What’s in a name?

Of course, we put much thought into our daughter’s name.  We had been tossing around names for a little bit, but nothing was really sticking.  I was starting to worry we wouldn’t find something we loved.  We decided that the meaning of the name was as important as the name itself, more so than any family name (sorry family), so that helped to knock some names out of the running.

 

We liked the name Alexandra, but it’s kinda common, which we didn’t really want.  That’s how we decided to have it be her middle name.  We also liked it’s meaning : defender of mankind.  Tony figured if I wouldn’t let him name her Xena (as in Warrior Princess…what he has called her all along), that “defender of mankind” was a good choice.

 

Catalina means “pure”, and we both think it’s a beautiful name.  It is Spanish in origin, which goes well with our last name.  It’s the Spanish version of Catherine, which is another strong, powerful name.  Tony had a hard time knowing he was having a daughter (“she won’t date until she’s 25!”), and so her naming meaning “pure” helped to ease his mind.  It’s not a very common name, but not super strange, hard to pronounce, or odd.

 

Since we shared the gender of the baby with everyone, I wanted to keep her name a secret between Tony and I until her birth.  He wanted to share her name, but understood that it was important for me, and so he agreed to not share it.  When people asked, he definitely threw me under the bus and said he’d share it but I didn’t want to!  But, I maintained that I didn’t want to share it.  I liked that we had a secret, that we could call her by name in the privacy of our home, or whisper it to each other, and that no one else knew it for a little while.  It drove our families crazy we didn’t share it with them :)

Happy Birthday Catalina Alexandra!

Baby Girl Ruiz joined us a bit early.  Here is her birth story…..

 

As you know, throughout the pregnancy, I was blessed to not have much difficulty.  In the 5 days before her birth, that all changed.  At my appointment on Nov 8, my blood pressure was a bit high (140/85).  The Dr told me to go home and rest all weekend…sit on the couch with my feet up and take it easy.  I followed Dr’s orders and rested.  Monday came and I went to work like I normally would.  On Tuesday, I decided I would go to work, and then ask a nurse at work in the afternoon to check my blood pressure just to reassure me that things were fine and I could keep working.  The nurse took my blood pressure several different times, and told me she kept getting the same reading, and it was high and I should call my Dr.  I think she said it was about 170/110.  I called the Dr, and set up an appointment with the nurse to have her check my blood pressure, and within 30 minutes I was in the Dr’s office.  She checked my urine, which did test positive for some protein and checked my blood pressure, which was high.  She checked with the Dr, and told me that I needed to go to the hospital to be monitored for several hours.  If my BP came down, I would go home.  She told me to go home, get my hospital bag, and get to the hospital within the hour.

 

I called Tony as I drove home to get my personal items, and he immediately left Allentown to come meet me.  He took care of calling our families so I could focus on getting my bag and getting to the hospital.  I checked in, and got hooked up to various monitors.  Tony was there within 10 minutes of me arriving (considering the length of the drive, you can imagine how fast he had driven!).  The Dr in the hospital checked my BP, and it was 194/112.  She said that I was not going anywhere and that baby was going to be joining us sooner rather than later.  They couldn’t believe my BP was that high but I wasn’t having any symptoms.  I was transferred to a labor and delivery room, and we discussed with the Dr my birth plan.  The Dr was very concerned about the BP (I had developed “severe preeclampsia”), and started me on Magnesium Sulfate.  I had a catheter put in, an IV put in each hand, and had machines hooked up to my legs to help prevent blood clots.  She said we needed to induce, not because baby was ready to come, nor that my body was ready, but because of how high my BP was.  They were afraid I would have a stroke or seizure.  I had wanted to do as close to a natural birth as was safe and possible, and so she agreed to insert Cervadil overnight to help dilate my cervix.

 

The next morning, the Cervadil was removed.  It worked at dilating my cervix, but I was not progressing as quickly as the Dr’s wanted.  My BP was still very high, even on bed rest and the medicine.  We had another consult with the Dr and we discussed our options.  The midwife said that unless my labor progressed faster, the Dr was going to take the baby via C-section to alleviate my high BP.  I elected one last effort before a C-section, and I started Pitocin.  I started to have contractions, but I also started to get woozy and was near passing out.  I was trying to think clearly, but nearly became unconscious.  Tony and I were talking and I was fading out.  He lightly slapped my face and he told me that we were doing a C-section because I was starting to go unconscious.  No sooner did he say that and the Dr came in and took one look at me, and I was rushed to the ER for an emergency C-section.  At the time, I thought I was lucid and “with it”, but later, I realize how fuzzy this all was, and how much I really don’t remember.

 

Tony was suited up, and I was given a spinal tap and strapped to the table.  I couldn’t focus my eyes, but I remember thinking that there were so many nurses and Drs in the room.  Tony was standing at my head, and he watched the entire thing.  We took in my iPod and speakers so I could listen to Christian music during the procedure.  He cut the baby’s umbilical cord, and held her.  I began to throw up on the operating table, and again was fading in and out.  Later, I remembered that a pediatrician came over and told me the baby was in perfect health.  She was placed onto my chest and we were transferred back to our room.  I remember seeing my mom and dad waiting for us.  The lactation consultant helped me nurse for the first time.  We did “skin-to-skin” and had some alone time just mommy, daddy, and baby.  Then, mom and dad came back in to meet her.  Tony’s sister came later that night to meet her too.   A nurse and Tony gave the baby a bath while I watched from the bed.

 

Catalina Alexandra Ruiz was born at 17:39 on November 13, 2013.  She was 6lbs 2oz, and 20 and 1/4 inches long  (I’ll tell you about how we picked her name in my next post).  She was born 6 days before her due date.  Thankfully, even though my health deteriorated quickly, she was perfectly healthy the entire time and was born without issue.

 

For 24 hours after delivery, I needed to stay on the Magnesium Sulfate via IV and the bed rest continued.  In total, I was confined to the bed for 53 hours straight.  My BP continued to go up and down, and over the next few days, they tried a variety of meds to control it.  Besides nursing, there was not much I could physically do.  Tony took care of everything: Catalina’s diaper changes, walking her around to soothe her, and waiting on me.  It was hard to be stuck in a bed and not able to do anything to help.  We had lots of visitors in the hospital, from family to friends to Marines.  And, Tony stayed with me the whole time I was in the hospital.  He was like a drill instructor (both there and since we’ve been home), not letting me push myself, telling me to take it easy.  The nurses loved it, because if I tried to push something they said or negotiate out of something, he would speak up and tell me no.  His medical training he got in the military definitely helped during the experience.  He can tell when something is wrong with me, and gets me to rest, lay down, or get me whatever I need to feel better.  He even commandeered the BP machine next to my bed, so he could take my BP whenever.

 

I was released on November 17 from the hospital (after a 6 day stay!).  I am on 2 meds now to control my BP, as well as pain meds for the C-section incision.  The good news is that although I was asymptomatic before, I can tell now when my BP spikes up.  I can pay attention to those cues, and lay down and rest when that happens.  Even at home, I have to take it easy by resting on the couch most of the time and not do much physically.  I have to go back to my Dr for a BP check tomorrow.

 

Another complication was Catalina’s weight.  In the first 2 days, she had a 9% loss from her birth weight.  The neonatalogist had me continue to nurse, but then pump and syringe feed her what I pumped.  We developed a system where Tony syringe fed while I pumped for the next feeding.  He called it his “daddy feeding time” and loved it because he had a part in making his warrior bigger and stronger.  Over the course of several days, she was able to gain weight by this method of supplementation.  We had her first appointment with the pediatrician Tuesday and she was 5lbs 15oz!  We got the ok to go back to just nursing, and we go to back tomorrow for another weight check to see how she does with that.

 

I delivered at Heart of Lancaster, and although the experience was not as I had pictured, it was overall a good experience.  All the staff was exceptionally helpful.  I enjoyed the personalized attention and more intimate setting.

 

We are at home now, and getting settled into a new routine.  I stare at her for hours and think about what a miracle this whole experience has been.  I am in love with her!

Our first family portrait

Skin to skin

Catalina Alexandra snuggling with daddy

Leaving the hospital as a family of 3

As I wind down my last few weeks of this pregnancy…

As I wind down my last few weeks of this pregnancy (I’m 37.5 weeks along and Baby will be here before the end of the month!), I have some thoughts to share about this entire experience…

-The past nine months have gone way too fast.

-I still can’t believe I’m growing a human inside me.

-I miss wine, sushi, soft cheeses, Blue Moon.  I miss my high heels (who am I kidding….my poor swollen feet couldn’t handle them right now!).

-The best thing about maternity pants is that they don’t have a zipper.

-The human body is an amazing creation. It absolutely blows my mind what my body has been capable of these past few months.  I feel like pregnancy isn’t something I had to “do”, it was something that I had the opportunity to experience.

-I love my pregnant belly.  I love holding my belly.  I love it when others want to touch my belly.  I know most pregnant ladies do not enjoy that, but I do.  I have found that pregnancy is a unifying event, and that everyone celebrates the new life.  I love that I can share this blessing with others, even if it’s just by them touching my belly or feeling her move inside of me.  I want to share it with others!

-Who needs sleep?  Who needs to sleep through the night?  Not this girl!  :)

Keep your head down!

I am at 36 weeks now…less than 30 days til the due date!  I have been feeling very tired, which my midwife confirmed was attributed to a low hemoglobin level.  I started to take an iron supplement, which I am hoping helps.  I am much more tired now than I was in the first trimester.  Baby girl is still very active, and my belly is surely getting bigger!  She has been head down at my last 2 appointments, so that is good.  They told me her positioning, and so I know when my belly contorts if it’s her foot or her butt.  At my next appointment, the OB will be able to estimate how big she is right now, and approximately how big she will be if I deliver full term.  That is exciting! And, my appointments are weekly now.  We are in the home stretch!

 

Our baby shower was held on October 6, in the fellowship hall of Glossbrenner United Methodist Church.  This is the church I grew up in, where we got married, and so it was fitting to have our baby shower there as well.   It was not a surprise shower per se.  I knew the date of it, and where it was going to be held, but did not know more details other than that.  It was a drop-in, and I knew that much of our families were invited.  I was excited to see family, because even though we live close, we don’t see each other that often.  There were guessing games, advice for the new mom, predicting how big my belly is, and food!  It was such a fun afternoon!  We were blessed, and our Baby Girl was certainly “showered” with love!

The two most important men in my life!

 

Mom and me

 

More preparations are underway.  We now have a dresser, and I began to wash up all the items from the shower and put everything away.  That was a huge undertaking…we worked on it all weekend long.  The crib is now made, the diaper bag packed.  We got the car seat in too, and I am prepping my hospital bag as much as possible (as Tony calls it, my “go bag”).  It’s exciting to think that within 6 weeks (2 weeks past my due date) she will be here!  I can’t even fathom how different life will be, but I am filled with excitement, nervousness, and overwhelming love when I think of the future.  

Here are two recent belly pictures.

33 weeks

35 weeks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Preparations

Last time I wrote, I said I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, that we had so much we needed to do to prepare for Baby Girl Ruiz’s arrival.  Well, more than a month later, I am happy to report I feel more prepared and ready.  Here is why….

 

We put together the baby’s crib!  It was fun to do together-neither of us got frustrated, and it was a cool bonding experience.  We don’t have any bedding yet, but at least the crib is set up!

Choosing a name for our sweet Angel is still proving to be difficult.  We have narrowed our lists down to about 8-10 names, but we don’t absolutely LOVE any one just yet.  We do talk more about baby names now though, which is fun.  Even after we choose a name, I think we are going to keep it to ourselves as our little secret ;)

 

In the past few weeks, we took some classes offered by the hospital to prepare for the baby’s arrival.  We took a newborn massage class together, and also learned how to soothe the baby through various methods, including swaddling.  For some reason, Tony is an expert swaddler.  He did it right the first time, nice and tight, just like the nurse showed us.  I think it’s because of his years in the military that gave him the edge!  I, on the other hand, struggled with getting the folds correct and tight enough.  I started to get frustrated, but then realized I don’t have to be good at everything, especially in the beginning.  So, we decided that Tony is our swaddler.

 

I also took a breastfeeding class.  Tony wasn’t able to drive home for it, so I asked my mom to accompany me to the class.  We went one night, and found out the date changed.  So, we went back a week later.  The class was very informative, and I am hoping to be able to remember what the lactation consultant said when the time comes!  I am excited to nurse!

 

Yesterday was our BIG class….the prenatal/childbirth class!  We registered for this 8 hour class, and then found out that Tony’s unit’s drill was changed to that weekend.  We weren’t sure he would be able to come for the class.  Last minute, I called my sister-in-law Angie to be my stand-in partner in case Tony wasn’t able to attend.  Apparently, Tony found out he would be able to come, but didn’t tell me.  He wanted to surprise me by just showing up.  Then, realizing how late it would be until he got here Friday night, he thought twice.  He decided to tell me instead of having me hear someone coming into the house at midnight….he was afraid I would shoot him!  Tony told me Friday evening that he would be coming home, and going with me to the class the next day.  I broke down crying because I was so relieved and excited!  We woke up early and went out for breakfast before the class (he knows how much I love breakfast!).  We had a tour of the hospital, and learned all sorts of things about labor, delivery, post partum.  I feel more prepared now that we took the class together.  I feel less nervous and more excited.  He knew it was important to me that he went with me, and I am so happy he was able to.  We even earned a certificate, which I think says we are educated enough to have a baby now!

Here’s an updated belly picture, taken at 31 weeks.  I am definitely feeling pregnant now.  It is harder to bend over, paint my toenails, put shoes on, do the dishes.  I sometimes bump my belly into things because I forget how far it sticks out.

We have 8 weeks until our due date!  I now go to the Ob’s office every 2 weeks for my checkups.  I count “fetal movements”, once in the morning and once at nighttime to make sure she is active.  And, active she surely is!  Baby Girl Ruiz is definitely getting me ready to never sleep again.  She is so active, sometimes keeping me up for hours at a time.  Two nights, I was up from 2:30-5:30am because of her movements.  Most nights, I can’t fall asleep before 11 or 11:30 because she is moving around.  Between that and bathroom trips for the past few weeks, I am getting used to being up every 2-4 hours.  It’s humbling, because I realize it is no longer about me and what I want anymore!

 

Tony is getting excited for her arrival as well.  When he kisses me goodbye, he kisses my belly too, and says to her “daddy loves you.”  He rubs my belly, and puts his hands on my belly often, which I absolutely love.  I took this picture one morning when we had stayed overnight at a friend’s house for a celebration of Tony’s friend Brad, who was killed in the line of duty as a police officer one year ago.  Baby had me up, but Tony was still sleeping.

 

Yes, the preparation is fully underway!  I know as time passes I will continue to feel more and more prepared.  Well, as prepared as I guess I can be for such a huge life change!

 

Planning for Baby

Baby Girl Ruiz is wonderfully active!  My belly is moving so often now!  I know this means she is getting bigger and stronger, and soon she will run out of room in there and won’t be doing somersaults….she’ll just be kicking me!  At almost 27 weeks, I am more than 2/3 through the pregnancy, and my, the time has flown!  When I first found out I was pregnant, I signed up for email updates about her growth and development, and that’s been keeping me posted. When it said I am 2/3 through, and that I have less than 100 days left, I kinda freaked out.  We don’t have a nursery, don’t have a name!  Besides doing the registry, we haven’t done anything yet!  I felt very unprepared.  I was in pregnancy hysteria, and Tony did a good job of dealing with my emotions and calming me down.  We are now working on those things that I was freaking out about, so I am feeling a bit better.

Updated belly photo at 25.5 weeks

 

I had the dreaded glucola test done last week.  It was an orange liquid, and it had been sitting in my fridge since my last OB appointment.  I drank it an hour before my blood draw, and it kinda tasted like a flat Sunkist.  After a few minutes, I started to feel numb and fuzzy and weak. I did not like that feeling!  Since I was driving myself, I went to my appointment earlier than scheduled just because I wanted to be safe and be able to relax.  I saw the Doctor, who measured my belly for the first time.  He said everything looks great.  The nurse drew my blood, which they tested for how well my body processed the sugar.  They also test for platelet and iron levels.  The nurse said the way I was feeling was normal, because of the amount of sugar in the drink.   She said they would only call if they saw something concerning, and since I haven’t heard anything, I am figuring all is normal.

 

Like I said earlier, time is flying by!  I am enjoying every minute, and absolutely love being pregnant!  Well, except for the whole not sleeping through the night thing… right now because of using the bathroom….in the future, due to a baby!  Guess I am never sleeping again!

 

Thank you for your continued prayers and well wishes.  This is an amazing journey, and I feel so honored to be experiencing it.

 

Updates

Wow, sorry it has been so long since I’ve written here.  Life has a way of just flying by!

I have been thoroughly enjoying pregnancy.  Each week seems to pass faster and faster though!  I am now 24 weeks or 6 months!  I am definitely showing now-no mistaking this plump middle section for regular weight gain!  I love how my belly is rounding out.  I love reading about her developmental stage, and what’s going on.  I said to someone that pregnancy is an amazingly beautiful adventure, and I really mean it!  I can’t put into words how blessed I feel, and how incredible this experience is.  I finally got some great maternity clothes (a huge shout out to Lyns for her donations!).   After I started to have some lower back pain, I began sleeping with a Snoogle (thanks to Angie!) on my side, and that has eased the back pain.

Tony and I have been working on our baby registry.  Why has no one ever said how overwhelming that is?!  We left the first day after an hour, both of us with headaches, and feeling very overwhelmed.  We agreed to go to the store for an hour each time, and that has worked well for us.  I think we have gone to the store 3 times, and have done some online, and I believe we are almost finished now!  Why does a baby need so much stuff?!

Around 20 weeks, I started to get those random pregnancy comments from strangers.  I actually got my first and second comments in the same day!  I also finally started to tell my clients at work about the pregnancy, and about maternity leave.  We have started talking about baby names, but haven’t gotten too far with that.  With all of this, the pregnancy is getting more and more real.

Here are a few recent belly pictures:

20 weeks

22.5 weeks

Although I have been feeling her move since about 19 weeks, it was faint and not very strong, and only occasionally.  She has been moving more, and is getting bigger and stronger, and finally, Tony was able to feel her moving in my belly at 23 weeks.  And, at 24 weeks, we could see my belly moving!  I videotaped the movement, because she was doing it for so long!  Here are two videos…up close of my belly!

IMG_0389

IMG_0392

Another reason I have been MIA on here is because my sister and her family were just in town from FL for about a week and a half, so I was spending time with them.  Mike’s deployment was cancelled, and so Lee wanted to come home to see my belly!  It was almost 10 months since I saw them last.  It was perfect timing too…because the day Tony felt her moving in my belly was the day my sister felt her moving too!  The next day, my mom, dad, and Mike all felt her moving.  I even borrowed a friend’s Doppler (thanks Kim!), so the kids could hear her heartbeat.  Addy was adorable with my belly.  She often asked to see it, would put her hands on it, would put her head on it.  It was so precious.  All of the kids are so excited that they are going to have another cousin!  We played croquet in the back yard, went to a Barnstormers game, went to Adventure Sports, and had a great time together.  Here are some pictures from their time here:

 

 

 

We went to Dairy Queen before the Barnstormers game.  Complete family picture-the first time in almost 3 years we have all been together (due to the guys’ deployments).

 

 

I LOVE THESE KIDS!

Baby Ruiz is a ….

Some people might not want to know the gender of the baby they are expecting, but Tony and I were both on the same page.  Neither of us wanted to wait 9 months to find out what we were having.  I figured it would be a surprise regardless of when we found, and knowing earlier would help me to connect to the Baby.  So, the day finally came!

 

We had our 20 week ultrasound done last week.  They measured arms, legs, head, abdomen, spine, and all sorts of Baby’s other body parts.  The ultrasound technician showed us the cerebellum, and the kidneys.  She did (I think) Dopplar which showed (again, I think?) movement and we were able to see Baby’s heart beating, and the flow of blood to the 4 chambers of the heart.  We saw the flow of blood from the umbilical cord to the placenta.  It was a swirl of red and blue, and it was incredible!  Baby’s heart rate was 155, and she said Baby was head down, with the head on my left side.  The tech said Baby is about 9 oz.

 

The tech asked if we were able to see the gender, if we wanted to know.  We said yes, and asked if instead of telling us, she could print out a picture, and write in an envelope what we were expecting.  We were planning to go somewhere special to open the envelope privately afterwards.  Although we watched on the screen, we couldn’t see anything, and in a matter of what seemed like one minute she said she got what she needed.  The doctor came in later,  and showed us another picture and asked if we knew the gender.  So, we both knew in the room, even though we waited to officially find out.  We were so anxious we didn’t get very far though…we opened the envelope in the car!

 

Here are the ultrasound pictures we got today.  Keep reading to find out if Baby Ruiz is a boy or a girl!

 

Baby was moving both arms all around it’s face.  This 4D picture shows the umbilical cord and an arm up near the face.

Adorable baby profile!

Footprint

Another 4D face picture

We bought pink and blue balloons, and had our families over that evening.  I had my sister and her family on Skype so they could “be” with us while everyone found out.  Tony and I each held a balloon, counted to 3, and one of us popped a balloon.  The one still in tact showed the gender.  I held the blue, and Tony held the pink.   And the verdict is….

All along, our families thought I was having a girl.  When they saw the balloons we were holding, they thought Tony would be the one popping the balloon, and so his sister changed her position and said “It’s a boy!”  See, we tricked them!  Hahaha!  Mom and dad wore colors to show what gender they thought Baby was.  Mom got to hold the balloon because she was right!

Here is the picture we opened in the car.  The ultrasound tech highlighted a cluster of 3 white dots off to the right of center.

Tony was really, really hoping for a boy (remember, Conan the Barbarian?!), so he was a little sad.  Sad because all of his friends have joked since the beginning that he was going to have a girl as payback…and now his friends were right!  He adjusted from calling Baby “Warrior” to calling her his “Princess Warrior”.

 

To top off the past week, on June 21, I was positive I felt her moving in my belly.  There were a few times before that were I thought it was her, but wasn’t quite sure.  But, since 6-21, I have been feeling flutters in my belly multiple times per day.  It is definitely becoming more real….now that I can feel her moving and know that she is a girl.  We are halfway through the pregnancy journey and everything is developing how it should and looks great.  We are blessed!

 

We haven’t done much baby stuff yet, wanting to wait to find out the gender first.  Now, we will begin talking about baby names, doing the registry and working on a nursery.  Let the planning for Baby Girl Ruiz begin!

Tough Mudder

Tony did his first Tough Mudder last spring with a few Marines.  Matt, a police officer, put together a team of officers to run this year’s event near Philly.  After Tony joined the team, he asked Matt if he could use it as a fundraiser for Lynsay and children.  More Marines joined, and it became a joint event between Brad’s two adopted families.  The link to Tony’s fundraising website is here:

www.youcaring.com/other/never-leave-a-man-behind-/37349

 

You can’t donate any more through that link, but this is the Brad Fox memorial website which gives information on how to donate if you’d like:

www.officerbradfox.com/donate/

 

Matt organized the entire team, set up donors for the tee shirts, had food donated for the tailgating afterwards, and even set up bag pipers to escort the team to the starting line.  He put a lot of effort into it!

 

June 1 was a hot day…. 92 degrees I think. Add to that running approximately 13 miles and doing 26 obstacles….pure craziness!  I went along to cheer, to support them, and to hang out for the day.  My #1 job that day was to stay hydrated and eat.  Everyone I was with made sure I had enough to eat and drink, and were on me to take care of myself.  It was quite sweet.  We had to park in a field and be bussed to the event.  I definitely did not know what to expect and did not dress appropriately for the day.  I wore flip flops and that was a huge mistake! By the end of the day, my feet were filthy, and I even got a corn stalk splinter in my foot!

 

The 44-178 (Brad’s department number, and his badge number) team ended up being comprised of police officers, Marines, and other supporters.  There were at least 40 people who ran with the team.  Tony had the idea to carry a ruck sack to symbolize carrying Brad through the race, and never leaving a fallen brother behind.  Throughout the course, they carried a ruck sack filled with momentos of Brad, a Marine Corps flag, and an American flag.  It was amazing to see!  While they were doing the Tough Mudder, I hung out with other ladies whose men were running, and we met up with Brad’s parents, Tom and Kathy, towards the end of the race.

 

Afterwards, we tailgated in the parking area, under a few tents.  It was a celebration of the event, and a way to honor Brad and his legacy.  Although I did not run, I was proud to be there, surrounded by so many good people who care so deeply.

 

Jackie Pastore, the wife of a Marine, was the “official” photographer of the event.  She did a great job of capturing not only images, but the feelings of the day.

 

As they were walking to the starting line of the race with the bag pipers Matt arranged to escort them.

 

At the starting line…

A few from during the race…(the first is actually from the Tough Mudder website!)

 

 

 

 

And after they completed the course…

This is the ruck sack that Tony wore almost the entire course (another Marine Jimmy took a turn carrying it too).  Tony had created a collage of pictures of Brad and we safety pinned it to the outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Lexington Wedding

We have had a busy couple of weekends.  First, we were in Dallas, and then over Memorial Day weekend, we drove to Lexington, KY.  One of the Marines Tony served with during his 3rd deployment to Afghanistan, Zac, was marrying Alaina, and so we made the trip to attend the wedding.  We had been in KY last summer (you can read about that trip under “Food + Friends = Road Trip” on my blog), and thoroughly enjoyed the trip.  It’s gorgeous down there, with rolling horse farms, green grass as far as you can see, and beautiful homes.  I was definitely looking forward to going again!

 

We woke up really early on Friday (3:30am!), and drove all morning.  I slept for about 2 hours in the car at the beginning of the drive, with the sun waking me about 6am.  We took our time driving, listening to a book on tape and listening to country music.  The drive from PA to KY was very scenic, with most of it being through West Virginia.  Arriving in Lexington about 1pm, we went for a nice lunch (Tony found a Cracker Barrel because he knows I like it), and checked into the hotel.  Tony went for a run, while I napped!  The wedding was that evening.

 

It was an intimate wedding, with Zac’s father marrying him and Alaina.  Tony had the honor of escorting Alaina’s mother to her seat.  The ceremony was short and sweet, with the ring bearer carrying a sign that said “Uncle Zac, here comes your bride!”  Zac and Alaina had a Marine sword detail, which added to the uniqueness of the wedding.  Tony was in charge of the sword detail.  At the reception, the Marines and their wives/girlfriends danced and enjoyed themselves.  (I know Tony misses these guys!)  Now, I had gotten sick with a horrible cold on our way to Dallas the weekend before this, and I was still under the weather (and, being pregnant, I didn’t want to take anything).  Despite this, I was able to “hang” until midnight before crashing in bed.

 

When we were in KY last year, I wanted to get a University of Kentucky (UK) shirt.  School spirit is really big down there (hm, that is a HUGE understatement!), and I wanted one to wear.  Tony was adamant that I would not wear a UK shirt.  I have been upset all year long that I didn’t get one, so when we planned this trip, I told Tony to get one of his friends to find me a shirt.  As we were driving down, his friend was texting pictures of various shirts for me from the school store.  So, one highlight of my trip was getting my UK shirt!  Stay tuned to my next blog post for a picture of it!

 

Congrats to Zac and Alaina! Thank you for including us in your wedding day!

 

The next day we were able to sleep in and relax in the morning before meeting up with my friend Bridgit and her family for lunch.  I know Bridgit from PA and she moved to KY about a year and a half ago with her husband, who was offered a job down there.  It was special to be able to see her and her family, and catch up.

 

After lunch, we got in the car and drove home!  It was a quick trip, not even two days, but we had a great time!  Here are some pictures from the trip:

He let me drive so he could take a nap.  HAHA!

Us after the ceremony

Boys

Boys

Marines and the beautiful bride

“The truck team” – Tony and his driver and gunner

Marine girls

Bridgit’s daughter Lily touching my baby bump at the restaurant