Twenty-Sixteen 52 Weeks: January





I'll admit I'm the biggest slacker when it comes to keeping my photography on point. With two littles now, the idea of lugging my camera around makes me tired just thinking about it, but at the same time, I don't want to miss out on capturing those special moments. While the i-phone is handy, I still want to capture moments and keep my "art" close to my heart. Thus, I took on a 52 week challenge. These pictures recap the month of January nicely, imho. #my52journey

Spilled Thoughts



The sun is setting, and I find myself once again marveling at the idea I've survived another day with two under two. I'm still trying to get back into the swing of things, but I wanted to give myself a few weeks of grace before trying to pick up a more regular routine!

Ella is the sweetest, most content baby. She sleeps & eats like a champ! Honestly, I'm surprised at how easy she has been to care for. I'm loving the baby snuggles, and occasionaly find myself shedding tears over the reality that she is HOME, and she is HERE...and my due date is still days away. Hormones are a funny thing. ;)

Evie has adjusted fairly well. She giggles anytime the baby makes noise, and likes to "pat" her on the arm or tummy. The only time we've noticed jealousy, is whenever she needs us, and we've got the baby in our arms. I can't blame her. I just love watching her admire her sister, and I think they will be the best of friends very soon.

The roughest part for us over last few weeks, was last weekend when Evie has the WORST teething episode yet. She's cutting two teeth (one of which is a molar) at once. She typically runs fever, and gets yucky diaper rashes whenever she teeths. Friday, she cried most of the day, so Josh and I just took turns holding her. Broke my heart!!

Tomorrow will be the first time I've had to cook dinner. Our friends & family showered us with meals for 1 1/2 weeks, plus they stocked our fridge. I joked with Josh that it may be hard for me to return to the world of cooking. Ha! I'm kidding. Sort of. ;-)

Other random news: I'm finally caught up on When Calls The Heart again, and I'm not catching up with Downton Abby. I just finished season thre of Downtown, and my goodnesss, what a stinky way to end that season! I may have to send Josh to the store for season 4. Also, I feel the need to start drinking tea in the afternoon. Any brands that you lovely ladies may recommend??

Thank you so much for the congratulations, and well wishes. You blog readers are truly the sweetest friends. I'm thankful.

2015: A Year of Blessings & Lessons Learned



I've had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that 2015 blissfully sailed away, and we have entered into the world of 2016. In some ways, I was very happy to see last year fade away, yet in other ways, I feel like it went by so very fast!

January::

The year started off with our crawling baby girl who learned to say "Dada, and Daddy" in one day. It was her first word, and she lit up like a candle whenever she said it. It was as if she truly understood that it was her first word. Who knows! Maybe babies do understand. Ha! ;-)

February::

In February, I turned 30. I thought it would have felt a LITTLE different, but of course, it didn't. I think we celebrated with coffee & chocolate. I also started toying with the idea of shutting down Mrs. Southern Bride (my former blog), and creating a fresh new place to "blog". Hence, Joshua's Girl was born, and it's been a wonderful transition.

March::

I wrote my first blog post! We had a lot of winter weather, so we spent a lot of time at home. It was a rather slow, and bliss filled month.

April::

We celebrated 6 years of marriage with a day trip to Hot Springs, a small, toursity town not to far from our hometown. We ate, shopped, and drank way to much coffee. It was also the first time Evie spent the weekend away from us. I may or may not have cried a few tears on the second day she was away from us. We also painted our living room/great room which turned out lovely! We also payed off Josh's car which was a HUGE blessings for us.

May::

Our world turned upside down when I figured out that I was expecting again!!! I ended up taking four tests before I got a positive. We waited another day before telling our parents. We bought a cute "Best Sister Ever" shirt for Evie to wear when our parents came over. It took a bit for them to figure out our secret. We were over the moon, but also madly scrabling to figure out how we were going to handle a second pregnancy so quickly! The Lord has a great humor is all I can say. ;-)

June::

Evelynn Grace turned one years old!! We had SO much fun planning every little detail of her Minnie Mouse party. Josh designed the announcements, my mom made the cupcakes, Josh's mom made her famous pasta salad, and tons of family helped us celebrate. I shared some of her party details here.

July::

I had nausea during the 7-10 weeks of pregnancy, so I layed pretty low. Most days we watched a LOT of tv to keep little britches preoccupied. Lemon water was my saving grace once again! We also got to see a tiny heartbeat for the first time. :)

August::

The dog days of summer arrived. My little brother visited us for a few days. I spent most of the month reading, cleaning, and prepping our home for fall cleaning.

September::

We found out another little girl would be joining our family!! I think Josh all but passed out. ;-) We finalized her name. I also blogged about my fall bucket list!

October::

My favorite month of the year arrived, and I dove head first into all things pumpkin. Imagine that! I participated in the 31 Days of Blogging event in hopes to challenge myself. It was fun! I also participated in my first ever blogging Fall Swap. :)

November::

We started gearing up for the babies arrival but knocking out a ton of last minute shopping, nusery prepping, and further "baby proofing" the house for our toddler. My doctor reminded me to start toning it down, and we agreed to monitor closely for any signs of pre-term labor (I had Evie at 36 weeks). Thanksgiving was cut short when I came down with Strep, and had to spend a lot of time at home over the course of the weekend.

December::

We enjoyed celebrating the season early on with some of our close friends by hosting an "Ugly Christmas Sweater" party. It was so much fun! We found out I was already dialating at my 34 week appointment, so my doctor told me to cool it down a few notches. We spent most of our time at home for a few days, before I ended up in labor. I spent 24 hours in the hospital on Christmas Day, and returned home on strict bed rest. We watched alot of movies, and Netflix throughout the last week of December.

She's Here! So thankful.


The last two weeks have been the toughest of my life thus far. I'm not a dramatic person, so when I say that, I'm not trying to make something more than it is. I know many people have gone through much worse, and honestly, parents who have gone through this before me our now my heroes.

It started on Christmas day when I noticed some fairly strong contractions. I had already had a scare a few weeks before, so I brushed them off as braxtons. We continued with our plans, and were on our way to his parents. But, the contractions continued much stronger & closer together. We decided it would be better off to visit triage than to risk it per my doctor's advice. So we headed to the hospital not really sure what to think. An hour later I was checked into the hostpiatl, dialted to a five, 80% effaced, and having regular contractions. By the time I was started on IV fluids, I started crying because I realized the possibility of having a 34 week preemie was becoming very real, and honestly, that terrified me.

The doctor on duty that day said he would try his best to stop labor, then we would see where I had progressed the next morning. My contractions slowed down by the time I had been given medication. By the next day, I hadn't progressed at all, so they sent me home with meds, and instructions for strict bed rest.

Strict bed rest with a toddler is pretty much non existint so Josh decided to take the week off. Between him, and our parents helping, I stayed put on the couch until the following weekend. But, not without a second hospital stay (regular contractions again), and two other triage visits. My emotions were all over the place, because my body was wearing down, and I knew they wouldn't be able to keep labor off much longer.


On January 3rd, I woke up feeling better than I had all week, and eerily my contractions were non-existent. Call it intuition, but I knew that "burst of energy" feeling, and that it wouldn't be much longer. I pacified myself with re-packing my hospital bag, sending Josh to store for a few pantry items for the  house, and trying to rest on the couch. By mid-morning the contractions returned steady, and that "feeling" you get when labor is immenent really hit me hard. The contractions continued to strengthen, so I timed them each hour. I tried resting on my side, laying down, and walking through them to determine if it was the real thing. They continued throughout the day slowly getting closer. Knowing we would be heading to the hospital at some point that night, we headed to Josh's parents house. I wanted Evie snug at her grandparents house that night, rather than being woke up and whisked away in the middle of the night. I'm so thankful that worked out, and was one thing I had prayed for.

This time, triage was routine, and most of the nurses had met me at that point (five visits in one week? I dubbed myself frequent flyer). I cried because my doctor wasn't on duty. I cried because even though we had made it to 36 weeks, there was still a chance she would be pre-mature. I also cried with relief, because I knew my body was done, and there wasn't anything stopping it.

Thankfully, my contractions slowed again, so I made it through the night with very little progress. I say thankfully, because it bought baby girl more time (every hour counts!), but also, my doctor was on duty that day!! I haven't felt that excited or relieved in a LONG time. She knew how horrific my previous delivery had been, and how desperate I was to have her deliver for me. And it was literally a walk in the park in comparison.

The hard part came seconds after she was delivered. There were breathing problems, and other issues. Even though Evie had been delievered at 36 weeks, the doctors think she was closer to 37 and didn't declare her a preemie. So, this was a new world to us. I was pretty dazed that day, and finally got to visit her in the NICU that evening. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I had failed to think through the process that she would be hooked up to so many wires. It broke my heart. It also hurt not to hold her until she was 24 hours old.


Every day was a waiting game. Slowly, but surely her condition improved, but my adrenaline eventually crashed on the third day. My toddler was an hour away with her other grandparents, and we had been seperated for five days at that point. My husband needed to return to work (he had already been off 1 1/2 weeks due to my bed rest). I was trying to recover in a boarders room at the hosptial, but let me just say staring at hospital walls, being in pain, and having very little order to my life about set me off the edge. I just reminded myself that the girls needed me to be strong. Every day I would visit, sometimes getting to hold her, sometimes just staring and crying. There isn't much privacy, so I got used to crying in front of strangers.

On Friday, I lhit my breaking point. I don't think I have ever felt so low. They had tried to slowly ween her off ox that day, only for her to start breathing too fast again. She was also jaundiced and had to be put under the lights, so we couldn't hold her until the next day. It just felt a bit too much, so Josh whisked me away to visit Evie at her grandparents house.

I felt like the worst parent in the world leaving the hospital, but I desperately needed time with Evie. Her snuggles made me feel much more relaxed, and less anxious about the seperation. She still loves me. ;-) We realized we needed to make plans, as the doctors gently reminded us it could be a few more days, or even weeks of her remaining at the hospital. Somehow, we made peace with that, made our plans, and headed back to the hospital. It was very late that night, and the nurse on duty cheerfully announced she was doing great! Apparently, after we left, they removed the oxygyn, and she was doing GREAT. She passed the five hour mark, and if everything went smoothly through the night, they would move her to our room the next day.


The next morning, we woke up to our little sugar bear getting to spend the day with us in our room! Holding her without wires was amazing. We snuggled the rest of the day, and slowly but surely, it felt like maybe life would be returning to normal. Our nurse stopped by and said the pediatrician planned to discharge us the following morning after being seen.

Two weeks of living in limbo, and feeling very disoriented about everything, we are all home as a family of four. Our Ella Bug is doing great, and she received another thumbs up at our follow up appointment.

I am thankful that He proved His faithfulness again. Also, NICU parents are my heroes. I won't stop thinking about them or the families that were still there, and had a long way to go. It's humbling, and heart wrenching.

It has also reminded me to count my blessings. I am so thankful for our Elleanor Faith. She's already taught us so much.