August Baby Pt. 2: Words from The Father

What’s up everybody!! As you can tell by the title this is Erin’s husband/Kennedy’s father! Many of you who read this amazing blog already know me but for those of you who don’t I have a name. And that name is (dramatic pause) Anthony. So anti-climactic I know. Feel free to roll your eyes at this point I am a wee bit, a tad if you will, eccentric. But enough about me and more about Kennedy and how she came to be… Through my frames. 

Dear sweet Kennedy was born on Friday August 26th at 8:35 am. She was 7lbs 12 oz, which is freaking huge when you consider she was 3 WEEKS EARLY 😲you might be thinking to yourself, “how nice that she was born on a Friday morning, Erin must’ve gone into labor late Thursday or early Friday.” To quote Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend!” Had it unfolded that way it would’ve been perfect because of my work schedule. I won’t get into detail about what I do (if you really want to know just ask me playa) but I work over nights on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Again, baby was born Friday… Erin went into labor on Wednesday night 😫 I was at work 😫😫 There I was working away, side bar my route takes me out to Santa Barbara, so I’m only 200 miles from Temecula a quick saunter for a commercial jet 🙃 Anyway, there I was working away when right around 10:30 pm I get a phone call. “Hi wife, I say cheerfully, you going to bed?!” Not even thinking that it’s not the norm for her to call me in the middle of my shift at that hour. She said, in a nutshell “Husbie, my brother is on his way here, I think my water may have broke, I’m going to see what he thinks I should do. I’m not having contractions yet, but I don’t want to take any chances.” “Woah” I said. “This is exciting love, but just relax, you’re not having contractions yet so I have time to finish up, I’m already halfway done, unless you want me to come home now? How about this, call me when you know something from the hospital and we will decide from there.” We said our I love yous and that was that!! HOLY CRAP IM GONNA BE A DADDY. It may come as a surprise but all I have ever wanted is to be a good husband and a good father. I don’t know where it came from but it’s been my dream for as far back as I can remember. Sure I had hoop dreams but I always thought “I don’t care what I do, I just want to be a husband and a father!” The other half of that dream was finally coming true. 

I got another call from Erin around 11:30, again Wednesday night. She would be admitted and would not be going home. Still no contractions. We decided it would be okay for me to finish up and make the journey home from Santa Barbara. For reference I don’t normally get back to Temecula until around 6-7am… I got back to my depot at 4am… I was at Erin’s bedside at 4:07 🏃🏻💨💨 I wasn’t nervous, I was eager, eager to be a dad, eager to see my wife and eager to assist her in whatever way I could. 

It really sucks as a husband seeing your wife in pain and there is basically nothing you can do. I rubbed her feet, stroked her forehead and just sat near her, helpless. Thursday goes by. After hours of pitocin, some insert thing and some other medicine, nothing, no contractions, no dilation. KENNEDY WHAT ARE YOU DOING Please come out so daddy can finally hold you! Friday morning, we lookin n feeling a hot mess, especially my poor wife who had not eaten since Thursday morning and could not get out of bed for anything. Not to shower not to potty nada 😠 HELP HER!!! I kept my cool for her but I wanted to shake every nurse and Doctor I saw because it killed me to see her so miserable. Right around 7:45-8 am Friday morning Dr. Jones                         ( DoctaJones, read like the Asian boy from Indiana Jones) walks in and says “nothing’s working, how bout a c-section?” Before she and my in-laws left the room I already made up my mind, YES!!! The wife agreed, c section it is. she did all she could and we didn’t  want to push (or not push 😏) it anymore because if she got an infection, baby and I would be transported elsewhere and Erin would be leftbehind… Bump that doc, we want the cesarean! 

This is about the time I ascended into Dad mode. I was stoic, the wife needed me to be. I was ushered into the OR, about 15 minutes after her. She was nekket and numb. She puked, I normally have a weak stomach, not today! I grabbed a towel and was catching it. Baby is out, I’m weeping. I cut the cord and put her first diaper on. Erin was bed ridden for the next 24 hours. I got poop on my hand twice, didn’t even flinch! I was, and still am, dadding so hard! Kennedy has changed me!!

Since then we have laughed, cried, had moments of frustration and been so full of love and joy over our lil Kenny Bean. She is perfect, my wife it the toughest human on the planet and I get to be part of their lives. “Why am I so lucky?” I ask myself that everyday. I love my girls, and because of them I am complete. ❤️

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August, Baby!

What a week! Most of you reading this already know the news, our baby has arrived! Kennedy Elizabeth was born exactly 3 weeks early on August 26th at 8:35 A.M. and she made us work for her arrival!

I had an interesting pregnancy to say the very least. It was uneventful other than the usual stuff such as heartburn, achy feet, swollen fingers and feet. That started to change at the end of June. I could tell something was off, that my body was working way harder than i thought it should be just to be pregnant. That’s when my doctor’s visits started to become more eventful. My blood pressure started to rise every week until finally at one of my visits my doctor said, “That’s enough of this, you need to go to the hospital to be monitored and you’re done working and on bed rest.” Uh…okay?! This was at 35 weeks, 5 weeks until my due date and I was freaking out! Off to the hospital I went and everything checked out normal. My doctor’s visits went from once every two weeks, to once a week, to twice a week…Anthony said one day as we walked in, “I feel like we freakin live here.” Yes…that’s exactly what it felt like!

I went to my appointment on Monday August 22nd and again, everything checked out fine. That whole bed rest thing was doing it’s job I suppose. Jump forward 2 days to Wednesday, and Anthony made a comment about me not looking well or not 100% myself. I just felt tired but that was about it. I had a friend over to hang out for a bit that evening and that’s it! At about 9:45 I was getting tired so I went to start rounding things up to go to bed when it happened. My water broke. It wasn’t a huge gush like everyone makes it sound like, more like 6 small ones that happened over the course of an hour. Of course Anthony was working this particular night after we jokingly said I wouldn’t go into labor on a night he worked. HA! Silly us…that kiddo of ours probably heard us say that and decided to throw us a curveball.

So who else does one call when they need something…if you know me you know this answer already. KEVIN! Luckily my brother was down the street at a restaurant so he was able to get to me quickly.

I had nothing ready. I thought I had at least 3 more weeks till she arrived so no hospital bag was packed, didn’t pre-register at the hospital, car seat bases weren’t installed, nothing. Oh well, not much I can do about it now!

We got to the hospital shortly before 11 P.M. and I got sent to labor and delivery triage. I knew I wasn’t going to be going home if my water broke so I was curious how things were going to go because on top of it, I didn’t have any contractions. Sure enough, water was confirmed broken and I was off to my little (it was actually HUGE) delivery room. Anthony knew where I was and luckily he was flying through his route so he wasn’t going to miss anything. My mom arrived shortly after I got into my room and my brother took off because he needed to sleep.

They started the pitocin and I thought sweet, I’ll have a baby by tomorrow! Insert another HA! The pitocin lasted all night, roughly 7 hours and it did nothing. I was onto the next induction method, cervidal. I won’t explain how that works, if you’re so inclined you can google it but don’t blame me for what you may read. Just sayin’. The whole point of that medication was to start pitocin again and that labor would begin. Another 7 hours of that…no change. I was onto the last induction method. At this point this was my 3rd nurse of my hospital stay and I looked at her and asked before she got me the medicine, how much longer before we just do a c-section? She said the doctor wanted to try this medicine for at least 2 doses to see if it would work. I mentally was tired, physically was drained and I just laid there and thought to myself, just figure it out already.

I slept from 4 to about 6 that morning and I just wanted to shower. I had barely been allowed to leave my hospital bed and I needed to move around. My parents were both there and Anthony was too, it was shortly before 7 when my doctor and nurse walked in. I knew what was coming. My doctor said, “These medicines aren’t working, your water has been broken for 33 hours, 3 more hours and you’re at risk for an infection, if your baby has an infection, she will be transported and the two of you won’t be able to recover together, do you want to have a c-section…in 35 minutes?” 35 freaking minutes! AH! I looked at my mom and she knew I was in pain. Everyone left the room so Anthony and I could have a minute and I just looked at him and said I don’t think I could physically labor at this point anyway and I don’t want to risk her being in one place and me in another. Decision made, c-section it was.

I was shaking like a leaf because I’ve never had a major surgery, and this was a HUGE deal to me. I remember getting the pain meds and I went numb from the waist down which of course is terrifying! Anthony appeared next to me and I almost started to freak out, I was so, so nervous. They started the surgery and the next thing I know they dropped the top half of the drape to a clear drape so I could see them pull her out of my stomach and the doctor’s first words were, “Oh my gosh look at all of her hair!” This cute screaming little thing with a full head of brown hair was hoisted into the air and Anthony and I just lost it. This was one of the toughest parts for me, laying there while they stitched me back up and Anthony went to go take care of our daughter. He shouted her vitals to me and I could hear him talking to her. I was so anxious to have them bring her to me. Next thing I know I have a nurse placing a baby on my chest and she was so perfect. We stared at each other and she started sucking her thumb while she looked at me. I had 2 full hours of her just laying on me before Anthony took her. Our nurse was incredible and took so many photos of everything for us, it’s like I didn’t miss seeing anything.

I obviously wasn’t planning to have a c-section but in all honesty, in this situation I’m so glad that I did. The recovery was a bit much, like not getting out of bed for 24 hours, but I feel pretty good almost a week later!

Of course I wouldn’t post this without including pictures of this little one!

I want to give major kudos to my husband. He was absolutely incredible during this whole process. He so naturally starting “dadding” as soon as our Kennedy arrived and he had to do everything the first 24 hours with her since I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed. Thanks for being so amazing husband!

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Our first family photo 🙂
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I was so relieved to have her with me and Anthony was so great and keeping me calm.
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Our second family photo!
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She spent a lot of time with mama the first couple of days.
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One of my absolute favorite photos from that day!
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This is my absolute favorite from delivery day. Anthony is a natural at being a dad.
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Going home outfit!

32 Weeks…8 Months…2 Months Left!

We’ve hit another milestone this week. Officially 32 weeks today a.k.a. 8 months pregnant. I honestly, looking back, felt like I was on an unending journey and that these final weeks/months were going to take an eternity to get to. In some ways, it did feel like forever, and in others I feel like I just was at the doctor’s office for the first time. Getting to now has been insane and so many things I didn’t expect to feel or experience.

On one hand, I feel like a champion because I’m growing this little human in my stomach, who is getting so big and so strong with her punches and kicks, and on the other hand I feel defeated and weak because I’ve never had to limit myself physically to the levels that I had.

Last weekend is when it got super real with just how much I needed to slow down. I had a doctor’s appointment on Friday afternoon and I when they took my blood pressure it came back high. It runs in my family, but I know right now is not the best time to have high blood pressure. My doctor told me, no vigorous activities, and I need to take it easy. Like, he said I couldn’t even walk around much outside because it could be risky. My dear husband was present at this appointment and he sprung into husband mode. He is a big believer in juicing, so he told me we’re going to have turmeric and ginger shots from then  on out. I admit I was skeptical, but it’s worked for him so I was on board.

The next two days I just felt defeated. I really lost it on Sunday afternoon when going to church and out to lunch was exhausting and I needed to rest before I could even go to the grocery store. Before we were going to leave I started to cry because every little thing had become difficult for me. Putting clothes on, standing for too long, bending over, trying to reach things on a shelf, even washing the dishes…I’ve already got short arms so having a belly that doesn’t let me get all the way to what I need to reach makes it even harder. I started weeping and I told Anthony that I felt horrible because I feel like I have to be iron woman and tell everyone how “wonderful and fabulous” I feel while being pregnant.

The truth is I don’t feel wonderful and I feel far from fabulous. If you were my parents you would of gotten a much more real/raw response to this topic…I’m keeping it PG here 🙂 Have there been things I’ve enjoyed about being pregnant? 100% absolutely yes. I live for the routine times that I know she’s awake & kicking me, when Anthony gets to feel her move, having my little girlfriend along with me everywhere I go, someone to talk to that just listens and knowing that she’s half of me and half of Anthony. What’s been difficult? Waking up in the morning and trying to get out of bed only to have pelvic pain, my maternity clothes being small already, being kicked so hard in the bladder, stretch marks (literally everywhere), sore legs, sore feet, and just not feeling like myself because I’m sharing a space that I was used to just being mine with someone else…which brings me back to the wonderful part. I’m sharing myself with this little lady in a way I can’t share with anybody else. Cue my tears, I am thankful and I am elated that I am going to be a mom soon and I promise I won’t take it for granted.

I’m looking forward to the next 4 weeks before I begin my maternity leave and I can really prepare for her arrival. I’m nervous because, hello, I’m going to be responsible for a new little life. Overjoyed because I’ve always wanted this and so has Anthony. So while this has been challenging, I know the challenge is just beginning here.

I will also add…I had to visit my doctor again yesterday and good news to report. Blood pressure is back to normal (Thank you Husband) and Kennedy had a growth spurt from one week ago…2 CM belly growth for me! She’s growing and she’s strong. Just gotta stay put a few more weeks little lady! Here’s a bumpdate photo for you:

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Becoming Parents

I can’t believe it, Kennedy and I have made it to 23 weeks and a few days. I thought time was going by fast before, but it’s been going faster than ever now. We’re slowly getting everything ready for her room, but I feel a little behind!

In the last few weeks, Anthony and I (mostly me) have been incredibly emotional when we think about our little one. I’m going to shine a little light on pregnancy hormones for a minute since I’ve brought it up, THEY ARE SO REAL. One minute I can bee feisty and a bit irritated, show me a picture of puppies trying to bark for the first time and I’ll be in a pool of tears. It literally changes at the drop of a hat and I can’t explain it in it’s entirety but puberty’s got nothing on pregnancy hormones.

Since time is going by and September 15th is rapidly approaching, I’ve found myself thinking about being a mom a lot. There’s a lot of worry that floods my thoughts, like how will I handle sleepless nights? What about trying to get ready to go somewhere and it takes 3 times longer than usual and I’m frustrated? Or, when she’s a little bit older, will I discipline her in the right way? There’s about a million other questions that fill in those gaps but I find myself pondering them often. That’s not where most of the emotions come from though.

I’ve never been one to think much about what kind of woman I would be when I was pregnant or what kind of mother I would be. I always pictured myself having kids, but I never put much thought into what kind of mom I would be to those kids. I’ve been digging all kinds of deep trying to figure out what is important to me or what sort of things my parents did that I want to try and implement into my parenting style. When I put myself in those moments, that’s when I get the most emotional. Instant water works because I still can’t wrap my brain fully around the fact that I’m going to be a mom. That’s the part that gets me the most. I know through many people in my family that being able to have a child of your own, is a blessing. The one reason I get the most emotional is because Anthony and I have been chosen to have this little angel, and essentially we had no issues trying to get pregnant, praise God.

The other thing that gets me SO emotional, is my husband. When he and I met at 19 and 20, we REALLY liked each other pretty quickly. Once we had been together for about a year, we started talking about future hopes and dreams. Anthony told me at that time one of his biggest life dreams was to be a Dad. Yes, I swooned then and I still do now thinking about it. When we got married in 2013, we would of had a baby right away if we could. We knew that it wasn’t our time, we had just tied the knot and we had some personal things we needed to work through. I remember when we decided to finally try. It was August of 2015 and our friends, Josh and Janine were just a couple months away from having their son. At that point, the thought of babies, parenting, nesting, ALL OF IT, was the most exciting thing to us. We said, “It’s time!”

Over the last few months, when I look at my husband and his excitement for our daughter, I just melt. Everyday since the beginning of the pregnancy, Anthony talks to my belly. His favorite thing to say to her is, “What are you doing in there little baby?” He’ll lay down and have daily conversations next to her and just in the last few days he’s been able to feel her kick consistently. His whole demeanor has changed and he’s taking this whole parenting and adult thing in stride. He’s helping me so much when I start to fear being a mom because he truly, truly is living out his dream and it’s making me follow him. He’s always been a leader, but I’ve never felt closer to this man and his love for our family.

We may be first time parents but I feel so confident in where we are headed. Anthony is one lucky dad too, his schedule is going to allow him to have TONS of daddy-daughter time, and I’ve never seen him happier. This momma is a bit jealous, but there’s nothing more I’d want for our little lady than plenty of time with both her mom and dad.

The next time I update you guys, I will have more to share regarding how I’m dealing with pregnancy (there are good days and bad!) and what we’re up to in Kennedy’s nursery. Decorating starts this weekend!

 

Time Keeps Ticking

Exactly 5 months from today is our little princess’ due date! Only 5 months away! There are some days this journey feels like it is going by so very slowly and then other days I remember thinking I just found out I was pregnant. Either way you want to look at it, it’s all been so very exciting.

Just a few things that have been happening since I last posted anything. First of all, I mentioned a little princess, yes, it’s a GIRL! We found out 5 weeks ago by doing an early elective ultrasound. We had our parents there and siblings so it was a special time for us. I think my mom yelled louder than anybody in the room when they technician wrote, “It’s a girl!” on the screen. I attempted to upload said video, but I don’t have a premium account so… The only other thing I will add to finding out it was a girl, I was totally shocked. Anybody that knows my family knows we produce boys, and well, Anthony is 1 of 3 boys. I was expecting to have a little man in my belly and when we first saw the ultrasound images, I knew it was a girl along with the technician well before anybody else did. I was so still and in shock, I was basically speechless and kept squeezing Anthony’s hand until the writing appeared on the screen. I am super happy to have little Kennedy Elizabeth dancing around in my belly. Her daddy is already her biggest fan 🙂

I was sick a bit longer that I had indicated on my previous post. I continued to have nausea for a few more weeks and then some other pregnancy symptoms that they just don’t tell you about because it’s literally different for everybody. So many people have asked me, how has it been?! Sometimes I honestly don’t know what to say. I obviously haven’t been miserable but there’s something different everyday. Since I’m over 18 weeks at this point, everything has been a lot easier. Most of the things I’ve been experiencing have either slowed or gone away so I am very thankful to feel relatively normal right now.

If anything there’s been a lot of emotions between Anthony and I. There plenty of moments where we are so overjoyed and we both start speaking to my belly. I’ve cried a lot…about pretty much nothing. It’s kind of funny after the fact but let me tell you, you’d think the world was ending during. Every so often we have the moments of “Holy moly, we’re going to be parents…what does that even look like?!” There’s been many text to my mom to ask if something was “normal” or if she had experienced something similar. It’s been fun seeing things change and transform over time, pretty much daily at this point. I promise on Monday I went to sleep with a sort of bump and when I woke up Tuesday, I had grown overnight. It’s mind blowing! I’m in awe of what the human body can do.

With that being said, I’ve had a lot of friends who recently had babies, are close to their due dates, halfway through their pregnancies or just found out they are pregnant. But I also know that there are a significant number of people that are trying to have babies that are facing challenges in this process so I’ve been trying to be as grateful and thankful for this chance to be a mom. I know my mother was very worried that because I’m her daughter, I could of inherited some of the issues she had when it came to having children. She was completely relieved when I told her I was pregnant and I had no idea she was so worried about my chances, but it’s another reason why I’m so thankful for the stage that I’m in.

I’m sure I’ll have more to share but for now this is what I’ve got for you guys! Here’s a bump photo for you at exactly 18 weeks. 🙂

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Baby Cross…September 2016

So just last week, Anthony and I shared some very exciting news…we’re expecting! Little Cross will be here (hopefully on time) mid-September 🙂

I’ve had a lot of people ask me questions about our pregnancy because I didn’t tell anybody but ONE friend that we were actively trying to have a baby. I didn’t really want to make a big deal out of trying for a few reasons. One, I wasn’t sure how long it was going to take and I wasn’t sure if there were going to be any complications. My sweet parents tried several times before they were successful in having my brother so I wasn’t sure if I was going to experience any of the same struggles but I didn’t want to put anymore pressure on myself. Second, I didn’t want everyone to know what our plans were in terms of trying to have a baby, enough said.

I’ve always known I wanted to have babies, but I’m a “planner” so I always want to “make sure it was the right time”. My sweet husband told me from the very beginning of our relationship, the most important things he wanted in life was to be a good husband and to be a good dad, everything else would come second as long as he was doing the first two things (such a sweetheart). If he would of had it his way, we would of had a baby or two by now! But, after deciding to try and then being successful, we’re both very, very happy that this is the point in our life that we’ve been given this chance to be parents. I don’t think I’ll overload these posts in the coming months with all things pregnancy, but it is the most exciting thing going on in our lives right now.

We will be finding out the gender of the baby, and only 3-4 more weeks until we find out! I felt sick for about 3 weeks but it seems that the nausea has passed (thankfully). I did catch a head cold last week but that’s on it’s way out too (thank goodness!).

Every single day, Anthony and I thank the Lord for this chance and he continues to bless our family, regularly, daily.

Here’s a picture of my bump (bloat is more like it). Right at about 10 weeks. Only 30 more to go 🙂

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Goodbye, 2015.

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I’m about to get super cheesy for a second, it’s the end of the year and what a year it’s been! Done being cheesy.

Now I’ll be real. 2015…you were…a bitch. I’m including the last two months of 2014 in this, so for about 7 months you seriously were a royal jerk. I can’t be made at you about it, it was the result of decisions and choices that were made that proved to be challenges. I won’t even call them set backs either, but I’ll refer to them as “lessons”. They were difficult lessons, definitely not anything that school prepared me for or that my parents could warn you about because I had no idea that I would react to them in the manner that I did. I discovered that I have some anxieties, and they were pretty severe. To the point if I was triggered I was in tears, I couldn’t focus, I just wanted to fix it, right then and there. These were things I couldn’t just fix. They weren’t things that anybody could snap their fingers and magically make better. They were the kinds of things that you either decided to man up and get through it, or let them swallow you whole. I teetered between get swallowed and getting through them a couple of times. I had some great supporters that helped me, I consulted God in prayer, A LOT. I read my Bible, A LOT. I cried a ton and I consulted my parents many, many times. When I FINALLY felt peace in my heart and that I was handling things to the best of my ability and giving the rest to God, life started to change. It changed a LOT.

It all started when I had subconsciously realized that I was tired of what I was doing for work. I knew it in my heart a while back, but I was really feeling a tug to get away from it. I honestly didn’t do a whole lot with that nudge at first but I figured I’d pay more attention to the LinkedIn job postings and see what was even out there. I stumbled across a job posting, it was in Temecula. It was in marketing. It was for an education company. Rewind…anybody that knew me while in middle/high school knows I wanted to be a teacher…back to present time, I was pretty excited about it. I decided to apply online and I honestly forgot about the application. I got an email 10-14 days later from the manager that was hiring for the position and I was surprised. They asked if I could come in later that week and I said, absolutely! I had no idea what to expect. I had been out of a Marketing type position for awhile. I still helped with little things at the job I was at and was the main person writing responses and content for my particular department, but I wasn’t marketing focused at all. I felt pretty darn welcomed the second I walked into the office for my interview and wasn’t nervous (a first!). I think my interview was a grand total of 45 minutes or so. I thought it went great and I got along with both of the people interviewing me and I was ready to wait and see what the next step was. Either a second interview or maybe a job offer, but I felt pretty confident about it. Maybe 3 hours later I got a phone call…and a job offer. I was elated. Did I mention Anthony and I were also notified that the offer on our house went through? It went through that morning…no joke. 2 good things in a day you had to be kidding me right? I cried for like 30 minutes because I couldn’t of dreamed that this is where I was going to be in July 2015 after the ridiclousness that was November 2014-June 2015. I had NO clue what I did to deserve multiple blessings in a day. Prayers again…because God knew how far down the rabbit hole I had been.

We got to move into our home the second week of September! There was a little bit of trouble before move in…the previous owner’s movers broke a water line that caused a flood in our kitchen and dining room. OOPS. She refused to pay for it too…thank goodness for home insurance and our amazing realtor for helping us through it. We were a little mad but got over it quickly because we are going to replace the floors and it could of been a whole heck of a lot worse. We’ve been DIY-ing the crap out of our house ever since and it’s coming together so well. Please refer to my Instagram (reinforces) for the professional decorating skills of my husband. Yes, he’s better at decorating than I am and I don’t care who knows it.

The last two months of this year I think I’ve cried more in tears of thankfulness and in awe of what life is than I have collectively in my entire life. The littlest things set me off. Worship music. Messages at church. Memories. Moments. Looking at my husband. Looking at my dog. Looking at my house. Looking at my job. My car. My health. My parents (You both have been an incredible example of grace. Understanding. Love. Being present. Being role models. Being our stronghold. You’re the greatest parents). My brother. My mother in-law & father in-law (Which we wouldn’t of been able to buy our home if it wasn’t for the two of them. I don’t think I could ever repay the two of you for everything you’ve done for Anthony and I. EVERYTHING you’ve done has taught us lessons, made us grow, helped us grow. I literally can’t say thank you enough and let you both know how much I love you. I’ve got the world’s greatest in-laws). My brother-in-laws. I’m thankful for everything above and everything in between. I’ve never looked at everything around me and felt more blessed.

2016…I won’t say “new year, new me” because it’s not true. Trying to be a new you shouldn’t ever be the goal. Be a BETTER you. Grow in being YOU. This is the vessel you were given, love it, cherish it, nourish it. I hope that 2016 brings great promise and opportunity to all.

A couple of things that I want to do is read more, watch less TV. Get out more and enjoy the outdoors. LOVE all and let go of old negativity. I hope I get the chance to maintain friendships, grow them, and heal old ones.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Time Heals All Wounds…Kind of?

Hi guys! I have some time to write today so why not write regarding things that I’ve been thinking about.

A few weeks ago, my high school alma mater had their homecoming game, and I decided it was a good time to get everyone rounded up and go. We had an invite on facebook to get the word out and there was actually a really good showing, especially from my class, so it was awesome, in my opinion.

When I started high school and throughout the 4 years I was there, I bounced from social circle to social circle. Part of this was due to who I was dating. When I was a freshman, I was dating a Junior so I got to know the upperclassman a bit. When that fizzled, I found myself kind of lost and found a few girls I enjoyed hanging out with, which then turned into a bigger group of girls. Once a few of my friends I met playing softball got to high school, I jumped back and forth between two groups of people and man alive, I remember some of the insane things people did to make fun of or bully people around me. I cringe when I think about it, but it also brings up memories of when I was bullied so I thought I would share so people understand how it sticks with people years later.

I was bullied quite a bit. When I was a freshman and my oh so cool Junior boyfriend dumped me, a few of his friends made fun of me, regularly. It was humiliating as a 14 year old to have 16 and 17 year olds pick on you. I wanted to crawl into hiding, but I clung to my softball teammates, that ended up being the best thing for me anyway, I spent most of my time with them and you find that the older teammates try to protect you from assholes (for lack of a better word, sorry guys).

Sophomore year, I had some new friends and they were all gorgeous. Literally all of them. I think I mentioned in a previous post I was always the awkwardly sized friend. I hit my maximum height of 5’7 when I was 11 and I was a bit heavier than most in my grade. Well I had it once I was a sophomore. I decided, I needed to lose weight so winter vacation came and I started eating well and I ran about 3 miles a day. By the time our 3 week vacation was over, I’d lost 10 pounds and most of it in my waist. First day back…one of the guys on the football team, that used to make fun of me for being fat, started a rumor when I got up to use the restroom, that I must have an eating disorder because I just couldn’t of lost weight like that in 3 weeks. I came back from the bathroom and people were staring…it was so awkward. Flash to the next period and there were a group of girls from my previous class that shared this one with me as well, they told me what the guy said and I about lost my mind. I couldn’t win. I’m fat I get made fun of, I lose weight and apparently I have an eating disorder. Really? I tried to be “tough” but I remember going home and crying so hard. People were so MEAN. But it made me mean. I started being a jerk.

Junior year…I was pretty busy. I had taken on being in charge of the student spirit group, lots of planning, lots of yelling, etc. I thought everything was going to be perfect this year…that didn’t last super long. My brother joined the football team, and anybody that knows Kevin knows he is the NICEST person on the planet, for real. I always felt protective of him, even as the little sister. Like I said, I didn’t put up with people’s shit so I wouldn’t let anybody give him any. Well we would hang out with people after the football games and stuff, it was a different crowd than what I was used to but I didn’t think much of it. Well I decided to throw a party or something and I invited people on MySpace (talk about a flashback right). Well of course someone decided to twist my words and then posted this really horrid drawing where my face from a picture on my profile was cropped onto it. I was horrified. I locked myself in my room and was bawling and BEGGING people to take it down, and then more people reposted it. All of this before a pep rally the next day where I had to talk in front of the entire school. I got to school and there were a bunch of guys on the football team that just mocked me and made fun of me. I was so embarrassed. I held it together for the rally but the second it was over I burst into tears when the quad emptied. I remember walking into a coach’s classroom with tears running down my face and having to tell him what happened because I wasn’t going to let someone make fun of me, especially when I was throwing tailgate parties and events to support their sports team. I gave names and he called coaches and I skipped class and sat out in the quad the rest of the day. (This is hard for me to write so sorry if I’m all over the place but). I was approached by a few players on the team that apologized. One of them a long time friend and a couple others that I knew didn’t have accounts online to even be involved, but they saw my sadness. I found out later that the ones that started it were disciplined and then still talked about me because “I couldn’t take some teasing”. There was a girl that overheard them and she snapped and reminded them that I didn’t have to do what I was doing to support them and get people to come out to their games but I continued to do it because I cared about the school and enjoyed it. They got quiet real quick. I don’t think the girl that did this knows how much I appreciated that gesture but I did beyond words. I was so happy when football season ended that year and I didn’t have to put up that front anymore. I eventually even removed myself from a group of girls I hung out with regularly because they hung out with this crowd all of the time, and I simply couldn’t face them anymore, I was too embarrassed and I didn’t want them to think I was okay with them treating me poorly. If I kept hanging out with them then they thought it was okay to be assholes, and it wasn’t so that was my way of putting my foot down. Instead I went back to my softball teammates, where I was happiest. I was pretty flipping happy when the Class of 2007 graduated. By no means was I happy that the whole class would be gone, my brother graduated that year, but that meant that the people that regularly made me second guess myself and want to just stay in hiding when they were near, would be gone. It was a relief to me.

Senior year…you were a good one. I don’t have any bad memories of that year, THANK GOD.

I do hope that I didn’t do anything to hurt anybody or bully them, if I ever did I AM SORRY BEYOND WORDS. You read what I dealt with above and I admit I cried recounting the memories, they hurt me, deeply. I mean I’ve gotten over them but it still hurts when I think about them. Just please, think about what you do or say to someone because it sticks for a very long time. It does teach you a lot but it doesn’t make it “okay”. Not everybody gets over it, for some it’s a long lasting pain.

Sure, I don’t let it mold me and I took plenty of measures to get away from the mean people, but sometimes people literally can’t get away from it, it’s everywhere. Please, I encourage you, if you have been bullied and it still eats at you, tell someone. If you’ve bullied someone, please say sorry and mean it. So if you don’t mean it don’t bother because it’s easy to see through a phony apology, but take the time to think about how your actions may of hurt somebody else.

Even as adults now, I still see the bullying or the asshole-ness. So bringing it back to my opening comments about how I just saw several people for the first time in 7 years at this homecoming game, I STILL WITNESSED CATINESS. Girls that wouldn’t talk to other girls for crap that is trivial as hell. Stuff from years ago, or a couple boyfriends ago, that still drives a wedge between people. IT’S NOT WORTH IT. I’m going to pull a Drake and say YOLO because seriously, you like to hold onto hate or grudges? I know I don’t, so I can’t imagine it’s fun for others.

Anthony and I had a discussion last night about how we wish that people from our past that we may of hurt/bullied/whatever you want to call it, know we want them to do well. There’s one person I can think of that I want to apologize to, but I don’t know if I will have the guts to actually get it to that person. It’s been a long time and the last time we talked, it was because I was angry over something of mine being thrown away, talk about trivial crap. So in case anybody know who I’m talking about, please let him know I hope he is doing well. I know there are things I did and said over the years that would say otherwise, but I mean it. I don’t wish bad things upon him, ever. I don’t have room for those types of emotions anymore.

I know this was long, and it was a bit scattered, but to me it all tied together somehow! If this brings forward any emotions or discussions, please let me know. Especially if it’s something that makes you want to meet up. There’s quite a few people I want to get in touch with and see how they’re doing so if you get a message/call/text from me, don’t be surprised.

Thanks for reading, guys!

Faith

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Sorry for the delay, it’s been a bit longer than I would of wanted before I came back to write, but we moved into our new house! We’ve been busy unpacking, painting, organizing and cleaning and we’re finally at a place where we don’t have any major projects coming up, whew!

So, I’ve had a lot of things on my heart lately but most recently what I’ve wanted to talk about is how I came to know Jesus. There are a few reasons why I want to talk about this, 1. I love hearing how people came to know Him 2. People that have known me for any length of time will know I was FAR away from ever even considering a relationship with God 3. If this is one way I can express my experience that might answer or inspire someone, then I will be overjoyed that I shared.

Here’s a little background on my experiences with church as a child. I will just say they were minimal. I have parents that both had experiences with Catholic churches. My father more so than my mother, he went to Catholic school from kindergarten to high school. My parents both agreed that they didn’t want to tell us what religion to follow, what was right or wrong, if we wanted to go to church they would take us and if we had questions we could ask.

We attended a Christian non-denominational church for about a year. I remember really enjoying it, but my brother didn’t really care for it. Since we were still in grade school and nobody was really feeling attached to it, we stopped going. I didn’t think much of it, I was young and I was starting to care more about sports and school. Time went on, and not until high school did I start to listen to friends talk about church, religion and relationships with God. I was convinced I didn’t need it. The sad reality is, when I look back at some of my actions I cringe and think, “Oh you needed Him!” (I’ll circle back to these actions probably in another post, they aren’t so important here). I always got quiet whenever someone would start talking about the gospel or bible verses; quite frankly it made me uncomfortable.

Fast-forward a couple years, I met my now husband Anthony. He told me he used to attend church in Oregon, another place here in California and that he always wanted to find a place to call his church home. My response to that was, “I’m not interested in learning about God.” I could tell that sort of crushed him. I was still convinced I didn’t need Him.

I graduated college and I moved home. Anthony and I got engaged shortly after I moved back and we moved in together with my brother. Life was kind of scary at this point. I didn’t have a solid job, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, my parents were recently divorced and everything just felt like I was standing on shaky ground. I didn’t really have anything to turn to or lean on. Our friends Curtis and Sydney, who lived right across the hall from us (Yes, just like Friends) invited us to go to church one day and we said sure. I think what made me curious was the chance for stability and something to put my faith and hope into. I vaguely remember the sermon; it was part of a series called, “The Red Letters”. I’d honestly have to go back and listen to the service again to tell you exactly what it was about. This was in July 2013. We didn’t go back the next weekend or for months for that matter.

October 20th 2013 was mine and Anthony’s wedding day. It was the BEST DAY EVER. My dad was the one that married us and friends and family surrounded us. A majority of my family members proudly attend church, and there were a large number of them in attendance at our wedding. I looked around at everyone and something in me moved me and I whispered into Anthony’s ear at one point and said, “When we get back from our honeymoon, I want to go to church.” Anthony’s face lit up and he said, Okay!

November 3rd 2013, which happens to be my birthday, was the first day we went back to church. I was so ready to listen and hear what the pastor had to say. What I didn’t expect was the overwhelming feelings of peace that I experienced that day. Erin Wible spoke about anxiety, which anybody that knows me knows I have no short supply of anxiety. Anybody that goes to church, you know how sometimes you walk in on a Sunday morning and the pastor starts speaking and the message is EXACTLY how you feel, almost to the point that you feel like you’re the only one in the room? That’s how I felt this day. I probably cried 3 or 4 times, not exaggerating! I was ready to come back the following week without hesitation.

I started reading the bible and everything was clicking to me. There were some things going on at that time in my life that I was so very stressed about and I needed strength. I found it while building a relationship with God. Every second and minute that I dedicated to reading His word, the better I felt. I knew that I wasn’t perfect and that He still loved me! That His grace would save me, save us! I made the decision to allow Christ into my heart during a women’s event at our church that December. That decision helped me get through SO much since then. Every trial that I’ve experienced, I’ve asked for His guidance. I trust that He will guide me and my husband down the path we are supposed to go down and when we fully trust Him, we are right where we are supposed to be.

Anthony and I got baptized together on February 8th and it was the greatest experience to profess my love for God in front of our church with my husband right next to me. It feels so good to be able to have my quiet mornings and conversations with God. Whenever I need support, all I need to do is seek Him and my anxieties fall away.

I am so thankful for where I am at today in my faith. Anthony and I teach a class at church for kids K-5, and let me tell you, we’ve got some amazing kids in our class and they remind me every week what it’s like to be childlike in your love for God.

If you hung in here all the way to the end, THANK YOU! If you want to ask me anything about any of the things I touched on in this post, let me know!

Let Me Begin…

…Oh it’s been a little while. My creative side and my written words have not been exposed for the world to see in quite some time. But I’m back! I plan on making this a life long journey with my writing, and wherever it decides to take me, I’m just going to go with it. I’ll give a little background on myself to begin (even though to start I know most of the people reading this already know who I am) but in case someone stumbles upon my page that doesn’t know me, this is truly for you then.

My name is Erin Cross (formerly Erin Rafferty, hooray for being married for almost 2 years!) and I’m 24 years old. I can honestly say since the age of 5, I’ve loved to read and write. I probably had at least 20 different journals as a kid and constantly found new reasons to buy brand new ones. I used to wake up at 5 AM when I’d hear my mom get ready to go walking with her friend and I would secretly read in my room, talk about nerdy. I’m pretty sure I went to the public library at least once a week as a kid, and I would check out 3 or 4 books at a time. I always had my nose in a book, and somehow I also found time to play sports and be outside.

I’ve always been a tomboy, but a girly one at that. My mom used the term “tomboy with lip gloss” to explain the type of kid I was. I had my growth spurts early and I was awkward. I wore a size 8 shoe in the third grade…SERIOUSLY?! I haven’t grown an inch since I was 11, and while I was taller than most of the boys in my grade for most of my life, everyone finally caught up to me in size once we reached high school.

High school was an interesting time in my life. It was a roller coaster. I had great friends, but I also had some pretty brutal critics. I was good at appearing confident, but on the inside I was SO unsure of myself. I grew through my awkward stages and learned to enjoy the journey. I fell in love twice when I was young and was heartbroken twice at a fairly young age. I thought I knew everything and how I wanted my adult life to start and had those plans turned upside down.

Even with plans that were drastically changed, better things came out of it. I met my now husband because of one of life’s twists. I transferred to my dream college that I was denied entry to as a high school senior. I changed majors after taking 2 classes in the field I thought I wanted to pursue, and ended up learning a lot more about life with the route I took instead.

I graduated college and had the hardest time finding a job. I worked for someone that I didn’t really like and quit without having a back-up plan. I landed a job that same day I gave my notice. My second “big kid” job really challenged me. It wasn’t a position I planned on staying in for long but I had to create my own path to a different position. It treated me well but I realized I wasn’t being challenged in ways that I was dreaming to be challenged. I got my third big kid job and now I’m really trying to re-learn all the things that I was once so passionate about and it’s caused me to fall into this space, right here, writing.

I am not that different than most of the people my age. We’re at that point in our lives where we’re getting married or in serious relationships, starting families or launching our careers to all new heights. But there is something different about each person in this world and it’s our experiences and how we get through them that makes us all unique. We all see the world through our own lenses and if we could take the time to see the world through other people’s eyes, imagine what we would see. Things that we didn’t see as beautiful, we would now admire. Perspectives we wouldn’t of taken during a heated debate we could now appreciate. The list could go on and on, but we all have things to share with one another. My hope is that we could take the time to share these things among each other and appreciate everyone a little bit more.

I have experiences and stories that I think have helped make me who I am, and some of them I admit are entertaining and others make me cringe, but I’m ready to share it all! I also have so many thoughts about present day things that we all are dealing with and I want people to remember, they aren’t alone.

Welcome! Whether this is the only post you’ll ever read or if you decide to stay awhile, thank you and I hope to talk to you!

-E