Monday, September 29, 2014

The Red Shoes (and Nicholas)

I've had a couple of people ask me why I want to name Nicholas after a friend.  I guess maybe it does seem a little odd, unless you know the entire story.  Then you understand that she was (at least) indirectly responsible for our entire relationship.  Add that to her inspiring life, her faith, the way she unconditionally loved everyone she ever met, and the way she fought to the very end to live her life as fully and as completely as possible, I could think of nobody better to name my son after.  She affected my life in more ways than I can count, and I have taken on the responsibility of living a life that will reflect her legacy.  

But the story you want to hear is this one: The Story of The Red Shoes. 

I was feeling pretty unsure about things with Jon at first.  Not about how I felt about him - after meeting online and talking as long as we did before actually meeting, I knew he was someone I really wanted to get to know.  But I was really not sure how he felt about me.  He was so shy that he never even tried to hold my hand, so I was convinced he didn't like me.  I talked with Nicole about it because I knew she was great with people - she just seemed to have an insight about people and their feelings, even if they had never met - and she told me if I wasn't comfortable making the first move, I should just buy new shoes.  Red ones.  And wear them on a date.  She said something she often said "people remember red."  And she also reminded me that he wouldn't have been asking me out so much if he didn't like me.  Which, of course, made perfect sense, but I wasn't thinking clearly at the time!  

So I made a big deal of buying new shoes for our date.  I posted on Facebook that I was on a quest for the perfect shoes, and then when I bought them I said "I Found Them."  That night, Jon took me to see A Midsummer Nights Dream at Theatre 98.  He held my hand for the first time, helping me walk down the stairs during intermission.  We had a romantic walk on the beach after the play and then he took me home.  And he kissed me goodnight.  

I wasn't unsure anymore after that.  :)  I'm pretty sure that was the night I fell in love with him.  (awwwww... sappy)

When I asked Jon later why he kissed me that night, he said something along the lines of, "I knew you liked me because you bought new shoes for our date."  I think later when he saw how many pairs of shoes I had, he probably changed his mind on that, but nevertheless, Nicole's plan totally worked.  I remember calling her the next day to tell her about the goodnight kiss and she was so excited.  She said "red shoes work every time," and laughed that musical, infectious laugh that we all loved so much.

So even if it may have happened eventually, it happened that night because of the red shoes.  

I can't even wear them anymore because my feet are swollen, but I still have them.  I actually tried to squeeze my feet into them for Nicole's Celebration of Life service, but they were just too small.  I hope when Nicholas is born, my feet go back to their normal size so I can wear them again, but even if they don't, I will never get rid of them.  They mean too much to me.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dear Nathan (Two Years Old)

First time holding you.  You were only a few hours old.
Dear Nathan,

Happy Birthday, little love!  It's hard to believe you are actually two years old today.  I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday.  It will always be one of the happiest, one of the scariest, and one of the saddest days of my life.  Let me explain.

You were three weeks early.  We went to the doctor for a routine visit and they did an ultrasound to see how you were doing.  They discovered the amniotic fluid was dangerously low and that you would be in trouble if we let you stay inside me much longer.  We were told to take an hour to do what we needed to do and then get to the hospital.  Scary.  So scary that we didn't even tell anyone where we were going, except our parents and our employers.  I may have texted a friend or two, but nobody else knew.  We just wanted to make sure you were going to be okay before we had a bunch of people joining us at the hospital.  So we checked in and spent the night with an induction scheduled for the next day.  Unbeknownst to me, a good friend was also checking into the hospital for something far more serious.

The induction started in the morning and a couple of hours into labor, your dad discovered that our friend Nicole was diagnosed with cancer that very day.  He didn't tell me, because he was afraid I would get too upset.  I would find out later via an email that another friend sent to a group of us, letting us know in case we hadn't found out.  They still didn't know we were in the hospital too, but that was okay, since her diagnosis was so much more serious than mine and everyone needed to focus on her at that time.

11 hours after they induced, it was decided that we would do a c-section.  Your dad got into some scrubs and they got me ready for surgery.  You were born shortly after, and the first thing I saw was your hair.  They took you away pretty quickly, because you had fluid in your lungs and they wanted to fix that as soon as possible, so it was another two hours before I could see you again.  I got about 3 seconds with you and then had to wait 2 hours.  Those hours were long and brutal for me.  The waiting was the worst.

But then, they brought you to me and I held you in my arms and it was a feeling like no other.  One of the happiest moments of my life.  You were perfect.  The lung issue had resolved and you looked up at me with those gorgeous blue eyes and I knew you were so special and so amazing.

And I was right.  Because you are special and amazing.  Being your Mommy has been the most rewarding and amazing thing I've ever done.  My greatest role.  I'm not a perfect mother by any means, but I love you and I am in awe of you and I think that counts for a lot.  Even if I sometimes raise my voice when I'm frustrated or upset with something you did.

In your room a day before your birthday.
You have grown from a tiny baby into what I like to call a Gargantuan Toddler.  From a little infant to this small person who has desires, opinions, and sometimes demands.  You have preferences for food and entertainment.  You love your dogs and your family.  You think your dad is hilarious.  You run to me when you are hurt or when you just need to cry about something.  You are so smart and so fun to be with.

Last night, you kept trying to get one of the dogs to play with you.  It didn't look like you cared which one, as long as one of them did.  Unfortunately, they were not interested.  You ran into the living room, touched each one, then ran out.  Several times you tried this method and it never worked.  Then you spotted a toy that one of them had been playing with on the floor.  You nonchalantly walked up to it, making sure they didn't see you moving closer and closer.  You grabbed it off the floor, waved it in Kaylee's face, and ran down the hallway.  That got her attention, so she ran after you.  I've never heard such a loud and gleeful belly laugh in my entire life.  It struck me that you identified a problem, figured out a theory to solve the problem, and then experimented to see if your theory would work.  And it did.  It blows my mind that the tiny baby they pulled from my body two years ago could apply this kind of problem solving method only two years later.  You've come a long way, baby!  And you will continue to come a long way.  You will continue to grow and learn and become whoever it is you are going to become.  And I will continue to be in awe of you, and to love you more than my own life.  And I will be so proud to see the man you will be someday.  Watch your father for a great example.  And your grandpa.  Let those men be your guide for how you should grow up - with integrity and compassion and just enough crazy to make you an interesting person.

Mommy and Nicole
And now, for the reason why the day you were born will always be one of the saddest days for me.  Our friend who was diagnosed with cancer that day passed away last week.  She very nearly made it two years past her diagnosis.  I'm sure you have noticed that Mommy has been sad lately, and that's why.  I'm so glad you got a chance to meet Ms Nicole, and I plan to tell you and your brother all about her as much as I can, because she had a profound influence on my life and I want that influence to extend to you and to your brother.  You know how you are named after your dad and your Nana's family?  Nicolas is named after Nicole and your grandpa.  It was important to us that both of you had names that meant something to us.

I hope you are happy with your life so far.  If I had to guess, I would say you are.  You always seem to be very happy unless something is wrong - or you are not getting your way!  And even as you grow and even when you become an adult, just know that you will always be my baby.  And you can always run to me when you are hurt or when you just need to cry about something.

All my love,


Ovarian Cancer Awareness

My blog (and I) are wearing teal in honor of a beautiful and amazing person who was taken from us too soon.  My friend Nicole was one of the sweetest people you will ever meet.  I often described her as "the most beautiful woman I've ever met in person, both inside and out."  Her story and some beautiful photos are here.  She was diagnosed two years ago today and passed away last week.  Her life, her light, and her testimony of her faith in Christ will live on in every single person who ever met her.  We will miss you Nicole - and I (as well as many others) will take carrying your legacy very seriously.  I will live my life with love, laughter, and singing, just like you did.  I look forward to seeing you again one day, my friend.  I love you.

Here are some links to more about Nicole and her story.

Legacy Photo Session
Bald is Beautiful Blog Post

Monday, September 15, 2014

50 Things That Make Me Smile/Laugh

Things that make me smile
  1. A job well done
  2. A great song on the radio
  3. A delicious meal
  4. My husband
  5. My son
  6. My mom
  7. My dad
  8. My niece, Hannah
  9. My nephew, Noah
  10. My nephew, Kohl
  11. My sister
  12. Knitting
  13. Completing a project
  14. Learning something new
  15. Singing with people
  16. Singing alone
  17. Feeling like I look great in what I'm wearing
  18. Looking a photos of Nathan
  19. Looking at our wedding photos
  20. Chocolate
  21. Cake
  22. Watching a good show on TV
  23. Writing
  24. Snuggling on the couch with the hubby
  25. Playing with the dogs
  26. Watching Kaylee and Simon play with each other
  27. Watching Nathan play with his toys
  28. Watching Jon play with Nathan
  29. Getting an answer right on Jeopardy
  30. My online birth club, The Pumpkin Patch
  31. Watching Jon do something he loves to do (painting, gardening, gaming, etc)
  32. Reading a great book
  33. Memories of my childhood
  34. Being outside on a pretty day
  35. Being inside on a rainy day
  36. Watching a movie with Jon
  37. Cuddling with the dogs
  38. Cuddling with Nathan
  39. Cuddling with Jon
  40. A hot shower
  41. Knowing I'm loved
  42. Friends
  43. Keeping up with people on Facebook
  44. Baby kicks
  45. Fall TV previews
  46. Whenever Jon tells a joke
  47. Watching Nathan grow up
  48. Being part of something important
  49. Gilmore Girls
  50. Showing love to others