2015, you sucked.

How's that for a new years day blog title?
It pretty much sums up my feelings about 2015. It was one of the hardest year's for myself, emotionally & physically. Today is the first day of the new year and last night was also hard, Leo didn't sleep much & neither did Eli. After both boys going to bed after midnight, this morning was a nightmare. Josh handed me the keys & said leave. Don't need to tell me twice!

Now, before I get started on my rant on why 2015 sucked so bad, I have to put a disclaimer in. We did have happy moments, the birth of our second son, my sisters wedding, our good friends wedding (all in one week I might add) and plenty of happy joy filled moments in general. BUT overall, there was just a feeling of suck in the air. No that is not grammatically correct, but it's the way it felt. A weight of sadness & hardship seemed to stick around in 2015 and it was hard, frustrating and downright annoying.

We kicked off 2015 at my parents house in the greater Seattle area and a few days later left for home in the new year for the mundane work, kids, life...repeat. Then BAM a few days later our good friend passes away leaving his wife pregnant with their second and oldest child without a dad. It was like a punch to the gut. Without a doubt in our mind I would go to the east coast to help her out for as long as we could (which ended up being a month). Being there was fulfilling for me because I knew I could be a constant person for a month in her life. She didn't have to tell another person where the toilet paper was stored, or how to get to a play date for her eldest. I was there. It felt good, but it also felt really really hard. Reality set in immediately in 2015 that life is fragile and temporary, there isn't a guarantee for survival to old age. There is life and then there isn't in one final moment. We all have a death sentence whether now or later, it's going to come.
Not only did he pass away suddenly, but then a family member of mine passed away while I was literally on the flight over there to help my friend and then in the fall another family member passed away followed by someone else close to me having a stroke. Talk about morbid, right?

I was so ready for 2016. I've been saying it to Josh for months already. Stepping into the new year isn't going to change 2015, but there is an unspoken feeling of a new leaf turned. Even if you don't believe in resolutions or a day changing anything (which it doesn't), last night there was a huge breath of relief when the countdown was up, Auld Lang Syne started playing and the "Happy New Year" chants erupted around us. It felt refreshing, like a hot shower after a hard workout. This year I'm looking forward to deeper relationships, more importance put on my marriage (because it took a bit of a backseat in 2015 with everything else) and living in the moment deeper. I'm not a resolution person, but I have made a couple for myself this year and to be honest it feels good, actually great.

One thing I want to end on is God doesn't guarantee an easy life, but He does guarantee a life after death. There is nowhere in the Bible which states life will be easier, more simple or even less chaotic following Christ. But the guarantee for heaven, for life in conjunction with Him after I pass keeps me going. I follow Jesus because my relationship with Him is constant, He never leaves me. This year I've cursed at Him, I've yelled, I've been downright mean. Yet in the dark He always held out a hand to pick me up from the ground, from the depth of sorrow. I didn't lose anyone in my immediate family this year or even someone I was best friends with, but I feel slightly more prepared for it when it happens. Not because you can really prepare for the suddenness of death, but because Jesus never left me & I CHOSE not to give up on my faith during 2015.

So here's to 2016, may it be better than last year.
-ana o.


Leo's Story

Let me preface this by saying it's been months since I blogged. I'm kind of okay with that fact. I've found other outlets to express myself, YouTube vlogging being one and instagram being the second. It's been good for me I think. But I'm not blogging here to talk about that, I'm here to share Leo's birth story for all the mama's waiting....

I had been having contractions for a little over a week, some consistent & some completely random. Prodromal labor is annoying! My midwife doesn't do pelvic checks, which I'm completely grateful for because had I known how dilated I was I'm sure it would have pissed me off. With Eli I knew I was at 2cm for a month which only infuriated me. My little sister came to town and she literally hit the ground running with me, we walked...and walked....AND walked some more. On Monday, the 17th after a whirlwind weekend of my husband having a super high fever (think 104...), we walked (ahem..waddled) to the grocery store that evening for a box of brownie mix. About three miles total. Promptly upon returning contractions started around 9pm completely inconsistent. Some were 2-3min apart and then they would spread out to 10min-20min apart. I was between the tub and laying down in our bed the whole time. Part of it was very emotional for me as I was listening to worship songs for part of it to relax and a song that was sung at our good friends funeral came on...cue crying.

Give me Jesus
"When I am alone,
When I am alone, 
When I am alone,
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus, 
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus."

It certainly felt good to be reminded I didn't need anyone else but Jesus during my labor. Both boys labor's Christ has influenced me significantly. During Eli's I would recite Luke 1:37 ("For nothing will be impossible with God.”) over and over again while contractions hit. Two in the morning hits and my contractions finally start becoming consistent. Josh states if they last like this for thirty minutes then we are headed into the hospital. After 30min it's 2:30am and we load up the car with a sleepy toddler and my little sister following behind us in another car. We arrive at the hospital after dropping Eli off at a friends just after 3am and head to triage to get monitored and checked. Due to the shape of my belly the heartbeat monitor kept slipping off, but after a quick check we find out I'm 7cm dilated and head to our room (FINALLY). We arrive in our labor room just after 3:45am and they want to actively monitor Leo's heartbeat for three contractions just to make sure he's okay, during this another nurse fills up the bathtub and my midwife arrives and states, "Let's have a baby!"
I attempt to get in the tub but declare it's too hot and I have to use the bathroom (it felt like I had to pee). So I sit down on the toilet and my contractions immediately change from a low groan to a deep growl and my body is literally pushing Leo out involuntarily and my water breaks simultaneously. My midwife rushes to me and declares,
"Moderate crowning.....FULL crowning.....Baby is born!" 
while reaching under me to pull him to my chest. Less then a minute later he was out. Mind you I'm in complete shock, I mean complete. The first words out of my mouth are, 
"Did that just happen?!"

Born at 4:03 am on August 18, 2015. 

Yeah, we were in the room for 15 min before Leo came out and my midwife arrived FOUR minutes before she caught him. It was insane. I walked from the bathroom to the bed while Leo was still attached to the placenta and laid down with my baby on my chest while we waited for the placenta to come. We wait for the cord to stop pulsing and my little sister cuts it. My body contracts and my midwife tells me to push out the placenta when I can.

(This is where I'm very thankful we didn't choose to have a homebirth.) I push the placenta out like a popped balloon and also drench my midwife (it was like a murder scene folks!) and a streak of about 15ft in front of me of blood. Thinking I'm bleeding out my midwife stays calm but concerned until she can look at the placenta better because my body isn't releasing an excessive amount of blood. She realized the placenta detached prematurely and turned, so while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing it hadn't completely drained back to Leo. So when my body pushed it out it was like a fluid filled balloon had burst out of me...a very once in a lifetime experience for everyone. The nurses were shocked & of course my midwife as well. 

7lbs 10oz & 20in of Leo.

Thankfully everything was completely okay. No tearing at all (with how fast he came out that's a relief!) My midwife declared me fine to be released & same with Leo's doctor that same day. We were in and out of the hospital in 15 hours. It was amazing.

We've been home for 10 days and its been hard, challenging & blissful all at once. Leo has already surpassed his birthweight after losing a bit. We've worked out our nursing kinks and Josh goes back to work next week. One day at a time, but I'm ever so grateful.


Starting off on the left foot.

2015 didn't start off as expected to be quite frank with everyone. Personal life has been shaken, faith has been punched & we lost a dear friend suddenly. It's been a whirlwind of emotions the past couple months, but the beginning of 2015 really brought waterfall of emotions. I feel like my faith has been shaken in a number of ways, but at the same time also challenged. Obviously I know I'm supposed to go through this, but working through it is proving to be difficult. I feel less challenged Sunday morning's in church as I do more angry.

There has been a saving grace though. Losing our friend has shown me the incredible faith of his wife and legacy he left behind for his kids. She blogs at "Our Life in Four Bags". If you haven't read her stuff yet, you need to. She also has a facebook page called, "More Grace, More Peace, & More Joy"
that she updates frequently as well. This past Sunday I expected to walk out with the same attitude and 
frustration. Hearing some feel-good about giving it to God and it will be better for your faith same-old 
same old, but instead I feel like God is nudging me to work through my issues through Becky's writing
honestly. We were studying from 1 Timothy 4 about training, but it was 1 Timothy 5:3-5, 8 14-16 which 
caught my eye. Talks about widows and how we as believers should take care of them. Definitely hit home 
for me with leaving Eli next month to fly out to the East to be with Becky. I've had some people say things
along the lines of, "i'd never be able to leave my kids" or "why wouldn't you just take him with you?." I
am not taking Eli with me for many reasons but the main one is I'm going there to help my friend and sister 
in Christ with a two year old, a newborn and any funeral preparations she will be doing. We will also be 
road tripping from Maryland to Connecticut for the funeral. I want to be there for her 100% of the time
and I am so grateful for my own parents taking Eli while I'm out there. Reading 1 Timothy 5 in the middle 
of service was affirmation for my decision to go, it gave me an unexplainable peace. Peace as a mom for
leaving my son and knowing he's in good hands, peace for my decision, peace for what is to come.

While I may be avoiding emotions I need to work through God is still nudging me right along. It's hard. It's

painful, but's it's worth it. 



A new Season

Next month will bring a time of change for us. I am going back to school (although I must say I am nervous as HECK and have considered chickening out). I've accepted awards and national grants so I have NO reason to not do it at this point, except for my nerves. Why the heck is school so nerve wracking?! Regardless, a new month, a new year...it's going to be an interesting one folks, THAT'S for sure. My "little" sister is getting married in June and my "littl-er" sister is graduating high school. I mean really...it's a crazy time. But I'm ever so grateful for the support and love from family and friends. Taking lemons and making lemonade. That's what it feels like for sure.
Here's to a new year, a new month and new adventures. Here's to YOU.


Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

Darn song has been stuck in my head since the snow started falling this morning! We haven't even watched the movie a ridiculous amount of times, but it's just so catchy. Ahhh well it could be worse. We had our first snowfall this year and I think it's safe to say Eli is just as in love with the snow as I am. I feel like a giddy little girl when the white stuff starts falling from the sky.

Sometimes even when life is hectic it's best to just slow down and go for a quick walk.


Snow is simply the best at making everything seem spic and span perfect. I just love it. Or maybe the OCD part of me loves it. ha!

What's your favorite season?
ana o.
P.S. No, we didn't build a snowman.


Lots of Love

We've been dealing with teething tummy issues over here for almost a week. Also known as, I put everything in my mouth whether it's good for me or not because my gums hurt. Saturday night was a four wake-up night, not fun. Last night Eli woke up twice and then the DOG had tummy issues so he needed to be let out a few times as well. Where is the sleep folks?? Needless to say my temper has been short & patience thin. Is there a way to combat this when we are so exhausted? 
Motherhood is challenging and hard, no doubt about it. You want to make sure you love enough, praise enough, hug enough & just be enough in a technology driven, fast paced & nonstop life. You want to make sure your not making mistakes, but mistakes are inevitable right? So after your short with that little person (or persons) in your life you feel bad & turn around on your knees and hug them. In my opinion one of the best things I can do for my child is ask for forgiveness from them, no matter how young they are or whether they can understand it. I want him to be quick to forgive and to apologize for mistakes he's made in the future, so I will model that for him now.
We often wonder the common phrase,
"Where did they learn that from?"
Well when they are so young the influences around them from friends are little compared to how much they look up to us as parents. Is he having problems throwing things? Have I modeled such abrupt behavior or given him a reason to be frustrated? Most likely. I'm not perfect and I never will be, I'm okay with that fact. But how can we raise our kids to be slow to anger and quick to forgive if we are not modeling that ourselves? It starts at home.

It starts with us. 
Before we teach them to put one foot forward, I feel like we need to teach them to take a step back to just be. Being a go getter is great, at the right time. But I also want to teach him to remember to take your time. Sometimes it's easier said then done, I mean who wants to eat the chocolate chip cookie slow?! Moments are fleeting and it's okay to leave distractions at home to focus. You don't NEED to count that mile you walked with your child today on your phone, you can input it later on. 
Maybe I'm at a point in my life where too much feels overwhelming. I've felt the need to purge different things in my life. Excessive clothes, books, shoes, kitchenware and it feels REALLY good. I want to teach my son to live simply and at the same time to live intentionally. I may be the worst model for this myself, but I'm trying. That's what counts, right?
So today I pray for patience, calmness, intentional-ness & love. Lots of love because that's what really matters.


On Life.

I love our life. I am SO grateful for it honestly.
I love that Josh is fulfilling his doctorate dreams by being in school to be an ER doctor, I am so grateful for being able to be home with Eli and watch him grow and develop into his own little person.
I love going on walks with him during the day and having our little lunch dates just the two of us. I've been finding beauty in the simple things and trying to find thankfulness in everything apart of our lives. Sometimes it's definitely tough but I realize if I have a positive attitude then so does the rest of my family.

"If mama ain't happy, then nobody happy." 

This is SUCH a true statement and a good reminder for me to watch my attitude around the house.

 We live a loving, but a bit of a hectic life and I think lately it's been wearing on Eli. This is so hard to see. This morning for example he woke up at 3:45am and didn't go back down until 6 am. Josh woke up to get ready for work and we took Eli out of his room and he shared some breakfast with Josh. While Josh was getting ready to leave Eli wouldn't let him go. He walked out into the garage with Josh waving good bye at the same time as trying to get in the car with him. Heart breaking! I think it hurt Josh more then anything because he had to leave and knew he wouldn't be coming back until late because of class.

1 Corinthians 16:14 Do everything in love. Let all that you do be done in love. Let all that you do be done in love. Let all your things be done with charity.
While it may be hard on Josh to fulfill his dream of being a doctor, I know he enjoys it (well, maybe not the road to get there) because it is IN love he's doing it for himself, for his family and most importantly I know he is going to glorify God with his career. A long and tedious road, but it will all be worth it.

There is not another person in this world who loves Eli more then his daddy. The bond they share is amazing. While I tend to get jealous of Josh because his patience for Eli easily outweigh's mine (he doesn't spend all day with him), I am so very appreciative for their bond. It's a bond he can't share with anyone but his daddy and I absolutely love it.

Eli, we love you more then you will ever know. Thank you for being you. Thank you for showing us innocence and happiness through the eyes of a child. Thank you for showing us how to be kiddos again. We love you so much and we can't wait to see you grow up.