Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Forever your Doodle

January 6--

As the day comes to a close I can't help but recall where I was one year ago. It was a dimly lit hospital room, huddled next to a bed, holding tight to my Dad's hand and whispering so many final thoughts in his ear. No one else could hear me, it was just me and him having our last conversation together. I told him my favorite moments we had, I told him it was ok to let go because I promised to stay strong, and I continuously said I love you more times than I can remember. I remember each breathe he took. I remember the nurse in me that was counting every respiration and timing them. I remember the times I finally understood how my patient's families felt when they were saying goodbye. I remember the pain I felt as my belly cramped up, only now realizing that I was probably having contractions. I remember the day and night so vividly. And when the clock struck midnight I remember telling my Dad we were going to share our day. My birthday and the day he finally found peace.

January 7--

A year ago I walked out of a hospital, 32 weeks pregnant and in a complete fog. Nothing felt the same anymore. Life instantly became more precious. I grew a lot that day. I was stronger than I ever realized I could be. I sat in the quiet hours of the morning reflecting on everything life had to offer. I laughed. I cried. And I prayed. I called a church I hadn't been to in 20 years and spoke to the same Pastor who remembered my father immediately. It was so comforting to know with all the time that had passed he still remembered him. I guess that tells what kind of man he was. We discussed and planned a memorial service within an hour of chatting. Some how, I did it all. Some how, on one of the hardest days of my life, I lived up to my promise to my Dad that I would stay strong.

Now we fast forward to today. As I sit here typing this, years of memories are flooding my mind. The majority of them are the happiest and most beautiful times we spent together. But the one that stands out the most and still rocks me to the core is the day I told my Dad I was pregnant. No one, other than Dennis who was there with me, knows what happened when I told him. I had recorded all of our parents reactions and made a beautiful video but his was missing and this is why. When I showed him the ultrasound of our little bean, he instantly swallowed hard and tried to hold back every ounce of pain and fear he had but it still poured out of him. The only thing he could tell me was "I won't be here to meet him. I won't make it till then." To this day my heart breaks thinking of this. I cried the entire way home. I knew if I was feeling helpless, the feeling was magnified for him and there was nothing I could do to change it. He was right, he never got to meet our beautiful little boy, at least not physically. But somewhere deep down in my soul, I know he was right there with us the first time we laid eyes on Landon. And any time I look into Landon's baby blues-- there's my Dad staring back.

I promised myself that this post wasn't going to be overwhelmingly sad but I'll be honest and say the last few weeks have been really hard for me. I've tried to live up to my promise and stay strong but there truly isn't a day that I don't miss him. There are so many things I wish I would have said or done. So many things I wish I could change. But the reality is, I have to let go of the past and tell myself that he knows exactly how much I love him. And in this year I've come to realize, it's perfectly ok to have bad days. It's ok to mourn for him a year later. It's ok to feel the pain now and it will be ok to feel it 5 years from now. It isn't going away.

I found a quote that sums it up perfectly--
"Grief never ends...but it changes. It's a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of's the price of love."

So today, with a grief stricken heart I send my love to my Daddy. I truly hope you've found peace. Missing you today & always. Forever your Doodle <3

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Life's an hourglass

Ever have those moments when something so simple stirs up a million and one memories and leaves you a little speechless and completely breathless?
That happened to me today.

I was driving down to our weekly Gymboree class with Landon and he was getting bit restless. I randomly remembered the playlist I made him before he was born. (Side note: I swore we were going to listen to this every night at bedtime and we'd sing and rock and drift right off to sleep. I think it's happened about....once) Anywho, we don't listen to his playlist often, simply because I forget...but not today! I turned it on shuffle and about 45 seconds into song #1 *Somewhere Over The Rainbow*, little man was passed out. #Success

I decided I would continue listening rather than changing it back to the radio. Song two comes on, awww it's sweet, I sing along. Song three comes on and BOOM- I'm fighting back the tears. Let's clear things up- I'm not an overly emotional person, it takes a lot to get the tears flowing. Listening to that song made every tiny little detail of the last 6 months come flying back. Before Landon was born and I was creating this playlist I searched high and low for the perfect jams. This one, this one little song, was perfection. Before my little man arrived I had already deemed this "our song". 

So I listened to "our song" while my little angel slept and periodically glanced at him in the mirror and was reminded of how wonderfully blessed I am to be his Mama. I thought of the day he was born, the first time I held him, our middle of the night bonding time, his first smile (which was probably a result of gas), his first giggle, when he rolled over the first time and gave me the most devilish grin...every little thing came flooding into my mind and brought the most joyous tears to my eyes. 

How in the world can someone so small have such a monumental impact on my life? It's profound and beautiful how drastically a tiny human impacts every single emotion. I love him. I can't say it enough, although I'm sure some of you are thinking 'trust me, you can and you have.'

Perhaps next time I won't have a post about Landon.
The chances are highly unlikely though. ;o)

Until next time...
Mama Bear signing off...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Half Birthday Happiness

My dear sweet baby boy,

How can I find the right words to tell you how much you've changed my life in the most wonderful way possible? Simply put- I can't. There will never be enough words to fully express how much you've made my heart grow. How proud I am to call you mine. How completely and utterly in love I am with you.

Every day you do something that leaves me in awe. It can be as simple as finding your toes (and managing to get them into your mouth- holy flexible!) It can be the way your whole face lights up when I walk into your room in the morning. Every single thing you do makes me love you more, yes even the incessant crying when you refuse to take a nap makes me love you more. Might seem crazy how that increases my love for you but it's because eventually you give in and your little hand grasps any part you can hold of your Mama and you push your little head into my neck and snuggle yourself right into my soul. It's perfection.

I've always known, since I was a little kid, that I wanted to be a Mama. I wanted to do everything my Mommy did for me with another little human. I never in my wildest dreams imagined YOU would be this rewarding or fulfilling. I find it hard to believe that six whole months have flown by. Six months of my heart filling to the brim and overflowing each and every day. You amaze me and I am so lucky to call you mine.

Happy Half Birthday Little Chunk!

I love you beyond words,


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Onwards and upwards!

August 1, 2015
I wan't to remember today as the day I decided to really step out of my comfort zone and make some big changes.

I want to grow as an individual.
I want to inspire those around me.
I want to help my friends and family.
I want to become a better wife, mama, and all around person.
I want to make my family proud.
I want to find a new spiritual outlet.
I want to plant a garden.
I want to be healthy.
I want to be strong.
I want to set goals and then exceed them.
I want to meet new people and make new friends.
I want to be more adventurous. 

I want, I want, I want!!!!

Most importantly:
I WILL do all of the above and then some.

Here's to new beginnings and a hell of a journey...

Friday, July 17, 2015

5 months of learning...

5 things I've learned in 5 months as a new Mama:

1. The pressure to breastfeed is astronomically high. Seriously, I have never felt so judged before. It's been a learning experience and one I'm glad I've had to endure. I know I will never ask a Mama what she's feeding her baby. Mainly because it's none of my business and when it comes down to it, it doesn't matter. She's doing what she thinks is best for her baby and that's what counts. When people ask me I constantly feel the need to justify why I stopped breastfeeding and I shouldn't have to do that. Let's just be brutally honest, breastfeeding is hard. It's time consuming. It's exhausting. While I agree that it is definitely worth it for the baby, sometimes it doesn't always work. I tried for a month and for a month I watched my little boy lose more and more weight. He latched, I pumped, he bottle fed...none of it increased his weight or helped his overwhelming reflux. So we transitioned to formula and within 3 days he gained 5 oz. In the first month he barely gained an ounce over a weeks time and with a small change he gained five in a matter of days. I was relieved and happy to see an improvement and then...I felt nothing but guilt. Everyone around me was unknowingly posting about how amazing it feels to feed their babies the best and I felt like a failure. I no longer feel like a failure, I know my decision was in the best interest of Landon but from time to time I do get a few pangs of guilt. So for the love of Pete (who's Pete?) don't judge Mamas for how they feed. Just encourage them for loving and supporting that little bundle of fat joy. 

2. Time flies. Time stands still. In the blink of an eye your 6 pound peanut turns into a 14 pound walnut. Yet at the very same time your days run together and blend into 5 months and it feels like they never end. That's most likely delirium though. I'll admit, I'm leaning more towards the time flying thing; it's amazing how an hour nap only seems like 3 minutes but that's how it always is. Or you could have a baby like mine who literally takes 3 minute naps and then is ready to party for a few hours. We're still learning...

3. Sleep really is a thing of the past. It does get better (sorta) as they get older but not infinitely better. I am constantly waking up over every little sound coming from the monitor. The majority of the time it's just him moving into a different position but that doesn't stop me from staring at the screen for 15 minutes to the point of waking myself up completely and then finding it beyond difficult to fall back to sleep. I suppose one day I'll get over that too? For now I'll continue being slightly sleep deprived.

4. Your heart is on the verge of bursting every 3.3 seconds. They look at you, you melt. They smile, you smile bigger. They cry, you cry harder. Ok, that's a little lie on my part. Sometimes when Landon cries he lets out these hilarious shrieks. I can't help but giggle. I believe it's partly due to being a NICU nurse and listening to babies cry for 12+ hours, I've become slightly immune to the crying. Side note: For those who may be thinking "Oh, she's the 'cry it out' mom" please know I'm not. I don't let my kid scream bloody murder, but I also don't jump at every whimper. Back to the point...every little thing they do makes your heart fill a little more with love and soon enough it's big enough to explode. But it doesn't because lord knows you already have enough to clean up, no need to add more.

5. Those beautiful pregnancy locks you had, say goodbye. I thought I escaped the dreaded hair loss and then 4 months postpartum it started coming out in clumps. I  may or may not be shedding more than my extremely furry dog. You know those pranks you see of people putting Nair in shampoo's funny till it happens to you...WITHOUT NAIR! I completely understand why new Moms chop of their hair...
A: It's falling out anyway
B: The little hair you have, the little shit Angel is pulling out.
It's a lose lose situation, so snip snip! Which is exactly what I did this week and I LOVE it!!! #ShortHairDontCare

The majority of this stuff I was warned about during my entire pregnancy but I guess peeps only preach the truth. I'm well aware that I have a whole lot more to learn over the next...many many years...and I am so ready for the challenge!

Until next time...
Mama Bear signing off..

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Today & every day

As I lay in bed tonight it's hard to believe that 6 months have passed since you left this crazy world. So much has changed in my life and I know you're looking down and smiling. While no one can replace your crinkly eyed smile, I now have a little man that tries to replicate it daily. He's beautiful and that smile, it would melt you to the core. His big beautiful eyes make me think of you all the time. 

It's funny how so many little things that I truly never noticed before are now so apparent and bring back so many sweet memories of you. When I say that you cross my mind every day, I mean it. Just the other day I was rocking Landon to sleep and I started singing a song and within seconds the tears were flowing- it was a song you taught me and now I have the privilege of passing it on. 

Most days I fair well, I smile at our times together and know you're  at peace. But some days, well some days just hit harder than others and I have to continuously tell myself to take deep breaths to get through. But every day I wish you could have met this sweet angel I call my own. You'd be the best PopPop and I know he'd fit perfectly into your heart. 

Miss you, Dad. 
Today and every day.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

4 months of fun!

So I came to blog a bit since it's been months and I discovered that I started a post but never finished it. After reading it and giggling at the lovely memories I decided I'll add it into today's post. So here it is:

In the last few weeks I have had puke (almost) fly into my mouth, a whole shirt soaked with pee, and numerous gag worthy poopy diapers. This kid of mine really knows how to make his Mama smell delightful. Luckily he has also been much better during the day, with less crying, which means I get to shower for more than 2.7 minutes at a time. HOORAY!

We visited our fabulous pediatrician for little man's 2 month well check up. I am happy to say that he is living up to his new nickname. Chunk weighed in at 9lb 7oz, he gained over 2 lbs in a month!!! WOO HOO!!! I'm pretty sure he would be well over 10lbs if he actually kept his food down rather than puking way too often. But we've learned to deal with that. We travel everywhere with at least 7 bibs and 10 burp cloths, even if its just a quick trip to Publix. And by Publix, I mean the mall or any place other than the grocery store because I still loathe grocery shopping.

And now back to today...
Oh how I remember those days, but lets be honest...they still very much exist! Although Landon's reflux has gotten so much better and his puking spells are much smaller and less frequent. Hooray for  growing out of the not so fun stuff!

Life with a 4 month old has been absolutely fabulous! I'll admit that the few 2.5-3 months of a baby's life is rather boring. Eat, sleep, poop, cry...and repeat. Since he turned 3 months he has been so fun to watch. From giggle fits, to endless smiles, to bubble blowing, to becoming a roly poly...I love it all! He's developing such an adorable personality and it's been so much fun to watch him change literally from day to day. Our weeks are always packed with gymboree dates, swimming lessons, trips to the Seaquarium and Jungle Island and so much more. We just can't help but explore!

I've noticed our little man likes to chat away around people he sees frequently but he's much more shy and quiet around big groups. It's amazing to watch how they interact with different people. We're so excited to head to Illinois next month, I just hope he gives his Gibby family lots of smiles and giggles and doesn't become shy around them. I'm sure our first traveling adventure will be one to talk about. I'm slightly nervous for the whole packing, flying, being out of our element thing. Lets hope he stays sleeping through the night when its not his usual surroundings. Oh yea, sleeping through the night started a few weeks ago and holy moly is it wonderful! I think with baby #2 (in the future peeps, I'm not preggo) we'll be transitioning to the crib much sooner.

I think that's enough rambling for today...this blog has no point or purpose but perhaps I'll enjoy reading in the future. Maybe Landon will too, who knows!
First time in the pool in Anna Maria

Fell asleep after a few minutes in

My blue eyed beauty <3

Jungle Island adventure

Playing at Gymboree

Getting ready for Father's Day pictures

Babyhawk in the pool

Until next time...
Mama Bear signing off...