Category Archives: Gratitude

Pregnancy Makes Me Miserable

Pregnancy makes me miserable which is probably why it took me over four years to do it again. After Tiny-Small was born I told Jim all future children would be adopted. Seriously. So, now that I am pregnant again and making friends with the porcelain gods (yes, the toilets…all of them) I am remembering why I was not a fan of pregnancy.

Four years is just enough time to forget. Just enough time to forget that you had morning sickness all day long for eight months last time. Just enough time to forget that  brushing your teeth made you sick and Dove soap made you want to die. Just enough time to forget how pre-eclampsia forced you to be on bed rest and endure a Pitocin induced labor. I am not good at being sick and I really like to be busy doing things. I have a hard time taking it easy. Unfortunately, the memories are all coming back to me now as I sit here trying to keep my mind busy and the barfing at bay.

What’s also coming back is how much pregnancy made me miserable in other ways. Like how my skin kept breaking out and how I didn’t dye my hair for fear of hurting the fetus. I stopped drinking coffee and none of my shoes fit. I am not a pretty pregnant person. I am not a happy pregnant person. Last time I was pregnant I read all of these articles featuring beautiful pregnant mothers talking about how much they loved being pregnant and I envied them. I still envy them. They were models of health in their pregnancy. I looked like a cast member for The Walking Dead.

Pregnancy makes me miserable. 10 Steps I am taking to make this pregnancy better.

So, here I am. Pregnancy number two and I really want it to be different. Everyone keeps reassuring me that it will be. I hope they are right because I want it to be better and I think it will be this time because I have a bigger support network and people I can reach out to. I have been through this before so I know what’s coming and I can prepare for it. There is not as much fear this time. Plus, I know that even though it’s really uncomfortable and I am going to look like a hot mess (and probably go up two more shoe sizes) it’s all going to be worth it. I mean, one look at Tiny-Small and I know our family is going to just get more awesome with the latest addition.

Tiny-Small and Jim
The two people who keep me laughing through all of the hard times.

I’ve come up with a Big List to get through pregnancy with as much grace as possible.

1. Stop reading about people who love being pregnant, are still jogging five miles a day, and look like movie stars when they are 9 months pregnant. We don’t all have to be beautiful pregnant people. We don’t all have to love being pregnant. I think I really felt like I should love it more, but let’s be honest, it’s not all that glamorous for a lot of us and if you are sick during pregnancy you feel pretty miserable. That’s OK. If you do love pregnancy and are gorgeous through the whole thing that is awesome too, but you probably aren’t going to be reading this cranky post since pregnancy doesn’t make you miserable.

2. Do whatever it takes to not have a reoccurrence of the vomit fest of 2010 (just insert the last year YOU were pregnant here). I have listed every food known to curb nausea and I am buying them all. Every single one! I have ginger, lemon, mint, celery, and my beloved goldfish crackers. I am eating when it helps and not worrying about weight gain. I am making Jim clean up any and all dog poop. Sorry, Jim! 🙂

3. No matter how yucky I feel I am walking every day. I am still aiming for 10,000 steps, but mostly land around 6,000. There was a recent study suggesting that exercise in early pregnancy might help reduce the risk of getting pre-eclampsia. I will try anything to keep my blood pressure stable. Since I was already on an exercise routine before I found out I was pregnant I am going to keep it up.

4. Buy some nice pregnancy clothes. Last time I was wearing whatever I could squeeze into. It made me sad. This time I am not going to be sad when I look in the mirror. I might be laughing or amazed, but I refuse to be sad!

5. Continue with my hair stylist appointments. I will not let my hair go to the dogs this time. I will not completely give up on my appearance. I am fighting back! This will not be an ugly pregnancy if I can help it.

6. Ask for help when it’s needed. Even if it’s embarrasing. I am totally going to hire someone to clean the house. I don’t care what we have to give up to pay for it.

7. Sleep when tired. Even if you have to demand time and space for it. Or, if you have to hire a babysitter. Or, find a friend to take your husband out for the day (mine is chatterbox).

8. Keep painting (or whatever it is YOU love to do). Last time I was pregnant I gave up on all of the things I enjoyed and just laid on the bed or the couch numbing my brain with TV shows and movies. I felt like a human incubator. This time, even if I am put on bed rest again, I’ll be able to keep writing my blog. I’ll have a community and a job. This will keep me sane. I am so grateful to have all of you to keep me going!

9. Laugh. A lot. Tiny-Small will keep the comedy rolling and her day-to-day care will keep the time flying by. Plus, I can’t just cry and drool on the couch waiting for the time to pass because I have to chase this crazy kid around. I am so thankful for that distraction and the love! She is so excited about being a big sister. Her excitement is contagious! If you are experiencing your first pregnancy, get some friends to distract you. Become obsessed with your dog. Find someone or something that makes you laugh.

Pregnancy makes me misreable.
That’s me rocking my miserable face with uncombed hair. Also, my phone was from the Dark Ages, obviously.

10. Don’t let anyone take your picture unless you are dressed and have your hair combed. Seriously. Maybe I should make this #1.


Anybody else out there find pregnancy a bit miserable? Got any tips to add to the list? Believe me, I am taking notes!


P.S. Don’t watch the movie UP while pregnant unless you want to cry, then sob, then cry some more. Stay away from the tear jerkers. They are not your friends right now. Stick with the comedies.

Red Barn Outside of Castroville, CA – Landscape Day 8

I’ve always wanted to paint a red barn. One day, as we were heading to the beach last summer, this beautiful barn outside of Castroville California appeared on the side of the road. I took a photo from the moving car and tucked it away in my stash of reference photos thinking I would paint it some day.

Red Barn Painting work in progress.
Painting the background using a paint scraper.

There is something iconic about a red barn. I’ve watched countless painters painting a red barn on PBS. Some people will say PBS painters are kind of boring with their landscapes and maybe they are, but I have learned so many techniques and how to move paint around a canvas by watching people like Bob Ross work. For a mostly self-taught painter, these painting shows have been a wonderful resource for me. So, I think in a way, this red barn painting is in homage to all of the painters on PBS kind enough to share their talents and abilities with the world. Thank you, PBS, for having shows like this so regular people like me can become better at their craft! I appreciate you more than you know.

Red Barn Background
Red Barn Background

I decided to try painting with a pallete knife and with some paint scrapers I got at the hardware store. I didn’t want this painting to be too fussy and I also really wanted to see if I could create something recognizable using a pallette knife.

Red Barn Work In Progress.
Using a palette knife

I thought it was a really fun way to paint. I am definitely going to try it again.

Work in progress Red Barn landscape painting by Lillian Connelly.
Red Barn outside of Castroville (work in progress).

I don’t think this painting is finished. It needs something. I am just not sure what yet so I am going to leave it alone for a while and see what I think the next time I look at it with fresh eyes. It definitely feels like a technique painting. It’s more about the paint and the pallete knife than about the red barn. I think that happens sometimes when you are learning a new skill.

Red Barn Outside of Castroville
Red Barn Outside of Castroville 24 x 20 acrylic on canvas.

Have a happy Monday…I hope you are surviving Day Lights Savings time.



I Almost Had To Paint Phonemes In March

I almost had to paint phonemes in March. If you don’t know what phonemes are I am going to tell you right now!

“any of the abstract units of the phonetic system of a language that correspond to a set of similar speech sounds (as the velar \k\ of cool and the palatal \k\ of keel) which are perceived to be a single distinctive sound in the language” -stolen from the Merriam Webster dictionary.

I almost had to paint sounds. SOUNDS! I know. That’s weird, right? A friend made a joke that I should paint them in honor of Jim being a Speech and Language Pathologist. I thought it was a funny, scary idea and went back and forth with it for a few days before submitting it to my ever wise, all knowing, super awesome newsletter subscribers.

If you want to be a newsletter subscriber and make life altering decisions for me in the future sign up now:

Anyway, my newsletter subscribers voted and I seriously thought phonemes were going to win. It was really close and I was both in a panic and overly excited by the challenge. It was going to be so different from anything I had have ever tried to paint before. I mean, new territory, People! I’d be like an art explorer or something. Maybe. Not to mention, my newsletter subscribers obviously enjoy a good laugh and maybe, just maybe, they thought I could pull it off. That would be a serious compliment and more faith in me than I probably have in myself. Mostly though, I think they just like to see me sweat and place a lot of stock in having a sense of humor and being clever and forward thinking and going on adventures…I am pretty sure my newsletter subscribers are also the most beautiful people in the world both inside and out. Am I laying it on a little thick? Well, yes, but it’s only because the only tool I have to thank them and show them my gratitude is words…lots of words! So, I am using all of the fancy ones I can think of.

It turns out all of my phoneme contemplating wasn’t necessary. I checked today to see if any last minute votes were taking place and to my surprise…Landscapes were in first place! Phonemes were in second place. Cats were in third. Which is kind of amazing considering how many people love their cats and it’s practically what the Internet is most famous for. Painting people came in last, which can only mean my subscribers have seen my previous people paintings and they were scared. So, it looks like, starting March 1st, I will be doing a series of 15 landscape paintings. I have to admit I feel a little relieved and also pretty excited since landscapes are something I have been planning to put more effort into. Jim prefers landscapes to all other subject matter and it’s something I haven’t spent enough time working on. So, even though I won’t be painting phonemes in his honor, I will be painting landscapes. I think he is going to be pretty happy.

I Almost Had To Paint Phonemes In March
Abiquiu, New Mexico 9×12 alcohol ink on Yupo Paper

I may still paint phonemes and cats too. I am making a list of good ideas and I kind of like doing these challenges. It’s fun to get out of my comfort zone and push myself to be more creative. I spent a great deal of time staring out the window and thinking about how to interpret phonemes in a visual way. I’d hate to waste all of that thinking time so maybe the second half of March, or the beginning of April, will be devoted to attempting to produce, in paint, the phoneme images floating around in my mind.

Thank you newsletter subscribers for being the best people in the world. Not that I have to tell you that. I mean, you already know you are awesome, obviously!