15 Years.

What can I say about 15 years?

Countless dates, two driver's licenses, four proms, two high school graduations, two college degrees, one wedding, one apartment, two houses, three kids, and the best puppy dog you could ever ask for. Over half my life.
I could sit here and say it's all been easy, but it hasn't. It still isn't easy. Marriage takes work, give and take. Spending half your life with someone doesn't mean you have it all figured out. We are far from it. But at the end of the day, we love each other and I'm still glad I said yes to the shy 15 year old that asked me to be his girlfriend on October 15th 2000. I love you, dear.


Jackson is THREE!

He's 3 today. 
My sensitive child. 
The middle. 
The one who is trying to find his place. 
Between baby and big boy, he's loving, stubborn, silly, and feisty. 
He loves to dance. 
Tractors, Mickey Mouse, and Giraffes are his world. 
He looks over his shoulder to find his mama, but doesn't "need" her. 
Mr. Independent, this kid. 
He'll say no to a good night kiss, then cry if you pretend to walk away and give you all the kisses in the world. 
He's been talking to literally everyone about his "Tractor Party" for a year now. 
If you have been in his presence, he's told you. 
Today is the day. 
Hope it's everything you hoped it would be. 
I hope LIFE is everything you hope and dream for. 
I hope you keep that silliness. 
That spunk. 
I hope you're daring, but still a little cautious, just like you are now. 
You've challenged me in so many different ways. 
From feeding you, to sleeping... with or without you, to nurturing your sensitive ways, to potty training you (which you could decide to grasp at any time now, thanks)... you've made me realize that no child is the same, even from the same parents. 
I wouldn't have it any other way. 
You're my buddy. 
My Jackson Paul. 
These three years have been the joy of my life. 
Can't wait to celebrate with you. 
Here's to John Deere Tractors and life.


Mackenzie Grace Downer

Birth-y details below... Just a warning.

Our little Mackenzie Grace is due tomorrow, April 7th 2015, but unlike her brothers, she decided to grace us with her presence EARLY!  Such a sweet girl!

On March 31st, my mom and dad came over to help get some of our things together for the nursery as it wasn't finished yet.  We went through gifts, sorted clothes, etc.  I had been having some pains off and on all day but I had also been going pretty strong so I passed them off as braxton hicks and assumed they would calm down once I did.  I was pretty stressed and my kids were acting pretty crazy so my patience was running thin.  My mom asked if I would be okay and I reassured her that once the kids were asleep and I laid on the couch, I'd be okay.

My parents left around 10:10pm that night, I sat down on the couch and nothing seemed to change. My pains/cramps were getting worse even though I felt like I had relaxed.  I started charting them on an app on my phone around 11:00pm.


Let me stop here and explain my previous labors.  With both boys, I had NO contractions before my water broke at home.  So while most people would read this and think, DUH, it's starting obviously, I had personally never had any "lead up" contractions... My waters broke with the boys and they came full force immediately.


A friend and I were texting back and forth from like 11:00 to midnight about strength of contractions, etc.  My husband decided to head home from work around 11:45 and my mom met him here at the house.  They got here around 12:30am, April 1st.
My hubby had some clothes packed, but I had none!  Mackenzie's bag was packed and I had a list made (luckily) but nothing actually packed.  He ran around and grabbed some things and we headed to the hospital.  His mom came right before we left and stayed on the couch until the boys woke up/I had the baby so she could bring them to the hospital.
My Nana and our photographer arrived around 1:40am to the hospital, about 15 minutes after we did.

In triage, I was checked and at 3 cm (which was kind of disappointing because I was at a 2-3 just a week earlier).  They wanted to monitor the baby and check again, so they put me on the monitor and we sat there... for a while.  This was difficult for me because they wanted me to lay back and my contractions were unbearable that way.  I needed to be sitting up, kind of hunched over.  30 minutes later, they checked and I was at 5 cm.  Wow... moving right along!  I think they took me seriously after that because it wasn't too much longer before they moved me to a room.

At around 3:15am, they put me in room 166 where we would stay until after delivery.  I had planned and had approved by our doctor to have my husband, mother, photographer, and Nana in the delivery room.  This apparently was fine with everyone except for the hospital.  They made it very clear they were not going to budge on hospital policy (which is apparently the mother and 3 others), so my Nana did not get to stay in the room.  They switched back and forth, so she was present through some of my labor, but for the actual delivery, she was in the waiting room.  I've had a hard time with this... I feel like a couple bad dramatic apples have ruined these precious life experiences for all of us because they can't keep it civil.  I am very thankful that she was there for me, and we have a beautiful baby girl, but I would have given anything for her to experience the miracle of her birth.  We had a good solid breakdown at the hospital and after that, we enjoyed Mackenzie's life and moved on.  :)

Back to the progress....
They checked my cervix around 4:15am and I was at 7 cm.  I was also much more pleasant by then, considering and amazing needle had been put in my back and made me a happy girl.  I'm all for you natural girls, I'm just not one of them.  Y'all do you, I'll do me.  :)
At 5:15am I was feeling some pressure, so they checked me again, I was at 9 cm.
The doctor came about an hour later and broke my water and I was at 9 1/2 cm.  There was a tiny bit of cervix left, so she grabbed a cup of coffee and came back for me to start pushing.

It gets kind of fuzzy here... but around 6:45am I began pushing.
I gave two "practice" pushes, the third baby's head was in view, fourth baby's head was out, and fifth was the rest of her.  SO fast!!!
I reached down and grabbed her shoulders and brought her to my chest.  This was so special.  I did have to have a little help so I didn't drop her!  :)

Mackenzie Grace Downer
6:49 am
Wednesday, April 1st 2015
8 lbs 6.2 oz
20 inches long
Head: 13 inches
Chest: 13 inches

We came home from the hospital on Friday, April 3rd.  After we left the hospital, in true Downer fashion, we made a trip to Target (to pick up meds), Carters to get an Easter outfit for her and Nate (since she wasn't supposed to be here until after Easter), and to The Joint Chiropractic at Friendly.  Mommy wanted to get adjusted... and that was a GREAT decision.  Pregnancy gets a mama all outta whack!  I felt so good after he was done!
This has been a great recovery... I really have no complaints at all.  My afterpains, which tend to get worse with each subsequent pregnancy, were TERRIBLE.  They have calmed down now and all is well!  We've been going strong since we walked out of the hospital doors! 
The boys are obsessed with their baby sister.  Jackson doesn't know his own strength and is learning how to be gentle, and Nate is showing some major protective vibes.  They love her so much!  We are a very full family of five and thankful for every crazy minute!!!