Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Another Year, Another Team

Well we're only 2 months away from the start of another hockey season (training camp at least) and it's on to another city for Mike and I.  In case you missed it, Mike signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets!  This means we'll be in Springfield with the Falcons.  It's year number 9 of Mike's pro career, year number 8 that I've been living and moving with him, and jersey number 12 that Mike will officially wear in a regular season game.  Yep, we've done a lot of moving, haha.

I'm definitely sad to be leaving the Blues organization.  It was Mike's hometown team and not being able to see him put on a Blues jersey for even a pre-season game (thanks a lot, lockout) is a real bummer because I know how much it would have meant for him.  Still, we had a great time in Peoria and I enjoyed getting to spend time with the girls.  I'll miss all of them.  Not to mention it was awesome getting to be able to go home to our house in St. Louis once a month for a night or two because we lived so close.

On the other hand I'm so excited to be going back east.  We'll be only about 2 hours from my family and friends.  Teams are much closer together so less nights away from home for Mike, which matters more with Kenlin getting bigger and learning new things every day.  Less chance for him to miss something exciting!  Also, Bauer will get to be close to his best friend Nash again.  He missed not being able to see him for an entire year last season!

The icing on the cake this time around is that I'm actually going to know a couple of the girls on the team when we get there.  That has never happened before.  I've written before about always being the new girl and while I'm still going to be the new girl, I have girls to talk to before I get there and to help me out when I do!  And they both have kids as well.  Totally clutch.

I'm looking forward to getting to explore another city and experiencing a proper northeastern fall again.  Any advice from anyone on things to do, places to live, or great restaurants in the Springfield area are greatly appreciated!  Let's go Blue Jackets/Falcons!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Kenlin's Birth Story

Warning: I'm not going to get all graphic or anything, but if you don't want to know about childbirth, skip the words from here on out and simply look at the adorable (I may be slightly bias) pictures of my sweet baby girl.

Well folks, it's official.  I'm now a mom!  I'm so in love with my little monkey it's ridiculous.  What is even more ridiculous is how I had her.  I mean, I had admittedly an easy pregnancy with no morning sickness to speak of, hardly any pains, I fit into many of my normal clothes until I was about 8 months, and had just about none of the pregnancy side effects people complain about.  Sure I had my rough days, but overall it was easy.  Because of that I just knew that labor was going to suck.  No one gets it easy through pregnancy AND the birth.  This thought had me terrified for the entire last month.  I was not looking forward to the pain of contractions, the hours and hours I'd be spending in the hospital dealing with them, and the potential for a c-section.  Like I said, I just knew I was in for a worst case scenario delivery.

Here is Kenlin's birth story.....

On Wednesday May 8 I went to my scheduled doctor's appointment and was told I was just about 2 centimeters dilated.  It hadn't changed from the week before.  For those that may not know, you need to hit 10 centimeters before you can actually push out your child.  I was a little disappointed in the lack of progress despite the fact that things can change quickly.  I was impatient and wanted Kenlin here sooner rather than later.  Also, I was afraid she was going to go over her due date.

Thursday rolled around and in the late afternoon I started to feel crampy.  We're not talking on and off time-able contractions of the Braxton Hicks (the non-labor inducing contractions) variety, but constant period-like cramps.  I knew this was fairly common and while I spent a large portion of the night curled up in the fetal position, it never became time-able nor did it become any worse.  By the time I fell asleep it was mostly gone, and by Friday morning I felt nothing.

I actually spent the day Friday cleaning, running errands, and finally packing my hospital bag less than a week before my due date.  There was no cramping, no contractions, nothing.  It felt like a normal day.  I woke up Saturday excited because my mom was getting into town that day.  She got in around 3 that afternoon and it was around then that I noticed something might be going on.  I thought maybe my water hadn't broken, but was leaking.  I called the doctor who told me to go into the hospital to get checked.  After that advice we hurriedly scarfed down the dinner that had been cooking in the crockpot, but wasn't quite completely done (because you can't eat once you're in labor in case of emergency surgery), grabbed some last minute things, and headed off.  I honestly fully expected to be sent home with a false alarm.

I got to the hospital just after 5:00 and started the admitting process.  After giving all the information they needed the nurse checked to see how dilated I was since there was no liquid leaking at the time so they weren't sure my water actually had broken.  The following was our conversation:

Nurse: How many centimeters were you at your last check?
Me: I was 2 centimeters on Wednesday.
*she does the exam*
Nurse: You were 2 centimeters the doctor said?
Me (in my head): Crap, she thinks I'm less.  This sucks.  Kenlin is never coming and I'm about to get sent home.
Me (out loud): Yeah, that's what she said.
Nurse: Well, you're at 5 centimeters now.  You're not going home.
Me: What?!

Feeling no pain

Apparently all that cramping Thursday night had been progress.  They put the monitors on me to track Kenlin's heartbeat along with the frequency and intensity of my contractions.  The machine tracking it was behind me so I couldn't see it, and I wasn't really trying to watch it.  I figured that when things started really moving and contractions started kicking in I'd know, because that's what everyone says.  You can't mistake real contractions from Braxton Hick's or cramping.  They hurt, and hurt bad.  Unmistakeable.  That's when the next shocking thing happened.

Nurse: Are you feeling any sort of pain, pressure, or discomfort?
Me: No, not at all.
Nurse: Well, you're having a contraction and a pretty serious one.
Me: I am?!

Yep, that's right.  Apparently I was having contractions about every 3-4 minutes and had no idea.  I'd gone through almost all of labor without knowing it.  At that point we decided to break my water to get things moving and I chose to have an epidural before doing that.  Things were about to get more intense and even though I wasn't feeling the contractions then, I didn't want to gamble on the chance that I'd be able to handle it when they got worse.  A few hours later I was ready to go and hadn't felt pain for even a single second.

However, I'm glad I got the epidural because that actual pushing part kind of sucked.  I pushed for almost 3 hours, which is just about as long as they let you go before suggesting a c-section.  The epidural started to wear off and while I still didn't feel any pain, the pressure started to overwhelm me a bit.  That and I was exhausted from waking up at 7am that morning and it was after midnight.  I hit the button to give me a new dose of the epidural and not long after, I actually fell asleep.  Yes, I fell asleep in the middle of pushing.  Only for about 5-10 minutes, but when I woke up I felt refreshed.  It didn't take much longer after that for Kenlin to finally arrive.

At 1:54 in the morning on May 12, which also happened to be Mother's Day (and my Maid of Honor's birthday) Kenlin Teresa McKenna was born.

It's definitely been an adjustment since coming home with her, but Mike and I are slowly starting to figure it out.  Unfortunately Kenlin seems to have the same hours as her mom and doesn't go to sleep until after midnight, and sleeps in until sometime between 10-12.  We're going to have to work on that.  My mom was here for almost 3 weeks to help out, and my dad came in for a week as well.  They were huge helps in the time when Mike and I were just trying to adjust and I'm so grateful they were there.  Now Kenlin will be a month old tomorrow and I'm starting to feel like I'm getting the hang of things.  Of course, as soon as I do, she'll hit a growth spurt or reach a milestone and I'll have all knew things to learn and worry about.  The life of a parent I suppose.  Even so, I love my little monkey and can't wait to watch her grow and learn about the world.  The moment I hear her giggle for the first time will probably be one of the best moments in my life.  I can't wait.

Here's a few more pics of her:

Meeting her brother Bauer for the first time
Proud of Daddy!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Well, it's certainly been a long time since I've updated the blog.  I suppose I should give an update on how everything in the McKenna household has been going.  I feel like I've been busy and not all at the same time.  I honestly have no idea where the last 2 months have gone.

You know those memes about cameras should follow people around because their lives are so interesting/funny?  Um, yeah, that's not us.  We're boring.  Like I'm shocked we have any friends boring.  So not much to update on the things we've been doing for fun lately front.

As far as hockey has gone, it's been a rollercoaster.  Mike had an unbelievable month of March, winning player of the week in the AHL towards the end of March.  I mean, a 1.44 GAA and .954 SV% with two shutouts is pretty kick ass for a goalie.  Unfortunately for the team they're not going to make playoffs this year.  While I'm sad for the guys to miss out on the opportunity to play for a championship, I'm selfishly happy because I get to go home to St. Louis and have the baby there while at home instead of here in Peoria.  I can't even begin to imagine the hassle moving baby stuff, a newborn, and the rest of our stuff home after the birth would be.  You girls who have babies in Europe and fly home with all of that are my heroes.  Seriously.

Work has been pretty good for the most part as well.  My hours have been cut back recently, mostly because I'm so pregnant I can't do any of the heavy lifting and rearranging that's been going on and is standard for the weekday work days.  I've been down to just weekends for a bit now.  Actually, this weekend is my last two shifts of work.  It's kind of bittersweet.  I'm sad because I liked my job and my co-workers.  This was the first time I had a job for an entire hockey season, and not just a temporary/seasonal one that lasted a month or so.  It's going to be almost as hard saying goodbye to some of the girls I worked with as it is saying goodbye to some of the hockey girls.  At the same time, I know I have a more important and exciting job just ahead to look forward to!

As of today I have hit another pregnancy milestone.....well, just kind of a fun one as opposed to anything significant.  The fun 35/35 milestone!  Today I am officially 35 weeks pregnant and also 35 days away from my due date!  It's crazy to think how quickly the time has gone and how close Mike and I finally are to meeting our little monkey!  For the record, I call her monkey (rarely, but it happens).....Mike does not.  We don't really have a nickname for her.  Mostly we just call her Kenlin.

We were lucky enough to spend a couple days in St. Louis recently and finished up getting just about everything we need for Kenlin's arrival.  One long 6 hour shopping day later, I feel pretty much ready.  The only thing really left to do is a little babyproofing as soon as we get home, and we've got all the stuff we need for that sitting around already too.  It's funny that at 7 weeks out, we were pretty much done, and all I hear from people close to my due date is how unprepared they are.  Guess that happens when you don't live at home so you have no choice but to get things done the couple of days you do manage to get there.

As far as the pregnancy itself, that's been a rollercoaster as well.  I admittedly had a ridiculously easy pregnancy through my first two trimesters.  If it wasn't for the fact that I had a belly and a child that enjoys kicking my ribs, I would have forgotten I was pregnant a fair amount of the time.  I have not been so lucky this trimester.  I can go a few days no problem, and then suddenly I have a few days where I can't eat, I feel sick, and I can't sleep.  Not to mention the fact that half the time I have cankles.....or at least I feel like I do.  Also, there's been an serious increase in the amount of people treating me like I'm an invalid who can't do anything on my own, and that's been completely obnoxious.  Actually, I'm pretty sure I can stand up and get my own glass of water without dying, thanks.  I appreciate the concern and offers to do things for me, but when I say I can do something, don't argue with me about whether I actually can or not.

The good news is that every doctor's appointment I've had has been a positive one.  She's head down, facing the right way, and super active which are all good signs.  There have also been no concerns about any complications at all since I haven't had any problems (that aren't standard third trimester problems I mentioned above), and all my labs, blood pressure, weight gain are in the ideal ranges.  It's funny too that every single time I tell someone how far along I am, they get this shocked look on their face and say "You're so small!"  Some people get worried when they hear stuff like that, but if the doctor's aren't concerned, then I'm not.  Not to mention at my last doctor's appointment they told me I literally have the perfect pregnancy bump.  Not sure what that means exactly (shape? size? lack of stretch marks? [I'm seriously lucky there - don't hate me, there's still time]), but I'll take that compliment any day.

So that's what has been going on in life for me lately.  The next two weeks are going to be full of packing and getting ready to make the move home.  Once there I'll only have a couple of weeks left until I get to start my new job.....being a mom!  Sorry for the cheese factor there, I'm just excited.  And now I'll leave you with this grainy, not great, selfie to try to show off my 35 week belly.....

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Getting a Good Workout in There, Eh?

So after being on twitter for almost 5 years and having a blog that is at least somewhat active some of the time (Ha!) for almost 2 years I realized I've still never put up any sort of "Our Story" on how Mike and I became Mike and I.  Time for that to change, and it's perfect timing as well!  Not only is it Valentine's Day, but it's also 9 years ago today that we officially started dating.  Hard to believe we have spent the better part of a decade as a couple, but we have!  And it's been a crazy and wonderful ride.  It's kind of a long story, but that's the way I like it.

The first picture ever taken of us back in 2004
In August of 2002 I left home and headed to St. Lawrence University for my first year of college.  I was nervous and excited at the same time.  Due to being on the volleyball team, I had to be at school early, which was kind of nice, because I got to learn the campus and adjust before being overwhelmed with all the students and classes.  I felt pretty settled by the time I had to go around and meet with my professors and tell them I'd be missing my first day of their class due to travel for a volleyball tournament.

I met with my Intro to Canadian Studies (yes, seriously that class existed and I took it) professor and he informed me that the class would be moving to a different room, and gave me the room number.  Monday morning when I walked into that room I found myself the only one there.  Um, wasn't there supposed to be a class going on?  I had to meet with my professor again to find out where the right room was, and by the time everyone else was attending their third class on Wednesday, I was attending my first.

I headed to class determined to try to find anyone I maybe potentially recognized to sit near when I got there.  That all flew out the window the second I walked through the door.  There, sitting front row in the auditorium where class was held was the hottest guy I had literally ever seen in real life.  You know how you have that fantasy image of what your perfect guy would look like?  This guy was it.  Dark hair and eyes, facial hair (I've always been partial to the rugged scruffy look), tall, athletic body type, great smile.  There was nothing flawed about this guy's looks, at least to me.  I headed straight for a seat a couple of rows behind him and proceeded to stare at the back of his head for the entire class.....and for every class the rest of the semester.

I'd never been struck like that about someone I'd never so much as said hi to before.  And it wasn't really okay because I had a boyfriend back home at the time.  Oops.  Even so, every time I saw him I got that butterfly feeling.  I found I couldn't even make eye contact with him.  I got so nervous just at the sight of him it was ridiculous.  I didn't know this guy at all.  He could have been a total jerk for all I knew, yet he had this really strange and new affect on me.  Again, totally not okay since I had that boyfriend at home.

 Then my crush started speaking up in class.  He answered questions (correctly every time), he entered debates with other classmates (and won every single one of them).  This guy was smart.  Great, not just gorgeous, but seriously intelligent too.  Like I needed that.  Also, I've always been known as having kind of an "off" sense of humor.  While I find the same things everyone else does funny, it's really the intelligent, inappropriate and dick sarcastic comments that get me.  As class went on this guy started cracking jokes.  He'd say something and the entire class would be dead silent in shock, and I'd be struggling to keep in my laughter and not be the only asshole in there cracking up.  Awesome, add hilarious to the mix.

I gushed about this mystery guy named Mike to my friend on a nearly daily basis (way more than I talked about my boyfriend.....oops again) and it was a month into the semester before I finally saw him on campus when I was with her so I could point him out.  As I watched him from our perch at our usual table in the dining hall I felt her slap me hard on the shoulder.  "Rachel!  That's Mike McKenna, the goalie of the hockey team!"

Seriously?  She had to be joking.  That couldn't be real.  You see, my friend knew that I was a big hockey fan.  I've stated before that I attended Adirondack Red Wings (old AHL team) games my entire life.  I chose to watch hockey on TV over other shows on a nightly basis.  My brother played and I went to many of his games.  We were a hockey family.  And as a kid I'd had a fascination with goalies.  On the few occasions that my family showed up early enough to games to watch warmups I'd make my dad take me down to the glass and I would just watch the goalies.  I don't know what it was, but I thought they were awesome.  I mean, what are the odds that in a school of 2200 kids, I pick out the freaking goalie to have a crush on?

Crazy side note: I found out years later that on my school visit during my senior year of high school when I attended a SLU hockey game, Mike was in goal.

Now I knew who he was, and while part of me was excited because he had the same love for the sport I'd grown up loving, part of me was bummed because hockey players don't exactly have the best reputations on the planet.  At the time I never dreamed I'd ever so much as speak to Mike let alone date him, but still that disappointment was there, despite that boyfriend at home I still had.

 Then in October our Intro to Canadian Studies class had a field trip to Ottawa.  Our school was a mere 20 minutes from the border and it took just over an hour to get to Ottawa.  Our day consisted of a trip to Parliament and a museum.  Kind of stalker creepy, but I kept close to Mike while we took the tour before heading inside to observe a session of Parliament.  As we filed in, I literally cut another girl off so I would be the one who was able to sit next to Mike.  He claims I nearly threw her off a balcony jockeying for my spot, but that's a slight exaggeration.  I was so nervous sitting next to him that I ended up having involuntary restless leg, which he definitely noticed.

"Getting a good workout in there, eh?"

Those were his first words to me.  In total panic mode at the fact that Mike had actually spoken to me, mixed with fear that I'd been annoying the shit out of him with my shaking leg I managed to squeak out a high pitched, barely audible "Yeah".  Mortified as all hell, I was relieved when our professor signaled for us to get up and head out to move on to continue our tour.  Once outside we ended up having our very first conversation.....about squirrels.  Seriously.  I can't make this stuff up.  A black squirrel crossed our path, and I'd only ever seen gray ones and said so.  Mike then told me all about the white one he had pictures of that had been in his yard in St. Louis.

I didn't intentionally follow Mike through the museum, but we ended up visiting all the exhibits at the same time and then the group gathered in one spot while we all waited for our professor to finish his tour.  The one guy I knew in class ended up sitting on the bench next to Mike, and upon seeing me standing, shoved aside and told me to sit.....between him and Mike.  I hesitated due to my earlier most embarrassing moment ever, but sat down anyway, which worked out nicely because I was able to join the conversation Mike was having with other classmates.  We agreed on the proper pronunciation of "Aunt" (like the insect), and he called me un-American for not liking Krispy Kremes.  I spent the entire bus ride back to campus grinning at my wonderful day.

Not long after that my boyfriend from home discovered that there was a guy at school I thought was hot, and decided that he'd befriend Mike, because in his mind friends don't steal their friend's girlfriends.  Really dumb move on his part.  He'd talk to Mike through Instant Messenger while I was sitting in the same room, thinking that if I saw the conversations I'd lose my crush on Mike due to the rude and inappropriate things Mike would say.  It went the opposite direction.  Apparently my ex did not understand my sense of humor at all.  Not only did I learn more about Mike, but I found him to be funnier than I expected.  My crush only grew.  Little did I know at the time that Mike only put up with those conversations to learn more about me.

 I ended up transferring out of St. Lawrence to another college after that year, and I thought that was the end of my crush.  I went back to SLU to visit when the team played hated rival Clarkson a year and a half after the first time I saw Mike.  The friends I was visiting were doing a raffle at the game so I got to get in early and we sat in the student section, just the four of us, in the empty building.  I had this weird urge to look across the ice, and just after I did, Mike walked out onto the bench.  It was like part of me knew he was on his way out there.  Turns out Mike didn't go out to the bench before games very often, he just happened to that day.  Our eyes locked immediately, and I knew my crush was not gone.

SLU won the game, and I went out to the bar with my friends hoping to see Mike.  And I did.  And I literally ran away from him when I saw him because because I was so nervous about seeing him again.  Finally my friend chased me down, grabbed me, and pushed me back the other way where Mike was on his way over to me.  We ended up spending the entire night talking.  We talked until the sun came up.  And when I say talked, I honestly mean talked.  Seven straight hours of getting to know each other, and confessing our crushes.

I drove back to my school that morning and promptly called my boyfriend and broke up with him.  Mike and I weren't a couple, and I didn't know if we would be, but it wasn't right to date one person while getting to know another, even if it was all by phone and instant message.  I was willing to take a chance on Mike.  Three weeks of talking daily, and repeatedly throughout the day, on Valentine's Day, Mike and I decided to give it a go.  I transferred back to St. Lawrence the following year (Not just for Mike, but also because I missed everything about SLU and hated everything about where I'd gone to).

We spent my junior year and his senior year together at school, and it was apparent pretty quickly that he was the guy I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.  We did a year of long distance his first year of pro while he was in Vegas and I was finishing my senior year.  It was hard, but we made it through and I moved to St. Louis with him after I graduated in 2006.  We've lived together and haven't spent a hockey season apart since.

Every year as we move on to a new team and get to know new people, we eventually hear the inevitable "It's sickening how perfect you two are for each other."  Last year in Binghamton when the girls threw me a bachelorette party we played a game where they had asked Mike questions, and I then had to answer the questions correctly or take a shot.  I don't know if you know Mike, have met him, or have ever listened to his interviews, but the guy's a talker.  He can't just answer the question, he has to elaborate, go into tiny detail, tell a story in the middle.  Every one of his answers to the questions were full paragraphs.  The girls thought I'd be falling over after the game with all the shots I'd be taking.  I took two shots out of something like 15 questions.  They'd never seen anything like it.

Yep, that's us
It's crazy to think that just over 10 years after that insane crush developed on the hot mystery guy in my Intro to Canadian Studies class we're married with a daughter on the way in just a couple of months.  And I've loved every moment of it.  I still occasionally wake up in the middle of the night after a dream about my crush on Mike in college, still half asleep, and realize that I'm actually with him in real life.  I still get butterflies when I see him again after he's been on the road for a few days.  He still makes me laugh just as hard as he did in the beginning.  I hate when he's gone even just for one night, and when he's gone for more than just a couple, I still cry when he leaves.  He's my best friend and I love him more now than I did when I first fell for him.  I don't know how I got so lucky.

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone out there and Happy 9 years to my husband!

Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm Coming Out

This is a post I've really wanted to write for so long, but was always too scared to.  In fact, I'm still a little terrified.  Make that really terrified.  Even so, it's important to me to get this out, so here goes.....

I grew up with an amazing family.  My parents have always been a huge part of my life, always there for me and giving me everything I could possibly want.  I was probably a bit spoiled.  I have a younger brother I'm still close to, who has always been able to make me laugh.  I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.

I was raised Presbyterian, sort of.  We didn't go to church on Sundays, or have religious discussions, but I knew what religion I was.  I went to church a few times with my grandparents, and my brother attended the pre-school at the church.  Two of my closest friends were part of religious families, but of different religions.  One was Catholic and the other Episcopalian.  Back then I didn't know the difference.  I went to their Vacation Bible Schools in the summer.  When I had a sleepover at their house on a Saturday night, I went to church with their families on Sunday morning before getting dropped off at home.  The mother of one of them taught church school up the street from my house, and so I spent afternoons there with my friend after school until her mom could get her home.

I was also a good kid.  Kind of a goody-two-shoes.  The teacher's pet in school.  I always did my homework.  I got straight A's.  If my grades went into the 80's I got extra help from the teacher, because I wanted it not because my parents told me to.  I played sports.  I never partied.  I never got in trouble.  To this day I've never even been pulled over while driving.  I volunteered once in a while at the SPCA with a friend.  I was in key club (the charitable club in school), and donated my time and energy to many worthy causes.  I was in National Honor Society and graduated with honors.  My brother had a tough act to follow.  Sorry little bro!

I did these things because I wanted to.  Because they were important to me.  Because my parents taught me that being a good person and respecting and helping others was just what you did when you could.  It's a belief that I've carried with me past childhood and adolescence and into adulthood.  I've proudly married a man that has been recognized in three different cities as the team's Man of the Year awarded to the player who does the most to help out the community he's playing in.  A man who believes just as strongly as I do that you help where you can.  I've always willingly attended everything he did that I could and I jump at the chance to assist any ideas the team or the other girls have to give back to those in need.  I love doing it.  I'll never stop.

One last thing about myself.....

My name is Rachel McKenna and I'm an atheist.

Yes, you read that right.  I don't believe in God.  I haven't since I was in high school.  I'm sick of having to keep my mouth shut in fear of what other people will think of me.  I've finally decided that I don't care.  It's not fair that I have to hide because someone might have something nasty to say about me simply because I don't believe.  So I'm done hiding.

Why did I choose now of all times to finally fess up?  Because I can't handle all the Facebook posts, tweets, and blog entries that have popped up recently that basically tell me I'm a bad person because I don't pray.  Really?  Does the person described above sound like some heathen bent on destroying the world?  I don't think so.  In fact I think I care about this world too much sometimes.

This is not going to turn into some religious debate.  I won't go into why I feel the way I do.  That's not why I'm writing this.  I would never dream of telling anyone who believed that they are wrong.  That they are stupid or crazy.  That they shouldn't have the faith they do.  I respect that they have those beliefs.  It would be so incredibly insulting of me to say anything of that sort to them.  So why isn't it insulting that they say those things to me?

All I keep seeing lately is how everyone needs to pray, get right with God, and bring prayer back to school.  Maybe if we did those things all these disasters like shootings and hurricanes and gays getting married wouldn't happen.  I don't even know how to respond to that.  (Side note: I am 100% behind allowing everyone the right to marry whoever they want)  Quite honestly all of that sounds a whole lot like, "Rachel, because you and others like you don't pray or believe in God, you've killed all these people".  Fuck that.  You don't get to place blame on me simply because I'm an atheist.  I won't be your scapegoat.  And you sure as hell will not force my children to pray in school.  Freedom of religion counts for those of us without it too, you know.

The point of this blog post was to open up, to reveal a part of myself I've kept hidden for way too long.  I shouldn't have to hide.  I shouldn't have to feel like views I don't share are being forced onto me.  I shouldn't have to feel guilty or at fault for things I've had zero part in.  I shouldn't have to cry over the stress of being different and the fear of what people would think of me.  I have many friends who are devout and we get along fabulously because we respect each other for both our similarities and our differences.

I don't judge anyone only on their faith, so I'm asking you not to judge me on my lack of it.  If you can't help it and you hate me only because I don't believe, then so be it.  If you can't be okay with the fact that I'm an atheist feel free to stop reading my blog and stop following me on twitter.  It won't hurt my feelings.  I'm only interested in relationships - both in person and online - where there is mutual respect for each other no matter what.  To those of you that can understand and support that, I whole-heartedly thank you.  For those of you that can't, I won't miss you.

And there it is.....I've come out of hiding.  And I have a huge knot in my stomach.  The fear is never going to go away, but it was time to suck it up and defend myself.  And as difficult as this was, I'm glad I did.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hello Second Trimester

Time sure does fly during hockey season.  Ever since I've gotten to Peoria in the beginning of October I've been busy.  Busier than I typically am during a season at least.  I mean, I've kind of got a lot going on this year that isn't typical.  And it suddenly hit me last night at about 9:30 PM that I only had two and a half hours left in my first trimester.  Where did that first third of my pregnancy go?

I find that the hockey season portion of my year goes by faster than the off-season does.  Mostly because there's more routine during the season with Mike's practices and games dictating our schedule.  This year it's gone by even faster.  Within two weeks of getting to town, I got a job.  And not just a seasonal for the Christmas holidays job I've always had in the past, but a job that will last me all hockey season barring pregnancy complications.  And I actually like it.  I only work about 20 hours a week, but it's always days so I never have to miss a game, and it gets me out of the house and doing something.  Making some money isn't a bad deal either.  And I really like all the people I work with.

On top of the job, and Mike's games I've also got this whole pregnancy thing to think about.  I've had three doctor's appointments since I got to town, and I've loved every single one of them.  Usually I bitch, complain, and do everything to avoid going to a doctor's office, but this time it's different (obviously).  It's been crazy, but amazing to see the baby on the two sonograms I've had so far, and hear it's heartbeat the third time.  The second sonogram I had the baby was actually doing squat jumps for nearly half an hour straight.  Potentially longer, but that's how long the sonogram lasted.  It was hilarious to watch, not to mention I've apparently already got an athlete who is going to have powerful legs growing in me.  Our tech also took a guess based on what she saw on the gender at that appointment.  We're not telling until our 5 month appointment when we'll know pretty much for sure, but it's kind of fun to potentially already know.

These appointments are literally the only reason I even know I'm pregnant.  The first trimester is known pretty much as the worst trimester of pregnancy and people can't wait to get out of it.  I wasn't one of those people.  Somehow I got lucky, which I didn't see coming.  I spent my whole life just knowing that I was going to have horrible morning sickness and food aversion.  Aside from about a week and a half, none of that happened to me.  I felt a little sick only twice, both times to the smell of spices cooking.  The second I removed myself from the area, I felt better and it didn't come back when I re-entered the kitchen.  And that was it for "morning sickness".

That week and a half I referred to was a goofy one.  For some reason everything sounded amazing to me, but everything tasted like garbage.  I mean everything.  Mike cooked some of our favorite meals that week trying to find something I could eat, and a few bites in I couldn't swallow anything anymore.  It wasn't making me feel sick at all, I just hated how it tasted.  The only things that didn't taste horrible were chips and salsa and chocolate.  I ended up losing three pounds that week and a half simply because I wanted nothing to do with food.

Suddenly one day, that was all gone.  Now I can eat everything again.  Well, everything except Mexican food.  That still doesn't taste very good to me, which sucks because I freaking love Mexican food.  Again, it doesn't make me feel sick thinking about it or eating it, it just doesn't taste good.  I've tried fajitas, and that didn't work.  I tried tacos, and while they were fine, they didn't do it for me.  The sound of other favorites of mine don't sound great to me anymore.  But give me the chips and salsa and I'll take them down! Haha.

I have discovered my first craving however.  Cheese.  And that's kind of a weird one because I'm not a big cheese eater.  I never have been.  I can do the occasional bites of pepperjack on crackers, but even after just a couple pieces of that I'm over it.  I used to pull the cheese off of pizza and eat just the dough and sauce.  I dug under the layer of cheese that covered baked pasta and only ate the pasta that didn't have melted cheese on it.  Now I can't stop.  And grilled cheese is topping that list.  I've had it for lunch every single day I haven't had to be at work by lunchtime in the past two weeks.  And there is no sign of that going away.  Even as I type I'm seriously contemplating making myself one right now.  I had pizza recently, and there was no thought of taking the cheese off of it.  I walk into a hockey rink and all I can think about are nachos and cheese or a pretzel and cheese.  I just made Mike make homemade chicken parm last night and I didn't pull half the cheese off the top like I typically would.  And yes, it's officially settled.  I'm making a grilled cheese the second this post is up.

Now, as of today I am starting my second trimester.  The Bump tells me that baby is the size of a lemon.  Weeks ago it told me to start shopping for maternity clothes.  I was ready, but I've still got time before that happens.  I'm 14 weeks along, and every single one of my jeans still fits and almost exactly the way they did before.  They're barely any tighter and with these belly bands out there designed to delay the need for buying maternity clothes, I'm thinking I'm still weeks away from even having to start looking.  I know it can take longer to show when it's the first child, but at this rate I'm just going to look a little chunky until baby's about to pop out! Haha.  Maybe next time I write a post I'll actually have a baby bump picture to put up.  So far, there's just not much to see.

So life in Peoria so far has been pretty fun.  The girls are great, baby's doing great, the job is great.  We also have a park right behind our apartment complex, so Bauer and I have gone on plenty of walks there.  As much as I miss being back east and close to my family and friends, it's not so bad to have it be November and having temperatures still hitting the 50's on a consistent basis instead of snow.  I'll take it!  And it's nearly Thanksgiving and Christmas, so even better.  One of my favorite times of year!  Well, I'm off to make that grilled cheese now.  What little lemon wants, little lemon gets!  Haha.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Major News!

So, this has officially become best year ever territory.  I already thought it had been.  I mean Mike and I got married, he signed with his hometown team the next day, and we were in Aruba the day after that.  It didn't seem like it could get any better.  And then it did.

That's right, folks.  Baby McKenna is on the way!  I've got until May until I can meet the little green olive (or so the bump tells me is currently baby's size).  I don't think Bauer understands why we stuck a skate lace attached to paper around his neck quite yet, but I'm confident he'll enjoy being a big brother.

Mike and I have known since just after Labor Day, but wanted to hold on to the secret until after the first doctor's visit.  Once we got the "everything looks great" we couldn't hold the news in any longer.  Somehow I've managed to luck out on not getting any of this morning sickness I was so worried about.  Aside from being exhausted all the time, I feel perfectly fine!  We're both pretty terrified, but super excited as well!  Can't wait to meet him or her!