Hangin In There!

26 Weeks, 3 Days. Officially in my Third Trimester. So far, so good. 🙂

The most common question I get these days is, “How are you feeling?”

Truth be told, it is one of the nicest, most polite, most PC questions one could ask. I’ve heard horror stories of the kinds of questions (or comments) that pregnant women get throughout the last trimester of their journey. I’m so thankful that this is what people choose to ask me, instead of the plethora of inappropriate questions that could get tossed my way… (I actually know a Mom who was asked, “Do you know who the father is?” WTF?)

Unfortunately, my response isn’t really the one they were looking for. Because I’m honest to a fault, and I’m sarcastic, my reply is “I feel like a boat.” The looks of confusion are hilarious. Surely they were expecting me to say things like “I feel fantastic” or “Couldn’t be better” or “I’m floating like a freakin’ cloud.” 😉 But no – I tell it like it is. This tiny, 5 foot 3, 120 lbs string bean feels ginormous at just over 130 lbs. I can’t tell you how many walls, counter tops, chairs, and people’s butt’s I’ve “bumped” into in the last few weeks. It’s bound to set some kind of record. And my chest, which is just ridiculous (to me) at this point, is a magnet for elbows, shoulders, walls, the fridge, THE MAIL BOX (no joke), etc… I have zero concept of how big my body is, and I’m only now really appreciating the kind of tiny crevices I could squeeze through just a mere 6 months ago.

So yes, it’s true. I feel like a boat. Everyone politely replies, “No! You look great!” which I truly appreciate. Even when I know I look like hell. So Thank you all for saying so. It really does feel good. This pregnancy is SO different from my last on so many levels. Obviously, the fact that I’m not a Mom of two yet marks the most significant difference. Abigail was 2 weeks old at this point (which may actually boggle my mind more NOW than it did then. Jury is still out). But the pregnancy itself is on the complete opposite side of the field. I was so terribly sick with Abigail for the first 12 weeks. Non-stop vomiting, weight loss, nausea, bleh. And then 13 weeks hit and it was like a switch got flipped. I was happy, healthy, with no more nausea or vomiting whatsoever. I wasn’t tired AT ALL. I had boundless energy. And my hair! My hair looked like a movie star’s. It. Was. Fabulous. And the rest of my pregnancy (just under 10 weeks) remained in that happy place.

This go round, I wasn’t as sick. I only vomited a handful of times. But the nausea – oh man. Not only was it constant, day and night, but it lasted for-flippin-ever. Well past 13 weeks. As a matter of fact, I’ve only really been nausea free for about a month now. I’ve gained weight tho! Which is great news! But that Second-Tri energy I was banking on never kicked in. I’ve been exhausted from day one, and it isn’t letting up any time soon. Tired = cranky. Cranky = Unmotivated. Unmotivated = sweat pants and tank tops and no jewelry or make-up. And my hair is so NOT fabulous this time around. It is 100% throw-into-a-ponytail status pretty much 24/7. Boo.

The kids themselves are very different, too. Abby kicked at very specific, predictable times of the day. Milo kicks me ALL. DAY. LONG. Abby gave me gentle little taps and soft “swooshy” movements. Milo is attempting to become a professional Ninja/Soccer player/break dancer BEFORE he enters this world. (As I type, I can visibly see my belly moving in at least 3 separate areas.) Abby responded to noise, like Anthony’s or my voice, or lively music. Milo responds to the fact that I need rest. I stop moving, he kicks. I sit, he pushes in all directions. I lie down and he throws a dance party. It’s crazytown in there! He also already knows how to push my buttons. Because a large part of my brain is OCD (as in I just had to stop myself from typing “CDO” because that is in alphabetical order… yea…) I like things even and centered. And he has this super weird habit of shifting his entire self to one side of my belly, literally making me look lopsided. He’s doing it right now, actually. 85% of his body is bunched up on the right side of my belly button. It’s driving the OCD me crazy! 🙂

So the truth really is – I don’t feel fantastic. This pregnancy has not been the easiest on me. Don’t get me wrong – I know so many others who have it so much worse, and I do my best to keep that in perspective. But the biggest thing I keep in mind through all of it is that we are, literally, hanging in there. I made it to the third trimester. I’m getting big enough for strangers to be able to identify that I am pregnant as opposed to fat. Truly, there is nothing “bad.” I’m dealing with the not-so-great, and reveling in the amazing. And Milo seems to be plugging along quite nicely. So I really do feel like I’m as big as a boat, and only getting bigger. But it’s really not a bad thing at all. 🙂

-Jen

P.S. New adventure that I didn’t get to experience with Abigail: I had my belly rubbed by a stranger for the first time, a couple of weeks ago… Yea, I did NOT like that. I wanted to swat her hand! I didn’t, but I wanted to! What on earth possesses people to do this??!!! There is a VERY short list of people in my life who have open permission to touch my belly. This includes my Husband, my sisters, my parents/in-laws, and my closest girlfriends (they know who they are). And truth be told, even they ask me before they touch me. Let me be perfectly clear. When you touch a pregnant woman’s belly, you are NOT touching the baby. You are touching her. She feels it. And if you would feel weirded out by some stranger rubbing your belly like you are some sort of Buddha Statue, then you shouldn’t do it to others! Someone please buy me the shirt that says, “If you didn’t put it there, Don’t touch it.” I’ll wear it with pride. 🙂

Today was a Good Day.

There are a lot of reasons that today was a good day. For one, It’s Labor Day! Yay for a holiday that lets Anthony be home with us. Always a plus. For two, Abigail has been an angel (an ANGEL, I TELL YOU!) all weekend. No tantrums, no tears, no time-outs needed. So we wanted to reward her good behavior. While we were out and about today, we stopped at a store and offered to buy her Gummi Bears. Of course, she accepted, but not before asking us to buy her a book. We tell her she earned a reward, she asks for a new book. Be still my heart! She is currently sleeping with her new book. 🙂 Let’s see, what else? Umm… it was much cooler today than it’s been all week, we made home-made pizza for dinner and Abby helped build it, and Anthony and I have been enjoying a Netflix induced “Eureka” marathon since this afternoon. Today was a good day!

However, today had the potential to be one of those “No good, very bad days.” This week has been a bit emotional for me. And if I’m honest (which I try to be) I’ve been a bit… unstable. Anthony had to talk me down from a near panic attack, via text message, a few days ago. Don’t worry – I’m fine. It was to be expected. My doctor, and almost all of my “Micro-Mom” friends warned me it would be tough. You see, this past Thursday I hit the 24 week marker in my pregnancy with Milo. Not only does that mark the point where he becomes “Medically Viable” but it is the same week of my first pregnancy in which Abigail was born. 24 weeks, 4 days, to be exact. For those of you doing the math on your fingers as I type, you are correct! Today marks 24 Weeks, 4 Days into my pregnancy with Milo. I was told that curling up in a ball and hiding was most likely how I’d spend the day. Crazy pants was totally acceptable. But it seems we made it through, just fine.

I’m VERY happy to report that he’s still in there! 🙂 And there is no indication of changing that status anytime soon. Cervix checks, infection swabs, baby growth… all good. So far. (Knock on wood, right?). Psychologically, I’ve been up and down this week. I’ve been very self aware – every kick, every cramp, every emotion seems to be amplified. But all in all, I’ve done pretty well, I think (I hope). Only the one panic attack, and far fewer tears than anticipated. No tears today, actually. So I will call that a victory.

I truly expected to be an emotional wreck today. I anticipated a sleepless night, random and uncontrollable tears, and a general inability to function properly. I am pregnant, after all. 😉 So I was pleasantly surprised when I slept through the night, didn’t cry once, and was pretty content all day. I’m about to head to bed and say goodnight (and goodbye) to all the fears I’ve been experiencing so far. I’m bidding good riddance to the anxiety. I’m looking forward to actually enjoying my 3rd Trimester for the first time. I’m in “Uncharted Territory” but everything has been different so far – so I’m happy that the outcome should be, too.

Thanks goes out to my family, my friends, my boss, and a few observant ladies walking this path with me, for remembering where I was at this week without me saying anything. Thanks for the texts, the prayers, the checking up on me. It’s helped a ton.

I hit 25 weeks on Thursday. We are 100 days away from my C-Section. There is still the potential for some bumps in the road, but I’ve gotten through the tough part. And I’m feeling a lot less crazy tonight and a lot more confident. Happy Labor Day! Today was a good day.

-Jen

Boy, Oh Boy!

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A boy. I’ve had almost a full 48 hours to let the news sink in. I’m having a boy.

On Sunday, we met up with Bree Shepard (who else?) at the same pier she took our engagement photos back in 2008. Talk about coming full circle! Bree had the privilege of filling up the paint bottles with the right colors, which meant she had to open that ultrasound envelope – so she knew the gender a good 20 minutes before we did. She had a coy little smile on her face when she said, “I know something you don’t know!” 🙂 We took those bottles down to the beach and had an all-out paint war to find out if Baby M (our “Tummy Name” for this baby, as both names we picked out start with an “M”) was a boy or a girl. Two good squirts of watercolor on Abigail’s shirt and I shouted, “It’s Blue!!! It’s Blue!!!” More water color, and plenty of real paint came flying at me, as Anthony and I rejoiced in this new knowledge.

DSC04313 sWith Abigail, I KNEW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was having a girl. 98% of guesses guessed boy because of how low I was carrying her. But I just had this weird vibe inside me that screamed GIRL! And I was right. But this time around, not only did I not know, I had zero inclining whatsoever. Sure there were different parts of my heart that pulled me in certain directions, from, “Oh how easy another girl would be – we already have all the stuff!” to, “What an adventure a boy would be.” But truly, I had no idea what we were having. Or what it would mean to me once we found out.

Both sides of our family are… shall we say “vocal” about their ideas and opinions. Abigail is descendant of one large Mexican family and one even larger Lebanese family. Opinions flow like water around here. And this family was split, almost 50/50 on their opinion about this baby’s gender. Of course, all of them are thrilled at the reality, no matter what their vote was. But I know a few people who voted BOY from the get-go that are doing little happy dances right now. My Mom told me early on, “I know what it is like to raise two girls 3 years apart. So my wish for you is a Boy.” 🙂 And Uncle Phil was quite convinced he was qualified to read that 12 week ultrasound accurately – this news allows him his beloved, “Told-You-So’s.”

The announcement, and the photos, have gone over so well. It was truly something I’ll never forget. But that first evening, Anthony and I both seemed a bit quiet (for us, anyway) when I thought we’d be bouncing off the walls in excitement. I think we were both a bit shocked. And I think we would have been either way. Finding out the gender now, as opposed to at birth, like we did with Abigail, is such a different feeling. The first, and immediate change was that we stopped saying “Baby M” and starting calling him by name: Milo. The second change was that we stopped asking Abby which she wanted, and started telling her, “Baby Brother.” (Not a big change, as the majority of her answers to that question were “Ummm… Brudder” anyway). But that first night – I don’t know – it was almost like nothing had changed.

But it had. It just took a while for my heart and my mind to get there. Abby seems to get it just fine. Both yesterday and today, she was happy to tell me that her “BeeBee Brudder, Mommy’s Tummy!” She got it right away. And, as usual, things seem to hit Anthony faster than me. I saw his excitement yesterday, in his face, in his body language, in his reaction to our family’s emails… His heart and mind had figured it out – He is having a son. But for me, it didn’t happen until a few hours ago. When I talked to this baby before now, I called him “kid.” As in, “You know what, Kid?” or ” Ok kid, move off my bladder!” or “I love you, Kiddo.” But a few hours ago, he was putting an awful lot of pressure on my right side, and I said (out loud), “Ok, Milo – I need you to move.” And all of a sudden it finally hit me – I’m having a son.

That moment of absentmindedly naming him brought my whole world to a halt. And ever since, I’m seeing the world through blue-tinted glasses. My mind raced with all things BOY. The changes in decor we’ll make to Abby’s room as it becomes “the Kids’ room” and the shifts I will need to make in caring for him once he arrives. And then fear set in, as only my mind can make it do. It was unintentional, but my brain raced through all those moments back in 2010 when I was told countless times to be thankful that Abby was a girl and NOT a boy – a boy would not have survived what she had to endure. So with tears in my eyes, I prayed that this pregnancy holds and that my body can give him what he needs to make it here, safe and sound.

The truth is that I have had very little, if ANY, emotional attachment to this pregnancy. I’m told from loved ones and experts alike that this is normal – that my brain is protecting me from getting hurt in case things go wrong. But I have finally reached that point of no return – emotional attachment achieved. I have a son, and he has a name. And my heart is so infinitely larger than it was yesterday. There is no going back.

I have to smile when I think about the future. I’m living the dream. I have one of each – a Girl and a Boy. A Sister and a Brother. We were able to give the grandparents both a Granddaughter and a Grandson. They will love each other and have a bond that no one will be able to calculate or sever. They will protect each other and teach each other for the rest of their lives. And we will be among the parents who are blessed with the unique task of raising both genders in one home. Challenge Accepted. 😉

I have approximately 4 more months before I meet our little guy. But I’m so excited! The next chapter in our story is about to begin. I can’t wait (but I will!) to introduce you all to Milo Anthony before the year is out.

DSC04431 sContinued prayers are ALWAYS welcome.
Love and Blessings
-Jen

Baby on the way! What you all want to know…

It’s been almost a year since I’ve blogged. Life seems to keep me pretty busy these days. Between acting all season, taking a part-time gig with Brienne Michelle Photography as a Production Assistant, Mommy-ing Abigail (who will turn 3 on Sunday!) and trying to find the time to hang with the hubby, blogging got knocked down a few priority pegs. Now we add “baking” (as my husband and I fondly refer to this pregnancy) to the list, and I have no idea what I’ll be able to promise as far as posts in the future.

However, as we have been announcing this wonderful news to the world, I get the same few questions over and over. The obvious: How are you feeling? How far along are you? When is your due date? Are you going to find out the sex? (Tired and Nauseous, 11 weeks, December 19th, and yes!).

But I get an extra question that most don’t get. And that question is, “So what’s the plan?” Everyone wants to know just how we plan to care for this baby/pregnancy, and what is being done to ensure we make it further along than we did the first time around. Valid question folks! And I am more than willing to share. But I am warning you now – While I will be as non-graphic as possible, the answers you seek are a bit on the personal side. Just FYI.

To answer the question, we have to back track to what happened last go-round. While we will never know for absolute sure what caused my pre-term labor, we are 90% positive it was due to an infection in my uterus that penetrated my placenta. It caused an abruption (a tear) that essentially signaled to my body that I was about to miscarry. When that happens, your body sort of goes into “flush” mode. My body terminated the pregnancy. As you know, amazing doctors and medical technology intervened to save the day.

But we were left with the reality that once the infection got to my placenta, there was nothing that could have been done to stop what happened. And this particular infection was the third one I’d had in the short 24 weeks I was pregnant. In the 3 years since Abigail was born, I’ve had 5 infections. Fast forward to now: I’m 11 weeks pregnant as of this coming Thursday and we’ve already battled one infection. (Don’t worry – we killed that sucker.)

We know, without a doubt, that I will get more infections in my uterus. It is simply a fact about my body. Knowing that fact gives us a battle plan, so to speak. Dr. David Ghausi, the man who delivered Abigail, is my OBGYN. And his plan is a proactive one. While most women simply “check in” every 4-6 weeks with their doctors, I get checked out. Every 4 weeks, without fail (until he ups it to 3, then 2, then 1 week at a time) I see Dr. G. And while we chat about how I’m feeling and any questions I have, per usual, he is much more interested in my insides. Every visit is invasive with vaginal swabs and internal ultrasounds. They run tons of tests off the swabs, expecting to find infections. And when (not if) they do, we kill it as quickly as possible, before it can do any damage.

It’s a lot of testing and a lot of antibiotics and lots of communication. Our team includes a High Risk doctor who checks me out 2-3 times a Trimester. And who will be present for the birth, as well. (He was also there the day Abigail was born). My doctors are VERY confident that we can get passed the 24week mark this time around. We are optimistic that we can go well into the 3rd trimester, and we will do everything we can to get to no less than 38 weeks. But we are also realistic. We know that there will be other infections – other threats to the well being of this pregnancy. So the likelihood that this baby will be early is high. The concern, of course, is how early. I pray it will not be significant.

So that’s the plan. Keep the best tabs on my uterus as we can, fight whatever comes our way with an iron fist, and pray. It is truly doing everything we can. I’m feeling pretty confident about it all. I know I’m in good hands and I’m doing all I can to take care of myself here at home. Anthony and I want to say Thank You for all of the love, support, and prayers you all have already sent our way. We appreciate it! I promise to keep you all as updated as possible.

-Jen

My First “No”

Hey Everyone!

Vlog time – Below is a Vlog I made yesterday all about my adventure into the unknown – MY FIRST AUDITION! No, it wasn’t for an acting job. I hope those will follow soon. But it was an audition nevertheless. I auditioned for the 2012-2013 LA Kings Ice Crew (you know, the pretty girls that skate out onto the ice during commercial breaks and shovel the “snow” off the rink so the players don’t fall…)  I got passed the first round, and got cut after the second round. Small Sad Face 😦

But really BIG Happy Face 🙂 Because I tried. Check out the video for the details! More to come on my crazy adventures in audition world! Thanks for all of your support, peeps!

-Jen

All I have…

I am very rarely at a loss for words. Sometimes it seems like all I have are my words. It is one of those annoying, yet totally reliable qualities about me. I always have something to say. However, on occasion, a moment arises that renders me utterly speechless. I find that, these days, those moments are almost 100% about Abigail.

I spent the week leading up to Abigail’s birthday (and party) doing a ton of talking. Talking to people making plans, talking to grocery store clerks and Costco Cake makers, talking to Abigail about her special day, talking to Anthony about all the little details he could really have not cared less about… talking, talking, talking. But when I went upstairs to check on her as she slept through the night leading up to her big day, I was given one of those rare, speechless moments.

I came in as usual, very matter-of-fact, checking the fan, the window, the night-light, and then her. Check her temperature, check her blanket, check to make sure her little arms and legs were “inside the vehicle at all times” and yes, still, check to make sure that precious little chest was going up and down to indicate that she is no longer victim to apnea symptoms. (I don’t think the fear of walking up to her bed and possibly find her not breathing will go away. Ever.) A quick kiss on the head and one last check before heading back out the door – the iHome playing her lullaby station on Pandora. For the first time in hours I see the clock and I realize that it is past midnight.

It’s here. The big day. The first normal birthday my child has had. This time two years ago, we didn’t know what our future would hold. This time last year, we were finishing a marathon and only just beginning our therapy journey. But this year… This year there was no fear. No huge obstacles in our way. No quarantines, no hospital visits, no corrected age. Just us, our closest family and friends preparing to gather in celebration, and our amazing little princess in all her typical-two-year-old glory. If ever there was an appropriate time for me to be speechless, it was that moment.

Can you believe it? This past Saturday, Abigail turned TWO!!! Where does the time go? I have never been away from her for more than one night since the day she was rushed into this world, so I have literally seen her every day of her precious little life. All 730+ days of it. I have watched her grow and morph into this amazing child with her own brain and her own (very) strong will. She has personality, smarts, and a TON of attitude. She is truly my child.

The Crunchy Numbers:
At birth, Abigail weighted 1 pound, 8 ounces. On her birthday, she weighed 24.4 pounds.
At birth, Abigail was 12 3/4 inches tall. On her birthday, she towered over that at 2′ 8.5″.
At birth through year 1, we never hit the charts for her real age. Now, we hit the 20% mark.
At birth through year 1, we had 4 or 5 Doctors, 26 nurses, 1 Social worker, and 2 therapists. Now, we have 2 doctors, 2 therapists and a Pre-School teacher.
At birth, Abby’s problems added up to more than I could count with my own fingers and toes. Today, Abby’s problem is Speech, which even then, we are making steady progress with.
At birth, we had a 25% shot at survival. She was the 1 in 4. Today, she abuses that tiny little body of hers, pushing it to the outer limits, insistent upon being the first human to defy gravity. And trust me she has the scraped up knees, goose eggs on the head, bruises on the arms, and smile on the face to prove it.

I tell ya, folks. There is no stopping this kid. The forces of nature are going to bow to her someday.

So, in celebration of coming so far, we had as normal a birthday party as I could throw for her. She is OBSESSED with bubbles these days. They are her ultimate favorite. So we threw a Bubble themed pool party in our backyard. We had pizza (her favorite food), we had cake, we had fun bubble stations, and plenty of water fun. We even had a pinata! Gotta instill those Mexican roots early. 😉

She was so happy all day. She loved the bubble machine that cranked out thousands of bubbles in her honor. But the highlight of her day, by and large, was the tiny blue kiddie pool I bought. I wanted to make giant bubbles in it, but the solution failed me. So we dumped it out and filled it with water. I turned around to call Abigail over to show her, and in the split second it took for me to realize she’d already seen it, she jumped right in… with her clothes on!!!! Oh well. She was happy, so I didn’t care.

It was an amazing party. We had SUCH a good time! I loved every minute of it.

I still can’t believe she’s 2. Mainly because it makes me reflect on the past two years and how quickly it has passed. For two years, I feel like all I’ve had are my words. All I’ve had are extraordinary stories. I’ve had crazy tirades, semi-profound words of wisdom,  and tons and tons of tear-worthy triumphs. But this year is different. This year, all I’ve got is this giant ball of energy running through my house screaming at the top of her lungs. All I have is this smile and infectious laugh that I swear could sustain entire continents of they could bottle the stuff. All I have is the aftermath of one pretty awesome party, more gifts than should be showered on one child, and the knowledge that I’m a “normal” Mom these days.

All I have is an incredible miracle. All I have is, very simply, my Abigail.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Baby girl! I love you more than you’ll ever know!

Abigail on her 2nd Birthday. (June 2, 2012)

-Jen

Learning to love my body…again…

Hey all!

So, no, not EVERY post is going to be a Vlog. While I really like how easy it is to just talk to my phone, I still love the feel of writing. I get great satisfaction out of my ability to string words together to mean something. No vlog today. Just me, and my computer screen.

Ok, so if you’ve been following, you know that I’ve had a mini mid-life crisis about who I am and what I want to do with my life. It’s been an interesting couple of weeks with a LOT of soul-searching, and a lot of looking in the mirror and talking to myself about what my heart truly wants. I really didn’t realize how much courage it takes to say, out loud, what you really want out of life, especially when it is as far-fetched as my own dreams.

But I’ve come to a realization. My dreams aren’t far-fetched. They are just not easy to obtain. Back it up to my very first ballet recital. I was 6 or 7? Maybe? (Mama, do you remember?) I was in The Nutcracker, and played two rolls. That of a Pixie Princess and I was one of the China Dolls. We have the performance on video (My sister was in both scenes as well, at age 3 or 4) and some of the cutest pictures I’ve ever been in. We were adorable at that age. 😉

But what I took away from that performance was two-fold. One, I had someone to admire – my older cousin, Yvonne, who danced beautifully on pointe during that performance (I’m sure she was Clara, I just don’t remember for sure) and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I wanted to be her. And more importantly, I realized I wanted to perform. I wanted to be in front of audiences, applauding for my craft, smiling at my talent, and me beaming at the accomplishment. I’m sure that at age 7 it was simply the feeling of “Let’s do that AGAIN!!!” but you get the drift.

I performed throughout my childhood and young adult life. I took dance with me throughout, but along the way I added singing, gymnastics (the competitive kind, which only made me more hungry to be in front of an audience), piano, a bit of acting, and I was even on my HS Debate team. (OH yea, THAT Letterman patch was cool.) 😉

Singing and Dancing became the forerunners. Choir from 7th grade through my sophomore year in college with a Vocal Performance Scholarship to boot. Dance team in Jr. High, dancing with a studio until HS graduation, and some simple dance classes in college. My entire life was about being on a stage.

I considered for a Nano second about applying to a performing arts college. Then I quickly convinced myself that I had no real chance in showbiz and applied to Liberal Arts schools to focus on Athletic training (a new and profound love of mine). Ended up hating that in college and found myself, once again, drawn to performance. I minored in Theater, and even landed a lead role in a small production my senior year. I loved it.

But I joined the masses, as I felt expected to do. And so far, that hasn’t worked out so well. Nothing stuck, and nothing was a “Love.” So, what to do about it now, at almost age 30? Well, it’s better late than never. And, with my husband’s blessing and support, I’m going for it. I’ve decided that I am going to try to become a legitimate actress. Yup – you read that right. Actress.

Don’t worry, I’m not delusional. I’m fully aware of how much of a long shot that is. Don’t care. I’ve got my laundry list of things I have to do before even trying to put my name out there, but I’ve set both short and long-term goals, and I’m going to do it! Or at least I’m going to give it my best shot.

First thing is first – get back in shape. Over the last year I have truly come to despise my body. And not because it is ugly or anything. But because it had turned into something foreign. It have always been skinny, but skinny does not equal sexy, and it certainly doesn’t mean healthy. And I was neither. And I was covering it all up with clothes I hated. I hated going outside because I felt like I just didn’t look like myself anymore. (Boy, do I need to give myself a make-over!) So I’ve been working out on my own, for almost 2 weeks now. And while I haven’t seen much change in my body yet, I can already tell the difference – I feel SOOOOOO MUCH better. I’m sleeping again. I have energy. I’m in a better mood. And what little difference I have seen (slightly flatter tummy, leaner thighs, stronger arms) is encouraging. I’ve been told you don’t see results on yourself for 4 weeks, it takes 8 weeks for people who know you well to notice, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world to figure it out. So I’m going to keep pushing! At this rate, I’ll be happy with my bikini-ready body by mid-summer. Just in time for Vacation!

I’m re-learning how to care for my skin. I’m so bad at it! But I read somewhere that every woman should have a “take care of my skin” routine in place before they turn 30. So now I do. (It also said that we should all have that “Little Black Dress” hanging in our closet, ready at a moment’s notice. Officially on the hunt!) With the new regimen, I’m glowing a bit more and don’t look so tired. I’m also taking better care of my hair, which my hair dresser will love. 😉

The next step after getting back in shape and taking care of my appearance daily, is head shots. Insert our wonderful, amazing, talented Family Photographer, Bree, *here*. Can’t wait for that! She always makes me look and feel like a goddess.

I am saving my pennies to take some acting classes this summer, geared toward getting actual PAID jobs, and looking forward to all the knowledge I will gain. And when the classes are passed and the body is back in shape, and the head shots are done, then comes the real work. I’ll start pounding the pavement like everyone else. I’ll be sending my head shot and meager resume to upwards of 100 Talent Agencies associated with SAG (They have a list on their website!) and see if I can land an interview or two and someone will want to help me get an audition.

From there, who knows? We’ll see. But I’m determined to get noticed. I’m determined to fight for this and give it 100%. And if I love it, like I think I will, I’ll just keep going. And if, for whatever reason, I don’t love it, then I’ll go in another direction. A bridge I will cross when I get there.

In the meantime I’m learning to love my body, and really just love ME, all over again. This time, I’m not leaving it up to fate. I’m taking the bull by the horns. I’m getting up earlier and doing my hair and make-up before heading out the door. I’m wearing all that jewelry I love so much, and I’m taking pride in how I represent myself out there. I’m SO looking forward to my birthday $$$ so I can buy a few pretty things for myself and put some aside for my classes.

Wish me luck, guys. Or, as they say in “the biz” – tell me to break a leg! Cheers to a bright and prosperous tomorrow.

-Jen