100 Happy Days ♥ Days 91 through 100!

It has been over a month since I completed the #100HAPPYdays challenge and my apologies for posting it so late. On 100HappyDays.com the creator claims that 71% of people who start the challenge will not complete it, claiming lack of time as the reason why. I am apart of the 29% who managed to complete it! I started this challenge in attempts to mentally recover from having a miscarriage after battling infertility for two years. Halfway through, on Day 50 strangely enough, I suffered from a second miscarriage. I originally posted on Instagram that I would restart the challenge a week or so later, but I quickly went back on that, and continued on. The challenge is about finding happiness in your day, no matter HOW bad your day may be. Did I have time to be happy every single day? Not necessarily. I MADE TIME.

100 Happy Days, Days 1 – 10 & 11 – 20 & 21 – 30 & 31 – 40 & 41 – 50 & 51 – 60 & 61 – 70 & 71 – 80 & 81 – 90

On 100HappyDays.com there are claims that people who had completed the challenge benefited from some positive effects including: being in a better mood every day, they started receiving more compliments from other people, they realized how lucky they are to have the life they have, they become more optimistic, and they fall in love during the challenge. I suppose to each their own, especially when things going on your life can hinder or improve happiness. I would not say I was in a better mood BECAUSE of the challenge, but had a better attitude about the day when looking back on the photos of what made me happy that day. I would not say I necessarily received more compliments, but was better at accepting the ones I did receive. I have never been one to take life for granted and every day I’m thankful for the opportunities my husband and I have been given. I would definitely not say I became more optimistic, however, that was because of my situation and what it means to me. As far as falling in love during the challenge, I fall in love with my husband every single day. I think the “falling in love” benefit the website lists is more of a falling in love with life and happiness, rather than a person.

Monday, June 30th 2014

The day before my parents arrived for a visit I finished a few projects I had around the house, cleaned up the place, and washed all the laundry. I felt accomplished!

Tuesday, July 1st 2014

My parents made it to our house just in time for dinner. I made buffalo cauliflower (I HIGHLY recommend! My favorite recipe is from PersnicketyPlates.com) and Steven made a homemade pizza!

Wednesday, July 2nd 2014

For the FMSphotoaday challenge, the prompt was something beginning with K, so I took a photo of my Kodak camera! It was a day of taking mental images as my parents and I caught up!

Thursday, July 3rd 2014

Steven got off early from work so we drove to Manhattan, Kansas, and showed my parents around our favorite spots! We discovered Chris Barr’s Cabin in the process. It was found inside a home when it was torn down, and is believed to have been apart of the Underground Railroad!

Friday, July 4th 2014

Since fireworks are not allowed on post, we took it easy for the Fourth of July this year. We ate a big dinner and took my parents on a nearby hike along the river! When we made it back on post, it was perfect timing to sit up on the hill and look down to a nearby town and watch all the fireworks go off.

Saturday, July 5th 2014

Steven and my dad went fishing and my mom and I went to my favorite thrift stores! I found this Steve Urkel doll and could not help but take a photo or two of it. The TGIF television line up holds a lot of fond memories for me!

Sunday, July 6th 2014

There was a huge heatwave and it prevented us from wanting to do much at all! Temperatures were in the high 90s to 100s and the humidity way too high for our blood. We drove around Milford Lake and came across the discovery center and fish hatchery there. This little piggy in a tree near there was too happy not to capture.

Monday, July 7th 2014

The weather was a bit cooler than it had been over the weekend, so the boys attempted to go fishing again. My mother and I went off post to some thrift stores, most of which were closed for the four day weekend. We did manage to find an open cupcake shop though!

Tuesday, July 8th 2014

My parents left that morning to travel a bit more before returning home to California. Kansas was back to being the state of Steven and Kristen.

Wednesday, July 9th 2014

I decided to leave the #100HappyDays photo challenge exactly the way I came into it: with a selfie! It’s up to me whether I choose to be happy or not. I have to be the one to fight for my happiness.

Was I happy for 100 days?! No.
Was I able to find something happy in every single day? Yes.
The #100HappyDays challenge showed me that happiness is a journey NOT a destination. You have to enjoy the journey, look for the good when you hit those bumps in the road. Looking over everyone who has taken part of the challenge, it also shows that the journey can be harder for some people. It’s easy to be thrown off course, and to be honest, I got back into a bad place after the 100 days was over. It’s really easy for people on the outside to throw out a “just be happy” or “choose happiness” when it’s not that easy.

I did it! I made it to 100 days! I recommend it. There’s so much good that can happen spiritually and emotionally from looking for the HAPPY in each and every day!

Can you find the happy for 100 days?

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Photos featuring Fluffy White Clouds

With everything that has happened this past year, I feel as though I built a lot of barriers around myself and my feelings. It is bizarre to me that some people who have been through the same thing can be so unsympathetic. It is hurtful how ignorant people who have not been through it can be. I have been lucky enough to come in contact with MANY wonderful people who do understand, though, do not get me wrong. What I’m trying to say is, I feel like in many ways, I have lost my way with words.

I’m trying to get myself back together, back into the world, back into the old, but good habits. I’ll write more about my journey back to happiness next week.

These past few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time behind the camera lens. These are the snaps from the past week!:

Last weekend was Steven’s birthday weekend. I thought for sure we would spend every day fishing at this particular spot. We only went last Saturday, but it was probably the most beautiful day to be there.

While Steven fished, I sat back at a picnic table brainstorming blog ideas. Not a bad view.

I use to ALWAYS take jump photos. The area was so green, I had to take the opportunity to shoot one for old time’s sake. I’m a little rusty.

I’m making a video for Steven’s family because they have yet to be out to visit us. Since we moved into a new house, I’ve video taped a tour, as well as the surrounding areas. We went to a few of our favorite places on post.

I like to caption this one with “Eat your heart out Led Zeppelin!”…. (Stairway to Heaven)

While we were at the top, the clouds got quite the sense of humor. I turned around to see what almost appeared to be a working chimney!

Thanks to my handy dandy tripod, I took a few photos of Steven and I! It was really hot and I wore out quickly running between Steven and my tripod! We got a few good ones, but the majority of them we looked too tired.

We’re still in counseling for our miscarriages, and when I told our counselor that I had taken maternity photos for a friend she grimaced and gave an empathetic nod. I told her I actually did really well with it. My friend pictured found out she was pregnant the same day as I did, the first pregnancy that I lost. Her due date is ten days after mine would have been. Not until I was home sifting through the photos did I realize that if I was still pregnant, I would have looked the same. Even then, I was able to quickly shake it off. Granted, I have high hopes that we will have our rainbow baby next year. I have been having more good than bad days lately.

One day at a time.

100 Happy Days ♥ Days 31 through 40

Goodness gracious! In between allergies, a semi-busy schedule, slowly trying to put together the puzzle of our new home (I promise we’ve been done with unpacking – it’s just trying to really make sure everything is where we want it), and having been thrown out of the habit when we did not have internet for that short while – I fell off the blogging wagon! Through all that, I’ve been trying my best to stay on top of the #100HappyDays challenge!

100 Happy Days, Days 1 – 10 & 11 – 20 & 21 – 30

In case you are new to my blog, I have been taking part in the 100 Happy Days Challenge and I have been posting my daily happy onto my Instagram account @CameraKristen. This year started with a big slap in the face and I had a hard time coping. This challenge is definitely helping me to remember to look for all the HAPPY in each and every day.

Thursday, May 1st 2014

My absolute favorite thing about Kansas is the SKY here! Summer skies here are full of fluffy clouds and amazingly colorful sunrises and sunsets!

Friday, May 2nd 2014

Nothing feeds baby fever quite like spending a few hours with a cute lil guy who is not even old enough to crawl! Baby giggles and wonder and everything in between – oh my!

Saturday, May 3rd 2014

Some may see a field full of weeds – but I see a whole lot of wishes to be made!

Sunday, May 4th 2014

Wandering around Fort Riley, we’re starting to get our barrings. It’s not so bad once you have been back and forth from certain areas, but tell me a new place to go, and I will still definitely need my GPS!

Monday, May 5th 2014

I took this photo because the “Cinco de Yolo” I found pathetic (WHY must we keep saying this?! “Seize the day” “C’est La Vie” actually have class and make sense. You only live once sounds like it came from the Journal of Common Sense) BUT it was also taken during a good part of the day. We thought we had so much to do that day, but it turned out that we planned to do so much on the wrong day! So, we ate lunch at Carlos O’Kelly’s (these are not in California – and when we moved here I thought it was going to be a weird Irish and Mexican fusion restaurant- it’s not) and we people watched.

Tuesday, May 6th 2014

Since moving on post, we have made a good habit of visiting the gym inside our community office. We have also made a point to stop by the arcade on the way out!

Wednesday, May 7th 2014

The 7th was my birthday! 28 years old and not a day younger!

Thursday, May 8th 2014

My husband got me the Chocolate Bar eyeshadow palette by Too Faced for my birthday (it smells like chocolate!) and I could not wait to use it! I may even do a review? I’m in love!

Friday, May 9th 2014

The day prior I had changed our bedding, we put on our memory foam back onto the mattress, and Tayte slept the whole night through! It was the first night she had not woken us up at 3:30AM since the move! … We’re still working on getting her into a normal sleep schedule!

Saturday, May 10th 2014

This photo is a complete misrepresentation of that day – BUT it was a little piece of happy from that day. I tried to get my office put together and straighten up the house a bit before Steven’s friends came over for a BBQ! It was a beautiful day outside, the food was great, and we had excellent company!

Please excuse the once and again posting! I promise to get back in the habit from here on out! ♥

Does everything happen for a reason?

Over the past week I’ve gone through so many emotions and feelings that I am starting to expect some form of spontaneous combustion to occur. Between self loathing, regret, jealousy, anger, calm and collected, to an absolute bawling mess, I’m never one or the other, but all at the same time. There have been a lot more bad than good. That’s to be expected, I guess.

I’ve been reading a book about miscarriage that’s meant for women who have experienced it. It’s somewhat healing, somewhat feeding the fire. I’ve read different miscarriage stories from several women. I’ve read how they chose to cope, and how they didn’t, and how they wish they had. My biggest gripe with not just the book, but with everyone I’ve spoken to, whether they have experienced it or not, they all go to this awful, stupid, and belittling saying.

Everything happens for a reason

This is my anger speaking, just to clarify. This is my very fresh wounds showing themselves. HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT TO ME! HOW DARE YOU THINK THAT’S AN ACCEPTABLE EXCUSE!

I do not believe anyone has said it to my face, yet. But as of now, those who have said it to me have gotten a very real (Well, in all imaginary forms, at least) middle finger thrown their way. AND to be fair, I believe in most cases, this has come from those who have NOT personally experienced this themselves.

I hate to say it, but I believe in the saying that everything DOES happen for a reason. Or at least, I did. Maybe it’s how we make excuses for ourselves and our actions. Maybe it’s how we cope and teach ourselves to be okay with the fact that some things are out of our own control. The past few months I’ve been on the fence of my belief in this saying. I believe I’m completely justified in this, whether you agree with me or not.

I feel the need to interject a little fact about myself and my faith. I am constantly questioning what I believe in as far as a “higher power” goes. I define myself as an agnostic (I do not deny the existence of a higher being, I simply choose not to define it). I define myself as more of a spiritual person than a religious person. I believe that if we do good, good will happen to us. Does that make sense? I feel like people think I’m being condescending when I try to explain myself. I do not think ANYONE who has any religious belief is any less for doing so. I just choose to believe in my own way, and do it in a personal manner than going to congregation.

That being said, this is where my method of coping differs from so many. I have a hard time trusting that God, or whoever may be up there watching over us, has a specific plan for each one of us and that he or she has everything happen for a single, specific purpose. Maybe this seems like a cop out to some, and I understand why. Maybe I choose to believe this so I do not blame a God for being unjust.

My husband and I have struggled with infertility for almost a year and half now. HOW many people have been brought into this world by accident?! How many people get blessed with a beautiful baby and easy pregnancy when they were not even trying?! How many people have aborted their babies because they just didn’t want a baby right now?! How does the population of The People of Walmart keep growing, but my husband and I (with our degrees in hand, carrying out a stable life, and always dressed for those important first impressions) cannot maintain a single pregnancy?!

I choose to believe that a higher being would NOT do this purposefully.

I’m starting to believe that SOME things happen for a reason.

Being born to my parents and into my wonderful family, meeting my amazing husband, being given the change to live through so many lovely life experiences… I like to think that those happy things were meant to happen to me. Is that conceited to think I deserved those happy events to occur to me? Maybe not. Everyone deserves to be happy.

Is it conceited to say that I did not deserve anything bad to happen to me? I’m sure some would say yes. Even I think that would be a pretty conceited thing to say. What’s life without a few bumps in the road? If we do not learn from life’s challenges, how will we grow?

I believe that sometimes our life gets thrown off track a little bit, sometimes we are given free will and sometimes the universe is given free will. What happens to us may not always be right, but how we cope with it will make it right.

In short, I think maybe all I was trying to say here is: PLEASE STOP telling me “everything happens for a reason” or similar statements when I am sad. It’s like saying I deserved this sadness, in a way. Maybe I did. Maybe it did happen for a reason. My point is, this statement does NOT help the coping process.

A simple, “I’m sorry” or “I’m here for you” or “I love you,” THAT helps.

Excuse me, I feel as though I’m going through the 5 stages of grief in no particular order. I do appreciate you joining me, or at least putting up with my blabber as I progress.

What I’ve Learned About Infertility

It’s really time for me to explain what’s going on with me because it really is messing with every aspect of my life. I haven’t been myself for the past few months, I’ve been trying really hard, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. I’ve wanted to make blog posts, YouTube videos, and just be myself, but I’ve been dealing with a few things.

In August my husband was deployed to Afghanistan. That alone was pretty hard to adjust to. Shortly before he left we went to a few doctors trying to get some answers for what was going on with me and my health, reproductively speaking. I was pretty sure we had been successful in the whole making a baby process, but when I kept having symptoms but all negative pregnancy tests, I went to the doctor again.

No one seems to understand what a slap in the face it is to think you are pregnant, to really want to be pregnant, and instead you are told that you may have a tumor in your head. Maybe I’ve experienced the lack of understanding because it is a weird connection between the two things.

I always just assumed I would be a mom one day. No big deal. I did not realize HOW BAD I wanted to be a mother until I was told I may never be able to. Typical woman, right? Always wanting what she can’t have.

SO LET’S GET PERSONAL for a minute. I have a pituitary tumor. It is benign. HOWEVER, it is releasing a hormone called Prolactin. The release of this hormone causes my body to think that it is already pregnant (and thus, it is preventing me from becoming pregnant also).

I drove two hours to see a specialist a few weeks back. He also preceded to tell me I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). This specialist, whom I’d driven two hours to see, told me to GOOGLE it to learn more about it (sad thing is, this wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard about someone being told to GOOGLE PCOS after being told they had it). So I spent all day stewing on the fact that because of my tumor AND because of PCOS I would more than likely not be able to ever have kids. I think I was so angry about it by the time I got home and was able to GOOGLE it, it didn’t even matter to me that I did not think for one second I had PCOS. I think the doctor was completely wrong. AND it says a lot when I GOOGLE something and think that I DON’T have it. Yes, I am a hypochondriac.

Said specialist… doctor… go Google it man, prescribed me medication for my pituitary tumor in attempts to control it, possibly shrink it, possibly get my hormone levels in check. This particular medication is given ALSO as an alternative to chemotherapy for cancer patients. It is ALSO given to patients with Parkinson’s disease. AMONGST other things. That scares me. My pituitary tumor is no where near being as severe as those ailments, but it terrifies me to be grouped together with it. Not to mention said medication has a lot of debilitating side effects. I get weak. I get nauseous. I get headaches. I spend a lot of time in the bathroom. I have absolutely no appetite whatsoever. I’ve lost eight pounds in two weeks. In another few weeks I will be tested again to see if I’m evening reacting to this medication. I do not want to discuss or think about what happens if I am not reacting to this medication.

I see this specialist guy again in December. I don’t even want to talk about PCOS with this man until (if/when) my tumor is under control. I think he couldn’t be more wrong with his diagnosis. You don’t have a completely normal ultra sound one month and get told you have PCOS the next. You just don’t.

I have cried a lot in the last few months. I have been angry and bitter and downright spiteful the last few months. I hope I have the strength to keep my mouth shut the next person who says “We are so blessed! We are pregnant and we weren’t even trying!”

I know people are trying to be optimistic for me. Telling me it will be okay. Telling me just relax, in time. If you are doing this to your friend/family member/whomever – STOP. Optimism is normally great and I’m a huge advocate of it! BUT when you are told by a MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL that you may indeed NEVER be able to conceive, OPTIMISM pisses you off. AND DO NOT get me started on the “Well if it’s meant to be it will be” or the “There’s always adoption” comments. Please, feel free to just stab me instead of saying those things. Those things hurt. Those things make me feel like an absolute failure. I am a woman and a woman’s body is designed to be able to produce little humans. BUT not mine. Oh yes, and it is really great that you know someone who knows someone who had the exact same issue as me (weird!) and has had five children since, but they were probably wrongly diagnosed and/or miracles happen. I WILL LET YOU KNOW when I think a miracle can and has happened. Until then, please STOP.

This is all very personal. I did not intend on this getting out further than my really good friends and close family. BUT you tell someone who tells someone who tells someone who tells someone. It’s really a weird situation being upset about yourself, but instead having to comfort someone over the phone about it because they thought you were going to die (people hear pituitary tumor, think brain tumor, think you’re going to die). I needed to be comforted but instead I’m having to say, “No, no. I will be fine.” AND I will be fine. I may never be able to have children but I will live. I will be fine.

This is my personal struggle. I am outing myself.

Infertility is not uncommon. It’s upsetting how many women and couples have to deal with it and are lead to believe that they are alone. People keep this a secret because it is personal, it is absolutely heartbreaking, but they ARE NOT alone. So here’s my situation, if it helps someone feel some sense of comradely, great!

My husband and I have only been “trying” for a year. That’s not even a realistic measurement because he is in the Army and the Army has had him away longer than I got to be near him. I understand that there are couples out there who have tried MUCH MUCH longer than I hope we ever have to. I know some women out there who don’t have a exact reason why they can’t get their hormones in order. I at least have a few things to blame, that may or may not be fixable.

I just need to put this out there, for whatever reason. Take from it what you will.

I hope one day I will be able to give my husband babies that have super blonde hair like him and that are awkwardly tall like me. Realistically, I may never get to. I’m trying not to be angry at myself. I’m trying to keep a positive outlook. I’m trying not to unfollow every pregnant friend posting belly pictures and (GOOD GOD) videos of their bellies 89390287 times a day.

One day at a time. That is all I have. That is all WE ALL have. Life is a funny thing and I am constantly learning from it. I may not always be happy with the lesson, but hey, I’m told it builds character.

When the going gets tough… I sit and pout and Pinterest all day.

My lack of blogs posts is due to my inability to take my own advice about being happy. I’m a naturally nervous and anxious person. When I get stressed out, I don’t think I recognize it anymore. That is, of course, until I find myself crying in the grocery store because I can’t seem to find where the cilantro is in the produce section.

On New Year’s Eve 2011, going into 2012, I dislocated my knee playing a game of Just Dance 3. At the time I was a bank teller, where I would have to stand for pretty much 8 hours a day. With my bum knee, it got angry (shooting pain and would swell) after 30 minutes. I went on disability while going to physical therapy and trying to get it right again. After five months, and my knee not showing a whole lot of improvement, they finally sent me to a surgeon. The surgeon then told me they would not touch me with a knife. My knees are normal, but not normal, she said. See, I’m practically six feet tall. I had an extreme growth spurt when I was in the sixth grade and really, that’s when my knee problems began. I grew up too tall too fast, my muscle tissue couldn’t keep up with the bones. Thus, my knee caps sit higher than they should and will be prone to dislocation, MY ENTIRE life. I think when I was told this was when my self-loathing really set into high gear. There was something bad about myself that I just couldn’t fix. It was normal, but not normal. WTF is that all about?!

I think as females I (we, I suppose, if you reading this also have a vagina) am taught to never really like the way we look. Maybe it’s the fact that we are so in touch with our feelings and we just perceive things that way. MAYBE it’s just me, BUT! Advertising, for instance, we’re told there’s always something newer, something better, that we can and don’t yet have. I mean seriously, is BB or CC Cream really that great?

While my knee was giving me issues I started gaining weight, mainly because it really hurt to walk and get around. I became the heaviest me I’ve ever been. Not to mention, at the time, I was the only one working in my husband and my marriage. We are the kids that went to college, got good grades, graduated, and couldn’t find jobs with our degrees. We were mid twenties living with our folks. Again, the new normal but not normal.

When my husband left for the Army my body stopped working properly. Not in a horrible way, but that’s something I’ll save for a later post. I worked out practically everyday, and became a toner, lighter version of myself than I’d been in quite awhile. It was great for stress, but still, nothing could help what was really going on inside.

When I finally got my husband back, eight months later, we moved here to Kansas. First time being miles and miles away from family and friends, not even being in the same time zone! I think any “milso” can go along with this when I say it’s REALLY hard to get used to (especially if you choose to live off post). Again, here I am, with my good ol college degree, in a place that again has no positions available for me. My husband, did and does have a steady income at least. I hate feeling so dependent though. If I want to spend $50 on a makeup palette I don’t want to feel bad about it because I didn’t earn the money to pay for it.

And coming back to my body malfunctioning on me. It stopped momentarily but I think it was a fluke. I don’t want to get into that too much yet, because let me tell you, the Army Life has not made this topic any easier for me to deal with. ACK – Sorry for being vague. BUT. eventually I will explain.

Anyways, in this whole being in Kansas thing I’ve found myself EXTREMELY unmotivated. I’ve gotten to the point where I get so overwhelmed with being told what I can’t do, that I just stopped trying. The more I want to do something the more afraid I am to try doing it, it the event I’m told I’m not good at it, or whatever it is is not successful. I really love writing, and that’s why my blog posts came to a screeching halt.

But this blog has to be for me at this point. If you, the reader, like it, AWESOME. If not, so be it. This is me, this is my life, this is MY BLOG. I’m going to vent, I’m going to boast, I’m going to be a whiny baby, and maybe I’ll occasionally share a recipe (but I doubt it. I hate cooking. BUT I do like to bake sweets… so maybe).

This self loathing has got to stop. My writing it out is the first step towards that.

Hi. My name is Kristen. I am human. I am an Army wife. I am not a mom but I’m learning how desperately I would love to be one. I’m a Californian living in Kansas, and loving it. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I have a cat. I don’t have a job. I do have a camera and I like taking pictures. I am a work in progress. I don’t make sense and I’m ok with that (most of the time). I overuse parenthesis.

Another day down to becoming the person I want to be. CHECK.
Another day of coping with what I can’t control…. I’m getting there.
But I’m going to be pinning for the next hour to nine hours so…. 🙂