Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm Dreaming of Christmas Cards!

McKinley is 10 weeks old already. I’m not quite sure where the time has gone, but we’ve truly enjoyed every minute of it! I’ve taken approximately 2000 pictures of her, and really need to stay on top of printing them out and putting them in frames or books. Otherwise, I end up with 2000 pictures on my computer.
She had her picture taken by my friend Crookedeyebrow when she was 10 days old. She was a perfect little model, and we had a hard time choosing a picture for her birth announcement. We finally agreed on the perfect picture (there were SO MANY GREAT ones to choose from!) and then had to choose the perfect announcement!
My mom has had really good luck with Shutterfly in the past, and has ordered Christmas cards as well as photo gifts, so she told me to check out their website. I scoured the “girl announcements” and narrowed it down to 4 different styles before making Aaron decide because I couldn’
We finally agreed on the Sincere Embrace Design and I would show it to you, but I haven’t exactly mailed them out yet and I think I should show my family first. Heh.
Now, thanks to the Clever Girls Collective, I’m being given the opportunity to receive my Christmas cards from Shutterfly! I checked out the selection over the weekend, and it seems I’m going to have a hard time choosing this card too! I’ve narrowed it down to my favorite three, and will be happy to take your opinions into consideration (I am so bad at making these decisions!).

My top three choices are:
Mod Ornaments
All Wrapped Up

Snow Flurries Cocoa

Now all we need is a photo to add to the card and we’ll be all set. Which just means more decisions to make!

Shutterfly is a great option for Christmas cards, Christmas Invitations for those festive holiday parties, and thank you cards so Grandma knows you appreciated her gift! They also have an excellent selection of birthday invitations, birth announcements, and trendy greeting cards. Whether you prefer traditional or modern designs, Shutterly really does have something for everyone.

Do you want 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly? Click here to go to Shutterfly for information on how you can get 50 free cards this holiday season, and make sure to select Clever 1000 as the referral source.

This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dream A Little Dream

I just don't want to forget...

I've had 2 dreams about my Uncle Jamey since his passing. The first was when I was staying at my parents house and it was very brief and didn't make me feel anything but that I missed him.

But last night, oh, I felt him. And I felt comforted, like he's alright. It was...good.

I turned the corner and was walking on the road back to my parents house, on a route I used to walk for exercise or to think. I was alone.

I heard someone yell my name, and I turned around to see him walking toward me. Wearing jeans and a plaid, casual, button down shirt.

"Hi Sweetie. What's up?"

"Oh! I had the baby! Her name is McKinley! She's beautiful! Aaron and I are good!"

I just kept shouting things to him, and he just smiled as I rambled on. Much like he did when I was younger, or when he would teach me how to play "Password" and I wouldn't understand the directions and he'd tell me 6 times and never get frustrated.

He didn't say anything else. He just continued to walk, faster than me, but was turned around looking at me, smiling, the whole time. A big smile. A genuine smile. An "I'm Alright" smile.

I didn't run to catch up with him, I just let him walk.

And then he was gone.

And I woke up and I cried because I miss him, but I felt such a sense of peace about him. He's alright. And we're going to be alright.

Hear that, sweet family?

He's alright.

And we're going to be alright.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Story of Us


The story of how you joined our family is incredible and miraculous and beautiful and I would do it again a million times to have you sleeping beside me right now, and for the last 8 weeks. This is our story.

On Monday, August 9, 2010 (8/9/10) I went to my OB for my 40 week appointment. The nurse checked me out and found that I wasn't dilated, so the doctor wouldn't be able to sweep my membranes or do anything to encourage labor. He told me to come back on Thursday, and that we would discuss an induction if I hadn't made any changes.

Daddy took the day off of work on Thursday to go with me to the doctor, and we got to listen to your little heartbeat during a non-stress test for almost 30 minutes. That sound was so beautiful to my ears.

The nurse checked me after the non-stress test, and found that I was still not dilated. She called my doctor, who allowed for me to be induced that evening. My doctor lives in a different town than the hospital I wanted to have you at, and suggested the hospital by his house, so that he could be there in time for your arrival. I agreed, but as soon as we got out to the car, I started crying that it wasn't what I had wanted! So your dad called the doctor back and said that we were going to the hospital I wanted to have you at, the hospital where you were born.

We went out to lunch at TGIFridays, and then went home and tried to take a nap. I couldn't sleep because I was so excited to finally meet you!

Our induction was scheduled to begin that night, Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 10pm. We found a parking spot, and daddy helped me carry all of my things into the hospital. It must've looked like we were moving in. I had a bag for you and one for me, my computer, my camera, and a few pillows. I overpack. All. The. Time.

I was given a medicine called Cervadil at 10pm to soften my cervix. It was left in for 12 hours, and on Friday morning, I was started on Pitocin, which would hopefully cause me go to into labor. I walked the halls of the hospital with our doula and friend Rachel, I bounced on the birthing ball, I visited with Daddy and Mimi and Aunt Paytie. I was having some mild discomfort, but certainly not contractions, and certainly not anything painful.

At 4pm on Friday afternoon, my doctor came to check on me. He assessed me, and found that not only was I still not dilated, but that my cervix was still very hard. He then ordered an ultrasound so that we could see how big you were. It would be the last time I would see you on the screen. I cry just thinking about that time, where it was still just you and me and I didn't have to share you with the world.

And this is where I made a decision that I do not regret, but I know that some of my friends will find weird, even appalling.

My doctor told me that he would allow me to labor for 24 more hours, with the pitocin and lots of walking, and we could hope for things to progress on their own. Or, he would do a c-section that evening. And I chose the c-section.

So the nurse gave Daddy some scrubs, and I got ready to meet you. I was taken to the operating room, and the nurses there were incredible. I was crying while they were getting me ready to meet you, not because I was scared, but because I couldn't believe that I would be holding you soon. They brought Daddy into the room and he sat beside me and held my hand. Just a few minutes later, the doctor said "Look at all that hair!" I couldn't believe what I was hearing! I said "My baby? My baby has hair??" and they all sorta laughed because of course he was talking about my baby. He was talking about you.

The nurse brought you over to me right away and I was able to kiss you and tell you how much I loved you and how I couldn't believe that you were finally here! Daddy was crying and Mommy was crying and it was your birthday! You were born at 6:14pm on 8/13/2010, weighing 8lbs., 2oz., and measuring 18 inches long.

Friday the 13th, 2010. The luckiest day of my life.

Daddy went with you to the nursery and helped the nurse weigh and measure you and give you your first bath. When I got back to our room, they brought you right to me. I cried and cried and talked to you and told you how much I loved you. I put you to my breast and gave you your first meal and it was beautiful and incredible. Mimi was there, and Aunt Payton, and Grandma Sonnie. They held you and loved on you, and then they left and our little family stayed behind and got to know each other. It was amazing.

And here we are, 8 weeks later. And there are so many words I would use to describe this time. Beautiful and incredible and breathtaking. We have learned how to be a family of three. We have discovered that our love for you knows no bounds. We have watched you smile and learn to "coo" and find your fingers and flail your arms and legs about. We have a wonderful breastfeeding relationship.

You've been to Ohio twice, stayed in a hotel, and been to a Toledo (Mommy's team!) and Purdue (Daddy's team!) football game. (They were playing each other. It was a win-win situation.)

Our memories are just beginning, baby girl. And we can't wait to make millions more! McKinley, you will never, ever know how much Mommy & Daddy love you.

This is our story.