Paisley Grace: 4 months

We absolutely LOVE this age. For real. It’s so much fun!

IMG_9500

At 4 months old she:
– Started eating oatmeal cereal on December 10th. Right now we are just giving it to her before bedtime so that she will (hopefully) sleep through the night.
– Has slept completely through the night for 4 nights in a row. That’s her longest record so far. Here’s to hoping it will be a routine soon!
– Can roll onto her side. She doesn’t quite know how to roll over yet but she’s working on it.
– Interacts with all of her little toys and loves to play in her activity jumper.
– Giggles a lot! She will laugh for a little while and then abruptly decide that whatever was making her laugh is no longer funny at all. At that point…good luck trying to get a giggle out of her!
– Can put weight on her feet when she stands with help (this is a HUGE deal)!
– Weighs 12 pounds, 7 ounces! She’s getting so big!
– Chews on her hands and fingers constantly.
– Kicks out of her boots and bar on a daily basis…sometimes multiple times a day.
– Wears 0-3 month clothes
– Loves listening to the Baby Einstein Pandora station and singing along with mommy in the car.
– Is intrigued by the lights and ornaments on the Christmas tree
– Cannot sleep unless she is tightly swaddled. if she breaks out of her swaddle at night she cries until we re-swaddle her!
– Still really, really loves that paci. You won’t see Paisley without a pacifier clipped to her.
– Proved herself to be an incredibly well-behaved baby in the car for a long trip to Missouri and back. She handled it even better than I did.
– Still loves bathtime
– Has started to scream-laugh all the time. It’s adorable and slightly confusing. She will scream as loud as she can while smiling. We think she just likes to make noises!
– Interacts with her environment so much.
– Has really started developing her own little personality.
– Seems to recognize voices and people. As soon as I walk into her classroom to pick her up from daycare, she just lights up and starts smiling when she sees me. I love it.
– Has some of the funniest facial expressions I’ve ever seen. This baby girl is very animated.

IMG_9511IMG_9491IMG_9484 IMG_9492 IMG_9503IMG_9500IMG_9550 IMG_9552 IMG_9555IMG_9554

Our first year of marriage

August 2nd, 2013 I was a very excited bride-to-be. I remember the details of that day very clearly. Our wedding was truly everything I could’ve ever wanted! The entire wedding just felt like a dream come true.

It’s been one year since we walked down the aisle and vowed in front of God and our loved ones to stand by each other as husband and wife for the rest of our lives.

How do you even begin to put into words what the time in between those two events entails? I don’t really think it’s possible. Married life is incredible and this past year has just been full of blessings!

Marriage teaches you a lot. It teaches you a lot about yourself & about your spouse.

Here are a few things I’ve learned over the past year:

  • Your spouse should be someone you truly admire.
    I look up to and admire my husband more than I ever realized was possible. There are so many character traits I see in him daily that I pray God will help me to improve upon in my own life. Gus and I dated for four years before we got married and although I saw several of these traits in his life throughout the time we dated, when you live with someone and see those admirable traits on a daily basis it’s pretty phenomenal. Don’t get me wrong – he’s not perfect (and he’d be the first one to tell you that) but he is really a great example to me. I admire his patience. I admire the way he trusts God fully and doesn’t worry. (If you know me at all you know that I’m such a worrier – good thing God gave me a husband who isn’t like me in that area!) I admire his love for other people and the way he talks so highly of others rather than gossiping about them or judging them. I could go on and on. I’m just grateful to be married to a man who is such a great example to me and whose life challenges me to be a better person.
  • No matter how long you’ve known someone, there is always more to learn.
    Because we’ve known each other for so long, it’s been really amazing to see how far we’ve both come in the years we’ve been a part of each other’s lives. When we first met, we were both punk high schoolers who really didn’t have our priorities straight. It’s been really great even over this past year to see how God has changed us and helped us both fit into the roles as husband and wife. There are little things I’ve learned about Gus (and am still learning) that I really didn’t know until we were married. For example, he’s extremely OCD. He loves having a clean house – and when I say clean I don’t just mean having clutter put away – I mean CLEAN: spotless, swept, mopped, vacuumed, dusted, etc. Right when we finish dinner, before he does anything else, he likes to clean the dishes and put them away ASAP. I wasn’t raised that way. Don’t get me wrong – we weren’t slobs at all – but our house was lived in and we liked it that way. That’s been an adjustment. (But I mean hey, it’s not bad – I have a husband who likes a clean house and who likes to clean – I’m not complaining!)
  • Opposites do attract.
    Gus and I are opposites in so many ways. It’s really comical, actually. Thankfully, we had several years to realize this fact, and we were pretty well-prepared for it and what it would entail. Even in little ways we’re opposite. Gus is the youngest of 9 siblings. I am the oldest of 2. Let me tell you, having the “oldest vs. youngest” mentality actually works out pretty well in our case! Also – Gus is not a planner and is a very “go with the flow” type of person. I, on the other hand, am a total Type A personality who needs everything planned out to the very last detail. Gus despises making lists and I literally write a to-do list every day & have a planner so I can organize my everyday life. But it works. If Gus had married a girl who was just like him, it would have probably been chaos. If I had married a man who was just like me, we would have stressed each other out so much and it would have probably been terrible. Even though we are complete opposites, it totally works & I wouldn’t want it any other way.
  • The first year doesn’t have to be the hardest. 
    When you get married, people have a lot of advice to offer. Some of that advice has been extremely helpful – some of it I honestly could’ve done without. Several people warned us that the first year would be the hardest and that adjusting to married life would be very difficult. Gus and I really appreciated this piece of advice and we were prepared for a difficult year full of adjustments and arguments. I can honestly say that this past year has been amazing from start to finish. Gus and I have talked several times throughout the year about how the first year of marriage was actually a lot easier and a lot more fun that we even anticipated. Don’t get me wrong – I’m NOT saying that marriage is easy – you’re a flawed human living with another flawed human and you’re going to have your difficult days and moments. However, when you love someone so much and you strive to have God as the center of your marriage- it works. Overall, we’ve had it really great over this past year. The hardest part for us of the first year was probably adjusting to Gus working the night shift and balancing that with me being in school all day during the week. That was rough just trying to find time to spend together but we made it work, and now we’ll make it work adding a little baby into the mix.
  • Getting married young doesn’t mean you’re putting your life on hold.
    When we got engaged in August of 2012, several people had comments about how young I was. I had several people actually ask me “Isn’t there still so much you want to do with your life?” Then there were those comments like “Wow, you’re really young to be getting married. Are you sure you’re both ready?” I tried to take those comments with a grain of salt, but honestly sometimes they really got to me. Some people were acting as though getting married meant that we were putting the rest of our goals and ambitions on hold. In reality, by finding and marrying that person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, you’re already in the process of making dreams and goals come true. Yes, there were still things we wanted to do with our lives. When we got engaged I still had other passions and dreams I still wanted to pursue. When we got married we knew that we would both continue to pursue the goals and plans God had for our lives. Getting married young doesn’t mean you have to put your life on hold. It just means you have the opportunity to pursue those passions and dreams with your best friend by your side every step of the way and there is nothing I would want more than that.
  • Your five-year plan might not go as planned – and that’s okay!
    If you know me, you know I’m a planner and I definitely had a “five-year plan” for our lives. I was going to graduate with my nursing degree, get a job as a nurse, go back to school to get my Masters degree, and maybe start having kids 4-5 years down the road. Well, actually God’s plan for our lives was a whole lot different than what we had imagined. We found out we were pregnant in December and let’s just say my five-year plan was demolished. (And now I’m 100% okay with it). I’ve learned this year that although it’s wise to have a general plan and an idea of what you want for your future, ultimately I’m not the one in control. Gus and I never thought that we’d be expecting a baby within our first year of marriage! It’s funny because now, it’s hard to picture our lives any differently!

I could add so much more to this list but these are just some of the things I’ve learned this past year. I know when the years begin to add up, it will be difficult to remember these things I’ve learned. I wanted to write a post about it so I can look back and remember how I felt as a “newly-married woman.” We’re still newlyweds, right? When do we have to give up that title?

Thank you, Gus for an amazing first year of marriage. I’m so blessed to have you as a husband & you are going to make one incredible daddy to our little girl. (IF SHE EVER GETS HERE!)

 

 

Pregnancy update: 39 weeks…and 4 days

Yes, I’m still pregnant…BUT I’m only 3 days away from my due date!! This pregnancy has been great and I’ve really loved (almost) every minute of it. That being said, I’m also really, REALLY hoping this pregnancy update will be my last one before little miss Paisley gets here! I am beyond excited to meet this sweet baby and to be her mommy!!

What’s new the past couple of weeks:
– Last week some ladies from my church had a beautiful brunch for me and I had the opportunity to meet and talk to several other mommas from our church. It was so sweet and we had such a great time!
– My mom and my sister are here! It’s been wonderful having them in South Carolina with me instead of all the way in Florida! I’m so thankful they can be here during this time.
– A lot of my anxiety about labor and delivery has subsided. I’ve been talking to a lot of great friends and different people about it and at this point I feel like my excitement for finally meeting Paisley outweighs the fear or anxiety I could possibly have regarding the delivery itself.
– This week has been pretty rough. Let me just tell you right now – back labor is TERRIBLE. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Thankfully, I’m back to feeling myself again and the past 2 days I’ve felt GREAT!
– I’ve been able to get lots of rest the past couple of days/nights so I’m hoping that when baby girl does decide to arrive I will be well-rested and ready to go!
– Walking, walking, walking. That’s another thing we’ve been doing a lot of the past couple of days!
– Gus’ leave starts August 3rd and he will be home with us until August 20th!! I am very excited and beyond grateful.
– I’ve eaten about 4 pineapples. FOUR WHOLE PINEAPPLES. I no longer believe that they naturally induce labor.

We are SO excited to meet our little girl very, very soon.

Baby belly at 37 weeks

Baby at 37 weeks

Baby at 38 weeks!

Baby at 38 weeks!

IMG_0057

I’m so excited for Gus to be a daddy!

Our lives are about to change & we could not be more excited.

We can’t wait to finally hold you in our arms, Paisley!!! Now just get here, little one!

Pregnancy Milestones to Remember

As my due date gets closer and closer, I’ve been reminiscing on my pregnancy and I’ve realized – there’s A LOT I don’t remember. I don’t mean little things like “Oh, I can’t remember some symptoms” or “I can’t remember how bad morning sickness actually was.” Even though some of those little things may be true, I’m talking about big things like not being able to remember how far along I was when we found out, when we told our family, when we announced it to our friends, everyone’s reactions…the list goes on and on. I wish I could just blame it on pregnancy brain, but it’s not that simple. Until this point in my pregnancy I’ve really just been going, going, going (thanks to nursing school and working all the time) & I haven’t had time to just sit back and fully enjoy being pregnant.

Tonight I decided to go back and look at old pictures, look through all of my ultrasound images, go backwards in my pregnancy app on my phone, compare dates, and sit down and finally figure out little details of my pregnancy I either 1) didn’t know 2) couldn’t remember or 3) somehow convinced myself had happened another way. I decided to share this and the story of how we found out on the blog because even though a lot of these things are personal (yes, personal – consider this your warning) they are precious things I want to be able to remember and look back on. I also want to encourage other expecting mommas out there to remember these details. I know it seems obvious and some people are probably thinking “How can she not remember that?” I’ve even thought that myself. Truth be told, I don’t really know. I think everything just came as such a shock to me from the start that I just kept busy and didn’t give myself time to wrap my mind around it until I was already about halfway through it!

So, here goes an attempt to remember and share some of these precious details of such an incredible time in our lives:

December 9th, 2013: I went to my 10:00 Sociology class just like I did every other Monday. I sat next to my friend Heidi (who has been an incredible friend ever since freshman year and now we’re finally going to be GRADUATING this year with our nursing degrees! Sorry… side note. It’s kind of a big deal for us). I felt really weird all throughout the class and I just remember that I couldn’t focus or anything. I can’t explain the feeling. I didn’t really feel sick, I just felt kind of weak and like something was a little off. When we left class that day, I told Heidi I was going to skip chapel and go home because I wasn’t feeling so hot. I’m pretty sure I even told her I was going to take a pregnancy test just to make sure I wasn’t pregnant. (Obviously, I can’t remember – maybe Heidi knows!) On my way home I stopped at CVS and grabbed a 2-pack pregnancy test. I knew Gus was home sleeping because he had to work a 12-hour shift the night before. I didn’t wake him up, I just came home and took the test. Honestly, I was fully expecting for it to be negative. I also felt funny the day before after Gus and I finished a run outside and it took me quite awhile to recover. I just knew something was off and I figured I should use the process of elimination to narrow it down figure out exactly what was wrong with me. I was on birth control consistently, so I didn’t think for a second that I was actually pregnant! I hadn’t had any morning sickness or missed my cycle, so let’s just say I was SHOCKED when two little lines appeared on that stick. Shocked, scared, terrified. The flood of emotions I felt literally cannot even be expressed. I still didn’t want to wake up Gus so I went in the living room and just texted my mom asking her to call me. In typical mom fashion, she responded “Is everything okay?” “Yes, mom, I just need you to call me.” Her next question: “Is Kassidy okay?” “Yes, Kassidy is fine.” “ARE YOU PREGNANT?” When I didn’t respond for a couple of minutes, the phone rang and when I answered it I was just crying hysterically. I remember repeating the words “I don’t know, I don’t know!” And she told me to send her a picture of the test. IMG_8216She was instantly excited. Meanwhile, I was scared and terrified, yet somehow she was just excited & happy from the start. I told her I thought that maybe the first test was wrong, so I hung up and took the second test in the pack. Of course, the second test was also positive and when I called my mom to tell her she reminded me that I should probably tell my husband! I still didn’t believe two little sticks I bought at the drugstore, so I decided to call the Piedmont Women’s Center, which is a great Christian organization in our area who I knew would do another pregnancy test. I made an appointment for that day at 2:00. This was all happening so fast and I couldn’t really wrap my mind around it. After I called and set up the appointment, I decided it was time to tell Gus. I nervously walked into the bedroom. I sat on the edge of the bed holding one of the pregnancy tests and said “Gus, I’m pregnant. This isn’t a joke.” He woke up, saw the tears in my eyes, looked at the pregnancy test and excitedly said, “We’re going to have a baby!” And he gave me the biggest hug. He was excited from the second he found out. I was relieved that he felt that way, but it wasn’t long after that I broke down and just cried and started freaking out. “I’m still in school! We just got married! We can’t be parents! How are we going to do this?! We weren’t planning on having kids this soon!” Never once did any of those things seem to concern Gus. If you know Gus at all, then you understand why. He’s not the kind to worry – about anything. Him and my mom are a lot alike in that way. That’s just one of the many things I admire about both of them and I totally wish I could be more like them in that area. I left the room for a little while to just go out in the living room and think – and, of course, let him sleep. A few minutes later, I walked back in the bedroom to wake him up and I had a whole new outlook, “You’re right, Gus, we can do this. I can finish school. We will be great parents. God knew we were going to have kids this soon. We have great families who will be so supportive.” And within a short time the emotions I initially felt came flooding back in and it was just a rollercoaster of a morning.

Somehow in the midst of all of this I remembered that I had a nursing test that afternoon! My test was at 1:00 and let’s just say there was NO WAY I was going to be ready to take a nursing test that day. I had way too much on my mind. I e-mailed one of my teachers to let her know I wouldn’t be able to take my test that afternoon. It was almost 1:00 and she hadn’t e-mailed me back, so I decided to just go to school and let her know I would have to take the test another day. I had no intention on telling her that I was pregnant, but after frantically running up to her office with tears streaming down my face, those were some of the first words out of my mouth. She was so sweet and understanding! She congratulated me and, of course, told me that I could make up the test another day.

I didn’t want to go to my appointment alone, but I really didn’t want Gus to have to come with me since I knew he was so tired from working the night before. I texted my sister to see if she wanted to come somewhere with me, and I’m pretty sure she had to skip a class to come with me but I told her it was important. I put the pregnancy tests in a little ziplock baggy and I wrote a cute little note that said “Aunt Kassidy, look under here.” I set the note on top of the bag on the center console of the car and when I picked up Kassidy from campus I was so excited to tell her. She got in the car, saw the note, looked at the pregnancy tests and just screamed. She was so excited. We went to the appointment together and there they did another pregnancy test.
It seemed like it took them forever to come back to the room and tell me the results of the test. The lady at the Piedmont Women’s Center was so sweet and caring. She could tell that I was scared and she did a great job calming my fears and helping me to trust God even in this unexpected blessing. When she came back into the room with my results, she shut the door behind her and as soon as she turned around she had the biggest smile on her face. “You’re going to be a little momma!” She gave me a big hug and we sat and talked for awhile. I finally came to the point where I, too, was excited to be a mom instead of scared of the unknown and unexpected. We obviously didn’t know at this point how far along I was (we later found out that I was 6 weeks pregnant at this point), but they set up an ultrasound for me the following week.

December 16th: Gus, Kassidy, and I went to my first ultrasound. It was another service provided by the Piedmont Women’s Center. As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of that ministry and everything they do! We found out based on the baby’s measurements that day that I was about 7 weeks pregnant. We got to see the little heartbeat flicker on the screen and just watched in amazement as the sonographer explained to us exactly what we were looking at. It was a really great experience and at this point I was beginning to get really excited about our surprise little miracle.

IMG_8247

First ultrasound: baby at about 7-8 weeks

December 20th: When I was 8 weeks pregnant, we told my dad and Gus’ parents. Yes, my mom actually kept it a secret from my dad from the time I told her on December 9th! Pretty impressive, I know. We told my dad via Skype, and my mom was able to record the whole thing without my dad knowing!

We called Gus’ parents afterwards and put them on speakerphone to tell them together. They were very excited!!

I honestly can’t remember when we told the rest of our family (grandparents, his brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc) and close friends but it was sometime after December 20th and before January 30th. Gus thinks we told them after January 1st. I really can’t remember. I know, I’m terrible for not remembering when we told them. I want to say it was sometime around Christmas. I won’t bore you with all of the details but we definitely had some great reactions from the people we love!!

I do remember that when I went back to school after Christmas break at the beginning of January, one of my teachers (Miss Hannah, the same teacher whose office I ran into frantically crying the day I found out I was pregnant) e-mailed me before class to let me know that she was going to give everyone in our class an opportunity to share any exciting news that may have happened over Christmas break. She knew I hadn’t yet shared our news with my classmates (who, in reality, are more like a second family) and she also knew I eventually needed to find a fitting time to do so. Some other really exciting announcements were made and afterwards, I raised my hand and told my nursing class about my news. Let’s just say I think that most of them were about as shocked as I was when I first found out!

January 31st, 2014: We announced our little bundle of joy to the rest of our friends on Facebook when I was 15 weeks and 3 days pregnant. [A simple post, you can find it here] It was pretty difficult to wait this long to announce it to everyone, but we knew we wanted to wait until I was at least 14 weeks pregnant and out of the first trimester to let everyone know. Gus wanted to tell everyone right away, but I really wanted to wait. I had an ultrasound the day before, and we thought it would be a good idea to announce the pregnancy the day after that ultrasound.

Baby at 15 weeks & 2 days

Baby at 15 weeks & 2 days

March 20th: We found out that we were expecting a sweet baby GIRL. I was 20 weeks & 4 days pregnant at this point. Gus, Kassidy, and I were able to go to the ultrasound together. We each had our guess as to whether Baby Vanaman was a girl or a boy! Kassidy and I dressed in pink, and Gus wore blue. We made it a lot of fun and it was an experience I’ll never forget. At this appointment, we also found out that our little girl possibly had clubfeet. On April 1st, we met with the specialist and they confirmed our little baby’s clubfeet. If you want to, you can read all about that experience here.

Well, there you go. I guess I remembered a lot more than I originally thought I did. I’m thankful I finally took the time to sit down and write it all out. I’m telling you right now – if I had waited to try to blog about these pregnancy milestones AFTER Paisley got here I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to remember anywhere near as much.
To other expecting mommy’s – really cherish this sweet time in your lives. Take time to remember the little details. It really is such a beautiful experience for you and the people you love.

As I’m wrapping up this post, I’m rocking away in my rocking chair. Not in an “old lady sitting on her front porch crocheting” kind of way, but in a “new mommy who is excited as can possibly be” kind of way. Soon I’ll be holding our sweet Paisley Grace and rocking her to sleep in this chair. I’ll spend countless nights and hours feeding her and singing to her and just cuddling with her in this chair. I cannot wait to be her mommy. Thinking back on all of the special memories of this pregnancy and all it has entailed makes me even more excited to be at the point we’re at now.

It’s definitely been an unexpected journey – but it’s one I would never want to change a single part of. 10414421_10203953725147765_3921106650031762840_n Only 17 days until your due date, baby girl. We’ll meet you so soon.

Happy one month of marriage, my love

Ever since I was a little girl I have looked forward to my wedding day. As I got older, conversations with friends and family often included the phrase, “When I get married…” In 8th grade I started praying that God would prepare my future husband and I for our future marriage together.

I met Gus when I was in 9th grade
The summer before my senior year, Gus and I started dating. I had the privilege of dating my best friend for four years and throughout those years the topic of marriage came up frequently. Throughout all of those stages in life, however, my wedding day felt like just a distant dream.

A month ago today, I actually had the wedding of my dreams. Now, I am enjoying married life with my best friend. I was overwhelmed with gratitude as we stood before our family members and friends who love and support us. I cannot say thank you enough to everyone who helped make our wedding possible!

I’m a wife. I have a husband. Sometimes it still doesn’t feel real.
Without God, none of this would’ve been possible.  All of the glory belongs to Him.

One month down, forever to go.
I love you so much, Gus Vanaman.

One month & I’ll be a married lady!

This time next MONTH I will be married. Actually, my husband (woah, that’s so weird) and I will be driving to our cruise port! I cannot even believe it. I keep asking myself “Is it really happening next month?”

We have been engaged for almost a year and during the engagement we have both been so busy. Not long after we got engaged in August of 2012 we had to head back to college and it was back to the school routine and business of life. From August to May I really didn’t do much to plan the wedding (oops) or even think about the wedding because I needed my focus to be on my classes. Looking back, I definitely wish I would’ve done more planning gradually instead of waiting until school was out but it will still get done (Don’t mistake this as me complaining– consider it my advice to other future brides). For about nine months I had to force myself to not obsess over the wedding or even be too exited about it because it was “so far away” and I didn’t want to get impatient. Now it’s right around the corner & I am so happy!!

I have amazing family and friends who have been helping me throughout this entire process and I couldn’t be more appreciative. I know this next month is going to fly by and we have so much to get done before August 2nd. It’s really crunch time now and I know that from here on out it’s going to be super busy. That being said, I want to say thank you to those people who have been helping me immensely throughout this entire process. You know who you are and without you, none of this would be possible. I’m so thankful that God has brought each of you into my life.

I had a beautiful surprise bridal shower on June 22nd and it was amazing to be surrounded by so many people who love and support us. Family and friends traveled from near and far (some from New Jersey, South Carolina, and North Carolina) to be at the bridal shower and I was just so overwhelmed and beyond happy to see everyone. Thank you everyone who was a part of that day and for the generous gifts! We are so thankful and cannot wait to see you again on our wedding day! We had a trip planned to go to Greenville for my sister’s college orientation and so the Wednesday after the bridal shower (which also happened to be my birthday) we loaded up the car and headed to Greenville. We surprised Gus a day early and also surprised him with all of the gifts we received for our shower! It was so much fun showing him all of the loving gifts we were given and it was even more fun unpacking everything into the apartment and setting it all up. It really looks like our home now and I can’t wait to move in after the wedding!

30 days!!