Saturday, September 22, 2012

And then our baby turned 1

Tonight, actually several times this week, I've been remembering what was going on this week last year. A year ago tonight I was on bed rest at the hospital and not happy about it! I was really missing my family, I was really missing my bed (I had slept on a labor bed the night before -- worst bed ever!). I wanted to go home that night but couldn't because my blood pressure was too high. I even tried to make a deal with my doctor and told him if he let me sleep in my own bed that night I'd come back in the morning for the c section, he didn't go for it. Thankfully (after a mini pregnant lady meltdown) the nurse let me take a nice hot shower and moved me into my own room with a much more comfortable bed. It felt like heaven. I remember wondering if that was going to be my last good night's sleep for awhile when I went to bed that night. Little did I know that was definitely going to be the case! The next morning I woke up with a song in my head. Not one I'd heard or thought about - it was just in my head. Does that ever happen to you? It happens so often with me that I've come to think its the Lord telling me something. On September 22, 2011 I woke up with the song "Today is the Day" in my head. I just kept singing, "I'm not worried about tomorrow, I'm trusting in what You say. Today is the day" - How awesome the Lord was already putting that in my heart knowing what laid ahead of me that day. Not only was it one of the most precious days of my life - the day I met my third baby - but also one of the hardest because it brought about some fear, doubt, and anxiety wondering what was ahead of us. I love the Lord for knowing us so well He gives us peace before we ask for it. 
Sometimes its hard for me to think back to Anniston's birthday. That first night was the longest night of my life. I remember my nurse taking my blood pressure and telling me until went down a bit I couldn't go see Annie. That killed me. I was physically trying to lower my blood pressure by taking slow, cleansing breaths and praying. They kept telling me she was so upset that she couldn't slow her breathing and I just kept thinking, "she needs me! She needs to hear my voice and smell me and know she's safe with her mommy." Do you know how heartbreaking it was to feel completely helpless? Stupid c sections. For a week or so after Annie came home I worried she wouldn't bond well with me because of the initial separation. I'm so thankful thats not at all the case. She's known from the beginning who her mommy is. We are quite attached! :) And I've loved every second of being her mommy since the moment I laid eyes on her. And as hard as it was and is to remember, I wouldn't change it. Because thats Anniston's story. And God's using it and will continue to use it for His glory. I believe that whole-heartedly. 

Dear Anniston, 

As of 5:30 tomorrow night, you are ONE YEAR OLD! I know everyone says this but it really is hard for me to believe you're already a year old. I know that 365 days pass at the same rate each year but it seems like this past year FLEW. You've had quite an exciting year. 

 You are an exceptional snuggler. 

 You've always had a very special bond with Daddy. The first night he was the only one you got to hear and be near because mommy had to get her legs back and all this silly post-op stuff down before I could come see you. It was killing me to be so far from you (just down the hall) but it made me feel much better knowing you at least had your daddy with you. 

 Mommy & Daddy took LOTS of pictures of you during our visits to the NICU that first week. We wanted to have as many photos of all your funny/sweet/silly faces available because we missed you so much. 

 Your first Christmas, 3 months old

 You fit right in with your silly brother & sister and love playing with them. 

 Your first bite of cereal. You look happy here but you were not and still aren't a fan! 

 6 months old and snuggling with your favorite guy. 

 Your first pedicure. You loved it! (You get that from me.)

 One of the most common comments we hear from people about is you that you're such a happy baby. You really are. You've always been a very content baby. The only times you cry are when you're hungry, tired or need a clean diaper.

 9 months old and starting to get mobile! 

 Your first 4th of July! You loved the fireworks!

11 months old, cheesing with the best of them! 

My sweet Annie. You have been a life-changer from the start. Obviously the first week of your life brought about a new level of trust in the Lord, appreciation for medical technology and doctors, and definitely love. I've often told people that I feel like with you, being our third, I really know how much it means to just enjoy each phase. Some of them can be exhausting while you're living through them but I always knew it would be fleeting. And while I really missed my sleep, I knew it would come. And it did. Around 7 months. And when I was so tired of cleaning up spit up (um, about 3 weeks ago) it finally ended. PRAISE THE LORD! ;) 

Your personality is really starting to show and you really are such a sweet heart. You have a strong will, but its a gentle strength. Do you know that is something your mommy has been praying for herself? You already possess a quality I wish I had. I love that! I promise you I'll continue to encourage that in you. You are one of the smiliest babies I've ever met, you love to giggle and usually Cash can get you going really well. You love to be around other kids, lots of people. You love music, you love your baby doll and soft blankie and you love to eat! 

I'm so thankful for you, Annie Kate. You are one of the most precious blessings in my life. Every day I look forward to seeing your smile and watching you learn and grow. We love you, Annie girl!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

535,600 minutes

As I was getting in the check out line at Aldi this afternoon I looked at Annie and thought to myself, "I can't believe its been a year." I took this photo a year ago today, the same day I went in to the hospital to have my contractions monitored, which began the longest 10 days of my life...

Look at what a baby Corrinne was! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

These are a few of my fav-o-rite things!

Today I had my windows open allowing the cool breeze to blow through the house, stirring up the delicious scent of Maple Pumpkin (thanks, Glade!) putting me in the mood to make some good ol' comfort food! In honor of this sudden burst of autumnal crisp-ness I have been encouraged to post a few of my favorite soup recipes. Without further ado...

White Chili (We had this for dinner and I can't take credit for the recipe.)

3 chicken breasts, cubed (or if you want an easier route, use a lb of ground chicken like me!)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 med. onion, diced
1-15 oz. chicken broth
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cans Northern beans
1-7 oz. can diced green chiles
1 can cream style corn
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Saute (or brown) chicken in oil with onion, salt, pepper, and garlic powder until fully cooked. Add all other ingredients and let simmer 30 minutes.

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup sour cream
corn starch to thicken

We like to serve this with corn chips and shredded cheese.

Crock Pot Potato Soup
1 bag frozen Ore Ida Potatoes O'Brien
1-8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1-15 oz. chicken broth
1 bag real bacon pieces
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup

Mix together softened cream cheese and Cream of Mushroom Soup. Add to slow cooker. Add frozen potatoes, chicken broth, and bacon pieces. Cook on low 6-8 hrs. Easy Peasy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup (this is a new one and I can't lie - I got it from Pinterest!)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cans diced tomatoes & chiles
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 can corn
1 onion, chopped
1-32 oz. chicken broth (I like the Fit & Active low sodium one at Aldi best)
1-2 cups water
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. dried cilantro (best invention EVER!)
tortilla chips
sour cream
shredded mexican blend cheese

Put chopped onion, beans, tomatoes, corn, chicken broth, water and spices into the slow cooker and stir to mix. Put chicken breasts on top, making sure they're at least partially submerged. Cook on high 7-8 hours or low 8-9 hours. Before serving remove chicken breasts and shred, if needed. Return chicken to crock pot, stir to combine.
We like to serve this with tortilla chips in bottom of the bowl, then ladle soup on top followed by some shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream, if you like! Seriously yummy!

Happy Cooking and Happy Autumn!

This time next week my baby will be ONE YEAR OLD. You know what that means... a sobfest recount of the first minutes/hours/days/YEAR of sweet Anniston Kate's life. Waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bedtime Prayers

Tonight's bedtime looked like this:

Mom: Ok, lets pray. Do you want to pray tonight?

(Cash nodded.)

Cash: Dear God, fank you for dis bootaful day, peas tell mom & dad to take me to see the avengers in the featers (theater), peas help protect us, and peas help Mrs. Roe come back to my school tomorrow. And dear Jesus, Amen
(his assistant teacher was sick today)

Mom: That was a very sweet prayer, Cash.

Cash: Yea, that was a good one. I'm gonna pray that one again tomorrow!

I love his honest heart. Don't we all feel like that sometimes?

In the words of our 10-days-shy-of-being-one year old, Annie, Ni-night!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

6 years ago...

On this day six years ago, I went on a date with a guy named Drew. We'd been dating for six months (minus the 4 weeks "we were on a break") and I had a feeling he was going to propose soon. From the beginning I'd kind of known Drew was The One. I didn't know how to explain it, I just knew. So cliche, I know. But true! 
Anyways, given a mysterious phone call made to my dad a few days earlier that week I had a feeling it was coming soon. And with my older sister, Ashley, coming into town that Friday with her 3 week old baby girl I thought for sure it was happening that night. I even went shopping and got a new shirt and matching accessories for the occasion. Drew had called saying he made reservations at this adorable house-turned-italian restaurant in Old Towne Greenwood. Our typical Friday nights were more laid back than that. My suspicions were high. 
Drew picked me up that night and we ate dinner outside La Trattoria on their patio complete with white lights strung around the top. Drew seemed totally chill and not nervous at all so I was completely thrown off by that. Assuming it wasn't happening at dinner I ate my ravioli and enjoyed the late summer's night breeze. After dinner Drew asked what I wanted to do. I was thinking, "Don't you know what we're going to do? You're going to propose! Shouldn't you have some kind of plan???" Obviously I didn't say that, I said something like, "Oh I don't care. What do you want to do?" He suggested going to Mrs. Curl's to get some ice cream. Now, for those of you who have been to Mrs. Curl you know its no place for a marriage proposal. Its good ice cream and lots of fun for kids but...not exactly what I had in mind. Perplexed, I went along with it trying to remind myself it didn't have to happen that night. As long as he proposed eventually. As we got out of the car he reminded me to bring the camera. "Aha!! Its totally happening tonight!" I thought to myself. After he got some ice cream, we walked down to a gazebo at a nearby park. I started getting really nervous. This was starting to look more like a proposal locale. We sat on a bench inside the gazebo while Drew ate his ice cream. He kept suggesting we take pictures. I was trying not to get impatient but I was thinking, "what the heck? enough with the pictures! If he doesn't propose tonight, this is really mean!" Moment after moment seemed like a great time to propose but each one passed without any ring or question. Sigh. I finally started walking around the gazebo reading the inscriptions on the benches. The benches were dedicated to random people in the community and after a few of them we were reading them aloud in the most obnoxious voices (we're weird). I was reading one, in an english accent I believe, when I turned around to find Drew down on one knee! My heart soared! Its HAPPENING!!! 
He told me that I had made him the happiest man, that he loved me and never thought he could love someone as much as he loves me. He said he wanted to serve the Lord with me, raise babies with me... and then a giant Mac truck drove over the railroad tracks right next to us and I completely missed the end of his awesome speech! So I did what any girl would do. I said, "Can you repeat that?" :) He did. He finished it with, "Bethany Corrinne Dunaway... will you marry me?" My heart squeals just thinking about it. Of course I said yes with the cheesiest grin on my face. Here is a picture of us right after we got home and told my parents. The cheesy grin was plastered on my face for awhile: 

Here we are a week later at a friend's wedding

At the engagement party his parents had for us in California that November. Cheesy grin still intact.

A few weeks before the wedding

When I said yes to Drew that night, I couldn't have known what I was agreeing to. I knew I was saying yes to marrying a man who had stolen my heart (even though I had tried to deny he had done so - stupid girl), a man that loved the Lord and me, a man that could make me laugh like no other, a man who had protected my heart and respected my feelings, a man I was crazy in love with. But what I couldn't have known was the depth of love I would feel for him each and every day from that day forward. We have been through some incredible high points, and some earth-shakingly low points. He makes me heart beat faster - sometimes with passion and sometimes with fury, he still makes me laugh harder than anyone else, he knows me better than anyone else, he's given me three beautiful babies. He provides for our family. He prays for me. He makes me a better person. I can't imagine a day without this man. And I can't imagine a more perfect love story than ours.

Andrew Morgan Hollingsworth, I'm so glad I said yes. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I have a heavy Mommy heart tonight

Remember this little man? 

Well he started preschool a few weeks ago! 

He's in the 4 year old class 3 days a week at a local christian school and absolutely loves it! Our little shy guy has totally blossomed into this charming, well behaved, student. I love that he enjoys going to school so much (he seriously had a meltdown last Friday when he realized it wasn't a school day. Loves it.) But my heart does ache a bit knowing how quickly the last four years have passed. The next four will surely pass just as fast, if not faster. Not cool! 

 And sweet little 3 day old Corrinne? 

She's a sassy, spunky, ears-pierced, lip gloss loving, 13 year old in a 3 year old body! ;) 
My heart aches for newborn Corrinne tonight as she's laying in her crib for the last time. I remember her first night in her crib. And even though we've waited REALLY long to make the transition into a big girl bed, it seems like its here way too soon. 

Ohhh, sweet little Anniston! 

I knew from experience how quickly the days would pass, but it doesn't seem right that in a matter of weeks you'll turn ONE! This has, no doubt, been the shortest year of my life! I fear that my memories of you as a baby will be blurry because of everything else going on. I pray that God will somehow grant me supernatural powers to memorize every facial expression, every funny little thing you do, every sweet snuggle and kiss I get from your slobbery lips. You are such a sweet baby. 

I recently had a fellow mom tell me that the days are long but the years are short. Thats the best description of motherhood I've ever heard. I know too often I find myself feeling frustrated with the busyness of my days, the constant cycles of dishes, laundry, diaper changes, time outs, and bottles. But I'm not that anxious to trade that in just yet. I'm praying now more than ever that God would allow me to focus on my kids. To spend more time reading to them, playing make believe with them, and just laughing with them, being present with them. Who cares about dishes, right? Clean clothes are overrated. Right? 

Im off to snuggle Annie before she gets any bigger... 

Friday, August 24, 2012

The BIG 3!

 Oh, my sweet Corrinne. How did you go from this...

to this...


I can hardly believe my sweet little chubby cheeked girl is a big three year old complete with pierced ears and a big girl hair cut. You are such a bright spot in so many people's lives. I love the vibrance in your laughter, everything you say is with such conviction, and you are full of personality. 

You still love to sing and dance, and most recently you've added an imaginary microphone (most often used in when singing in the car) and you love to play air guitar. Your favorite songs are "Lord, I'm Amazed", "Oh, Happy Day", and "Young" by Fun. You're a big Coldplay fan and frequently ask to listen to Kari Jobe - your current fave is "Scars" and you LOVE "God's Not Dead" by the Newsboys. You love all things pink, ballet, and baby dolls. You usually have about 5 layers of lip gloss on and at least one tube in your hand, just in case you need a touch-up! Your nails are usually always painted and you are loving temporary tattoos! At your 3 year check-up both the nurse and Dr. Blanchard thought you had a bruise on your forearm and were so relieved to find out it was just your Strawberry Shortcake tatt. ;) 

Corrinne, as I always say - Your Daddy and I feel so blessed to have been given the gift of being your parents. You are always teaching us so much about parenthood. You are quite the strong-willed little lady...and thats ok! Frustrating at times, but ok because you also have the biggest heart and can be such a sweetheart. Never forget that God had written all of your days before a single one came to pass and He loves you more than your daddy and I ever could. Continue to pray to Him, continue to seek His will and learn His word. 

I love you sweet girl,