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Friday, December 30, 2016

Dear Jaxon | Three Months

*this was supposed to be posted on Thursday the 29th - what can I say? Babies and plans don't always go together*

Dear Jaxon,

Today, my son, you are three months old. That's 1/4 of a year and far more time than it feels has actually passed. Where did this time go? Next week, mommy goes back to work and I'm still feeling very mixed emotions about that. I'm certainly excited to see the kids at school again and to tell them all about you, and my days are very short. And your grandparents are very excited to get to watch you. But I also haven't spent so much time away from you and I'm going to miss you, even if only for a few hours. 
This past weekend, we celebrated your very first Christmas. While you're too young to understand any of it, you were amazed watching us open your gifts. Your favorites were a little giraffe blanket and a Rudolph rattle. They've been by your side ever since. Next year, we'll get to see you really begin to absorb the magic that is happening around you and I look forward to watching you discover all of it. But just getting to wake up on Christmas morning and see your big smile made it my best Christmas ever. 
Yesterday, little man, was a big day for new accomplishments. Suddenly, you tried to roll over while on your play mat. Then you eventually spun yourself around so your head was on the opposite side from where you started. And if those weren't enough, when I put you on your tummy, you pushed up and held yourself there. Mommy was amazed and excited and sad all at once. You're growing so quickly!
As for everything else - you're still a great sleeper, although you've had some shorter nights recently... most likely due to your rapid growing. You're eating 6 ounce bottles every 3-4 hours. And that voice! This week, you've really learned to control that voice of yours and you love "talking" as loud as you possibly can! You've outgrown your 3 month clothes and are officially in 6 months. We don't go to the doctor to get you weighed and measured until next month, but after weighing myself and then doing so again while holding you, I'd say you're just under 15 pounds. You are growing way too fast!
You still prefer playing with mommy, daddy and Izzy or any of your other family members over toys, but you've definitely started to notice toys more - especially those Christmas gifts I mentioned and the toys over your play mat. You love when mommy sings to you and you're starting to like story time. You still love bath time and snuggles and are a very good baby. 
More than anything, I continue to love you more each and every day. Each morning that I get to wake up and be your mommy is the very best day.

I love you to the moon and back, 
Mommy

Monday, December 19, 2016

What do I want for Christmas?

What do I want for Christmas. It's a simple question and one that I've been asked a few times over the last several weeks, with the holiday quickly approaching. And yet, it's a difficult one to answer.

If you had asked me this 15 years ago, I'd have handed you a list two pages long that was filled with toys and CD's and movies and books. 10 years ago and my list would have been smaller - mostly filled with gift cards so that I could have the gift of shopping. Even 5 years ago, I could have at least rattled off a few books, a perfume or something else small that I wanted.

But today? Today, as I look around the room that I'm sitting in, I can't imagine wanting for anything. The man that I've always dreamed about marrying and spending a life with is asleep on the couch next to me after a long day of working hard to provide for his family. The little boy that I have always wanted, that I prayed for and wished for, is sleeping in his bouncer, making soft little sleepy noises every few minutes that make my heart feel like it could burst. The dog that I always wished that I could have and never knew how much I would love is asleep under the Christmas tree, not far from that little boy that she adores and protects at all times.

My entire world, everything I've ever wanted and needed, is right here in front of me, safe and sleeping peacefully while I watch over them, thanking God that they are here and that they are mine. Nothing that can be wrapped up in a box or bag could possibly compare.

This life, my life, is all that I want for Christmas.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tis The Season | Jaxon's First Holidays

The holiday season is in full swing. It's everywhere around us. And I have the best reason to be excited about this particular season. Between following traditions that are already in place and making new ones, I am so excited about Jaxon's first Christmas.

So far this season, Jax has visited Santa and spent a snowy afternoon with us while we helped pick out my in-law's Christmas tree. We also spend every evening watching Christmas movies by the light of the Christmas tree - okay, he doesn't watch the movies. But still. We then end each night with a winter/holiday themed story before bedtime.
And I may have also ordered Christmas pajamas for all of us to wear on Christmas Eve... my husband is an amazing man for putting up with me sometimes, I swear.

I have spent so much time thinking about all of the new traditions that I want to add as he gets older. The movies we'll watch, the stories we'll read and the activities that will fill our days. Even though I want so much for him to stay this little snuggle bug, I also can't wait to watch him fall in love with the magic of this season.

How are you celebrating the holidays? 
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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Ornament Tradition

I don't know about you, but I am an absolute sucker for traditions. And I feel like this time of year, I have more of them that I hold close to my heart than any other season. From putting up the tree the day after Thanksgiving to the movies I have to watch to staying in my pajamas on Christmas day and many more in between, it's just a season for tradition.
But my favorite Christmas tradition rarely actually takes place during the Christmas season. It started back in September of 2011. My husband and I had been dating for six months and we took a day trip to Galena, Illinois and spent the day walking around to all of the little shops and having lunch and being adorably in love. As you do when you're celebrating your six month anniversary, of course. At one of the shops, they had Christmas ornaments with names on them and we happened to find both of our names. Adam's name is easy to find, but finding my name spelled right isn't always easy. So we bought them.
At some point either that Christmas or the following year, we bought similar ornaments at a dollar store. But at this point, it still wasn't something intentional. Just a coincidence that they had our names again.
It wasn't until three years later, on our honeymoon in October of 2014 that it had become a habit. When we went somewhere new together, it had just become my first instinct to look for a special ornament to add to our tree. On that trip, we came home with three. A sand dollar with Santa on a surfboard to remember the town we were staying in. Santa on a rocket ship from the Kennedy Space Center. And a bride & groom Minnie & Mickey mouse sitting in a wedding ring - to celebrate both our newly married status and, of course, Disney World! It was on that trip that it became a cemented tradition.
The following year, for our one year wedding anniversary, we went back to Galena and picked out a sparkly red heart with a lock and key.
This year, our newest addition is my favorite one yet. Over the weekend, we took a trip to Williams Tree Farm, our first time there, so that Jaxon could visit Santa. Unlike at the mall, we can take our own pictures for free! While there, I knew we had to pick out an ornament. We found a little blue onesie ornament that says "Baby's First Christmas" and it is absolutely perfect. It celebrates a lot of firsts. Our first trip to the tree farm, Jax's first time seeing Santa, and his first Christmas. It is the best addition to our tree and to our tradition!

What is your favorite tradition?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Jaxon's Birth Story | Part Two


The story of Jaxon, part two...

At around 1:00am on Thursday morning, I was told that I was dilated to 10 but the doctor wanted to wait for the baby's head to move down a little more before I started to push. Shortly after, I couldn't wait anymore. I started pushing at around 2:00am with little progress. This baby didn't want out. After three hours of on and off pushing, I didn't think I could do it anymore. Physically, I was exhausted. Mentally, I was resigned. Every push left me more and more convinced that I couldn't do this. I couldn't get the baby out. I begged for a c-section... and was told no. While this was typically the cut off point of pushing, the baby was stuck too far down and we would both be at risk if they tried the c-section. I had to keep pushing. At some point (time is a hazy concept during all of this), the on-call doctors switched and a new one came in. She was amazing. With her, a whole team of techs and nurses, and my own support team of my husband, my mom and my mother-in-law, things finally happened. My husband and his mom were behind me, pushing me up. My mom and a nurse had my legs and were pushing them back. And finally, the baby started moving down. After what could have been minutes or hours, I really have no idea, my not-so-little baby was finally coming out. 

Side note: Remember that epidural? It wore off for the last hour... I. Felt. Everything. 

At 8:31am on Thursday, September 29th, after nearly forty hours of induced labor and six hours of on and off pushing, I heard the words "it's a boy" and I cried. I only got to hold him for a few seconds because after all of that, he'd gone to the bathroom at some point and they had to make sure that he was okay and get him on precautionary antibiotics, just in case. A few minutes later, I was told that my beautiful boy was 9 pounds 5 ounces and 21 inches long and his head was 14 inches around. All I could think was that yes, I believe it. I felt every inch and every pound. 

He was worth it. Every hour. Every contraction. Every failed epidural. He was worth it all. Aside from the hell he gave me while coming out, he has been perfect ever since. He's healthy and happy and only cries when he needs something. At two months old, he is sleeping for eight hours at night. He is perfect. 

As for me, I was left severely anemic after having him. This has lead to an ER visit the night after we brought him home, where I was diagnosed with heart palpitations. I've been seeing a doctor and taking iron and they're getting better. I was also not able to breastfeed. I tried, but quickly discovered that he was getting very little from me. For a few weeks, I tried to both nurse and supplement with formula while getting my anemia under control, hoping that I'd be able to maintain my small supply and eventually increase it. But that didn't happen. By the time he was one month, my supply was non-existent. It was disappointing, but I try not to be too hard on myself for it. There's nothing wrong with formula, he's healthy and happy, and there was nothing that I could have done that I didn't already try.

Life is better now than we ever could have dreamed of.

Jaxon's Birth Story | Part One

This post is coming just a little later than I anticipated writing it. I always intended on sharing his story within the first couple of weeks after having him, even before we knew that it was a "him" that I'd be talking about. But life happens. At first, I was too hormonal and emotional to even talk about it. I seriously started crying one night listening to my husband telling a friend about all I went through - hormones... they're no joke. 

And then time just got away from me. I've spent most of the last two months enjoying my time with Jax, staring at his face and generally putting off everything else. What can I say? Spending time staring at that little face is far more important than cleaning or writing or anything else. Maybe when he stops changing so much so quickly, I'll get better at doing things. 

The story of Jaxon... 

My due date of September 15th came and went exactly as I expected it to. I can't explain why, but for months before I was due, I was telling people that he would be late. I just had this feeling deep in my soul. Turns out, I was correct. Eleven days after he was due to make his entrance, on Monday, September 26, I had yet another appointment to check on how he was doing (healthy, comfortable, showing little sign of wanting to come out). This was when my doctor decided that induction was happening. He didn't want me waiting a full two weeks and this baby was clearly in no rush to come out on their own. (note: we still didn't know gender at this time) And so he set it up and told me to head to the hospital the next day at 3:00pm. They'd start Cervidil that night and Pitocin the next morning. I texted my husband and my mom to let them know the plan and then I went home and waited. Part of me was still hoping that I'd go into labor on my own in the next 24 hours. I did not. 
This was taken right before we left for the hospital. My last moments with my girl before she lost her only child title ;)
On Tuesday, Adam and I got everything ready to go for our trip to the hospital. We dropped Izzy off at Adam's parents house, went to Target for a few last minute things and just to waste some time, and had lunch at Panera. Then it was time to head to the hospital. Very few people knew that we were going in. I probably made some people a little angry, but I wanted to be left alone so I could focus on labor, and so I decided that the only people we were telling were parents, siblings and grandparents. We checked in, got situated and after a few hours, they started the Cervidil. I was also given an Ambien that night to help me get some sleep, which I am so grateful for because those 4ish hours of sleep were all I really got for the next couple of days. 

Contractions were already going when I was given the Pitocin on Wednesday morning at around 6:00am. The baby's head had moved down a lot, which was a major improvement from where I'd been before. I was still barely dilated, but progress was happening and I was having contractions, so I was hopeful that I'd have a baby by the end of the day. My mom took the day off work and my mother-in-law, who works in the same hospital that I was in, got off early so she could come join us. The next 24 hours are kind of a blur, but I will do my best to remember the big details. 

I was given Dilaudid at one point for the pain. The first dose helped. The second did nothing. Eventually, I was dilated enough and was in enough pain that I went for the epidural. Aside from having to be induced instead of going into labor on my own, I'd say that this was the start of my troubles. The anesthesiologist came in, put in the epidural and had to take it out. He'd hit a blood vessel and I immediately felt my heart racing and felt lightheaded when the medicine started. He tried again and had the same result. Two attempts. Two failures. I was hysterical. Sobbing. I wanted everyone gone. I didn't want to try again. After I calmed down, the on-call doctor convinced me to try again with a different anesthesiologist. Thank the lord, this one went in and started working right away. For a bit... 

Somehow, shortly after it was started, the epidural catheter shifted and wasn't working correctly. He came back in, adjusted it and I was good to go again. A while later, the baby had moved down and was blocking the medicine from getting to one side of my body. He gave me a bit more medicine and I was good again. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dear Jaxon | Two Months Old

Dear Jaxon,

Today, you're two months old. That sentence was difficult for me to write. I have watched children that I love and care about grow up and always known that it happens too quickly, but watching you has amazed me. You are a little bigger and a little different each and every single day. One half of me loves seeing you learn new things and get stronger and smarter and more curious about the world around you. I love that you laugh and smile and talk with me every morning. I love the way that you watch Izzy as she circles around you, always making sure that she can see you. I love the way you light up everyday when your dad gets home from work. Every new thing you discover that you can do leaves me proud and ecstatic.
The other half of me, however, is just a little bit sad at how quickly these changes have come. I look at pictures of you from just a few weeks ago and the difference is astounding. Facial expressions that you made in your first week of life are no longer making their appearance, replaced by something new. I'm a matter of weeks away from having to pack up your three month size clothes because they're starting to get tighter on you and you're about to go up a size in diapers. You eat through five ounces of formula like it's your job (which, you know, it kind of is) and I have a feeling that you'll soon be eating that sixth ounce by this time next month. Maybe even sooner. No amount of child care experience, no amount of reading and researching, nothing could have prepared me for how fast these changes come.

Of course, all of these things are good changes. You're smart and healthy and strong. You are the most beautiful baby I have ever laid eyes on, and I am totally not just saying that because I'm your mom. It's true. You are sleeping for eight hours at night and even though you never left me truly, horribly sleep deprived, eight hours of straight sleep is a whole lot better than three hour stretches. You really are everything I could have dreamed of and more. Daddy and I consider ourselves to be the luckiest parents in the world.

I hope that as you grow and change and learn, you always know how much we love you. I hope you know that with each new thing that you do, we are proud of you and to us, you will always be the greatest boy in all of the world. Even when you don't light up when you see us, as if we're the best things you've ever seen. Even when we're driving you crazy and you're doing the same for us. Even when you're grown and don't need us the way you do right now, there will never come a day when we don't love you with all of our hearts. You are our world, my little love.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Six Weeks Later

Jaxon at one week old. Photo credit: Deanna Ruth Photography
It's been six weeks since I delivered my beautiful baby boy. It seems completely insane to me that it has been six weeks already. And yet at the same time, I struggle to remember what life was even like before he was born.
I have been soaking up every minute of my maternity leave. Most days are full of snuggles, play time and me trying to get things done during nap time. Although the last few days, Jaxon has appeared to be having a growth spurt and therefore, naps only happened if I was holding him. Considering the fact that someday, he won't want to sleep on my chest anymore, I don't put up much of a fight on these clingier days. I use those days to catch up on shows on my DVR or Netflix.
As for my little man - he amazes me daily. I may be biased, but I am convinced that he is advanced for his age. At six weeks, he has been smiling real smiles at us for weeks. He "talks" to us when we are talking/singing to him. He has been holding his head up on his own more and more and even tries to grab my fingers and pull himself up when I have him laying against my legs when we're playing. As of his one month doctor's appointment, he weighs 10lbs 7oz and is 22.4 inches long. He eats four ounces every 3-4 hours and has been sleeping through one of his night feedings for almost two weeks now. His favorite things to do are sit in my lap while I sing to him, go for car rides and newly, laying on his play mat. But his absolute favorite time of day is when his Daddy gets home from work. He may be all about Mommy snuggles, but he is absolutely obsessed with Daddy! He is the best thing in the world.
Izzy, of course, still adores him. They're going to be the best of friends when he gets bigger and can actually play with her. She still hovers around him and when I put him down for a nap in another room (we're trying to slowly introduce him to his crib for when he eventually sleeps in there full time), she waits outside of the door and starts whining if she hears him make a noise. She is also very protective whenever someone comes to visit her boy. Everyone must have her approval to see him and she will watch you like a hawk while you hold him. I try my best to still give her lots of attention, but she doesn't seem to miss it - she'd rather be watching Jax.
As for me, I am finally starting to feel like myself again. We've settled into as much of a rhythm and routine as you possible can with a newborn and since he's letting me get some decent sleep at night, I feel much more functional. I just had my six week postpartum checkup and am healing well. I never in a million years thought that I would say this, but I am looking forward to getting back to exercising on a regular basis. I have actually missed following the Tone It Up plan and can't wait to get back into it. It's not even about weight - even though my body isn't back to normal, I am shockingly not that worried about it. For someone who has spent so much time being body conscious, I don't really care what my body looks like right now. It grew and delivered my sweet little one. But I have missed the way that my body feels when I am working out regularly and, of course, I'm going to need to be in shape so that I have energy to chase Jaxon around when he gets mobile!

Life with this boy has been the biggest blessing and while part of my wants him to stay my little cuddle bug forever, I can't wait to watch him grow and learn and explore. We truly were blessed with the best little boy :)

Friday, October 14, 2016

I'm Somebody's Mommy

At 8:31am on the 29th of September, after nearly 40 hours of induced labor and almost 6 hours of on and off pushing, my world got a little bit bigger and a little big better. Exhausted beyond anything I had ever felt before, the majority of that time is a complete blur. Right up until the moment that I heard the words "it's a boy". That moment is still perfectly clear in my mind. A sweet, beautiful little boy. Jaxon Michael Simons, my son. 
It's now been a little over two weeks since that moment and it's been an adventure. After the worlds easiest pregnancy, my labor left me with severe anemia which has been causing me some difficulties. That is thankfully improving and I am feeling much better. As for our little man, we couldn't be more blessed. He is sweet and snuggly and cries only when he's hungry or needs to be changed. He sleeps for three hours at a time (last night we even had an almost four hour stretch) and is the most perfect thing that I have ever laid eyes on. I could hold him and love on him and kiss his chubby cheeks all day long. 
It still seems so strange to me that I am his mommy. That my pregnancy and labor all really happened and that he is the end result. After years and years of dreaming of becoming a mom and months of trying to get pregnant, to look at his beautiful face and know that my dream is real makes me so incredibly happy. It's surreal. 
And watching my husband become a father... there are no words for the emotions that get brought out in me at seeing that. He is absolutely in love with our son and that little boy adores him just as much. My heart feels like it could burst when I watch them together. 
Of course, there is also our "first born", Izzy. She is obsessed with her little human brother and very protective of him. Where he goes, she isn't far behind. 
Becoming this little boys mommy has been everything that I ever dreamed of and so much more. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Overtime

Hello and Happy Friday. And it is most definitely a happy Friday. Today happens to be my very last day of work before my maternity leave begins. It's strange. Technically speaking, yesterday was my due date, though I've had the feeling for a while now that Baby wasn't going to be here on time. Everything inside of me has been telling me for months that I would have at least a few extra days and obviously, that instinct was accurate because here we are with no signs of labor yet. 

As far as how I am feeling about that - well, physically I am still going strong. I don't feel nine months pregnant. I don't feel like yesterday was my due date. And I definitely don't feel like labor could happen to me at any moment. I'm still comfortable and loving having this little one in my belly. Although now, I am ready to face the next part of all of this. I'm ready to face whatever labor brings and I'm ready for this little person to officially join our family. 

Mentally, I go back and forth between denial and anticipation. Like I said, it still doesn't feel real yet. Despite the kicks to the ribs, the trips to the bathroom every five minutes and the struggle to get out of bed or off of the couch, it still just feels like a dream. And yet I know that it's real and I am so excited to see this person that I've spent nine months growing inside of me. I'm beyond excited to watch my husband become a dad to this little one. Being pregnant has been my favorite thing that I have ever done in my life, but I am so excited to see what comes next!

Mostly though, I just feel so thankful and blessed. I have sailed through the last nine months with ease and am still sitting here content and loving pregnancy. I am one of the lucky ones and I don't take that for granted at all.

So now, it's just a waiting game. Labor could start any minute or I could still be pregnant and having to consider my options in two weeks. There is just no knowing. What I do know is that however many hours or days I have left, they will be filled with a whole lot of resting, napping and snuggling with Izzy - she needs lots of attention before becoming big sister to her new human sibling.