Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday High Fives

I promise to have a bit more creativity running through my veins next week, but this week, I'm just limping toward that finish line. Can anyone else relate?

This week I tip my hat to the following smile makers:
  • The return of Parenthood. Please don't make us take a break like that again mid-season, producers. I missed you, Bravermans. And if you happened to watch it last night, I'm guessing you were right there with me and my happy tears and giggles as one by one the siblings showed up to rescue Julia in her solitude. Man, I wanted to join their dance party! That family, they just get it. Like, really get it.
  • The official kick-off to Shamrock Shake season, what, what! I love those little bundles of chilled, green goodness. And for those haters out there who scoff at its ingredients...take it elsewhere. I ain't hearin' it. These suckers come around once a year and I'm indulging. PS...there's apparently "yoga mat" chemicals in your beloved Starbucks' drinks, so let's call it even, shall we?

  • An impromptu dinner with our brother-in-law last night. It was the first chance I've had to really hang out with him outside of a family gathering, so it was nice to be able to chat more one on one. He's pretty cool. I think we'll keep him;)
  • Roadtrippin' it this weekend. Snow, just chill out for one weekend, okay?
  • Fresh fruit. I'm loving it during this pregnancy. I've never been one to eat much fruit on a daily basis outside of bananas and my smoothies, so this has been a fun change and the healthier of my cravings.
  • Extra cuddles with Wrigley this week. He's been clinging to my side more than usual and this fur mom is soaking it up.

  • The Hubs being a rock star at his job in 2014. He's cranking out some killer work and even going above and beyond to help some friends. I think I'll keep him too.
  • My mom's oral surgery went well and is healing nicely.
  • Getting my hair done. Apparently prenatal vitamins can make your hair grow rapidly. Great for your hair. Bad for your roots. Yikes.
  • The Divergent trilogy. Starting the 2nd book tonight!
  • Brainstorming baby names. The possibilities are endless.
  • Receiving this text and photo from a dear friend, Soles, last night...

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Today is a good day. I could care less that it's yet another day with negative degree wind chills (only today will I not care of such things). Today is the day that I can shout it from the mountain tops that one of my absolute favorite people on the planet is having a baby. Woohoo!! So glad the cat is out of the bag.

My friend, let's call her T-Payne, is only 3 weeks behind me on this journey and I could not be happier. Going through this journey for the first time is amazing and scary and confusing and mind-blowing, and to be able to share all of our questions, joys, nausea, etc...has been a blessing.

I cannot wait to hear as their details unfold, i.e. boy versus girl, registry choices, etc... I can promise you that if they are blessed with a girl, this self proclaimed "Aunt Britt" will be stock piling hair bows to be smuggled into the little one's hair when mom isn't looking! Maybe her stance on all things girly has changed, but in the past she swore her daughter would never wear bows, etc... I'm determined to preform hair bow ambushes every chance I get (sorry in advance, T). I will make sure some of them have Gamecocks on them though. And some Bulldogs too. Citadel Bulldogs, that is. Sorry, S-Payne.

To T-Payne, her hubby and step son, I've told a hundred times and I'll probably continue to tell you, but I'm so happy for you. I'm so happy you found each other and that now you're going to create this little person who is perfectly you (both of you). Praise the Lord for letting us walk this journey together. You're going to be an amazing mom. You already are, actually, so this will be a fun transition. Can't wait for Kickoff in Sept! I'll have my poms ready!

Bring on Baby Payne!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Girl, a Glove, and a Harsh Winter

Have you ever found yourself driving down the road where you can't really pull over, and you're suddenly struck by a MAJOR case of nausea and you contemplate getting sick in your glove because the only other option is your purse, and, well, that can't happen? Yeah, me neither. I was just asking for a friend.

So, that sort of sums up the first half of my day. Let's hope the 2nd half doesn't involve any gloves or handbags as emergency barf bags. I don't think that's too much to ask really.

On the bright side, it's another -20 wind chill sort of day in good ole Illinois. One would think I'd have gotten used to this by now. I can say with utter confidence that I have not. And if that day comes, just end it all for me, please. I NEVER want to get used to these ungodly temps. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to live in them, but I certainly don't want to have them be so common that I'm un-phased.

And that, my friends, is all the creativity that I have in this nauseated, frozen brain of mine. Sorry. Hope your day is better than mine:)

Done and done.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Friday High Fives

Shhhhhhh...I'm cheating a little on this one seeing as how it's Monday. Who cares? We can make our own rules on Mondays., right? Right.

This past week/weekend, I salute the follow mood improvers:
  • A little high school-esque date night of burgers and fries and heading to the movies. I was so excited that the minute the Hubs got home from work I told him not to sit down because we were leaving in 5 minutes. I'm pretty sure it was the promise of a milk shake and burger that lit my fire. I'm rarely that motivated these days.
  • Consuming quite possibly the best burger, fries and milkshake I've ever eaten at none other than Steak 'N Shake on said date night. I blame pregnancy. I was beyond in love with my meal and if that's wrong, I don't want to be right. The sad part about that meal was that is was 10 times better than the two nice meals we had at Pearl and Merrill & Houston's last weekend and was about 1/8 of the price of each. Step it up, Merrill & Houston's and Pearl!
  • Some pretty amazing Olympic women figure skaters. Those ladies were impressive and made up for the struggles that the men faced last week.
  • My amazing Hubs for being so supportive during this pregnancy journey.
  • Piggy's new, fabulous hair cut. He's so fresh and so clean, clean.
  • One of Tim's good friends being able to bring their new baby home from the NICU.
  • Learning a little bit of history via the Monuments Men during our movie date.
  • Breakfast with my family for my mom's Bday yesterday.
  • Seeing our little bean move around like a maniac on an ultrasound. He/she moved non-stop and even took a few gulps of fluid as we watched. This baby and process has constantly kept me on my toes and thrown a few scares in the mix, but every single time it makes us worry, they take a look inside and it's still growing and moving like a champ. If this is any indication of the future with this kiddo, he/she is going to give us a run for our money! No doubt.
  • Knowing that in a few days we'll get to embark on the Freiberg siblings' weekend. I've never gotten to tag along on this outing before, and I'm excited to have some family, fun time with our nephews, niece and my sis-inlaws! Next year there'll be one more cousin to add to the fun.
I hope y'all had a great weekend!

Thursday, February 20, 2014


It has been a great few weeks of mail delivery in our little abode. Isn't it glorious when you get something other than a bill in the mail? It just takes your day to a new level.

Thanks to some people who really must love us, we've been blessed with a few sercies lately (if you aren't familiar with a "sercy", you can also call them "prizes" like one of my BFF's, Tracy, calls them;). And for those asking "what the heck is a sercy?" It's any sort of unexpected gift that makes you smile. You know, those "I saw this and knew you had to have it" out of the blue gifts. Aren't those the best?

From a fantastic "kiss me" bib for Small Frei to winter boots for our little Piggy, Aunt Tracy has made our day twice via the postal system. The bib was our first baby gift and we love it! And to see a package addressed to our pup turned this very rainy, icy day into a much brighter one. I mean, how cute are these gifts?

Cue the "mama stickers" from The Patricks. Although I'm not quite ready to go public with my "bump" pictures, we've already had fun with them! Once I look less beer-belly and more mom-to-be, we'll share some pictures. Until then, here is what the stickers look like in action on a random momma. Thanks, random momma, for sharing your belly with us.

And then one day "Ziggy" (nickname, not real name, so don't panic), otherwise known as "Small Frei", got his/her first Valentine's Day card in the mail from Grandma and Grandpa Frei! There was a sercy inside and although Ziggy campaigned hard to put said sercy to use immediately, his/her dad said we had to wait. Man, being a parent is tough stuff making wise decisions before the bean is even here.

So, thank you, sercy senders, for brightening our chilly days over here. You've made us smile with your thoughtfulness and you've kept our paws toasty, our future onesies clean during meal time and our bumps numbered.

Who can you send a sercy to today?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Today is the final radiation treatment for my teammate at work. After months upon months of weekly chemo treatments followed by daily radiation treatments, she has made it to this first finish line. She is one step closer to being a breast cancer survivor.

She is the epitome of strength and courage. If she's been scared, as I'm sure she has, it's never once graced her determined face. She's consistently shown up to work when the rest of us would've probably made the decision to take an extended leave of absence or at minimum called out sick when the treatments were getting the best of us. Not her. She's tough. She was going to live her life and she has.

She's faced this challenge  struggle  devastating news  obstacle battle with a spirit of hope, courage and positivity. I've never once heard her complain. I'm honestly not quite sure how she's done it. As a bystander, I've gotten to see cancer a little more closely than I had before. Watching someone go through the stages of hair loss can be a life lesson in itself, but watching someone own it and make the best of it, can also be inspiring. It definitely makes you second guess your petty stance on "bad hair days". And watching someone face this disease head on like a victorious champion before the treatments even started has taken inspiration to a new level in my book.

Cheers to our fighter, our champion and our inspiration today. Today is your day. And I pray that thousands of tomorrows are your day too.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dreaming of Warm Places

Today, while the snow pounds the ground outside of my window, I dream of warm places. Non-white, fluffy places. Places where the sun is so bright that sunglasses are mandatory and crispy, red shoulders are a risk you're willing to take.

I dream of 90 degree days when the local dairy farmers toss icy, chocolate milk from their parade floats, and most of the outfits lining the street are made up of red, white, and blue sundresses and tank tops.

I dream of a swim-up bar (while not pregnant, of course) and a tasty "Dirty Banana" smoothie while the music plays at just the right decibel. Every stressor you had before you boarded that plane and hopped in that pool suddenly seems less important than the decision of which beverage you'd like to try next.


I dream of outdoor meals with friends where the sun shines from every direction and you wish you had nothing else in life to do but to sit right there. Forever.


I dream of summer thunderstorms. I crave the days of slightly open windows with the smell of rain and the sound of thunder. Ominous clouds call out to me on days like today.


I dream of beaches. Enough said.


And tubes being pulled behind boats where the genuine laughter is the loudest you've heard it in a long time. And where "okay, one more time" makes you feel like a little kid again regardless of your age.

I dream of fairs and festivals and hats that keep the sun out of your eyes.

I dream of fair food and deep fried picnics while listening to live music. 

Maybe even a little touch football in your cowboy boots and seersucker dresses.

And outdoor dates with a hot guy.
And neighborhood get togethers with bright clothes and your besties.

And, lastly, I miss the fun and joy and exploration that only summer can bring.
Check your cares at the door and hop on the fast slide. It'll take your breath away.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Love is All Around

Can anyone name the movie of which this post's title is from? Anyone?

I love to love Valentine's Day. You will NEVER find me mumbling about it being a "Hallmark holiday" or a manufactured day for everyone to run out and spend money. Never. And I honestly feel bad for the people who truly believe that. It makes me sad. When someone, anyone, gives you an opportunity to go a little overboard one day a year, why not take it? What's lost if you do participate? Absolutely nothing. The people in your life feel loved. You get to brainstorm ways, above and beyond the average day, to make those around you feel special, etc... It's a win-win.

While picking up donuts for my office this morning as a little treat, I overheard the cashiers  complain about the silliness of the holiday. Helloooooo? Do you not see me, a paying customer, giving your store some of my hard earned cash because of this so called "silly day"? After they bashed the day and the fools who spend money on it, they handed me my donuts and said "Happy Valentine's Day to you." Hmm, for some reason their well wishes felt a little hollow, but I smiled and politely said "and to you!" No one was raining on my parade, said the woman carrying out a dozen sprinkle donuts.

And in Valentine's Day fashion, I figured I'd give my special love bugs a shout out today like I did last year here:

  • To my Hubs, thanks for being my Valentine over the decades. What started in 1997 has grown over time, and where there were two people, now there are three and I'm so glad you'll be our Puppy Daddy and Baby Daddy;) Thanks for loving me through ups and downs, smiles and tears, hunger and mood swings, etc... "We're the three best friends that anyone could have..." 
  • To my family (immediate, extended and by marriage), thanks for being you. You crazy people, you. You have helped form me and guide me and your blood is my blood. If I could've hand picked you all, I would've done it the exact same as the Lord above chose.
  • To my fur baby, Piggy, I love when you wake me up for drinks of water at 12:45am and again at 3:45am because it gives me extra time throughout the night to remember that I love you. Let's try and move those reminders to 7:15pm and 9:30pm though, okay? Love you, momma.
  • To my beautiful friends, we've seen each other through single times, engaged times, wedding times and now baby times. There are no words for how excited I am to experience motherhood with you all. You're amazing mommas, and future brides (Soles), beautiful women of faith, and I'm a better person for knowing y'all.
  • To our future Small Frei, today your Daddy got you your first onsie for Valentine's Day that says "Made in Rockford". It's the cutest thing ever and I know you'll love it as much as I do. Thanks for allowing us to be your parents (although I'm pretty sure someone else had a hand in deciding that you'd be ours). We promise to not screw up more times than we get it right (I pray). And although I cannot see your face, I know I love it already.

Happy Valentine's Day, Loves!
I hope someone makes you feel special today with their words, a hug, special treat, or maybe even just a smile.
You are loved today and every day.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Education Soapbox

I make no apologies for my brief rant that is about to unfold in front of your eyes. Sorry, I'm not sorry.

I work in higher education and have for over 12 years now. I myself have a college degree and highly recommend the same to anyone else who will listen. Today while sitting in a meeting, we were informed that our local, public district "showcased" a new pledge last night on the news. What was this pledge they're promoting, you may ask? I shall tell you.

They've asked all of their freshmen high school students to take an oath to graduate high school. GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL. While I get what they're trying to accomplish, hearing about this news feature made me extremely sad and angry.

#1, WHY isn't this a given? Why do we have to ask our children, the future members of our society and workforce, to promise to finish high school? I mean.... C'mon people, that should be a given! I knew kids who skipped class, rarely did their homework, and yet, still managed to stay in school, graduate and beyond. You did not want to be THAT kid who dropped out or flunked out. No way. Why is this sad state of affairs news worthy?!

#2, WHY are we not asking them to pledge to go on to some form of post-secondary schooling? Whether technical or career training, a 2 year degree, 4 year or a Master's, WE need to ask more of our children. If we don't, who will? Their manager at the mall? Doubtful. Kids needs to be challenged, not asked to do the bear minimum that is required of them. What type of example are we setting here?

In a world and society that is constantly changing and advancing, only those with an education will succeed. People complain and tote bumper stickers raging against the "1%", but guess what, who do you think makes enough to help support the cost of the social services it takes this country to feed those who aren't working? It's the educated. Don't get me wrong, I'm a bleeding heart and I want people to get the help they need and I know that some hard working folks just don't make enough to keep their head above water, BUT the help they need can be eliminated by a quality education. There ARE jobs out there. We just don't have qualified people to fill them. When less than 50% of our community has a high school diploma or GED, and less than 7% have some form of college degree, it'll be hard to make the changes that people want to see around here. YOU MUST be the change and a high school diploma just doesn't cut it anymore sadly. I wish it did, but it doesn't.

Don't have the funding to go to college? There are thousands of people like me who get up every morning and go to work to find the funds that can and will afford you an education. You just have to apply. We're waiting for you. We're all desperate for you. Generous donors have stroked the check and banked on the hope that you'll attend and give their hard earned dollars a new life.

Don't pledge to do the minimum. Please. Pledge to do more. Be more. You can do it, even if no one else is telling you that you can. I'm telling you that YOU CAN. I've got your back!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Am Second

And this, ladies and gents, is what an ideal Bachelor should look and sound like in my humble opinion. Especially compared to what we've witnessed this season.

I may not have loved how much emphasis ABC has put on Sean and Catherine's "waiting for marriage" and flashes of their honeymoon suite, but what I DO love are Sean's words, honesty, integrity and commitment to his faith.

If you watched their wedding on TV with the rest of us, you probably were drawn to Sean's father like a moth to a flame. At least I was. For those 30 minutes during the ceremony, his earthly father made our heavenly Father outshine everything else during those two hours. It's rare that you get that much Jesus on prime time TV and I was so impressed and amazed. Their family love for their faith is something to respect and hope for in our growing family.

If you have a few minutes, give this video a watch. It's the first time that we get to see a Bachelor completely stripped of the limelight and cameras. It's just Sean, a chair, and his testimony. It's honest and it's refreshing.

Imagine how different this world of ours would be if everyone was second.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dear Juan Pablo

Anyone else out there watching this season of The Bachelor? Anyone else painfully limping through it? Ugh. I don't know that I can keep going, honestly. And it takes this Bachelor fan a lot to question my loyalty to the franchise, but Juan Pablo is killing me slowly. Week by week, episode by episode, awkward kiss catch my drift.

To help process the pain and sadness I feel with my love/hate affair with the show this season, I felt it'd be healthy to tell Rico Suave how I feel. Please bear with me while I speak from the heart...

Dear Juan Pablo,

I want to start by saying that I whole heartedly supported ABC's decision and selection when they announced you as the new Bachelor. I was excited by the worldly view and varying culture that you'd bring to our homes every Monday night. It also didn't hurt that your daughter is precious and therefore, you had the potential to bring with you a softer side than our typical Bachelor stud.

Season premier, I was still team Juan Pablo. You seemed genuine, carefree, and welcoming. By episode three, I began realizing that the "welcoming" warmth that you brought to my screen was nothing more your hormones on crack and your desire to make out with every woman on your cast. Oh, my bad, I forgot there was that one girl with a child who you refused to kiss out of respect for her said child. She dodged a bullet there. Little did she know, she'd be one of the exceptions and not your rule. Your rule is clearly to lip lock as many chicas as possible. I wonder if these girls are all at home gagging at their "at home" viewing parties amongst their friends and family. I know I would be if I saw that I was the 5th girl that you kissed on the beach during the group date. All I can pray for is that Chris Harrison was hiding in the bushes with your toothbrush and professional grade Listerine between make out sessions.

I think the straw that broke this camel's back was when you "swam" (or whatever that was) with Clare in the ocean at 4am while the other girl's slept off their make out hangovers. I was a little disappointed in you in the actual moment, but completely let down when you turned the blame to Clare. Don't get me wrong, I'm no team Clare advocate, but C'mon man! YOU made the decision to swim with her. This isn't her show, it's YOURS. You were not the man you wanted to be in the moment, and you tried to save face by pointing the finger at Clare. Nice try, sir, but you're fooling no one.

Juan Pablo, for this season to survive, I beg you to please stop kissing, groping, and drooling over every single woman during every single episode. It's gross, uncomfortable, and just lame. We want a challenge. We want some suspense. You may be from a culture of love and romance, but we're Americans. We're not 100% down with 2 hours of PDA gracing our screens every week. Save some things for the fantasy suite when the cameras are off. I beg of you.

You have one more chance, mi amigo, one more. Please redeem yourself, sir. Especially for your daughter's sake and the oral health of these poor, remaining women. If you keep going at this speed, your "Women Tell All" episode is going to be one for the books. And I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't sponsored by Abreva.


PS...Oh, and to send someone home a day early on her actual Birthday. Shame on you. At least let her cake digest before you put her on an airplane. Shame.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pregnancy Low Fives

The last thing I want to do is complain or whine about pregnancy. It's a miracle and something that I am beyond blessed to experience. I'm grateful for this blessing every single day! Even when I'm hugging the toilet. Well, maybe not feeling blessed so much right then if I'm being 100% honest. But you get my drift.

Carrying this Small Frei is one of the coolest things I've ever done, if not THE coolest, but it is not without it's challenges. Today I thought I'd share a few of my not-so-high-five perspectives. You know, now that I can actually tell people about it and all.

  • Low five #1- Not being able to tell people about the biggest, most life changing secret you've ever carried. This part was torture! I even kept it from our parents for a good 3 weeks which was not an easy task. You're beyond excited, but are told by everything you see and read to keep it on the DL, so you wait. You wait and you try not to blurt it out every five seconds. Torture.
  • Low five #2- Drinking. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a lush and I'm not out at the bars every weekend, but I do enjoy a glass of wine or beer when I'm out to dinner or hanging out with friends. Our friends and family were already on high alert to watch my consumption levels for possible pregnancy tip-offs, so this called for being sneaky when it came to hiding the fact that I was not partaking. And trying to hide this over the holidays with parties and friends traveling into town was not an easy task. There were a few margaritas which consisted of just mix and sprite (yuck!), non-alcoholic wine (again, yuck!), and one night at Bunco where I fake sipped on the same glass of wine for four hours. As my drink level failed to decrease with each sip, I just prayed the other girls drank enough that no one would notice I was faking each sip. And lastly, ordering drinks in restaurants and then having to "use the restroom" while sprinting to tell the waitress to change it to mocktail. Glad we're out of that phase! I couldn't stomach another glass of straight margarita mix again.
  • Low five #3- Nausea. I would like to meet the person who coined the term "morning sickness". I'm guessing it was a man cuz this stuff ain't limited to the morning, y'all. Mine was all day long, with an emphasis on gagging at night. I'm now one of the women munching on crackers in my bed before I stand up. AND, the worst part about this particular low five is linked to my #1 low five...not being able to tell anyone. I've been the sickest I've ever been for a prolonged period of time and I have to hide it. For about 2 months straight, when I'm talking to people I have to mentally repeat "act cool, don't puke on their shoes." It was touch and go a few times!
  • Low five #4- Exhaustion. Honestly, I'm torn on whether this is a low five or a high five. Either way, I'm tired and naps are my new drug of choice. I remember going to "get ready" to go out to dinner one weekend while Tim was in the other room, and the next thing I know he's standing over me asking if I'm okay. I remember thinking "I'm just going to sit down for a minute" and an hour later I'm being woken up. Oops.
  • Low five #5- Aversions. For my final low five, I bring you aversions. I'm so thankful that mine haven't been too limiting and I've still been able to handle and cook raw meat, unlike some of my friends. Mine has really been limited to the smell of coffee, which I usually love (minus Starbucks-that place wreaks), and brushing my teeth. So giving up my daily coffee has been a lot easier than I expected, thanks to its smell. And although brushing my teeth is a recipe for disaster for me right now, I obviously still do it religiously. I guess it's just a sensitive gag reflex but, ugh, it's minty torture.
So that's it, friends. Those are my beefs right now, and even with those I have a feeling in the grand scheme of everything, they're not really that bad. I'm guessing the havoc that a someday teenage Small Frei will bring to my world will make a few gags during teeth brushing seem like a trip to Disney Land!

It's a small price to pay, isn't it? Just remind me of that at 10pm tonight when the nausea rolls in like the changing tides.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Beans Have Been Spilled!

Whew! It feels so good to no longer carry around the biggest secret I've ever had. Three months is a LONG time to not shout out "We're having a baby!!"  Spilling the beans was also pretty nerve wracking, I must say. It made me feel very vulnerable, but I'm not sure how much longer we could've kept such a huge secret under wraps. Sooooooo, WE'RE HAVING A BABY!

I'm sure this blog will take a bit of a turn as I process this whole journey, but I promise not to make it all about baby. I've just had so much to say over the last 3 months and wanted so badly to talk about it on here, so I'm glad you all know.

So in usual Friday fashion, I thought I'd bring you some of my current Friday High Fives.  On Monday we might take a look at some of my current low fives, but today? Today we celebrate!

  • Learning that you're expecting. It was a surge of adrenaline to the soul, for sure. Details to come on that later, but don't panic, I promise not to talk about pee sticks or anything;)
  • Being able to share the news with our family and friends. Priceless. Squeals and tears have been my favorite reactions for far!
  • Naps. I love naps. Growing a human is very tiring apparently.
  • Fresh strawberries and blueberries. I can't get enough of them.
  • Salt and vinegar chips. The Hubs finished the last of the bag last week. It was almost a stage 5 meltdown when I went to grab them and they were gone. PSA...Don't finish a pregnant woman's favorite snack and not add it to the grocery list for your own safety and her sanity.
  • Tracking how big your little bean is with the fruit comparison. Right now Small Frei is the size of a lime and has eyes and ears, and is starting to wiggle their toes and fingers. So very cool!
  • Praying over Small Frei. I already want the very best for them, and right now, the best is for Jesus to keep strengthening and protecting him/her.
  • Experiencing this miracle first hand. Pregnancy has always blown my mind, but for the first time, I get to feel it and be part of it. It completely blows my mind that right now there are two heartbeats inside of me. When I think I'm by myself, I'm not. Wherever I am, there's two people present. There is a life already in existence that is 50% me and 50% the Hubs and it's my duty and privilege to be the one to literally carry them for the first 9 months of their life. It's nothing short of a miracle.
  • Seeing the faintest start of a "bump". It's proof that Small Frei is growing and I love it.
  • Cake and pizza. I'm trying SO hard to eat healthy for this baby, I really am. But the thought of a plate a broccoli makes me sick. Pizza and cake, now that should soothe my stomach for sure;)
Happy Friday, Y'all!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Today offered me a rare opportunity to say thank you to someone who literally saved my life, but yet had never met or heard of me before. I'm guessing opportunities like that don't come around every day.

As I've shared before, since 2001 I've battled major depression three times. And I will always use the term "battle" when speaking about those times in my life, because I know no other word to use when describing the fight for my life that I faced. Every single day, during those dark moments, I had to fight.

My victories in those fights were often small to the naked eye, but to me, they were the difference between life and death. The choice to put two feet on the floor in the morning, when sleep was my ONLY reprieve, was a victory. There were many days when I lost that battle. There were phone calls from bosses warning me that my days were numbered if I didn't "show up". What they didn't know was I couldn't muster the strength to "show up" anywhere in my own life at that point. In one instance, my dad had to call my boss and explain the situation. That is a humbling moment at 24 years old when your father steps in to help fight that battle and save your career.

Victories often came in quiet moments when I'd finally eat something. I remember the first battle where I dropped 12 pounds in a few weeks. Food wasn't the enemy and I didn't want to starve or lose weight, but I just couldn't feed myself. There was no energy. There was no point.

And one of my biggest victories was scraping up the courage to call home and say 13 words that I will never forget "I don't want to hurt myself, but I don't want live anymore either." I was in a bad place. The lowest and darkest I had ever known and I was terrified. The truth in my pain was to great to sleep away anymore. I just didn't want to be alive. It hurt to be alive, and it was that simple. Help came within a few days in the form of my amazing father who dropped everything and drove 1,000 miles to rescue me from myself. I just had to hold on until he got there, and I did. My dad was my knight on a white horse and I literally owe him my life.

My other "knight" and life saver goes by the initials TWLOHA. To Write Love On Her Arms came into my life by what could be called happenstance I'd guess, but I like to believe they were a Godsend for this broken girl.

Finding TWLOHA on Myspace of all places, was the first time that I hadn't felt alone in my pain. Suddenly, this organization with an elusive name like To Write Love On Her Arms, gave thousands of us a voice, a platform and more importantly, a community. We were not alone. Finally, I was not alone. We were not damaged or broken to them or each other. We were just 1,000 people clinging to over lives with a faint, yet hopeful grip. We wanted to live, we just weren't quite sure how.

Today, I got to hear the founder of TWLOHA, Jamie, speak from the heart on what led him to launch this now global organization. He wanted a place where the depressed, the anxious, and the addicts could go and seek help and be known versus judged. He wanted to make taboo topics brought to light where they can be heard and helped, not hidden or minimized. I've included the link to the story of the girl, Renee, who helped light the fire and the passion for Jamie and TWLOHA. This is the story that became a turning point in my battle. Warning, it may break your heart a little when you read it, but the upside is that Renee is now alive and choose life. Just like I did and the now thousands of others who've found solace in TWLOHA.

To be able to stand in front of a total stranger and sincerely and humbly thank them for playing a major role in you choosing life was a moment I will never forget. It was honest and it was raw, and I may or may not have had sweaty palms, tears in my eyes and crackle in my throat. Thankfully, he didn't seem to mind. We even got to laugh together for a second, which was a precious moment to be so happy and laughing with the man whose passion and dedication carried me through some dark times. They have certainly written love on my arms and I don't care who sees it. We've won the battle and love is a pretty incredible battle wound to carry around. Thank you, TWLOHA. Thank you.

Got a minute? Read their initial story here. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

One Outfit Can Change Your Life...

Just ask Cinderella, right? One fancy night for her, thanks to a brigade of mice who also double as talented seamstresses, and viola, she's now a princess for all little girls to adore for generations to come. One dress did it all, along with the help of some glass slippers (which sound incredibly uncomfortable to me). I wish my one outfit had a similar effect. Not so much really.

Allow me to introduce you to the outfit that changed my life. Meet the "doily sweatshirt" my grandma made me for Christmas my 7th grade year. My grandma was a home ec teacher for decades and can make you pretty much anything with her kitchen and sewing machine. Enter stage left, the doily sweatshirt. A fashionista, I was not, so I thought it was pretty neat when I opened the gift on Christmas day. The said sweatshirt was white with a doily sewn into the center. The cool part, or what I thought was cool, was that the fabric was missing behind the doily inlay so anything you wore underneath shown through. Cool, right? Want to wear a pink turtleneck under it, go for it. That'll make it pop. Or so I thought. Wrong again.

So one winter day shortly after Christmas, I decided to wear to my new doily shirt to school with a teal turtleneck. It was new, it was warm, so I went for it. In the wise, wise words of Julia Roberts "big mistake. Big. Huge."  No one seemed to think anything of it with the exception of my two best friends. They wouldn't sit with me at lunch. I'm not kidding. Apparently you cannot wear a doily adorned shirt to middle school and expect to keep all of your friendships in tact. I learned that the hard way. Those two best friends never sat with me again at lunch, or anywhere for that matter. We were done and I was devastated.

Thankfully, I had some other friends who took mercy on me and didn't seem to mind my shirt. They let me sit with them and that's where I sat from that day forward. I also never wore that shirt to school from that day forward. I wasn't about to lose anyone else over a little fabric. And don't tell my grandma that her sweet, homemade gift had me exiled from my "cool kids" table. It'll be our little secret. That shirt already inflicted enough emotional turmoil. No need to bruise anyone else with it.

Morale of the story, choose your clothes wisely. They could be an unexpected game changer that you never saw coming. And it can still haunt you 18 years later apparently, because I sure did see something that made me stop and think about my doily shirt today. And I'd be lying if I said it didn't still sting ever so slightly.

And if you ever want to rock a doily on your clothes, come and sit by me. I don't judge. We've all made fashion mistakes, and we can cry over them into our tiny carton of chocolate milk together.

Monday, February 3, 2014


If you've followed my blog for some time, you're probably a little familiar with my heart for adoption. Although I truly have no clue when it started in my heart, I know without a doubt that our Lord was and is the one to lay it there. I've felt other "callings" before, some that have wavered or waned with time, but this one, it doesn't seem to waiver. It only seems to stay steadfast and at times, feels as though it's calling harder. Louder.

Last week while listening to a women's conference online from my home church, Seacoast in Charleston, SC, one of my favorite speakers shared a precious video with us. It shows the moment her and her husband, both Pastors in Texas, met their two children from Ethiopia. It wrecked me in the most beautiful way. I told the Hubs on Friday night that when I expose myself to adoption videos or stories like this, I don't just watch them with tears in my eyes and think "that's so amazing. Those people are amazing." I watch them more with a "that's it, that's our future. How can we leave a child an orphan when we have a home, food in our bellies, and way more than we deserve in this life?" My heart grows a size or two each time I witness someone coming home like that. And I cannot shake it.

Why me? Why Tim and I? Why adoption? I'm not sure. I'm just thankful that the Hubs supports the idea and has from the get go. I've never had to state my case or reasoning. It's something we discussed and our only questions were more of the "when and from where" nature versus the "why or how" nature.

Maybe the Lord has been quietly at work within both of our hearts, and I pray that He has. Maybe He's already at work preparing the child we'll one day bring home. Only He knows the story and how it will play out. We just need to be willing, with open arms. And until that day comes, I share this video with you. Maybe it'll wreck you in a beautiful way too. The line in the song "the fight for you is all I've ever known" actually makes my breath catch. Or maybe you'll just feel a huge sense of joy for their family. Either is perfect. And in the end, there are two less orphans in this unjust world. And THAT'S what it's all about. Well, that and their beautiful smiles. Couldn't you just take them home in an instant if they weren't already home?