Friday, June 27, 2014

Our Anniversary- the sequel to the sequel

I'm looking forward to getting back to blogging regularly, and (knock on every wooden surface available) I will be able to soon because Dax slept through the night for the first time last night!!!!!! Shock and awe, people. Shock and awe. I feel like a new woman with a mushy belly and super cute sidekick. He's discovering the world around him at an alarmingly fast rate; and while I miss my sweet bundle of newborn squishyness, realizing there is life outside of "I have a newborn" exhaustion is pretty awesome too.

Last week Josh and I celebrated THREE years of marriage!!! <-- three exclamation marks for posterity. On the actual day (the 18th- a boring Wednesday), we celebrated by sharing sweet messages throughout the day. Well, okay so they weren't sweet so much as we didn't bicker. Same thing. Josh brought home dinner from Copper River and we ate some delicious food and hung out with our main man Daxon. It was pretty awesome.

We were baaaaabies.
Then on Saturday, we packed up -what felt like our entire house- and dropped kiddo off with Josh's parents so we could spend the day together. I only called a million few times to check on him and my wonderful mother-in-law entertained my paranoid new mom questions and sent me pictures of my babe enjoying the day being shown off to anyone who would hold still.

our sweet boy is so very loved!

Josh and I then trucked it up to Asheville for the day. Nursing/pumping mamas- going out for the day is a whole new ball game when you have to plan your schedule of events around pumping breaks. Kudos to all ladies who do this. Pumping in the car was a new experience as well. I managed though and we had a great time!

We parked downtown and walked a bit, taking in the sights of a neat craft fair going on in a little park. I say it was a craft fair; for all I know those people are there every week, but it was cool nonetheless. We then ate lunch at our favorite- Tupelo Honey Cafe. Hang on while I wipe away my drool just thinking about it. I've never had anything I didn't love and their raspberry tea is the bomb.

These ladies were happy, happy, happy. Never seen one of these before!
After we walked around downtown for a bit we found our way to Mast General Store. I know some of you may be laughing at us wondering why we didn't just go to downtown Greenville. We could have done the same things there. I know, I know. We like what we like, and we liked that we could enjoy those things in a different place. It gave the experience a whole new vibe and felt like we were really far away, but enjoying things we loved that were familiar, which was cool. At Mast General Store I scored some Earl Grey lip balm -it is sooo good- and we indulged in some glass bottle soda.

We tried to keep our anniversary celebration as budget friendly as possible with me on maternity leave and this was so much fun, but pretty cheap as well.

After we meandered around downtown we made our way about 10 minutes out to the WNC Nature Center. If you like zoo type activities or have kids that do, check this place out! It was so much fun! We took a ton of pictures here and can't wait to take Dax when he's old enough to really enjoy it. Josh's favorite parts were the otters and the bear and deer. Mine were the snakes, pumas, and bears. Really cool. It's got enclosures you walk around and visit like a zoo, but the enclosures really embrace the natural landscape and you feel more like you're on a nature trail than at a zoo! Our only regret- they don't have a gift shop. That's the cheesy tourists in us though. We ended our trip by stopping at a roadside produce stand and buying some delicious boiled peanuts!

 Couples who enjoy being weird together, stay together. 

All in all we really enjoyed our day away. I was so excited to get back to my munchkin and smother him with obnoxious mommy kisses, but it was really nice to spend some quality alone time with my love to reconnect after surviving the first two months as parents.

Our lesson for this year I will be writing in our wedding photobook is this- All good things happen in God's timing. This lesson was and is being taught to us on lots of levels; Dax being a big one.

We can't wait to see what next year's anniversary adventure holds for us. I love you Josh and am so thankful you chose me to be your baby mama. :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Baby Story

I'm blowing off the dust from my poor neglected blog to share what I have been soaking in and savoring for the last little while. The story of my son's arrival. *disclaimer- it's long.*

My little's name is not very traditional; it's not something you'll find in baby name books and if you do there is no "meaning" behind it. In truth I had a student my first year teaching with that name. He was an awesome kid (and I'm sure still is) and I loved his name. It always stuck with me and was an immediate favorite for a boy name when Josh and I found out we were pregnant.

So, I have decided to assign his name a meaning based on the lesson God chose to teach me through praying and waiting for, carrying, and delivering this bundle of joy. Forevermore the name Daxon to me will mean "patience".

After 2 years of waiting, praying, believing, and working with my doctor, God blessed us with our miracle. Then we waited to find out he was a boy. We waited anxiously to feel and see him move. We waited to find out whether or not I was diabetic. We waited to find out whether or not he was too big. We waited for labor. And most of all- we waited for April; for springtime and the Easter bunny and the greatest gift we have ever been given.

Sweet little profile.
I loved being pregnant. LOVED. IT. I had a very smooth pregnancy that was boring and predictable, for the most part. Second trimester was spent dealing with headaches/migraines and getting a horrible virus that just about ruined Christmas for me. Third trimester started and the headaches disappeared and left a sweet spot for me in pregnancy.  As my belly grew and my baby boy wiggled and we prepared I fell more and more in love with the new chapter in our lives we were about to embark on!

The last time I remember feeling good. About 38 weeks.
Two weeks before my due date my blood pressure began to play games. I was swollen, but what pregnant woman isn't at 38 weeks? I was still working, but each day felt like a marathon. The stress caused my blood pressure to rise at work to uncomfortable levels, but once I got home or to the doctor it came back down. After a week or two of that my doctor recommended I stop work. I was instructed to rest and keep my feet up. And I did. You would think those two weeks would have been a dream- enjoying time to myself and preparing to meet my baby; watching tv and taking naps. It was awful. I was experiencing something called "prodromal labor"- it basically means false labor that has no certain starting or stopping point. I was having consistent, painful contractions on and off; so much so that we did end up at the hospital once but there was no significant progression that would allow active labor to start. For 14 days I fought through night after night of contractions, back pain, and only 2-3 hours of sleep. I couldn't sleep lying down so I was confined to the recliner in the nursery. I became an irritated, swollen, miserable, pregnant mess. I wanted my baby to come on his own, but I also had a hunch that wasn't going to happen unless my water broke. With every contraction I could feel him move down, but as soon as it was over he would move back up. Someone was enjoying his bouncy waterbed.

left- juuuust waiting right- the bump picture that ended up being my last day of work

At my 40 week appointment my doctor told me to hang in there. He felt sure labor was just a couple days away. Until I went to my 41 week appointment. I was still a few days shy of 41 weeks, but my swelling had begun to get worse and was now "pitted" (meaning if you push down on it there would be a dent left behind- it was weird), and my blood pressure was continuing to shoot up and come back down to normal. At that appointment my doctor, Joshua, and I felt although baby was content- my body was done and to keep any serious complications from arising I was sent to the hospital that evening to begin preparing to be induced.

left- our last family photo as two! hello puffy everything. right- on our way to the hospital

We got settled in a high risk room for the night and it took SEVEN different sticks into my arms and hands to get an IV placed. Yuck.

the view was beautiful!
 left- got in a fight with a porcupine. and lost. right- here we go! nervous and excited parents to be.

We tried to get some sleep because we were supposed to be transferred to labor and delivery and pitocin was supposed to be started by 6am. Hence the use of the word "supposed". Turns out the full blood moon was quite effective and every single l&d room was booked. Until 12pm. Once we got moved and settled into the new room they checked me- I was 3cm and 50% effaced so they got the pitocin started but did not break my water. Doctor didn't want to do that yet and I agreed, but silently I knew that my waterbed loving baby wasn't going to get moving while he could still bounce around in there. They cranked the pitocin up and up and up. They chased Daxon around in my belly. In fact they came in and did a brief sonogram to make sure he was still head down since they were having so much trouble keeping track of his heartbeat. They cranked the pitocin more. No progress. Family came and went. I got frustrated and overwhelmed. We had all waited so long and the waiting seemed like it was never going to end! I felt like a pot of water on the stove. Everyone watching and waiting for me to boil. At 7 pm it had been well over 24 hours since I had eaten or drank anything, so they decided to take me off the monitors and pitocin and give me the evening to eat and drink and rest. I was so incredibly grateful for that. I ate everything in sight (because I knew the next day I would be back to ice chips and popsicles) and drank as much water and coke as I could to stave off a caffeine headache (spoiler- didn't work). And we slept.

Early the next morning, it was game on. I was making sure my bladder was nice and empty and my doctor popped in pumped and ready to go and carried on a conversation with me while I finished my business. It was hilariously awkward but it made me laugh and I knew today would be a great day. They hooked me back up. He was still being really stubborn and hard to keep up with, so when my doctor came back to check me, he also broke my water and put an internal monitor on Dax so I could move around without worrying about losing his heartbeat with the belly monitor. That was a great thing because it was just as I suspected- as soon as my water broke labor hit. And it hit hard! I progressed from 2-3 cm to 5cm in about 30 minutes. Without his squishy waterbed baby boy decided to surrender and come on down. I labored without pain medicine for a couple hours. I hated laying down and did best standing and rocking back and forth. I gladly took the epidural around 6 cm. My family began to arrive and were thrilled to see things progressing- the atmosphere was excited and energetic- we knew today would be the day.

The last photo of him in my belly- reppin' my tiger stripes. :)
This man. He was amazing. Such an incredible support and coach. And the Popsicle. Loved the Popsicles.
Labor with an epidural is incredibly easy- not going to lie. It's different for every woman, but for me I was thankful that I could still feel my belly contract. I knew when my contractions were because I wasn't too numb. It helped me still feel connected to my labor. Around 6pm the medicine began to wear off a bit and I requested a re-dose to get me through pushing because I was 8-9cm at that point and knew it would be soon. The lady that re-dosed me gave me waaay to much and to make a long story short- it stalled me at 9.5 cm for almost 2 hours. All I had was a "lip" (sorry if that's tmi) left and it took forever to go away. During this time even with the epidural I was feeling extreme pressure and began wanting to push. I couldn't yet and it got really intense having to work through each contraction moment by moment so that I would not get overwhelmed or afraid. Finally around 8pm the doctor checked me one last time and said it was time to go!!!

My nurse coached me on how to push and told me not to get down if it takes 2-3 hours to push since I'm a first time mom. I don't remember whether or not I told her, but in my head I knew it wasn't going to take that long. I was ready to meet my boy. The nurse counted the first few pushes. Josh, my mom, and mother in law took turns holding my legs, and my youngest sister dropped ice in my mouth when I requested it. I'll never forget us laughing in the midst of it all because she put hand sanitizer on her hands at one point and it made the ice taste awful! I made her wash her hands. I kept my eyes closed and focused solely on my body and the contractions, because at this point I could feel everything going on as my baby... umm... descended. They didn't tell me when to push. I told them, and at some point Josh took over counting down during my pushes and he was amazing! People could hear him up and down the hallway, and we laugh about that now but at the time I needed that. I focused on his voice and the doctor's voice. I yelled at the doctor "I do NOT understand why people do this more than once!!!!" after an intense contraction. Everyone laughed. The doctor belly laughed. "You will see why in just a few minutes," was his reply. I could hear things being set up and more people coming in and getting ready and knew I had to be getting close. Another push... and another... and another... and before I knew it I heard the most beautiful sound ever. I heard my son come into this world screaming. 50 minutes after I began pushing. Just call me Wonder Woman. They plopped him on my belly. Everyone was yelling and crying and talking about how beautiful he was and Josh was proclaiming over and over that Dax had his ears, but I couldn't see him! After what seemed like an eternity Josh cut the cord, they wiped him up, put a hat on him, and the doctor held him up and placed him on my chest. I wish I had something sappy to say about that, but my first reaction to seeing him was to say "THAT came out of me?!?!". He was huge. So much bigger than I expected a newborn baby to be.

After the initial shock I held him close, listened to him cry, and whispered "Happy Birthday" and "I love you" over and over as tears of joy ran down my cheeks. "I've waited so long to meet you!" I told him. I was finally a mama. His mama. Josh changed his first diaper while I continued to be cleaned and stitched. Then we had a blissful hour of time as just the three of us. We soaked it in. We were finally a family.

The nurses were wonderful and worked hard to make my birthing experience a proud one! They were very respectful of my wishes and so supportive. My doctors were phenomenal and my doctor (who got me through half my labor but did not get to deliver him) called us the next day just to say congratulations and check on me. I'm so thankful for that and felt so taken care of during our hospital stay.

Our world has been changed, but in the best way possible. Being parents is not easy, but all it takes is one little look into his sweet face and I would move Heaven and Earth for him. I was very scared of becoming a mom; scared I wouldn't know what to do. Admittedly sometimes I don't know what to do, but I always know what he needs and we are doing the best we can for him as his parents. I cannot wait to share more of these moments. I already feel like he is growing too fast, but I am so excited for each milestone and how the way we have fun as a family will change and evolve. 

Daxon, Welcome to this world. We have waited a long time just for you! You are my light and my song. Your daddy is crazy about you and you look so much like him. I pray we are able to raise you to be half the man he is. We can't wait to share life with you and teach you about Jesus and train you to be a loving, compassionate, respectful man. Thank you for being our miracle and making us parents.                                                                                               All our love, Mama & Daddy

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Fun Part of Pregnancy!

Juggling pregnancy, a challenging group of students, and trying to enjoy some semblance of a life on the weekends (in between migraines... boo migraines) has left this poor blog ignored and neglected. At least when I look back on this period of time I'll have Instagram and my pregnancy journal to reflect on.

And don't let this statement come across as ungrateful because I will suffer with a migraine every day if it leads to delivering a healthy baby- but pregnancy is hard. There are times when I wish I could just hug my mama tight and thank her over and over because she went through this with two babies on board. Holy moly. I am so thankful and overjoyed and blessed and humbled and tickled to death to be carrying a baby that Josh and I created who God is knitting together in my belly as we speak.

All of those same adjectives also describe our excitement over finding out this little squishy one is a boy. :)

 I think this image sums it up pretty well:
"Pregnancy is the happiest reason ever for feeling like crap." quotes, words for maternity
Despite the less-than-glamorous side of pregnancy, I'm so very thrilled to get to the fun part of pregnancy (in my opinion at least): PLANNING A NURSERY!!!!!

Anyone who follows me on Pinterest knows I have had a board with nursery ideas for a while in anticipation of starting a family; not really caring how God planned to bring that about, just knowing that He would. :) Now that our goose is slightly over halfway cooked in there, we are fully aware the holidays are going to have the rest of this pregnancy flying by! As such the Atkins household is in full nesting mode preparing for our sweet boy to join our family.

I thought I would take some time to put a little mood board of sorts together so you guys can see my inspiration and ideas and maybe even offer some of your own! I got a sample of paint this weekend at our local Ace Hardware and was lucky enough to hit the nail on the head- I was looking for a gray that was muddy and had brown/beige undertones rather than blue:

Paint color: Tabby Cat Gray from Valspar.
Curtains: Ikea
Rug: Rugs-Direct
Crib & Dresser: Babyletto Hudson in Brown-
Velvet Baby Doe Blanket: Berkshire Blanket (previously Babies R Us)
Recliner: Best Chairs TRYP
Throw Pillow:
Mushroom Nightlight:
Tree Bookshelf: Pinterest (original source unknown)
Twig Initial Inspiration: Hello Little House
Wooden Arrows Wall Art: Cherished Bliss
Deer Silhouette: All Thyme Favorite
Katie Daisy Prints: The Wheatfield Etsy Shop

Hopefully this inspiration will come together to create a fun room for our little guy to grow up in!

Until next time,

Sunday, October 6, 2013

chin up, buttercup

Stress. Worry. Anxiety. Fear.

Take your pick. Lately I have let myself become consumed with these things and they have sought to steal my joy. I have allowed them to be too successful.

Let's face it; with the state of things in our government and the rising tensions among us all as we try to understand what the future for our country holds and decide how to feel or which side of the fence to be on, aren't we all a little overcome with negativity? Boo.

If you don't keep up with me on Facebook, you may not be aware of the main reason for my silence on my blog:

Baby Atkins is on its way! Due April 2014!
I am finally in the 'safety net' that is the second trimester, and I felt the baby move for the first time this weekend. It's still too early to feel a real kick, but when it snuggles in to one side of its squishy waterbed I feel a little twitch. It happened for the first time yesterday after Josh got home from work and kissed me; really kissed me and let me know he missed me. I am an incredibly blessed lady.

The strongest desire of my heart is finally growing deep in my belly, making its presence known with sweet little twitches of movement and an ever expanding midsection. I love this little nugget with every ounce of my being, and the unspeakable gratitude I have for this gift has been stifled by overwhelming anxiety about commitments at work, being able to afford my life, being a good mother to my little roo, being a good wife, and being 'good enough' in general.

Today's sermon at church rocked my perspective and through a beautiful teaching about Communion I realized how much joy I allow to seep out of me as task piles upon task.

I have so much to be joyful about; so much to be crazy dang excited about!!!!

It's my favorite time of year, and even though little nugget tried to ruin the party with an aversion to anything pumpkin flavored (I still force a DnD White Chocolate Pumpkin Latte occasionally), I am hereby making the decision to choose the joy. The anxiety and fear and stress and worry may be waiting in the wings, but I choose joy and satisfaction and eager anticipation.

My twin sister Ashley is not very mushy gushy; at least she doesn't let on to it. She is very no nonsense and there have been many times during my oversensitive whining about misfortune she has just told me "Chin up, buttercup."

This song pulls my chin up and gets me excited for a cozy Autumn season with a pumpkin growing of my very own and an amazing husband who is such an incredible example of grace and unconditional love. Here's to pretty leaves, apple cider, nights by the fire, and lots of cuddling!

Chin up, everyone. Though the sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning.

-A (and "baby a")

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Summah of Slacking

I have t-minus 5 days to enjoy my last bits of summer. At the beginning (which seems like just yesterday!!!) I had a very ambitious to do list. How much of that have I gotten done?

... not much.

This summer, though, has truly felt like summer to me. Lazy days, enjoying time catching up on TV and taking naps, going shopping, visiting family, and of course spending lots of quality time with my sweetie.

A little photo summary of my laid back summer leave:

I crafted a fun summer wreath!

We got to foster this darling. She was one of our favorites and hard to give back!

I snagged this diamond in the rough for $20 at a Salvation Army

After sanding, staining, and sealing, she's right at home in our living room.

I love minions and am clumsy. The movie was awesome.

This nugget and his red mohawk makes me so happy.
This purchase was unexpected, but we feel fortunate for the blessing of a family vehicle!

Tradition- Joel's Fourth of July Extravaganza did not disappoint. :)

Baby brother hung out for a few days. We always use him as an excuse to go to Frankie's. :)

Sibling love at the Drive game


This man. I am truly the luckiest girl in the world.

He and our foster left on the same day. I was very sad. And bored.
There was the day we took down the cabinet to open up the kitchen some. And found a hole.  A large one.

Thank the Lord for these!

I had to go back and buy better spackle.

You'd never know now though. :)

Staycation Date Day- Bowling!

Warning- eyes smaller than they appear.

I'm horrible at it, but I love bowling.

Greasy pizza and Dr. Pepper. Perfect.

Happy birthday to me!

My birthday present from Josh!!

He had no idea I'd want it inside. We love it though!

Second cousin hugs and kisses
One word to describe this summer- wet. Flooded at a gas station.

My baby sister's pride and joy- Buttermilk

I loved meeting sweet Grayson and playing with Hannah!!

There's been lots of this.

Holy spa pedicure, Batman.

I work out.

This spoiled boy hasn't been feeling good. Extra snuggles help.

So, although I have yet to wield a paintbrush in the rooms I said I would- I still feel like I got to do a lot. And it was fun. And relaxing. So now I soak up the last few days of this bliss before the chaos of a brand new school year sets in.


Until next time,