Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Exactly one year ago today to the moment, I was being examined by my doctor for a routine OB visit. That day, and the day prior, I had been really crampy and not feeling great- typical end of pregnancy stuff, so I was anxious to get the appointment done with so I could go home and rest before my husband left for his night flight.

Except, it wasn't the typical end of pregnancy discomfort. I was dilated to 2 and Evie was head down and ready. My OB sent me upstairs to be hooked up to monitors as she figured out if they were going to bump my c section up some. I left her office with the expectation of coming back in a few days to have Evie.

Except, after walking the length of the hospital and making my way upstairs, the monitors revealed that I was contracting regularly. I had felt the cramping intensify, but had no idea I was actually in labor. The only time I have been in labor was with Tyler, 3 babies prior, and his labor was a pitocin induced one. Not a great way to measure what true labor feels like. What I felt with our little E was more of waves, intense and tight, but then it quieted. With Tyler I felt like I never got to come down from the intense part.

So there I was, alone, with a dying cell phone, on my way to delivering baby #4. I called my husband to tell him I was in labor, and he didn't believe me. In fact, he asked me how much longer I'd be because he had to go brief for his flight.We hung up. And then, Evie's heart rate dropped. With every contraction, her heart rate dipped to the 50 range. At one point it went below 50, and a team of people rushed in.

This had all happened in a matter of maybe ten minutes- I had not had an IV yet and they were still discussing whether Evie should be delivered that day. I was 37+5 at that point. But once her heart rate started dropping, the decision was made- get her out now. Tears filled my eyes as I asked someone to please call my husband. We live about 40 minutes away from the hospital- the idea of having this child who seemed to be having some trouble, alone, was terrifying. My heart went back to my delivery with Jack and I shuddered. I asked a nurse to call my husband. She calmly told him what was going on and handed the phone to me. I think he was in shock because he asked me what he should do with the kids. Um, I don't know honey, I'm kind of in labor right now with 7 nurses rushing all around me- could you just figure that one out on your own please? I think I cry-yelled at him to hurry and get here now, and then passed the phone back. And I cried. I felt so alone and scared for our baby girl, and also, the cramping. Oh, the cramping. And on a small level, I was so proud. Proud that my body could do the natural thing, even if doctors were standing by with knives ready to make it unnatural. My body was doing what it was meant to do and I felt such amazement in that. (I have had 4 c-sections, and not one of them by my choice at all. In fact, I have begged every single time to have a natural labor. And each time I got a resounding NO.)

All of a sudden, I was changing into that beautiful blue gown, getting an IV, signing paperwork, answering questions, and realizing that these people were not going to wait for my husband to arrive. They told me as soon as I got my spinal, they were going, husband or not.

As it turned out, my man showed up in the nick of time. I was wheeled in to the OR frantically looking around, was given the spinal, started vomiting from the nasty drink they make you swallow before the c-section (this drink is like  the gestational diabetes syrup test drink x 100), and was starting to wonder if my husband would be there to hold my hand.

And then his voice, and his amazing eyes peeking out over the surgical mask. He grabbed my hand and touched my forehead, I think I told him I was scared, and he said "She's going to be fine." And just like that, so was I.

About fifteen minutes later they said "Mama, get ready to meet your baby girl", and then I hear her muffled little gasps, and felt that incredible feeling that every mother knows. They held her over the partition and THERE SHE WAS-- my beautiful, goo-covered, dark-haired baby girl who looked so teenie. And I fell instantly, completely in love. For the 5th time in my life.

The doctors then told me that her cord was wrapped tightly around her throat, several times, and that's what was causing her heart rate to drop. With each contraction, her oxygen flow was restricted. It's fairly common, but no less frightening. I am so thankful I happened to have an appointment that day.

And here we are, one year later, with this amazing ball of sunshine that is our Everleigh Diane. This baby girl continues to do things her own way. 

She started taking steps 2 months ago, but then decided crawling was cooler, and hasn't taken more than 2 steps since. She loves to stand, and is quiet athletic (can standing be athletic?) when she does, if I do say so. She rises on her toes sometimes or with bent legs. She just stands right up. 

When she is touching something she is not supposed to, I say in my best I-mean-business voice, "EVERLEIGH NELSON, NO MA'AM". And then she turns and smiles at me and says "Mo Maaaaam". 

She dances when she hears music, she swings her arms wildly and smiles at the world as if it is the best song she has EVER heard.

She loves to be cuddled and at night when I try and put her down, she reaches up to grab my arms and wraps it tightly in hers. She doesn't want to let go. And 99% of the time, she wins.

We are so blessed to have this baby girl. She adds such a joy to our lives and her beautiful blue eyes light up my heart. 

She is so loved by her brothers and sister, they each have their own special way with her. Evie now responds to a variety of nicknames- Evie, Ever, LeighLeigh, Miss Ma'am, E-bee, and hey baby. To them, she will always be the baby, so she is carried around and doted on often. 

I miss Jeremiah so much today. I wish that he were here to share in all the milestones and the celebrations. But I know we will be together again shortly and he will see soon enough how amazing his baby girl is.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl! I just love being your mama, and you make my heart swell every singe day!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

{not alone}

I sat down with the intention of writing a run-down of the ridiculous (albeit, not surprising) situations I have found myself in over the past 2 weeks.

But every time I tried to type something, something else stole my focus.

Really, just one something else.

About a month ago I shared the journey I had embarked on- the path to a healthier me. I started with a big goal, with a bunch of smaller goals along the way. Admittedly, I was doubtful. I wasn't sure I'd reach my overall goal or even my first little goal. I thought, I have carried this baby weight around for so many years, what if this is who I am now? I knew I was done with the lifestyle I HAD been living, but wasn't sure I'd ever get to the ME I wanted to be.

I started anyway, in mid-March. I first cut my calories, down to about 1500 or less (I am still breastfeeding), and a commitment to exercise every day, for at least 30 minutes. We have had an exercise bike for a while, so that was what I started with. I built myself up to an hour, in 5 minute increment boosts. In a month of doing that, I shed about 14 lbs.

But it got boring. As I was researching elliptical machines on craigslist, my friend Wendy heard me talking about it and said I could use their elliptical because it was just sitting in storage. Score! So I switched to that. I also incorporated 20 minutes of crunches, behind lifts, reverse push ups, and squats. Another month down, another 16 lbs gone, making my total loss around 28.

And then that got a little boring. (In all of this, I only took maybe 3 or 4 days off of exercise. I was scared to take rest days because I did not want to fall off the wagon.) Right about that time, I got an email w/ pics from one of my favorite old friends and saw that she looked ripped. The kind of leanness and tone, that I literally said WOW out loud. So I asked, and she pointed me to The Shred dvd.

I have been doing the DVD for 6 days now, and I have already dropped 3.8 lbs. I love it. It is ridiculously challenging (I seriously fell on my face during the 2nd interval of push ups on the first day), my inner ear is even sweating, it  tones muscle groups that cardio was not reaching, and that I was only putting a dent in before, since I was not using weights. IT KICKS MY (slowly shrinking) TUSH!

Right now, I am almost 34 lbs down. I have a ways to go. But I am starting to believe that I will get there.

The thing is, I have not gotten here alone. I see women all over the place walking this same walk. All sized women, with completely different goals, but all of them plugging away. Some are mothers, some have not yet had babies. Some are trying to get to a certain size, some are trying to get back to a certain weight, some are trying to get definition in their arms and legs, and some are just trying to not be winded when they have to chase their toddlers. But all of these women, coming from different places, and doing it in different ways, are DOING IT.

It is the most amazing motivation. They have been my greatest source of encouragment and empowerment.

My husband being gone during all of this is both wonderful and awful. Wonderful because it is such a push to wow him the day he steps off the helicopter. It is an incredible motivation knowing that the wife he left is long gone, and the wife he will come home to is getting smaller and healthier every day. But it is awful, too. He is my biggest supporter. He is who sees me every day. He would be the one to help me, to tell me what I need to hear when I am wanting to just take a nap.  He said something today while we were chatting online that blew me away and brought tears to my eyes. I sent him an email with a picture of what I looked like when he left, and I what I look like now. I guess he never saw it. So as tactfully and lovingly as he could, he was trying to let me know that he hadn't seen the difference as much until I sent him that email. He never saw me that way, he just saw Shannon, his wife. But now that he sees it, he couldn't stop telling me how proud he was of me. On a day where I was wondering if the difference is even obvious, it was all I needed to hear. He made me feel wonderful. And he also made me want to add 5 minutes to the elliptical tonight :)

To all of the women plugging away at this, YOU BLOW ME AWAY! You honestly BLOW ME AWAY! It is hard. And there are so many other things I would like to be doing most days. And counting calories and watching what you eat can feel like such a punishment when you see pictures of friends diving into cake and ice cream. It is HARD. But that will just make the end results even sweeter! Sweeter than any bowl of ice cream could taste!

To my friends who inspire me, who cheer me on, who motivate me, who push me to stick to the course, who give me tips, who pat me on the back- THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Sarah, Elena, Sherri, Jenni, Angie, both Carrie's, Annette, Michele, Kacie-- you guys are amazing! And to my husband, who is amazing and loves me regardless of the number on the scale and makes me feel beautiful every day, I love you more than all the ice cream in the world times 10 plus 7.

the email pictures I sent (that I cannot believe I am sharing with blogland)


still a ways to go. sorry for the cell phone pic and the messy room!

Monday, June 6, 2011

app happy

This morning, while I should have been mopping and folding laundry, I was checking out my blog roll and doing a little reading. I came across Raechel's post about iPhone apps her little one loves, and thought I'd do a similar post and share some of our favorites!

First, just as she mentioned, my kids aren't walking around with my phone or my iPod constantly in hand. It's a special occasion when they are allowed to use it. Because honestly, with a deployed husband, I am not wanting to let go of my phone for fear of missing an email opportunity with him. I usually break out the gadgets and share with the kiddos when we are stuck waiting somewhere (doctor/dentist), when their patience has worn out (post office line-ugh!), or when I am simply trying to distract or deflect from what I see coming and let them play for a bit.

Evie's only interest in my phone is using it as a chew toy. She is fascinated by the lights on the screen, but then she just tries to put it in her mouth, so no favorite apps for her yet!

Jack's Top Three:

1) Dance Star Mickey pretty self explanatory....when you touch the screen, Mickey busts out his best dance moves! Entertaining for my little guy!

2) Talking Tom Cat Actually, this is a fave of all 3 older kids. They think it is funny to get that cat and hear the noises he makes. He repeats what you say in his funny cat voice- always a laugh producer for my crew! 

3) Monkey Preschool Probably my favorite of Jack's favorites, because he is actually getting some education from it. He likes matching the fruit and learning colors!

Kaiti's Top Three:

1) Touch Pets Cats This app lets you feed and play with kitties, pet them, and take care of them. They purr and make noises. Not a lot to it, but it makes her happy!

2) Olivia Paints Kaiti loves anything arts-and-crafty, so this one is right up her alley. Plus, she gets to combine colors to create her own vibrant painting!

3) Carnival Games Very much like the Carnival Games for the Wii, this is just a compilation of fun games.....both Tyler and I like this one, too!

Tyler's Top Three:

1) Dinos I think the full name is Dinosaurs Unleashed, but on my phone it just says Dinos. Tyler is really into dinosaurs, and this one is full of facts for him to absorb. Cool bonus: it tells you how to pronounce the name of the dinosaur and makes a dino sound. 

2) Game of Life Tyler got the board game, Life, for his birthday and loves it! So this app is just the mobile version of his favorite game!

3) Lego Ninjago This is his newest favorite! He loves anything Lego, and this scavenger hunt game lets him practice his 'spinjitzu' :)

I will share some of MY favorite apps in a later post! I'd love to hear if you've got any favorites we should check out. We could use a little spicing up! My top picks are always changing.....I wrote about some of my favorite apps in January, but I have more to add to the list since then! And if you're curious about apps for the 1-year-old crowd, be sure to check out Raechel's post HERE!

Happy Monday! And also, HAPPY 5 MONTHS DOWN TO US!!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

let them eat cake

This precious baby girl

will be turning ONE at the end of this month!! Bittersweet in so many ways. 

But we're banking on more sweet than bitter. Really, who doesn't love a reason to dive into some cake? I've been planning her party in my head for a while, and my sweet friend Stacy is helping make my vision a reality!

Aside from being an adorable and super-devoted wife and mama, Stacy has a wonderful eye for design and beauty! She has a lovely shop called Olivia Grace Studio-- you can see her Etsy shop HERE!

I finally settled on a location for Evie's party so I sent Stacy the info and here is the finished invitation! So cute!!!

If you have an event coming up, check out Stacy's etsy shop, or go directly to her website HERE! She's just so talented and creative- her party goods will make your event extra special!


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