Monday, November 23, 2009

Introducing...

our sweet baby GIRL!




As you may have heard by now, Amelia Rowe Marty was born on Sunday, November 15 at 3:48pm. Mia weighed 6lbs, 15oz and is a shorty at 18.5" long. She is named after my grandmother and sister (my grandma's name is Amelia and my sister's middle name is also Amelia) and Branden's mom and grandpa (Rowe is Branden's mom's maiden name).

Amelia's due date was November 8 and we spent the last week of my pregnancy trying to be patient while we waited for her to arrive. Though anxious to meet our little one, we tried to enjoy our last few days as a twosome. On Friday, November 13, I went for a check-up and was showing little sign of progress towards labor. We were happy to wait and allow the baby to come on his or her own schedule, but modern medicine had other plans. Our midwife told us that our hospital wouldn't allow us to wait past 41 weeks and 6 days, so an induction was scheduled for Friday, November 20. I had long been hoping to avoid an induction, but we were left little choice. We went home and hoped that our little baby girl or boy would decide to arrive before we were forced to induce.

Like so many things in life, even the best laid plans don't always work out as expected. On Saturday morning, November 14, my water broke around 6:30am. We were thrilled and excitedly waited for contractions and labor to begin. We called our doula and told her to be ready to come over. She gave us some ideas to help labor get started and we tried them all (walking, climbing stairs, warm shower, etc). We kept in contact with our doula all morning and early afternoon - when nothing had happened by 2pm, she suggested we start thinking about calling the midwife. Since my water had broken, she knew the hospital would want the baby delivered by 6:30am on Sunday (to avoid infection) and we were running out of time to labor and deliver before our 24 hours were up. Branden and I decided to give it until 4pm before we called. By then, I still wasn't showing any signs of labor, so we called the hospital and they told us we needed to come in as soon as possible.

We showered and got ready, again enjoying our last few moments as a twosome. We headed to the hospital around 5pm and got checked into Triage so the doctor on call could check me out. She confirmed that my water had indeed broken and decided to admit us since it had been nearly eleven hours with no signs of labor.

Once we were checked into our room, the doctor came in to discuss a game plan. She felt it was time to induce labor, so we discussed our options by which to do so. Ultimately, we decided on Pitocin. It would cause heavy, hard contractions, but it was proven safe for the baby and would force my body into labor. We called Donna, our doula, and asked her to come to the hospital for support. Already our birth plan was changing and we wanted a familiar face with us to help guide us through the world of modern medicine.

The doctor started Pitcoin about 7:30pm and it didn't take long for the contractions to begin. Upon admission, I was only dilated to a 1.5-2cm, so we knew that the Pitocin and my body had a lot of work to do before this baby was born. We settled in for a long night.

The next twelve hours are a bit of a blur. I had decided on a natural childbirth, so the doctors and nurses tried to respect that as much as possible. That said, the induction required some medical intervention and we had to be flexible with our birth plan. I had to be monitored continuously, so I couldn't leave my bed or bedside. I was able to stand and squat through the contractions, which helped tremendously. I wished I had the freedom to walk or move more but, again, we were all having to be flexible and make adjustments due to the induction. Unfortunately, as the night wore on, Amelia and I required more and more interventions, eventually forcing me to lie in bed, wearing an oxygen mask and more monitors. Her heart rate kept dropping with each contraction and the lack of amniotic fluid was causing her cord to get pinched (hence the need for me to be on oxygen). These extra interventions, while certainly needed, were making it very difficult for me to deal with the pain of the contractions - I had little relief because I couldn't move around and they were very irregular due to the Pitocin. I would have three contractions without a break and then not have another one for several minutes. The combination of these factors was wearing me down.

Finally, about 3am, when I was only dilated to 4cm and hadn't made any progress in several hours, I decided I would ask for some pain relief. I was disheartened by my lack of progress and exhaustion was setting in. I knew I had many more hours of labor ahead of me and it was difficult to deal with the pain while forced to lie in bed. Branden and Donna persuaded me to wait a little longer and really think the decision through. I appreciated their support and continued to labor naturally. An little over an hour later, I decided that I really did want pain medication and asked them to tell the nurse. The anesthesiologist was in an emergency c-section with another patient, so the nurse offered some mild pain relief while I waited for an epidural. That medication did little for the pain, but it did make me a little loopy, so I labored in a bit of a fog while we waited for the anesthesiologist. Around 7am, we finally got word that the anesthesiologist was on her way and by 7:30am, I had much needed relief. While I was disappointed in my decision, I knew that getting the epidural was the best decision for me at the time. I was having trouble relaxing through the contractions and I think the tension was preventing my body and the baby from progressing.

Of course, the epidural allowed my body to relax and it allowed all three of us (Branden, Donna and myself) a much-needed nap. We all went to sleep and woke up about 9:30am. Branden and Donna took turns staying with me while the other went for fresh air and food. By that time, shift change had taken place and a midwife had come on call. She took over my care from the doctor and came in to introduce herself. I wasn't showing any signs of infection, so she agreed to let us keep laboring, despite having passed the 24-hour mark since my water had broken. We were thankful for her patience and relieved that a c-section wasn't in our future (at least not yet).

Because I had the epidural, the next several hours seemed to crawl by. Though laboring naturally was hard and painful, it did make the time pass quickly and made me feel productive, like I was really working to bring my baby into the world. With the epidural, I didn't do anything but lay in bed and wait. It was hard but my body was progressing and we knew it wouldn't be much longer before our baby was born. My parents arrived at the hospital around 12:30pm, surprised that they still didn't have a grandchild!

About an hour later, Kel, the midwife, came in to check on my progress. She discovered that I was fully dilated and ready to go! While checking though, she discovered the our little one was in a face-up presentation. Since this is pretty uncommon, she grabbed an ultrasound machine and the doctor on-call for a second opinion. Sure enough, the baby was presenting face-up, meaning we would see the baby's face upon delivery, rather than the top or back of the head. Kel said that I could still deliver the baby vaginally, we would just have to be prepared for any complications. She told me to start getting ready to push and began to prepare the room for delivery. I asked the anesthesiologist to turn down the epidural so I could feel the contractions to be able to push with them and an hour later I felt ready to go. With everyone in place, I started to push with each contraction and our sweet baby was born just 15 minutes later with no complications! After 33 hours of waiting, we were so relived that she arrived quickly! Branden quickly checked her over and told me "it's a girl, it's a girl"! She was placed on my belly and we just marveled at this new little person that had arrived.

We had only chosen one name for a girl, so we were happy that Amelia seemed to fit her. She was very very bruised and swollen from delivering face-up but, of course, we thought she was adorable regardless. We enjoyed about 45 minutes of bonding and then Branden went to tell my parents the happy news. They were thrilled and couldn't wait to meet their new granddaughter.

A little over a week has passed since Amelia's arrival and we just fall more and more in love with her each day. She is a sweet, mellow baby and hardly ever cries (no seriously, she really doesn't cry). When she wants or needs something she just gives a little peep, as if to say "Mom? Dad?" and then that's it. Her bruising and swelling have nearly disappeared and she is just beautiful. She is petite and delicate and she seems to look a lot like Branden as a baby. For now, her hair is a medium brown and her eyes are a dark gray-blue, so we'll see if that changes. She lost a bit too much weight after birth and had a little bout of jaundice as a result, but she's doing well now. She's back up to about six and a half pounds and we expect she'll be back up to her birth weight by her two-week check up on Monday.

We want to thank you all for the many warm wishes. We've received so many phone calls, emails and cards and we feel so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends. Please be patient with us as we slowly return calls and emails, but please know that we greatly appreciate the warm welcome you've all given to Amelia. I promise to keep you updated with more photos via the blog, but for now I've got a sweet little girl to feed...


If you have a few minutes, here is a video my dad put together of Amelia's first week. It's about eight minutes long, but it has tons of pictures and some video. If you want to see it in a larger screen, you can watch it here.
video

Monday, November 2, 2009

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go

Yes, in the words of John Denver - "my bags are packed, I'm ready to go." Definitely not leaving on a jet plane, but hoping to be heading to the Labor and Delivery floor at Balboa Hospital very soon! As of today, Diego has been incubating for 39 weeks and two days. Branden and I are so excited and anxious to meet this little one! The first eight and a half months of this pregnancy flew by, but now the days are crawling by as we wait for any sign of labor. So, while we wait, here is an update on our lives over the last couple of months...
* Because this is such a lengthy post, I condensed most photos into collages. If you want to see a collage up close, simply click on it and it will open up, bigger, in another window. Also, for some photos, there is a link "click HERE" to more photos, with captions. Enjoy!

August: Fun in the Sun
For us, August was a fun-filled and hectic month. We started the month with a visit from Branden's dad, Keith. It was also Colin's last weekend living in CA, so the three of them enjoyed a boy's weekend. They hit two Padres/Brewers baseball games, played a round of golf and ate lots of yummy food. I can only handle so much baseball, so I only tagged along to one game and let them enjoy their "man-time" the rest of the weekend.
The next weekend we were off to Chicago for Steph's wedding! Steph, Rachel and I lived together at Michigan for three years. It was wonderful to be a part of Steph's wedding weekend - it was a weekend full of love and laughter and we were so honored to be included. We started the weekend with fishing (the boys) and mani/pedis (the girls). From there, the girls headed to an intimate lunch in Steph's honor. Friday night was the rehearsal dinner at Gibson's steakhouse and then the wedding was held at Trump Tower on Saturday. It was a beautiful wedding and we are so happy for Steph and her new husband, Dusten!

On Sunday morning, after Steph's wedding, Branden and I took the train up to Milwaukee to see his family for the day, before heading back to San Diego. When we arrived at the Marty home, we could tell something was going on. Turns out, Kayla and Ellen (Branden's sister and sister-in-law) had planned a surprise baby shower for us!! (Dede and Keith claim no part in the surprise, but I find that very hard to believe!). It was such a special day - all of our Wisconsin friends came by, some we hadn't seen since our wedding five years ago. We were so touched by every one's thoughtfulness, generosity and efforts.

After our weekend in Chicago/Wisconsin, we headed back to San Diego for a quick work week. I was in San Francisco for meetings, so Branden painted Diego's room while I was out of the house (more pictures of that later). When I got home, we headed to Lake Arrowhead for the weekend with a few friends. We rented a house overlooking the lake and enjoyed a gorgeous summer weekend! Lake Arrowhead is beautiful and we can't wait to go back. It's a perfect getaway and it's only two hours from San Diego.

Since my days of travel were quickly coming to an end, we squeezed in one more trip that month. This time, we headed back to the Midwest for a baby shower in Michigan. My family threw us a great party and, since we had just seen most friends and family at my sister's wedding in July, it was fun for them to see my belly progress. I had sort of "popped" in the month since the wedding, so I was finally looking really pregnant, much to every one's delight. Again, we were so touched by every one's thoughtfulness, generosity and effort. My friends, Kirsten and Katie, flew in just for the weekend - Kir from DC and Katie from California! All in all, we felt surrounded by love and we are so thankful to have such wonderful friends and family!

September: The Last Hurrah

Of course, with my growing belly came an end to my travels. As I mentioned, though, Branden and I had decided to take one last trip before my midwife cut me off from flying. Earlier this year, I won a sales incentive trip for two - to SPAIN! It was all-expenses paid and neither of us had ever been, so with our midwife's blessing, we decided to go for it. I was pretty nervous once we actually got to Chicago and were boarding the flight to Madrid - what was I doing?! Would I really be able to travel comfortably for the next week?? At that point, there was no turning back, so Branden calmed my nerves and off we went! We spent week 32 of the pregnancy touring Northern Spain and we loved every minute of it. We were SO glad we went. I felt great and had no problems whatsoever. Here are a few photos, but if you want to see more, click HERE.

October: The Home Stretch
September flew by with our trip to Spain (and Branden's work travels - he was home for two or three days that month), so we were looking forward to a more mellow October. I wrapped up work; my last day was October 16. I'm looking forward to going back early next year, but for the time being, my mind was quickly shifting into baby mode and all I could think about was my to-do list at home. I still had so much to do, buy and prepare! Luckily, our wonderful friends took care of much of the "buying"...we were so blessed to have two baby showers here in San Diego in October. If you want to see more photos and read more about the celebrations, click HERE.
The month of October ended with some Halloween fun. We had secretly hoped that Diego would arrive before Halloween (what pregnant momma in her last weeks doesn't wish that?!), but here it is November 2nd and Diego still seems pretty content in the incubator. For now, we'll just enjoy some quiet time while we wait.
*Are you wondering who that adorable little baby is that we're holding in so many photos? That is Baby Taylor, born to our friends, Summer and Gregg, in September. We just love her and enjoy cuddling her while we wait for Diego. We think she is just the cutest little girl and Branden says that if Diego is a boy, he's talking to Gregg about an arranged marriage. :)


Diego Updates
Well, as I mentioned, we're into week 39 and Diego seems pretty content in his little home. He/she shows no signs of making an appearance anytime soon, so I'm just taking comfort in the fact that there is a 98% chance he or she will arrive in the next 19 days (although, really?! I can't even imagine being pregnant for another three weeks!). Our actual due date is November 8, so I'm hoping Diego is more like his or her daddy and will be early or at least punctual. That said, I think karma is a pretty powerful force and it would serve me right if this kiddo took after me and was late (since I am always late!).

Our little Scorpio has already proven to be a stubborn little guy (or gal). As Branden says, "stubborn like his momma (me)". As I say, "stubborn like his daddy." Either way, the kid is strong-willed. As Branden and I learned, 96% of babies get in to a "head-down" position by 32-34 weeks gestation. This gets them in position for birth before things get too tight to restrict movement into such a position. Well, of course, our little one was in that 4% of babies who decide to do things their own way. After I fell down the stairs at 35 weeks (just a little fall, no big deal!), we got an ultrasound to make sure all was well in the womb. It was then that we noticed that Diego was relaxing in an "oblique" position. He/she was sort of sideways, definitely not in an ideal position for birth. We didn't really think much about it, but when he/she hadn't turned by 37 weeks, our doula decided we should probably start taking some action. The traditional way to get a baby to turn is called an external cephalic version - I haven't had one and, from what I hear, I don't want to! In this, a doctor tries to manually turn the baby from the outside and it is, from what I hear, quite uncomfortable for both mom and baby. So, when our doula recommended trying a chiropractor first, we jumped at the chance. I had never been to one and was a bit skeptical, but the chiropractor had an 85% success rate of turning babies. Guess what? She got Diego to turn with just two adjustments and it was gentle and painless. Not only did she get Diego to turn, but she also relieved almost all of my hip, back and joint pain. I feel so much comfortable and, from the way Diego has been moving around, he is much more comfortable too. We are so thankful!!

Many of you have asked to see the belly, so here are the most recent photos. Before we go any further, may I be frank with you for a moment? If you are chatting with a pregnant lady, whether you know her or not, please do not tell her she looks "huge", "ready to pop" or ask if she's "sure there's not twins in there"? This may be surprising, but when you get pregnant, your feelings don't actually go away. If anything, you get more sensitive and such adjectives and comments do not make a pregnant girl feel any better about her changing body. On behalf of all the pregnant gals out there, I'm suggesting you either compliment her (word like "glowing" and "beautiful" are always appreciated) or just simply avoid commenting on her appearance. She'll really appreciate it and so will her husband (because no one likes to have to console an emotional, crying pregnant lady when she gets home). That said, here is the belly...

Since I finished up work and we've had a break from traveling, we finally got a chance to put together Diego's nursery. The rest of the furniture was delivered in early October, so things have really come together since then. We love how the room came out and the best part is that nearly everything in the room was made by, created by or found by a loved one. We chose an unorthodox color scheme (and didn't want a bumblebee theme), so we couldn't rely on traditional resources for nursery decor. If you want to read more about each piece in the room and where it came from, click HERE.
With that, I think I've finally got you all caught up on the Marty Party! If you've made it this far in the post, thanks! :) Hopefully our next post will not be "Belly Photos - Weeks 40, 41 and 42" and will, instead, be "Introducing...". If you want to make a guess at when he or she will arrive, click HERE.

xoxo,
Steph & Branden



Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quick Belly Update

We've got lots to share from August, but until we get time to upload all of our photos and organize ourselves, here's a quick belly update. It's hard to believe Diego still has another ten weeks to go - I feel huge already!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

July 2009 - the Cliff Notes version

Happy August! Where has this summer gone? It seems like this particular summer is flying by faster than most, but maybe that's just me. Either way, July was a blur! We were really busy, but got to see many family and friends, which was wonderful.

We started the month with a quick trip to Grandpa Rowe's, to celebrate both the 4th of July and Grandpa's 85th birthday. Most of the Rowe family joined us in Northern Wisconsin, so we got to see many family members that we hadn't seen since Ellen and Ryan's wedding last winter. Here is a little photo collage of the weekend; if you want to see more photos (with captions), click here.

After we got back from our visit to Wisconsin, we were busy helping finish up the last minute preparations for my sister's wedding. In the middle of the month, we headed to Detroit to celebrate the big day. It was a beautiful weekend, again filled with family and friends. To see more photos, click here.



Besides our trips back to the Midwest, July was filled with various celebrations. We hosted a baby shower for two pregnant friends, a wedding shower and celebrated our five year wedding anniversary! We also enjoyed three sun-filled days at the lake with the Deal/Garza family after Christina and Daniel's wedding. For more photos, click here.


Of course, through all of this, Baby Diego continues to grow like a weed! He/she is moving all the time and Branden and I enjoy watching my belly move with his or her acrobatics. It's amazing how a baby weighing less than two pounds can make such a ruckus! My "bump" started to really show in week 19 and seems to grow everyday now. I'm still feeling great, but the warm summer days and long hours at work definitely take their toll. Branden has been wonderfully supportive, giving foot and back rubs with little complaint.

We're almost done with our childbirth classes and will take a few more miscellaneous classes before Diego arrives (CPR, newborn care, etc). I can't say I'm excited for labor and delivery, but I'm certainly feeling more prepared thanks to our classes. Again, Branden has been wonderfully supportive and encouraging (he's probably also very thankful that he doesn't have to go through the actual contractions and pushing!).

We've slowly started to put together the nursery and are trying to balance our excitement with a little together time and relaxation (knowing that this time will be short-lived once the little one arrives!). We've got a few more quick trips planned for August and then one last "hurrah" in September - a week-long trip to Spain (don't worry, we have the midwife's blessing). After that, we'll be close to home, making final preparations and enjoying our last moments of peace and quiet.

Thanks for checking in!








Tuesday, June 23, 2009

20 Weeks - We're halfway there!

This Sunday marked the beginning of my 20th week of pregnancy. We're so excited, as this means we're halfway to meeting our sweet little one! We got to celebrate this milestone with our 20-week ultrasound. We're still waiting on word from the midwife, but the ultrasound tech said everything is looking great. While the tech was scanning, Baby Diego was showing off his/her acrobatic skills by constantly somersaulting! It actually allowed the tech to get all of the needed pictures quickly and provided some entertainment for Branden and I. Many of you have asked and I'm happy to say that we resisted the temptation and did NOT find out the sex of Baby Diego! I know this disappoints some of you but we will find out soon enough. Besides, won't it be so fun to receive news from us in November with a subject line of "It's a _____!"?

The most incredible aspect of the ultrasound was being able to see every little bone in Baby Diego's body. We could see the entire skull, his/her little arm and leg bones and every single vertebrae in the spine. We could also see all four chambers of the heart and all of the teeny tiny little fingers and toes. It's amazing, considering he/she doesn't even weigh a full pound yet! We managed to get a few photos, but they didn't scan very well, so I apologize for the poor quality. Our favorite is the one of Baby Diego's little feet - this was taken in a rare moment of relaxation for him/her, when he/she was just laying there, legs crossed at the ankles. It was too cute!


Baby Diego's little arm and hand ^ - the white images are the bones, just like you see in the picture below





Baby Diego's spine ^ - it's hard to make out in this scanned version of the picture, but there is black space in between each of the vertebrae (again, shown in white). When you see it on the screen, you can actually make out each of the 33 vertebrae!



Our favorite picture! Diego's tiny feet ^, crossed at the ankles, just relaxing in my belly :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mini Marty Update

Time continues to fly! The last month has been as hectic as ever. As many of you know, I love to be organized and prepared (not quite sure why I'm so messy, but I just chalk that up to my "creative" side). Given that, I've spent the last month researching, planning and preparing for Mini Marty. Branden and I were finally in town at the same time last weekend, so I made him drive all over San Diego to take care of "baby errands". With a little more than half of this pregnancy left, we've got our stroller and nursery furniture purchased, we start childbirth classes next week and we are interviewing doulas this weekend. I know, I'm crazy! Surprisingly, Branden says this pregnancy has actually made me more mellow...what was I like before?! Honestly, I was overwhelmed when I realized everything that needs to be done in preparation for a baby and spreading out the tasks makes me feel less anxious about getting it all done. Now we just need to pick names, paint and set-up the nursery, write a birth plan, stock up on baby necessities, fill out my maternity leave paperwork, find childcare for after my maternity leave (do you know how long some of these waiting lists are?!), order birth announcements, etc etc etc...we have a lot to do, but we are so happy to do it!

I know you really came here looking for updates on Mini, so here is the latest. Mini Marty (aka "Baby Diego") is 18 weeks old now! He/she has a new nickname, Baby Diego, and I felt him/her start to move last week! That was incredible. I don't feel the movements every day, but my midwife says I will soon. Saturday morning, while I was at pilates class, Baby Diego was moving a ton! It felt like he/she was doing pilates right along with me. The other movements have felt more like little punches, which I don't appreciate quite as much. :) I can only imagine how those jabs will feel as he/she grows in strength and size.

I had a check-up with my new midwife this morning (my doctor got transferred to the East Coast) and Baby Diego's heartbeat is still strong, in the 150s. The midwife had our test results ready for us (for Down's, Trisomy, etc) and everything looks great. We are very thankful for that.

We have our "big" ultrasound (and likely, our last) next Friday and, of course, we are very excited for that. At this ultrasound, they will check Baby Diego in detail and make sure that he/she is progressing as expected. We love seeing our little one on the big screen and I'm sure the progress Baby Diego has made since our last ultrasound will be remarkable. Hopefully, we will get some great pictures and, if so, I will be sure to post them here.

I do want to take a quick moment to thank you all for your well-wishes. I've tried to keep up with the emails, but I know I haven't gotten back to everyone. Please know that we greatly appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers and feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family sharing this experience with us.






Monday, May 11, 2009

Not just getting pudgy...

Have you seen me lately? If so, you were probably too sweet to notice the pounds I've slowly been packing on. Don't worry, I haven't completely let myself go (though, it does feel like it some days)...those are baby pounds!!! Yes, we are finally going to be blessed with a mini Marty in early November!

We are so very excited to share this amazing and exciting news with you! I apologize now if we've lied, dodged or completely ignored a question about babies from you recently, but we weren't ready to share our news until now. On Friday we had our third ultrasound and the Mini looks amazing! It is incredible to see the changes in just a few short weeks. Mini now looks like a real baby! The ultrasound pics don't do the experience justice, but it was awesome and overwhelming to see our healthy baby on the big screen and to hear a strong heartbeat of 150 bpm. We even got a little wave, like he/she was saying "hello"!

Enjoy the pictures and check back for more updates. While you're here, take our poll on the sidebar and let us know if you think Mini will be a boy or a girl. We're not finding out, so we're guessing too!



Monday, March 23, 2009

Living the dream

While our life certainly isn't perfect (hello, six month deployments!), we definitely feel very blessed and lucky. We have one another, live in a fabulous city and enjoy love and support from wonderful family and friends. When you think about it like that, it makes the small bumps seem pretty insignificant.

That said, while Branden's current job has him traveling a lot, there are also some fun perks. Recently, an admiral from the British Navy (called a "Commodore") was in town for some meetings and work with Branden's office. Over the weekend, the two admirals Branden works for hosted the Brits for a sunset cruise and dinner party. We were lucky enough to tag along and enjoy the festivities!

In February we also celebrated Branden and Colin's birthdays (Colin just moved out here from Florida, if you recall) and got to spend Valentine's day weekend in Chicago with our good friends.
Chilly Chicago (our future hometown? We hope so!) for Valentine's Day weekend

Steph, Rach & Steph - I love hanging out with my college roomies! I miss them so much!

Our new roommates (can't stay in college forever!) - Billy, Rachie's hubby, my sweetie, and Dusten, Steph's soon-to-be hubby!


Happy 29th, my love! Welcome to the club of almost-30!


Happy be-glad-you're-not-29-yet Birthday, Colin!


Sailing around the bay at sunset with the Admirals!




Thursday, January 29, 2009

Yea for Soiree!

I have to share my VERY exciting news!

In December, I entered one of my invitation creations in a contest with Paper Source. If you don't know, Paper Source is an amazing paper company that started in Chicago and now has 29 stores in the US.

So, as I said, I entered their holiday card contest and was sad that I never heard back. I mean, of course I'm biased, but I thought my card(s) were really cute (yes, I actually entered two). Well, you guessed it...I got a letter from Chicago today and I WON!!

To be clear, I'm not the only winner (each store has one), but I was still pretty excited about this. The best part is that my creation will be featured on the Paper Source website later this year! They will be featuring all the winners to "inspire our fellow PS card makers to Do Something Creative Everyday!"

Of course, I will email you all and show it off once it hits the site. While you're waiting, check out my own little website, seen here. I'm on an unofficial hiatus while I design, create, and assemble my dear sister's wedding papers, but someday I'll get back to it more regularly.

Thanks for letting me gush!

America's Finest City

Have I previously used the post title "America's Finest City"? If so, I apologize. But, really, with weekends like these, how can you blame me?

Oh, and I didn't make that name up, "America's Finest City". It's official.

By the way, sorry if I've confused you. Branden is still in Bahrain; these pics were taken two weeks ago.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another Pilot!

January has been a busy month for us (who knew getting older meant getting busier?! ). After just two weekends at home, we traveled to Pensacola, Florida for Colin's winging. You may remember, both of Branden's brothers are Marines. Ryan, the "little" one, is in the Special Forces (I don't really know what that means, but I 'm pretty sure it is bad a**) and Colin is, now, a helicopter pilot like B. Congrats, Colin!

On a side note, the rest of the month consisted of Steph traveling to wine country for work and B traveling to Hawaii, Virginia, DC, Korea and Bahrain (he's there now). I guess, if nothing else, all this traveling keeps the marriage fresh! :)


And, now, back to Colin...


Colin and his huge winging (graduation) class (sign of the times?). Branden graduated with just 15 or so pilots five years ago.

I'm very happy to report that Colin will be moving to San Diego next week!! The downside is he is only here for six months or so, and then he's off to North Carolina for about three years .




Ellen & Ryan, on their four-week wedding anniversary!


After the winging ceremony, each class sponsors an after-party at a local bar. You'll see, it gets a little rowdy...


Oh, geez. This is my darling husband doing the dance to Beyonce's "Put a Ring On It." Watch the video and you'll understand. No, he didn't look ridiculous.


Not.at.all.



Aaaaaaaand, now he's got Ryan doing it with him.



Thankfully, night two was a little more subdued. We went to one of my favorite Pensacola restaurants, Dharma Blue. Yum. If you ever go to P-cola (as we fondly refer to it), please eat here. Ah-mazing!


Yes, I am officially ghetto. Waffle House is my other favorite Pensacola restaurant. Lucky for you, these fine establishments can be found in many Southern cities, not just P-cola.

Hmmm...thinking of asking for orders to Mobile. I'll keep you posted.