Why PK?


Once upon a time in 2007 when Joshua joined the Marine Corps, he graduated from the School of Infantry as a Lance Corporal and was sent to his first unit at Camp Lejeune. His team leader decided that his last name, “Ploscik,” was too complicated to spell or say, and he took the first and last letters and began calling Josh “PK.” It stuck, and the other Marines also called him PK. When we started dating in 2008, his friends started calling me “Mrs. PK,” which I secretly adored. Together with our little family, we are the PK posse!

Before we ever got pregnant, Josh originally wanted to name his son Joshua. I wasn’t a fan of the idea because I thought it would be too confusing/annoying at home, so I told him if he really wanted a Joshua Jr. then I would call him JJ, which he was super against.

Fast forward to when we chose the name Preston for our firstborn. We were trying to come up with a middle name, and I’ve always loved the name Kade. Josh didn’t like it as a first name, but when I suggested making it the middle name so his initials would be “PK” (after daddy), he loved it! It’s also the perfect nickname for Preston, our first baby PK.

Essentially, all of us are PK’s, but Preston gets the honor of carrying on that nickname without any explanation!

Our 2nd Pregnancy Announcement & Gender Reveal!

I’m here to share some exciting news, with much more to come! A month or so ago, we shared this little video we made for our friends and family on Facebook. Our little Preston is the cutest superhero I ever did see. And what does every superhero need?

A sidekick, of course! You may remember that we also created a video to announce our pregnancy with Preston in the spring of 2014. Well, here we are in the spring of 2016 with a new announcement and a gender reveal! We knew that we wanted to film a second video and I wanted to use the same happy song from our first. Coming up with the ideas for our superhero was the fun part! It took us a bit longer than anticipated to film, but I like to think it was worth the wait!

Finding Out We Were Expecting

I found out I was pregnant with Baby #2 on January 6th, 2016. We had just returned home from spending New Year’s in Florida visiting family, and out of nowhere (the day before), Joshua asked me if we had something sweet to eat. Mind you, he never eats sweets let alone asks for something sweet, and I believe his exact words were, “This is going to sound crazy, but do we have anything sweet to eat?” Bam! “I must be pregnant!” I told him. The last time he asked for something sweet was when I was pregnant with Preston, and it just hit me that this might be it! He of course told me not to be ridiculous. We had been trying for 4 months but we had decided to stop for awhile.

The month we stopped trying was the month we conceived!

All the signs were there, too. On December 30th, I got sick while we were on vacation. I had a head cold, sore throat, a cough, and an eye infection all at once. Ironically, I was sick for a couple of weeks with a terrible sinus infection right before I found out I was pregnant with Preston. Another tip off? The whole time we were in Florida, I was able to eat gluten without side effects. I have a gluten intolerance and I follow a gluten free diet, but when I’m pregnant it magically goes away until delivery day. When I’m not pregnant, I cheat every now and again and have yummy gluten-filled foods, like while on vacation… So I kept waiting for the side effects to show up and none did! Lastly, I had two glasses of wine on Monday, January 4th. Normal to most people, but I don’t really drink. It was the Bachelor season premiere with my friends and I indulged. Meanwhile I hadn’t had a sip in months. The weekend before I found out I was pregnant with Preston, I was out partying and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. So all of these little things on top of Josh asking for a sweet, and I just knew it—I had to be pregnant.

While Josh was at work, I went to CVS to pick up a pregnancy test. I was expecting my period in two days, but it immediately showed up with that happy blue “plus” sign. Positive! I wanted to share it with Joshua in a somewhat creative way, so I placed the positive pregnancy test in a Christmas box with a bow and set it in the kitchen.

That evening when he got home from work, I casually said, “Oh, by the way, we got a late Christmas gift today. It’s right over there for you to open.”

Yup, he was pretty much shocked and not expecting to find what he did! He said something along the lines of OMG-AreYouSerious-ICan’tBelieveIt-ThisIsAwesome. It was hilarious.

The Gender Reveal

From day one, I really thought I was having a girl. My pregnancy symptoms were so opposite of those I had with Preston. Instead of craving fruits, I was craving chocolate. I had terrible nausea the entire first trimester, and none with Preston. I was just exhausted every night and in bed by 8pm (normally I’m a night owl and up past 1am). I broke out all over my chin and neck (yuck!), so of course I was convinced… She has to be a girl!

Then, it’s hard to explain, but Joshua, Preston and I were at a party and I was talking to another mama of two boys who told me that her pregnancy symptoms were opposite just like mine were. For whatever reason, as soon as she said that, my entire mindset and attitude changed and it was like I just knew he was a boy. Intuition? I don’t know? Josh was still convinced we were having a girl.

Being the planners that we are, we scheduled an early gender reveal at 13 weeks. It was St. Patrick’s Day and the three of us went to a local 3D ultrasound place down in Wilmington to find out the news together! Lo and behold…

I shocked myself with how I was feeling when the ultrasound tech told us the news. Instantly, I felt relieved. It’s a boy! I love my boy! I know what to do and what to expect. We have all the right baby clothes, toys, everything! It’s a boy!

So that’s where we are. Ecstatic, relieved, anxious, excited! Preston is going to be a big brother, and his little brother and BFF will be 22 months behind him. We’re so happy!

(Just making sure he’s okay in there. Hehe.)

An Adirondack Nursery

The PK Posse |Preston's Adirondack Nursery

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been dreaming up themes for my babies nurseries. When I became pregnant with Preston, it was finally time to put some of those ideas into action! When I first approached Joshua with the idea of doing an Adirondack themed nursery, he loved it and I was thrilled! I grew up in the ADKs and Josh has been going up there with me since we first met, and we were married right on the gorgeous Lake George – surrounded by our favorite mountains. Since we now live in North Carolina, it was important to both of us to bring “a piece of home” into Preston’s life. Everything here is coastal, beachy, and southern, so we wanted somewhat of the opposite for his nursery.

Another idea both Joshua and I agreed on was that we weren’t really into “baby themes.” We wanted a more masculine theme that Preston could grow up with. We plan for Preston’s room to keep this theme the whole time he lives in our home. Even the crib is a convertible crib, so the back of the crib will become the future headboard of his future full size bed! All in, baby.

The wooden accent wall was something I loved, but Joshua took upon himself to create for Preston. He built the entire wall out of wooden pallets! It was the first piece to go into the nursery and it set up the whole feel for the room. It was a real labor of love! Overall, we’re so pleased with how it all turned out. From the curtains, to the rug, to the paint color, to the bedding, to the wall art, to the furniture, we hand picked every item in this room for our sweet baby boy. Our close friend Shana made the awesome sign hanging over his crib with his name.

Josh and I thrive on a good project we can work on together, and creating this special place for our little darling was such a fun, engaging, creative, heartwarming experience. We couldn’t wait to bring him home into a room we made together, just for him!

Adirondack Nursery Crib, Bedding, Chifferobe Adirondack Nursery | Glider, Double Dresser, Lamps, Mountain Art Adirondack Nursery | Double Dresser, ADK Decor, Mountain Art, Bear Lamp Adirondack Nursery | Chifferobe, CurtainsAdirondack Nursery | ADK DecorAdirondack Nursery | Tree Decor, Bookends, Deer and BearsAdirondack Nursery | Stuffed Animal Mounted Wall Hooks Adirondack Nursery | Rocker Glider, ADK PillowAdirondack Nursery | ADK Bears, Chipmunk

Hope you enjoy and that this inspires anyone else who may be considering an Adirondack, mountain, wilderness, or all around masculine theme for their little one!

Crib, Chifforobe, and Double Dresser | Baby Cache
Glider Rocker and Nursing Ottoman | Shermag (similar)
Moose Rug | Hautman Brothers
Curtains | Alton Print Grommet Window Panels
Adirondack Bedding | Donna Sharp
Wall Hooks, Bear Lamps, Placemats | Lake George, NY and Bolton Landing, NY village shops
Bookends | White Branch
Mountain Art | Etsy
Cabin Light Switch | Rivers Edge

Lastly, since I love a good before and after… Here is what this room looked like before it became Preston’s nursery. What a transformation!

The PK Posse | Former Guest Room

Making Things Happen

In early November of 2015, I had the privilege of attending the Making Things Happen conference in Chapel Hill, NC. Here is a bit of paraphrasing from the event description, because I can’t really say it much better.

This two-day conference, led by Lara Casey, author of Make it Happen, is designed to fire you up and set you on a powerful path. During the conference, led by Lara Casey, attendees dig deep, establish priorities, uncover a purposeful vision for their life and business, set goals, and discover how to make what matters most happen. Making Things Happen was founded on the idea that you have the choice to change your life. It was designed to fire people up to make bold decisions towards their best lives and empower them to step into their fears instead of away from them. Even those who have gone through the Making Things Happen experience have a hard time articulating it, but that’s okay – alums are encouraged to let their actions explain the powerful changes they’ve experienced! 

The conference was enlightening for me. It helped me figure things out in both my personal and professional life in ways I didn’t even think I needed. It helped me uncover what really matters to me, what matters most. And it gave me the wisdom and clarity to make “it” happen. “It” is something different and personal for everyone. For me, “it” became balance.

I’ve had a little over two months to digest everything I learned, and while I don’t plan to do a big long post about the conference, I do plan to incorporate bits and pieces into my posts here and there.

I went to Chapel Hill feeling so overwhelmed and exhausted. I left feeling purposeful and encouraged. I thought I went to figure out what to do in my career. I work from home full-time as a graphic designer and social media strategist for a government contractor out out the NoVA/DC area, which has never been my dream job but has provided a stable income for my family for the past four years. Since giving birth to Preston a year ago, I had come to resent my job for taking time away from Preston. I recently learned that I’ll more than likely be losing my job in the next 6 months or so because the contract I work on was not renewed with the government. It left me terrified and scared about not being able to contribute to our family’s income. I’ve always wanted to own my own business, but after I failed at my first freelance attempt several years ago and went into a bad depression, I’ve been scared to try again. I felt overwhelmed with what to do next. Everything has been piling up — chores, housework, work, fights with Joshua. At the conference, Lara shared a story about one morning when she yelled at her young daughter because she was so stressed out with work, and that was the first point in the conference when I broke down. I’ve done this, I’ve done this more than once. I’ve yelled at my sweet, sweet baby boy, for no reason other than being too stressed to handle whatever the situation was in a positive and intentional way. He never deserved that from me. I’m crying as I type this, because I hate that I’ve done it. I hate that I filled my tank with so much of what doesn’t matter that it took over what does matter.

::deep breath::

I know now that work and business are not my first priority. It’s my family. It’s my husband and my baby. They are my reasons for it all, and I want to make balance happen. I’ve been working on it everyday since leaving the conference, and I’ve already messed up several times. But as I also learned, sometimes your mess becomes your message. And my mess is becoming my message. Somehow, after setting my priority as family and giving myself permission to keep them at #1, everything else has been falling into place. I don’t understand it, and it’s crazy and messy and not totally how I pictured it, but it’s all happening.

I am so grateful to Lara Casey, to my breakout session leaders, and to the new friends I made in those two days for changing my life and giving me perspective and purpose.

// Photos by Callie Davis of Nancy Ray Photography

Size Does Matter, Right?

Get your mind out of the gutter, not that size! Your size. Your body size. Your clothing size. Big shoes generally mean you are a taller person. Big pants sizes generally mean you are a larger person. But does that matter? Of course it does… Or so I’ve been told.

I am so embarrassed by my size. I’m embarrassed because for me, it means that I’m eating my emotions, and you can see them. I’m embarrassed because I have an obvious, blatant, in-your-face and in-my-pants-size struggle that is visible to anyone I meet. “Hi, I’m Dani… Yes, I’m fat. Yes, I have issues. Yes, this is the first impression I make.”

If you watch The Biggest Loser or Extreme Weight Loss or any of those reality-style weight loss TV shows, which of course I’m addicted to, you know there are often deeper rooted issues than just eating too much food. A lot of people think that fat people are just fat because they are lazy and don’t care about themselves. And maybe some are. But more often than not, there are a lot of layers to that onion. ;-)

There has not been any one significant event in my life that affected me and made me eat more than I should, but I do struggle with depression. I don’t deal with stress very well, and there are a lot of stressful things in my life that I don’t handle the most gracefully. I’ve battled with depression since I was in high school, and definitely in college. I’ve seen therapists, I’ve been on medications. I’m not proud of it, but I’m also not hiding it… Or hiding behind it. Everyone struggles. It’s life. It’s okay. I could have been dealt a lot worse of a hand.

I started putting on weight my senior year of college, after the stress of school, finals, my portfolio, applying for jobs, becoming financially independent, etc. Then, after I met Joshua, there were the deployments. The first wasn’t too terrible; we got by. But the second… It was terrible. I used to walk back and forth in front of the family room bay window, looking up and down the street for the black unmarked government car. I was terrified. Every week it was a new casualty or more time without hearing from Josh. He told me before he left not to expect him to come home, and it was bad. It messed with my head and my heart. But again, we got by. Also during this time, my parents separated (and later divorced). After that, it was my failed freelance business. Unhappiness in my career. Moving far, far away from my close-knit family and missing them constantly, every day, even right now. Then it was the gluten allergy, the low Vitamin D, the borderline hypothyroidism, and of course the ugly depression peeking through every now and again. I put on the weight rather quickly. I just kept growing. Bigger. And bigger. And bigger. And I felt more and more out of control. And then we moved to North Carolina.

I was a target of bullying because of my size. It’s funny the way highs and lows work sometimes… It happened at my lowest emotionally while I weighed my highest. A couple of new friends thought it would be the right thing to do to tell me what was being said about me by people I had not even met in person. It crushed me. To this day, I will never forget the comments that were made or the people who said them. I will never forget how badly it hurt, or how ashamed I felt. How embarrassed. How alone. I’ve since forgiven them and moved past it, but you know how that is. You still can’t forget when someone hurts you like that. Especially when they never apologized.

So this is what I want to say. The next time you are about to make a nasty comment or snide remark — even to yourself, because we’ve all probably done it at some point in time, as I know I have — just think first. That person could be depressed. That person could be struggling. That person could be homesick. That person could be hanging on by a thread. She could be needing a friend. She could be needing support, without judgement, or someone to talk to. She could just need for you to not make comments about her size, or not to judge her so harshly before you even meet her. She could need you to see past the surface. She could need help.

I needed help. It took me much too long to open myself to accept it.

Every day is a battle with food for me. I don’t know why I’m like this or what’s wrong with me. I was raised in a healthy household and my parents and brother are not overweight or obese. Just me. I was. I am.

Which brings me to another point: What NOT to say to someone who is LOSING weight. Here are some examples of bad ideas:

  • How much do you weigh now?
  • What was your highest weight?
  • What is your goal weight?

Just don’t ask “numbers” at all, unless she offers them to you. By the way, what’s your weight? What’s the highest YOU’VE weighed?

More bad ideas:

  • I don’t believe in the type of diet you’re following.
  • Do you even have that much to lose?
  • I bet we weigh the same now.
  • I think the diet you’re on is too expensive.
  • I think the diet you’re on is too restrictive.
  • I would NEVER do that.
  • Aren’t you afraid you’re going to gain it all back?
  • I just won’t believe your diet works until I see the results.
  • You’re going to look anorexic at your goal weight.

No, friends… Just, no. Want to know what you can say?

  • Good for you!
  • Wow, you really have willpower!
  • Get it, girl.
  • I’m proud of you.
  • Let’s go shopping!
  • Keep it up.

Otherwise, give a genuine compliment, or… Just say nothing at all. Positive and supportive comments are all that are necessary. No one wants to hear about your cousin’s sister’s best friend’s co-worker that tried the exact same thing to lose weight, and it didn’t work. Or it did work, but she gained it all back.

Yeah, size matters. But other things matter more.

I struggle. But I’m happy. I’m trying. I’m fighting. I’m winning.