Why Everyone Should Visit Disney World

Why Everyone Should Visit Disney World

(Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Disney World or any of their parks or companies. This blog, and the posts to follow are all based on my own experiences, personal opinion or by research I have done. I’m not getting anything from Disney by writing about this.)

So tonight, I’m going to give a brief explanation as to why everyone should visit Walt Disney World. It’s simple: IT’S AMAZING.

I know, that sounds very vague, but it’s true.

When my now husband and I were trying to figure out where to go on our honeymoon, I don’t remember why we decided on Disney World. We both had never been there before and we had always wanted to. And honestly, if I had the money, I would go back every year if I could. There is something magical about it, as silly and corny as it sounds. We’ve been there twice, the first time being our honeymoon and the second time for our 3 year anniversary. On January 3rd of 2017, we will be driving down for our third trip starting on the 4th. And this time, we’ve got Maddie to take with us!

So here are a few (and there are MANY) reasons why everyone should try to go to Disney at least once.

  1. The parks are immaculate. No joke, you will be hard pressed to find garbage or anything lying around. They go above and beyond to make sure that your park experience is magical, and rarely do they disappoint. Fun fact, they do not sell gum at Disney World, which is one way they can keep their parks clean.
  2. Kids get in free from newborn until they turn 3 years old. Hence why we are taking Maddie (twice next year, weirdly enough). She won’t need a ticket, won’t need a meal plan (she’ll share with us or we can buy her something separate), and she’ll be able to ride many of the big attractions. As long as the ride doesn’t have a height requirement, she is free to ride. For example, she will be able to ride “It’s a Small World” and the famous Dumbo ride. But she will not be able to ride Expedition Everest or Splash Mountain.
  3. There is something there for everyone. Some people thought we were weird wanting to go down for our honeymoon, but again, Disney goes above and beyond. Every step in the planning process, especially if you call, they always ask you if you are celebrating something specific. When we got there, we had buttons to wear that showed we were newlyweds and because we wore them, everywhere we went, people knew why we were there. We got special desserts, balloons, and many congratulations from people just because they saw our button. And honestly, we never felt like we were weird for being an adult couple at Disney. We chose restaurants that were a bit nicer than what we were used to and used the time to just be together. The last time we went down, I went and got a pedicure at my resort. I loved it! We talked about visiting there so much, that both of my best friends went there on their honeymoons.
  4. The food! Oh my goodness. Ken and I, both times now, have gotten the Deluxe Dining Plan (definitely check out the dining plans if you plan to go, such a great deal). With our meals, we got an appetizer, an entree and a dessert, plus a non-alcoholic beverage. We had SO much food. And they have some amazing restaurants. My husband’s favorite is the Yachtsman Steakhouse, which was our first dining reservation when we went for our honeymoon and a must when we go. They also have some awesome character dining experiences. This time around, we are making sure we hit a lot of those for Maddie. We especially are excited to hit “Be Our Guest” for dinner on our first night, a restaurant in Magic Kingdom devoted to Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite movies.
  5. The ease of transportation. Even though we drive down (all the way from southwest Ohio), the transportation on site is pretty amazing too. We especially love the monorail, which is connected directly to three of their Deluxe Resorts (Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and the Contemporary). When we went back for our 3 year anniversary, we stayed at the Grand Floridian (AMAZING), and I loved being able to just leave our room, go to the 2nd floor of the main building and hop on the monorail. The monorail from Grand Floridian goes to the Magic Kingdom and from there, you can hop on another one to lead you to Epcot. Other transportation includes buses, which most resorts have one that comes there, and a ferry that can take you from certain resorts to the Magic Kingdom. A big reason why we drive down is because we then have our own vehicle and do not need to rely on their transportation, but we have had pleasant experiences with all the transportation.
  6. The atmosphere. Again, it sounds corny but it really is a magical place. I honestly don’t care if we ever vacation anywhere else (we plan to, but I don’t need to). I would go to Disney any time.

I’m just scratching the surface. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting more about Disney World (mostly because we’re getting ready to head down there ourselves). Have you been to Disney? Let me know what I left out!!

Family is Everything

Family is Everything

It’s the little things in life that usually end up meaning the most.

On the 13th, I got to help celebrate my brother John’s 49th birthday. It was such a blessing and we had a great time!

For those that don’t know me or my family, earlier this year, John was diagnosed with colon and liver cancer. They can treat it, but they say its incurable. Doctors say that he will have plenty of years ahead of him, which is wonderful. And the treatments are doing what they are supposed to. They say incurable, but I say that nothing is incurable with God. God is in the business of performing miracles every day. I have no doubt that God can cure my brother.
So we will celebrate every birthday we can. And we’ll be there for each other through all of it. Because we are a family. And no matter what, we always have each others’ backs.
Starting tomorrow, I’m going to start a series of posts about our favorite place to vacation! I cannot wait to share it with you!! 

We’re Not Who We Once Were.

We’re Not Who We Once Were.

I saw a picture tonight on Facebook that really hit home to me. It was just a picture that said, “I’m definitely not the same person I was when year started”. This statement couldn’t be more true in mine and Ken’s lives, more mine than his. 

From the moment back in June of 2015 when I found out that I was pregnant with Maddie, my life changed. I had another person to think about. And even though she wasn’t in my arms yet, I knew that she would be soon enough.

The picture in this post was from May of 2015. I wasn’t pregnant yet and I was the matron of honor at my niece’s wedding. I thought a lot about myself and made decisions based on what I wanted. Ken and I made plans based on what we wanted to do. The day after this wedding, we went to a concert. The next month, we went to a WWE event. No worry in the world.

Fast forward to February 18th, 2016. Suddenly it stopped being about me and Ken. Suddenly, all my decisions dealt with Maddie. Any plans I made, I had to think about her. If we decided to go out, she went too. We’ve only had people babysit her twice since being born, otherwise she has been with us. My best friend got married back in October. Guess what? Maddie was with us. We were both in the wedding! I was the matron of honor. We had a full weekend of activities planned for the wedding. Maddie was there for all of it.

Her needs and wants have become my needs and wants. I live for her. I want her to be happy and as long as she’s happy, so am I. That’s how it should be! Before she was born, I would hop in the shower whenever I wanted, once a day, and take my time. Now, I either 1) Wait until she’s napping, 2) Wait until Ken gets home from work, or 3) Don’t shower that day. It’s simple. I would do anything for her, even if that means I go without.

She’s my world. And I would never go back to who I was before. Who I am now is who God meant for me to be, and I know how blessed I am.

16 Bible Verses for an Anxious Heart

16 Bible Verses for an Anxious Heart

The other day, I shared the story of my mom passing away. I shared it for several reasons. I want people that read my blog to know me and know why I am the person I am today. I also hope that by acknowledging that it happened and talking about my struggle with it, that it may give hope to someone else that may be dealing with something similar. Because of those reasons, I felt that I needed to write this blog and talk about what happened after losing my mom.

Not long after I had lost my mom, I started having trouble catching my breath every now and then. This concerned me a lot because that was the only symptom that my mom had of her heart attack initially. Eventually I decided that I really needed to go to the doctor and get checked out. What he diagnosed me with, I’ll admit, I didn’t expect.

He informed me that I was on the brink of having depression and anxiety. My one symptom was actually a symptom of anxiety and nothing to do with my heart. Instead of putting me on medication, which he really didn’t think I needed, he told me I should start exercising at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes. I was happy enough that it wasn’t anything heart related, but I did start working out a little bit more, which helped me get better.

Another thing that always helps me when I’m a bit anxious is reading God’s word and reading what He has to say about fear and anxiety. So today, I’m going to post 16 verses that I personally love dealing with the topic of fear and anxiety.

  1. 1 Peter 5:7 – Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
  2. Isaiah 41:10 – Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
  3. Philippians 4:6-7 – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passerby all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
  4. John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
  5. 2 Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
  6. Psalm 27:1 – The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
  7. Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
  8. Joshua 1:9 – Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
  9. Psalm 118:6-7 – The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The Lord taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.
  10. Mark 4:39-40 – And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are he so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
  11. Psalm 34:4 – I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
  12. Deuteronomy 3:22 – Ye shall not fear them: for the Lord your God he shall fight for you.
  13. Romans 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  14. Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
  15. John 16:33 – These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
  16. Psalm 73:26 – My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Those are just a few of many great verses to help with anxiety! Did I forget your favorite?? Comment and tell me what your favorite verse is!

10 Christmas Traditions to Start This Year

10 Christmas Traditions to Start This Year

I wanted to start off this post by thanking everyone who read the post about my mom. I got a lot of positive feedback about it and I am very blessed. You all are wonderful!

But back to happier topics! 

My favorite holiday is Christmas! I love everything about it! And now that we have our first child, there is just something more magical about Christmas this year. Ken and I had a discussion before Maddie was even born that even though she will learn about Santa Claus and believe in him, that we will make sure she knows the real reason why we celebrate Christmas. We want her to know about God sending down his only begotten son to save all of us from our sins. So I started looking at some traditions that we could start or continue to do as a family. Here is a list of ten that I am adding to our holiday!

  1. Reading the story of Jesus’ birth. My family never did that growing up, but Ken’s family does it every Christmas. We all gather around and several family members read passages out of the Bible giving an account of the birth of Jesus Christ. In doing this every year, we are reminded as to why we actually celebrate. Presents and Santa Claus are wonderful, but the birth of Jesus is just amazing.
  2. Set out an nativity scene or find a church that is doing a live nativity scene. One of the first things we bought when we were buying Christmas decorations was a nativity scene. Ken’s family actually has a list of which grandkid set up their nativity scene the year before, so everyone can have a turn. And several churches around our area are doing a live nativity scene. Check online or in your local paper to see if any churches around you are participating.
  3. Decorate the Christmas tree as a family. I have had such a wonderful time the last few years decorating the tree with Ken. This year, I can’t wait to see Maddie’s reaction to the tree! Spending the time together is always a blessing. You could also have a Christmas movie or some music playing in the background while you decorate.
  4. Watch all the Christmas classics. My all time favorite Christmas movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life” and I make it a point to watch it every year. I’m also a huge fan of “Charlie Brown’s Christmas”, “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Make some hot chocolate, put some festive pajamas on, make some popcorn and watch the movies together.
  5. Sing Christmas carols together. You could go caroling or just sing them together at your house like my family used to. One of my brothers would make up folders of music and we would all go into the living room and sing them together. It’s one of my favorite memories from the holidays.
  6. Buy a bunch of Christmas themed children’s books and read one a day until Christmas. I know people that wrap each book and give them as a gift every day until Christmas. And there are some great books out there! I recently bought one that actually talks about the real reason we celebrate Christmas! Make it a daily event, even if it’s right before bed!
  7. Do some random acts of kindness. It’s the time of year to love one another and that is an easy way to show it. I have had people pay for my drink in a drive thru or my entire meal! I’ve even had a guy give me $20 to help pay for diapers, just because. I have always wanted to secretly pay for someone’s meal or groceries. 
  8. Drive around and look at the Christmas lights. There are some people that go all out when it comes to decorating their house for the holidays and I love to look at all of them. And out here in the country, they’re easier to see without all the city lights shining all around. 
  9. Take some family pictures and make them into Christmas cards. If you go on Pinterest, there are a ton of amazing picture ideas for family pictures for Christmas. You can see if any of your photographer friends are doing any mini sessions or attempt to do the pics yourself. Either way, you’ll have that memory forever!
  10. Visit Santa Claus. This one was a big deal to me. I believed in Santa growing up and there is just something magical about believing in Santa. So as you can see in the picture, we already took Maddie to see Santa and it went really well! But do your research before you go! Some places allow you to take personal pics with a phone or a camera, and others won’t allow it and want you to buy a picture package, which can get pricey! We spent $40 on pics with Santa and that was Package D!

So what are some traditions your family do every year? What’s your favorite Christmas movie? Comment and let me know!!

Losing a Parent – What I Learned

Losing a Parent – What I Learned

This will probably be the hardest post I ever write but it’s the post that has been on my heart lately. I’m going to warn you now, this is going to get emotional. This post has been a work in progress for me for the past 10 years. In this post, I’m going to tell the story of my mom’s passing and what I’ve learned from it these last 10 years.

My mom was a wonderful woman. She was my biggest fan and someone I always knew that I could count on no matter what. She would fight battles for me and be there to just listen if I needed her to. She loved all six of us kids and definitely loved my dad. I was a mommy’s girl, which made all of this THAT much harder for me.

I was about a month away from turning 19 when she had her heart attack. She smoked the majority of her life and it was a big factor in her heart attack. On July 2nd, 2006, my mom woke up that morning and had trouble catching her breath. My dad decided that she needed to go to the hospital, so he drove her to the nearest one, which is about 25 minutes away from the house. When they arrived, they realized that my mom was having a heart attack. They decided to air-care her to Christ Hospital down in Cincinnati because they were an excellent heart hospital. They told my dad that it was just a minor heart attack, and she would probably be able to come home the next day. While that was taking place, my dad came back home, woke me up and told me what was going on. My oldest brother and his family were coming by to pick me and my dad up to head down to the hospital. I was hysterical. I never thought anything would happen to my mom. Once all of us siblings were in the loop, we all made our way to the hospital from wherever we were. By the time we arrived, a nurse came out of a room saying that they weren’t ready for us because my mom had just had a massive heart attack. I started bawling again and I remember hugging my niece Amber (who is only 4 years younger than me). We finally were able to talk to someone and they informed us that my mom had shot a clot through her heart, making a hole. The only way to possibly save her was to perform surgery to repair the damage done, but there wasn’t a guarantee that she would even make it through this surgery. It was really a no-brainer. My dad had them go through with the surgery, which ended up being over five hours long. Amazingly enough, she made it through the surgery and they repaired the damage, but they told us that the first 72 hours were critical. None of us wanted to have hope but it was hard not to. The next day (because that ALL took place on July 2nd), we went to visit my mom and she was actually awake. She had a breathing tube down her throat, so she couldn’t speak, but she was aware. She was asked if she knew who she was, what year it was, and how many kids she had. My oldest brother said she only had five, to which she adamantly shook her head ‘no’. I was so excited that she was awake and it seemed like, to me, that we were heading in the right direction. Before we left to go home that day, I told mom that we all loved her. She mouthed back “I love you too”.

The next day, they put her in a medically induced coma for several reasons. She apparently kept trying to pull her breathing tube out, which wasn’t good, and they wanted her body to relax so it could continue to heal itself. The next twelve days were kind of a blur. Things would look good and then things would look bad. She was still in her coma and because of that, they had to do things to help her circulation. One thing I remember is they brought in a type of bed that would rotate from side to side to keep her from getting bed sores. It was an odd contraption.

But on July 17th, the doctor sat down with my dad and informed him that my mom wasn’t going to make it. The doctor told my dad that she wasn’t really there anymore and that we could keep her on life support if we chose, but that nothing would get better. My dad was devastated, but knew what the right thing to do was. So the next day, with several family members by his side, he let my mom go. She passed away at 4:07pm on July 18th. She was 63 years old. The heart attack wasn’t even what ended up killing her. Because my mom was a smoker, she had developed chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Her lungs weren’t strong enough and her organs just started shutting down one by one. Her kidneys were next. So ultimately, she died from the infections due to the heart attack.

Okay…so now that I may have possibly made all of you cry, I’ll go on to the main point of this post.

I honestly didn’t know how to deal with losing a parent, or anyone really, at the age of 18. My mom was the closest person to me to pass away at that point and I, thankfully, had a friend of mine that had lost her mom at an even younger age that could help me through it. But it wasn’t easy. So here are 8 things that I learned from losing my mom.

  1. God knew what He was doing. I know that sounds insane of me, but just hear me out. I prayed. I prayed any chance I could for God to heal my mom. But as the days went on, and I could tell that things weren’t going great, I changed my prayer. I wanted my mom to live, but I also didn’t want her to suffer. Toward the end, she had lost circulation in her hands and feet. If she had survived, she would have had them amputated. She would have spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair, which I knew she would have hated. So, when I noticed that things were getting back, I prayed that God’s will be done. I wanted my mom to stay with me, but if God wanted her to be with Him in Heaven, that was okay too. And when we got the call that she had passed away, I bawled like a baby into my brother Matt’s shoulder. I was completely devastated. But I never questioned God. I knew that my mom would have been utterly miserable if she would have been put in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. So I think God knew what was best for her.
  2. You lean on the people that are closest to you more than ever. I had friends who were still in high school, going through band camp, who dropped everything to be at my mom’s funeral, with the band director allowing them to leave and come back. One of my best friends was celebrating her birthday and once they all found out that my mom had passed away, they all left the party (birthday girl included) to come and comfort me. All of us siblings leaned on each other for support. Two of my brothers were still living at home with me and dad, and we spent a lot of time together after that. Speaking of my dad, my relationship with him grew stronger too. To this day, I don’t know what I would have done without my dad. He has become one of my favorite people in the whole world and I’m so grateful that we grew closer.
  3. The first year is the worst. The first full year without mom was HORRIBLE. Every holiday was hard to get through. My oldest niece didn’t even want to celebrate her birthday that year. I missed quite a bit of class during my second year of college because I was just a mess. Every day that year was just as hard as the next. I honestly didn’t know if it would ever get better (spoiler alert: it does).
  4. Every major milestone in the family is bittersweet. Since my mom has been gone, I have graduated college, got married and now I have my first child. My oldest niece has also gotten married. Another niece of mine graduated college. One of my brothers is going to graduate college this coming year. And EVERY milestone, it’s hard to not wish mom were here. When I graduated college, my entire family was there to witness it. When they declared us graduates of the class of 2009, I cried. Partly because I was so happy to be done with college, but mostly because I felt mom should have been there.
  5. People will say that they understand what you’re going through. Unless they lost a parent EXACTLY the same way you lost yours, they really don’t. My brother had a friend who lost his mom to cancer. He told me that he could sympathize but not empathize. He knew what it was like to lose a parent, but not how it felt to lose a parent to cancer. I had a friend who compared me losing my mom to his losing his grandma. Again, he understood what it was like to lose a family member, but he didn’t lose his mom. No one completely understands what you’re going through unless they have gone through the same exact thing.
  6. It doesn’t necessarily become easier to deal with, but your normal changes. You become used to not having them there, which makes it easier to handle, but the pain never really goes away. Not completely. There are times I still cry, missing my mom that much. When I found out I was pregnant with Maddie, it made me happy but sad at the same time because Maddie would never know my mom, or Ken’s mom for that matter. Holidays are still bittersweet, but we’re used to the new normal, and that makes things easier, but never better.
  7. Take a lot of pictures. Do a family picture. We NEVER did that. We rarely took pictures and my mom HATED being photographed. Because of that, we don’t have many pictures to remember her by. I am almost obsessive about getting pictures of our little family. If, God forbid, something happens to one of us, we will have pictures to look back at.
  8. Do NOT take anyone for granted. We didn’t wake up back in 2006 thinking it would be the last time we saw mom. My husband didn’t realize that when he left the house back in 2009, that it would be the last time he saw his mom alive. You just NEVER know. I could have lost my dad back in 2012 when he had his heart attack, but thank God I didn’t. But after his heart attack, I made it a point to visit him more often. Even to this day, I visit him at least three nights a week and see him on Sunday after church for lunch. This is even more important now that Maddie is here. She LOVES her grandpa and it’s important to me that she has a relationship with both of her grandpas. But we don’t know what tomorrow has in store. So don’t hold grudges, practice forgiveness and grace, and make sure people know that you love them. Because you just never know.

I promise that my post tomorrow won’t be this sad, but I’ve really had this on my heart for the past few months and really wanted to get it out. Comments? Anything to add? Comment below!

Five Things I’ve Learned These Last Five Years

Five Things I’ve Learned These Last Five Years

Today, my husband and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary! I am very blessed to have such an wonderful, godly man in my life. We had a great afternoon together to celebrate.

Five years doesn’t seem like that long, but that’s still a significant amount of time. A lot can happen in five years! And in five years, you definitely learn a lot about yourself, your spouse and about marriage in general. So today, I’m going to give you five things that I’ve learned the last five years.

1) The first year of marriage is really, really rough. You move in with someone you’ve never lived with before and have to learn to live with this person! You learn their likes, dislikes, their quirks and what makes them tick. I can safely say that year number one was the hardest we’ve been through. Other than all the things I mentioned, my dad had a heart attack that year, which was very hard on me because of my mom and her passing away due to a heart attack. My husband had never dealt with anything like that before and had no clue why I felt the need to go to the hospital everyday just to sit around and talk to my dad, which causes some tension. But everything turned out okay and we survived the first year. So don’t get discouraged if the first year is a little tough. Things will get easier!

2) Communication is key. This is true in every relationship of any kind, but it is very pivotal in your marriage. Your spouse is not a mind reader, as much as you may want him to be. If you want something from them, tell them. If they are doing something you don’t like, tell them instead of giving them an attitude or the silent treatment. I don’t know how many times I assumed my husband would know exactly what I wanted and it would lead to disappointment. It’s not fair to you or them. Talking is so much easier!

3) There are big topics that you really should agree on. I’m not saying that some relationships can’t work if you don’t agree on certain things, but from my experience, it makes it difficult. Thankfully, my husband and I see a lot of things the same way. But we actually sat down and talked about big topics before we got married, to make sure we were on the same page. In my opinion, politics and religion are two huge things that should be probably agreed on before marriage. One of the biggest ones though is children. My husband and I knew before we got married that we were gonna wait a few years and then start a family, and that we wanted several children. That’s a big thing that needs to be addressed before it becomes an issue.

4) It’s the little things sometimes that mean the most. My husband loves it when I make him something to eat, because usually he is the one making the food for us. So when I actually try to make him dinner, he enjoys that. I like it when he takes the dogs out without me badgering him about it. Especially if it’s cold outside. Gestures of love don’t need to be expensive, they just need to come from the heart.

5) Even with all the things we’ve gone through in the last five years, I would do it all over again in a heart beat. Some days are going to suck, honestly. Some days you just want to be alone for a while and relax a little without them. But that is normal. Some days, he drives me absolutely nuts. But he’s mine and I don’t know what I’d do without him. He helps me get through all of life’s trials and does so without complaining. I thank God every day that He gave me exactly who I needed and not who I thought I wanted. I love him very much and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us and our family.

What have you all learned from your marriage? Any rude awakenings or were you not surprised at all? Feel free to comment and tell me all about it!!

The First Week Home After Delivery

The First Week Home After Delivery

So Maddie was born on February 18th and we were able to go home with her on February 20th. I was very grateful to get home and get back to what would be our new “normal”. I had never been admitted to the hospital before (aside from when I was born myself) and I was happy to get out of there. It was finally time for me to begin my dream of being a stay-at-home mom. What I didn’t really expect was how I would feel right out of the hospital. Here are things I learned the first week home with Maddie.

  1. Take advantage of any leave that your significant other receives from their work. My husband works Tuesday through Saturday from 4am until around 1pm. He joked with me that I needed to go into labor on a Thursday because he would be allowed only 3 days of leave for the birth of the baby, and then he would also have his normal Sunday and Monday off. Weirdly enough, that was exactly what happened. When we first got home, the FIRST thing I wanted to do was shower. I hadn’t showered in three days and I felt gross. So that was the first thing I did when I got home. Having him home those first few days was huge for me. I had a natural child birth, and I was in a good amount of pain once we got home. It didn’t help that I couldn’t drive for a certain amount of time after delivery as well, so I also had to rely on him to drive me anywhere I wanted to go. I was very grateful to have him there to help me whenever I needed it.
  2. You will probably feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, and possibly look like you’ve been hit by a truck. I had SEVERAL people tell me that I looked really pale right after having Maddie. The picture in this post is from day 6 after Maddie was born and I looked bad. My family doctor told me that I looked pale and wanted to make sure I was taking vitamins because I was losing a lot of blood (Which is normal, it’s just your uterus going back down to its normal size. This usually takes about 6 weeks.) but it was making me weaker and pale. Eating more protein and continuing to take my prenatal vitamins helped a lot with this. But unless you’re famous, don’t expect to look amazing after coming home.
  3. If you’re breastfeeding, you will feel exhausted and inadequate at times. The first week or so, baby’s stomach is the size of a cherry. But obviously it grows pretty quick and at times, I felt like I was starving Maddie because I would feel like I JUST fed her and suddenly she would be screaming to eat again. This is pretty normal too. I knew I had the milk supply, but I felt like the worst mom in the world when she would cry, especially when she would cluster feed and I had nothing to help her. Cluster feeding is when the baby will seriously want to eat pretty much all the time. Several times in an hour isn’t unheard of, but it’s exhausting. Once my milk came in completely and I could start pumping, it got a little easier. But even now, with her going on 10 months old, there are times that I feel like I’m not giving her enough. One indicator that you ARE doing enough is your baby’s diapers. As long as they are peeing and pooping a lot through the day, your baby is getting fed plenty and you have nothing to worry about.
  4. You will more than likely feel completely overwhelmed most of that week. A lot of that comes from sleep deprivation, at least for me it did. I wanted to be the best mom in the world and I felt like I failed quite a bit that first week. But just remember, you’re learning just as much as your baby is learning. You’re learning your baby’s cues, what certain cries mean, what they like and what they don’t. Your baby is learning how to exist in general. Very overwhelming for both of you. It is okay to feel overwhelmed. But if you are really having a rough time, call someone and ask for help. Never be ashamed to ask for help. The best moms sometimes need help and advice from others.
  5. You will learn how to do regular, every day tasks as quickly as possible. I realized that if I wanted a shower while Ken was at work, I had to make sure I had the baby monitor, that Maddie was asleep and that she was safe. Then I would make a mad dash to the shower and finish in record time, usually just around the time Maddie would be waking up. One day, I was having people come over to visit and Ken wasn’t home yet, so I had to tidy up the house as much as I could by myself. So, I had purchase a Baby Carrier (the one I got is here: Infantino Advanced Convertible Carrier), I put Maddie in it and got some cleaning done. It wasn’t exactly easy, but it worked out and she slept the whole time.
  6. As silly as it sounds, I learned that I had never loved anything or anyone as much as I loved my little girl. People say that as soon as they see their baby, that it was love at first sight. That might not happen for everyone, but it did for me. I couldn’t believe that God had blessed me so much with such a beautiful little girl and my heart overflowed with joy and love at the sight of Maddie. I never knew I could love someone or something as much as I love that little girl. And as hard as the first week home was, and believe me it was rough, I would do it all over again for her. I would relive all the craziness, the sleepless nights, the hysterical crying from hormone changes and lack of sleep, feeling like a milk machine, and just being dependent on people, just to relive bringing my baby into the world. There truly is nothing like it.

Did I miss something? What is something you learned when you brought your baby home from the hospital? I would love to hear some of your comments!!

My Birth Story – A First Time Mom’s Perspective

My Birth Story – A First Time Mom’s Perspective

I believe the best way to start out this journey into blogging is to tell everyone the story of how my beautiful daughter made her way into the world. I will say, just from talking to other moms, my birth story is probably not what commonly happens. Women are not all the same, and because of that, no two stories are going to be alike. I was very fortunate that Madeline made it very easy on me, but my next child may not be. So take all of this with a grain of salt. Here are a few interesting facts about my pregnancy, my labor and my delivery.

  1. The only reason I took a pregnancy test to begin with was out of sheer boredom. Yes, you read that right. My husband and I had decided six months earlier to start trying to possibly have a baby, but nothing had been happening. I was home alone one Monday night, watching WWE Raw (yes, I’m a wresting fan), and decided to take a test for the heck of it. I wasn’t having any morning sickness, hadn’t missed my cycle yet, I just felt like taking a test. I actually kinda shrugged off the test after I initially took it, thinking that it would just be negative…until I started to notice a second pink line. I just sat there in disbelief.
  2. The only symptom I had initially of being pregnant was having to pee…a lot. The night before I actually took a test, I noticed that I had been having to pee more than usual, but again, didn’t think much of it. I had no other symptom and having to pee could have been easily a side effect of drinking too much sweet tea, or even an infection of some sort. So I didn’t think anything of it. But it is actually a fairly common symptom of pregnancy.
  3. The first two people we told were our dads. As I mentioned in my previous post, both of our moms have passed away, mine to a heart attack and his in a car accident. So it meant a lot to us, even though I had literally just taken the tests, that our dads would know about the baby first. The next person I told was my sister, and she was ecstatic. By the time I was through the first trimester, all our siblings knew, along with our nieces and nephews.
  4. Up until I was through the first trimester, I kept taking pregnancy tests. As crazy and ridiculous as that sounds, I was terrified about losing my baby. Being a first time mom and not really knowing how any of this was supposed to go, I literally would feel any kind of twinge of pain and I was pulling out a pregnancy test to make sure I was still pregnant. From being in other mom groups online, I’ve found out that doing that is completely normal as well, just a little pricey at times! Do not feel embarrassed if you feel the need to do this. It gave me peace of mind until we started hearing the heart beat every appointment.
  5. I never got morning sickness. I was VERY thankful for that. I won’t say that it is common to not get morning sickness because honestly, I feel like it’s more common to get it. I also did things to try to prevent it. The best thing I found that may or may not have helped was a product called Sea-Bands (you can find them here: Sea-Bands). They are an acupressure band that you wear on your wrist in just the right spot and it is supposed to keep you from getting nausea. I wore them especially at night time, but occasionally during the day and especially during the first trimester. I will wear them the next time I’m pregnant too. I would completely recommend these to anyone.
  6. You can look online and find old wives tales that are supposed to give you insight as to which gender your baby is. Now, it may have been sheer coincidence, but most of the old wives tales that I looked at, definitely pointed to a girl for me. I’ll probably post a whole blog about this at some point. But to name a few: Maddie’s heart rate was always above 150bpm (beats per minute), I wanted more sweet foods than salty (and that’s not me at all), Ken gained some weight along with me, and my skin was more soft than usual. I also had a dream at one point in my pregnancy that I was going to have a girl. So when it came to the ultrasound day, Ken was hoping for a boy, but had already assumed it would be a girl, just based on everything I told him and just my feeling alone. I really felt like I was going to have a girl. Now, I don’t know if that was wishful thinking on my part, but I never once thought my baby was going to be a boy.
  7. Toward the end of your pregnancy, they will start checking to see if you are dilated or not and to see if you’re making any progress or if the baby is in position or not. And do not just assume that since you’re however many centimeters dilated, that it means the baby will be born soon. I have a friend that was so excited to be dilated 3cm and swore that her baby would be there any day, and she ended up having to be induced and ultimately, she had an emergency c-section a week overdue. I, on the other hand, went to my doctor and was never dilated. They would tell me that I was a fingertip dilated. That’s nothing. So I just assumed that Maddie would be just about on time or even late. I never expected for her to be 10 days early and I certainly didn’t expect my water to break at home. THAT was an odd moment. It was February 18th at 1:15 in the morning. I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, nothing unusual there. Just as I was getting up to finish and head back to bed, I felt and heard a pop down there and froze. I sat back down on the toilet and weighed my options. I was about 99.9% sure that my water had just broke. It was a Thursday morning and my husband would be waking up in about two hours to get ready to leave for work. I put a pad on and walked into the bedroom to wake Ken up. Scared him half to death too. I told him that he needed to call the hospital and talk to the doctor on call because I was fairly certain that my water had broke and if it had, then I needed to get to the hospital because there was a risk of infection since it had broke. So sure enough, the doctor wanted me to come in. And even though my water broke and I was in active labor, when they did check me at the hospital, I was still JUST a fingertip dilated. So being dilated isn’t necessarily an indicator that the baby will be here soon.
  8. Side note, EAT before you get to the hospital. I kid you not, you’ll want to do this!! Even if you aren’t horribly hungry, which I wasn’t, MOST hospitals will not give you food once you are admitted and definitely won’t give you food after any epidural. It’s ice chips until after delivery. So on the way to the hospital, we stopped at UDF (because what else is open at 2am), and he bought us some donuts. I ate half of one, but at least it was something.
  9. Once you get to the hospital, you’ll probably start out in triage to make sure you’re actually in labor. They will check you and see if you’re dilated and see if you’re having regular contractions. In my case, again not the norm, I was sitting in a wheelchair and when I got up, they saw a puddle of water. It was PRETTY obvious that my water had broke, so they called up to the labor floor and asked if I could just be admitted. According to the What to Expect When You’re Expecting website, only 15% of women have their water break before they get to the hospital. So I was definitely not the norm in this case.
  10. We were told in our birthing class all about different coping mechanisms for pain while in labor. We even practiced some at home. There are all different kinds, from different exercises, to the epidural itself. And you may end up changing your mind when you get in the hospital and it all becomes real. Some people are all about the natural child birth and to them, I tip my hat. I knew going in that I wanted pain management. I tried for quite a few hours to just relax, breathe through the contractions. I even sat on a birthing ball for a bit, but they kept losing Maddie’s heart rate on the monitor, so I had to get back into bed. But no matter how you feel about any of the pain management options, just know your body. I KNEW I wanted the epidural, even though I have a HUGE phobia of needles. I also didn’t like pain and that trumped my fear of needles. Once you get the epidural, you are bed ridden until after you deliver. You can still feel your legs, but they are wicked heavy. And I’m sure someone is wonder about using the bathroom. With me, they had nurses come in every so often and use a form of a catheter to empty my bladder. Aside from seeing my contractions and not feeling them, that was the weirdest thing…knowing that you are peeing, but you can’t feel it.
  11. Once you get an epidural, you will more than likely also be put on a something to induce labor. An epidural is wonderful, but it also is known to slow down the labor process. So as soon as I got the epidural, they also put me on an IV drip of pitocin to help move labor along. I don’t remember exactly when I got my epidural, but I was only 1.5cm dilated at the time and after they started to induce me a little bit, it sped up the process significantly. I went into the hospital at around 2:30-3am and by about 3:30pm, I was fully dilated and ready to push.
  12. I thought that my epidural had worn off, which can happen and they can give you a small re-dose to help out. But what actually was happening with me, my body was trying to tell me that it was time to push. I didn’t feel a lot of pain but a lot of pressure in my back and the epidural wasn’t helping that. They had me do once practice push and told me to stop because the doctor wasn’t there yet and if I pushed again, we would have a baby. Once the doctor showed up, I probably pushed for about 20-25 minutes and then we had our baby girl.

All in all, I was shocked at how fast it all went and how easy labor and delivery seemed. My doctor and the nurses that helped me were amazing and kept encouraging me and reassuring me that everything was going great. We had visitors until the late hours of the night the first day and throughout the next day and a half. I was very blessed and very thankful that it went as smoothly as it did. The doctor told me and my husband that my body was just meant to have babies, meaning that it made it easy and simple for me to easily deliver a baby.

 

So what do you guys think? Anyone have a similar experience? What was your birth story like? Comment below and let me know how it went for you!!

A New Adventure

A New Adventure

Hey everyone!! I’m pretty excited to be finally posting on my blog, One Blessed Life. This has been a long time coming and I’m really pumped about getting to share my life with everyone. This post is going to be more of a “Who I Am” post, but I will be posting a lot about my life, my baby, and things that pertain to my life. I hope that things I write about will help others in some way.

To start this off, my name is Rachel Fountain. I’m twenty-nine years old and I’m from a small town named Blanchester in Ohio, where I was born and raised. I’m the youngest of six children (four boys and two girls) and we span three different decades. My oldest sibling was born in 1960 and I was born in 1987. And before anyone asks…yes, we are all biological siblings. No, I really don’t think I was an “oops” baby. My parents had three children (1960, 1963 and 1967) and then didn’t have another baby for twelve years (1979, 1982 and 1987). But that is all beyond the point.

I graduated from high school in 2005 in the top 20 of my class and went on to Wilmington College, where I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education in 2009. In July of 2006, my mom passed away due to infections following a massive heart attack. That event shaped me into the person I am today for sure and I honestly didn’t know at the time how important it would become.

In May of 2010, I met the man that I would end up marrying. His name is Kenneth and we met at a baseball game outing with our Sunday School class from church. Before we even started dating, my best friend in my class informed me that Kenneth and I had a lot in common, that he had lost his mom back in 2009 in a single car accident. I jokingly told her that I would probably end up marrying him.

Fast-forward to November of 2010 and he asked me to marry him after dating for four months. December 3rd of 2011, we became husband and wife and went on our honeymoon to Disney World (another huge interest of mine that I will probably write about from time to time.

The first year of marriage was rough. Everything was going fine until my dad had a heart attack in August of 2012. That was the hardest time for me and for our marriage. But we came out of it and everything was fine. That’s a story for another time.

Fast-forward again and in June of 2015, we found out that we would be adding to our family. Our first child was on their way. From the first day, I had a strong feeling that our child was going to be a girl. And sure enough, when we went for our ultrasound about halfway through, we found out that our baby was a girl. We already knew that she was going to be named after our moms’ and their middle names. So our daughter was going to be Madeline (Ken’s mom was Valma Madeline) Jeanne (my mom was Carole Jeanne).

Madeline Jeanne made her way into the world on February 18th, 2016. She was 10 days early. She weighed 9 pounds, 15 ounces and 22 inches long. Best Day Ever.

There’s a lot more I could add about my life and who I am, but I have plenty of time for that and plenty more blog posts to go.

We’re just scratching the surface.