Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Words from my husband!

Another Wedded Bliss Wednesday - but this time it's from my husband's perspective!  Although I'm sure I won't be surprised at any of these answers since Tony and I were together for so many years before we got married, but even still, I really love to hear things from his perspective.  (Especially because I talk so much more than he does...) As usual, you can join in on the wedded bliss each week through here or here.  So, here we go... questions answered by the better half, Tony!

What was the first thing you noticed about your wife? 

   Well we were pretty young when we first met each other, at a church soccer field. But I do remember her being very athletic and fast. I also thought she had very nice legs.

When you first started dating, what kept you calling/asking her out? 

   I really liked AIM'ing with her lol. We had mutual friends and mutual hobbies and all I could ever think about was when would be the next time we would hang out.

What is your wife's best quality? 

   Probably her sense of humor. She can really make me laugh and because we have been together for so long, we just have a connection that takes time to create. Lots of times we already know what the other one is thinking or we know what to say to the other one to get that laugh! And NOBODY can make Presley laugh like she can, and Presley has the sweetest laugh ever, so I really enjoy that also.

What is your favorite thing to do with your wife (ahem, keep it clean!)? 

   Well because of the time of the year, I would say watching football together and also being in a Fantasy Football league together. Its really fun hearing her views on all of it and seeing how passionate she can really get about it all.

What are you most excited about for the future with your wife? 

   I am really excited for us as a family to grow. I loved being able to dress Presley up for her first Halloween and picking out a costume and I look forward to her first Xmas and us being able to do all the traditions that we will hopefully be able to do for years to come! She is the best mom to Presley and we are extremely lucky that she is able to stay home and take care of Presley day in and day out, as much as she might second guess that when Presley is refusing to eat her peaches or take a nap lol.

How do you make your wife feel loved?

   I honestly try to do as much as I can around the house, so that she doesn't have to worry about it during the day when she is watching Pres. Occasionally I will buy her flowers to try to show my appreciation for everything she does, with Presley, cooking dinner, cleaning, paying the bills, always looking to save money somehow and her hardest job of putting up with me. I probably need to work on those back and foot massages a little more tho! ;-)


I have the best husband a girl could ask for.  Thought I would add some pictures of some good times we've shared over the years together!

Funniest story - ever - about this picture from our honeymoon....

New parents... look at how EXHAUSTED we look!

I know I'm far from the perfect wife - and we will always have ups and downs - but I promise to spend the rest of our life together trying my best to make you happy, Tony.  I love you!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy 8 month birthday, Presley girl!

Here is what Miss Presley has been up to lately...

  • This child is definitely loves to move!  I'm not kidding when I say she dances... she really does... and she mimics my silly dance moves and I LOVE it.  I can't take credit for these next dance moves though...

  • Definitely does not like the vacuum.  She doesn't like the look of it or the sound of it -- especially if I'm not holding her.  Although, she is getting better.  My goal is to vacuum once a day until she's immune/indifferent to it.
  • She has started waving!  And oh my goodness, it is so precious.  Alli & Molly (her baby BFFs who are 2.5 months older than her) started really getting their wave on lately and I think it's been rubbing off on Presley - which is usually what happens after we hang out with the older girls!  Presley LOVES to wave - especially to herself in the mirror.  She hasn't learned to do it on command... she usually starts waving when she's really excited!  We'll say "Hiiiiiii!" as we wave back to her and so she's started to scream with excitement when she waves and it sounds like "Haaaaaa!" (like she's trying to mimic us saying hi!)  -she excitedly showed this trick off to everyone this weekend!
  • Speaking of Alli and Molly, here are some recent pictures of the three girls hanging out.
Alli, Presley, & Molly

Presley, Molly, & Alli
  •  Sitting up is a lot more natural for Presley and she's starting to do really well with it.  If she is sitting up and the Boppy is around her, she does even better.
  • She mostly sleeps on her belly these days, although we put her to bed on her back every night.
  • Still nursing her and both Presley and I are still loving it!
  • Making her baby food and still loving that as well - although I'm back to only feeding her baby food once a day.  For a time there Presley seemed disinterested in her pureed food, so maybe I will have to try more chunky/solid-type foods for her.
  • She's also starting to eat more of the things I can eat - or at least more than before.  I've been giving her little pieces of bread and she tried a bit of my refried beans the other day! 
  • She's up to 3 teeth - all on the bottom.  She now shows them off when she smiles - too darn cute.
See those three little teeth?
  •  Still a mostly bald baby!  But her hair is slowly but surely growing and I don't know if it's getting darker now that summer has left us or what, but it is looking more brown than blonde.  Almost long enough for a mohawk!
  • Loves to babble and she mostly just says, "Buh-buh-buh-buh-buh..."
  • Got us an ErgoBaby Carrier and so far we love it - although - how in the HECK do people buckle it without help!?  I thought I could do it on my own the other day but I had to ask the help of a stranger at the grocery store the help buckle it at the top...!  A little embarrassing but the gentleman was so so nice and helpful.
  • She has the best laugh...

  • Oh man is Presley a little social baby these days!  People will stop us while we're out and talk to Presley and she will just take them in for a few minutes with a very serious look and then her whole face will light up with a smile and she will sometimes even giggle if the stranger is very friendly!  (So much for teaching stranger danger!  But I suppose that comes later...)
  • I wouldn't say that Presley is crawling yet... but she does scoot around really well - mostly in circles to whatever interests her.  Tonight, though, she got up on her knees and almost lunged forward -- AHHH!  We are really really trying to get the living room cleaned up and baby proofed because it really will be a matter of days/weeks and she will be on the move!
  • Loves to drink water out of her sippy cup!  We have a Tommee Tippee sippy cup as well as an Avent sippy cup and she seems to do better with the Avent sippy cup for now.  She can hold it herself but has a tough time with tipping it back so she let's us do that part, usually!
  • Her next check-up is at 9 months and we have it scheduled for November 13th!
  • P is still in size 3 diapers.  Starting to grow out of some of her 6-9 month sleepers depending on the brand.  It won't be long until we switch her to 9-12 month clothes all together!  Presley is so long/tall!!!!
  • Still not much of a napper.  I've actually kind-of given up on naps all together for her and while I hate it (for me and for her) it seems to be just fine.  Some days she naps, but it usually for a very short amount of time and pretty sporadic.  Hopefully this will change since we are now...
  • ...on night two of sleep training!  And we're sticking to it!  We've already picked up a pattern of going back in there and giving her a little baby massage, and that really calms her down after the first "waiting" period.  (We're going with the Ferber/progressive waiting method!) *note: Presley has been sleeping through the night in her crib since she was 3 months old, but because Presley can be somewhat unpredictable at bedtime, we felt it was important to help teach Presley to put herself to sleep on her own - that is something that she will benefit from in the long run!  We still have a consistent bedtime routine that includes holding and hugging her, reading her a book, singing a lullaby, kisses, her bedtime light-up/noise-making puppy, and then bedtime.*
  • Definitely still a mamas girl and going through an "ALL about mom" phase at the moment aka, her first real bought of separation anxiety.  If she knows I'm around but can't see me she will sometimes cry and become uneasy... even in daddy's arms.  It makes me feel wonderful but now I mostly just worry that I make myself too available - if that is such a thing!
She sure loves hanging out with her daddy, though!
  • We are dressing her up for Halloween - she's got a pirate costume and a sunflower costume - so we will probably dress her up two times for separate occasions!
Happy little sunflower!
  •  Still not really warmed up to dogs.  But as you can see in the above picture - she was doing alright next to Sammy (little Shih Tzu and she sometimes acted like he was a monster!  And he is so relaxed!) towards the end of our trip.
So, this update is a little bit late - Presley was 8 months on Saturday the 20th.  We were in Nashville this past weekend for my niece's baptism!  Anne Marie is about a week shy of 3 months - and it was Tony's first time meeting his niece and my first time seeing her since she was born so it was definitely an awesome trip.  Presley traveled like a rock star - for the most part (of course there was some tears, but that's to be expected!) and we really did have a blast.  We miss Nashville tremendously already.   My awesome mother-in-law drove in to Nashville to spend time with all of us and she brought Tony's Uncle Mike & Aunt Angie with her so they could meet Miss Presley! 
Sweet baby girl after her baptism!
Anne Marie and all her aunts, uncles, and cousin!  That's Jonathan (my soon-to-be BIL), Tony (my hubby), John (my BIL), Ashley in the purple (my little sis), me and Presley, Pamela (John's sister), Amanda (my big sister), Greg (John's brother), Anne Marie (my niece - Amanda & John's little one), and Greg's wife - Caroline.
My sisters, niece, daughter & myself.  Wish we all lived in the same area!
That's my mother-in-law!  I can't say enough good things about this woman so I will just share one ~ she is GORGEOUS and recently stopped smoking cold turkey for her granddaughter!  How awesome is that?
Mike, Presley, Selena, & Angie!  So happy to see them.
My mom with her two grandkids ~ Presley & Anne Marie

Such a fun time with so many special people-- can't wait until we are ready to move there, although we're not entirely sure when that will be!  Until those days, we will surely be enjoying the ones in the near future.  Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner and in between those two holidays there will be a new baby boy in the family!  Maybe I will be able to talk my cousin Breanne into guest blogging about the labor, delivery, and birth of her son after he arrives.  (Keep your fingers crossed on that one!)  And then of course after Thanksgiving, there is Christmas and New Years to be excited for and now only 4 more months to plan Presley's first birthday bash!  So many happy times, family, and blessings... how exciting! XO, the duggans

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wedded Bliss Wednesday: Marriage Reflections

So, there are few things I love more than getting to know myself and others better - it seems the more I learn about myself, the easier it is to relate to others and the more I learn about others, the better then I get to know myself. 

If you're not the blogging type, please feel free to answer any of the questions that stick out to you in a comment - I am still (kinda) a newlywed after all and love gaining additional perspective on what it takes to be in a "for better for worse" marriage.  And if you are the blogging type, you can link up through this blog.

For those of you who don't know me, my husband and I have been married for a year and a half.  Prior to that we dated {on & off } for 8 years.

If you could give on piece of advice to any married (or soon-to-be married) couple, what would it be?
ACCOUNTABILITY.  Make a plan for your marriage.  Write down and talk about what's important when it comes to your future together.  That way, if either of you start to stray from the plans, you can help keep one another accountable and on the right path.  Do you have close couple friends?  Share some of your goals with them and you can all help each other move closer to your ideal self.

What is an absolute must for any marriage/relationship?
  1. VULNERABILITY.  You can't always win - you won't always do or say the right things - so it's important to know when to say when.  This includes becoming very comfortable with the idea that you are not going to be right all or even most of the time (unless you are a woman, just kidding!).  Sometimes being vulnerable to your partner is stepping out on a limb and suggesting something out of your comfort zone while a lot of the time it means apologizing when you're seeking your partners forgiveness.  No matter what, vulnerability means opening yourself up and exposing yourself to your partner and to the possibility that your partner could hurt you.  And that's scary. 
  2. INTIMACY.  But if you're constantly walking around with armor on and protective walls around your heart - then how will you ever reap the benefits of the special intimacy that can take place between two partners?  This includes physical intimacy as well as emotional, spiritual, and mental intimacy.  These types of intimacy is what keeps you connected;  it can be the difference between being two, disconnected people and being one unified union - which sounds better for your marriage?
  3. SACRIFICE.  Sometimes it's as simple as giving your spouse the last ice cream sandwich left in the freezer and other times it's bigger things such as setting aside your needs/wants/goals for another time in order for your partner's needs/wants/goals to happen.  There has to be a give and take - one spouse cannot be the only one making sacrifices in your marriage - that is one way to crumble a relationship!  But when you are able to put your own needs aside in order to do what's best for your family, it is often a very rewarding experience.

What is the #1 NO-NO in a marriage?
This means no comparing your wife to your mother.  Maybe your spaghetti will never taste as good as your mother-in-law's spaghetti.  (Find things you CAN make - and make them well!) 
This means no comparing your spouse to any of your exes.  Maybe you don't make as much as her ex-boyfriend.  Maybe your will never have the curves his ex-girlfriend has.  (Find a trade off - how many things do you do better than that ex?  And think about it, there are so many reasons your spouse isn't with their ex anymore - your spouse is WITH YOU after all, not their ex!)
This means no comparing your relationship to other couples.  Maybe you don't go out and do as many fun things as your couple friends do.  Maybe you don't have as much money saved up as your married friends do.  (You are seeing that couple from the outside, only.  Try not to be your worst enemy - stop focusing only on your own weaknesses and only on the strength of others.  Instead, focus on all the things you and your spouse LOVE about your relationship.) 

And you know what?  You have to be okay with that and accept yourself for who you are; your spouse for who they are; and your relationship for what it is.  Because at the end of the day, your not going to bed with your mother's spaghetti, either of your exes, or your married friends bank account -- at the end of EVERY day you are ONLY going to bed next to your partner.  

Consolation:  There is always room for improvement and it's never to late to fix the things that need to be fixed.  
Bottom Line:  If it ain't broke, don't fix it! 

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from your marriage?
EVERY marriage is different.  Embrace your differences and strengthen what makes your marriage unique... you will be happy for those distinctions from all the other marriages out there in the long run because what makes you different from others could be the exact reason why your spouse fell in love with you.  So the all of the above may be deemed as "advice" to some people, but is it going to be useful for everyone or possibly ANY one who reads it?  Nope.  Find what is important and helpful to your marriage and do that!

I would be lying if I said I take my own advice every day or even most days.  But thankfully, because of the vows we made to one another, Tony and I chose that for better or for worse means not giving up on each other or our marriage.  Not ever.  And it's a promise I want to keep to him every day for the rest of our lives.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


So, the past few nights Presley has been going to bed between 7-8pm as she normally does.  But lately she's been waking up a few times before I even go to bed - she will usually cry/whine a little... sometimes I will need to go in there to hold her or flip her over or just pat her back but usually she will correct  it herself (whatever is bothering her) and will go back to bed.  It really hasn't bothered me much that this is going on but once I hear that she's awake I have a mini heart attack thinking about those newborn days where she would wake up and stay up for several hours.  So like I said, even though it doesn't upset me, I sometimes just find myself with a little black cloud over my head in those situations.  This is probably because I'm an anxious/worry-wart type person.

I just went in her room to check on her after she started crying and didn't settle back down.  I picked her up and just shushed and rocked her a bit.  And then she fell asleep on me after a minute or so.  This really hasn't happened in a long while and it just felt so nice.  I started to think about the fact that she is growing so much lately and each day she becomes less like a baby.  There are many pros and cons to leaving the baby stage... usually I focus on the pro section but tonight I couldn't help but think that my days of holding her like this may be numbered.  She's not even 8 months yet, so I am most likely jumping the gun on all of this.

Like I said, though, she is becoming less and less like a baby and I am typically loving all the fun and new things that come along with it.

I just want to remember how special and perfect moments like tonight are.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's Date Night!

Or... well, talking about dates, anyway!  I decided to take part in Wedded Bliss Wednesday through Kay & Allie's blogs.  And today it's a couple questions about what it's like to date my husband!

How often do you and your husband have a date night?
Sheesh... since having Presley, they have really been sparse.  To be honest, our last date without the beeb was for our year anniversary in May.  The older she gets, the more she has become a mama's girl - it makes leaving her hard.  It's mostly my fault - I'd say - that we haven't been on a date for so long.  I just know that no one loves Presley quite as much as Tony and I do, and even knowing that kind of love, I feel frustrated and short-fused with her some days... so it makes me nervous to leave her with anybody else who isn't her family.  And my family is so busy!  Plus, I think we just get too comfortable in our routine to break out of it.  I think after a while, though, we will get back into the swing of things.  Since we have the nights to ourselves after she goes to bed, it's not so bad!

What did you do on your first date?
We went to Back Yard Burger for one of our first real dates.  It's was one of our favorite places to go for a burger & fries while we lived in Memphis.  Neither of us remember the details of the night very well - but I do remember that it was one of the first times when it was just Tony and I, alone.  Because he is 2.5 years older than me and we were so young when we met and started dating that my mom was worried about him corrupting me and stealing my virtue (right, Mom?) so we hung out with my sister and his friends a lot of the time to satisfy my mom.  Little did she know that Tony was the best person to be around... I didn't get myself into any real trouble until I was away from him and with other friends.

What is your favorite kind of date night?
Since I haven't been on a date in nearly five months, ANY date sounds wonderful.  We used to love going to see movies when we were younger - we'd go nearly every weekend - so I always think it's fun going to the movie theater with him since it brings back so many memories.  The drawback about going to see a movie is that it's like stepping into a time warp... you spend a few hours out but don't get to really spend any time talking or really being together.  So ideally, I'd say going out to dinner would be a favorite of mine.  

I also like going on crazy little adventures with Tony.  Flavor Flav opened a Fried Chicken place about an hour from where we live.  (We watched Flavor Flav when he had all those shows on VH-1 back in the day...)  We heard that Flav would be there on it's opening night and possibly through the first week it was open - so we hopped in the car a few days after it opened and thought maybe we'd get lucky and see him there.  It was January and it was dark and ABSOLUTELY freezing - and we stood in a line wrapped around outside the restaurant for at least an hour before we made it inside.  Well, Flav was in the building and he was meeting people after they ordered because the kitchen was pretty backed up.  After waiting another half hour or so, we met him and snapped a picture with him... it was completely random and hilarious.  Before we had Miss P, we were always just jumping in the car and going to do something spontaneous ~ we always have so much fun together.  I definitely miss that a little and can't wait to go on adventures with Presley, too!

The restaurant only lasted a few more weeks after this because it was being poorly run.  Flav came back to visit to see how it was going, and he found tons of expired food being served and he shut down the place.

This restaurant literally shared a parking lot with KFC... he built it right next door to them, purposely.

How do you do date night on a budget?
Plastic Jungle is one of my favorite websites when it comes to date nights on a budget - you can get discounted gift cards to so many places.  We like Living Social and Groupon as well - but unfortunately we live in a small area - so there aren't many opportunities there for us.  For those of you who live in the Quad Cities, we use the Deal of the Day through QC Online all the time and it has worked out great for us!  There are deals for all kinds of things here in the area from restaurants to swimming pools and all kinds of stuff.  And if you don't live in the Quad Cities, I'd look around for something similar in your area... the "Groupon" type of thing is really catching on in communities! 

My husband and I always love a good deal.  Our local Chick-Fil-A has a Spicy Night every Tuesday from 5-8pm ~ if you buy a Spicy Chicken Sandwich then you get the fries & drink free!  So on Tuesday's our dinner our is only $8.45!

What is the best kind of date your husband could surprise you with?
I'd say any kind of surprise, really!  I think it'd be so wonderful to go all out for a surprise date - get all dressed up, have my husband pick me up at the door with a bouquet of my favorite flowers, go out for dinner and drinks and maybe even dancing(!), and end the night in a romantic, relaxing, fancy-schmany hotel suite!  Sounds pretty ideal, huh?!  

Maybe I can talk Tony into filling this out, too, so we can hear his side of things!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.

Well, this is something fun that I know little to nothing about that is apparently floating around in the blog-world.  By the way, thank you Victorya at Little Mixed Family for nominating me ~ I appreciate the opportunity to brag about seven of my bloggy buddies!

The rules:
1. Thank the blogger that gave you the award.
2. Post 7 things about yourself.
3. Pick 7 blogs to pass the award to and let them know.

Seven things about myself (for those of you who don't know me or are just tuning into my blog for the first time):
07.  I've been married to my high school sweetheart ~ Tony ~ for just over a year now.  We got pregnant right away and brought our baby girl Presley into our lives exactly 9 months from our wedding day!
06.  We named her after Elvis Presley.
05.  I was born in Minnesota, but raised in Memphis, Tennessee - which I consider my home.  I live in the Midwest and while I like the area, I don't feel like this is "our" place.  I miss Tennessee and really feel my heartstrings tugging me that way.  (Thankfully, my husband feels the same way!)
04.  I definitely had a case of the baby blues after having Presley - mostly because I wished we had more time to spend as a married couple just the two of us before starting our family.  Upon looking back at the first month or so, it's possible that it was post-partum depression.  (So much for keeping this light and fun!)  And I think I just realized that a few days ago!  So if there is ever a baby #2 in the future for us, I will know to be prepared next time around.
03.  I gained about 58 pounds from the beginning of my pregnancy to the end.  Yeah, that sucked.  But breastfeeding has really helped drop the weight.  I really do look forward to the day I'm ready to get my body back in shape!  Right now though, I have more important things to focus on - like my sweet little girl who is growing like a weed.
02.  I would have to say Imogen Heap and Fleetwood Mac are my favorite musical artists.  So different, yet so alike.
01.  I'm always looking to live a Christ-centered life and welcome any and all God-friends for encouragement!

Seven blogs that deserve recognition:
01. A Mad Girl's Lovesong:  I've gotten lucky and found several new moms via blogs this past year and I thank my lucky stars I met Sean!  Aside from her genuine and hilarious personality, she's got the cutest little girl and was such a fashionable & gorgeous pregnant lady.  If you haven't already, definitely check out her blog and no doubt you will fall in love with her and her family just like I have.
02. ...Every Little Beautiful Pieces:  Ashley is fabulous!  She really is beautiful - both inside and out - and that radiates into her words as well.  She is a brand new mama (to such a cute little guy) and the first person to introduce me into the beautiful deaf culture.  I have to say what I like most about her is the comfort and contentment and true happiness she has in her life. 
03. Little Baby Garvin:  Who in the world doesn't follow this blog?  I mean, if you are a woman on Pinterest, you have seen her little pregnancy bump and her chalk board!  This mommy is a trend-setter without trying to be and that's what is so infectious about her!  Our girls were due just a few days apart, so I have loved sharing experiences through pregnancy, labor, and baby-life with her through reading her blogs.
04. Mi Todo:  I enjoy reading about Erica's adventures with her military hubby and new baby girl - and it's so amazing that their journey into the unknown is JUST beginning!  Erica -- I can't wait to follow your stories through your upcoming move and I pray that is goes flawlessly.
05. The Gentrys-Party of Four:  KariBeth is a southern mama to two absolutely precious little girls -- I especially enjoy reading her blog because it makes me miss and appreciate the south SO very much.  She is another fabulous and fashionable mommy when it comes to her kids, her clothes, and her home - everything looks amazing!  Reading back through her pregnancies was one of my favorite things to do while I was pregnant - minus the fact that she barely gained a pound! ;-)
06. ...and she wore the high heels but she couldn't bring herself to prance:  The only one of these beauties whom I am fortunate to know both in the blog-world and the real world.  Her hilarious blogs about ex's or relationship opinions are chalked full of details and super funny scenarios that most women would enjoy!  She's definitely got edge and a sense of humor so if that is something you are lacking in, I would recommend steering clear of her fantastic blog!
07. From Small Beginnings:  Ashlee is a strong mama to two beautiful girlies who came into this world much earlier than originally expected.  I am lucky to have found her blog and love reading about everyday life with two twin girls toddling around!  She's also got a little Presley, so I especially enjoy that we have that in common.  Such a fun blog to keep up with - definitely recommend checking that one out!

{Some of my favorite blogs are private, so for that reason I left a couple of you out of this just so I didn't brag about you and then leave people out of your fun journey!}

Monday, October 8, 2012

Guest Blog: Anne Marie's Birthday Story

Let me start by saying that I have never blogged before, so this is a new experience for me. Hopefully I'm doing it right! :) Ali invited me to be a guest blogger in order to document my version of the birthing experience... so here we go! 2 months later! Haha! I started this a while back, but taking care of the baby got me sidetracked. Imagine that.

In case you were wondering, I am Ali's oldest sister and my name is Amanda. I am 27 and I live in Nashville with my husband, John. I teach kindergarten and have to go back to school in exactly one week. I AM DREADING IT!!! I have always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, and it scares me to death to go back to work. Teaching is just one of those professions that takes everything out of you- I'm nervous about balancing teaching and motherhood. I've always been the type of person to demand excellence from myself and I just don't see how I can do a good job in both areas at the same time. And I don't want to do bad in either one! But back to baby...

Anne Marie's due date was July 28th, which happened to be the day after teachers reported back to school this year in the Metro Nashville Public Schools (CRAZY early, I know!) I worked for several weeks in July at the very end of my pregnancy, feeling very hot and very big, scrambling to get my room together for my substitute, worrying/wondering the whole time about who she would be and how she would handle my classroom while I was gone. She wasn't hired until July 24th, a mere 3 days before she was supposed to start her interim position!! We met together in my room on Wednesday the 25th to go over important details, and thank goodness, she is a great person- straight out of school with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. She has taken the anxiety off of my shoulders so that I can focus on being at home with my daughter. The 25th was a Wednesday, and before I met her at school I had gone to see the new Batman movie with my husband. I fell asleep during the movie because I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before, and I woke up to a crampy-type feeling. It wasn't painful, but I noticed it would happen, go away, and then happen again. Because of that, I figured that maybe they were contractions. I nudged John and told him about it, so he kept glancing at me throughout the rest of the movie. I'm sure he was nervous that I was about to go into labor right there in the theater. We'll have to put the movie on our Netflix queue because I'm pretty sure neither of us were paying attention to the details after that! I felt a bunch of different emotions all at once- I was apprehensive, excited, and wondering how everything would turn out. The crampy feelings kept happening until we got home, but then I didn't feel anything for the rest of the day. I was pretty let-down that evening because it was such an adrenaline rush thinking that I was finally going into labor.  Ultimately I was glad that it didn't happen because I would've hated to go into labor already feeling tired. Even so, I was a BIG crybaby all day Thursday because I felt sooooo bored compared to the excitement the day before. I pouted to everyone that would listen, which unfortunately didn't help a thing!

I continued my pouting into Friday, until that afternoon I started feeling the crampy-type sensation again. I started trying to pay attention to when I felt them come and go, and wrote it down on an index card. I had told John's parents that I would come over for dinner while John was at work, mostly because I knew they were feeling anxious and wondering how I was doing. All throughout the dinner I kept feeling the crampiness, but like I said, it wasn't painful, so I just talked and ate a little bit and they had no idea that I was pretty sure I was having contractions! I couldn't tell them because I was afraid they either wouldn't let me leave the house or would freak out and take me right to the hospital!! After dinner I went back home and kept making note of whenever I felt the "contractions". Even though I thought they were contractions, I had no idea if they really were. I thought it was weird that they didn't hurt and weren't extreme, but the fact that they came and went on a pattern made me think that they were in fact contractions. I knew John was supposed to get off work at 9pm, but around 9:05 he hadn't called yet to say he was on his way home, so I called the restaurant. Apparently he was right about to walk out the door, but he came to the phone and I told him what was going on. I could tell he was really excited and nervous for me, and he still had a 45-minute drive to get home! He promised to drive carefully and headed on his way.

We relaxed around the house, and at midnight I decided that we should head to the hospital to figure out what was going on. I wasn't entirely convinced that I was having contractions, but I knew something was happening. We decided that even if they sent us back home, at least we'd know if I was really in labor or not. Shortly after we got in the car I wasn't wondering anymore- I knew it was happening. I started having obvious contractions, with the pain mostly radiating from my back. Looking back, the timing couldn't have been more perfect. I wasn't really in any pain until I was already on the way to the hospital. When we got there we waited a short bit and then went into a triage "room" which was really just an area separated from others by a curtain. I had to pee in a cup when I got there, which was really hard to do because 1) I hadn't been able to see down there for quite a while because of my big belly and 2) It is not easy to squat while having contractions or when your hand is shaking from being nervous! But once I accomplished mission impossible, I noticed that I was bleeding quite a bit and from then on nurses mentioned to each other that I had a significant bloody show and that always made me nervous. Anyway, back in triage the nurse told me that I was 2-3cm dilated and that if I kept progressing, they would keep me at the hospital. When she left the "room" I turned to John and told him I didn't care what happened, they were keeping me!! The contractions were getting progressively more painful and it really hurt my back. I had John apply pressure on my back and that helped a bit. I didn't do any fancy breathing exercises- who can remember something like that anyway? I just took deep breaths in and out, after some reminding from the nurse and from John. The nurse checked me again, said I was at 4cm and that they would keep me at the hospital! My prayers were answered! She took some of my blood and said she was taking it to the anesthesia people for "whenever I was ready for an epidural". I told her that I was ready right this minute and to please let the anesthesiologist know, lol. I did not want to feel that pain a minute longer!!

They took me up to a delivery room and I didn't have to wait too long for the anesthesiologist. It was about 2:30am at that point. He asked me to move around on the bed so that he could give me the injection, and he commented on how "nimble" I was even during contractions. I told him I would do anything he asked me if he would just give me the medicine. Haha. And WOW what a relief it was!! I could just relax and talk to John and take a second to savor the moment and think about the fact that our baby was almost here. It was the first night of the Olympics, and once I had the epidural, John felt safe to turn on the TV. Cycling was on, which was pretty boring and lulled me right to sleep. I woke up a few hours later- my eyes were still closed but I heard the song "Call Me Maybe" and I wondered what in the world had come on after the Olympics. Haha. But it was Missy Franklin and the other Olympians lip syncing in their little music video that was so popular. To this day that dumb super-silly song has a special place in my heart because right after that a nurse came in to check me. Keep in mind, the last time I was checked was around 2:30am and I was at 4cm. It was about 6:30am when the nurse came in next- they had let me sleep, which was amazing, but I was sooo curious to see how or if I'd progressed. She told me that I was at 10cm and she would go call the doctor!! I couldn't believe it!!!! I had been expecting the worst, partially to protect myself from being let down and partially because of Ali's crazy birth experience. But instead, it all seemed to be happening pretty fast! I had heard that lying flat slows down labor, so once I got the epidural I made sure to lay almost sitting straight up in bed since I couldn't get up and move around. Wonder if that helped?

By the way, the doctor she was calling was someone I'd never met before. Because my doctor chose that one time out of the whole year to go to Disney World. Of course. It was about an hour and a half from the time I found out I was 10cm to when the doctor got there. Apparently the hospital was very full of women going into labor and giving birth. But in that hour and a half I pushed a little with just a nurse or two, and they seemed to think that everything was going great and that I wouldn't have to push too long once the doctor arrived. I turned to John and told him I felt really hot and asked if he thought so. He felt my forehead and said no, that I felt pretty normal. I should've known better, I think the forehead trick is a woman thing. The nurse felt my leg and said I was really warm and that she wanted to take my temperature, and sure enough I was at about 101. She wanted to make sure I took some antibiotics before the doctor got there and before I gave birth. That way the baby would get some of the antibiotics before she was born, too. It made me VERY nervous for the two of us, because a fever could mean all sorts of crazy things. Part of the wait was just waiting on the medicine, which worried me for a little while. But the medicine came and they added it to my IV, and then soon enough, the doctor was there. She was really nice, but at one point when I was pushing her cell phone rang and she asked a nurse who it was. If I could've felt my legs I would've kicked her in the face. My nurse and a lady that I called the cheerleader-nurse both noticed that I was distressed at the fact that she was concerned about her phone and started reassuring me. I never caught cheerleader-nurse's name, but she made me feel like an absolute rockstar, like I was the best person at giving birth on the whole planet. Like her only job was to cheer me on and tell me I was doing a good job. It was SO FUNNY but at one point when I was pushing the doctor said, "Look at all that hair!" and I thought she was talking about me and the fact that I wasn't ummm, completely groomed, if you know what I mean. I was so embarrassed for about half a second until I realized that she was talking about baby Anne Marie once they could see her head!! Hahaha! But while I was pushing I didn't feel any pain because of the epidural, but it had worn off just a little so I could feel the pressure from the contractions. I felt like that helped me to know when to push and kinda helped keep me into the whole process. But essentially, I pushed for about 30 minutes and our beautiful baby girl was born at 8:29am on July 28th! Her due date! She was 7lbs 9oz and 20 1/4in. long. She had a fever of 103 when she was born which freaked me out, but sure enough, both of our fevers came down. They handed me that slippery baby and I sure didn't know what to do with her! Haha! But it was such a rush and such an amazing feeling. John snapped her very first picture while they were weighing her, and then they brought her straight back to me for some skin-to-skin time. 
The rest of our hospital stay went really well. I actually enjoyed the experience of being there! Exception #1- The hospital didn't bring meals for John, just me, and those weren't great anyway, so the only minor inconvenience was that family had to bring us our meals. But I don't think they minded too much! :) Exception #2- My first night there, the nurse kept waking me up all the time! The second night we had a different night nurse and I liked her a lot more. Exception #3- The ultimate annoyance of how difficult it was to just go to the bathroom! I hated the pads and disposable underwear and peri bottle!! But overall I loved the nursing staff, I loved how John never left and was so so sweet and watching out for me and the baby, I loved trying to get the hang of this parenting thing while still under the supervision of other people who actually knew what they were doing! :) Side note: I was SO GLAD that my sisters were there. I don't know what I would've done if they weren't there. Ali and Ashley made me feel so loved and taken care of. It was like their very first priority was taking care of me, even though I know they had to both be wanting to spend time with the baby! They were so selfless and great at the hospital, and then also especially when we went home- they made food and just did so many things to make me feel so comforted.

This is my favorite picture of us from the hospital, taken by Selena, Ali's mother-in-law, who we all absolutely love. I loved it when John climbed in the bed with us, our new little family of 3.
By the time Monday morning rolled around, I was ready to go home. Ready to be back in my bed. Ready to not have quite so many visitors all at once. But still in shock that they were actually letting us take a baby home and keep her!! We took this picture as we were leaving the hospital- she looks so different! Newborns always do.

Well, that's my story, or what I can remember of it! :) Anne Marie is a great baby and I am so blessed to be her mom! I can't wait to see the person she will grow into and to be there all along the way. My prayers and thoughts go out to other moms out there- pregnancy, birth, and motherhood is such a journey and such a difficult, rewarding, crazy, unique, amazing experience! And we all have our own special stories to share.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tooth #3!

For the past few days, Presley has definitely been out-of-sorts.  It started Friday and I just remember telling Tony she wasn't quite acting like herself.  I didn't know exactly why I felt that way or what she was going through, but I chalked it up to her just having an off day because Lord knows - we ALL have those!  I haven't missed bedtime for Presley once in the past 7.5 months and Friday night was going to be the first time.  I was volunteering at our local zoo - Niabi Zoo - for an event called Pints for Pachyderms and was super excited about helping out the elephants while hanging out with my best friend all night.  Sounds like a win-win to me - and it really was.  I had so much fun; Betsy told me I was on a "people high" because honestly, I don't get out without my baby girl much.  After keeping pretty busy for a few hours, we got done around 8pm and got released to check out everything that was going on... which means booze & food... and I was actually looking forward to letting my hair down.

Of course, Presley had different plans for me.  Tony called and let me know he and Presley were a few minutes away from the zoo - she had refused her bottle and it was currently about 4 hours since her last feeding and she was hysterical.  Mommy to the rescue!  I nursed her in the car and then we headed home.  I was bummed but I also felt like I belonged home for bedtime anyway and was happy to be there for her.

Over the weekend, Presley was a little bit more on the fussy side than what is normal for her.  On Saturday we went to Landyn's 1st birthday party (I went to prom senior year with Landyn's daddy, Troy, and worked with Landyn's Aunt Katie at the YMCA... she was in our wedding & is one of my best friends) and she did good but like I said, just a little bit more whiny than what she normally is, and actually ended up crying nearly the whole way home.  We equated that to the fact that we were pushing it too close to her bedtime but noticed she really hadn't done that for a long time.
Landyn, Troy, & the birthday cake!

Me, Presley, and Katie!

On Sunday, Presley went to her first pumpkin patch thanks to my friend Ashley inviting us along!  It was so much fun and I'm so glad we went.  Much like the day before, Presley wasn't her normal self and the whininess was amped up a bit and coupled with a runny nose.  Someone mentioned it could be allergies and that really made sense since I've normally got allergies but thought it was weird that I wasn't having any symptoms.  Despite her fussing, I think Presley had a good time - she loves to be outdoors and enjoys seeing the sights and getting to be around different people.  Under normal circumstances I think Presley would've been in seventh heaven!
Presley, Ashley, & Presley's first pumpkin!

Giant pumpkin!

She loved it...

Just not her normal self here... but cute nonetheless!

So when Presley was acting extra clingy and ultra whiny today, I figured something must be going on.  I checked (and checked and checked...) the top of her gums and rubbed them with my finger but saw/felt nothing new.  After a few hours (on and off) of this, I decided to check out her bottom gums, even though those next teeth (aside from the two she already has on the bottom) aren't due for several months.  Low and behold, there is a little tooth on the left side of her mouth down there!  It's already through her gums and poking out quite a bit.  It is a relief to know what's going on - I just feel so bad that I didn't notice sooner.  She took a big nap this afternoon and is still sleeping now... so we will see how the rest of the day goes!