One Year Ago…

I can’t believe Jackson is turning 1 tomorrow! Everyone tells you that time flies by, especially when you have children. I believed it, but then time went even faster than I thought it would. One year ago today, our beautiful son decided he was ready to make an appearance very unexpectedly.

My original due date was December 5th, my shower was scheduled for mid November and we hadn’t done or bought much to get ready for Jackson’s arrival. I had my 34 week appointment on Friday, October 24th, and the doctor said everything looked fine and they’d see me in 2 weeks. My husband and I even planned to pack the hospital bag, finish painting furniture and do a dry run to the hospital the coming week. However, nothing went according to plan.

33 Weeks, October 20th

33 Weeks, October 20th

Saturday, October 25th, 2014 I woke up around 8AM to my water breaking. I was really shocked, freaked out, confused and unsure of what to do. I yelled out to my husband and told him that I thought my water had broke and and he jumped out of bed. I immediately called the hospital, very nervously, to see what I should do. They told us to come to the hospital so they could check everything out. We quickly grabbed a few things (my bathrobe, slippers, Kindle, phone charger) and got into the car. We didn’t actually think anything was going to happen. We were very much in denial.

On the way to the hospital, I could still feel Jackson moving, so that was a huge relief. I began calling my parents and family to let them know we were on our way to the hospital, but of course no one as answering! That’s always the way isn’t it? When you actually need people to answer their phones, that happens to be the one time they don’t. After about 45 minutes, my family called back and I let them know my water had broken and we were on our way to the hospital. My Mom wasn’t very good at keeping me calm though, as she kept repeating “This isn’t good” over and over. After we hung up, my parents immediately left their house to get to the hospital as well.

We arrived at the hospital by 9:30AM. It took me a few minutes to get out of the car thanks to the whole water breaking process. Just as an FYI, it doesn’t come out all at once, it comes out over a long period of time, which is horribly embarrassing. We got checked in and I was hooked up to some monitors to make sure Jackson was doing ok and thankfully he was.

The doctor checked me out and they put a monitor on me so they could keep a close eye on Jackson. I started having contractions around 10:30AM and was given a little bit of medicine to help things along. As the day went on, my husband and I just hung out, relaxed and visited with my family once they had arrived.

My contractions progressed really well. Around 2:30AM on Sunday, I was ready for an epidural. My pain was about a 6 or 7 out of 10, and I was all set with it getting worse. The epidural helped a bunch and let me sleep a little bit.

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Throughout the morning, I quickly progressed, going from 3 cm to 10 cm in 2 hours, and was ready to push by 7AM. It took 5 pushes and Jackson was out. He was 5 lbs. 2 oz. and 17 in. of awesomeness. My husband and I got to hold him and it was one of the best moments of our lives.

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Sadly, we had to go home without Jackson. Being 6 weeks early, his lungs weren’t quite strong enough for him to come home yet. He spent 2 weeks in the NICU and they were a long 2 weeks. Almost every day I’d spend the day pumping at home and my husband would work a full day. When he got home, we drove an hour to the hospital, spent about 3 or 4 hours there and then drove the hour home, sadly leaving Jackson behind each time. Thankfully he was getting stronger and healthier every day.

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On November 7th, we were finally able to take him home. It was so exciting to be able to have him at home with us and not see him all hooked up to tubes and wires.

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Now, our little guy is turning 1. He’s growing up so fast and I plan to make sure I enjoy every second of it!

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Significant Songs in my Life

I love music. I know a lot of people do and say that, but I love the way it can bring you back to a specific memory or feeling. It can nurse your heartache, amplify your joy or intensify your rage when you just need to let it all out. It makes long drives and traffic bearable, and sometimes something to look forward to if you’ve made a new playlist.

I’m obsessed with playlists and have one for just about anything. I have one for when I’m feeling sentimental, one for when boys are being stupid, one to amp me up for a workout, one to bring me back to the 90’s and many, many more. Music means a lot to me and there are seven songs that always bring tears to my eyes because they mean that much.

First off, I have a few songs that remind me of my husband and how amazingly happy he makes me.

The first is “Bless the Broken Road” by the Rascal Flatts. To me, it says everything about when I first realized he was the one for me. The guy I had dated before my husband was not great for me. I would have done anything for him, and he just didn’t return that at all. It took me a long time (about 9 years on and off) to realize that he wasn’t right at all. “Bless the Broken Road” describes that journey of going through some not so great times to get to where you’re meant to be.

The second song is “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. I love the Twilight movies. I know they’re cheesy, but I’m a big fan and don’t really care that they’re so cheesy. “A Thousand Years” is a song about a bride walking down the aisle and I actually had this song played as I walked down the aisle. It’s just one of those songs that brings me back to my wedding day, walking down the aisle to marry the man that I love.

0428_11210467_IMG_1333The third song is our wedding song, “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra. Obviously, I think about our first dance as husband and wife. It’s just so meaningful in that respect. I also love the words in the song. It reminds me of a line from “Father of the Bride” when Steve Martin says, “I knew I’d never be able to remember what Nina wore that day. But I also knew I’d never forget the way she looked.” Sure, my husband should remember what I wore because there about a million photos, but I think that sentiment is true. He probably doesn’t know every detail of my dress like I do, but I know he remembers the way I looked.

The other four songs always make me think of my parents when I hear them.

Two songs remind me of my Dad: “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie 0531_11210467_IMG_1425Wonder and “My Wish” by the Rascal Flatts. He requested “Isn’t She Lovely” the day I was born, so I always have a special place in my heart for that song. “My Wish” was our Father/Daughter dance at my wedding. I had always thought we’d dance to “Isn’t She Lovely”, but he had heard “My Wish” one day after I’d been engaged and just knew that was the song for us to dance to.

0251_11210467_IMG_8329The two songs that remind me of my Mom are “Mama’s Song” by Carrie Underwood and “The Best Day” by Taylor Swift. “Mama’s Song” is very special for me because I knew she was so worried about my previous boyfriend and if I’d actually find a man that would treat me the way I should be treated and love me as much as I loved him. Luckily, I did find him and my Mom knows how well he treats me and how much he loves me. That song is all about reassuring a mother that the daughter knows she’s going to be taken care of and the mother doesn’t need to worry anymore. Just perfect! “The Best Day” reminds me of growing up with my Mom and little memories of days where we didn’t do anything extra special, but being with her (and my Dad) made them special. This song just describes the way I feel about my childhood with my parents better than I could ever explain myself.

So there they are, the songs that mean the most to me and make me tear up every time I hear them. Does music ever have that effect on you? Do you ever hear a song that just describes everything you feel so perfectly?

Anywhere in the world…

Ever think back to a time where you were on vacation or just somewhere other than where you are right now and wish you could go back? Do you remember the details of that place so well still and daydream that you’re there? I definitely do that from time to time.

I’m very much programmed to smells and sounds. Ask any of my friends, one of my party tricks is that I can hear a song and tell you the part of a move it’s in (as long as that movie is from the 90’s and on, that is). And smells…well I have a very strong sense of smell, so the littlest scents can send me back to a past memory. When Bath & Body Works came out with their Coconut Lime Verbena scent, it was driving me nuts for weeks because I couldn’t figure out where I’d smelled it before. Then it hit me! It was the same scent as a barbie doll I’d had when I was 5 or 6 that came with a little bottle of perfume.

Today, I found myself brought back to a past memory with the smell of our coffee brewing. We brew coffee every morning, but sometimes it just sends me back to when I was younger. I often daydream about the house I spent most of my childhood growing up in. It was a gorgeous, large colonial on the top of a little hill. It was red and my best friend, and next door neighbor, would always tell people that I lived in the big, red barn at the top of the hill. It was pretty easy to find based off of that description.

That house holds so many amazing memories for me. It’s one of those places that you just never forget because of the impact it had on your life. The many summer days spent sitting in the yard talking with my best friend, feeding her what I thought were gourmet meals, but mostly consisted of Kraft Mac & Cheese and leftover chicken cutlets, family dinners around the bar, and, honestly, the memories are endless.

The smell of the coffee reminded me so much of Christmas mornings, despite it being about 85 degrees and humid outside. The anticipation of being able to go up to our family room, which was above the garage, and see the presents and stockings. Knowing that my Dad would always get downstairs, pour his coffee, and then say “Oh, wait, you can’t go up yet, I need to grab the camera.” and we’d all roll our eyes. You’d think he’d know to have it ready since Christmas comes the same day every year, but this is one of the many reasons we love him.

Our family room was amazing for Christmas. It was a large rectangular room, with cathedral ceilings, three large windows facing our road, and a beautiful fireplace. We’d always have a 9 foot Christmas tree that just towered the room and was beautifully decorated because my Mom has an amazing eye. When I was really young, I’d always beg for color lights on the tree and she always said no. Finally, the year I was able to choose, I’d realized she was right. White lights on a Christmas tree are just so beautiful.

We’d open all of our presents while my Dad took pictures of our bedhead and ridiculous pajamas. We’d unload the stockings (my favorite part!) and eat some breakfast while checking out our new gifts. There would be wrapping paper strewn about the floor, which I’m sure drove my Mom a little nuts as she’s a bit of a clean freak, but it was Christmas so we got away with a little bit more than normal. Then we’d all reluctantly put our gifts down and go get ready for Church and the rest of the day’s activities.

Christmas is always one of my favorite days of the year, and I loved those precious moments with just my immediate family before the rush started. I miss the simplicity of those times. While I loved those times in that house, I so look forward to making memories with my family in our new home over the next few decades.