River Valley Camping Trip 2019

Our annual camping trip to the mountains of Cherokee, North Carolina was a doozy.  Our boys managed to all come down with stomach flu one after another while on our trip. I have never been more thankful for our camper and for family to help hold sick boys and entertain the healthy ones. Despite the stomach bug, we did manage to have a lot of fun!

Instead of writing a very wordy post, I’m going to go the easy route and post a lot of photos with a few captions. Enjoy!

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The campground we usually stay at is along the banks of a mountain river that is freezing cold, but so very beautiful. The weather was gorgeous and it was so fun to actually wear jackets and sit around a campfire without sweating!

We usually spend a lot of time sitting around reading, which I absolutely love. There are few things more relaxing then sitting beside a rushing mountain stream and digging into a good book. Since I have so many little boys to look after, I don’t get as much reading done, but that day will come again.

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The twins got covered in dirt and kept running off to other campsites, so we had to keep a close eye on them. They know no strangers, so they naturally thought that everyone is just a New Best Friend.

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Liam had the time of his life, and loved every single thing about camping. I bought him a cheap little fishing pole from the dollar store, and he played and played with it. His eyes sparkled the whole time we were camping, I think. He got to sleep in the top bunk of our camper like a big boy, and was so very proud! Sparklers and glow sticks were also some of his very favorite things about camping.

I took along some blue finger paint for the boys to play with, and it was a success! But I think they actually enjoyed playing with the bubbles just as much as the finger paint, so note to self- next time just give them a bunch of dish soap bubbles.

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Poor Peanut had a high fever two of the days we were camping, so he spent a lot time sleeping and being held. Even though it was so so sad to see him so sick, he was still very sweet and cuddly!

Meet Billy (William). He’s the boys’ only current cousin, and we think he’s pretty great!

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Can we just take a moment to appreciate this handsome, muscled fisherman? (If you’re wondering what Oliver will look like when he’s grown, wonder no longer.)

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I caught the boys sneaking sweets all weekend. Archer’s guilty face here kills me.

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Once, I found the twins devouring chocolate covered coffee beans that were left on the table. It was a miracle they slept that night.

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We tried to take a picture of all the cousins together in the wagon before they went on a ride, but look at poor Wittle Peanut. 🙂

I truly married into one of the best families there are. I love them all so dearly!

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Some mountain flowers Liam and PawPaw picked while out on a drive.

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We ate so much good food! Grilled Chicken Leg Quarters, Macaroni Pie, Green Beans, Pork Chops, Ranch Potatoes, Olive Garden Salad, Hamburgers, Baked Beans, Fried Trout, Pancakes and Bacon and Sausage and Eggs, Sausage Gravy and Biscuits, Donuts, and different pull apart breads made in the Dutch Oven. SO GOOD.

Liam rode his little tricycle absolutely everywhere. Carrying his fishing pole, of course.

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Arch discovered his reflection in Daddy’s truck bumper.

 

The last day was the warmest, so we spent some time in the water. Owen and Liam had so much fun, and poor sick Oliver and Archer just slept the day away in the camper.

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Liam waded out to his waist one time, and I could tell he was pretty scared, but he felt really really brave. (He’s very cautious in water) He went out as far as he dared go, and then turned around and waded back to shore saying, “I was about to drown!’ 🙂

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The unfortunate part of being a photographer, is that the only pictures taken of you are the cell phone photos you asked your husband to take.

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Obviously Owen and Uncle Derrick are best buds.

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Until next year!

The end.

 

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Owen’s Birth Story

It was four days until my due date, and I headed off to the midwife’s office for my weekly checkup, leaving the boys with my mom-in-law.  I was feeling largely pregnant, but that was it. My checkup went great, but I was still only dilated to about 1. Kind of depressing when your due date is in a few days. I did my grocery shopping with the thought in the back of my mind- “This very likely could be the last time I get groceries before Owen is born.”

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I got home, put the boys down for afternoon naps, put my groceries away, and then sat on the recliner and put my feet up. I tried to nap, but was starting to have cramps that would come and go and were super uncomfortable. An hour later, they were getting so uncomfortable that I had to breathe through them. I still didn’t think it was labor though.

The boys woke up from their naps, and it was time to make supper. Archer had a bad cold and was super fussy and cried and cried, so I set him on the counter beside me. The whole time I was making supper, I had to stop every five minutes and moan and clutch the counter in front of me (with crying, hungry boys all around me, pulling on my skirt.).

I called Nolan to see what time he’d be home for supper, and he said that he was going to be working late that evening. I said o well, that’s fine (while sobbing inside) and told him- just a warning- but i might be in labor. He asked if he should come home, but I said no, because for some insane reason, I still wasn’t convinced this was the real thing. I finished making supper, put the boys in their highchairs with food, made myself eat, and then laid on the couch.

Well the contractions started getting harder and harder and were very consistently five minutes apart. I called Nolan back and said, PLEASE come home, and that I now was pretty sure I was in labor after all. He replied that he was at a job 45 minutes away and would start home as soon as he could. I got off the phone and cried and cried while the boys sat in their highchairs and poor sick Archer screamed.

Those next 45 minutes were pretty nearly the worst 45 minutes of my entire life.

I had been planning to labor at home for awhile and then go to the hospital when it was nearly time for Owen to be born. But when my husband walked in the door, all I wanted to do was leave my crying children and head for the quietness of a hospital room.  So we called my midwife, my doula, and my mom-in-law (to come stay with the boys. Bless her heart, she was there in ten minutes) and finished packing our bags in between contractions.

I had never ridden to the hospital before while in active labor, and boy, is it not fun. Every tiny bump in the road during a contraction felt like a speed bump. We were still timing my contractions and they were now 3 minutes apart and so painful.

On our way my midwife, Janet, called and said that she was so sorry, but the doctor she works with was not allowing her to deliver the baby after all. He hadn’t realized that I was having a vbac so soon after the twins were born (13 months to be exact). Because of it being a high risk delivery, he was going to deliver Owen himself. It was a HUGE disappointment to me, because I love my midwife, but I was relieved that if a doctor had to deliver my baby, that it would be Dr. Gentry. He delivered Liam, and is an excellent doctor to work with. Another comfort to me was that my doula, Julia, would still be with me, helping me through labor, and fighting for as natural a birth as possible for me.

We got to the ER, checked in, and Julia joined us. I got to be that classic laboring pregnant woman in the ER that moans and pants as she clutches her belly with contractions, while everyone watches. When the nurse arrived with the wheelchair to take us to our room, Julia encouraged that I walk there instead, so I did. The contractions were still about every three minutes.

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Once we got to our room, they checked me, and I was only at a four. WHAT. With how intense my contractions were, I was sure I would be dilated further. I had been laboring since 2:00 that afternoon, and it was now 8:30. This wasn’t going to be the speedy delivery I had hoped for.

I bounced on my birthing ball for awhile, while my amazing doula applied pressure to my lower back with each contraction. It helped incredibly much to ease the pain! I was so thankful to have her there. Not only did she work so hard to help me be as comfortable as possible, she also offered me so much support and encouragement and motivated me to keep going. Nolan also liked having her there because she told him ways to help, and he could relax more and just be there with me.

 

After laboring for a few more hours, Owen’s heart rate showed some signs of stress, and so Dr. Gentry came in and broke my water to get things moving faster. I was not happy with that, because now I was confined to the bed, and it was MISERABLE. Because of the way Owen was laying, I had to lay on my side in order for them to keep the heart monitor on him, and could barely move. The contractions were so intense and I now could only lay there and try to breathe through them.

The next part of my labor is just kind of a blur to me. I remember crying and breathing and Julia telling me that I was doing such a good job, and I just wanted it all to be over.

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The nurse came in and said that because I was still only at a six, and Owen’s heart rate was still wacky, that they wanted to start giving me pitocin to make my contractions harder and much closer together to make labor progress even faster. At that point I gave up. I had been planning to go without an epidural like I did with Liam, but I was already barely able to think clearly during the contractions and felt like I was at my max pain level tolerance.

I asked for some kind of pain relief, and we decided to try Nubain (that or Demerol- I can’t remember which) to take the edge off. Well it did absolutely nothing but make me feel drowsy and slightly delirious. So I caved and got the epidural that I was NOT going to get. BEST. DECISION. EVER. Immediately the pain was gone, and I only felt the pressure of the contractions. I was exhausted, and soon fell asleep. It was now around one o’clock in the morning.

A few hours later, a nurse came in and woke me to do a cervical check, and I was completely surprised when she said that I was fully dilated and ready to push! Apparently the epidural helped my body relax which was what it needed to transition.

I woke my also sleeping husband, and told him it was time! Nurses came from everywhere, and Dr. Gentry came in. Everyone was so calm, I was in my complete right mind with no pain, and WE WERE ABOUT TO MEET OUR BABY BOY. It was surreal.

Dr. Gentry told me that this wasn’t going to take long at all because he could already see Owen’s head. That was so encouraging to me, since Liam’s birth was very difficult, and had required an episiotomy plus suction to get him out.

I started pushing, and in only ten minutes, at 3:10 A.M., he was born, wailing that gurgling newborn cry that always makes me burst into tears. He was here! They put him on my chest immediately (which I did not get to do with any of my other babies), and it was pure heaven. He was so perfect, and so tiny, and the fact that he was my fourth baby did not make the wonder any less wonderful.

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The next part is also a blur to me. Apparently, while pushing, I had some varicose veins that ruptured, and I started hemorrhaging. I asked them to take Owen, because I was passing out. They laid me back and tried to get me to respond while the doctor stitched and stitched to try to stop the bleeding. Nolan said I looked awful, and that my lips were all blue and my face was white as a sheet. Thankfully, they were able to get the bleeding under control and I soon came to and was able to talk again. (They later gave me two units of blood because I lost so much, and couldn’t get out of bed without fainting.)

Once I felt better, and the room was all cleaned up, and everyone left, it was just Nolan, and me, and Owen. I was finally able to really look at my baby boy, and soak in every little detail that was him. His little wisps of hair, his button nose, his wee finger and toes, and those little newborn squeaks.

 

 

My sweet Owen Ben, you were worth every pain. I would do it all over again, to have you. Your name means young warrior, son of my right hand. I pray you grow up to be a man of strength, who fears the Lord, and is gentle, and always kind to others. May you advance The Kingdom in ways your daddy and I cannot. You are loved and you are wanted, and you are one of God’s greatest surprise gifts to us.

 

 

( I need to include a picture of my sweet doula who helped deliver Owen. I cannot say enough good things about her, and I highly recommend having a doula at your delivery, especially if you are planning to have a drug free birth! It’s such a relief to have someone there coaching you, telling you what to do when you can’t think clearly, and to have someone encouraging you every step of the way, and allowing your husband to be completely present with you during your labor.)

 

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O & A’s Birth Story

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Yesterday, 6 months ago, was a miserable miserable day. I was largely pregnant, with two little boys jammed inside of me. All day and evening, I had cramping and extreme backache, and it was hard for me to get comfortable. Literally nothing gave me relief. Standing, sitting, laying down… little did I know, I was having silent labor. I didn’t have contractions like I did with Liam, and so I didn’t give it a second thought.

I had a doctor appointment the next day, for my biweekly stress test. I sat there pushing the button every time I felt my babies kick inside of me. I was still so miserable. The nurse came in to check on me and looked at the paper the machine was spitting out. “You are having some contractions. Do you feel them?” “I don’t think so?”

My midwife came in and did my weekly check to see if I was dilating at all. She looks at me and says in a very nonsense voice. “You’re dilated to a 6! You have to go to the hospital right away. (I guess with twins, they don’t want to mess around.)

So I call my husband who turned around from a job he was going to, and started driving to the hospital. I also called my mom-in-law, who was watching Liam, and asked if she could bring our hospital bags to the hospital for us.

I took my time driving to the hospital, and even stopped at Chick-fil-A for some breakfast (my midwife said I could, but not to tell tell anyone she said so.:) ). I got to the ER and checked myself in, preparing myself for the long labor ahead of me. They were just getting ready to wheel me up to my room when my midwife called me and said that the doctor she usually works with is gone, and the doctor on call did not want to work with her, so she could not deliver my boys. I was absolutely devastated (and I think she was too.). Suddenly I was in the hands of a doctor who knew nothing about me and the boys, and who likely would not care at all about my beloved birth plan. I could have cried.

I got to my room, and my husband arrived, which really helped boost my spirits. I sat in the bed, my huge belly covered in buckles and heart monitors. It was super itchy! Archer kept kicking off his monitor, so the nurse was constantly coming in to adjust it. The thum thum of my dear babies’s heartbeats was such a wonderful noise to hear. We were so CLOSE to meeting these long awaited babies.

My mom-in-law showed up with our bags, and brought Liam with her. I was so delighted to see him, and wished he could have stayed for a fun distraction. Plus it broke my heart to not be able to be with him hardly at all for a couple of days. He was my BABY. But after hugging him and trying to explain to him that his babies were going to come out today, they left.

The doctor came in and introduced himself, and broke my water to try to get things moving along faster.

He then asked how recently we had done an ultrasound to confirm the babies’s positioning. I told him it was about two weeks ago, at which the babies were both head down. He decided he would still like to do another ultrasound to see for himself. The babies popped up on the little screen, and he told us the bad news. Archer had flipped to a breech position. This created a problem. Oliver was positioned to be born first, and he was head down as he should be. The problem was that Oliver was the smaller twin, and so that made the chances of pushing his larger breech brother out behind him a lot narrower (pun intended.:) ) He said they could try to turn Archer after Oliver was born, but he said that likely we will end up having a natural birth PLUS an emergency c-section ( It was quite obvious that he did not want to mess with it). Well that was my first fear, and without my midwife there to advise me and support me, I was too scared to try it on my own.

He checked to see how far I was now dilated, and I was close to a 9. He told us that if we wanted to do a C-section, we should decide NOW, because soon my body would soon start pushing these babies out, especially since my water was now broken. This was crazy to me, because while I was still super miserable, I still did not feel any contractions.

We decided to do the c-section. I was so scared! The doctor asked me how recently I had eaten. “Uuuuuuuum. Two hours ago?” He was not impressed. (But how was I supposed to know I was going to be having a c-section a few hours later?!) And now I was worried that I would throw up and be sick during the c-section.

Literally minutes after we decided to do the c-section, they were prepping me for surgery and wheeling me out of our room. We arrived at the OR, and they made my husband wait in a little room while they got me ready for surgery. The room was FREEZING and harsh with bright lights. There were what felt like 50 people packed into that little room. I saw TWO little baby beds waiting. It was the craziest feeling, knowing that we would soon have TWO babies.

As soon as we entered the room, contractions suddenly hit me like a wave. I sat on the edge of the bed, shivering and shaking from the pain as I tried to hold as still as I could so the anesthesiologist could do my spinal. Bless my dear nurse. She talked me through it and put her hands on my shoulders to help me stay still.

I then lay down, and they started draping cloths everywhere and swabbing my belly, and I started feeling numb from the shoulders down. Weirdest thing EVER to be able to feel touch and pressure, but to feel no pain. They finally let my husband in, and he sat down by my head. He asked to be able to watch our babies being born, and they refused. (We’re both still super mad about that. We don’t even have any video or anything of that beautiful moment when our boys were born.)

The anesthesiologist was wonderful. He joked and talked the entire time and was a lovely distraction while they sliced me open.

The doctor asked if I could feel. I said it hurt a little bit. He told me he was pinching me as hard as he could. Then I asked when they were going to cut, and he said, o he already did. 🙂 I felt some tugging, and heard a huge slurping noise, and then the dearest dearest gurgling cry. They brought my sweet little Oliver over by my head, and I started crying. Our firstborn twin was healthy, and o so handsome. And so TINY compared to Liam’s huge birthweight of over 9 pounds.

The next part was HORRIBLE. Archer was breech and jammed up in my ribs, and so they had to twist and pull him out. I felt a horrible pain in my ribs and felt like they collapsed, and suddenly it hurt terribly to breathe. Through gasps, I told the anesthesiologist that I was hurting so badly, and that I suddenly could not breathe. During all this, they brought sweet crying little Archer to me (he and Oliver were born a minute apart), and I was in so much pain, I could hardly see him because I felt like I was passing out. (I’m still so sad about that.) They upped my anesthesia, and I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew, I was in a quiet, tiny recovery room, with my husband, a nurse, and two baby beds with two wee baby boys crying with tiny newborn wails.

The first time I held them, it was all so unbelievable, and so wonderful that I had TWO babies. They looked so different from each other, but also so much like brothers at the same time. They were so tiny and perfect, and we were so thankful that they were healthy and so well developed at 36 weeks and 5 days. Oliver struggled with his blood sugar a bit, but that corrected itself in a day. They needed no NICU time, and could stay in our room with us the entire time we were at the hospital.

Their birth was nothing like I had planned and dreamed of. In fact, NOTHING went as planned. And sometimes that makes me really sad, but most of the time I just try to remember that they got here safely, and that’s all that mattered.

 

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Getting to be Oliver and Archer’s mama these past six months has been hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But it has also been so full of the sweetest, happiest moments, and I’m so proud of my twin boys. I have a feeling it’s only going to get more fun the older they get!

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I love you my Ollie Bollie and Archer Sweetie.

Happy 6 months!

Seven Things Most People Don’t Know About Me

Only the people closest to me know some or all of these things.

 

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My sister and I are 22 months apart, and were inseparable growing up. ( I still consider her my best friend for that matter.) Our only fights that I can remember were about whose turn it was to go chore.

We slept in the same bed until I was married, and even slept in a twin bed for a while. It was so crammed that we had to sleep opposite ways so we could fit – heads on opposite ends, with the other one’s feet up by our face.


 

I grew up on a dairy farm, and was the oldest of eight children, so I had to help milk cows, drive the tractor and rake hay (which I acted like I hated, but actually enjoyed, because you could get a fantastic tan while sitting on the tractor for hours.), stack hay bales, and feed calves.

Sometimes while bottle feeding a calf, its momma would come charging at you with her head down ( because you were obviously hurting her baby :), and so you had to quickly vault the metal gate to escape.

I also remember running through manure piles with bare feet when I was really young. Some were still warm when you stepped in them. GAG.


 

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I didn’t learn to swim until I was sixteen, and I am still terrified of deep, dark water. Unfortunately, I married into a family of water-loving fish, who have pushed me out of my comfort zone more times then I’d like. 🙂  I’m determined that my children will learn to love water and swim well like their Daddy.

Below is a photo of my one and only time that I went wakeboarding,  and the only reason I agreed to it was because..

  1. my husband and i were still dating at the time, and I really wanted him to be proud of me and not think I was chicken

     2.  because there is hardly any risk of drowning while doing so, because of the life jacket and board that both make you float like a duck.

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I grew up in a church that did not allow listening to or owning musical instruments of any kind. As a result, I grew up singing all acapella songs and learned to be quite skilled at reading music and singing. My high school teacher was an excellent music teacher and taught me so much.

My youth group would often get together and sing choral music, and there was just something so rewarding about mastering a difficult piece.  I now enjoy listening to instrumental music so much,  but I do miss the acapella music I grew up listening to.


 

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My husband and I’s first kiss was on our wedding day. We were going to kiss the night before (because hello, we were getting married the next day, and we’d waited SO LONG.) but I got a horrid migraine (from not eating or drinking enough that day) that made me feel like throwing up and all I wanted to do was lay down, so we waited. I also had to miss our rehearsal dinner because of that stupid migraine.


 

I only shave my legs about once a month or less…even in the summer. I hate it so much, and my hair is blonde, so it isn’t very visible. Pointless, I say.


 

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My handwriting wasn’t always like it is now. In high school, I really admired a cousin’s beautiful calligraphy style writing. So I practiced and practiced (using hers as a guide) until mine was exactly how I wanted it.  It’s changed a bit over the years, but that’s how my handwriting font came to be.


 

And that’s that! Now you know seven new things about me.


 

 

Ohio to South Carolina

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I’ve had so many people ask me, “How do you like South Carolina? Does it feel like home yet? Was it a hard adjustment moving there?”

The truth is, I’m already starting to forget. I’m forgetting how scary, different, and overwhelming it all was. But when I am talking to a newly married friend, it all comes flooding back.

Up until the day I got married, I had never lived in any place but McConnelsville, Ohio. I had always lived in the same house. I always attended the same church, with people that knew me from the time I was a baby. It was all familiar, and I liked it.

I was excited to move to South Carolina, because it meant living with the man I loved, and living in our own little yellow house. And those things were so so wonderful.

But with one “I Do” and a move down South, I lost nearly everything that I thought made up who I was. Suddenly, I was only known as “Nolan’s wife”. No one knew me when I was young, my growing-up story, and my family. I even had a new last name. I didn’t know my way around town, or where any of the stores were. I didn’t recognize anybody’s vehicles as I drove down the road, and I didn’t know anyone in town (That was especially hard for me, as I worked for years in our small town in Ohio, and knew practically everyone walking down the sidewalk).  While I would have previously thought of myself as a secure and confident person, that all changed, and I suddenly struggled with awful insecurities. Would people like me? Would they get my sense of humor? No one knew my talents, what I was good at and enjoyed doing. Would they even care?

I also left a small church, and joined one twice the size. I felt so lost. Names were a blur, and I would sit in church and try to go down the rows of women, and think of/memorize their names. Sometimes during a service, I would nearly burst into tears, because I missed my home church people so so much. The songs were even different. Everyone was SO friendly and nice though, and I was so grateful for that. Another thing that helped tremendously, was all the women that are transplants themselves, and moved to South Carolina when they got married as well. They understood.

I missed my childhood, comfortable friends so badly. I love making new friends, but the thought of making close friends to help take their places, seemed so impossible. How do you attempt to replace 21 years of friendship? But I now have some of the greatest friends in my life, that I love so dearly. It’s a different friendship, as there will never be anyone like my childhood friends, but they are friends that are so much closer in other ways… friends in the same wonderful wife/mommy stage of life.

There were many nights when I would slip out of bed and go cry quietly in the bathroom, trying to not wake my new husband. I didn’t want him to feel bad about his homesick wife. But boy, was I homesick. I am the oldest in my family, and at the time when I moved, had a dear little one year old brother who was basically like MY baby. I would lay there at night and think of how much he was going to change and grow up without me, and think of my family all still at home going on with life without me. I thought about how I would NEVER live there again, and how it would never be the same to go back home. I missed sharing a room with my sister, and our late night talks about anything and everything.

I missed my old job, working at a bulk food store/cafe, which I enjoyed so MUCH.  After I moved, I had several cleaning jobs, which I hated, and dreaded every week. I was so relieved when Liam was born, and I could no longer keep them. 🙂 I now LOVE being a stay at home wife and mom and there is no job on earth I would rather have. It is the most rewarding, fulfilling job I’ve ever had.

People ask me when it started getting better, when Abbeville started feeling like home. And I’m not really quite sure. It happened slowly… in fact, it’s still happening. But I now feel like this is my HOME. I belong here.

They also ask me if there are ways to speed up the “belonging here” process. And I always say…

Time.  Give it time. That’s truly the biggest thing.

Pray About It. God is the one person who knows and deeply cares about your    loneliness. Pour it out to him.

Pursue Friendships. They don’t just happen. So get out, and DO things with others. When the young married ladies get together for coffee, GO. When the youth girls invite you to go out to eat, GO. Talk to people after church, ask questions, and TRY to get to know them.  Get out of your comfort zone. If you have to, PLAN things to do with new friends. They don’t always have to pursuing you.

Have A Baby.  🙂 If this is an option for you, I highly encourage it.:) There’s something about having a child that makes you feel like you belong. I can’t explain it, it just DOES. My mom says the same thing, so it’s not just me. 🙂

Have Fantastic In-laws. It has helped so much to live five minutes from my husband’s family, and to be able to have family nearby. They made me feel like I was part of the family right away, and like I belonged.

Go Home To Visit Often.  My husband did so well in taking me home to visit my family quite often, especially in our first year of marriage. While it DID make me more homesick the week after we’d come back to South Carolina, it did help. I didn’t feel so isolated from my friend and family in Ohio.

Talk To Your Mom.  My mom still calls me every week, and I so look forward to our talks. She tells me all the things that are happening at home, gives me the greatest Mom advice, and basically I just really love her.

I was also fortunate enough to have a friend get married a month before us, that married a guy from the same church as my husband, and moved to the same area. It helped so much, to be able to go talk to her, and go through the same adjustments at the same time.

It gets better. I promise. You will find your place, and feel like you are home.

I’m writing this for myself as well, to help me remember.

To help me remember to reach out to others that have recently moved, and to make a better effort to reach out to them and get to know them. To make them feel at home and wanted here.

 

Liam’s Very First Camping Trip

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We pulled a camper all the way to River Valley Campground in Cherokee, NC. Our poor truck did its best on the mountains, and we made it…even though we had to crawl along at 25 mph part of the time. My dear husband calmly handled the situation while his wife was having heart attacks that we would not make it there. Liam did NOT enjoy the trip there, and screamed and howled and made sure that we knew how he felt. Poor baby. We were about to lose our minds. (I finally distracted him with wild singing and a game of peek-a-boo)

We had originally planned to sleep in a tent but when we saw that there were thunderstorms in the forecast every day, we borrowed some friends’ camper. Boy, were we glad we did. It did indeed rain every single day. Not all day, but enough that a tent would have been a mess of puddles. I was also relieved to have a camper for my baby to sleep in, because he usually doesn’t sleep well at night and I knew I’d be rather stressed out trying to keep him quiet in a tent and trying not to wake up the whole campground. But wouldn’t you know. He slept like an angel ALL THREE nights and only got up once each night. (A miracle when you’re Liam). I’m thinking we should take up camping for a living. 🙂 And next time, we’ll try the tent. (There’s just something about sleeping in a TENT. Although I’ll admit that it’s not as fun as it was when I was a little girl, because now III am the one responsible to pack and haul everything along and then clean up. Much different story, I’m discovering.)

We camped with my husband’s family, and it was just so fun. It was the first time we had all been together in nearly a year! Liam was generally the center of attention and held nearly the entire time. (That’s when it’s nice to be breastfeeding, because then you have an excuse to hold your baby every now and then. 🙂

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See? Center of attention.

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He adores his daddy, and it just puts my heart in a puddle!

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He played with his toys, wailed when his silly mom set him in the frigid mountain river water, and ate more big people food then he’s had in his entire life (his new favorite is refried beans).

The rest of us all ate a lot of food too, played card games in the camper while it rained, played Beer Jam (minus the beer.), tubed down the frigid river (not me, because I had the handy dandy excuse that I needed to take care of my baby), biked, took naps, fished (Nolan caught twelve), and read lots of books. My mom-in-law commented that she thinks everyone is getting older, because we just sat around talking most of the time. Totally alright in my book. 🙂 We also went to a tiny local church Sunday morning, and Liam loved the praise and worship. He “sang” very loudly and squealed with excitement. I thought I was going to bust from laughter and pride.

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The best griller man around. We ate so much good food…porkchops, vinegar chicken, tinfoils (if you don’t know what tinfoils are, you must learn)…

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I do so love families that sit around a campfire reading. Those are my kind of people. Also reading is even better when you have a roaring waterfall right beside you.

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It was just so fun introducing Liam to What Camping Is, and I’m so excited for the years to come when he can play in the creek, and run around, and ride bikes, and learn to love camping as much as his family does.

He has no idea of all the fun yet ahead.

And 8 loads of laundry, an unpacked and cleaned camper later, hurrah for camping!

 

 

 

The Beginning of Us

May 24, 2014.       It was the day that I promised to love and cherish my husband for the rest of my days. It was a day that passed by in a blur of giddy happiness and extreme excitement. I’ll never forget that day.

But how did our love story begin?

It’s really a long story. So if you hate long stories, you should probably leave.

It started with Nolan first. (Of course.) He had applied for 2nd term at Calvary Bible School  2012 in Arkansas. He got in last minute, and so he did the thing that all teens at that time did. He looked up on Facebook all the others attending that term.  And he saw one blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl and he couldn’t forget her.

This is the photo he saw.

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This was him at the time. Such a handsome feller.

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He and the girl both went to CBS. They had a great time, but they had completely different groups of friends so they didn’t hang out hardly AT ALL. The girl was caught up in her own little world, and didn’t even notice him. The term ended and they went home. He to Abbeville, SC and she to McConnelsville, OH.

(Disclaimer. I do not necessarily endorse the following activity.)

The boy was so disappointed that he did not get to know the girl. So he messaged the girl on Facebook (as you can see, Facebook was very instrumental in the beginning of all this. 🙂 )and asked for her number. She was young and naive and thought that texting a boy would be fun and exciting. (I see your disapproving looks. Get over it.) So they texted back and forth occasionally, and slowly learned more about each other. (The girl still was fairly clueless about the fact that he liked her.)

Then there was a reunion. Far away in Kansas. Far away from both of them. But they both went. And at this reunion, the girl started to notice the boy. She noticed that people liked him, he was REALLY good at volleyball (so important when you’re a teen), he smiled a lot, he played the piano beautifully, and plus, he was blonde haired and so handsome. But they still hardly talked and stayed in their separate groups of friends.

A year passed, and they both applied for another term at CBS. This time the girl started REALLY liking this blonde boy from SC (she did not know that he liked her) but she also wanted to spend the term focusing on God and that meant not being distracted with things such as boys. So she prayed about it. And prayed. When she found out that the boy was one of the ones in charge of making the tournament volleyball teams , she prayed desperately that God would keep her off his team. Well. He didn’t. And so all day she had to play beside that boy. ALL DAY.

Every time she ended up around him or talked to him that term, she became all flustered and got all hot (which she tried so hard to hide).

He meanwhile, kept trying to talk to her, get to know her, but she was always in the middle of a group of girls (her way of staying away from him). Poor boy.

Then the term ended, and he left. She stayed for another term. And THAT is when she discovered the truth. She was talking with her friends and somehow the topic of The Boy came up. I don’t recall how it all went, but I remember that the one friend said,” Heidi. (that was the girl’s name. SURPRISE.) He REALLY  likes you. Like as in wants to ask you out likes you.”

O Boy.

Let’s just say that did NOT help the trying so hard not to like him situation. What is a girl supposed to do with that? Now she had to live her life with that knowledge.

She left bible school and they kept texting (like a LOT. Again. Not endorsed.)

To make a long story shorter, the girl was asked by an entirely different boy within the next year. I’m going to be honest and say that probably the biggest reasons why she finally told him “No” was because she still really really liked the first boy and could not forget him. No matter how much she tried and prayed about it.

A couple months later, the first boy finally felt like it was the right time, and called the girl’s father.

The rest is History. A very happy History indeed.

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(This is their happy faces before that first date. The poor boy was slightly overwhelmed at the girl’s big family flocking around them and staring as they took this picture.)