Happy Birthday Papaw.

I've been thinking about doing this post for a while, but I haven't... then I decided to wait until his birthday to do it.  So here we are.  November 29th, my Papaw's 72nd Birthday.  Words can't express how happy I am that he is here to celebrate this birthday.

You see, back on May 10th, we thought we might lose him.  While working on a lawn mower at a friend's house, he had a stroke.  We are so thankful that his friend Ralph was there and paramedics were at the house within minutes.  Rushing him to the hospital and arriving to get consent from my Nana to give the "miracle" drug for stroke victims, we feared the worst.  At that point, he couldn't talk, couldn't see, and had no movement on one side of his body.  They administered the drug, which must be given with in a couple hours of having the stroke, and with in the hour, he started having movement.  Then he started talking.  And his vision returned.

My husband only has one living grandparent.  I am blessed and so thankful to still have all four of mine, and up until then, with the exception of minor medical situations, they have all been in good health.  My grandparents were invincible in my eyes.

This rocked me to the core.

I was watching twin 4 year olds and Nate, as I did every Thursday, and 20 weeks pregnant.  We had just found out our little guy was a boy, to be named Jackson Paul (which is my Papaw's first name).

I couldn't breathe.  There was nothing I could do at that point, so I waited... waited for texts to let me know he had gotten to the hospital, been administered the drug, feeling coming back.... then it was time for me to leave work.  Thankfully, my husband was off of work that day and took Nate home.  I rushed to the hospital, and was surrounded by family and friends.  This man is loved.  So. Loved.

I didn't want to see him.  But I changed my mind.  Seeing him so vulnerable was one of the hardest things I had ever seen.

My Nana, treated the whole situation with so much grace, as she does every situation in my eyes.  She never seemed panicked, which I'm sure was given from God.  This woman is a prayer warrior.  She kept saying, we'll just do what we have to do.  So many questions arose.  What would life be like?  Would he be bed ridden?  Would he fully get his speech back?  Would his swallowing return?  Would he be in a wheel chair?

We'll do what we have to do.

With in 24 hours, he was walking.  Talking.  Joking.  Ready to go home.

He had the stroke on Thursday, and Sunday morning he went home.

God is so good.

Now, a little more than 6 months later, life is pretty much back to normal.  He has to watch what he eats, because his swallowing is a little hindered.  He rests more than he used to, but he probably should have done that anyways.  But he's still as busy as he ever was, just like he wants to be.  Right now, on his birthday, he's made a trip to Chicago for a delivery with a friend.  His second trip to Chicago this week, mind you.

This birthday, and this Christmas, I'm so thankful.  Thankful he's still here.
I hope and pray that they're all here, all of my grandparents, and my one "grandmother-in-law", for many more Christmases and birthdays...

So, even though you'll probably never read this... Happy Birthday Papaw.


Birth Story

The morning of September 19th, Nate woke up at 3 am (the second time he had woken up during the night, which is very unusual) and I went in his room to console him back to sleep.  After that, I COULD NOT sleep.  I had been feeling horrible, even more than usual, the night before.  Andrew woke up at 4:15 to get ready for work and I let him know I wasn't feeling well.  He took a shower, made his tea, went through all of his motions to leave, and about 4:45, I started feeling super nauseous.  I threw up and leaked some fluid.  He leaves no later than 5:00, so I was starting to worry about him leaving.  Having one previous "false alarm," it's hard to make the call on whether this was truly IT.  Around 5:00 I started having contractions (but i had been having them off and on for over a week.) and Andrew called his work to let them know he'd at least be late, if not having a baby later in the day.

The contractions started getting stronger and stronger, my stomach got upset (this happened with Nate as well) and I decided to get in the shower.  They say that if it's a false alarm, your contractions will lessen or stop all together when you change positions.  Nope.  Stronger.  Ouch.  :)

We called my parents to come over around 6, and they took their showers, and were there just before 7.  Get me the epidural.  kthanks.  :)

My dad stayed at the house with Nate so he could wait a bit and feed him breakfast before spending the day at the hospital and my mom rode with us.  We arrived at the hospital and met Andrew's mom Susan there.  I went into triage fairly quickly and they didn't even bother hooking me up to a monitor or checking dilation before sending me to a room... Room 171.

Dr. Wein (the doctor who delivered ME 26 years ago) was on call for the day.  Kind of exciting... full circle.  He came in and checked and I was around 5 cm, which was a bit of a let down because you think "I must be far, this hurts like CRAZY" and then you find out, nope, just starting!  Epidural.Now.Please.

The Knight in Shining Armor, who kind of looked like a skinnier Joe Millionaire, came with the life saving medication epidural at 9:38 and we were peachy.  Cue angels.  Hallelujah.

our nurse, Nicole, who was amazing :)
I progressed kind of slowly, though it probably was normal.  Around 1:00ish maybe (I really don't know, i'm just guessing here) they decided to give me, and I asked if I could have, the slightest bit of pitocin to speed things along a bit.  That did the trick.

2:40. 10 cm.  Time to push.
2:56.  Baby.
Wow. That was FAST.

I pushed for an hour and a half with Nate, so 16 minutes is ridiculously fast!  I listened to the doctor and pushed when he said to push, and more importantly DIDN'T push when he said to stop!  This made for a MUCH better recovery.  I'll stop there. :)

Jackson was here!  I asked if I could pull him out channeling my inner Kourtney Kardashian, but he said no... probably because Jackson's cord was wrapped around his neck once.  It's okay.  No biggie.  :)

Everything is done in the room now at Women's Hospital.  You immediately hold your child, skin to skin, then they take him to the warmer and check him out, in the room.  They no longer take him and the father to the nursery right after birth.  The baby never leaves your side.  The bath is done at least 6 hours after birth (we actually waited until the next day for Jackson's).  I loved the fact that he never left my sight throughout the day.  The only down side to that is the people in the waiting room have a pretty long delay before they can see the baby.  There is no longer the opportunity to peer through the nursery windows to get a glimpse...

Right after birth, Andrew went to get "Big Brother" from the waiting room so he could be the first to meet his Little Brother!   Nate looked, touched his feet, gave him a kiss, and was ready to go back and play.   He wasn't (and still isn't really) too interested.  I'll come in time I'm sure :)

Jackson was a full pound and a full inch smaller than Nate was when he was born!  He weighed in at 8 lbs 2 oz and 20.5 inches long.

We're in LOVE and we think he's just perfect!

((amazing birth photographs by Tina Marsh Photography))


Let me introduce...

Jackson Paul Downer
September 19th 2012
8 pounds 2 ounces
20 1/2 inches
2:56 pm



Between my addiction fascination with Pinterest and trying to save a bit of money/adding more variety to our meals at home, I've started cooking.  I guess I can actually say COOKING.  Not just throwing a bit of BBQ sauce on some chicken and reading the labels on a box of Rice-A-Roni...

Though food still makes me "feel" bad, I keep it in the majority of the time, so lately, I've been on a cooking "kick."  I never had a tremendous interest in it growing up, but when I actually feel like it, I enjoy getting in the kitchen!  ....gasp.

Here are some things I've been making the last couple of months.  If it's made from a Pinterest recipe, I'll put the link to it.

Oh, and pardon the cell phone pictures.  :)

(more like Orange Chicken, but they call it sweet and sour on the recipe)

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
(just the oatmeal cookie recipe on the lid of Quaker Oats.  Most of the time I replace the raisins for craisins.)

 Cheeseburger Pockets 
(though the idea was kind of "sparked" from Pinterest, but I didn't have some of the ingredients, so I decided to go-it-alone.)

 Garlic Gnocchi.  
(Paid a pretty penny for this gnocchi at Target, but it was SO worth it.)

 Homemade "Tableside" Guacamole 
(just figured out what was in our favorite Mexican restaurants recipe, though I don't believe it was any cheaper than just going to get it... haha.)

(added and took away some ingredients in this one as well, based on what I had)

(my family would call this a "miss" simply because it's just too sweet for us, but I know plenty of people that love it.)

 Chicken Fried Rice with Fresh Zucchini and Squash

 Potato Salad 
(this is my husband's Great Aunt Jeanette's recipe.)

 (if you can get past the color, and eat it the SAME day (because it turns brown))

Homemade Caprese - fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes.  We put ours on toasted french bread.

Here are some things that we've tried, and not taken pictures of:

OMG Chicken (we used sour cream, not mayo)
Mac & Cheese (ridiculous.)
Crock-Pot Lasagna (we used ricotta, not cottage cheese)
Vanilla No-Bake Cookies (miss. too heavy, didn't set up correctly... probably did something wrong)
Crockpot Pineapple Chicken (we put this over rice)

Hopefully we can keep up this whole "cooking at home" thing when baby #2 arrives next month.... hopefully :)