Pregnancy, Moving, and a Shower!

Long time, no write. It has been so hectic these past couple of months. Caleb, first and foremost, went to California and we were away from each other for two months which was incredibly hard and extremely draining. He stayed with his parents to save up some money for our new place and to pay off some bills, while I stayed with my mom and her boyfriend back in Texas. It was a definite test of strength in those months; being pregnant exasperated my loneliness and I just felt miserable until he came home.

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Once Caleb came back to Texas, we made plans to start looking for a home near Austin so that he could attend Austin Community College and use his GI bill to earn his degree. We struggled for a couple of weeks on figuring out what we would be able to do, but with lots of prayers we finally found the perfect duplex and things have fallen (or have been shoved) into place. We are now slowly settling into our new community and have found some great friends through our church. It’s hard not to over worry about getting all our ducks in a row before the baby is born, but were doing our best to just have faith that everything will work out for us and that God will provide for us and our child.

Once we get everything unpacked and set up, I’ll take pictures of each room (especially the nursery!) and document my experience with moving while 32 weeks pregnant (MAN! Has it been absolutely draining). We are only down to a handful of boxes and a couple of rooms need some extra tidying, but we are making progress and I am hopeful we will have our house completed before the baby’s arrival.

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Another extremely exciting event happened this past Saturday; our baby shower! We headed down to Waco and had the cutest summer “Let’s Flamingle” themed shower at a little café branch of a downtown bakery called Olive Branch Express. My mother-in-law hosted this wonderful blue-and-pink shower with the decorating help of my aunt and what a perfect turnout it was!

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We had a great time catching up with family and opening presents for our little squish as we call him/her. We are extremely blessed by the love surrounding our baby. I know that  they will be completely loved by us, our families, and our church family. Thirty-four days left and anxiously counting to meet you little one. We do have names picked out, but are waiting to announce until we know if the baby is a girl or boy, so shortly after birth!

 

I can’t believe how fast this pregnancy has gone for me. There are times where it feels like it’s going so slow and I just get overwhelmed because baby is riding up into my lungs and I feel like I can’t breathe, but really it’s been like a blink of the eye. Here we are 35 weeks into this baby-baking business and trying our best to manage birthing classes, learn cloth diapering, breastfeeding, and the ins and outs of infant raising!

I can’t wait to meet our little blessing and once we have everything  unpacked and put aways, I will be ready for them to enter the world! I’m so blessed to have had a healthy pregnancy. I’ve had hip and back pain, but I’ve managed to push through it and focus on the bigger picture. We’ve gotten this far with no gestational diabetes, great blood work, and good blood pressure with minimal complications. GOD is great in his many miracles.

 

Much love and here’s to next time!

Xo,

Cass

October 7th

These are the beautiful trees we will marry under (Mint Photography)

We have been so busy with wedding planning since the new year and are so incredibly excited and overjoyed to tie the knot in front of our friends and family. Our official date is on a wonderful fall Saturday; October 7th holds special meaning for us, so the date couldn’t be more perfect! After some decision crunching we decided to pick a beautiful Spanish-styled mansion in Belton, Texas as our venue. It’s thirty minutes from our home and a great central location for my side of the family. Caleb and I toured the property two weeks back and immediately knew we wanted it for one of our most important days of our lives. La Rio Mansion is so gorgeous and had all the amenities we were looking for! Absolutely breathtaking scenery is included with some ingenius sleeping plans for the wedding weekend!

(Rachel Whyte Photography)

Getting the date and venue secured are major relieves as those are two of the biggest choices picked by brides and grooms, but we did not stop there and kept moving on forward our path to Robinson. In addition to our gorgeous venue, we have a photographer, florist, and wedding cake baker! We are narrowing in so many details that it’s getting more and more real. Our theme is a bohemian / greenery theme that will included dreamcatchers by the most amazing Genga from Spokewoven! I’m so overly excited, I can’t even begin to explain what this date will mean to both of us.

Below I’ve included some of my favorite pins of our wedding ideas we have in mind! To view more of my pins, check out my wedding board!

(weddingsonline)
ElegantWeddingInvites
Tulle & Chantilly
guide.weddingchicks.com

That’s all for now! So excited (sarcasm) to start my last semester on Monday.

XO,

Cass & Mav

Grateful.

I’ve never experienced so many ups and downs within the span of only a couple of weeks. After my little pity party post, I decided to really try to focus on the positives in life. I joined the movement 99 Days of Freedom, whose mission is to see how Facebook users life are impacted by quitting for 99 days.

In response to Facebook’s controversial mood experiment involving some 700,000 unwitting users, we launched an experiment of our own, determining how life without Facebook impacts user happiness

I surprisingly haven’t missed it yet. The only thing I miss is chatting with my boyfriend via Facebook messenger, but in all honesty we have phones for that and I should be focusing in school anyways. People constantly try to compare themselves to others and I am 100% guilty of this! You can’t compare your life to another person’s because we are all so unique and it is completely absurd to discount your “joys,” to compare them to a celebrity/friend/etc.’s success and oh so happy life. Life is like houses: they may be pretty from the outside with their freshly mowed lawns and little white picket fences, but on the inside the house could be a train wreck and no would ever know unless they entered. I’ve decided to keep track of three different things (or more!) each day that I am grateful for. For example today’s entry:

11.17.2015 – Today I am grateful for:

  1. my boyfriend’s support through my Chiari journey; today my boyfriend drove me to class and waited through it to take me home. He willingly paid for our groceries with no hesitation, although I will pay him half back. He says “I love you” at the most perfect time when my self doubt grows increasingly strong.
  2. my mama; my mother has been nothing but a godsend through this all. I do not have a child so I do not know the true connection a mother feels with her child, but I can tell you that my mom would go to the end of the Earth for me and I her, too. I truly could not have gotten through this all without the love and support of my family, friends, and my amour.
  3. my therapist’s guidance; I’ve always had a tricky time finding the right person to talk to about my hard times, but I finally did back in 2012 with Dr. Hightower. I feel completely at ease to spill my thoughts and finally let out my worries. I try to be strong for everyone around me and for myself, so having moments to release this and get advice on how you can make things better, absolutely is a necessity.

I got the idea to think or write down these grateful moments from time.com and their guide to be happier. I’ve had so many lows in my life, but it does make me appreciate the highs I do get to experience and it makes me really think about consequences before my actions.

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So starting with two weekends ago on November 8th, I traveled to Austin, TX with my mom, dad, and boyfriend for my brother and s-i-l’s baby shower. My second niece is due on January 17th, 2016! Although I am not too entirely close with my brother and his family, it was nice to be able to catch up a little in the hustle and bustle of the hive. My niece, Emelia, is almost three (on January 10th) and is such a sweet, kind and caring little girl with a big heart. I love that child with my whole heart and it makes me so happy to have her in my arms. I can’t wait to be a mother one day, after I can put most of this behind me (surgery, school stressors, family stressors, etc.). I have always been nurturer and my desire to have my own child has always been there. Seeing Zach hold Eme and play with her makes me feel ecstatic; one thing that has helped me through each day is seeing how our relationship has gotten closer. We talk about our future plans all the time and I pray that we will be happy together and make things work through thick and thin. We were put in each other’s paths for a reason and I know being with Zach has changed me fore the better. I’ve grown more confident in myself and with my self image (learning to love my flaws), to let the little things go, and to relax because life happens: there is no sense in getting devastated over an event you cannot change, no matter how hard you try (yet I still do at times and Zach helps me through my dark days). I love our relationship: our netflix marathons, salted baths, call of duty nights, diet coke obsession, neopets, star wars collection, dvd/blu ray hoarding, sci-fi-horror movie nights, road trips with plenty of snacks, walks in the sunset, mini day hikes, fall out 4 game sessions and cuddles. We understand each other’s nerdiness and fully appreciate it.

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This past weekend we traveled all the way to Midland and back to see my grandma, who is nearing her final days. I can’t thank my mom and boyfriend enough for driving me out to the middle-of-nowhere-west-Texas. It means so much to me to be able to see my grandma and be able to  express my sincere love and gratitude for this woman that has given so much to my dad, uncle, aunt, and to me. I have never seen such a strong, independent woman. She’s tough as nails, but cancer was the only thing that could stop her. I can’t begin to explain all the sacrifices she has made to give her children a good life and in turn my brother and I through our dad. I was so happy to be around her and see her smile and bring joy to those around her. I am praying I will be able to see her again this upcoming holiday and that she can hold on to meet her great-granddaughter. Despite the circumstances, I enjoyed the trip. On Friday night we ate thai food on all white sheets in the hotel room watching Inside Out (which, if you haven’t seen it, you MUST! I think it is easily one of my very favorites and teaches such an important lesson why we need all of our many emotions to be happy – coincidentally perfect for my life). It was nice seeing my aunt and uncle and being able to be amongst family even though the hard times.

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While spending the evening at my grandmother’s house I watched the horror unravel the Paris attacks on the news. I am utterly speechless at the heinous murders that took the lives of 129 people in a place loved by so many. I cannot understand the capacity of hatred an individual has to have to do something like that, there is no way they are human, just cold terrorist monsters. I began checking instagram to see who was at the Le Bataclan during the mass shooting and bombings and began praying for those people. One picture stood out to me immediately: a young couple that looked to be in their early thirties enjoying the perks of being young and alive- Gilles Leclerc and Marianne Labanane, I later found out to be. The young gentleman with a prominent mustache and his girlfriend thought they would be enjoying an Eagles of Death Metal concert and having a great time. I begin to pray for them, for all the victims and their loved ones. I later found out on Sunday that Gilles had been one of the victims, but his girlfriend Marianne was alive, but in shock. I didn’t know these people at all, but I felt a connection to them; perhaps because I, too, am young and have gone to concerts and can empathize. Something in my heart pulled as I was hoping that these two would be safe and reunited. I’m saddened deeply by the tragedy that took place at Le Bataclan and across Paris that took the lives of so many. I can only hope that it gives the wounded and the victim’s family and friends comfort knowing how much an impact they had on the rest of the world, uniting many nations together.

After the rollercoaster of a Friday, we traveled home for only one night. I sleep best at home, so I was happy to be back in my bed after more than twelve hours of traveling to and back and two nights on a stiff mattress in a motel. One night to take a hot bath and enjoy the comforts of home. The next morning we set out for Houston, where my appointment with the neurosurgeon, a Chiari specialist, resided. On the way down I slept through the entire car ride thanks to my muscle relaxer. That was a special treat for me, as I hadn’t slept well for the past several nights! After meeting my aunt and uncle for some Mexican food and getting lost in downtown Houston, we finally made it to the hotel and settled in for the night. My boyfriend and I went down the the hot tub and enjoyed the immense heat of the spa- we have always wanted one and really love soaking. Afterwards we watched The 100 and the Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals game where we were disappointed by a close loss. That night was miserable. I had a nonstop migraine that consumed every sinus cavity of my head. I woke up around four am, trying to get any type of relief. I started a hot bath and put a cold towel over my eyes like suggested by a chronic migraine sufferer, but to no relief. I could not get back to sleep, so I patiently waited and suffered until seven am to get ready for the day.

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The time had finally come to see the specialist. After we waited for a good bit, I met Dr. Rob Parrish, a retired Army Colonel and Board Certified Neurosurgeon with specialties in Microvascular Decompression for Trigeminal Neuralgia and Hemi-Facial Spasm and, most importantly for me, Chiari Decompression. Within only a few minutes, Dr. Parrish confirmed I had Arnold-Chiari Malformation Type I with a simple temperature sensitivity test to my hands and feet (which were surprisingly worse than I previously had thought) and a few questions about my migraine headaches. He told me I would be a good candidate for surgery and that my symptoms should improve, but he could not give me a definite answer that my pain would subside; one of my biggest problems. I began to cry as I imagined what my life would be like living through pain. My dad reassured me that the surgery would help and that everything would be ok. I set up my decompression surgery for this upcoming December 9th to have a dura patch placed on the back side of my brain from a fascia graft from my leg. I can’t begin to explain the relief to know that a doctor does believe and acknowledges my pain and symptoms. It’s truly a miracle.

I have to be cleared with the cardiologist beforehand to make sure I am in complete sinus rhythm after having to receive a cardioversion last year after going into atrial fibrillation (a.fib). Dr. Parrish is adamant that I see a cardiologist in Houston at the Methodist Hospital he works at. I have been tested before after my first initial attack. I wore a cardio monitor for two months and had no definitive results. I am a bit eager to know what things look like now because I have had episodes of tachycardia probably related to a side condition. The doctor noted that my reflexes were way too entirely active and that I need that looked into as well. A lumbar and thoracic MRI will be done to determine whether I have tethered cord syndrome, another malformation that relates to neurological disorders or some type of spine trauma. Exactly three weeks from now I will be operated on. I am praying for all the success that I can possibly receive from this surgery. A life with no pain.

I know this post is massively long, but I have had so much happen. If I can make it through two more weeks of school work, I’ll be in good shape and ready to go.

Xo,

Cass