Sunday, December 20, 2009

Baby Necessities

I have put together 8 of the most important items I have used for my daughter. When becoming a new parent you never know what to expect. Although every baby is different, I tried to put together a list that would be useful for everyone:

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1. The Kiddopotamous swaddleme... oh how this has saved my life every.single.day. Swaddling with a blanket just can't hold up to a baby's strength. The swaddleme closes with velcro and works like a charm.

2. Pack and play with a changer. Sorry the picture is blurry- I did my best. We have a pink Graco one and keep it in the living room. We don't really use it other than the changer but it makes changing diapers soooo convenient. Actually I keep dirty clothes in the "bed" part of it- but hey it's still super useful and I recommend if you are getting a PnP to get one with a changer included!

3.Baby carrier. I waited way too long to buy one of these. It makes leaving the house much much easier. Carrying a car seat around sucks. Lugging a stroller around sucks too. The one pictured is the Infantino Euro Rider, I have this- it's a much cheaper option than the baby Bjorn.

4. This may look like a regular old newborn outfit HOWEVER there is one key part of the shirt that makes all the difference. At the ends of the arms there is a place to cover the baby's hands. This really comes in handy in the beginning and I recommend getting a lot of these shirts(or taking a bunch home from the hospital, I wish I would have taken more :)) Babies have a tendency to scratch themselves when they are mad and having their hands covered helps prevent that. I have the one that is pictured- it is a Ralph Lauren kimono outfit. I don't really use the pants, but the top gets used all the time.

5.Receiving blankets. You seriously can't have enough of these. Really. Like 10 isn't enough. Unless you want to be doing laundry much more often than necessary. Oh and don't buy cute ones either- you won't want to dirty them (I don't care what anyone else says).

6. Babylegs. Not only are these adorable but they are practical too. They keep your baby's legs warm without using pants. They make changing diapers so much easier... I also think they are much cuter than baby pants :)

7. A diamond studded binky- everyone who is anyone needs it...just kidding. Regular old binkies though? Def a necessity. Some mom's don't like to use them, but personally I would be lost without one. It has helped my baby learn to self sooth- helps with sleeping through the night and all in all helps with my sanity. I suggest buying a few different brands. This is because not every brand works for every baby. For example the Mams brand pacifiers don't work with my baby, not sure if it is the size or what but she doesn't like them. She will only use the Avent pacifiers.

8. A play mat. This particular one is what we have and is the Baby Einstein Neptune Ocean play mat. My little girl loves this- there are lights, music, toys that make noise, teether, different textures- just a really well rounded toy. This is not only makes baby happy, but it teaches them as well.

There are certainly other necessities you can't live without, like diapers, wipes bottles and formula (even if it's for back up) but those are a given.

Also? For mom's that want to go back to work, or aren't hardcore about strictly breastfeeding but still want baby to get breast milk, I definitely recommend an electric pump (double preferably). An expensive one. It's worth it and you get your monies worth in the end- promise. If you've decided to breastfeed/pump you need lots of lanolin nipple cream as well. I exclusively pump and although I received a lot for negative feedback for it, I preferred it to breast feeding.

Another question that moms to be love to ask is what kind of diaper bag they should use. I didn't add this item to my list because although it is a necessity, the one I have sucks. I bought it off ebay trying to save some money and am really not pleased with it. It's hard trying to find an affordable, functional decent looking diaper bag. Once I find one that is cute and functional I'll let ya know.

Oh shoot...I knew there was something I forgot to put on here... the boppy pillow. It is supposed to be used to help with breastfeeding- but it does so much more. We use it every night when putting Lils to bed. We prop her up on it and it helps her sleep.

***I am in no way an expert, and will not pretend to be. Every baby is different and every parent's preference and experience is different; I just felt these things were general enough to use across the board***

Monday, December 14, 2009

"And in this moment I am happy..."

Recently my friend MP made a post about things that makes her happy and even gave me a nice little shout out :) She got this idea from a friend of hers who also wrote about things that make her happy. I decided to keep with the happy posts (and hopefully inspire my other readers to follow) and make my own list:

1) 10:45 PM or whatever my bed time is that night. This is after the baby has been put in her crib for the night and we make our way to bed. As soon as my head hits the pillow a sense of relaxation runs through my body. Even if it's just for a few moments I feel completely calm and it is just so refreshing. I realize not everyone with a newborn gets this luxury, which makes me appreciate it even more. Having a baby (actually grown up life in general) is so exhausting the moments when you can just lay down and completely relax are priceless.

2) The Chew or Chewy. She is my dog, I love her like a child! People said things would change once I had a baby of my own- but I still consider the chew my baby too :) She is a doxie (hot dog, dog) and full of personality! We were worried about how she would be with the baby but she has been so good, so we are very relieved.

3)Monday Funday with Jdance. The type of job she has gives her a non-traditional work schedule. She is always off on Mondays and I always go to her house to hang out during the day. It's nothing too glamorous but we have a lot of fun!! During the week for the most part it's just me and the baby, and while I love spending time with her, it's nice to have another adult around to talk to. I'm pretty sure it's one of the big reasons I have stayed sane since I stopped working :)

4)My bridesmaids- CK, Bets, Little, Holland #2, and Miss. They all have touched my heart in one way or another since I have known them. Each of them means a lot to me and I feel honored to have them part of my wedding.

5) Jdance going above and beyond the call of duty as maid of honor. She has helped me with a lot of the planning and set up of my wedding. She even agreed to sit through my bridal hair and make up trials just so I can get her opinion!

6) Going to NYC for NYE. I visited the city last year in January for the first time and really enjoyed it. I can't wait to go again this year!

7) The Baby Einstein Ocean Wonders play mat. This thing has.it.all. It has a rattle, stuffed animals, lights, music, dangley thingies, even a toy that doubles as a teether! I put Lils on it to play everyday, not only does it make her smile but she is learning as well- can't beat that!

8) My body getting closer to being back to normal. I have 11 more pounds to lose to get back to pre-preg and my stretch marks are getting lighter. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and have faith I will at least be back to my pre preg size by my wedding.

9) Sexy one-piece bathing suits. Right after I had Lils I had some freak out moments thinking about what the hell I was suppose to wear when I went to the beach. Would I be doomed to wear cover ups for the rest of my life??? Then I was reminded that there are some cute, young , sexy one-pieces I could wear that would cover those evil stretch marks without stripping me of my youth!

10) The scent of lavender and vanilla. Preferably mixed together, but I like them separate as well. Anything I buy that has a fragrance HAS to be either lavender or vanilla or a combination of both.

Wait a second didn't I leave out a few important people? Obviously J, Lils, my family etc. make me happy. I feel like my blog is stuffed with mushy shout outs to my loved ones and wanted to give you all a break from the lovey dovey overload :)

I would love if Mrs. B, The Charming Chandlers, and Stephanie would all follow suit and post about what makes them happy :)

Also, I suggest you check out MP's blog it's really entertaining and full of fun creative projects and ideas. You can find her at: http://whatabigtodo.blogspot.com/
***I apologize if it's not clicky- I have a MAC and depending on the website, links don't show up clicky***

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My daughter is 2 months today :)

My precious girl is 2 months today!!!!!

Milestones:

1) Sleeping through the night... in her crib too! She also knows how to self-soothe (score!) She has been doing this for awhile now, no sleep training required. I'm not opposed to sleep training or schedules (every baby is different) but in my personal opinion she was too young to sleep train and trying to force her into a schedule was never gonna happen. I let her set her own schedule and luckily for me the times she chooses to fall asleep and wake up are around the same time I would be going to bed and getting up. She so smart already :) As for the self soothing- I discovered she knew how to do this when she dozed off in my arms, I put her in her crib and she woke up. Since she wasn't fussing I decided what the heck maybe she'll be able to go back to sleep- and she did. I was so surprised and so proud :)

*Wanna know what other things we did to help her sleep better and longer? We put her in a swaddle- no not the blanket that they teach you about- a swaddle that has velcro so it stays shut. This thing is a LIFE SAVER- we only have two I'd love to buy more because we have to wash them pretty frequently (spit up anyone?). Also, and I have to give credit to my friend Stephanie for this- having her sleep propped up on the bobby. We suspected she had reflux and I spoke to Stephanie about this since she was going through the same thing, she recommended the Nap Nanny. The Nap Nanny is expensive, but the idea is to have the baby sleeping propped up a bit. I decided to take their idea and make do with that I had. SUCCESS! It works like a charm! The boppy pillow really has so many uses it's another baby item no mother should be without. Introducing the pacifier was a savior as well. Some mom's don't like to this this, but I found it very helpful in her learning to self sooth and for my own sanity.


2) She knows how to use her hands. Oh man- this is one of my proudest discoveries. I feel like she has always been aware of her hands, but more recently she has been "using" them. She also doesn't claw her face off anymore when she is screaming which is freaking awesome. Having a baby in the car seat screaming, knowing she is scratching herself and you can't do anything about it, sucks. REALLY sucks. Especially when you have to look at the damage afterward. Anyways, back to using her hands. She has started to grab things. Also? I looked over at her one day and noticed her HOLDING HER BINKY TO HER MOUTH! When I have a bottle or bring the binky to her mouth she will pull it closer- or if she doesn't want it she will swat it away. It's freaking awesome. She also grabs my arm when I hold her- it makes me melt every time- since she is too young to really give me a hug it's the closest thing I can get and I love it :)

3) The baby babble. Oh how I love the baby babble. I can get so caught up in watching her coo, I almost forget that I need to be talking to her as well, especially when she is making noises at toys she likes. I love watching her smile and coo when I lay her on the activity mat for playtime. Or at the Christmas decorations, or the big balloon in the hallway, or the picture on the wall (I actually told J I didn't like when he first bought it 2 years ago I guess it's a good thing he kept it!). I especially love when she looks at me and coos and smiles. Hearing her make noises that aren't crying related really makes me smile.

4) She recognizes things!! She can tell when I bring her the bottle. I noticed this when she calmed down as soon as she saw me bring the bottle closer to her mouth. It was so precious. What's even more cute are the faces she makes when she DOESN'T want something. She gets a very disappointed look on her face if I give her the binky when she really wants a bottle. She also makes this face when she doesn't want the bottle anymore.

5) She is learning to communicate (other than just screaming)- 2&3 fit in with this but I thought they deserved their own sections. She is starting to use other sounds and gestures to let me know what she really wants. She doesn't always just resort to crying anymore. This has been great because I can tell the difference of her being bored or uncomfortable to her being hungry or being tired. When she is hungry, tired or cold she cries, screams even. Each has a different scream though and usually if I can get the bottle to her fast enough she doesn't go nuts. When she is tired she does go nuts, haven't figured that one out yet. When she is cold, there is not much I can do- she gets cold when moving her from towel to bath, bath to towel- this is the worst cry :( When she is done playing on her activity mat, in her crib or whenever she is laying, she makes short little "wah" noses and has a frown on her face.

It is incredible to watch your child grown, learn, and change right before your eyes! People told me things would change, that this was hard, exhausting, rewarding and all of those things are true, however, there was one thing that was left out. The sense of pride you feel for your child. It is almost indescribable. I am so proud of the way she is developing and the things she is doing. It's amazing to watch the progression of her development when she started out basically a blank slate, relying only on primal instincts. She is growing more and more each day, I can't wait to see what happens next!

Here is a picture of her in my FAV outfit on her. I wish I could find the hoody in all different colors- I would have her wear one everyday!

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Are you there, Rum? It's me Holls...

It's nothing new that this time of year is hectic- however add a newborn and an upcoming wedding and things get a bit more complicated.

I decided to brave Bethesda with the bebeh yesterday (well I actually had no choice) and the outcome? Success!!! My arms are sore from carrying her all over the place in the car seat- but she slept basically the whole time so, I'll take it! Leaving the house with the baby is such a daunting task, it makes thing a million times more complicated. Should I take the stroller? Should I just leave her in the car seat? Can I carry the car seat that far? Can I just carry her? Will I be able to carry her and the items I bought and my purse and my diaper bag? Do I even have my diaper bag? Did I remember a bottle? Wipes? Extra outfit? Blanket? Binky? Diapers? Wipes? Will she have a melt down? Will I have a meltdown?!

Ugh it's exhausting just thinking about it!

One of the things I had to do while I was out was meet with a florist to discuss the flowers for my wedding. I asked Jdance to come with per usual. By the end of the meeting we had picked out my and my bridesmaids bouquets, the floral arrangements for the ceremony, centerpieces, mom and MIL corsages, and all the men's flowers. It feels like such a relief to cross that item off my endless wedding to-do list. Just thinking about it makes me so excited. I can't wait for the demo so J can see what I picked out. I am very happy he trusts my taste enough to let me take control over the general decor and theme of the wedding. I would post pictures but there are certain folks that are reading this that need to be surprised!

Speaking of that there are still a few save the dates I haven't sent out and need to do so ASAP- crap, I knew I was forgetting something...

Aaaanyways other fun upcoming wedding plans are two of my fav things: Hair and make up. I'm doing a hair trial on Friday (yaaay) and currently in the process of finding a make up artist. We're also meeting with a potential officiant in two weeks- he was recommended by a friend AND he's inexpensive so I am thinking this one is a no-brainer.

The closer the wedding gets the more nervous I get about it all coming together. Originally I was going to try a lot of DIY things for the decorations to save money. However, at the end of the day I feared my guests would walk into a room that looked as though a five year old decorated it instead of seeing something fabulous. I received some great ideas and would recommend them to others, but whenever I have tried to be creative it always comes out a mess- I did NOT want to take that kind of risk on my wedding. So, I am leaving it to the professionals- luckily there are still ways to save money- like choosing flowers that are in season, killer negotiation skills (or having someone close to you with killer negotiating skills, thank you J), and finding vendors that offer deals with multiple purchases.

Man all this wedding stuff totally has me out of sync with the holiday season. Normally I love the holidays and gift giving and all the warm fuzzies that come with it, but this year it's pretty much the last thing on my mind. I am hoping next year I will get a chance to devote more time to it. I was really looking forward to going all out with the decorations, making and decorating cookies with my future step son, taking a really great holiday picture for the holiday card, having the perfect outfit for my little girl. Looks like things will not be going according to plan this year, so fitting consider NOTHING this year has gone according to plan, I'll try again next year :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

One Day Late...

Thanksgiving was a hectic day- so hectic that I fell asleep before I could even think about what I am thankful for. So now as my daughter and my love are sleeping, I have a chance to reflect:

I am thankful for Jdance. I have known her forever, I speak to her multiple times almost everyday and I don't know what I would do without her. I don't think I could thank her enough for what she has done for me.

I am thankful for all of my amazing friends. I don't think I can express enough how much their love and support means to me.

I am thankful for the girls I met on TB (you know who you are!) that helped me through the "unknowns" of pregnancy. Those months would have been a helluva lot harder without your support, stories, and tough love.

I am thankful that I can finally stop living with regrets and appreciate all the twists and turns my life has taken. All the good and bad experiences got me where I am today, which is exactly where I want to be.

I am thankful for my family and their unconditional love. Mom and Dad, I love you so much and will never be able to repay you for all the good you have done for me- but I sure will try :)

I am thankful I still get to watch my little brother grow up, even though I have moved out.

I am thankful for my future step son and that he is so sweet with his little sister.

I am thankful to be marrying into one of the best families I have ever seen- my daughter will grow up surrounded by so much love I couldn't ask for anything better.

I am thankful for my future mother in law and sister in law. They are two of my favorite people, I am so happy to have them in my life.

I am thankful for having such an easy labor (even though it was still traumatizing!)

I am thankful for my daughter and that she is healthy and smiling, and coos, and is so darn cute I can't take it and those big blue eyes and the way she moves her mouth right before she is about to cry, and when she looks at me when she is eating, and when J holds her and she looks over his shoulder, and I could go on forever...

I am thankful that although J saw the the horrific gory details of labor- he still thinks I am beautiful.

I am thankful I found J or that he found me. He is my everything. He has made me a better person and happier than I can ever imagine. He is amazing, I can't and will not imagine life without him.

Now... mama is tired and talking about J makes me want to go hold him close- so that is exactly what I am going to do! G'night all!

*muah*

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I held my daughter today

I held my daughter today. Not because she was screaming and I needed to calm her down, or feed her,or rock her to sleep. I just held her. I did it because I could, because she is so small, because I love the way she grabs my arm and how she rocks her head and looks at the world around her with those big beautiful eyes. I held her because I could. It felt amazing.

These past 6 weeks have not been easy. Dealing with colic or reflux or a generally fussy baby has been exhausting. Mentally and physically. It took a lot out of me trying to soothe her and figuring out after the 6th time of trying to give her the bottle, or burp her, or rock her, that maybe she just wanted to cry. I haven't been able to enjoy her as much as I'd like too- it's hard. It's HARD, really hard, like nothing you can ever imagine. However, today was different. I held her peacefully, I closed my eyes and rubbed her head against my cheek. I stroked her hair, I kissed those cute as hell chubby cheeks and I held her. It felt amazing.

The bonus? Lost of smiles. She smiles now... a lot. It makes the times when she is screaming much easier to get through. I know she will be smiling again, she always does. She smiles when I call her precious girl and touch her nose, she smiles when J goes in for a kiss, she smiles when I rub her head when she has just woken up. She smiles now and it's wonderful.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Do you, do you like dreaming of things so impossible?"

"Or only the practical? Or out of this world? Waiting through all your bad bad days just to end them with someone you care about..." So Impossible by Dashboard Confessional.

This is one of my favorite songs of all time. It's about just meeting someone you're interested in and wanting to learn everything about them. It's romantic and makes my heart swoon whenever I hear it. It makes me feel "young again" even though I know I'm not old. It also reminds me of a time in my life where I was more in tuned with my emotions. I used to spend a lot of time dreaming and writing and thinking. Now I spend my time more realistically, I don't search through songs and books for the perfect quote to match my mood that day- I don't take the time for introspection about my thoughts or what is going on in my life. These things just aren't practical and are too time consuming and wouldn't have an affect on anyone else if I didn't do them. However, remembering this part of my life, I remember how much happiness it would give me- how it was such a big part of who I was, I guess who I still am. It used to be like therapy to me, and I would come out feeling energized and ready to take on the world. I was able to go through each of my emotions and deal with them and come out with a new perspective.

I think maybe this side of me has resurfaced- and it's about time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"And When The Day Is Done My Momma's Still My Biggest Fan"

I don't know what line is more true than that. I don't know why this just suddenly clicked today- I have listened to that song a million times and never thought anything of it. Today, however, a light bulb went off. My mom really is my biggest fan! She is always proud of me and will take any excuse to brag- even when I have done things that have without a doubt disappointed her, embarrassed her and even hurt her feelings.

No matter what she is always on my side- I remember one time when I scratched some guy's car (actually I argue he scratched mine- we sort of rubbed each other on the road, very weird. Even weirder he tried asking me out on a date after all this...but back to the story) both his parents called me on three way to try and intimidate me- when I told my mom about it she said- and I quote "nobody messes with my daughter!" I was young and new to driving and it felt so good to have her on my side.

Now that I have my own daughter I find myself wondering what our relationship will be. Will I be a good mother? Will she feel like she can talk to me about anything? How can I make sure she trusts me? How can I make sure to raise her to fully meet her potential? These are only a few of the millions of questions I ask myself when thinking about how I will be as a mother. I hope she will always know that she can count on me for anything at anytime, just like I know I can count on my mom.

Oh and if you are wondering, the song is "Who I Am" by Jessica Andrews it's a great song!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Here comes the bride!!!

So I went and picked out my wedding dress today. I went with my BFF and maid of honor... we'll call her Jdance... My future sister in law (also a bridesmaid)we'll call her Miss... and my mom (of course!!). It was so surreal. I think I am still in shock that I actually experienced this. At first I was worried I wouldn't like anything on me because of my size (here's where that dreaded triple P comes in) and the first few dresses were nothing special. I kept looking at Jdance, Miss and my mom hoping to see a good reaction- but nothing- they weren't too impressed either. Or one of them would like one dress and the other wouldn't really like it. I wanted all three of them to love my dress.

Then there was one... I really thought it was going to look just OK but as soon as I put it on I was shocked. I loved it- it looked like a "Holls" dress. Sparkley, form fitted, mermaid, a-symmetrical, STUNNING. I walked out- nervous and hoping they girls would feel the same and they did! As soon as they saw me I knew I had their approval. They all loved it. I added a veil and headpiece to get the real feel and it just made the over all look that much better. I really looked like I was ready to get married!

I almost didn't try on any other dresses- but there was one we had all been eying and decided what the hell couldn't hurt to try it on. This dress was beautiful- a perfect bridal dress. It was fitted at the top and poofy at the bottom with random flowers bunched up- it was such a classic dress. I felt like a real bride in this dress- it was really fabulous. However, there was one thing missing. The sparkle. I can't live with out the sparkle. It just wouldn't be a "Holls" dress if it was missing.

I put "the dress" back on and the girls immediately saw it was the right dress. They could tell by my face that is one was perfect. You really do "just know" when you put on the right dress.

So- thank you to my awesome mother- we purchased the stunning sparkly dress. I would post pictures- but don't want to give it away just yet :)

Holy crap I can't believe I just picked out my wedding dress. Seriously... did I really just do that???? I have been dreaming about this dress for my whole life and I finally have it!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The dreaded triple "P"

AKA Post Pregnancy Pouch. It's something you can only understand after you have had a baby. We all dread the way we will look after giving birth- but have no clue how annoying it is until we experience it for ourselves. I have 15 more pounds to lose to get back to my pre-preg weight. Not to mention I want to look like a hawt mama for my wedding and honeymoon- you'd think that would be motivation- however here I am typing out a blog post instead of doing my time on the elliptical (that I nagged and nagged my fiancee to pull out so I could get in shape).

I just don't feeeeeeel like going ALL the way down stairs right now- I mean in between feedings, changing, calming, and cleaning sitting down for a little while seems really necessary. However I know in a few weeks if I keep this up I will remind myself that if I had just taken the time to do it, I would already see results. I only worked out once this week- I swore I would do it everyday, or at least three times a week.

I really need to get myself into a routine and force myself to get in shape! Not only to look better, but to be healthier. Maybe tomorrow will be different...


A side note:

Mom- I love you very much and really appreciate everything you do for me (including watching baby Samantha while I indulge in some shopping and cocktails with my BFF tomorrow:))

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy One Month Little Cupcake!!!

My little one is one month today :) I really can't believe the time has gone by so fast. I know everyone says that, but really. I'm STILL trying to wrap my head around the fact I actually gave birth and she is already a month old??

Here are some pictures from when she was first born:
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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Aaaaand here she is now:
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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Friday, October 30, 2009

There is someone very special I need to thank.

See I totally told you I'd give you the credit you deserved! One of my friends, we'll call her... Madspom.... helped me come up with the name for this blog. Actually she DID come up with the name of this blog, but it goes so perfectly with my life (I should have been able to come up with it on my own!)

It goes with something very special my Dad said to me when I first told him I was pregnant.

February 25 2009 (Yes I waited five whole days to tell my dad- I wanted to do it in person!!!) I went to his apartment after work one day- he already knew I had "news" for him. When I walked in I saw he had my usual drink, Bacardi and diet, already made. I moved the drink aside and asked for some juice instead. Then I looked, smiled and said " Dad, I'm pregnant" He didn't freak out, didn't start throwing tables around because his only little girl who was not married was having a baby. No- he smiled and said " Congratulations!" We talked a bit more about how I felt for awhile and he then he said the most wonderful thing "You are getting your happily ever after, just in a different order." It was the truth! I just never thought of it that way. That phrase always made me feel better- even now that I am on my way to get married I still find comfort remembering back to when he said it.

So I guess I can thank two people today- MP you're awesome as always thank you for helping me with this blog, and Dad thanks for always supporting me, I love you!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Background...

Since I was young I have dreamed of my happily ever after ending. You know what I'm talking about- meeting Mr. Right, getting married and starting a family. Well, in one short year I managed to get everything I ever wanted, unexpectedly! This is where it all began....

February 20 2009: After a week of feeling crappy I decided to take a test, you know, just in case. SURPRISE! 2 pink lines (it was a first response test and yes I still have it) Wait, wait did I just see two pink lines? TWO PINK LINES?! I'm not even married yet, hell I'm not even engaged! I immediately did what any girl would do and ran into my bedroom, hid under the bed and called my BFF. I whispered " I just took a pregnancy test and it's positive" I could see the look of shock on her face through the phone " OMG are you serious?!" " Yes I'm serious!" the conversation went from there. I then knew I had to grow a pair of balls and utter the words " J, we're having a baby!" OK, it didn't go exactly like that. In fact after an interrogation about my suspicious behavior of whispering and hiding he said "Pregnant?" I gave a nervous smile and nodded my head.

The following months would be the best, the worst, the hardest, and the most rewarding months of my life so far.

I was already on my way to having a family- but what about this Mr.Right I spoke of? Well that brings me to the best night of my life :)

September 11 2009: Let me start at the beginning. J texted me from work telling me he won tickets to a dinner cruise Friday night and he could either sell them or we could go. I told him I thought it sounded romantic and really wanted to go. He said OK, but he hoped it wouldn't be too corny. I told him if he really didn't want to go we could find something else to do, but he said we/I deserved to get out and do something nice so " Game On!" haha.

When we got there it was cold and rainy- I was upset because I thought our date night was ruined. J also kept saying how he thought a dinner cruise was nerdy and didn't get why people did it- I told him he didn't understand because he wasn't blessed with the romance gene. When we got on the boat and were taken to our table there were roses waiting for me, as well as these cute souvenir champagne glasses. It was really sweet; I was so excited the roses were gorgeous. We got our first and main course and the night was going flawlessly- it was really nice. We hadn't had a night like this in a while. We then decided to take a walk around the ship before getting our dessert.

Walking around the ship was great; J was really affectionate it was so cute. I felt so in love. After awhile we stopped to look at the water and the sights and he started talking about how we've been together for 2 years and he said " Thank you for putting up with me for this long" and I smiled and said the same thing back. Then he said " Holls I want to spend the rest of my life with you" and then pulled something out of his shirt- a huge plastic diamond ring. We started laughing hysterically and he said " I couldn't afford a ring just yet, but will you marry me" I said of course. Then he said “No I'm joking” and I grabbed his shoulder and said, “I'm so confused” (totally messing up this part of the story because I can't remember the exact words but it was hilarious). I see him reach into another pocket and he pulled out this GORGEOUS GORGEOUS ring and asked me again, “Holls, will you marry me?” I was in shock! I, of course said yes again and we kissed and hugged and said I love you a million times it was amazing. He also told me that he didn't really win the tickets he just wanted to throw me off. He planned the entire night. J- my non-romantic man came up with this idea all on his own and planned the whole thing. I couldn't believe it- I was/am so happy.

We spent the rest of the night talking about how the engagement went down, he told me he called my father and asked his permission, it was amazing. At the end of the night the band was doing a tribute to people celebrating anniversaries. The last announcement they made was "And there is a couple that just got engaged tonight congratulations to Mr. and soon to be Mrs. JLaf (except they totally butchered his name) J got up and pulled me to the dance floor and we slow danced. I hate to sound corny but it was magical. Like one of those lost in the moment you forget where you are and just feel in love moments. I had never felt anything like it before and it was everything I could have dreamed of.

So now I'm engaged and couldn't be happier- except I am 9 months pregnant and extremely uncomfortable. Which brings me to the one of the worst weeks of my life.

October 5-9 2009: October 5 was my due date. MY DUE DATE! I had been staring at the date for months fully expecting NOT to go past it. Well that date came and went and every hour past it was torture. I don't care how it sounds- it sucked... big time. Why was she not here yet? My mom told me I would go early. I thought mom was always right??? WHY IS SHE NOT HERE YET! I barely had so much as a contraction and was only 1 cm dilated and 60% effaced. The stretch marks seemed to be growing by the minute, I swear there was no more room in my ute the baby HAD to come out. Was I going to be pregnant forever?

This brings me to both the hardest and most rewarding time of my life...

October 10 2009: My daughter's birthday. If you ask my doctor or anyone who was there they would tell you this was an ideal labor and birth. I got to the hospital at 10 PM they broke my water, got some pain drugs, got an epi, fell asleep and woke up around 5:15 to the Dr. telling me I would start pushing in a 1/2 hour. Pretty easy right? Well even though I got the pain killing drugs- the moments that there wasn't relief from the pain seemed like they lasted forever. During each contraction the only thing I could do to get through it was count in my head " One one thousand, two one thousand..." until the contraction ended- I couldn't talk to anyone or move, I just had to count. I had never felt pain like that in my life. And going through a contraction or two while getting the epi? J said he never knew someone could squeeze hands that hard. It was tough, but totally worth it because once that epi kicked in BYE BYE painful contractions. Then there's the pushing. Oh gawd the pushing. I pushed for about 45 mins and that was the. hardest. thing I have ever done- hands down. My body felt like it could not push any harder and she still was not out. Not to mention I spiked a 102 fever during all this- I was really exhausted, but you can't just stop pushing you can't just say " Well this is too hard- let's just go home" no you have to keep at it. Then the impossible seemed to happen- I hear " She's out, she's out! And when she came out? The most rewarding moment ever. I did it. I DID IT! I didn't think she would ever come out and here she is! Did I really push out a 7.14 lbs human being? Holy smokes... She had the most beautiful perfect skin and those eyes... the lips... everything- perfection.