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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Army Friends

I am a new Army wife. We are a new Army family. Really new.

I say that because all I know, right now, of my Army life to come is what I hear about. We are in limbo, and so are all the other wonderful loved ones that I have met since Michael started Basic. Good thing.

What is it good you ask? It is good because I am not alone.

That is something I am seeing more and more in this life. The other Army wives/girlfriends know how I feel.

Now they may not know exactly, because our situations might differ some, but they know what it is like to be in limbo.

Hurry up and wait is something we joke about a lot in Army life, but it is the truth. We are waiting.

Waiting to find out where we will be stationed, when our soldiers will be deployed, and it seems we are always waiting to see them.

What has made this bearable for me is the people I have met. Thank God for Facebook right now. This social network has been my life saver over the past few months. I have met and become very close to some of these amazing women who are going through the same thing I am going through.

The thing I love about the women I have met so far is that they are their to pick me up when needed and I can do the same (although I usually need to be picked up more than them lol). I see amazing love coming from these other families that inspires me to love my husband more. I am becoming a better person by knowing these women.

So, thank you all for your friendship so far. I hope to know you all for a long, long time.

Monday, December 20, 2010

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

I remember being asked that question by all of my friends growing up. How did I answer? Well I always said that I wanted to be a mother, but I usually had something else that I also wanted to be .

Ballerina. Lawyer. Singer. All things that would really be out of reach . . . especially for a ten year old with horrible stage fright. I always loved photography, and I have played around with it, but it took a backseat to my life usually.

When I was about fourteen, I met a midwife who changed how I answered that question forever. Wanting to be a mother was always first, but after that I wanted to be a midwife.

I graduated from high school and started looking for how to become a midwife. I spent a year trying to find out how the process would work. I finally spoke to a midwife (different that the one that had known) and she, in a not very nice tone, told me that "You are too young and no one will EVER want a midwife who hasn't had babies"

Those words shook me. I had already been told by one doctor that babies might not be in my future and then a few years later another doctor made a very bold statement that I "would never have a baby".

So, I went into banking. Ugh. That wasn't all that fun, but it paid the bills. I shouldn't complain though. Working in a bank helped me meet my husband. That makes it all ok. :)

Anyway . . back to the original reason I am writing . . .

Michael is very supportive of me following my dreams, so I started looking into college. I figured if nothing else I could be a Labor & Delivery nurse. I would be around laboring women and see babies born. Things didn't pan out for me to start that year and then we got pregnant, married, lost a baby, got pregnant again and had Johnathon. Whew that was a busy year.

Michael was also very, very supportive of my want to be a stay at home mama. I quit my job about 3 months before Johnathon was due and started staying at home. It is a very hard job but totally worth it. I love my children and taking care of them and their daddy.

After Gabriel's birth, I felt the need to become a Birth Doula. For those who don't know, Birth Doulas support women in labor. Well, they do a lot more than that, but explaining it all would be another post. :) Michael was supportive and with his help and the help of family, I was able to not only get my certification for being a Birth Doula but also to be a childbirth educator. I learned so much, and met some of my very closest friends throughout that process.

After having Bella, being a Doula didn't have the appeal it used to. As a Doula, my role was to support the laboring mom and dad (or partner), not to make decisions or give too much opinion on what they should do if they didn't ask. At least that is how I felt I should be. I saw too many laboring moms be pulled all different directions by their doctors and decisions being made that could hurt the outcome of their births. After Bella, I just couldn't do that anymore.

So I stopped. I loved it and now I don't. That was an amazing season in my life that is now over. Bella's birth brought out something else in me that had been asleep a long, long time. I wanted to become a midwife again. *gasp*

I know, right?!?! How crazy would that be? I mulled over it for months while Michael was unemployed. I tried to figure out how I could do it. I couldn't. I had a four year old, and three year old and a newborn. My plate was crazy full.

Now, I am not saying that I couldn't have done it if I wanted to. I have amazing, wonderful, precious, amazing, smart, did I say amazing? friends who are going through midwifery programs right now and they have children. And I am not talking about your average 2.3 children. I am talking 5+ children people! See they are amazing!!!!

They do it all. They are learning to do what they love, taking care of the families, and one of them is still working a full time job! A-maz-ing!!!!!!!! Maybe one day I will be able to get them to post on here about their experiences. hmmmm?? Anyone???

Man I am rambling today. Back to my post AGAIN!!

I chose not to try that and it is a great thing that I didn't because Michael felt led to enlist in the Army. He is gone for training normally right now, and I wouldn't have any way to do my training without him to help me with the kids. You know, babies don't wait for anybody let alone baby sitters for the midwife.

Michael being in the Army has brought up my fear of being a real, full time single mom. God forbid something happens to my husband, I don't really have anything to fall back on. I haven't really worked in almost six years. I had a panic moment recently that went something like this. -

I need to go to school. I need to have a skill. I can't go to school. no one to watch the kids. How would I do it? Who would watch them? I don't want to go to school. I want to be a midwife. Well THAT isn't going to happen right now. What am I going to do???

I am crazy at times, I know, but that isn't the point. I know God will provide, but I can't be sitting on my bottom waiting for that to happen. I feel like I NEED to have a skill to fall back on if . . . .

I hate that "if" but that will also be another post.

I think I have decided to save up for a great camera, and learn the art of photography. I don't want to be working all the time right now. I just want to learn everything I can and play around. Maybe make some fun money here and there and certainly take pictures for my loved ones for free. (Thank you again to my great friend Amy for taking our family pics!!!)

So, I ask you . . . . what do YOU want to be when you grow up?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Time Wasted

Let me start off by saying I won't take anything away from what people who have been together for less time have, and I am respectful of the people who have been together for longer. Michael and I have made a life together. Love is love no matter the time.
Michael and I have been together for seven years. Seven wonderful, hard, trying, loving years. We have made life and seen death. We have gone through the ugliest you can imagine and been in the most wonderful of moments together. Together is the key word here.

We were always together, but not always in the same place. We would just be going through the motions of life and not thinking of the other's feelings or needs. One of the hardest lessons that Michael and I are learning right now is that we wasted time with each other. We always assumed that the other would be right beside us if we needed them. We would always have the other there to say I love you, kiss, hold, say sorry to and appreciate. That isn't the case now.

I think a lot of our anxiety and stress is from all of this wasted time.

Michael and I have the stuff of legend. We have not always treated our relationship and each other as that is the case, but we are a rare thing. We are meant for each other. We compliment each other and hold the other up when needed. We are the real deal.

In the past few weeks this wasted time has been on both of our minds. The stuff that we should have done, the time that should have been taken, the emotions that should have been shared . . . it is a heavy burden for both of us. The weight of the limited time we have together and the unknown that is our life right now magnifies the fact that we wasted time.

I know most people will say, well just forget about that now and start over. Well I am all for the whole "do better when you know better" thing, but I don't want to forget this. Forgetting the wasted time might lead us back down that path.

So I don't want to forget that I should have

rubbed his back and feet more.
left him alone when he was having a hard day.
left him alone when he wanted to play video games.
kissed him more.
hugged him more.
shut my mouth more often.
appreciated him for who he is.
followed his lead.
loved him more.

I could go on and on, but you get the point. I should've done a lot. So this Army lesson has hit home, and I pray we have time together to actually be together.

Have you loved on your loved one today???

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

And They Said I Couldn't Do It

In honor of our second son's forth birthday here is Gabriel's birth story. (edited from my note on Facebook)

I went into the hospital on December 13th to be induced. I know . . . I know but back then I didn't know any better. I thought I was going to have to have another c-section because he was breech.
I thought I had felt him turn that morning but I was not sure. Thank God that when I had the "let's make sure he is breech so we can section you again" sono he was head down. woohoo!!

The nurse put the monitors on me and told me I was contracting every 2 to 3 minutes. I didn't feel any of them. My CNM checked me and I was at a 4. So no foley bulb for me.

VBACing was something new to the drs and nurses at the hospital I was at. So I was already running uphill without taking into account my mental and emotional state. It was a painful process, but totally worth it. Michael was with me the entire time.

29 hours after I was told I was contracting . . . after 16 hour of Pitocin and no epidural . . . I pushed my precious second son out. I got to push him out!! No section for me. Again woohoo!!!
He was 7lbs 11oz and 20 3/4 inches long. Perfect! Healthy! Michael and I were in heaven!
Having him started me on my path to having our daughter as we did and me becoming a doula.

Happy birthday sweet Gabriel Stephen. You are a precious joy in our lives.

Having Sunny made me a mommy . . . having Johnathon made me a mommy with a baby to hold . . . and having Gabriel gave me my strength back . . . which led to my amazing husband delivering our daughter.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Anxious To See Them?!?

Why yes, we are. This seems to be a common theme between all my Army wives/girlfriends. We love our husbands/boyfriends. We totally support them. We count the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until we get to see them again. BUT, and this is a huge but, we are scared to death to see them.

I thought that it was just me or just because it was graduation from Basic last time. I mean that was a total change. We went weeks without talking to each other. I didn't know how he would react to me or the kids. There were a ton of unknowns. Everything was wonderful, but the anxiety and stress beforehand was something of legend. After it was all over and done, I was glad I would never have to go through that again. I am hilarious right?!?!

Here we are, days away from seeing our soldiers (I hate calling my husband that but it is easier here) and the anxiety and stress is looming. I hear it from everywhere, which I am thankful for. I thought it was just me. So glad I am not the only crazy one. :)

What are we anxious about you ask? EVERYTHING!! I specifically am nervous about my weight, my body, my hair (which I have colored a different color since graduation), how the kids will react to him, if our room will be ok for him, how we will fit in the queen bed that Bella has taken over since he left, how his dog will react to him, how Christmas will be, will we have things to talk about, will the stress of him having to leave again take over the last few days and everything in between all that. Crazy? Maybe. This is what goes through my head everyday.

The funny thing is that I am not the only crazy one . . . I mean alone in this. I hear it from people all the time. So although we are thrilled to pieces to have our precious soldiers back at home, there is still worry.

Our life is still in limbo. We don't know where we will be living, when we will be moving, when he will be deployed and all that goes with that. I am trying my best not to let the impending doom (as Michael loves to call it) take over and steal my joy. We will see how I do.

So as I sit here right now, knowing that I am not the only person counting down for exodus, I stress over everything. I know that the second I see his face, everything will be wonderful. All of my worries will melt away and I will be whole again. The kids will have their daddy back. Michael's family will get to see him for the first time in three months. The dog will have her boyfriend back (lol). All will be back to some sort of normal.

For two weeks at least . . . .

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Weight Of Me

Those of you who know me . . . I mean really know me . . . know that I truly have a struggle with food. This isn't some run of the mill, hormonal time of the month thing. I have issues people.

I thought that I had it figured out in 2003-2004 when I lost a bunch of weight and was eating well and working out 5 times a week. I can use all the excuses in the world to explain what happened if you want me to. I got married, had three kids, I stay at home, I live with family, my husband is gone, blah blah blah.

I don't even want to hear all that anymore. I can tell you when it all fell apart. When our first baby became an angel. When we found out about Sunny, everything fell apart. I didn't want to live at all. Michael, being the wonderful man he is, did anything he could to make me happy.

What made me happy? Eating. I went right back to my old ways of overeating. He kept me happy letting me eat anything I wanted. It isn't his fault at all. He was doing all he could at the time. Remember, as I forgot at the time, he was grieving right along with me, but he had to take care of my sorry butt.

Anyway, so over the last six years I have put on and taken off weight. Ugh! I hate it. I have lost some weight over the past few months, but I feel is creeping back on because of the craziness of the holiday season.

I have given up on worrying about it until after Michael leaves, because I just can't people!! January 3 will be the first day of my new way of living. I have to. I am too overweight. I don't like my body. I don't like the way I feel. I don't like it at all.

I have lots to overcome. Living with my wonderful in-laws (no sarcasm there at all I really love them) makes it hard to eat right. We will be moving at some point, and there is a lot of stress in my life at all times. I also struggle with how to eat. I have PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) which causes carbs to be really bad for me, and the suggested way of eating is an Atkins type approach. BUT I would like to eat veggies and rice and fruit instead. I love the clean diet approach. Thoughts?

So I am going to change it. One of my friend's put a quote on Facebook (not sure of the author) that I just loved.

"If you don't like where you are, then change it. You are not a tree."

LOVE that!!! I am totally going to change it. This will be my year . . .

Friday, December 10, 2010

If these walls could talk

So bear with me on this one people . . .there is wisdom here somewhere. :)

You see these pictures of this crazy room? You may see too many beds, too much stuff and waaay too much Transformers for a bedroom. Right?!?

I see years of love. You see, 7 years ago, on this date, I went to the house that we live in now for the first time. Michael lived with his parents when we met. The room that we all live in, without him, now is the room he had when we met. This room and this house holds very special memories to both of us.

That first night, trying to get out to this house, was crazy. I went home and made sure that I was all pretty, which made me later than I wanted to be. The directions out here consists of all numbers. I was new to that and doing it in the dark scared me. I made it to the drive way just as the sun went down.

This is the room that we first stayed up and watched tons and tons of movies. I mean we stayed up laaaate! Like 3 am late.

We talked for hours and hours. Crazy hours!

I had brunch with his parents, here, a few days after the first trip out here. I put a lot of miles on my car back then.

We played connect four Christmas night our first Christmas together. That led to us looking at Christmas lights. Oh the love of Christmas lights we share.

This is the room we lived in after we had our angel, Sunny, and I lost my mind. No really. His parents have let us live in this room time after time when life has thrown us curve balls. We alway pick ourselves up and move on, but we have often called this our true home.

He proposed to me in this room . . . . months after we were married. It was a detail he had let slip his mind. ;)

We found out we were pregnant with two of our children living in this house. The smells in this house can cause me great sickness . . . no offence to my in-laws here. It is just the normal smell/pregnancy thing that hits a lot of women. I still struggle with the normal smell of my mother-in-law's pantry. Ugh. . . makes me sick every time I get in there.

I used to sit and watch tv while he was working the weekends during the cold winter months that we lived here before we had babies. Foodnetwork was my favorite. I would plan what all I would make for him after we moved into our own place.

We watched finding Nemo for the first time here while his mother made him Tuna and Noodles. She loves to make him happy. That was also the day we went to find an apartment together.

We did a lot of crying for Sunny and the fear over losing Johnathon and Gabriel here.

This where we had our wedding. In the front yard. Again, thank God the neighbors moved the cows. I wouldn't change anything about that day, other than I wish I hadn't been so ill.

I could go on and on about the love that has been built in this room.

All of those memories are why it is so hard to live here without Michael. I sit in this room nursing Bella or getting my kids ready for bed, and all I can think of is that Michael isn't here. Everything in this house is a reminder of my sweet husband. I know he is just in Virginia, but that is too far away.
I can't wait for Christmas!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It is "Basic"ally over

So here I am again. I am terrible at this blog stuff. Just too busy. :)

Michael graduated from BCT (Basic Combat Training) a couple of weeks ago. Woohoo!! We are all so very proud of him. He is now in Virginia for AIT (Advanced Induvidual Training).

We had a blast at the long awaited graduation. I was able to meet some very good friends that I had only been able to talk to. It was so nice to be able to meet them in person. Thank you all for being there for me!!!

Being without him at home again is a bit much. We did a lot of traveling before and after graduation. That post will have to wait. :)

Until then I will be Army strong . . . .try to be Army strong . . . Army kinda-strong? Oh heck . . . I will just try to BE!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

And that was it . . .

So that Friday night we all went out to the club. We had a blast. Stayed out really, really late.

Michael totally stole my heart. He would dance with me. THAT was huge!!! He made me laugh, and he was just wonderful.

That night was it for me, really. He had me. I wasn't going anywhere without him.

I played it cool though for a long time after this. I would call him "the boy" until he stopped me one day and asked why I didn't call him my boyfriend. I told him it was because I didn't want to scare him off. :)

He laughed at me and said I had been his girlfriend for a long time. This made me very happy. He still makes me happy.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

PomPoms here we come

The Wednesday after Halloween, John and Michael were planning on going to a restraunt/bar place that used to be in Dallas called PomPoms. They invited Jessica and I. We went. I didn't really have fun, because some girl kept flirting with Michael. Funny to think about now, but it irritated me.

Afterwards we ended up at Jessica's house. We were talking, but it was really, really late. His phone rang. I was really nervous that it was another girl. It was.

His mom was calling to check on him. LOL. Bless her heart. Michael still lived with her and she was worried about him. Funny to think about now, but it made his face turn red. :)

Before he left I asked him if he wanted to come out to the club we had met at again that Friday. He said yes!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

He loved me because of Halloween

So on that very first Halloween we spent together at Jess' house, I made the decision that there was no reason to look for anyone else ever. I had found the person I wanted to be with and I would wait patiently until he figured it out.

We trick or treated with Jessica's son, all of us dressed up. He was 3 at the time, and there we were four grown adults playing dress up. Jess was a vampire, John was a PomPoms girl (don't ask), I was a witch (no comments there either please) and Michael was in Army gear. Crazy huh?

After that we decided to watch scary movies. Jess doesn't like scary movies, that is why it is worth mentioning. lol. Michael and I on the other hand LOVE scary movies. This is one of the first things we learned about each other. I swear this is still one of the reasons he married me.

We sat and talked all night. He held my hand. He was so sweet. He still is.

When they left, I didn't want him to go. He had fun to have with John I am sure and I had work stuff I had to do the next day.

He called though . . . .

Monday, October 25, 2010

And I saw him standing there

Michael and I met under, well, weird circumstances. :)

I was introducing a good friend of mine to another good friend of mine, and Michael is the best friend of the male in that equasion.

John I had worked with before and Jessica is still one of my best friends. Jessica asked me to go with her to meet John and John asked Michael to go with him.

And I literally saw him standing there. He was so handsome. Hot really. ;) The first thing that popped into my head was "well he is waaaaaay out of your league!!!" Thank goodness I wasn't looking for anyone. Right???

We had a great time at the club we went to. Yes, I met my husband at a club. What of it?!? lol We actually talked a lot.

That next week Michael asked John to give me his number. I was thrilled. Life was really hard for me then and knowing that someone who was as wonderful as Michael would want to know me, made life so much better.

So on Friday, October 31, 2003 . . . which just happens to be one of our favorite holidays . . . my life changed completely. He came to Jessica's house to watch scary movies with Jess, John and I was there too . . . living now. It was going to get much harder before it would get easier, but Michael wanted to be a part of my life, and he was and is so worth any struggle I have to go through to be with him.

He is so worth it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

They break them down, so they can build them back up

If I had a penny for every time I heard that phrase, I would be rich by now. I know that is what they do to the soldiers, but I was oblivious to the fact that they do it to the loved ones also.

Until now.

I know, I know. I am going to hear stuff from lots of people over this post and I am ok with that. I totally understand why they do it to our soldiers. They have to change them. They have to make them different people so that they can act as a team and learn to work under pressure. It doesn't mean that I, or Michael, like this fact. BUT we knew all of that before starting this journey.

What I didn't know if how they would break me. The total lack of information given by the Army during boot camp, coupled with the fact that our soldiers don't get to contact us very often if at all, makes for a miserable boot camp experience. I will admit it, I am broken. They might have set a new record with how fast they broke this Army wife. I have been lost trying to learn what I can do, what I can't, what I can send to him, and what I can't. Learning how to treat him while he is in uniform and how I should act at graduation. How I should act really isn't any different than how I would usually act, but still I have to make sure.

The Co. that Michael is in has a Facebook page. An angel runs this page. She has been amazing at letting us know how things work and what to expect. If it wasn't for her, I swear I would lose my mind. Really, really go crazy. She is amazing. I will hug her at graduation if she allows me to, and I am sure I am not the only one with this request. :)

They break them down, so they can build them back up. That I understand. I can even, sort of, understand them breaking the loved ones down. BUT when, if I may ask, do they build us back up???

We get to see our soldier for a day at graduation. Is that when? I get to drive Michael to his AIT. Is that when?

There is a constant fear that after we are posted somewhere that he will be deployed. I know that isn't when I will be built back up.

I love the Army for helping Michael with a dream he has had for a very long time. Longer than we have been together. I am proud of Michael, and every other soldier out there, in training or not. I am thankful for the Drill Sergeants that are doing their best to train my husband and lots of other soldiers for the worst while hoping for the best. I am thankful for all of this. I really am, and I can't say with all certainty that I would change where we are right now.

I just want to know when I get built back up?

Friday, October 15, 2010

I am terrible at this

So I am really terrible at this blogging thing. :) I just don't seem to have the time to keep up with this and everything else. I will get better at it though. I KNOW I will.

So what has been going on that would keep me from blogging you ask? Nothing really. I just can't seem to get a schedule going with the kids and all.

We received letters last Thursday and Michael called on Monday. He sounded good. Things like letters and calls seem to set me back to the day he left. Thank God it doesn't set time back too. Only 5 more weeks until we leave to see him. Woohoo!!!

Johnathon is doing great with his school. He is really starting to read, and he actually wrote a letter to his daddy on Tuesday.

Gabriel is our little soccer star. He loves it all. Practice, games, anything soccer makes him really happy.

Bella is a wonderful little handful. She is beautiful and amazing and smart . . . and all of that somehow equals lots of busy energy that she uses to tear the house up. If there is a dog food bowl or water anywhere she is dumping it. She unplugs everything and the trash is one of her favorite places to play. It makes for a really busy day.

I am surviving. I would like to say that I am thriving, but I am not there yet. I miss my husband. I am completely supportive of him and the decision that we made to become an Army family, but it is much harder than I ever could have imagined. I want him home now. :)

I have been working out and dieting. I had about a week where I was lazy and I have picked it back up again. I am proud of myself. I have a goal that I really, really want to reach by graduation. So I have about 6 weeks to reach that goal. I WILL make it. I know I can if I just keep my head in it, and my hand out of the cookie jar . . . literally.

Loves to everyone.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Bella!

To celebrate Bella's first birthday, here is her birth story.

It is very sad not having her daddy here to share it because he did catch her after all. He was the very first person to touch her. He loves that.

Bella’s Birth Story
October 1, 2009 - 41w 4d
My thoughts this day are - I am never having this baby. No seriously I am NEVER having this baby. She will graduate from high school in my belly. Ugh. I have been having contractions since 35 weeks, and I don’t mean the practice “oh there is a no pain contraction” ones. I mean the 4-5 hours of strong contractions ever 3-5 minutes that actually hurt a little. We get all excited that maybe we will have a baby, and then nothing. I sit up in the living room, all alone, late this night and cry and cry and cry. I try to be ok with the fact that I am going to have to go to the hospital, be induced and not have the birth I am wanting. Selfish? Maybe, but I just want to have this baby at home, safely.
October 2, 2009 - 41w 5d
I wake up early to head to my parent’s house. I slept good, which is unusual My uncle is in town from Ohio. We are all excited to get out of the house. I get in the shower and have a contraction. I get angry that this keeps happening. Sounds silly now to get mad at my own body, but you just had to be in my shoes.

I get out of the shower and I have another contraction. Contraction = ignored. I get ready and we get into the truck. The truck has been a pain for a while. Getting into it is troublesome, and I always have contractions in there. I am pretty quiet all the way to my parent’s house. I have contractions but nothing hurts.

I don’t really remember when I started paying attention to the contractions as something that might be real. I know we had lunch, and I ate a great lunch. We all sat and played outside all day. Michael started noticing that my breathing would change a little every once in a while. I asked my mom for a stop watch and I started timing everything. 5-7 minutes apart lasting for 45-60 seconds. Still no pain. They get stronger when I go to the bathroom. I try to avoid the bathroom. J
Sometime that evening Michael and I decide to leave earlier than planned. Johnathon’s soccer game was in the morning and our nephew’s birthday party is the next day. Michael’s parents agree to keep the boys over night just in case I actually go into labor. I have contractions all the way to their house, but nothing that hurts too bad. My mom gives me a coke for the road.

We get to my in-law’s house and get the boys all settled. I go to the bathroom and immediately decide that I no longer want to be there. I want to be home . . . NOW!
Michael and I head out. The contractions get much stronger in the truck on the way home. When we get home, Michael starts cleaning up a little and I go to the bathroom again. I sit down and literally hear my water break. I think I am crazy. I get up and as I am walking away I realize that I am not crazy. My water has broken at 11:50pm, 5 minutes after we get home. Talk about timing.
We notice there is meconium. We get very nervous. After much prayer, reading and checking on the baby we decide to stay home. Baby girl has a strong heartbeat, that changes as we would hope with movement and contractions.
October 3, 2009 - 41w 6d
Hard contractions start right after my water breaks. These are serious, no fun at all contractions. I am not always nice to my husband during these contractions. I hadn’t ever been mean to him in labor before. I usually just go into “labor land” and check out. This time I tried to stay moving. Movement is good during labor right???

Movement is not good for me in labor. I tried walking, swaying, hands and knees, laying down . . . Everything to stay upright and moving. Nothing worked. I was in great pain.
Michael was wonderful. Checking on the baby as needed, giving me water (which I would usually fight and ask for the coke. I was nauseous and it helped), rubbing my back . . . He did everything he could to help. He tried to put on my music that I had spent hours on getting together, but I didn’t want it on. He was wonderful.

At one point while I was standing in front of our changing table, rocking back and forth, I felt her move into a better position. I had always thought that she was a bit crooked in there, and I believe this is when she straightened up to a better position. It was painful, but it also made me feel better because I knew that my body was doing what it was supposed to do to let me deliver her.
October 3, 2009 - 41w 6d (continued)
Michael had fallen asleep while I was in the bathroom. Bless his heart he was exhausted. Apparently he had been doing this for a while, and every time I would flush the potty he would wake up. I didn’t flush this time. J I finally, at about 4am, decided to sit down on the bed. Michael was asleep next to me and I got into the position that had worked for me to labor with both my other births. I sat straight up in bed, legs crossed and I rocked back and forth. I realized after sitting down that I was tensing up, hard, when I would have a contraction.
I relaxed everything that I could, closed my eyes and finally found labor land.
I don’t remember anything from closing my eyes until I realized I was pushing. I woke Michael up, he put his glasses on and got everything ready.

After about 5 minutes, and 4 pushes later, Michael caught our precious baby girl. She pinked up immediately and started sucking her hand. She was looking around and just as content as could be.
She never cried. Michael suctioned her (because of the meconium) but nothing came out. We tried messing with her feet and everything to get her to cry, but she was always happy. She started eating right away. It was wonderful.

I finished up everything on my end, got cleaned up and we cleaned up Bella and put clothes on her. It was amazing to be in our own home with our own stuff.

Recovery for me was not always fun, but it was totally worth it all to have her the way that we wanted. Michael took the best care of us and for that I will always be thankful for.
Pregnancy was intense but worth every moment.

Choosing the way our baby would be birthed was intense but brought us closer together.
Labor was really, really intense but brought the delivery we had always dreamed about.
Isabella is intense but she is our gift from God.

Isabella Elizabeth Qualls
8lbs 21inches born on October 3, 2009 at 6:01am into her daddy’s hands

Happy birthday sweet baby girl. We love you more than you could ever imagine.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

One year ago today . . .

I started labor with Bella. I didn't think it was real.

It was. :)

I can remember everything leading up to that night. I really didn't think that I was in labor.


I told Michael over and over that I wasn't ever having this baby. He wouldn't believe me. lol

I was just sitting here thinking of how I really enjoyed that day. It was beautiful and cool and I could feel her moving inside of me. I love that part of being pregnant.

I am kind of sad thinking about it all. Michael was home all the time then. We had tons of fun playing Wii, playing with the kids, talking, watching movies and getting ready for sweet Bella to get here.

He isn't here today.

All worth it I know, but still hard.

So I will go back in time, like I always do, and relive my births alone this time around.

He is probably happy about that. He would have gotten irritated with my hour by hour replay. :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

He is my lobster

I can't believe that it has only been almost three weeks since Michael left. I feel like it has been an eternity. The kids still tell me daily how much they miss him . . . . I am glad it isn't just me.

He has been my rock since I met him.

He is the one person that I could always count on to be on my side.

He has literally saved my life on a couple of occasions.

He was by my side throughout each pregnancy and there when I delivered all of our babies, in one form or another.

He has supported me, with some voicing of opinion, throughout all of my crazy ideas.

He is the most amazing father that I could have ever asked for with our kiddos. He is loving and attentive and just down right amazing.

He loves sweets, watching movies (especially scary ones), bowling, music of all kinds, playing with the kids, working out and all kinds of Wii. All the everyday things that I love and miss now that he is gone.

He is the amazing man, that a year ago, truly began following Christ and changed a lot in our lives because of this. He was always a believer but he has really become an amazing follower and is leading us, as a family, down the right path. He is an amazing leader like that.

I am truly lucky to be able to call Michael my husband. I am proud to carry his name, even if we always joke that being a "Qualls" leads to bad luck. He is my love.

So as I sit here, stalking the Facebook page that they have for his regiment to catch a glimpse of him, I wanted everyone else to know that I don't just miss him because he helps me with the kids.

I don't just miss him because he is usually just here.

I miss him because he is Michael . . . and Michael and I have a special relationship. He is my lobster.

If you don't get that line it was on a Friends episode. :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Gabriel vs Soccer Take 1

Johnathon played soccer last year. That wasn't a good experience at all. In fact, I believe that I told Michael I was "never never ever never doing anything with the Greenville YMCA again . . . EVER!!!!"

I get dramatic at times . . . especially when it comes to people treating my children badly. Forgive me.

Well, Michael made me eat my words when Gabriel remembered that we had promised him that he could play this year.

So, Michael ran right and signed him up for Fall soccer with the Y. We did promise, but come on man.

Michael was thrilled to pieces to be able to go to some of the practices and his first game before he had to leave the area.

Isn't he cute?!?

He has style doesn't he??

Wow. I don't even know what to say here.

Or here. Geeeesh.

I think this was about when Michael announced loudly "He is YOUR child!!"
Oh well. I love him anyway.
By the way, Gabriel's soccer coach this year . . . He is pure gold. I am so impressed. We all love his attitude and enthusiasm with the kids. Thank you God for making this experience so much better than last year.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Jumptown 2010

Last year we discovered Jumptown. The kids, and Michael, loved it. Think big, no huge, bounce houses. :) See why they liked it.

So this year when we were discussing what fun we were going to try to fit in before Michael left Jumptown was top on the list.

We had a blast this time again. My only complaints are 1) the slides need to be fixed or replaced. Almost all of them need repairs that you can clearly see. 2) They let the bigger kids run through and knock over the little kids.

This time, since school was in, there weren't any bigger kids to run over my littles. The slides still need repairs though. All in all we love visiting Jumptown.

The following pictures should be self explanatory. :) Enjoy.

Told you Michael loved it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Coast Guard meets Army

One of Michael's closest friends is John. Who am I kidding . . . John is Michael's closest and best friend. John is basically Michael's brother.

So when John took his leave from the Coast Guard and was kind enough to come and see Michael before he left, Michael was thrilled. I was thrilled too because Michael loves John.

John played a pretty big part in Michael and I meeting and getting together. That is a whole other post thought.

Maybe a series of posts. hmmmmm?!?

Aren't they cute?!? I am sure, somewhere in this house (we live with Michael's parents right now) there is a picture of these two in preschool. No seriously . . . they met in prechool. Cool huh?

Bella was a little worried about him when he first got there, but she eventually fell completely in love with him.

The boys weren't thrilled to be in yet another picture.

Michael was so happy to get to spend an afternoon with his best friend. This visit was made really special since we really have no clue when we will be able to visit with him again. John hopes to be on land when Michael graduates, which will be really great. After that we are not sure where we will be stationed and John will be where he is for a long time. I hope we get to see him soon.

An Army of Four

My wonderful husband left for Army Basic Training on September 12. Well he left us that day. He actually left Texas on Monday September 13. His boot camp is in South Carolina. He called last Saturday. Talking to him was harder than I had thought. We miss him lots.

Since he has been gone we have been trying to adjust to life without him. This has been harder than I thought it would be. Michael had been home for over a year since he was laid off from his last job. He had become an important part of our daily lives. I knew that he wouldn't be home forever, but I didn't originally think that when the days of him being home were over that he would be really, really gone. He is gone gone. Neither of us have any control over when we get to talk. This has never been an issue in our almost 7 year long relationship. We have been very close since we started dating.

I mean really close. I can count on one hand the number of days we haven't spoken since we met and the number of days we haven't seen each other on two hands. Well, until now. :) We work well together. We always have. We are made to compliment each other. I am not saying we are perfect, at all, but we do work . . . without much work. Is that clear as mud?

All of this to say that we miss him. I miss him. He is missed.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Playing Wii

With Michael's leave date quickly coming, we are trying to spend as much time as a family as possible. Today it was rainy. I mean really, really rainy. So what to do?!?!

Play Wii of course. :)

Daddy is really concentrating on his mini golf game. ;)

Bella doesn't play Wii but she bothers . . . .I mean loves on us the whole time. I shouldn't have used my flash in these. Sorry for the glare.

Gabriel loves Wii. This isn't his favorite game. He loves Cookin' Mama.

He was having a good game.

Johnathon was goofing off. Silly boy.

I am trying to get into the habit of taking pictures of things that I normally wouldn't because Michael will want to see them.
We have fun things planned for tomorrow. Pray I remember the camera.
Just kidding . . . maybe.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Family Pictures

We haven't had family pictures taken in a long, long time. When I say a long time, I mean since 2005 long time. Where has time done?!?

We decided that family pictures where needed before Michael left for boot camp, which is coming waaaay too fast now.

A wonderful and talented friend offered to take the pictures for us. Let me tell you now that I loved her to death before, so that you don't mistake all the love going out to her from this post to be ALL about the pictures. :)

Here we all are. Yes I know this is the only one of me. I did that on purpose. Moving on . . .

Our beautiful blessings.

Here is that hottie . . I mean my husband with our children acting silly. Actually they are acting normal but I will let you believe they are acting silly. I LOVE this picture.

My precious boys. Did you know that I always wanted a house totally full of boys?? I will wait that for another post.
What is this we have here?? A girl?!?!? How did she make it into my "family of all boys"?? No one knows, but we thank God for her daily.

Isn't she lovely?? I totally have that song stuck in your head now right? I tried. :)
The bow and tutu were made by sweet wonderful friends of mine. I love them too! Thank you Audrey and Kate!!

Awe! Look at that silly, silly girl!

Aren't they great?!?!? I love you my sweet friend who braved my crazy family to get these precious pictures. To make all of this even better, all of these pictures took something like 20 minutes to get. Woohoo!!!!
I am going to order some of the pictures to put up in our room so that they kids get to see Michael every day and night.

Love ya'll,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hi . . . I'm new here.

"I am starting a blog" - This is what I told my husband a while back. His response?? "Why?"

Hmmmm . . . typical Michael. Don't know who Michael is?? Well he is that hunk standing next to me in the picture over there to your left. Yes that is our wedding photo . . . NO we weren't wearing black to be silly. Black is slimming. I was pregnant at the time and that kind of stuff is important when you are pregnant. That and remembering not to throw up on the pastor. Good times, good times. Anyway, that is a whole different post. What was I saying?? Oh yeah.

Anyway . . . he did deserve an answer though . . . right? Well, I am starting this blog so that all of our friends and family can keep up with us as we start this journey in the Army life.

If they want to. It isn't going to be required or anything. No tests . . . that I know of. :-)

That and I figured that Michael might have time when he is at AIT to get on the internet and this way he would be able to see what has been going on. It might just be wishful thinking, but worth the effort none the less.

So this is my first post. Not too much to it right now. I don't have any pictures on the computer that I am working on. Ugh. I will have to upload them to my netbook, which is slow. Double ugh. Totally worth it though . . right??

So for now I will just say that everyone is good. We are counting down the weeks until Michael goes into Boot Camp. He will be taken to a hotel room on September 12. Not long now.

Too soon in fact. I am completely supportive of this, but I will admit this is harder than I thought. I will save the tears for another post.