January 18, 2012

Guest Post Series ~ My Wedding Story by, Alyssa Duncan

This wedding story is from Alyssa Duncan of the blog inthelandoflou

My husband and I got engaged in September of 2009. He took me on a trip to beautiful Lake Tahoe and proposed in Emerald Bay. It was perfect. When we got back, we started looking at dates for getting married. We had originally planned on summer of 2010 but the more time went by, the more I didn’t want to wait that long. So hubby proposed Valentine’s Day. He thought it would be sweet to always have our anniversary on the most romantic day of the year (and part of me still thinks he wanted an easy anniversary date). But the more he thought about it, trying to plan anniversary trips around Valentine’s would be really hard. So we chose the week after, February 19th. We wanted to keep it small and sweet, hubby had been married before and I was engaged before, so I wasn’t interested in doing everything, down to the last detail, all over again. So we limited our guest list to immediate family and a few close friends…no more than 30 of us all together.

Then, just after the New Year, we got the news that he would be deploying to Haiti. He was supposed to be back in time, but it wasn’t guaranteed. If he did indeed end up getting back before our planned wedding, February 19th, we weren’t sure if we’d have enough time to go get our marriage license before we left for our honeymoon the next day. On the morning he was supposed to leave, he ended up getting held back a day. On a whim, while I was sitting at work bumming out about him being gone the month before our wedding, I called him up and suggested just going down to the courthouse and getting married that day. “Okay…” is what he came back with, haha. Then it was a mad scramble to get down there. I had to call someone in to cover for me at work, he had to try and get off work early…My mom really, really, really wanted to be there…so after some haggling, we decided to let my parents and then Chad’s mom and his brother come down from Denver to see us get married. I ran back to the house, my mom brought me a white dress from her closet, I did my hair really quickly, Chad rushed home from work, and we got to the courthouse JUST before it closed for the day. Phew!

We raised our right hands in front of the woman who was processing our paperwork, my mom snapped a couple quick photos, and then we stepped out into the hall (underneath the cheesiest flowered arch in front of a mint green wall) to exchange rings. WE signed our names, had our witnesses sign theirs, and just like that…we were married. We all went back to our house, both families gave us cards, and then left us to our newlywed devices….;) We had a nice dinner at Texas Roadhouse and then came back to the house to…wait for it…do homework. Yep, Chad had a course to complete that night so we cracked a bottle of wine, shared a glass, and then he went up to the office to complete his class. Trust me, that’s not ALL he did all night…so it turned out splendidly.

The next morning we were up by 6 so that he could pack all of the last-minute stuff, our buddy Gary came by at 7, and he was off to the airport by 7:30. I didn’t even get to spend the first 24 hours as a married woman with my husband. :/

In just under a month, he came back, we got “married”(again) at our originally planned wedding ceremony with our 30 guests, my bi gwhite dress, and his handsome teal bowtie. We didn’t have a formal reception,just punch and cupcakes, and visiting with our friends and family. After maybean hour, we headed downtown to take some wedding pictures and after we were finished, rushed home to get out of our wedding finery (we were not made to live in fancy clothes). Since we were leaving the next morning for our honeymoon in Vegas, we returned his tux that night, went to Target and bought a backpack and a dvd shelf, picked up dinner at Panda Express, and fell asleep onthe couch watching The Bourne Identity. Yeah, we’re classy like that.

We left early the next morning for Vegas and spent a wonderfully relaxing week seeing shows, walking the strip, shopping, eating, and of course…loving on each other like CRAZY.  I look back at our“double wedding”, one at the courthouse, one with less than 30 people, and I wouldn’t change a thing. We didn’t go into debt over our big day, we spent it with the people we’re closest to, and it was perfectly memorable. This week is oursecond anniversary (we count our first wedding as our technical anniversarydate, but still celebrate the second one with a nice dinner or something) and I couldn’t be happier…married for two years, Momma to a six-month old baby, and full of stories to tell about it all.

To hear more from Alyssa check out her blog or follow her on twitter @mrsalyssaduncan

***If you are interested in guest posting for us please email me at kerry (a) bellflowerbooks (dot) com

January 16, 2012

Guest Post Series ~ My Birth Story by, Kerry of Bellflower Books

My son at 6 ~ Well worth the trouble:)

Since a Bellflower Book makes an incredibly meaningful gift for weddings, anniversaries and new babies, we have started a special new guest post series to pay tribute to these events!  I have decided to kick this series off with a post of my own.

I was debating between telling the sweet and predictable story about my perfect little wedding day, or the somewhat crazy and dysfunctional story about the birth of my first child.  I decided that dysfunction is usually a lot more interesting:)

When I had my son I was in my 20's and living in Chicago.  I was one of the first in my group of friends to get pregnant and I will admit to being absolutely clueless.  Lucky for me I had an extremely healthy pregnancy, so when I went into deliver I figured that everything would run smoothly.

Unfortunately the doctor I was seeing (who was recommended to me by another clueless friend) only delivered in two hospitals that were both located in horrible neighborhoods and a little shady.  I picked what I figured was the lessor of 2 evils.  After growing up in a small town in Ohio, I figured a hospital was a hospital and that I would receive great care no matter where I went.  Plus, I loved my doctor.  I loved my doctor because every time I went in for a routine visit he would let me "see my baby" by giving me an ultrasound even though I was having an extremely normal and healthy pregnancy.  At the time I had no idea that this type of treatment was pretty abnormal and that through all of these un-needed ultrasounds my excellent insurance was helping to support their struggling practice.

My son who is a very active child was also a very active fetus.  Two weeks before his due date I felt his activity sharply decrease.  I immediately went to my doctor, found out I was dilated, stopped at Dairy Queen for a chicken sandwich and chocolate ice cream cone, then went to the hospital.  Things weren't progressing like my doctor hoped, so he started me on pitocin.  I got an epidural and was pretty optimistic about how I thought things would progress.  My younger sister showed up with a nice spread of appetizers for her, my husband and my parents who were driving in from Toledo.  I was on the phone with my friends naively making plans to have them for dinner and celebrate two days later.

Then everything went downhill pretty quickly.  The pitocin worked, my contractions started coming quick, but they hurt really bad.  The epidural hadn't clicked in quite like it was supposed to.  Then before I knew it and before my parents had arrived I had to start to push.  Each time I pushed the baby's heart plummeted.  I pushed three times before I was whisked away emergency style for a c-section.  I knew something was wrong but it was all happening so fast that I wasn't quite sure what was going on.  My parents arrived just in time to see me prepped for surgery and headed into the operating room.

This is where the complications with the anesthetic caused some problems.  Since the epidural was not working properly, I was not numb where I should have been and there was not time to sedate me further so I pretty much felt my c-section.  I can distinctly remember making my first choice and sacrifice as a mother when I knew my baby was in trouble and that the only way to help him was to forfeit any additional anesthetic attempts and to go in after him.  I can remember screaming and crying but I don't remember the pain.  I think that my husband will be traumatized forever.  I had to tell him to stop telling his version of the story from the other side of the curtain.  It was not pretty.

And because this was my first birth I didn't realize that it was odd to painfully feel every stitch as they sewed me back up, and even odder that I did not see my baby until a good half hour later.

The good news is that we are all okay.  After the surgery the resident anesthesiologist was considerate enough to apologize to me for his mistakes and hook me up to a nice morphine drip which caused me to see mushrooms and faeries on the wall opposite my bed.  My son developed jaundice and had to spend most of his time in the NICU, which was probably for the best since I was pretty out of it for a while.  He actually looked pretty fine to us and we didn't know if the NICU was absolutely necessary, but then again we had great insurance which I think may have influenced people to take "extra precautions".

The hospital I gave birth in has since closed and the last I heard it has been slated for demolition.

Over six years later I don't think my stomach muscles will ever be the same, but things are good.  I used all of this as a giant learning experience for when I had my second child.  I changed doctors and went to one of the best women's hospitals in the nation where I had a planned C-Section that went so smoothly I didn't even realize it was happening. I was actually shocked when it was over so quickly without so much as a shriek or a tear.  I had a flat screen TV, gourmet room service and frankly a wonderful time in recovery.  It was like a vacation.  See... the first birth story is much more exciting:)

***If you would like to join our guest post series and share your wedding or birth story, please contact me at kerry (at) Bellflowerbooks (dot) com

January 11, 2012

Our New Guest Post Series

We are so excited to announce our new guest post series for 2012!  Last year we focused on paying tribute to meaningful people in our lives.  This year we are going to focus on sharing stories about meaningful events! 

Since so many of our books are created for weddings, anniversaries and new babies, we have decided to take guest posts from people telling their special wedding and birth stories.  I am so excited to read these posts and I am even looking forward to sharing my own!

If you are interested in being a part of this series, please email me at: kerry (at) BellflowerBooks (dot) com.

January 9, 2012

A New Year full of New Memories

This is a page that was created by my sister after a visit last January

Every year I use our website to create special memory books for my kids.  I am usually horrible about writing stuff down, so I have found that my account with Bellflower Books has made it easy to quickly type in a fun or funny story about my kids.  This is great because at the end of each year I have an individualized and personal memory book for each of my kids.  I make sure to have friends, babysitters and relatives contribute as well, especially if we take a special vacation together or if they come to visit us.

This will be the third year that I embark on this mission to preserve their special memories.  Considering it is a special book just about them, they absolutely love looking through the finished product and remembering all of the fun and silly times we have had together.  I have even printed "back-up" copies to put away for when they are grown.  I figured that by the time they are 18 or so these copies are going to be pretty "loved" and a little worn, so it would be really special to give them a set of brand new books for their own collection.  I hope that someday their kids will enjoy reading them and relating to the incredible and entertaining people they were are children:)
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