Friday, December 20, 2013

Freedom on Facebook

What does freedom (of speech, thoughts, actions, status', etc) on Facebook truly look like?

Who knows anymore?

I don't.

But for me.....this past year (more so months) I've noticed I need to take a step back.

What is Facebook?

For me Facebook is having the option of connecting with people and friends you don't always see.

I like seeing what you ate for dinner, or how your Christmas tree looks.  I like seeing the pictures you put up of your messy house (or clean), your cute kids, babies, and families.  I like hearing your newest thoughts and your inspirational ideas.

But for soon as Facebook starts to share opinions and ideas beyond the sweetness of what it should be....I'm done.

And I say that meaning to be nice, not mean.  I'm saying that because I don't want my issues to become elevated on Facebook.  That was not my intention and not Facebooks (as far as I know).  I don't want to come across as self-righteous.  Because I'm far from it.

If there is something I am passionate about, I will now make a blog post.  It will allow me time to think it through, take the time to ponder a post, and allow others to email me their responses and thoughts.  If I don't get an email I will not be responding.  I will politely answer back on email.

Facebook isn't perfect.  It's filled with imperfect people.

And me being one of them, this is where I take my stand.  This is where I stop.

The actions I am taking are for my own good.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Part Four:: * The Proposal *

It's been over a YEAR since I've been posting about the love story of how Jon and I met and where we are today.  So sorry for the delay.  It's been quite the year and a half since I last posted.  For one, we had Ellie.  Then we moved.  We bought a house (still remodeling), miscarried twice, and moving into our house in February.

But tonight as my daughter is sleeping, hubby staying overnight at our new home, I think I can find some time to update you.  It also helps that it is a week until our anniversary of when Jon proposed!  This will take awhile as I search for reminders of the details of that weekend and look around for pictures to include. :)

If you are wondering about the first three parts of our love story: check here here and here first.

Well, here's our story.  Not perfect.  But this is how it went.  As I look back I see my flaws, but I know in the end Jon still asked me to marry him....and I'm forever thankful!  Happy (almost) four years since engagement honey!  Love you now more than that day:

One day I was working retail (The Learning Post to be exact) and Jon and my brother came in and found me.

"Hey, guess what we just picked up!"  Jon said with some excitement in his voice!

That little stinker!  He knew I wouldn't be able to handle the rest of the hours I had to work knowing that!!  I don't know what day this was, but it was probably the week that we got engaged.

Saturday I knew we were going out and he was proposing to me.  No surprise there.  I encouraged him we should get engaged before Christmas, because the plan was to get married the following summer.  Plus it would be nice to spend the holidays together...engaged. :)  So the last weekend possible before Christmas, we got engaged. ;)

I was all dressed up and we went out.  I don't even remember what I wore but I tried to match (or closely match) what I wore the day he saw me in that Sunday School class.  He told me I could pick where we ate, but it was going to be in Ankeny.  Okay...I thought he probably was taking me somewhere from our dates we spent in Ankeny.  But somehow he gave me a hint (since he kept talking about his concern about the weather), that it had to do with something outside.  I picked a restaurant called Chips.  It's not an overly expensive place, nor the atmosphere over the just our style. ;)  It just so happened to be the RIGHT location for where we were wanting to be for the "main event."

During dinner Jon was very closed off and his mind was elsewhere.  I was pretty devastated about that and I remember forcing myself to learn on being selfless through the whole meal.  I was going to need to learn how to love this man through the hard stuff....and one dinner isn't going to be HARD compared to the life ahead.  He even left the table to make "quick" phone calls.  We missed out on a lot of just communication during the meal and I was bummed he wasn't more "with me" during that time. (But little did I was a BIG thing he had to focus on!)

See, his "big plan" for proposing was falling through due to the weather.  He was trying to make plans to see if he could make it happen the following day.  After dinner he pulled the car up and told me we weren't going to be able to do what he had planned, that we probably should just go home, and go for try number two tomorrow.

I was so upset.

Everyone at home knew when we left the house we were going to return engaged!  My closest friends knew I would attend church the next morning WITH my fiance and surely would want to see the ring!  I was bummed to think of all the confusing looks we would receive and I told Jon how I felt.

Isn't there another way?

Sweet hubby of mine was so desperately wanted me to have a proposal I would never forget.  He wanted me to have a proposal I could be proud of and tell people the exciting story!  He wanted it to be more than just, "Hey would you marry me?"  He knows women (especially this one!) enough to know the proposal is such a special thing.  and he wanted to make that moment special.  Something we would be happy to tell our kids about some day.

And it was.

Driving towards home he was not content with the outcome of the night.  He parked in a driveway and stepped out of the car and started to make numerous phone calls.  At this point I'm like...really?  What could he be doing?  Who is he calling?

It's funny if you really think about it.  Here we are in some strangers driveway and Jon is outside walking aimlessly talking to different people on his cell....and I'm sitting alone in the car...waiting.  This was the night we got engaged.

He got back in the car not 100% thrilled but he was determined!  And when Jon is determined about something he is ALL IN!  He drove (and those who know the route we went from the area by Merle Hay Road towards 100th Street by the church--JEFC--where we first met).  Right away as he started driving I knew what he was doing....if the first choice didn't work....he wants to propose where OUR STORY began! :)  On the way I was still a little hurt.  Jon is talking about how he thinks we should just go home but at the same time arguing with himself about how he wanted to do something else but it wasn't going to work out!  His mind was working like crazy in all sorts of places!

Honestly, I had tears running down my cheeks.  This is NOT what either of us were picturing our special night to be like.  But such is life.  This is life.

He pulled up to the JEFC parking lot.  He looked at me and I remember looking out my window telling myself to look at him.  The entire night was him spending time on the phone and not with me.  I was so lost.  (Remember I'm the planner of the two, it was crushing me.)

But then he started speaking, sharing his heart.  He apologized for the crazy night.  It was not what he originally planned.  He wanted a nice dinner where we could just chat like we were on a normal date but with extra excitement.  He then wanted to do something else but it didn't work out, so he started to call people to try to get into the church and take me to the room where he first saw me.  He said he wanted to propose to me in that room...the room where our story began.  But he couldn't get anyone to be able to get us in the church.  So he decided we would just park and be as close to that room as possible.  It was cold and we stayed in the car.  He then talked about our relationship from the very beginning.  Our story fits us.  We focused on our friendship first.  He shared more but I just can't remember.  All I remember were they were perfect.  He had tears in his eyes.  I had never seen him tear up before.  EVER.  He got the ring out and held it and sincerely asked me to marry him.

And I SAID YES!!! :)

Afterwards, the whole whirlwind of emotions I told him I didn't feel like going home!  It was just a CRAZY night!  He agreed and we went to VillageInn for dessert.  I looked at that ring for pretty much the entire time.  We were like little junior high kids.  very giggly. :)

We got home and some of my siblings were there and they congratulated us!  Then Jon said he wanted to take me on a walk.  Wait, what?  It's freezing!  We grabbed extra warm things (including a blanket) and walked.  I knew where we were going. :)  Remember our first date?  We walked to a park near my parents house....we were going to that bench swing that we spent a long time talking while swinging. :)

On our way there we saw a car drive by and we stopped them.  It was my parents!! :)  I introduced them to my fiance. ;)  They were so excited for us!  We spent some time on that swing just talking and going through the emotions of the night and what was to come!

The next morning we attended church and people were so excited for us!  It was just so much fun!  The ring was so sparkly!  While there Jon whispered to our friends what we were doing later that day (the big surprise that didn't work out the night before).  By the time we were getting ready to leave I figured it out. ;)  Jon is not good at keeping secrets when he's REALLY excited about them!!

We drove to Ankeny AGAIN and got on a helicopter! :)

They even took us over the holiday lights.  It was so cool to see all the Christmas lights from above.  It was so cool!  Something I'll always remember!  Wish we had pictures, but neither of us had a camera at the time that worked.

Here's some pictures from our first Christmas together as a "couple." :)

trying to get a good one for Christmas card
my brother, me, and Jon

my sister does evil santa gifts and Jon got a nice one this year
"welcome to the family"

Jon the "new guy" :)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ellie {14 months}

I used to do a monthly update on Ellie, but after they turn one it seems kinda silly.  But she has been doing more "things" now.  here's a post about her a couple days early cus sweet goodness I had time for once!

People constantly tell me what a happy girl she is, bright eyes, big smile, and her wonderful personality.  I don't know what I would do without her these past 14 months.  Her smiles are contagious.


Her favorites new "tricks" are: 

  • peek a boo (seriously so precious when she covers her eyes and the look on her face while doing peek)
  • "SO BIG" is a constant thing now.  One time I was talking to someone saying, "So..." and she lifted her arms up high! :)
  • A very stern "No."  (and nods her head) She knows "no" now and uses it to get what she wants.  Jon and I talk constantly about how to try to figure this out so it doesn't become an issue as she grows.  Otherwise the "tiring twos" as I call it, will be VERY tiring!  She says no when she doesn't want another bite of food, when she doesn't want something done to her, etc.

Our picky eater has changed a bit.  But we still had to give her baby food jars on Thanksgiving.  Who doesn't like turkey and mashed potatoes?  Apparently my daughter, well at least for today.  (However when she saw my plate of dessert she had no hesitation to eat some!) She can like one thing one day and not like it the next.  It seems as if we have a toddler already.  She loves spaghetti, so we at least can branch off of baby food from time to time.  She is so picky on the texture of food.  But knowing her favorite options I can help mix things together to help her become more open minded to the idea of trying new food. :) 

Her favorite foods include: sweet potatoes, apples (prefers them to be smooth), organic applesauce, toast/bread, ground beef, spaghetti, pears, french fries (she knows you have them even if you try to hide it), and baby food.  Her least favorites that I'm working on: chicken, bananas (what a bummer), and random veggies like carrots.  Like I've made homemade baby food of separated chicken and apples and mash them together to help her get used to the chicken texture. :)

Funny story about food: When eating at Pizza Ranch she now knows there is dessert pizza.  We can hardly get her to eat anything cus all she wants is that sweet goodness!  Do you blame her though?? :)  The first time we ate there with her she took my mom's piece and stuck it in her mouth!  We got a video & pic of it on my dad's phone.  So funny!

She still loves music.  Even if you just sing to her or make a tune for her she'll boogie down! :)  I love the smile on her face while she does it.  Melts Momma's heart. :)  (Figure you got to enjoy something that your daughter has that is like you while she looks like her Daddy!) :)

I've been doing better at video taping her from time to time so I'll have to put some videos on here sometime soon.  As soon as I have Jon's help of course. :)  She is really starting to "talk" nonstop and it's absolutely adorable.  She even "talks" to us while in the car.  Her vocab is: no-no-no, Mamama, Mommy, Daddy, Go get (I tell her to "go get Daddy" constantly and she caught on to the phrase), num-auh-num (food/nursing), Abby (my parent's dog), hi, baby, ball, and a few other words I've heard her say but has not repeated or not sure if she realized she said them.

try to tell me that's not contagious! :) 

Some other random things I'll want to recall:
-Climbing up the stairs, but not comfortable yet with not being there to catch if she falls

-She's not walking yet, but I'm not not consistent with teaching her too.  I know what happens once they learn that ;)  Some day I know I'll all of a sudden look over and see her walking.  I know she'll get comfortable with it all of a sudden and let go, but for now she still goes down to her knees in fear.

-two naps a day now (I don't know when third nap dropped off but it has, except when traveling or whatever and her normal nap is shortened.)  Bedtime is usually around 7:30/8:30 depending on how long afternoon nap was.  I don't see her ever getting rid of naps anytime soon. :) this girl likes sleeping if it's not time to eat :)

-She is wearing 6-12 month pants (Gap) and 12 months or sometimes 18 month shirts.  Onesies are still 6-12 months or 12 months.  I don't even bother with socks or shoes.

-I don't know how much she weighs right now but the last time I weighed her it was around 17 1/2 lbs.  My long, lean peanut is so sweet! :)

-Jon and I got her a new car seat and it will be coming in the mail soon.  I can't believe I won't be carrying her around in that infant car seat anymore.  The only times I'll miss it...when she falls asleep in the car.  Then I might cry.  I like the option of keeping her in her seat and put on stroller for errands.

-She's not attached to anything.  Except that one time we couldn't leave the house without the plastic carrot.  I could hardly buckle her!

-She LOVES baths!  I put her in there by herself now.  Which is weird.  She looks SO old!  And she loves it!  This last Sunday night she even leaned her head back for me to wash her hair!  The water heater was broken and the poor girl was freezing in the room temperature water.  but other than that, she loves baths. :)

-Still desires to nurse.  The time is shorter (except before bed and morning), but I don't see her stopping anytime soon.  I get asked when I think I will stop and I usually respond with "It's up to her."  I'm not going to force it on her to stop for my convenience.  Even though making sure I have pumped milk available can get annoying and difficult.  But I know it's what she wants and has the deepest desire for, and if this is something I can give to her (free might I add), might as well!  She is drinking some whole milk but not as consistent as my milk.  If we hadn't miscarred I'm sure things would've been different with her getting used to having to share Mommy's milk, so back when I thought through the length of time I was going to nurse her I decided to just see what happened.  Maybe she would've wanted nursed because it's something she could share with just me and her or something to give her comfort as she adjusted to not being the only baby?  But instead we don't have that situation right now.  So I'm just taking a day at a time.  And today I know she wanted my milk.  And I know tomorrow morning she still will.  I wouldn't change that for anything.  It's so special.  Soon I'll wish she WOULD nurse just to have that extra snuggle time and wonder where my baby went!  :)

the end of this sweet cuteness.

*more pics will have to be added later.....
**added more things later on that I forgot to mention the first time around...

**Typical Day at Home with Ellie**
-wakes up around 6:30/7:30 nurses, diaper change (small talk with Daddy if he's here) and returns to crib
-wakes up around 9:30/10 and plays, bye-bye to Daddy (if he slept over/not in Ames) eat breakfast with Mommy, playtime, nurse
-nap around 1.5hrs/2hrs after woke up (nap lasts about 1.5 to 2 hours)
-Around 12:30 wakes up and eat lunch, playtime, nurse before nap
-Nap around 2:30 or so (lasts usually around 3 hours, but sometimes is only 2)
-Around 5pm wakes up, eat dinner, family time, nurse before bed or more if needed
-Bedtime depending on length of awake time from afternoon nap.  Usually around 8pm or so.

Friday, November 15, 2013

In His Hands

These past few weeks I've been looking back on the pass 14 months of my life.  Some crazy things have happened to my life, my body, and emotional health that I have needed to process to be able to continue on.  But something that hurt me (beside miscarrying two babies) was Ellie's birth and my recovery. (Check out that link for the post I made about her birth back in Oct 2012 after she was born.)

*Only read on if you want details of Ellie's birth story and my reflection.*
(Now I can say I warned you all.)

Weeks after Ellie was born I bawled, cried uncontrollably.  It wasn't depression.  I know what depression is, and it wasn't that.  Instead it was anger.

I (probably every mom) would like to look back on the birth of their child and say how wonderful of an experience it was.  That it was such a wonderful feeling to finally meet their baby face to face after months and months of waiting.  I remember looking forward to that very moment I finally got to hold Ellie in my arms and thank God that the pregnancy was over and now began the fun part--watching our daughter grow and see who she would become!

But I never had that moment.

When I was sick and sick and sick while carrying Ellie, I remember pleading to God to just put me to sleep with an IV until I could finally give birth.  He answered my prayer, but in a different way then I wanted.  He allowed me to take day by day as hardship to see the BLESSINGS He would show me as I watch Ellie grow now.  I thank Jon very often now for all those times he carried my barf bags out of our small apartment so I wouldn't have to smell them anymore, or those crazy times he had to stop somewhere to get me something to eat.  Or those times he had to wash dishes, feed a baby a bottle at my work, and everything else because I wasn't capable.  Or those multiple times he had to watch me throw up in the garbage can while driving me home from work or small group.

But back to the hospital when Ellie was born.  I had pictured pushing my baby out and holding her and telling her I was so thankful I finally got to meet her and that, "I am your Mommy."

But I don't remember the first time I held her.

At the time I didn't know this, but while pushing Ellie out I was loosing too much blood.  My doctor wanted to quickly get me out of that room so he could see better to stitch me back up.  I had two degree tearing (inside).  He asked me if I wanted drugs before he began and apparently I groaned in response.  (So thankful Jon at that point stepped in and said, "YES!")  Even now I don't EVER remember my doctor asking me that!

While looking at pictures a couple days later, I saw everyone holding Ellie while I was away in "surgery."  I asked Jon, "So every one there got to hold Ellie before me?"

Jon replied, "No.  They let you hold Ellie before they sent you off...."

I don't remember.  I just remember crying out in pain.

this picture is proof I did hold Ellie before they took me out

Jon reminded me that in the end all that matters is now you are both healthy and doing fine.  He was right, but I had to process it all as a new mom.

When I got back from "surgery" my mom and sister helped me nurse Ellie for the first time.  It was so precious.  I couldn't move my arms and they helped hold Ellie for we could have that moment.  Of course not the picture I had originally in my mind for nursing Ellie, but she latched on well.  She was a natural at it!

While at the hospital she didn't nurse often because she had a bowel movement while coming out.  She was getting rid of a lot of brown stuff.  It was awful!  Some nurses were telling me if she didn't want to nurse not to force it, while others told me nursing would help it!  But meanwhile I was anemic and totally out of it.  My hemoglobin level was way down and I was passing out.  I wish I knew I was anemic the first time I had a nurse help me to the restroom.  Originally I was told they wanted me to go since I hadn't gone since giving birth.  I told them I didn't feel like moving so they tried other things (iick) and so I was motivated!  I got up and passed out three times by the time I finished going to the bathroom.  Had I known, I think I would have taken a different route or known to be put in a wheelchair BEFORE I passed out.  I passed out so much it took a few extra nurses and oxygen to wake me.  It was awful.  All the while Jon had to help with Ellie since the nurses had now made it clear, "I'm not allowed out of bed unless a nurse is present to help me."

I missed seeing my daughter's first bath.  I was so thankful my mom had left their video camera for us to use since we didn't have one yet (yeah for Christmas present last year)!  Otherwise I would have never got the chance to have that "first" picture in my mind.  I had to stay in bed.  I was so out of it I didn't get in my comfy clothes I had packed for the hospital stay.  I was taking iron and other meds constantly to try to stay alert.  I felt miserable the entire time.  I was thankful for one nurse that promised to bring Ellie to me in the night if she wanted to nurse so I could finally rest for the first time after getting to the hospital.  It was nearly 48 hours since I had slept (and even that was a couple hours).  Who sleeps well when they're 41 weeks pregnant and being induced the next morning at 7am?

When it was just the three of us in the room we would get snuggles with Ellie and spend time as a family.   I would ask Jon to retell me the birth story from his point of view.  (Amazing to hear new things I didn't even remember happening!)

Weeks after Ellie was born, Jon would come quickly to the bathroom in concern.  He would overhear me crying in the shower.  I told him I was still hurt by the way my body responded to the way Ellie was born and how I missed out on that "first moment."  I didn't have that joy in me.  My body ached.  I was still upset I didn't stand up for myself as a mom and tell a mean nurse to step off.

You see, after Ellie was born she was coughing up, sneezing up, and trying to control the brown mucus stuff coming out and I wasn't able to help her.  Someone always had to be around and alert (thanking that nurse for watching her while I slept).  I was so anemic that I could hardly move.  I was given two units of blood when my daughter was two days old.  I remember not enjoying it.  It meant I was still hooked up to an IV and stuck in bed.  I was unable to move my arm.  I wasn't able to hold my baby girl.  My arm hurt.  It hurt to get blood.  It felt weird.  Who's blood is this?  I was told I couldn't leave until my levels were back to a better number and so it was either get more blood or wait in hospital more days.  I chose the blood.  I wanted OUT.  I wanted no one bothering me or the baby anymore.  I wanted night time sleep and morning snuggles.  No more constant checking my baby and making her cold!  No more IVs!

I also teared up while in the hospital.  I had this nurse after one switched out from giving me the blood.  This nurse made me cry.  CRY.  I had her again when we checked out too, and I was ready to run (if I was able to I would have)!   Before leaving me the first time I remember her saying, "I'll try to be here again tomorrow morning to see how you are doing!"


She made me cry so HARD.  She made me do things I didn't want to do.  At that point though, I wasn't confrontational.  I was just, "Do what I have to do to get OUT of here!"  She forced me to pump.  She made me pump for 15 minutes (and again the next day)!  It hurt so bad.  I was still getting used to the nursing thing and I wanted Ellie to get better at it too.  But remember how Ellie wasn't nursing as often because she was hacking up stuff?  Well, I wish I would have nursed her more by the time this nurse came in!  Jon and I purchased our breast pump at hospital (it was very convenient actually)!  However then the nurse (and she had another one with her that I never understood why) but two verses little me?  Eek!  I was vulnerable.  I just had a baby, anemic, two units of blood, and only had one shower in the past three days (including even after giving birth!).  I was miserable.  I was in no place to be VOCAL and stand up for myself.  And Jon would have, but pumping and nursing he said he had no idea what to say!

This lady forced me to start pumping to bring my milk in.  Right there I was MAD.  Then she scolded me for not sitting correctly.  I was MAD.  I just had a baby lady...that "area" you want me to move "up on" is stitched up and swollen!  Boo!  After she left I remember texting my mom and sisters in tears.....I had a mean nurse!  I needed a woman's point of view and my own family would know I just needed something cheerful to hear.  They felt bad for me.  I was miserable and in tears.  Poor Jon.  In the moment I blamed it on baby blues.  My sister had told me to prepare for them while in the hospital.  She clued me in on sometimes your hormones are so unbalanced, all the excitement, and just going through a lot at once causes you to sometimes cry for no apparent reason.  So I blamed the situation and my hard bitter anger on that.  My tears were just my emotions playing a trick on me.

I cried when I found out I had her again the next morning.  However the nurse I had between was AWESOME!  She helped me be able to take a shower!  Yeah, first shower at the hospital and after having a baby!  I remember telling Jon I didn't want to get out.  But I did eventually....then the nice nurse reminded me, "If you want to go home soon they won't let you until they know you walked the halls."  So my clean self walked the hall with Jon and Ellie.  We pushed the "crib" and it was so nice to get out of the room.  I pictured what it could have been like the day before if I was capable of it and how much better the outcome would have been if my health allowed it.

And after all that, that explains why I had so much hurt and anger towards the way Ellie's birth story had to go.  I kept reminding myself we were given such a good, healthy baby that I should just focus on that.  Jon kept reminding me that now I had the chance to focus on her NOW rather than the first couple days of hard times.  I'll be forever thankful for all the times Jon helped me in the hospital and the 41 weeks of pregnancy.  And I just had to remind myself all of that crazy stuff that happened....well, it IS a part of Ellie's birth story.  And it did help my miscarriages not be "so bad" too.  When I labored Taylor at home I was passing out...and I knew what to prepare for and how to respond.  Jon was right there to help me.  And when I had to make hard decisions with Alex's situation I was able to think back and say, "I do have a voice.  I'm the mom here, and it IS my body!"

God used my daughter's birth story to help me process my miscarriages labors.  He reminds me of the hardships of bringing Ellie into this world to remind me that she is truly a blessing to us.  I don't take that for granted!  I know God is faithful and that is something He has certainly helped me better understand over these pass 14 months.  I'm so thankful He has all of our children in His hands.  And now He certainly has Taylor and Alex...waiting for me.

Thank you Jesus.

Daddy holding Ellie at hospital

Thursday, November 7, 2013

it's a thursday, i can cry if i want to!

meaning Ellie.

but I guess I could cry too after a day like today. however i have had worse.

{Thursdays are my errand day.  It's a nice break to the week.  And I do it all at once.  Lately it's including using coupons and shopping discounted stores for stuff for the new house, and can't help but pick up some outfits for Ellie if I happen to see a cute one three.}

first started off with showering while i let my baby girl cry in her crib.  believe me.  better to have her cry in crib then standing at shower door in tears!

then i had to exchange some toothpaste at Target.  ha!  hubby wanted a different kind.  it was on sale so it was worth it.

then it was time to browse JcPenny (Home) & Kohls.  I had noticed in Sunday paper some good sales and as long as I was out on my "errand day" might as well take a look.  Found a couple things for Ellie.

Then went to the mall for lunch time!  I had some GAP pants of Ellie's to exchange to a different size.  But they didnt have what I was looking for and they were swamped so I just headed right for the food court.

There were some nice people at Maid Rite, and I went to find a table in a happy mood.  I got to eat my food while handing some meat to Ellie.  Then I fed her some baby food.  Jon called me then, who was in Ames admiring the Home Depot crew installing our new living room windows! :)  Ellie & I went to the rest room but there was no changing table (surprisingly even in the family restroom), so I took her to Von Mour.  Still no place to change a diaper.  So quickly changed her on the couch in ladies lounge and nursed her. (Meanwhile this nice gal came over and handed me a sample for aging skin.  Apparently I'm looking old and tired.)  After quick browsing sale racks of different stores we went back to the car to head towards TJMaxx.  Ellie fell asleep in the car and surprisingly stayed asleep as I transferred her to stroller.

Found a blue and brown blanket for our new living room that matches PERFECTLY!

Got a few onesies that will fit Ellie this spring/summer, and my nieces a perfect Christmas gift both on clearance (wont go into details so family can be surprised). :)  All (including that perfect blanket) for the price of $1.57.  WHAT?  Yeah, gift cards are awesome! :)

While checking out the clerk was really nice.  She thought I had a young baby but I had Ellie covered since she had fallen asleep.  She happened to woke up shortly before I paid, so I let the gal see her.  "Oh wow she's older than I was thinking!" :)  Yeah, not too often you see a 13 month old asleep or something I guess!  But then it's what she said next....

"So are you planning to have another one any time soon?"

I have two options.
(1) Tell her the truth--actually yeah, but we miscarried twice this year.
(2) Just shrug it off since she doesn't know my life story and say "Not right now."

I went with option two.  She was too nice and it wasn't ME who was going to make a good day bad for her!  I walked back to my car with the thought, "Sometimes you just have to let those things go and not try to teach someone a lesson."

Next up was a short drive to Gordmans & Michaels!  Yeah for coupons....things were going well.  Ellie had taken a nap (short but I'll take it), I just paid with cash for multiple items, and I was going to go buy something for the new house with coupons before they expire soon!  Or so I thought....

Walking into Gordmans I start looking at their house decor with my paint samples to find something that would match.  We're still looking for big lamps and I was hoping to find work, misc.  Now that we own a house I have the options of having things that I couldn't do to decorate when I had a small apartment.  I found some wall art that has a sweet saying on it (for $10).

 Halfway through the decor aisles Ellie started to give out her upset scream/cry.  I have no idea where it came from but suddenly she was not liking anything I tried to do to help her.  She loves water bottles, tried that.  It only made her more mad!  I was now that parent who had the screaming child EVERYONE in the store knew where I was.

I got her out of her stroller and that seemed to help.  Too much shopping for this little girl!  Few aisles later, I had to put her back in the stroller but she got even more upset (more eyes glaring at us).  So I picked her up and noticed the side of her pants were wet.  Whether it was water from the bottle or pee I was going to change her...anything to possibly make my poor baby happy!  But I was on the WRONG side of the store for the bathroom and I had merchandise so I couldn't go inside.  It was too much of a hassle so I did something for the first time in my life and continually had to tell are a mom and you are going to be okay.

I found a quiet aisle and put down a changing mat and changed my wet daughter right there!  She wasn't happy but I gave her the diaper cream container to chew on.  (Oh yeah, did I mention I think she's teething again?)

After that job was accomplished it didn't really change her attitude, but she did just look around from time to time.  I had never experienced Ellie to this upset level before.  It was NOTHING like her.  Quickly I glanced at a few things and checked out.  I ended with that small artwork and a matching set of necklace and earrings.

I threw her diaper away outside on my way over to Michaels.  Praying of course.  She seemed mellow now so I was hoping for the best.  However, not long until the hard crying began.  Her tears rolling, I quickly grabbed a couple things that match perfectly with our blue (that blue is a tough color to match), and happily walked to the.....wait a second.  Line at the check out?  Bummer!  While waiting I held Ellie and she smiled at the people in line.  Oh silly Ellie.  What is going on?  So apparently, everything I got at Michaels was on clearance so I couldn't use the coupon.  Oops.  But I have a cranky baby so I'm not changing my mind or going back to look for something else!  I left with a blue vase (that will hold the flowers I already purchased a few weeks ago) and a basket for the living room that is the same blue and has a tan/gold trim which will match the walls and curtains well. :)


I had a few other places I wanted to go, but by this time (4pm) it was time to get Ellie home!  I loaded everything in the car and we drove home.  She fell asleep on the way home.  It was a long day.  I unloaded the car while she was snoozing.  Luckily I was able to transfer her car seat to the dining room without her waking up.  Dinner time for me! :)

Ok, so I normally keep my cell phone on vibrate unless I'm waiting for a call.  I never want it to wake up my baby.  I got in that habit when she was born!  I continue to do it when I'm at home, because if anyone is seriously trying to get a hold of me they know my parent's house number!

ANYWAYS, suddenly I hear my phone ringing.  and it's on LOUD.  UGH!

It was my mom.  (she felt bad but what could she have done?)

My cranky daughter was awake now.  I changed her diaper.  Tried to see if she just wanted to crawl around and feel FREEDOM for not being in a stroller anymore.  No.  She wanted held.  Her bottom was red (diaper rash? stroller rubbing?  constipation?).  We'll find out soon I bet!  Then she wanted to eat what I was eating.  Then she wanted nothing to do with the spoon.  She wanted it, but she didn't want to eat at all.  I tried giving her a drink.  Nope.

Grandma comes home!  Grandma gets ready (making a pizza) for small group and is busy so I hold Ellie and say "Ma ma ma?"  Then Ellie finally says "Ma-num a-num...Ma mama" which means I want nursed.  I nursed her and put her jammies on.  She has been in her crib ever since.

Lessons I learned from my day:

(1) Shrug off people thinking it's time for you to have more than one children.  No matter what your life story has come to be.

(2) Be prepared to change your daughter's diaper.  ANYWHERE!  And have the look on your face say, "No big deal."

(3) Sometimes coupons are not worth it enough to browse stores if it causes your baby to have a cry out session.  Just go another time.  Probably with hubby's help would be an awesome bonus.

(4) Thankful I had extra clothes to change her.

(5) Thankful no one called her a "he" like that one kid did at Target last week.
(Yes, I go to Target on a regular basis.  It's the closest store other than Walmart from my parents.  It has variety.  So with a baby it's one stop for a lot of things.  And I like browsing there too.)

The end of my very, long...hopefully I can look back on it as being productive, day!

And a picture I've added later... :)

time to leave on a happy note :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Guilt-Free Parenting

Awesome Pinterest parties.

Numerous homemade meals.

Keeping your smartphone in your back pocket and not in your hand for browsing.

Not allowing your kids to watch cartoons.

Having your child on time, dressed, and hair combed for outings.

Your house designed and clean like a Pottery Barn magazine (not just during nap time).

Your husband returning home with a warm meal, clean house, you in a dress, and smiling children.

Laundry always done on time and put away.

Never making time for yourself.


Parenting has it's ongoing lists of what it means to look like a "good parent" (and wife).  If I spend my days and nights making my kids feel like a Perfect Home is what matters most, they will grow to see my guilt (and shame).  If my time and energy is spent on trying to look good rather than doing what is best for my family, am I really benefiting anyone?

My parties are not going to be Pinterest-worthy.  Am I okay with that?  When I post my party pictures on Facebook or Blog will I feel guilt or happiness?

If I have to stop through a fast food drive thru will I be able to do it without thinking my kids are not getting the very best?  (It's okay to acknowledge the unhealthy choice but there's no need to feel guilty about it.)  There's a time for fast and easy.  There's time for a good, healthy homemade meal.

If I'm searching my smartphone constantly just to fulfill my selfish habit, that's a different story.  But what if I'm doing it to check my email for something I need?  What if I'm checking my email to someone who is posting a prayer request?  What if I found out I'm attending a party and need to bring something and I'm about to leave the house?  Am I going to feel guilty that I just had my daughter play with some toys while I checked my email real quick?

Your child is sick.  Has kept you up all night.  Your baby is teething.  You are exhausted.  Might me a good afternoon to watch a movie or cartoons.  I'm not judging.  Feel guilt-free Mommas.  If it's what you need to get through the next day, go for it.  And while you're at it go ahead and order pizza.  I'm exhausted just thinking of that scenario.

Having your kids look a certain way outside of the house is not a bad thing.  It's where your heart (and others) heart are at.  If we all go out of the house in pj's in Walmart you won't be as noticed with "looks" if you went to a sit down restaurant.  But the stress you give off to your children to try to make them look a certain way before leaving the house, is rushed and not very beneficial.  If peacefully you can get ready to leave the house, that would be the most helpful.  Something I surely want to work on.  It rubs off on the kiddos.

If you want my house to look a certain way (Pottery Barn), that's not a bad idea.  I like Pottery Barn and I like their stuff.  However if you feel like your house can never look "good enough" there's something to sit down and discuss with your spouse and God.  What is it about your house you don't like?  Why is it so bad to have discounted furniture while you have young kids who like stickers and markers?

The idea of having your hubby come home and everything looking perfect.  Is such a nice thought and something to motivate me, that's for sure!  However if I continue to struggle with making that happen, I'm going to shame myself into thinking I'm failing as a wife and mother.  When Jon and I first got married, I asked Jon what was the top things he wanted to find when he came home for dinner.  There were a few things I thought he would say and then a couple that I had never thought of.  But it helped!  So if I'm not going to get anything done that day except those things that are on my hubby's top priorities--I call it a good, productive day!  It's a way to have a better attitude and response to the idea of having warm meals and a clean house for dinner.  It also benefits the marriage. :)

Laundry is always going to be an ongoing battle.  So why even bother?  Well, you might want to wear clothes tomorrow!  The laundry issue is always a hard one.  But what works best for me is to try to get it all done in one day, and then the next day to make sure it all gets put away (the clothes that were air dried as well).  If I keep my focus on knowing I have set aside a day for it, then I don't feel guilt when I see it starting to pile up.

Feel guilty when you set time apart from your kids to have time for yourself?  Well, I'm still working through this.  I know it's an ongoing battle.  What about time just for YOU even without hubby AND kids?  That's rare for me.  Right now it's mostly during a good nap. :)

Today I saw Ellie go off and play on her own and she wasn't getting into trouble so I just let her play.  I then returned to the couch to browse the internet.  Should I have been down on my knees playing with my daughter?  Sure.  But when my daughter is playing independently I encourage it!  I want my kids to be able to play without having to have their Mommy with them every possible second.  Now, if only I could figure out how to have her do that while I'm trying to fold laundry or make my lunch. :)

In result dear other parents, don't feel guilty about being the Perfect Person for your children.  This culture has pushed every possible temptation to allow us to feel such guilt and shame.  Gain confidence in knowing who you are as a parent.  You know your child(ren) the best.  Do what works best for your family.  Because what works for us, probably doesn't work for you.  And know that Jesus takes you as you are, because the person that is overlooking your act of parenting could cause harm.  Don't allow yourself to feel guilty.  Press on and know that Jesus takes you as you are, not as what people think you should be.  If anything lets encourage one another.

Encouraging Scripture from Hebrews 10:

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[e] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Tribute to Hubby

Jon's birthday was 9/20/13 and he willingly drove hours to go see my sister's daughter (our niece) for her birthday the following day.  We went out to eat (Mexican of course) and then drove straight down to KC.  My mom had made a pumpkin pie and had it on our table in our room to surprise him! :)  I felt so blessed he was willing to make the drive/trip on his birthday to make the weekend special for me.  The week prior was a horrible week.  We had miscarried for the second time.  We had not been on a trip since March (the last time we went to KC before finding out we were pregnant with Taylor).  This time it was a good "moving on" trip.  A joy to be around family.  I blessing to get out of our usual routine.  Yes, we could have done some painting at the house or worked more on just everything that needs done on the house...but he did the trip for me. :)  We talked.  It was discussed.  My body had bounced back enough to make the trip.  It was worth it!  We got refreshed and renewed.  It was a wonderful weekend!

KC Zoo
Then I thought how wonderful he was and how he needs a blog post all to his own.  For me to share with you all about him.  Everything that he has meant to me this past year.  But I never got that post written.  Then today I thought about it again.  And I can't help but start to think back on the past THREE plus years with him! :)  We've had our ups and downs.  And through it all he has been RIGHT there with me.  For better and worse.  These moments we have gone through together.  He does deserve a post all about him.

As you all have read about by now, it's been a hard year for the both of us.  But the first couple years of our marriage wasn't bows and candy either!  It was more like "pathetic wife" and "I must learn to deal with emotions I've never known were even possible." 

Our first year of marriage was me learning how to be a house wife.  I was future-planing of bigger rooms and a nice house.  We were in a small one-bedroom apartment and it was not even $500/month.  Which is good for a college town.  But our neighbors were...well interesting.  One night I even heard my hubby say, "Umm, Mary, I haven't been telling you this but there has been a homeless guy living in the hallway of our building."  Someday these type of memories we can share with our kids and what newlywed life can be like!

living, office, dining room combo ;P

This first year of marriage also brought on stress because I did not have a job for the first eight or so months.  We had plenty of money but wanted to keep our savings account for larger expenses in the future.  I searched and searched, but my "picky" choosing was getting tough as time went on.  I knew I would need a job that I liked if I was going to do it until I became a mom.  That's when God led me to the best job.  EVER. :)  I'm so thankful...and through it all Jon stood by my side.  And the blessings were overflowing!!

Our second year of marriage we started off with a bang! :)  We were so thankful the first year wasn't crazy awful like some were giving us a heads up about!  We learned how to live together, communicate well, and learned a lot about family dynamics.  (Like my hubby does not like to use the vacuum like my daddy! or the way we enjoy our free time.)  Our communication couldn't get any better (and has gotten even better since).  We were getting a rhythm down on how we were going to do things our "own way" as starting our own family's ways of doing things.

Then we found out we were pregnant.

Our days changed forever.

He had to help me daily (more like hourly) on day to day things.  He even stopped by my work (the house where I was the nanny) to help me feed the kids and me, clean their house, and entertain them while I was leaning over the toilet or needing to just rest my stomach.  It was almost like a practice run of how future pregnancies would look when we had multiple kids.  Jon was awesome.  It was then that he was excited if it was a girl.  (He had a lot of time with their oldest, a girl.) :)  I remember putting their baby to bed, cleaning the kitchen, and hearing Jon and her playing downstairs laughing.  It brought a smile to my face picturing our family some day. :)

But saying that reminds me, Jon was a true trooper!  100% willing to help me out.  Even though Ellie turned out to look more like her Daddy, I'm totally okay with that!  Jon deserves that sweet girl to look like him.  He was by my side through the entire pregnancy, labor and delivery, and of course my recovery!

Our third year of marriage was when Ellie was born, he quit his job in Cedar Rapids, we moved, we miscarried twice, and bought a house.  Am I forgetting anything?  I hope not.  It was a BIG year.  But I wouldn't want to have anyone else but him as the one by my side.  He has been there.  He cares more about me than himself through it all.  He is loving, compassionate, and strong.  He doesn't let us fall asleep until we talk (it's always been that way).  He knows when we need to talk and he has figured out when to just "be there" for me.  He is the one willing to get Ellie in the night to bring her to me to nurse.  He changes her diaper and returns her to bed.  That started when I was too pregnant sick to do it, and has continued to do it ever since.  He loves that moment with her, even though he is not a morning person!

our new house!

You can truly see his heart when he looks at Ellie.  He can hardly go a day without seeing her or hearing about what she has been up to.  He does everything he can to make sure he spends time with her.  He stops eating if he knows she needs some lovin'.  He's willing to drop everything and feed her, hold her, and play with her.  He will even stop his own "free time" choices to help me with the parenting thing.  He couldn't be a better Daddy.

My favorite time of the day is when he comes home from work and Ellie's response.  It's not always the same.  But she seriously stops what she is doing and happily goes to him!  Jon usually can't wait and hurries to her side and picks her up! :)  Ellie's first word was Daddy!  and her first two words together were, "Hi Daddy!"  She literally loves her Daddy with all that she can give!  She smiles uncontrollably.  And when he stays the night in Ames looks in the place on the bed where he normally sleeps and says "Dad-dy..."  Almost like, "Where are you Daddy?"  

During the miscarriages he was right by my side...just like he was with Ellie's birth.  It was like we were giving birth to another baby.  He was willing to hold my hand as I "labored" and gave me encouragement.  He carried me back to bed to keep me from passing out when I was anemic during Taylor's "birth."  That same man who was not so into girly bodily functions, was right there with me every step of the way!  He was in the bathroom.  He was helping me clean up.  He was kneeling down at my side willing to help in any way he could.  He was there for me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  He searched the Scripture for helpful steps of processing it all.  He talked with me hours on end to figure out what was truly happening.  He was willing to talk about it --A LOT.

He let me get all my thoughts out, even if they didn't make much sense.  He let me get it all out in the open.  He didn't make fun of any of my feelings...he never has.  About anything.  He lets me be my true self.  And that's how we are able to be where we are today.  We can be OURSELVES, our true selves around each other.  We can speak our mind.  We can open up.  We can listen.  We can talk.  We can be stupid.  We can cry.  We can be mad.  We can let it all out.  And we don't look at each other any different because of it.  That love is something I was always praying for in a mate.  And truly thankful.  Thankfully God led me to him. :)  We've been through a LOT these past few years.  So thankful I got to walk along side of him through it all!

Thank you dear hubby.  You've been great!  Thanks for letting me be....well, me!

Time to get in a wedding dress again.... :)

the day I finally got to say "I DO!"

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Unfortunately, no belly

My sweet baby would be due in four short weeks.

And as I shopped for my sweet Ellie today, I happened to see the sales rack at baby GAP.  In the maternity section.  GRR.

During the day I have seen multiple pregnant women, sweet sleeping newborns, and a woman complaining of her pregnancy (due in eight weeks).  However, I would have been due in four weeks.  But I was not complaining.  In the "real world" no one could see that I had anything to complain about.  But every pregnant woman is asked, "How are you feeling" or "How much longer?"  But someone who has miscarried can't cry out, "HEY!  I would be due to have a baby soon!  I'm not big and feeling like a watermelon about to explode, but I do feel like my eyes will!"  And people are not coming up to me asking how I am doing.  People have no idea.  I have no belly to tell the world.  But I hide behind the racks.  I have nothing to tell the person complaining of her discomfort.  Yes, I've been there.  But I should be there RIGHT now.  But I'm not.

As my crazy mind kept looking at racks and racks of discounted clothes...I leaned over to those sweet newborn hats and onesies.  They were so small.  Innocent.  Pretty.  Soft.  I rubbed that soft goodness and thought, "some day.  some day.  God has a plan.  He always does."

And I don't know that plan, but I have hope in it.  I do have someone I can cry out to at night. or in the back of the store.  or in the maternity section because i like sale racks.  Because my God is BIGGER than any miscarriage.  or heartache I'm going to experience in this life time.  He can lift me higher.  He can deliver me from this pit.  He can, because my efforts are broken.  useless.

two babies with Him, and he let me have one.  Right now he continues to remind me to cherish these moments with her.  and without a prego belly this month, i need to press on.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October Madness

honestly, i dont know why i decided to post this.  which could be a bad thing.  because when i just randomly write my thoughts here, there's no purpose.  and i really like to post here when there is a good reason.  because really, who wants to read random ramblings from inside my brain?  oh, sorry honey.  you're the one who has to hear them.  ALWAYS.

but then...i guess this post is useful.  my hubby is not here, so here you go:

April was rough.  I was sicker than ever.  I was pregnant and nauseous.  May was hard because I miscarried my baby.  August was unhappily a repeat because I was sick with the next pregnancy, but trying to stay focused on a sweet baby I would meet in the spring.  a family we were making.  then September hit and we miscarried another baby.  this time i became even more of a wreck than i did before.  i missed my babies more each day and i tried to stay positive.

And then October hit.  My firstborn's first birthday was a blast.

and this Mommy stayed focused on celebrating her and her sweetness she brings to our lives.  because she truly helps me get out of bed every morning.  she is the reason i am able to eat. and smile. and sleep...i take that back.  (however she is starting to do better again.  thank you Jesus.)

once her birthday was over it was like my body went back into "survival mode" and i was just going through the motions.  i was angry.  ANGRY.  I was mad.  MAD.  anything would trigger it.  everything triggered it.  my daughter helped me smile.  if someone asked how i was doing i just smiled and said i was doing okay.  life is hard but im doing okay.  because it's true.  i'm not suicidal.  i'm still eating.  i'm still sleeping, decently.  i feel tired. i feel crawling into a hole a lot, but i'm okay.

words have their deepest, hardest, meanest meanings when you are already struggling.  little things triggered issues that made me weep.  lots of weeping.  for days.  i would cry in the bath tub. (i bathe during Ellie's good naps.)  i would cry in bed.  i would cry in the car.  i would tear up watching a mom on TV.  i would smile at a mom with two kids.  i would tear up looking at a mom with a young toddler and newborn.  i would pray for them...and keep moving.  i would cry in public bathroom stalls.

i was tired.  i was sad.  i missed my family.
you see, through this tough month of awful feelings.....awful thoughts, tough situations....people were asking me how life was, how's the new house coming along, and so on.  however i don't know the answer to any of that.  i missed my family.  my hubby i only saw on tuesday evenings, wednesday mornings, and friday nights and the weekend.  too much separation for this girl.  (doesn't help my love language is touch and time.) grr...ness to the GRR!

just last week hubby and i had communication issues come up.  we're not together every day where we can keep up on it and not let it get to the point where words start sounding off.  i always know the "mood" my hubby is in for when he talks to me, but i cant tell if i can't see the look on his face!  i miss this good communication we always have had in the past.  he is living in Ames too much during the week and it causes some "stuff" to come up that is not needed or necessary.  if only we could be together again, like before.  it would save a lot of issues.  on top of all the other emotions that have been going on in my head and was a little overwhelming to deal with it all.

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

hubby and i had a nice weekend this past weekend with family but we also made sure we had "us" time as a family.  we got our communication back on track.  we hugged.  we laughed.  we watched our daughter play.  i watched my daughter's love for her Daddy.

then monday morning i woke up to hearing my hubby say he wanted to come home to see me one extra day this week rather than staying in Ames at the house.  i was pleased.  i was thankful.  he knew it would mean a lot.  he knew it was worth it to make the drive.  it's good for our family.  it's good for us.

because when God called us to become one flesh He meant it.  we don't take it lightly.  we never fall asleep without considering the other's thoughts, feelings, and concerns.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  Ephesians 4:2-3

and that's why i'm so delighted to have my hubby willing to be with me.  i'm looking forward to our family spending more time together.  his sweet voice, his sweet arms surrounding me, and his good night kiss.

dear hubby, 
i'm so thankful for you.  thanks for helping the rest of this month go more smoothly.  you always seem to know what i need.  what my heart desires.  
love you,

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Our Ladybug Party

I have a daughter who is one year old...WHAT?

I am still amazed that she has been OUT of me longer than she was ever growing INSIDE of me!

**Note: I add details that you probably don't care to know about, but this is also a way for me to keep this memory for her.  So feel free to pass by the details and enjoy her birthday weekend...**

Her birthday was on Friday, October 4th and all day she was talking up a storm!  She was especially happy as if she knew it was a special day for her! :)

iPod quality pic of my birthday girl

Once she went to sleep I went crazy getting the party decor up and setting things up for her party the following day.  I'm a list person, so I had already made a list of things that I had hoped to accomplish before hitting the pillow and then things saved for the day of the party.

Our little "Lady" had turned one and I kept things red, black, and white (minus the food).  The previous week, whenever she went to bed and hubby was gone or playing his favorite video game, I went to town on making paper chains to hang up in place of banners or streamers.

A lot of our stuff is still packed away in boxes, but I was smart while packing and labeled the box AND packing paper inside of where to find our 8x10 of her newborn picture.  It was displayed on the kitchen island as part of the decor.

For the dining room I found a red tablecloth my mom had, used recycled baby food jars to put candles inside, and my dad picked up some roses on the day of the party for me.  We kept the flowers low, because who doesn't get annoyed with tall center pieces?  On top of the tablecloth we used black scrapbook paper to add large black dots to fit the ladybug theme.  The doorways also had the paper chains as well.

thanks to my mom and her bow abilities
In the kitchen my parents have a decent sized table where I had a plastic tablecloth, red hibiscus flower centerpiece from my parent's yard, and more black dots. Surrounding the table is a few chairs and a built-in "L-shaped" bench....perfect for all the eight cousins Ellie had at the party!

While she was still awake she had time to play with her cousins who came early (traveled over an hour to be there).  And she also had time to poop where it got on her matching pants that are like leggings under her cute ladybug dress I got her.  My mom went quick to the rescue to grab them and a few other things to throw in the wash real quick!  Can't have bare legs on an October birthday!  We hung them outside to dry in time for the party.... :)

When it came time to start food-prep...I couldn't help but chuckle.  My sister's boys were at the house and I had Ellie down for a nap so it was my chance to get things done.  My sister helped the kids block off space with Legos but then they decided to make something for Ellie.  With my mom's help....they made a ladybug car for Ellie.  I chuckled because how often do you have a firstborn's first birthday party going on in a two hours, and you have a craft going on in the kitchen at the same time?  Only Ellie.... :)

Ladybug car almost done....

the hard working crew
4:00 was party time

I never know what time Ellie will be awake or asleep during the day, seriously.  (She doesn't have the typical schedule of nap at 10 and 2 type of routine.  At one point in her life I tried to do that, and it just didn't fit right with her.  So I threw that idea out the window and let her tell me what she needed.)  But anyways, I didn't plan the party at all for when we were going to do anything.  I wanted it to feel like a one-year old birthday party....where you go with the flow of the baby!

I kept the food simple and had items that could just be set up like an open house.  Eat when you want sort of thing.  However, it worked out we all ate at the same time since Ellie was still asleep when it was around 4:30.  We served a hot 9x13 macaroni and cheese, hamballs in the crockpot, nachos with meat and cheese dip, rolls, veggie and fruit tray, chocolate covered strawberries, and of course the red velvet cupcakes.  We told people to eat the dessert whenever they wanted.

sorry no camera in use when the food was all out 
*those silver tins holding the silverware I got from ikea
*plates & napkins from Nobbies

She woke up when we were almost done eating, so it worked out wonderfully.  My mom fed her some baby food (her comfort food=sweet potatoes). :)

Before things got too crazy we decided it would be a good time to get some good pictures of the crew.  HA!  If only we had pics of the adults trying to get all the kids together.... :)  Here's just a few...

the family of 3

birthday girl

ellie with 8 of 11 cousins

boys will be boys!

my parents and their grandbabies

ellie in her ladybug car

Then we decided to open presents to let her tummy settle before having her eat her cupcake (plus she was a little overwhelmed from all the pictures).  It was so fun to see what everyone picked out for her!  Jon "helped" her open presents and it was hilarious!  Her sweet cousins even let her open them herself!

cousin Frank has the exact same toy and he was pretty excited!
Then the adults made the party more kid-friendly and started a game of their own--wrapping paper war!  There were "balls" being thrown across the room from every which way!  Very typical ;)

After the gift opening we let Ellie play around on the floor like she does on any typical day.  She had fun having lots of company!  You know it gets old after awhile just having her Mom around all day long....

But then at some point, she's like her Momma, she likes routine!  She wanted something she was familiar with....and it was Mommy time. :)  And let me tell you, this Momma was JUST fine with that!! :)

Then my mom and I looked at each other and was time.  Time to have her try her cupcake!!! :) (Picture overload ahead....just fyi)

singing, Happy Birthday!

first touch...

Mom tries to interest me....

Licks taste good but....

tried giving her just a "bite" to play with....

a spoon wouldn't even make her try it!

ok guys, I'm done with this!

Hi, Aunt Liz!

The spoon is good guys!

Still our happy girl no matter what!
So, she wasn't getting "into" her cake like the typical one-year old should...but that was okay.  It's who she is. :)  I think the overwhelming amount of people surrounding her trying to see what she would do was a little much.  Well, would you like numerous people taking pictures, video, and cheering you on to try to eat food that you have never seen before?  It would be kind of crazy!  Later that week she did eat some more cupcake and really liked it!

Anyways, after the cupcake we were typical party people and talked until everyone left.

Birthday Twins! (Ellie & my friend Britney)

My friend, Kate

Friend Mike (we called him the Baby Whisperer) :)

Ellie with her Grandma Kaisand

Then we got tired Ellie in her ladybug pajamas and I nursed her.  Then she went willingly to bed. :)

It takes three (me, friend Megan, and Jon)

Later that night my parents, brother, hubby and I had popcorn and watched the Princess Bride.

and that's what happened for Ellie's birthday!!