Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas from Lucy!

Lookie! Lucy Loves Me! My Christmas Letter. I'm not reading it all to you. It's a secret. :)Mmm Truffles.Lucy's favorite Christmas Time treat.Another book with a story about the Sookie-verse. :) I get to find out about Hadley. Intrigued? Ask me more!
Serenity Comics! Yay Firefly! Long live the Browncoats! Two of Lucy's favorite shades of nail polish: (L) Jewel of India, (R) Keys to my Karma.Nail Strengthener and mani/pedi cream. :)A wallet with (Top) Brand New Skates, and (Bottom) "Sheer" Your Toys.Top Coat and polish remover. (toe seperators behind)Base coat and cuticle cream."Edward's Eyes" yarn. This will be an "Omo Scarf.""Alice" stitch markers. See how pretty?Twilight flair. :) Can't wait to pin this to the bag I'll be using as carry-on for Vegas!This charm bracelet represents all the Cullens (Except Nessie. She doesn't count. ;) )

Carlisle: stethescope, with a green stone to represent life.

Esme: toolbox (for renovating houses) and a lavendar pearl to represent motherhood.

Jasper: an oak leaf (to rep. his rank in the confederate army), and hematite (also confederate, also grey designates mixed emotions)

Alice: ballet slipper, and a pink stone

Edward: Treble clef and gold, for his eyes.

Bella: the heart that Edward put on her bracelet, and the Blue that Edward loves to see her wear.

Rosalie: a vanity, and red stone, because she's bold, beautiful, firey, passionate, and loyal.

Emmett: a bear, and a purple stone because he's bold and stands out.

Oh, and Jake says I have a problem. This is my 3 quart stainless steel mixing bowl...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Part 9- Another Move and Readjusting

Another Move
Finally, we were ready to put ourselves back together. We'd been in counseling, and had reached the point where our remaining issues were those that stemmed from living with other people, rather than in our own place. So, we started looking. We looked at ads for a week or two, and then found a couple of ads that looked promising. Jake called both places the same morning (a Monday). The first, we went on a walk-through. Maddy loved it. I did too. The second, wasn't open yet when we called, so Jake left a message.
They called us back, and asked if we could take a walk-through in 20 minutes. We were right down the street, so said sure. We went over for the walk through. Maddy wasn't with us for this one, because she had been acting up; so she stayed with my mother, while we went. It was two floors, and a basement. The price was right, it was in a decent area, and it fit all of our needs. We said we liked it, and wanted to fill out an application. The landlord sent us over to the leasing office to fill out the paperwork. We went over, and filled everything out. I asked how soon we'd know. The lady said that she'd have the credit scores and everything back by the next day, and to expect a call sometime Tuesday afternoon.
She called at 3:00 Monday, and said that the place was ours if we wanted it, and could we come sign the lease, and pay first months rent, and the security deposit at 1:30 the next day? We said absolutely, and had the keys in hand at 2:30 Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday morning, we brought over as much as we could in the car from our storage unit and my mom's until Jake had to go back to his parents' house to go to sleep (he works 3rd shift). Our first trip over on Wednesday, Maddy looked around and said "I hate it here. This was NOT my plan. This is NOT the house *I* looked at." I chuckled, and said "Well, kiddo... If you'd been behaving, you'd have been with us when we saw this house." Thursday, he had the day off. He borrowed his father's truck, and his out of work brother, and moved our bedroom furniture from his parents' house, and the girls' furniture from my mother's house, as well as everything else out of our storage unit. We slept there on Thursday. Friday, EVERYTHING was unpacked and put away. Saturday, decorating was done: photos on the wall, paintings and clocks hung, knick knacks put out, etc. We were all moved in.

It's been a few months (the move was in May). We still have our bad days, but then doesn't every couple? Maddy loves it here, as do the rest of us. It's been so nice having our own place. Doing things our own way, with no one to tell us we're doing it wrong, or ask us where we're going. I had a small episode in July, due mostly to the stress of trying to get into a routine throughout June. And now here I sit, typing out our story. I've come to the end of what we've been through. It's been wonderful, and horrible, and easy, and hard all at the same time. And I look back, and realize that tomorrow? Tomorrow I will have been married to this man for six years. And while the going was sometimes rough, we've gotten through everything together so far. I can only hope to remember that this is the man I chose, and pray for sixty more years to go with the six we've already had.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, for timeline purposes? The timespan from our first meeting to our wedding day is exactly six months and three weeks.

Part 8- An Ultimatum and A Break-Up

An Ultimatum.

Life was more stable after PHP. I learned what I needed to keep myself safe, and how to make those things happen. I sat down with my mother-in-law, and told her that I felt lost in their house, and that it was making me worse. I needed to feel "needed", not like a free-loader. She asked how she could make that happen, and very nervously (I was terrified to step on her toes and make her think I thought she was inadequate; which is so far from the truth.) asked her why she wouldn't let us pay rent. She said she wanted us to use our money to pay off our debts, and get ourselves back on our feet. I said "If you won't let me pay rent, will you allow me to contribute in another way?" "What way?" she said. I explained to her the importance of scheduling and control of routine, etc. in managing my condition. She already knew much more than I realized, because she'd spent the whole time I was inpatient and in PHP reading EVERYTHING she could get her hands on that related to my disorders. Finally, I gathered up the nerve, and told her that I wanted to take over the grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning of the house. I was afraid that she'd be offended. In reality, she looked at me and said "Seriously? So, when I get home from work, the housework will be done, and there'll be a hot meal on the table, without ME having to do ANY of it?" She jumped up, hugged me, and said "You could have asked me this two YEARS ago!" I was *so* very relieved, and things got much better. I felt like I had control over my life, I was eating much healthier, and I felt like I was contributing.

Like I said in an earlier part of the story, though... my father-in-law and I don't see eye to eye. It was difficult living with him, to say the least. Jake hadn't learned to stand up to his father, and so his father and I would get into screaming matches, while Jake stood by and watched. Finally, I'd had enough. I made it clear to Jake that since he now had a job that had better pay and benefits, we could afford to be on our own, and that if we weren't on our own when we got our tax return, I was leaving without him. As much as I loved his mother, I couldn't be under the same roof as his father anymore.

A Break-Up.
Jake and I had been fighting. I chalked it up to stress from living with his father. But one day, he lost his temper with Maddy, and I lost MY temper with him. I'd had enough, and wasn't going to take it any more. He never talked to me, all of our conversations were one-sided, and now he was being less than the father I expected him to be. I called my mother to come get the girls and I, and I packed our things and left. His mother, who had been my best friend until that point, didn't talk to me for a few weeks. She was angry at me for not calling her and telling her I was leaving. It hadn't even crossed my mind to do so, and I felt that she didn't have a right to "meddle" in my marriage. The day I left, my mother re-arranged her entire house to accommodate the girls and I. Two days later, I called Jake to come and talk, to work out an arrangement. His father told him not to talk to me, or give me any money. Jake finally stood up to his father, and told him "She's my wife. They are my children. Even if she doesn't love me any more, I still love her, and it's MY responsibility to take care of them." Jake told me all of that when he came to see us. I was glad to see that he had finally stood up to his father (and have absolutely no doubt in my mind that his father said those things. I really wouldn't put that, or worse, beyond him.) He and I had a long talk, and worked out a support agreement for the girls and I, and who would pay which bills, and when he could see the girls. He came to see them every day, and slowly, we started going on dates, and relearning each other. We were seperated for four months, almost to the day.

Next: Another Move, and Readjusting

Part 7- An Attempt and A Recovery

There's really no way to break this up, so it's all in one piece. Mental health/suicide are discussed, so if that triggers anything in you, you may not want to read this.

My treatment wasn't going as it should. I was still struggling. A lot. I was having a very hard time coping with life, and was having a ton of panic attacks, and not knowing what they were. I finally decided that I had had enough, and couldn't deal with it any more.
I gathered up all my medication, and was in the kitchen with a handful of pills and a glass of water when Jake walked in. He emptied my hand, and asked me if I'd taken any of them yet. I said no, and he had his brother watch the girls while he drove me to the ER. I sat on a gurney in the hall way for five hours before a psychiatrist came to talk to me.
She talked to me for a minute, and she and Jake had me admitted. I was wheeled upstairs where my shoes were taken away, as was the jewelry I was wearing. I was only allowed to keep my wedding ring. They took my engagement ring, because it was sharp. He left, because it wasn't visiting hours, and went home.
By the time he got there, his parents were there and were watching the girls. He explained to them, and called my parents. They all met at the hospital, but weren't allowed to see me that first day. I wasn't allowed to have visitors until after the doctor saw me. The cafeteria was locked, and I couldn't get anything but a drink of water unless it was snack time.
I wouldn't eat, because I wasn't allowed to see anyone. I laid in my bed, and wouldn't talk to anyone. I didn't want to be there. I wanted to be dead. I wanted the pain to be gone. I was tired of fighting all the time... Waging a losing war against an army in my head that knew more about me than I did. I couldn't take it any more. I was ready to surrender.
The doctor came the next morning to see me. He gave me a new list of medications, and handed me print-outs to read about them. Group therapy was complete baloney. There wasn't anything there that could help me. The other people there were there for reasons entirely different from me. How could one therapy help a schizophrenic, a Vietnam vet with PTSD, a woman who was in because she got mad at her landlord and stabbed him, me, and a guy with Down's Syndrome who was there because he couldn't process his mother's death? It was a waste of my time, and I spent it sitting there staring at the wall, waiting for it to be over, so I could go back to my room until visiting hours.
I wouldn't let them bring the girls onto the ward to see me. I didn't want them to see me there. My legs got hairy, because I didn't want anybody to watch me shower. That was gross, the hair on my legs. And in my armpits too. That was hard for me to deal with. After five days, I was deemed no longer a threat to myself, was told to contact my psychiatrist, and was sent home. I was sent home on my father's birthday.
I went home, took a shower and shaved. Then I went to my parent's for my father's birthday party. I sat on the couch, and was literally ignored by every single person there. That began a trend that continues to this day. That year, Maddy didn't have a birthday party. I was released on the 23rd of January, and relapsed the 25th.
I went back into the hospital, but refused to go to the same one. Maddy's birthday is the 28th. She turned 3 that year. The second hospital was much better. I was in a room with a private bathroom with a shower, and was able to check a razor out at the nurse's station. The rule was, if the razor wasn't back in 10 minutes, they came in after it. So, I'd shave, get out, return the razor, then get back in and finish my shower.
I was allowed to have my iPod at night to sleep, and the ward looked more like a hotel lobby than a psych ward. There were maybe 12 patients on the ward. I'd say 8 of them were bipolar and there for exactly the same reason as me. The other 4 were there for substance abuse problems. Suddenly, group therapy was helpful.
The doctor actually cared, and sat there for an hour in a private session (when most are 15 min. if you're lucky to get that much time out of them) explaining what was going on with me, and what my diagnosises meant, and what they'd mean in my life, and what each of my medications was supposed to do, and how long I could expect to be on each one, and answered any questions I had, etc. I was there just shy of a week, and when I was released, it was under a stipulation. I could go home, but was still hospitalized on an outpatient basis.
I had to go to "PHP" (partial hospitalization program). From 9am-2pm, I was at the hospital for group and individual therapy, seminars on coping techniques, check-ups, etc. I was in PHP for 6 weeks, and the stipulation of PHP was that if I missed 2 days, I would be re-admitted onto D-wing (the inpatient ward). I learned so much while in PHP, and don't think I'd be alive today if it weren't for that program, and the things that I learned there. I learned to empower myself with knowledge, and to fight to be an active part of my recovery and mental health.
I learned my full diagnosis, and what it meant for me. (Bipolar I, with dysphoric mania and psychosis; OCD; SAD; Generalized Anxiety Disorder) I learned ways to cope with what I have to live with, even though none of it works all the time, but at least all of it works some of the time.

Up Next? An Ultimatum and A Break-Up.

Part 6- Another Pregnancy, and A Long Time Coming

This part of the story may be difficult. Mental illness is discussed.

Another Pregnacy
I was a bit resentful this time, and understanding how women could want to put their babies up for adoption. I did NOT want another baby. I was more than happy to be a mom of one, and knew that everything was going to change when this second baby came. But I put on a happy face for everyone else around me. This time, there was no hiding it. I was in maternity clothes at 8 weeks pregnant. It was extremely obvious what was going on, so everyone was informed much sooner this time around. Everything went like clockwork, and when it came time to deliver her, I had a planned c-section. I was told that my chances for natural delivery were about 80/20 against sucessful delivery. So, I opted for a repeat section. It was scheduled for the 26th of October. We went in at 5 a.m. and started the pre-op procedures. I was wheeled into the O.R. at 7:15, and was back in my room at 7:30. Not only was Jake in the room for this one, but he stood up and WATCHED her be born. She was beautiful, and while Maddy looks exactly like me, Laura looks exactly like her father. I was able to hold her as soon as she was done in the nursery, being cleaned up, etc. She breastfed like a champ from the word "go". She knew exactly what she needed to do, whereas Maddy, I fought for a week trying to teach her to nurse, until finally, I gave up and gave her a bottle (which she sucked down in seconds). I really had no choice but to grow attached to Laura. She nursed for 45 minutes, every half hour. Around the clock. For eight months. She'd nurse for 45 minutes, sleep for a half hour, nurse for 45 minutes, play for a half hour, repeat. For eight months, I lived with a blanket over one shoulder or the other all day long. I didn't think it was going to happen, but she captured my heart completely.

A Long Time Coming
After Laura, I developed post-partum psychosis. It went so far beyond depression. It was dangerous, and scary. I was put on zoloft. When Laura was eight months old, I was reading a magazine. In it, there was an ad for a bipolar medication with a checklist of symptoms. I answered "yes" to every one. I showed the ad to my mother-in-law, who said "You know, that makes a lot of sense. Maybe you should call your doctor." So I made an appointment with my general practitioner. He asked me a series of questions, prescribed something, and referred me to a psychologist. I didn't like that one, so found one closer to home. He asked me a list of questions, and prescribed different things. But, both doctors had diagnosed me as bipolar, though I didn't *really* know yet what it all meant.

Next: An Attempt and A Recovery.

Part 5- A Struggle, Adjusting, and Moving.

Warning: Not for the squeamish.

A Struggle.
I went to the hospital to be induced at noon. I was given a drug to thin and dialate my cervix. An hour later, I was given pitocin, to induce contractions. An hour after that, my New Best Friend, the anesthesiologist, came with my epidural (I knew from day one that I wanted drugs. Lots and lots of drugs.). At 5:30, my midwife broke my water. At 6:30 the NEXT morning, I was still at 7 cm. MaryJo (my midwife) told me that at the rate I was going, I'd have three to four more hours of labor, and then a couple hours of hard pushing, at the rate I was going. Maddy's heart was starting to flat-line, and they were starting to get concerned with getting her out. MaryJo asked me if I wanted to continue, or if I wanted to go with a c-section. I looked at her and said "How many babies have I delivered?" "None," she said. "Right. How many babies have YOU delivered?" I asked. "Maybe a thousand. I've been doing this a long time." was her answer. "Okay," I said "Then what do YOU think we should do?" "I'll go call the surgeon" she said, and left the room. At 7:45 the surgeon was there and the OR was prepped. In we went. I was told that I could only have one coach in the operating suite with me. I had my mom, and Jake. I told them that they had to pick, because I wasn't fighting that battle. Jake took one look at me and said to my mother "You go. I prepared myself to watch her give birth. I didn't prepare myself to watch her get cut open." So off mom and I went. Dr Raheb made the first incision, and my mother was allowed to come in. Maddy had apparently moved her bowels between 6:30 when I was last checked, and 7:45 when I was wheeled into the OR, because when Dr Raheb made the first incision into my uterus, meconium spilled out into my stomach cavity. They worked at a feverish pace to get her out, and I remember MaryJo heaving her body onto my chest, and feeling a hard "pop", and then she was out. Nobody told me that c-sectioned babies (especially ones with meconium in the amniotic fluid) don't cry right away. I didn't get to see her. They whisked her straight into the NICU, and worked on getting her cleaned up. I didn't get to hear her cry, so I didn't even know if she was alive. My worst fears, and memories of Gabe were flooding through my mind. The Dr and nurses were sponging out my uterus, removing the placenta, stitching me up, and lifting out my organs so that they could pack me full of gauze, to clean up all the meconium that had spilled out when he cut into me. Somewhere in the midst of this process, my epidural wore off completely. The anesthesiologist was trying everything, but nothing he was giving me was helping. I could feel everything. I started to go into shock. My eyes rolled back into my head, and the last thing I remember is my mother, crying and screaming "My baby! Help my baby!" I woke up in my room five hours later, and for weeks, nobody would tell me what had happened. I wasn't allowed to touch Maddy until 8 pm that night. She was born at 8:02 am, just like me. All I was allowed to touch was her foot, because she was in an oxygen hood. I couldn't pick her up and hold her until the next day. I was barely allowed to carry her for the first three weeks of her life. My incision was very sore, and got infected, and re-opened. I couldn't climb stairs, couldn't shower without help, and Maddy wouldn't breastfeed. It was a hellish month, that's for sure

At this point, we were living with my parents. They had asked us to move in with them in November, to help with my grandmother. Jake and I spent over $1000 converting a small room in the basement (I mean, from exposed beams and no drywall or electricity) into a nursery for Maddy. I did most of the drywall hanging, painting, wiring, carpet laying, and decorating. One thing I *didn't* do is put in the ceiling. Slowly, I transitioned into life as a mother. Specifically life as a mother, living in the same house as MY mother. Every morning, I'd wake up, and Maddy wouldn't be in her crib. I'd find her either in bed with my mother, or upstairs in my mother's arms. My mother fed her breakfast every morning, and snuck into her room every night to watch her sleep. I'm completely serious about that last part. My mother has night-vision video recordings of Maddy asleep in her crib. Finally we fell into a routine, but my mother was unhappy with Jake's contributions to the household. We paid $100 a week in rent, plus $65 a week in storage fees for all of our belongings (which was more than our rent payment was before we moved in with them). My mother demanded to know where we were going and when we'd be back every time we left. She complained to me about Jake all the time, and was ruining our marriage. Finally, Jake got tired of it, and left. I didn't see him for two days. On the third day, he came back to talk to me.

He said that he'd been staying with his parents, and that since rent prices had skyrocketed in the time that we'd been with my parents (nearly a year), we couldn't afford a place of our own at that point. He had talked it over with his parents who had two spare rooms. He asked me to come and live with him there, and put our marriage back together. I agreed, because I thought that our marriage deserved a second chance; especially now that we had Maddy to think about. His parents wouldn't accept any rent, and never asked where we were/went/etc. They doted on Maddy, and my father-in-law rocked her to sleep every night. He gave her her first solid food (pizza crust). Things were going well, but I was a bit uneasy. I felt like I was free-loading, and didn't know how to address it. It would be a long time before I was able to do so. My father-in-law and I have always had a slightly tenuous relationship, and have butted heads more than once. He has accused me of being selfish before. Another time, he accused me of cheating on Jake, simply because I had male friends who I hung out with without Jake around. A couple months went by, and his parents said "So, when are you having another baby?" I said "There's no room here for another baby!" (In reality, Jake and I had been fighting about having another since Maddy was three months old. He wanted another, and I did not.) "There's ALWAYS room for more babies!" said the in-laws. From then on, Jake was relentless. Always talking about another baby, and when would we have another baby, and another baby would be great, etc. Finally, I gave in, and Laura was concieved on Maddy's first birthday.

Next: Another Pregnancy, A Long Time Coming, and An Attempt

Part 4- A Surprise, A Sadness, A Salvation.

Warning: difficult issues arise in this installment of our story.

A Surprise
We got back from the honeymoon, and I wasn't feeling all that well. After a few days, i had an inkling of why that could be, and took a home pregnancy test. I didn't even have my pants buttoned yet, when the little plus sign showed up. Jake was at work when I took the test, and I was beside myself with waiting to tell him about it! He got home, and I couldn't even speak. I just showed him the test. We both jumped up and down, and screamed, and smiled, and laughed, and shook. We were elated, to say the least. We both knew that we had wanted a baby right away, but didn't realize how quickly our dream would come true! We felt very blessed. The next morning, I called my doctor, and made an appointment to go in. At that appointment, they did blood work, and urine testing, and took history, etc. We also had an ultrasound, to make sure there was a baby in there, and it wasn't a false positive. I had never been so happy to see a little squiggly blur on a black and white screen before. We were able to see the heartbeat, and were given a photo to take home. I was told that I was 6 weeks and 6 days along. We went home, and went to my mother's house to tell my parents about it. My father, upon finding out how far along I was, went to the calendar and counted backwards. "That's December 11! You didn't get married until the 14th!" I had to explain to him that the pregnancy counting starts on the first day of your last period, NOT at conception. (Yes, I had my period at my wedding. Talk about timing). He counted forward then, and got embarrassed, because his finger landed on Christmas Day. hahaha. Needless to say, we were thrilled, and I started reading baby books, and we were talking about baby names, and we moved into a two bedroom apartment, and traded in our pickup for a car. Then, one day I went shopping with my mother, and got sick in the bathroom at Michael's in Warwick, RI.

A Sadness
It wasn't morning sickness. It was something different. I just felt "wrong". I don't know how else to describe it. My mother said "You're probably just getting the flu or something, but maybe you should call your doctor just to be sure. They can put your mind at ease." So, I called the doctor, who had me come in later that day. She put me on the ultrasound machine (I was 10 and a half weeks along at this point). She couldn't find the heartbeat. She said "It could be the machine. Sometimes it does this. We're going to take some blood, to see what your levels are. I want you to come back tomorrow morning, and we'll use the other ultrasound machine, and take more blood levels. But I've been doing this a long time, honey. I know what I'm seeing. I'm so very sorry, but you've lost the baby." She measured it, and it had stopped growing at 8 weeks 6 days. So I had been walking around for almost two weeks, thinking everything was fine, when in fact, everything was about as far from fine as a thing can be. She left us then to talk, and told us to take as much time as we needed. I think I cried for a half hour before I was able to control myself enough to get from the office to the car. And then, I cried the whole way from the hospital to my mother's house. I composed myself, walked into my mother's house, and into the kitchen, and she said "So? Everything okay?" and I lost it. I couldn't form words. I collapsed to the floor, and just sobbed. Sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed. At some point, she picked me up off the kitchen floor, and moved me to the couch. Jake explained everything, and I basically went catatonic. I got off the couch to go to the doctor's the next day, where there was still no heartbeat. Back to my mother's couch I went. I got off the couch to talk to my doctor on the phone when she called me from her home that night to let me know that my hcg levels were dropping, which was further proof that my baby was gone. Back to the couch. I got off the couch on Monday to go to the doctor to discuss my options. It was decided that since the baby had been gone for 2 1/2 weeks, and had yet to dispell itself, that it would be prudent to perform a D&C. Back to the couch. I left the couch to go to the hospital for the procedure, on the day when I would have been 12 weeks exactly. Three weeks I had to walk around with my baby there, and yet gone. That was Feb. 26th. Most years, I can't get out of bed on the 26th of Feb. And the years that I do get out of bed, it's a very bad day. Sept. 19th is a very hard day also. That was my due date. I spent two weeks on my mother's couch, completely blocking out the rest of the world. After two weeks, she forced me back into my life. It was difficult, but with time I was able to make peace and move on. We named the baby. Gabriel Michael. After the archangels. We feel that he's watching over us. His ultrasound photo hangs in the girls' room. They don't even realize it's there, I don't think. But I do. That's my childrens' room, and he belongs there.

A Salvation.

After the D&C, I was told to wait a while to have intercourse, as if I had delivered a baby (because let's face it. I did.) I couldn't stand the idea of it for a while. Finally, in April, Jake and I talked, and I decided that I was ready to try again. (This part may be TMI, lol) Our very first time, we concieved Maddyson. This time, it was very different. I had ultrasounds at almost every appointment. I didn't tell ANYONE, not even my own mother, until I was in my second trimester. And even then, I told almost no one. I did everything differently. It may not be rational, but hell... it kept me sane. With Gabe I took my prenatals. With Maddy, I refused. With Gabe, I drank tons of fortified juices. With Maddy, I drank soda. I did everything by the book with Gabe, and he was taken from me, so with Maddy, I kind of rebelled a bit. I didn't relax at all until I felt her start moving. That didn't reassure Jake at all, because any time his skin came in contact with mine, she would stop moving. She wanted nothing to do with him. It was the strangest thing! LOL I didn't really start showing until my 7th or 8th month. It was as if she'd laid across my spine the whole time. Then, one night, in my sleep, she shifted. All of a sudden, I was all baby, as if someone had shoved a basketball up my shirt, LOL. So, then the cat was out of the bag. That was right before Thanksgiving, and we were spending Thanksgiving with Jake's family that year. I had told his parents, but asked that they not tell anyone. Well, we got to dinner, and I obviously had some explaining to do, lol. Everyone turned and stared at me when I walked in. I looked around, and said "Um... Surprise?" Hahaha. The men all turned back to the football game, and the women all oohed and ahhed. I gained 75 lbs with my pregnansy with Maddy, and my stomach looks like a road map, because of that night when she turned in my sleep (I wouldn't have had nearly so many stretch marks if she had allowed my skin to expand slowly) She was due on Jan. 21, and a week later, they induced me.

Next, A Struggle, Adjusting, and Moving.

Part 3- Wedding Plans, The Wedding, and The Honeymoon

Wedding Plans
I agreed, and set about the daunting task of planning, throwing, and paying for a wedding in two months time. I figured November was out of the question, so started looking at Saturdays in December. That year, the first Saturday was the 7th. I automatically vetoed that, because it's Pearl Harbor Day. (May seem irrational, but for a history nut like me, it made perfect sense to not want to marry on a day that caused us to actively join WWII, lol). Also out were the 21st (too close to Christmas) and the 28th (Christmas AND New Years). That left us the 14th. Voila! We had a date! My next step was calling reception halls. The first woman said "Dec. 14th of '03?" I said "No. THIS Dec. 14th." She laughed, and hung up on me. I called the next place on the list (The Imperial Room). He looked at his books, and said "I can work with you... I have a Christmas party that night, but if you can be cleared out by 4:30, we have a deal. How about a start time of 11?" "Deal!" Voila! We have a time! Reception starts at 11, so the ceremony will be at 10:30, 10 minutes long, and 15 minutes from the reception hall. Just enough time to have a Recieving line, and get to the reception. :) Off I went to David's Bridal, where *everything* I wanted was in stock. Hooray! The dress fit like a glove, needing only a tiny bit of hemming, and no other alterations. I had just my Maid of Honor, no Bridesmaids, so I gave her a color, and said "Pick what ever dress they have here in your size that you like." Ta da! No bridesmaid dress drama! My uncle owned a limo company, so his gift to us was the limo for the wedding. We used the Church we were currently attending, but it was without a Pastor for the time being. As luck would have it, a girl I worked with's father was a Justice of the Peace. He came over, we went over what we wanted, and the time limit for the ceremony, and got that ironed out. Jake and the guys went and got their tuxes (he wanted a zoot suit. If he'd allowed me more time to plan, I'd have done a full out Roarin' 20s theme wedding. It'd have been awesome. But alas, he gave me 6 weeks.) The flowers worked out well, also. Everything seemed to be falling right into place.

The Wedding:
I woke up at 6:30, and messed around with my MOH for a while. Then, jumped into the shower. I had brand new blue undies (my something new and my something blue) with "I'm Yours" written on them in silver rhinestones. Victoria's Secret, baby! My mother came into the bathroom and snapped a picture while I was drying off. No lie, it's in my wedding album. I'll show you when you come, lol. I got into a bathrobe, and walked across the lawn to my neighbor/hairdresser/makeup lady. Got mine, and my flower girl's hair done, and my toe nails painted. My fingernails had been done the day before (french manicure all the way, sweetheart). Then it was time to start wrangling me into my dress. I had two veils. One long piece that clipped into the bottom of my hair-do, that trained as long as the train on my dress. And a short, chapel length one to go over my face. On with my garter, petticoat, shoes, etc. Every woman in our family who gets married wears a piece of my great-grandmother's cameo jewelry. (My something old, and something borrowed). I chose the ring. We got into the limo, and were on our way to the church which was right down the street from my parents' house. Got into the church, and went upstairs to hide out until it was time, and make last minute adjustments to veils, hair, etc. I made someone look over the balcony to make sure Jake was there, because I wasn't going to face everyone if he didn't show, lol. Once I was assured that everyone showed who needed to, I was like "Let's do this thing!" Every one else made their ways up the aisle, and my dad turned to me and said "You wanna book it?" I said "Meh... I already paid the bills, let's do it." ;) Up the aisle we went. The ceremony was VERY simple, for fear that my mother would get up and wander away. I wouldn't put it past her. We didn't do a unity candle or anything like that. We did however, have a reading:
Have a seat upon a cloud
and make yourself at home
You are now inside my dreams,
inside a book, inside a poem.

Where anything can happen
if you only make it real
Plunge into my waters
if you're not afraid to feel.
Take off your shoes and close your eyes,
relax upon my sand
Join me in my land of dreams,
reach out and take my hand.
Let me share my dreams with you
until you find your own
I'll take you there if you believe,
take mine out on loan.
Where birds are words so gracefully
they glide across the sky
Leave behind your worries,
here the rules do not apply.
Pick my flowers if you like
and plant a seed or two
Paint the sky in polka dots
if you do not like it blue.

Climb my trees, face your fears;
erase them one by one
See the world from up abovea
nd don't stop at the sun.
When the world starts raining down
and the sun is out of sight
Let your dreams control your mind
and help you through the night.

There's a place inside my dreams
for all who care to roam
So have a seat upon a cloud
and make yourself at home.
Danielle Rosenblatt
Our flowers were all white. Calla lillies for me, my MOH, Jake, the Best Man, Ring Bearer, and Flower Girl. Roses for the ushers, grandparents, and Jake's mom. Daisies for my mom, because they're her favorite. Lillies of the Valley for Faylene, because they have a special meaning to her. Our wedding colors were periwinkle and cream. That was that, and we were on our way to the reception. I accidentally wrote the directions out slightly wrong, so most people got lost, but it was okay, they found their way there in the end. It was a buffet dinner, and a cash bar (both of our families are full of big drinkers, and I wasn't footing *that* tab!) Lots of dancing, our DJ was great. The reception hall took care of everything! They made the cake (it had fresh callas on it too), did the meal, hired the bartender and waitstaff, even did the centerpieces, and laid out the placecards and favors! They also recommended the DJ for us. I forgot my purse at home, which was a bit unnerving when it came to the end of the afternoon and the DJ wanted to be paid (oops!) Luckily, the dollar dance had netted us enough money that we were able to pay the DJ and still have a few bucks left! The party moved to my parents' house afterwards, because they weren't ready to be done partying. By the end of the night, I was completely exhausted!
The Honeymoon
We went to Sandals Antigua. We were booked from Jan. 2-7. So, it's Jan. 2 at 3 am. We roll out of bed, and into his parents' car. They were driving us to the airport. We were scheduled to fly out at 6, and it takes an hour and a half to get to the airport in bad weather. We got there, got through security, checked our bags, and went to wait at the gate. We boarded when they called us, and then waited. It was snowing pretty strongly, but not a blizzard or anything. We were last in line to be de-iced, which meant that if we got off the plane, we'd lose our place in line, and have to start all over again. By the time we finally got in the air, it was after noontime. We ate breakfast around 1 pm. We landed in San Juan, and because of the delays from the de-icing, we had missed our connecting flight. We were put on standby for a flight that was scheduled to leave for the island at 8:30 that night. So, we wandered around the concourses, checked out the souveniers, ate some crappy airport food court pizza, and sat down at the gate to wait. At one point, I turned to Jake and said "I swear to you. If I spend the first night of my honeymoon in an AIRPORT in San Juan, Puerto Rico...I *will* divorce you when we get back stateside." I was serious too. I was NOT in a good mood. Luckily, there were seats for us on the plane. It was a 12 seater, and the flight from San Juan to Antigua took about 25 minutes. The brochures from Sandals said that the airport was 5 minutes from the resort. Which was technically true. What they fail to mention, is that Antigua has ONE road, and it's a ONE WAY road. And we had to ride all the way around the island to reach the resort. We spent an hour in a minivan older than I was at the time, going at breakneck speeds, completely ignoring the fact that every 20 feet there was either a speed bump or a pot hole. Finally, we reached the resort. *Aah!* Bliss! We were starving, and exhausted. We were greeted with hot towels, and a comfy reception area while they took care of our check-in procedure. At this point, all the restaurants in the resort were closed, so we weren't able to get anything to eat. There was an after hours grill, but that didn't open until midnight. So, we checked in, went to our room, showered, and waited for midnight to roll around, so we could get a bite to eat. We went to the grill, and it was food court type food... Over done hamburgers, stale pizza, nachos with fake cheese, that kind of stuff. We ate just to fill the hole, and went to bed, too exhausted to even move.
The next morning, we went to see the event coordinator, to see if we'd be able to do any of that fun stuff, like touring rainforests, or swimming with dolphins. Unfortunately, everything *we* were interested in, was booked solid until the day after we had to check out and go home. So, we didn't get to do any of those things. There was a pool table in the lobby though, and I owned Jake about 15-20 times before he finally gave up, and bowed down to my superior skills with a pool cue. We spent a lot of time swimming, eating, trying new drinks at different bars, and playing life sized chess. We went to the spa and got a couple's package. They started off with a champagne bubble bath for two, with local flowers sprinkled on top of the water. Then, there was a couple's massage, where they exfoliated us and prepped our skin to be in the carribean sun. Then, we showered and were given facials. It. was. heavenly. One day, we took a horseback ride tour of the island. That was incredible, and eye opening. The locals live in shacks, with no doors or windows, just holes where they should be... There are still sugar shacks standing, and ruins of a British fort, complete with cannons. The island is just breathtaking, and sad at the same time. Jake bought a hand carved dog that a local artisan had made from driftwood. It's beautiful, and he treasures it. I had my hair put into corn rows. Which looked not unlike the hair that Monica came home from Barbados with on FRIENDS. LOL Only shorter and blonde. We bought a few locally made necklaces to bring back, that we still wear occasionally. There was only one restaurant to eat breakfast at, and it was open air. Stray cats, and birds would come and sit right next to you, waiting for food. If you got up to get something, you'd come back to birds IN your plate, eating your food. We learned quickly NOT to leave our plates unattended. There were geckos EVERYwhere. There was a pool and a hot tub right outside our bedroom door. That was nice. We had to go home all too soon, and when we got home, it was STILL snowing!
Next, A Surprise, A Sadness, and A Salvation.

Part 2- The Email, The Proposal, and Gaevin's Birth

The Email
That Sunday (two days later) I went out with my cousins, Faylene and Sherri (the one who set us up and went on our first date). While out with them, I got a call on my cell phone from Jake. Again, he had nothing to say so after a couple minutes of listening to Spongebob in the background, I said "Well, you aren't talking to me, so I'm going to hang up" and I did so. When I got home, I checked my email, and had one from him. To this day, I still remember exactly what it said. And I quote:
"Dear Veronica,

I have really enjoyed getting to know you. I would be extremely grateful if you would Please Please Please do me the honor of allowing me to be your boyfriend.


What could I do? With something so cheesy as that, I had no choice. I was hooked. I laughed, and replied simply. "Yes."

A few days later (the following Thursday) he picked me up at school, after my last class for the day. I was going to go down to meet his friends. What he failed to tell me until we were half way there, was that I'd be meeting his parents that day also. It went well, but the drive went on for what felt like forever, and at one point, after we'd been driving in the woods for a while, I thought to myself "Oh dear Lord... I know nothing about this man. He's going to pull over, kill me, and leave me in these woods here. I bet he lives nowhere near here!" Of course, we were right around the corner from his parents' house when I thought that, hehehe. The night was relatively uneventful, although one of his friends (who he is no longer friends with) did NOT like me, from the very beginning.

The Proposal.
Aug 22. My birthday. We'd already talked about marriage, what we wanted, etc. I was with him at the mall (but not in the jewelry store) in mid-June when he picked out the ring. He was in there for over an hour! Anyway, he never proposed. My birthday rolled around, and I thought to myself "He must be going to propose today. He must have been waiting for this." He sent me a bouquet of tiger lillies, which arrived early in the morning. He got to my house, and gave me my gift, which was the world's ugliest pair of sneakers ever. I took all the paper out of them, thinking maybe he'd hidden the ring in the toe of one of the shoes. Nope, nothing there but paper. So, I thanked him for the beautiful sneakers, and told him to go watch TV in my room while I took a shower. I had forgotten to grab my clothes, so came back into my bedroom dripping wet with a towel wrapped around myself. He stood up, and dropped to one knee in front of me. I thought to myself "Are you KIDDING me? He picks NOW? He can't wait two minutes for me to be dressed before he does this???" I was so busy thinking all of those things, that I didn't hear most of what he said, and didn't have the heart to ask him to repeat himself. I said yes, and then said "Now get out of my room so I can put clothes on!" lol. After I got dressed, I went into the kitchen to show my mother the ring, and she pulled me aside, and said "Do you really think this is a good idea? Shouldn't you sleep around some before you get married? How do you know he's good in bed?" I just stared at her, turned around, and walked away. I really didn't know how to respond to that.

Gaevin's Birth

My cousin Pat had his first baby on Oct 10 that year. We went that day to visit the proud parents in the hospital and bring a gift. While we were there, Jake wouldn't touch Gaevin. When we left, I turned to him and said "What was that? You were really rude back there! They probably think you hate their baby!" He floored me, when he gave his response, which was this "I don't want to hold him. He's not mine. I can't take him home, and so I don't want to touch him. It'll just make me sad." And he kept walking out of the hospital towards the car. We got in, and while we were driving home, he looked at me and said "Let's have a baby." I said "Um... Not today." He said "Why not?" Me: "We need to be married first." Him: "So let's get married." Me: "Um... Not today." Him: "Tomorrow?" Me: "No." Him: "Fine then. But I want to be married before the New Year."

Up Next: Wedding Plans, The Wedding, and The Honeymoon

Monday, December 8, 2008

Our Story

This week, I'm going to write an installment of Our Story every day. Our sixth wedding anniversary is coming up on Sunday, and I thought this would be a good way to commemorate it... To put it into writing. So here it goes!

First Meetings

Well, we met through my cousin Sherri. Sherri was friends with Caroline. Caroline was friends with Jake. Sherri had never met Jake, and Caroline had never met me. On a Sunday night in March, she and I talked and I told her to stop trying to set me up-I could find my own man. The next morning, I had an email from her, saying that she "worked with this great guy named Jake, and here's his email address, he's expecting an emapil from you." I was less than happy, but didn't want to seem like a witch, so I emailed him, trying to keep the email as clipped and impersonal as I could, in hopes that he wouldn't respond and I could move on. He replied the next day, and it continued that way for a couple weeks, finally exchanging AIM i.d.s and talking that way for a couple more weeks before agreeing to meet. Our first date was on Apr. 21 at a bowling alley half way between us. My cousin came with us (because I'm not crazy enough to fo a blind internet date alone, lol). He wouldn't look at or talk to me the whole time. After that, we went to eat, and he didn't look at or talk to me there, either. We parted ways after dinner, and I said to him "Am I going to hear from you again?" And he said "Do your ears work?" lol.

The First Phone Call

The very next day (Apr 22). Jake called me from his friend's house. He had nothing to say, really, and all of his friends insisted that he tell me they were there. So, after listing who-all was in the apartment with him, he had officially run out of things to say. I, after sitting there, listening to him breathe for five minutes, said "Do you have anything to say to me?" "No..." He said. "Okay then, I'm gonna hang up then, because I don't have time to sit here and listen to you breathe all day." says I. "Okay," says he. And hang up, did we.

The First Kiss

We talked online through email and AIM the next two days (the date was on a Monday, after my last class for the day; the phone call was the next day, so Tuesday). We made plans for him to come to my house for dinner on Friday to meet my parents (My mother had become quite strict about meeting who I dated while living in her house). He showed up, we ate dinner, and then we watched some TV in my room. I had one of those bunk beds where its a bed on top and a futon on bottom, you know? So we were on the futon. He wouldn't sit anywhere near me. When it was time for him to leave (he had to work that night) we went to the landing (My parents have a split-level house) to say goodbye. I thought to myself "It's now or never. He's never going to kiss me, so I'll have to do it." I leaned in, and gave him a quick peck on the mouth. His eyes got huge, he turned on his heel, and *literally* ran to his truck, got in, and drove away. I thought to myself, "Well, that's the end of that, then. I'll never see *him* again." And went back upstairs to my room.

Up tomorrow: The Email, The Proposal, Gaevin's Birth.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

*The End* swap

From "knitterphd". This is what I saw when I opened the box:See my lovely note? With the cute knitterly Far Side cartoon on it?The first thing I opened: (It was all rolled up pretty, but I was too impatient with the camera. Jake rolled his eyes at me when I squealed out loud. LOL)
Here's me with it on. It matches my outfit today! I'm going to wear it when we go see the movie again on Friday, for our anniversary date. :) More Twilight knitted goodness (They have apples stitched on them!)*Squee* I wonder if I can get Jake to hackey-sack with it? ;)These certainly fit my opinion of myself, LOL. They'll be fun to pamper myself with in my next bath!Great for chapped lips, which I have constantly in the winter here in Connecticut!Laura saw these, and asked me if I was going to share them, lolYum! I love the circus, and I collect clowns! :)This was super thoughtful. Since I'm Mormon, I don't drink coffee or tea. She sent me cocoa! :)
Everything all together!

Thanks so much! I clapped, and squealed out loud, lol. Everything is lovely. I feel truly spoiled! :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Long time no Blog

It feels like forever since I've written here. I've been busy.

I was sick over Thanksgiving, so unfortunately, no turkey for Jake.

Black Friday we did Christmas shopping, and I *think* I'm all done. I have one or two things left to pick up that can't be bought until the last minute, but that's it! Everything else is done! :) Now to wrap... That's my favorite part! I love to wrap all the gifts, and listen to Christmas music, and drink cocoa... mmmm... Cocoa...

I've been watching some fun stuff on TV. True Blood is over for the season, Dexter is almost there, and has me on the edge of my seat, Big Bang Theory never fails to make my sides ache from laughter, How I Met Your Mother is true to form, and Bones...well, it's just wonderful! I've recently discovered a few *new to me* shows, and have been watching THEM online as well: I'm working my way through Buffy, then will move on to Angel. I've been told that Mad Men and Entourage are very good, and they're next on my list to devour. Also, I want to start at the beginning and work my way through Big Love, Six Feet Under, Brothers and Sisters, and Dirty Sexy Money. I have a feeling that I'll be watching these shows for a very long time, since I have little time in my day to sit down to watch them, lol.

Reading: I just plowed through the first 7 of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, and the 8th is on its way to me (Thanks Lucy!), I'm on the third book of the Outlander series: Voyager. I'm reading "One Night Stands With American History", which is little snippets of lesser known facts about issues that formed our country and brought us where we are. The Twilight series is always an old standby (I've lost count of how many times I've read these books). Merry Wives of Windsor is the next Shakespeare play in my list of "to reads", because it sounds interesting, and I want to draw from it for the novel I'm writing. I recently read "Water for Elephants"- a really good, quick read. If you haven't read it yet, do! It's very good. Jake got me a book of Longfellow poetry, and I plan to start in on that today, hopefully. "The Tales of Beedle The Bard" is on it's way from the printer to me, hopefully it'll arrive tomorrow or Saturday.

I've been embracing my inner geek. I have a crush on Joss Whedon, creator of "Buffy", "Angel", "Firefly", "Serenity", and "Doctor Horrible's Sing Along Blog". If you have NOT experienced any of these things, I'm sad for you. He's a GENIUS. Pure and simple. The man is pure brilliance. As some people in my circle would say, "He's made of awesome".

I've been getting very little knitting done lately. I'm trying to force myself to knit a pair of socks, for the knit-along with Kim, et al. So far, I've cast on, and done half a round. Pathetic. I'm just so much more entralled with my novel right now, that knitting doesn't seem to have much call at the moment.

Travel. Lucy will be coming to visit in Feb. (yay!) Can't wait for that. Also, if the stars align themselves, Jake and I may be going to NYC the day after Christmas to meet up with some friends. That's still up in the air at this point though. In May or June, Jake and I are flying to Vegas to visit Lucy. In October, a bunch of knitterly friends are descending upon us for Stitches East, an annual knitting convention with shopping and classes. This year, it's being held in Hartford, and I can't wait! We're also hoping to get into NYC at least one more time this coming year, as well as maybe a trip to Boston. I want to do the Freedom Trail again. I just adore history...

Next week, there'll be a post all about the history of Jake and I. Our 6th wedding anniversary is the 14th, and I'm getting all nostalgic. :)

Leave me a comment, because I love to hear from y'all!