January 2, 2007

525, 600 minutes...
How do you measure, measure a year?

525,600 minutes is approximately how long
you will need to read this monster post! :)

Well, officially another year, 2006, has come into my life and out. I thought I would recap (without Ehlert or TPD) about some of the great, not so great and other things that made up this past year as it was arguably one of the biggest years of my life.

Here goes... 2006 started off with a bang and a gag. Shortly after learning we were expecting our first, we threw a New Year's Eve party. I was still keeping the pregnancy a secret except from close friends and family so I had to do a little fake drinking at the party. It was a good time and we had fun ringing in 2006 although it was different being newly pregnant and missing having Mike and Aimee to share the news and hang out with (they were in Cabo still celebrating the holidays with family).

Shortly after the new year began, I began my pregnancy "renegade gagging", as I believe Aimee Muldrow called it. It would last well into March and really was not fun. I've always been a "gagger" not being able to control it when there are assorted bodily functions or terrible smells from my animals, but this would be a whole new type of gagging. An uncontrolable, out of nowhere type of gagging that was set off by seemingly nothing at times. My favorite gagging incident came one day while teaching an Excel class at UMSL. I was talking about how to hold down the control key to select "non-contiguous groups of cells" and immediately after those words came out the gagging began, in front of a full class of about 24 students, I struggled to reel it in and finally excused myself for a little water and gagging privacy. That was my favorite gagging moment of 2006.

Other than that, early 2006 memories include telling family and friends about our impending addition to the family (I did not particularly care for spreading this news, but it was a big part of early '06 as we got further into the pregnancy).

We had our annual traditional events like the Cat's Meow washer's tournament and Mardi Gras which were fun, albeit I couldn't partake in my usual celebrations of Anheuser Busch products, but I tested the waters with Non-Alcoholic brew and borrowed plenty of "sips" of the real stuff.

The first big event of the year was Tim taking a new job. It unfortunately meant a lot of travel and a lot of nights by myself, but it was an important step for him in his career and it came at a time in my pregnancy when the gagging had settled down and I was finally starting to feel like a normal person again, at least for a couple months... The job started in March and between March and late June he would be gone off and on for 14 weeks. We made it and with the help of friends, family and Libby being my roommate for 6 weeks, I came out with three new decorated rooms (bathroom, my office and the guestroom) and a better appreciation for having my husband around!

March was a busy wedding month with Chris and Kristi exchanging vows one weekend and Dave and Lisa the next. We had a great time at both events and although this was during Tim's traveling time, he surprised me by flying in for Lisa's wedding and I was so happy! I also realized during this month I am a terrible wedding present buyer... they are still coming guys I promise... you have a year right? I still have a couple of months. So sorry.

April was another huge month as we welcomed a new member into our close circle of friends, Matthew Muldrow made his debut on my birthday, April 11th (something I had predicted from the day I heard they were pregnant). He immediately wormed his way into our hearts upon visiting him when he was only 6.5 hours old and he has been there ever since. We spent most of the better half of April and May getting to know this new little man and spending time hanging out with the new parents and addition to our group. It was great practice for us and I was so glad to have invaluable Aimee and Michael new parent advice as we continued to prepare for our big change.

Also in April, Sheryl and Ronnie got married and we had a great time being a part of all the wedding events. Once again, being 5 months pregnant in a dress that didn't fit particularly well and having not even one glass of champagne before giving a speech to 200 people at a reception was a little trying, but a rite of passage for any pregnant woman and I made it relatively unscathed.

The summer brought all kinds of fun stuff - from having Tim back home full-time to baby prep, it was a whirlwind! I had my first shower on a Friday night and it was a taco salad shower. That happened about the same time I started my blog, so if you go back in time on the blog, you can read all about the shower. July was a big month for Dad D as he turned the big 6-0. We had a great time celebrating the big event with a limo and full day of fun around St. Louis. July also brought a major storm which stranded many people without power and we had the Muldrows and Libby stay with us for about 4 or 5 days. It was actually a lot of fun and we really enjoyed the company, even though we joked about them never leaving... we really like it when we have a full house! The other big event was my shower thrown by Kim and Aimee. Again, you can read about that in a previous post. It was so much fun and I will never forget how much work they did and how exciting it was to know the time was drawing near.

Well, the big month for us obviously came next - August... the longest month EVER. I was due August 18th, but Miss Bridget did not want to make an appearance until August 26th... in fact, she didn't even want to make one then, we forced her to! August was definitely a little tough. The uncertainty, the fear, the waiting, the excitement, too many emotions to even begin to describe. I wanted to be one of those pregnant girls who went around saying, "I'm so ready... I can't wait, I just want him or her to be here"... unfortunately, I wasn't. I was feeling okay physically, just mentally not knowing what to expect was really tough for me. The August heat, the ginormous size of my stomach, sleeping difficulty... all that stuff that people said would be just awful toward the end didn't bother me nearly as much as the uncertainty of change. I just wanted it to be over, but at the same time, didn't want to go through everything necessary for it to be over... not sure if that makes sense, but looking back now that I am 4 months removed, I feel silly for being so worried about everything, but I felt so nervous. I remember being at Becky's birthday party on my due date and being so glad to be there instead of in a hospital, that's how scared I was! So silly, but so true...

Then, finally on August 26th, Miss Bridget entered the world and everything was SOOOO... much better. It was over and the world as I knew it did not come screeching to a halt. She was beautiful and I actually LOVED being in the hospital. The drugs, the food, the nurses, the full night's sleep... I didn't even want to leave. Again, as not to bog this down with a recount of everything, you can read about Bridget's arrival in this post. I can't say I was immediately overcome with love and emotion for this new little being (sounds harsh, but I didn't know her and she didn't me, and we needed to get to know each other a little). Before long, though, she too wormed her way into our hearts and by the time we left the hospital, I was smitten and ready to see what each new day would bring.

September was filled with adjusting to life with a screaming baby (they really get you by being all quiet and sleepy in the hospital and then you go home and BOOM... totally different story...). We had to work on figuring out what was wrong and went through many days and nights of crying spells (both her and me), but again we made it and will be better parents in the future because of it!

It's so funny because I can remember EVERYONE under the sun telling me from day one home from the hospital when things were definitely NOT easy, that, "It just gets better and better...everyday is easier". I couldn't hear it at the time (I probably didn't want to hear it at the time), but they were so 100% right. Every week was usually better than the last and at some point, not too long after, it doesn't even seem hard anymore, it just seems "normal". I can't thank everyone enough. You all helped us out during our, a-hem, "adjustment period" and were all so helpful and supportive in both giving us space and being there when we needed help. I personally especially thank my Mom and Dad, who, besides Tim, I leaned on tremendously during the difficult periods and especially for all the times you said, "it will get better", you were right, it did and I couldn't have done it without all your help. It's funny, not until I had my own baby and became a parent and had to struggle with something so much bigger than myself (not in size, mind you...) did I realize how much I still needed my mommy and daddy!

Life continued to become a "new normal" in October as we started to understand her better and she got used to her new surroundings more. We were able to sneak away a couple of weekends for some Tim and Erin time and went to Mizzou Homecoming and Octoberfest. They were much welcomed time for just the two of us.

November brought our first road trip to Georgia and was again that much easier of a month. We definitely fell into being a family and developed routines, schedules, real life! Tim and I found time to play ping-pong again and this month was a breeze - if not, dare I say, great!

December just wrapped up and was by far the easiest and best "new family" month of the year! We celebrated Mom D's 60th with an awesome night and surprise visit from Molly. (Will post pics soon, I promise!) Not to mention, Babygirl's first Christmas was so exciting, again.. more details coming soon. We did receive some really sad news in December, at the very least it has brought our family back closer together and I remain incredibly hopeful that we will continue to gain strength and that we will beat this and things will work out okay. Please, again, keep us and my extended family in your prayers as there isn't a day that goes by that I don't say a prayer for them and wish them continued strength and healing.

Finally, things are gelling nicely at Ivy Trace and the 5 of us are really settling into our new life. We are excited to see what 2007 brings as we can't believe we'll have first teeth, words, walking, etc. Honestly, I am very excited for this year, for all the usual stuff that we look forward to each year, but also for the new things. The uncertainty of having baby is over and I now realize that uncertainty and change is actually good thing, it leads to all kinds of possibilities and a larger capacity to love than you ever thought possible.

So, maybe that's how you measure a year... seasons of love (thanks RENT). I get it now and I can't wait for each new day. Treasure them all, each one.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all and thanks again for all the support and love this year and thanks for actually being interested in our lives enough to read this entire post...if anyone actually does!

Seasons of Love

525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.

525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?
How about love? How about love? How about love?
Measure in love. Seasons of love.

It’s time now to sing out, tho the story never ends
Let's celebrate - remember a year in the life of friends.
Remember the love! Remember the love! Remember the love!
Measure in love. Seasons of love! Seasons of love.

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