyone says I look like Aunt Steph). I've always been a pretty good kid, stayed out of trouble so I didn't have to deal with being in trouble (even as a kid, I thought logically). As an adult though, it almost seemed like I was making up for the times I didn't get in trouble by doing stupid things. Aunt Penny is the first to tell you you're wrong even if you don't want to hear it but she does it in a way that is respectful and loving (most of the time haha) and she makes sure you're understanding it and fixing it. There's no getting out of it until you do.

3. Be kind.

I used to joke that my mom had "save the world" syndrome. She was always doing anything and everything to help everyone, even when it inconvenienced her. As I've grown older I now see why. It's important to be a good person, and you need to be able to put your head on your pillow at night and sleep peacefully. The only way I know how to do that is to make sure that I am a good, decent human being. The days where I don't live up to that, I don't sleep good. Be kind, sleep good. Plus, when you do things that causes you to go out of your way for others, you end up feeling pretty good about it. 

4. It's okay to have fun, no one else is that concerned with you.

My Aunt Steph used to be quiet, introverted, sitting at the table watching everyone else dances the night away, and I used to do the same thing too. Then she hit 35ish and suddenly she was the first one cracking a joke, laughing, dancing. She seemed to have a lot more fun that way, so one day I decided to do the same thing. I can't dance, my best move is the lawnmower but I went up on that dance floor and owned it. And all the things I was afraid of happening, like people laughing at me, never happened and now the lawnmower gets requested at all family functions. It's okay to make an ass out of yourself, as long as you have fun doing it. 

5. Be beautiful (inside and out), be intelligent, be independent, be you (whatever that is).

All three taught me this in so many different ways, there really isn't much more I can say beyond what is listed here.

Do you have your own group of "little women"? What are some things they've taught you?

Friday, October 24, 2014

End of the Week Roundup

I'm not going to lie, this week hasn't been the best. I was anxious the whole week and didn't sleep well at all because of it. Luckily, posting the roundup of the week forces me to reflect on the good parts of the week and reminds me that it wasn't that bad

1. This past weekend, I had dinner with my Aunt Penny again. We helped my uncle set up his Facebook page and I was tasked with the job of explaining "tagging" to him. Multiple times. 

2. The auction for the bear I created for breast cancer research was a success! I raised $90 for the bear and I'm planning on creating more bears for good causes soon!

3. I also finished my first onesie quilt this week for my friend and her son loves it!

4. I also had tea with my cousin this Saturday. She my cousin through marriage and we never really got a chance to get to know each other except through Instagram so we decided to start having "dates" to hang out. It was so nice having a quick, "fancy" meal together. 

5. Nibbler loves to cuddle, most of you know this, however climbing up on my shoulder while I sleep on the couch? That's a new level of closeness. I woke up to his little pink nose in my face. I love him (and his brother!) so much. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

This is How We (I) Do....

So there's this "thing" I do that drives a lot of people nuts: I like to read the ending to movies before I go see them and, to a lesser extent, I do the same thing with books. I don't always do this with books because I do like the feeling of "oooh what's going to happen next?!?" but sometimes I do. 

It's something I've always liked to do, being the kind of person who doesn't pay very much attention to detail. Dave likes to tell the story about how we drove down the road side by side for about a mile before he had to beep the horn for me to realize he was next to me. This was when he drove a big red truck, too. 

Anyway, most of the time, this works in my favor. I'm able to understand what the heck is going on in complicated movies like Inception, or I'm able to pick up on the little details that lead to plot twists or clues that I would normally miss. It helps me enjoy what I'm seeing more. 

There have been a few instances however where I've ruined it for myself. Gone Girl being one of them. I won't give away the plot twist but suffice to say that one day I happened to wikipedia (we can make that a verb now too, like "google it", right?) the plot summary before picking up the book to see what the big hubbub was all about, and then when I read the book I couldn't appreciate the twist. 

The book is set up in the beginning to make you feel one way, you see little things that make you go "ah ha! I know you're the bad guy" and then half way through, you see you're wrong and then you go through the complicated emotions of un-hating the person you hated and hating the person you thought you were rooting for. I didn't get to experience that because I already knew what was coming. It didn't make the book any less of a good read for me, but I missed the experience. Imagine riding a roller coaster but missing the part where you go up a big hill and then stop at the top only to come rushing down again. Sure, the ride was probably still a little fun, but the exhilaration wasn't there. 

Is it going to make me change what I do? Yes and no. I'll probably avoid reading the ending/twists to books, but not the movies. I get more involved in a book, feel more emotional towards what I'm reading, but movies not so much. I'd still rather know how a movie ends before I see it.

How about you? Are you cringing at the thought of me reading the endings to movies and books or are you nodding your head in agreement?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sunday Morning Silence

Sunday mornings are my favorite moments of the week. I normally wake up before Dave by a few hours (like 5:30, thanks internal clock, ya jerk!). If I can't fall back asleep I quietly sit there and read or play on my phone. Once Nibbler and Squishee realize I'm awake they climb up and cuddle. 

The silence that Sunday morning offers brings me peace. I get to reflect on things that bother me, things that make me happy, things that I appreciate. It's the one moment of the week where I feel my body washing away the negativity and refocusing on the positive.

The silence is sometimes cut by Nibs and Squish's purrs, which is like the hum of a fan in the summertime. You know, where it can lull you to sleep? Except, instead of putting me to sleep, it centers me more. 

I've always wanted to try mediation, but I could never sit still or shut my mind off long enough to truly appreciate it. I guess you could say that Sunday mornings are my alternative to meditation. 

During particularly rough or busy weeks, I find myself longing for my quiet Sunday mornings, listening to Dave's quiet breathing while he sleeps, feeling Nibbler's head resting on my arm, and the weight of Squish as he slumbers on my stomach. It is in those moments I feel the richest and the most fulfilled with my life. 

It is in that moment when I realize life is good.

Friday, October 17, 2014

End of the Week Roundup

Normally the first week back from vacation is excruciatingly slow. Luckily for me, this week flew by!

1. This time last Friday, I was having my last breakfast down in OBX with my friends and prepping for a day on the beach. Needless to say, the chances that last Friday will top this Friday are high.

2. I finished Gone Girl on Wednesday and it was such a great book, even if the ending left a bit to be desired. I understood why it ended the way it did though. 

3. ...then I demanded Dave take me to see the movie the same day I finished the book. Both were excellent and we had one of the best "after movie" conversations on the way home from watching the film.

4. I think saying Nibbler is happy I'm home is an understatement.

5. This week I created a bear that I'm currently auctioning off. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to research of breast cancer. Please check out my Facebook page, Quilts by Nicole and share my status. It's my hope that we can spread the word and donate to a good cause, plus if you win the auction you get the bear!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


I mentioned Monday that Dave and I want to visit all 50 states at some point together in our lifetime. This past week, we were able to cross off two more states rounding out total states visited to 10! Whoo hoo! Only 40 more to go! Haha! 

Outer Banks was gorgeous. Since it was off season it wasn't crowded at all, but the weather was still warm enough for us to hang out on the beach and get in the water. A friend of ours rented a home down there and invited us and a few others to come along. It's funny, Dave and I have always been on opposite sides of the "group vacation debate". He feels that group vacations are funner, whereas I prefer one on one vacations. However, after this vacation, I will concede that with the right group and the right location, group vacations are far better, I couldn't imagine having as good of a time as I did in NC if it hadn't been with such great friends. 

Driving on the beach is so much fun!

We look like we're photoshopped into this pic, because of the light from the sun setting and the flash of the camera. 

Here's the states we've visited so far in map form:

Map created using defocus blog's map

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kiptopeke State Park

Dave and I headed to OBX at the end of last week for a quick vacation with friends. He and I have a bucket list goal to visit every 50 states at some point in our life. Since I knew we were going to pass through Virginia I went to Roadtrippers to map out our trip and try to find some attractions along the way, so we could knock off VA off the list. The site suggested Kiptopeke State Park which was literally on the same road that we would need to be on to head to North Carolina. 

Kiptopeke was supposed to have these huge beach chairs with L-O-V-E written across them, which was what really got me interested in the place. Sadly, when we arrived we found out that the chairs were no longer there, but we had already paid at that point and decided to walk around and check the place out. There is so much more to the park than what we did. There are hiking trails, fishing, hawk habitats, camping grounds and a good bit more. I took some pics and then we went on our way. Hope you enjoy the pics from the park!

So no fishing dead fish then?

The waterfront had a row of old ships sitting in a line. At first I didn't see much with my regular lens on my camera, but when I grabbed the zoom lens I was able to zoom in and see a bunch of cranes sitting all on the ships.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mid Week Roundup

I'm currently on a quick vacation in OBX, so needless to say I'm having a great week. Here's the roundup for the first half of the week!

1. Friday night, Dave and I went to Monster Jam at the Wells Fargo center with my parents courtesy of Rachel at Can't Google Everything, who hosted a giveaway I won. 

2. My mom also made this gorgeous wreath for me, which I am in love with! You can check out her page on Facebook, Cheryl's Creations.

3. Sunday I went apple picking with my good friend Becca and her daughter Marisol (who just turned one month old!). It was so much fun catching up with her and hanging out.

4. I convinced Dave to switch our Netflix from the mailed movies to the streaming movies, and we promptly started watching Orange is the New Black. We spent all of Saturday night and Sunday night watching the show. I'm hooked!

5. Squish loves stretching out on Dave, and I love the peaceful moment it creates.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

14 in '14- October Update

The 14 in '14 list is complete! I really enjoyed creating a list of books I wanted to make sure I read this year and following through with it. It's really satisfying!

I have to preface this post by saying that Walter Moers is one of my absolute favorite authors (aside from Christopher Moore). In fact, The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear is one of my all time favorite books and the only book I've recommended to literally everyone who asks for books suggestions. 

With that being said, The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books fell flat. No, more like crashed and burned. Moers is a very descriptive writer, which is something I normally am not a fan of. I usually can stomach Moers descriptiveness because it's such a fantastical setting he has created. The problem with this book is that it's nothing but description. The first 150 pages or so, nothing happens, it's all just Moers describing Optimus Yarnspinner heading back to Bookholm (which I really wish existed!). Then pages 225-400 describe a play he is at and puppeteering. I'm not going to lie, I skimmed most of the book. 

Labyrinth is a sequel to The City of Dreaming Books, which was an amazing book. What I didn't know prior to reading this is that Labyrinth is also part one of a two part book series. We really could  have done without this book and he could have inserted most of what we actually needed from this book into the second one. I'm still going to read the second one when I come out, I just hope it's more "action packed" than this book was. I'm really sad that I didn't enjoy this book because I really think Walter Moers is an incredibly gifted writer. But I guess they can't all be winners!

Here is the full list (each link will take you to the post about that book):

1. Where'd you go Bernadette?
2. Sacre Bleu
3. Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?
4. The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic
5. The Partly Cloudy Patriot
6. Assassination Vacation
7. The Alchemyst
8. The Graveyard Book
9. The Maze Runner
10. The Husband's Secret
11. Beauty Queens
12. The Dust of 100 Dogs
13. The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own Making
14. The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books

I would love to hear about what you read this month!

I'm on Goodreads, if you'd lik
e to add me.

What are some books that you think I should read in 2015?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Things That Go Bump in the Night

Apparently Dave and I can't keep our hands off each other in bed.

No, I don't mean like that. This isn't that kind of blog. What I mean is that we seem to always inevitably beat each other up in the middle of the night. 

It all started a few years ago, while I was having a nightmare about spiders. Ugh, it makes me shudder to think about spiders crawling all over me. Anyway, in the middle of this terrific nightmare, Dave is having a dream of his own (the running story with him is that he was dreaming about hammering). He ended up tapping on my shoulder, kinda like a bunch of little spiders running around all over me. I promptly woke up, screamed, and smacked Dave in the arm, which woke him up with a big 'ol "what the hell!?!"


The next "infraction" occurred a few months later. I'm a mover when I sleep. I never wake up, but I'm always aware of when I move around. One night I went to roll over on my stomach and just as I was about to settle back into my pillow, Dave rolled over and punched me right in my chin and snapping my head back. I promptly punched him in the jaw. Which resulted in another "what the hell!?!"

I always picked on Dave for "beating me up" in our sleep. Then, one night last week the tables finally turned, and I lost my ability to hoard that over his head. 

Another thing I'm able to sleep through for the most part is Dave snoring. He doesn't do it often, and when I do wake up from it, I'll just softly touch his arm and he stops. That night I was dreaming about something and my dreams turned to Dave snoring. So, still half asleep, I reach out to brush his arm. What I didn't realize was that I was laying a bit higher than normal, so what I thought was his arm turned out to be his mouth. 

Mid snore, I shoved my fingers right into Dave's mouth. 

It wasn't intentional, I swear it. Dave woke up sputtering and the only thing I could think of to do was say, "oops sorry" and roll over. As I started to fall back asleep, I knew I just lost my right to guilt trip Dave about his sleeping habits.

Please tell me Dave and I aren't the only ones who beat up on each other in our sleep?