Monday, March 23, 2015

Different Kinds of Love

I remember my first son's first night home. I had just finished nursing him and laid him, swaddled so beautifully, in his bassinet. He was fed, he was clean, he was sweetly sleeping but I could not walk away from him. I stood there running through the checklist, a mile long! "Is he swaddled too tightly? What if he spits up? What if he rolls over? He can't roll over yet, can he? Is he too hot? Too cold? What if he stops breathing? How would I know? The books warned about it, never say never. Is he breathing now?" Silly, needless worrying but it consumed me, I stood there so long that I just started balling, I blame hormones! You try everything to fully prepare yourself for life as a mother but nothing can really tell you how it will be, because it is different for everyone.

I always smile at those parents who say they love all their children the same, no more, no less, no differently. I love all of my children unconditionally, but do I love them all the same? Is that even possible? I love them each for a million different and similar reasons but my love for them will never be the same through and through! I love all my children differently. In different ways, in different love for each of them is as unique as they are.

Let me try to explain.

My love for Sebastian is very hard to express. He was my first child, my first son, my first big responsibility in life. He made me a mother, he made me the mother I am today. He has been through everything with me...the good, the bad and the downright ugly. I had NO IDEA what I was doing when he was born. I am the middle child of eight siblings, so I knew how to be a caretaker but not a mother. He has helped me through all the advice, learning curves, experiments and hardships as I tried to identify and create my mothering style. He will forever have that special bond with me, that unconditional love of understanding and patience.

I prepared like a pro for my delivery with Sebastian...reading every book, attending every class, preparing every baby booty and pacifier. What we endured was anything but what we expected...we both nearly lost our lives. We have a very special bond and love that is a result of those difficult days in the ICU. Paisley and Milo's deliveries were difficult in their own ways but I did not almost lose them in the operating room, I did not wake up from anesthesia to see a picture of my bruised and fragile infant laying in an incubator. I have a love for this child that is unlike any other, a love unique only to him.

As he grows older, my love for him only grows more and more. He is my scholar. I am not sure where he got such intelligence but nothing gets by this little man of mine. He remembers EVERYTHING, inspects until he understands and has a passion for all he does. He is also my love bug, he loves everything and everyone. He cares more about others than himself and is the best big brother in the world. His siblings are forever blessed to always have him to look up to. My love for him is vast and never ending, always evolving and very unique to him.

Next, my little Sweet Pea, princess only daughter and for that I love her! I have always dreamed of being a mother, growing up my favorite toy was always a baby doll. The thought of being a mother thrilled me but the day I found out I would have a daughter of my own was one of my greatest! I love my boys but there is just something about having a daughter that warms my heart, especially since she takes after me so much! It is not just the girly things that I love about her, although they are a great bonus, but her little soul so full of love and wonder. I lucked out with this one, she is a Mama's girl all the way. She loves her daddy but mommy is her lifeline. She and I share that special bond of mother and daughter and it is priceless.

My pregnancy with Paisley was a complete and utter surprise. We were not planning to have another baby for at least another year and I had no idea I was pregnant, I found out the day we were leaving for a trip. I chose to keep it a secret from everyone, including Jonathan, until we returned from our vacation. I was very unsure what he would think but he was just as thrilled as I was. I knew she was a girl from very early on and she is the only one of our children who was named prior to birth. I adore her name and how we chose it and how perfectly it fits her personality.

Paisley did not have to endure as much of the new mom madness that Sebastian went through but she still contributed to turning me into the mother that I am today. She showed me how to slow down and wait for some things to work themselves out. She loves to be held and that is exactly what I needed, a baby who wants my love and attention all the hours of the day. She will only let me put her to bed and I cherish our nightly snuggles. She has a true, natural, rare beauty that I am forever in love with. She is a girly girl, my partner in crime, shopping buddy and fashionista. Paisley showed me that no matter how many children you have, their is always room in your heart for each of them in their own unique way.

Finally, my sweet little man, Milo, oh how I adore thee. I am not sure if I can express just how shocked I was when I found out we were expecting our third little one in just three years. How much do I love this little old soul, well let me count the ways. He is my baby, my youngest, my second little boy, my third pregnancy adventure, my tiny bundle of joy. I was the third child in my family and so I feel a special connection with him just based on that, I always want to make sure he gets as much attention as the other two.

I had a pretty difficult pregnancy with this little guy, only a few people know that at our first check-up appointment, we were told we may lose him. My heart was so heavy, I could hardly breathe for the entire day as we waited through appointments and took ultrasound after ultrasound. He had implanted so close to the tube that they thought he was inside it. Mother and baby do not survive those pregnancies and your only option is emergency surgery to terminate the pregnancy. I was dying inside when I finally heard the doctor say, "I think we are okay, I think it is far enough away from the tube." I love this baby unconditionally because I almost lost him before we even knew he was a him.

I am beyond thrilled that I did not chose when I got pregnant and that these beautiful babies were all given to us by surprise because the best little souls were chosen. I cannot imagine life without Milo, he is just an incredible little man and he's only seven months old. He makes my heart smile every time I look at him, he has his Mama wrapped around his little finger and he knows it. I find it hard to explain how I love him so very much, but I look into his big, beautiful eyes and feel an overwhelming sense of how lucky I am to be here, the mother of three incredible kids.

I love him because he is so very different from Sebastian and Paisley. He is mellow, content and one of the happiest, smiley babies you will ever meet! I love watching him interact with his older brother, he adores Sebastian. You can see his world light up when he is around him, they will be incredible pals forever. I love that I have two boys who will grow up together and always be there for each other...and protect their sister from everything.

As you can see, I love all of my children more than words can express! Sebastian was my first baby and he will forever have a special piece of my heart. Paisley was my first girl, my pretty princess, she stole my heart with her first breath! Milo is my baby, my special surprise and he leaves a mark on my heart daily! They each play a special part in this family of ours, I cannot imagine our life without them. I don't even remember what life was like without all three of our children. We often get some pretty strange comments when we go out together, the most common being "wow, your hands are full!" I don't see it like that, our day is full of life and love. Yes, there are moments when it can be aggravating, frustrating, exhausting and downright awful but those moments are greatly outweighed by the unbelievable ones. Paisley recently learned how to say and use the phrase "I love you!" She pops it on me at the best possible moments. She is also fond of, "Are you ready, Mom?" Every time you lock eyes with Milo, he gives you a smile that is just precious. Sebastian is a hugger, he knows just when one is needed. Hearing their little voices and seeing them do all of the wonderful things I always wanted to do with my kids, makes my life incredible.

Love is one of God's greatest creations. It is completely unpredictable and comes in so many varieties. Your life is instantly turned upside down when you have children, you would do any and everything for them. It is a love that is indescribable and cannot be understood unless you have children of your own. My life revolves around my children, they are the beginning and the end and I wouldn't have it any other way. What a great adventure this life of mine is turning out to be, I plan to enjoy every single moment!

Picture credit goes to Isaac Dean of IQ Photography, he is incredible at capturing real moments!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sunny Skies of Florida

I sincerely apoligize for the lack of posts this year, we have been living a busy life with lots of changes already taking place. As some of you already know, Jonathan made a huge career change at the beginning of this year and it has been a much bigger undertaking than expected. It will all work out for the better in the long run but getting there is taking some getting used to.

He officially started his new career at Bankers Life on March 2, 2015 and so far loves it! We had hoped he would start at the beginning of February but there were literally a BILLION trainings and pieces of paperwork he had to fill out before beginning his new adventure! I am very proud of him though, he completed everything in record time and aced the personality test and all licensing exams! It was a big decision to leave the norm and venture out into the great unknown but so far we are managing and I believe wholeheartedly it will benefit us much greater in the long run. He initally interviewed for a sales representative position but stood out so much in the mass interview that they called him back for a one-on-one and offered him a much higher position as a Manager in Training. We are very excited to see where this new path leads us...wish us luck!

I firmly believe, being a business owner myself, that you give the wrong impression if you begin a new job and ask for time off within the first 6 months. So, knowing we wouldn't be able to get away for any extended period of time starting March 1st, we decided, VERY LAST MINUTE, that we would make a quick trip down to Florida to see all of our extended family. We had not been down in a quite awhile, due to pregnancies and new babies. Sadly, most of Jonathan's family had yet to meet our newest addition. We are so grateful that everyone was able to scramble their schedules to fit our visit in. We decided Sunday morning that we would drive through the night to make it there Monday morning.

We threw together our supplies, dropped the dogs at the kennels and headed out for our adventure! We had never driven such a long distance, with all three kids. It was also our first time driving through the night. As expected, Paisley and Sebastian did very well, sleeping most of the way. Paisley woke up at about 2:00am, ready to take on the world, but a quick snack and some movie time put her back to sleep. Milo was my most difficult rider, as expected. He hates his car seat and still eats every four hours, even through the night. We just took it easy and made a few stops for Jonathan to refuel and let Milo stretch his limbs while eating.

Our visit was wonderful! We were able to spend lots of quality time with everyone. A special thanks to "Gampa" for changing his work schedule so he could spend all three days with us. Also "Uncle Wicky and Aunt Bandy" for spending their last few vacation days hanging out with us. We loved seeing our new little nephew, Wyatt as well...very adorable and amazing how small we start out.

We went to the beach for a bit with Uncle Jimmy.

We spent most of our visit just hanging out together and "playing." Sebastian just adores his cousins so it is so nice to see him playing with all of them. I wish we lived closer so they could see each other more often but perhaps someday they will get sick of the heat and head north!

Thank you again for rearranging everything, we had a spectacular time with you all!

We drove through the night to arrive home in the snow!